Joshua, Tree

Cardinal’s come-from-behind attack peters out, up against Love and friend Shipp, as UCLA uproots and de-flocks the Trees, 76-67

Click.  Click.  Double-click.  Cick, click, click.

That clicking sound you just heard was all the humorless Jesus Freaks who actually get offended when some disguting pedophiles are made the butt of a few jokes.

Who needs ’em?

In fact, we actually HOPE that they clicked away, because if they are still here, they are each planning to write some scathing, Bible-thumping oratory with all the pizzazz of a Sunday morning 3-hour sermon that even has the chior turning on their iPods.  Save us the fire and brimstone.  We already know that we’re going to Hell — You already told us so when we posted those original Cheerleader shots, and in retrospect, you’re probably right.

Now, getting back to the Holy, Holy World of UCLA Basketball:  The Pac-10 started last night, with the Bruins winning on the Road against 25th-ranked Stanford by 9, while surprisingly-rank(ed) usc lost to unranked Cal by 10.  Holy Sweep, Batman!

And speaking of Robin, Robin Lopez and his gigantic twin brother Brook couldn’t Shield the Trees from the Dynamic Duo of Josh Shipp (21 points) and Kevin Love (15 points, 7 Rebounds, held own against twins), as Shipp pulled from his utility belt the Three Point (Bat)Shot, hitting FIVE, helping UCLA to go 9-16 from behind the arc.

With Micheal Roll out for at least a few weeks with an injury, James Keefe blew off his Redshirt and played 4 minutes, but the big change was Alfred Aboya being inserted into the starting line-up, displacing Russell Westbrook.  Russell leads the Pac-10 in Assists, and has probably been the Most Valuable Bruin not named Love thus far this Season — And this is how he gets rewarded?  Well, Coach Ben Howland has an explanation for you:  Apparently, he used to bring Aboya and Roll in together off the bench, with Roll being the potential Offensive spark.  Without Roll, and knowing Aboya’s limitations on Offense, Howland decided that he needed Russell to come in off the bench for that fresh scoring punch.

There is a certain logic to that, and we certainly don’t like to question a Legend-in-the-Making, but in general, we think that Westbrook deserves to be starting, and that his intense and contagious Defense is essential at the beginning of games.  That said, Westbrook contributed 15 crucial points off the bench, in 35 minutes, which is twice as much playing time as Aboya got anyway.

There is another element in play here — Is it possible that Aboya started against Stanford because of their Twin Towers, and that against most other teams, Howland will start his smaller line-up?

The strategy worked last night on all levels, as the Bruins fought through a tough game to finally get some separation in the last 6 minutes.  UCLA’s celebrated Defense, especially the Big Man double-team down low, was the difference, forcing Stanford to miss 36 shots.  The shot selection was dubious, but Stanford also missed at least a dozen “gimme’s.”   Perhaps those chokes were due to the Cardinal players being flustered and frenzied by the Bruin D.    The 14 feet of Lopez Twins went 9-for-23 from the floor — Not too good, when most of that was in the paint.  But speaking of too good, the most dangerous Cardinal was Anthony Goods, a former Bruin-Killer, who scored 17, including Stanford’s only three MADE three-pointers.

And speaking of three-pointers, the most shocking moment of the night came when Alfred Aboya launched a three… and drained it.  Aboya should be more proud of his Defense, as he, Lorenzo Mata-Real, and Kevin Love really kept the Lopez’ quiet as ALTAR BOYS.

Beware the Good Shipp Lollipop