Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday's Starting Five

1. Kobe Bryant. He lifted the 2007-2008 NBA MVP trophy last night. He lifted it up above his head while David Stern stood by his side and quoted a famous fantasy film franchise about an immortal Scotsman. After that bit of awkwardness, Bryant forced himself upon the Jazz, scoring 34 in the LA win.

2. Rashard Lewis. Apparently Lewis was a bit jealous of his Turkish teammate for getting all the PT in the Starting Five. He netted a career-playoff-high of 33 points in leading the Magic back into their series against the Pistons. He was devastatingly efficient (shooting 11-15 from the field and 6 of 8 from the line) and seemed to hit a shot each time that the Pistons looked like they were going to come back (or at least cover the spread...).

3. Carlos Gomez. The former Mets farmhand and current Twins speedster hit for the cycle last night against the White Sox. His was the reverse cycle: Home run, triple, double, single. Gomez was the first Twin to accomplish the feat since Kirby "I never lost sight of the refrigerator" Puckett.

4. Matt Walsh. After a seemingly endless wait the Patriots Assistant of Illegal Video Taping turned Hawaii Golf Pro finally delivered some evidence to NFL Comissioner Roger Goodell. Walsh sent 8 tapes to the NFL that include signals by five opponents in six games from 2000 through 2002. The legendary tape of the Rams walk-through before the 2002 Super Bowl was not part of the haul and I would imagine that many in New England and in New York (at the NFL offices) breathed a sigh of relief about that. That would seem to be the one piece of evidence that would force Goodell's hand. Because even though it's (apparently) not a huge deal to cheat against the Jets there would have been no way that he could have stood pat if it turned out the Pats definitively cheated in a Super Bowl.

5. Pau Gasol. Last night was Kobe's night. This is Kobe's team. It's Kobe's year. In Kobe's city. But let's not overlook just how much Gasol already means to this Lakers team and how good he already was when he was he plucked from the NBA-purgatory that is Memphis. The Spaniard is already the glue-guy on this team. He played the most minutes last night and was the bridge from the bench to the starters. He is the focal point of the offense during the stretches when Kobe is lurking at the perimeter of the action (and the three point circle). Gasol is the constant. He is the room temperature of the Staples Center. And without him this team would be as rudderless as they were in past seasons.