Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wednesday's Starting Five

1. LBJ. Going back to the Phoenician city of Tyre, purple has been a color associated with royalty. With the Cleveland Cavaliers looking to trot out a different uniform at least once a week this season it seems like it's just a matter of time before King James is regally attired in purple. LBJ had a triple-double last night as the Lebronaliers won their 21st home game of the season. To put that in perspective, 13 teams (Knicks included) don't even have 21 total wins yet.

2. Mo Williams. Scottie Pippen is today's archetypal No. 2. He was by Jordan's side through all those titles in Chicago. He was the second 20+ scorer that the Bulls needed to keep teams honest on defense. But this dichotomy doesn't really hold up with a longer look back at the NBA. Because there was only one Jordan. Most dynastic teams had several great players. The 1980s Lakers had Worthy and Jabar to pair with Magic. Their rivals in Boston trotted out McHale and Parrish alongside Bird. The championship Knicks from the early 1970s started Hall of Famers at four positions. Greatness hasn't historically been about one superstar and one sidekick. There has been only one Jordan. But it also feels like we might one day say that there is only one Lebron James. Who seems capable of leading a Jordanesque charge for the Larry O'Brien Trophy with just one top-flight compatriot. Fans in Cleveland are hoping that Williams is that guy. His 43 points last night in a win over the Kings had to go a long way towards making them feel like he really might be their Pippen.

3. Quicken Loans Arena. There are hallowed sporting venues in this country. Madison Square Garden is one of them. Fenway Park and the LA Coliseum are others. The Q in Cleveland isn't. At least, not yet. In spite of not being likely to end up in the national registry for historic places, the home of the Lebronaliers has been a haven for its residents this season. Cleveland is 21-0 when playing at home. It's the fourth best home start in the history of the NBA. I've been to several Knicks games this year and I've seen them lose a few times. I might see them lose tonight. And, I'm fine with that. But if you're a Cleveland fan with season tickets then you haven't seen them lose at home since a one-point loss to the Wizards in Game 5 of the opening round of last year's playoffs. It was a Wednesday. It was April 30th.

4. Mickael Pietrus. He's French. From France. Not like French Fries, which are from Belgium. But he's just as awesome as julienned potatoes. In his first game back after suffering a broken wrist, Pietrus scored a game-high 27 points and grabbed 10 caroms to lead the Magic over the Pacers. The former Warrior added 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He was 8 for 13 from the field, hitting 3 three-point shots. With Pietrus healthy, Pacers wunderkind Danny Granger dubbed the Magic "the best team in the East." With Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Pietrus spreading the floor around a surprisingly good Jameer Nelson it is getting hard to argue.

5. Bobcats over Lakers. From the department of inexplicability: Charlotte owns Los Angeles. With last night's double-OT win @ Los Angeles the Bobcats have shockingly won 5 of 6 against Kobe and company, including three on the bounce at the Staples Center. I won't even pretend to have insights or stats to explain this one.

No comments: