Monday, January 23, 2012

Plays of the Week – Featuring the Knicks, Knuggets and the Black Mamba

From the always excellent Hoopism, a fascinating comparison of the early returns from the Class 2012 and how they compare to those of recent rookie crops (Spoiler alert! It ain’t shabby), accompanied by an phenomenal illustration by Joey Cienian.

On the evening of MLK Day, former Laker favorite Lamar Odom made his return to Staples Center. In a beautiful scene, the home crowd embraced Lamar one last time as one of its own, bestowing upon him the welcome he so deserved. In the hour before, Dave Murphy from Searching for Slava did an outstanding job examining the emotional return.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recap more thorough and comprehensive than this one, on Posting and Toasting in the aftermath of the Knicks’ brutal double-OT loss to the “Knuggets.”

In light of the same tilt at the Garden, Scott Leedy did a stellar job of assigning responsibility for the Knicks’ woes. (Hint: it ain’t all on just one guy.)

At the season’s quarter pole, Aaron McGuire of The Gothic Ginobili fills out his Eastern Conference All-Star roster. Beautifully written and chock full of great stats.

Quick aside: this site has been an incredible addition to the hoops blogosphere. If you are not reading their stuff on a regular basis, I strongly encourage that you begin doing so. Like, right now. I’ll wait.

Ok, you back? Great! Let’s move on…

Slam chatted with one of your (I may knot now you, but I know) favorite players of the 1990s, a superstar whose illumination of the NBA was sadly but short by his own willingness to play through pain, Penny Hardaway. Excellent stuff.

Hopefully this takes some of the sting out of the whole “no statue” thing.

In case you’d forgotten, David Stern (and his 29 “partners”) still own the New Orleans Hornets. Thankfully this may not be the case for too much longer. At a fairly significant milestone in the sale process, Hornets247’s Joe Gerrity offers an excellent breakdown of potential buyers.

On SB Nation, Andrew Sharp proposed a radical (yet incredibly rational and sensical) swap that would expedite the Clippers’ ascent to the ranks of the “legit contender,” while penning a thrilling opening to the next chapter of NBA hoops in Orlando.

An absolute must read for anyone with a proclivity for (perish the thought!) occasionally wagering a dollar or two on the Association. 

At Forum Blue & Gold Darius- as only he can- took a reasoned, level-headed look at the “work in progress” that is the Lakers and a unique challenge faced by coach Mike Brown in 2011-12.

And finally, we have Mamba Week on the NBA blogosphere. Sure, these efforts actually span a couple of weeks, but it’d tough to cite one journey into the heart and mind of Kobe Bryant (I threw my own hat into the ring as well) in the absence of the others:

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski kicked things off two weeks ago, with a great look at Kobe’s iron will and defiance when faced with questions about a) his style of play, b) his Lakers mates and c) his team’s ongoing status as a true title contender.

Days later, at HoopSpeak, Zach Harper laid out a rather convincing case that Kobe is in fact not like you me- in no small part because he is undead.

Meanwhile, at The Gothic Ginobili (see what I mean?), Aaron McGuire reaches into the annals of Russian to unearth a shockingly apt psychological doppleganger (professionally, at least) for the Mamba.

A day later, Grantland’s Jay Caspian Kang drew a parallel between 2006 Kobe and current model- extremely well at that- whom he spent consecutive evenings at Staples observing.

Last but certainly not least, C.A. Clark from Silver Screen & Roll looks at the incomparable dominance displayed by the Lakers when Kobe Bryant plays the game that so many (so often) beg him to play. Wait, what?!

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