Ian Mahinmi’s Comment is No Big Deal

Ian Mahinmi thinks Kobe Bryant is more arrogant than Lebron James. So what?

Again, the media wants to blow things out of proportion. The media thinks a backup centre shouldn’t be calling out a “once-in-a-generation superstar.”

Calling out?

Mahinmi probably speaks the truth. Mahinmi didn’t say that Dirk Nowitzki is better than Kobe Bryant. He didn’t call anyone out. He voiced an opinion and is drawing attention to something that he feels is true. It may very well be.

That’s not the point though.

Ian Mahinmi is another example of a player run down for giving a sound bite that isn’t as bland as a microwave dinner. Athletes learn that saying nothing is always smarter than saying something. Athletes learn from guys like Mahinmi.

No one wants to be ripped to shreds by the media. On certain occasions, players can’t help themselves and they pay for it dearly. The media complains that athletes aren’t interesting enough. However, when an athlete gives them something that is remotely controversial they pounce on it.

It’s like a flock of vultures waiting for the dying animal. It has become instinctual for them to immediately prey on those who give us something to talk about around the water cooler. The media can’t help themselves either.

“Kobe is super arrogant but everybody loves him. To me, Kobe is more arrogant (than LeBron James).”

Kobe Bryant is super arrogant. The dislikeability factor of Lebron may skew our view but it is very possible that James is less arrogant than Kobe. It’s a close race.

This is probably a statement that Kobe Bryant wouldn’t necessarily dismiss. Bryant switched his number from 8 to 24 because 24 is one higher than 23. A 1st grader can put 2 and 2 together.

Ian Mahinmi sees what we all see but he’s getting ridiculed for it. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have any respect for Kobe Bryant as a player. You don’t have to respect the person to respect the player.

Mahinmi’s stupidity alone might be grounds for criticism but it shouldn’t be. When we criticize these players we don’t let them voice their opinion. It means that we receive quote after quote from athletes who have gotten their degree from the Crash Davis School of interviewing.

Do any of us know the context of Mahinmi’s comments anyways? I have looked at multiple reports of the story and have found nothing that mention the context of Mahinimi’s comments.

In my poorly translated high school French, the question asked was whether Lebron James is arrogant. Mahinmi responded with a straightforward answer of how he felt and said that he prefers Michael Jordan’s style more. Then came the dreaded answer.

One sentence in a simple interview that will haunt Ian Mahinmi for the rest of his career. He’s coming off a world championship for heaven sakes. Give the guy a break.

Of course, that will never happen. The media will always victimize those who have a short lapse in concentration.

Sometimes people deserve it. Lebron James deserved it when he essentially said that all the people criticizing him would still have to go back to their terrible lives and he would still be living the good life. He took a shot at the general public that was uncalled for.

Maybe Kobe Bryant can tell the media that when Ian Mahinmi wakes up tomorrow morning he will still be a 3rd string center.

It’s hard to believe that Kobe Bryant doesn’t know he is arrogant. He knows he is the best player of his generation. He lets the world know it with the way he carries himself. He thrives off of his arrogance.

It might be a good idea for us to chill for a bit. Mahinmi didn’t accuse Kobe Bryant of using performance enhancing drugs or being a rapist.

Nothing happens if a sports writer speaks out about the supreme arrogance of Kobe Bryant. At least Ian Mahinmi is an NBA player. He has experience playing against Kobe Bryant. His team swept the Lakers a few months ago.

In a country that is proud of its constitution, freedom of speech for athletes is a joke. Athletes are free to say anything that isn’t controversial. They can’t say anything about anything without getting a hefty fine from their league.

The contradictory nature of the media is incredible. Be boring or be hated. It’s your choice.

The truth? The media can never handle the truth.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Turn the Heat Around

Dwyane Wade limited Kobe Bryant to 17 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists on Christmas Day.

The Heat, the Heat are who we thought they were.

Remember those championship expectations that veered way off course in the month of November?

Well, they’re back.

Oh, how winning cures all that ails. We are no longer speculating Pat Riley’s seemingly imminent return to coaching or talking crazy about a possible Chris Bosh trade. There is no more talk of Lebron playing too many minutes, Erik Spoelstra not being Wade’s guy, Lebron acting unprofessional or the team not getting enough “chill time.”

The Miami Heat have started winning like so many thought they would prior to the season. Although their 12 game winning streak was snapped this week by the Dallas Mavericks, the Heat have undergone a massive transformation as a team in the last month and on Christmas day the nation saw the force that the Heat can be as they spanked the Lakers 96-80.

The Heat’s biggest problem and the reason that is supposed to stop them from winning a championship was their lack of length up front. They are supposed to be soft in the paint but yesterday their hard team defence made up for what they are short of in the middle.

Yesterday afternoon, the Heat were not giving anything easy to the Lakers and for the most part they didn’t allow easy buckets to the Lakers’ best players. They have two wing men that can play great defence when they put their mind to it and that was put on display yesterday when Wade was able to shut Kobe down to an extent that many other players cannot attest to.

However, Chris Bosh is still blocking shots at the lowest rate of his career by a fair margin and rebounding at his lowest rate since his rookie season. Until Bosh proves that he can continually rebound and block shots at a higher rate he will continue to hold the reputation as that soft as a marshmallow big man. With that being said, Chris Bosh is improving on the defensive end and his rebounding is steadily improving. He did a solid job on Lamar Odom yesterday while also grabbing 13 rebounds, which was made easier by the Lakers missing a massive amount of shots. With regards to the Odom matchup he is able to handle that one better compared to other back to the basket big man. Odom generally possesses a great advantage in his footwork on the perimeter, but that is somewhat negated when facing Bosh as that is a quality that Bosh possesses too. If the Heat do indeed end up facing the Lakers in the NBA final, I believe that the Odom-Bosh matchup will be the one that decides the series.

On the offensive end, the Heat do not look like 5 separate guys on the floor anymore. They have begun to play like a cohesive unit rather than the stagnant isolation, screen and roll team that they were not too long ago. Their offence still revolves around isolation and screen and roll plays, but the difference is the movement that they are creating out of those plays. The ball is moving more out of screen and rolls and players are learning where and how to move without the ball. Moreover, Dwyane Wade and Lebron James appear to have finally made some concessions for each other in sharing the offensive load.

In relative terms Bosh still isn’t seeing nearly the amount of touches on offence as Wade and Lebron, probably for a good reason, but I still think that the offence should be run through Bosh a bit more. Bosh has become the beneficiary in receiving easy baskets off of wing player penetration, nevertheless running a few more plays through him in the offence could add just a different dynamic to their offence.

Mike Miller should be finding himself as part of the Heat rotation in no time

Miami shot a decent percentage as an entire team from deep yesterday but isn’t it just a little scary that other than Lebron they shot 4-19 from beyond the arc as a team?

Sure, Lebron probably isn’t shooting 5 of 6 from 3 on a nightly basis but James Jones also isn’t going 1 for 6 on most nights either. There were a lot of open looks that weren’t hit yesterday and when Mike Miller gets back into the groove the Heat are going to be just that much more dangerous.

Many thought that the trio of players teamed up in Miami to avoid the difficulty and adversity that goes along with winning a championship but as we have all seen the Heat have already faced some real hardship.

It has to be a good sign for the team that they were able to overcome this early difficult and persevere to the point where they are at now. It has sunk in the players that no one is going to hand them a championship and nothing is going to be easy from here on in.

People say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. At least as a team, things got tough and the Miami Heat have sure gotten going.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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The Lakers Won? Nope, the Celtics lost

For the rest of time, game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals will be remembered as a LA Laker 83-79 victory over the Boston Celtics. The score sheet will show that Paul Gasol had a double-double, 19 points and 18 rebounds. That Ron Artest poured in 20 points. It will show that despite Kobe’s poor shooting night he was able to come through and muster a large double-double of 23 points and 15 rebounds. Even though the score sheet shows a Laker win, many of the fans who watched the game know in their heart that the Celtics lost.

Throughout last night’s game it was apparent that it was the Celtics game to lose. It’s not too often, especially in these 2010 playoffs, that you see an off night like that from Kobe Bryant. But it wasn’t just Kobe Bryant who had a poor shooting night. Only one player on the Lakers shot over 50% and that was Derek Fisher’s 4-6. I guess that’s what explains the dismal 32.5% shooting. It begs the question though of how in the world is it possible that a team can shoot 32.5% and not be beaten?

The problem for the Boston Celtics was that there were plenty of reasons why they couldn’t beat a team who shot 32.5%.

Shooting. They didn’t exactly shoot the lights out with a 40.8% rate of success from the field. But it wasn’t just poor shooting. It was the inability to get baskets when they had the opportunity to pull away from the Lakers. Time after time Ray Allen was given good looks and was not able to hit. Ever since he broke out with 8 three’s for an NBA finals record he was unable to find his stroke again. There was one instance in particular last night where Ray Allen curled off a screen for a mid-range jumper, caught the ball, but didn’t seem ready to shoot. He wasn’t looking towards the basket when he caught it, so he hesitated. To me it looked like he didn’t want to take the jumper, which is just inexcusable for a guy of his caliber, in a game of that magnitude. There are always so many “what if’s” in big game’s, but what if Ray Allen had just a normal day at the office? Not a great day, just a regular ol’ Thursday at the office.

Bench. I do realize that Rasheed Wallace is a bench player who did a good job in relief of starting center Kendrick Perkins but the fact of the matter is that the bench scored a grand total of 6 points. The only player on the Boston Celtics who got significant minutes off the bench was Glen “Big Baby” Davis who had all 6 of their bench points. I don’t like to be one to second guess a very good coach in Doc Rivers but when his starters weren’t getting it done on the offensive end it seemed like it was time for a change. Part of the problem that was even more evident last night was how compact the offensive zone was for the Celtics. A few things contributed to this. Whenever Rondo had the ball Kobe Bryrant was playing way off of him. For example when Rondo was at the top of the three point line, Kobe Bryant was guarding him at the free throw line. Also, Paul Pierce was unable to shake Ron Artest in isolation situations, which made it so the Lakers did not really have to double team Pierce. Moreover, Ray Allen did not extend the defence like he can because of his inability to make his shots over the last 3 games of the series.

The Celtics needed someone to take the pressure off of Paul Pierce who was relied upon so often, and so often was unable to make something happen. Rajon Rondo did have 14 points and 10 assists but he was pretty much non-existent when he came back into the game with 9 minutes or so left in the 4th quarter. Well, except the big 3 pointer he hit in the last minute of play. I think it would have been a good idea to stick Nate Robinson and Tony Allen to try and change the dynamic of the game. It is pretty much a given that Tony Allen is going to bring energy and toughness into the game. However, with Nate Robinson it is a toss-up but the fact that Kobe Bryant was sagging so much off of Rondo made it almost impossible for the Celtics to do anything. Nate Robinson coming in and actually given a chance to make a play would have hopefully extended the defence and open up space for other teammates.

Rebounding. In each game of these NBA finals whichever team won the rebounding battle was the team that won the game. In game 7, the Celtics weren’t just out-rebounded, they were manhandled. In total the Celtics had a -13 differential on the boards, but the key stat in this was that the Lakers had 23 offensive rebounds to the Celtics 8. Without those offensive rebounds there is no way that the Lakers’ poor shooting would have prevailed. Rasheed Wallace played great defence in the post but constantly was being out-matched on the boards. It wasn’t just the Celtics’ big men though, the smaller players were not gang rebounding. The colour guys on ABC pointed this out a number of times.

Perkins. Now I’m not sure how much Kendrick Perkins absence actually hurt the Celtics to the extent that I thought it would, but what I am sure of is that it couldn’t have helped. Any key player on an NBA team could be the difference in a 4 point game. Another what if, but what if Kendrick Perkins had been good to go in game 7?

Free Throws. The Boston Celtics made it way too easy for the Lakers in the 4th quarter because over and over they were giving them easy buckets at the free throw line. Kobe and Pau alone combined for 28 free throw attempts, but the Lakers were shooting so terribly yesterday that those two also missed 10 freebies. Overall the Lakers shot 37 free throws, 20 more than the Boston Celtics. That’s not going to get it done in the NBA Finals.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t be fair to give the Lakers zero credit for last night’s victory. Ron Artest played outstanding defence the entire night and had to have convinced his critics of his true importance to his team. Ron Artest stood out to me, but you can’t play good defence without all 5 guys on the floor being in sync and the Laker defence was 100% in sync last night. As I somewhat alluded to earlier the Lakers, although bigger, seemed to have more fight for those 50-50 rebounds, which ultimately gave them the opportunity to win.

For all you history buffs out there the Battle of Britain would seem to be a great comparison to yesterday’s game 7. Despite all the thing’s that the British did right, the Germans ultimately lost the Battle for themselves.

This pill will be a hard one to swallow for the Boston Celtics. However, it would be much harder to swallow if they didn’t already have that most important 1st ring from 2008.

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