May 9, 2011

It's Complicated

 The Lakers called it a season on Sunday, buried beneath an avalanche of triples from Jason Terry and Peja Stojaokovic (Stojakovic! Unbelievable fact of the day: In 2004, Peja finished 4th in MVP voting and Kobe finished 5th. Seriously!). Given everything that was on the line (avoiding the sweep, delivering for Phil, Kobe catching MJ), the disorganized, downright lazy performance was a true headscratcher. And if you scratch long enough, you either end up in a mental hospital wearing a football helmet to bed (holler if you need the password), or you find out Kobe's wife was responsible for Pau breaking up with his girlfriend.

According to the LA Times, Bryant's wife recently meddled in Gasol's love life, breaking up not just a couple, but a team. So that last part's a wild, hyperbolic stretch, but if the basic story is true, it would be understandable if the affair had contributed to Pau's lackluster effort, as well as an unhealthy atmosphere in the locker room translating to dysfunctional behavior on the court.

Oddly enough, if anyone can sympathize, it's probably the Celtics. Earlier this season, the C's suffered what Kevin Garnett termed, "a death in the family," when Kendrick Perkins was shipped off to Oklahoma. If basketball were played by robots, the deal would have been tremendous, since the Celtics were struggling offensively and KP brings the defensive funk, not the buckets. But after Perkins left, Rajon Rondo, Boston's enigmatic engine, suddenly slumped hard. From a pure basketball standpoint it made no sense; Perkins was only minimally involved in Rondo's game. But off the court, Rajon and Kendrick were best friends. And when, for the first time in his professional career, Rajon looked up during a game and couldn't find him, his yoyo dribbles and behind the back ball fakes weren't quite as joyful or effective.

ZA assumes that soon there will be basketball playing robots, who can technically outperform even deities like Lebron. But the robot league's television ratings will stink, because while basketball is about strategy and winning, it's equally about the people who play it. When one of those people loses a friend, or his teammate's wife pulls a crazy hatchet job on his personal life, we celebrate him if he can block out the distractions and play through the pain. But if we're honest, don't we feel closer to him if he can't?

No comments:

Post a Comment