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Lakers get lucky, Celtics get worried

Morning brew

Mike Wise was in Los Angeles to see Ron Artest take two terrible jumpers in the final minute only to bail out Kobe Bryant, catching Bryant's airball and making a layup as time expired, to give the Lakers a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals. Artest had a bizarre, bonehead-to-brilliant final minute, which Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke sums up beautifully:

'Nooooooooo!' Nineteen thousand fans shouted in unison as Ron Artest threw up the silliest shot of the season, an unconscionable bomb in the final moments, a boneheaded brick. 'Yessssssssss!' Nineteen thousands fans shouted in unison as Ron Artest threw up the biggest shot of the season, an improbable snatch-and-toss of a Kobe Bryant airball at the final buzzer, a brilliant bank. No. Yes. No. Yes. It's taken eight months, but the inevitable has finally happened, Ron Artest has officially driven this city mad, turning us into a confused puddle of splattered emotions, turning us into him.

In the East, Mike Wilbon says the Celtics need to keep Boston from becoming Choke City. The Celtics have lost the past two games after winning the first three game and stand are hoping to avoid becoming the first NBA team in history to blow a 3-0 series lead - doing what hockey's Boston Bruins already did this postseason against Philadelphia.

The Celtics will have Kendrick Perkins for Friday's Game 6 after the NBA rescinded one of his two technical fouls, leaving him one technical from an automatic one-game suspension. But Boston Herald columnist Ron Borges said in order for the Celtics to win, they have to get physical after the Magic bullied them the past two games. "It is time for Dwight Howard to be Rambis-ed," Borges writes.

In a few days, the eyes of the world will fall on South Africa for the World Cup, but New York Times columnist William Rhoden writes that the NBA is hoping to establish a foothold in Africa after recently opening an office in Johannesburg - its first office on the continent.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford says John Wall is "the best athlete in the draft" after obtaining a copy of the confidential speed and agility drills from the NBA combine. Wall has a 39-inch maximum vertical leap.

At CSNWashington, Brian Jackson and Chris Miller tell Wall's story coming out of the streets of Raleigh, N.C. Miller had an exclusive interview with projected No. 1 pick Wall, who went house shopping with his mother, Frances Pulley, on Wednesday.



You can also catch highlights from Game 5 in Los Angeles on Thursday:

By Michael Lee  |  May 28, 2010; 9:19 AM ET
 
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Next: Greivis Vasquez headlines Monday workouts

Comments

ESPN.com's Chad Ford says John Wall is "the best athlete in the draft" after obtaining a copy of the confidential speed and agility drills from the NBA combine.

It kind of takes some of the juice out of the getting the 'confidential report' when I watched the drills being run at the combine on NBA TV.

Posted by: ts35 | May 28, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

No matter what, John Wall would be hard-pressed to make this top five list of all time worst picks in th NBA.

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=16318

Posted by: Firuz1 | May 28, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

gotta love it:

As expected, John Wall's measurements show him to be a freak athlete. He recorded a 39' vertical leap, tied a combine best with a 3.1 second 3/4 court sprint, and had the best lane agility drill in the combine with a time of 10.8 seconds.

However, the most intriguing thing about Wall might be his 6' 9.25" wingspan -- not only should he be a monster patrolling the passing lanes, but he should be able to cross-match and guard shooting guards in the pros. That could be good news for Wizards fans hoping a Wall/Arenas pairing could work.

Posted by: divi3 | May 28, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I am hearing how Favors is in the Dwight Howard mold. Do you put him in the middle and Blatche at the power forward position? It is not as easy a choice to make.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 28, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I am hearing how Favors is in the Dwight Howard mold. Do you put him in the middle and Blatche at the power forward position? It is not as easy a choice to make.

Posted by: G-Man11

You would probably put Favors in the middle in the scenario. He's a more physical player than AB. It might also depend on the matchup on a given night.

Posted by: ts35 | May 28, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Favors is so limited offensively, I think you'd be waiting a long time for him to develop reliable scoring options. Not that he shouldnt be taken 2nd or 3rd...but just like Howard, he's going to need an excellent pg to get him the ball at the right moments.

Hopefully Wall can do the same thing for JM and/or whomever else we bring in.

Posted by: divi3 | May 28, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

In regards to Favors, all the above are true. But D. Howard is such a terrific athlete that if someone has pretty much identical measurements, you got to think about it. And if Philly takes him, it could come to a point where Washington would have to compete with Howard and Favors in its division.

But, the same goes with Wall as to me he measure like Wade except with more point instincts, but the Southeast teams will have to compete with Wade and Wall.

The thing is, Wade or Howard,I meant Wall or Favors? Center or guard?

At least we have the choice!!! Let's get it right.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

In regards to Favors, all the above are true. But D. Howard is such a terrific athlete that if someone has pretty much identical measurements, you got to think about it. And if Philly takes him, it could come to a point where Washington would have to compete with Howard and Favors in its division.

But, the same goes with Wall as to me he measure like Wade except with more point instincts, but the Southeast teams will have to compete with Wade and Wall.

The thing is, Wade or Howard,I meant Wall or Favors? Center or guard?

At least we have the choice!!! Let's get it right.

Posted by: G-Man11

Lots of guys had the same measurements as Jordan...but that didn't make them Jordan. And teams wasted a lot of time and draft picks trying to find the 'next' one (Harold Miner, anyone?). Favors is indeed as big, long, presumably as good an athlete as Howard. That doesn't mean he'll play like Dwight Howard. Doesn't mean he won't either, but don't get too caught up in the 'measurables'. Lots of other things play into it.

Posted by: ts35 | May 28, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

And if Philly takes him, it could come to a point where Washington would have to compete with Howard and Favors in its division.
...........
Philly is in our conference not our division. We would get him twice a year. I get ur point though. We are in a position where you have to take Wall (IMO), but after that it's time we beef up to compete with the likes of D. Howard, etc... Wiz have been lacking an enforcer forever. One that can actually knows what to do with the ball when it's in his hands.

Posted by: millineumman | May 28, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

ts35

I agree and was not saying wiz should take Favors. I am just saying that it could be interesting. I do understand that a lot of things go into it and all that.

The thing about though is that Favors defense is ahead of his offense, like Howard, and is a wiz need. And accordingly, he competes on that end of the court and is not soft and right now, all the Wiz big men are softttttt.

I still say go with Wall, but it is not a given that he will turn out the best in the class, though the odds are he will.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 28, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

but after that it's time we beef up to compete with the likes of D. Howard, etc... Wiz have been lacking an enforcer forever. One that can actually knows what to do with the ball when it's in his hands.

Posted by: millineumman

and I am enjoying DHoward brutalizing Boston right about now.

Posted by: G-Man11 | May 28, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

G-Man: You're right, our big man are soft. I'd like to see some beefy guy throw some weight around, make his 6 fouls count. I've only seen their names (and weight!) on mock drafts but those big guys from Texas (Dexter Pickman) and Oklahoma (Tiny Gallon) might be worth a late second rounder. Anybody seen them play?

Posted by: mugsybol | May 28, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I saw Tiny Gallon as a prep last year. Hope he is in a lot better condition than he was at that point.

I like your reference about Pittman. He has been improving his conditioning since appearing on the college scene. He also knows why he is out there (physicality)

Posted by: millineumman | May 28, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Re: big man dilemma. I may be biased b/c I watch a lot of ACC ball, and I know he's a little undersized, but I love Trevor Booker. He's physical and athletic, and he's developed a little bit of a face-up game.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | May 28, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

but after that it's time we beef up to compete with the likes of D. Howard, etc... Wiz have been lacking an enforcer forever. One that can actually knows what to do with the ball when it's in his hands.

Posted by: millineumman

and I am enjoying DHoward brutalizing Boston right about now.

Posted by: G-Man11

Yep, I agree with that, we do need to pick up some beef either in FA or the draft, or both. In terms of the big beef, Gallon and Pittman both present weight concerns, which the Wiz are all-too-familiar with, but both to me represent better prospects than Zoubeck. I didn't see a lot of Duke hoops this year, but in most of what I saw, Zoubeck played well.....against guys who were 4, 5, 6 inches shorter.

My only problem with Gallon is that in the reports I have read, they say he prefers to play outside on offense. Dude, seriously? At 3 bills you wanna be a jump shooter? Hopefully that's a bit overstated or he's willing to adjust in the pros.

Posted by: ts35 | May 28, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Favors is as big as Howard, even when Howard came into the league out of high school. Favors was around 215 when he got to Georgia Tech, and apparently put on 30lbs of muscle during his freshman year. Hard to believe, but them's the numbers.

Howard was already 240 at the combine around the time of his HS graduation. He's probably 260 now. Here are the rest of their stats:

Favors: 6'.8.75", wingspan 7'4", reach 9'2".
Howard: 6'9", wingspan 7'4.5", reach 9'3.5"

Favor's running and jumping numbers aren't readily available to non-ESPN subscribers, but it's worth remembering that as a high schooler Howard hit 12'3" on the max vertical leap -- tied for the all-time lead with one Javale McGee, who's taller.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 28, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

But put Favors next to Brook Lopez and you'd have a prime rebounder/ shot blocker to complement Lopez's interior offensive moves. And Favors can probably move out to defend against outside shooters like Nowitzki.

Posted by: Samson151 | May 28, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

great write up michael!
Finally the NBA Finals have arrived and it’s the historic match-up of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics. Personally, I think what happened two years ago can be written off. Here’s proof with a prediction (and a gallery of the Lakers vs Celtics Cheerleaders): http://www.lionsdenu.com/2010-nba-finals-los-angeles-lakers-vs-boston-celtics-preview-prediction-gallery-of-lakersceltics-dancers/
It’s not that I don’t believe in Rondo and the big three (who are honestly ‘the final four’ now) but lets be honest… Kobe, Gasol, Artest, Bynum, Odom, Fisher.. I don’t think I’ll be along when I say congrats Los Angeles …

Posted by: TimAlvine | May 30, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

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