Wow. Learning To Ride The Bike
I noticed in the picture in the Times today that Tex gave Kobe a standing ovation when he checked out of the game and couldn't help but wonder if his applause was of the sardonic sort. I have read that he charts shots and decides what was "forced" and I know a couple of Kobe's third quarter shots were of that variety and a performance like that might tend to drive a purist like Tex nuts.
That being said, I also thought that he might be applauding Kobe's fourth quarter play, where he had 2 assists and no shot attempts.
Any thoughts would be appreciated and thanks for your continuing insightful info on the Lakers. Your site and book, my copy is ratty and dog eared, have really served to flesh out the Lakers and their intricacies and motivations rather than making us rely on unconventional media wisdom.
A lot of coaches are filled with sarcasm, but Tex isn't one of them. He's as direct a person as you can find. He's standing and applauding all the things he admires about Kobe. Tex especially prizes "efficiency." And Kobe's 30-point third quarter against Utah is about as efficient as a player can be. Only a select few have ever displayed such efficiency. Jerry West, Bill Walton and MJ come to mind. Kobe scored 52 points on a "mere" 26 shots?
Tex has been in Kobe's corner since I first gave Kobe Tex's phone number in 1999. Kobe was lost as a young Laker, and Tex was a Chicago Bulls assistant. Kobe had dreamed that Tex would one day coach him and wanted to talk with him.
Tex assured Kobe when, as a young player, he was stricken by self doubt. They've been close ever since. "I love Tex," Kobe has told me many times. Those aren't words Kobe tosses around lightly. Does that mean they don't have their heated moments. Kobe told me that people misinterpret those moments. They are simply displays of passion from two men who are among basketball's most passionate.
When Phil said at the start of the season he wanted to Kobe to hold his game to 22 or 23 shots, Tex said the number of shots wasn't the issue. It was the quality of shots.
Of course, the tricky part of the equation comes with the "bad" shots that Kobe suddenly turns into good ones.
I suggest that the coaches of the Lakers and the team are adjusting better with each incident to Kobe's offensive outbursts, and those outbursts are no longer uncontrolled ravenous urges on Kobe's part. There's no question that those outbursts can affect the team, positively and negatively. So it's a balancing act, like learning to ride a bicycle.
I think we're having a lot of fun watching this team grow up, learning to ride the bike.
An excellent detail that you picked up, by the way, was Kobe's assists in the fourth.
As for your comments about my work, well, you made my day. Thank you.
However, I must point out that the "conventional" media in Los Angeles do what I think is a very fine job covering the Lakers. Mike Bresnahan with the Times has his hand on the pulse of the team, and how can you get a better view of the Lakers than Steve Springer's long take?
Kevin Ding over at the OC does his lion's share as do Ross at the Daily News and my buddy Brad at the Press Enterprise.
And I haven't even mentioned all the broadcast work in the market.
Having said that about the conventional media, I have to admit the internet sites focused on the team are amazing. The LATimes Blog is a rowdy riot, filled with passion and insight, and Kurt's thing with Forum Blue and Gold is astonishingly bright, and I'm just scraping the surface there. How about the absolutely crazy Lakers board? And let me count the ways you can feed your habit: Lakers Ground, Lakers Web, Show Time Blog, Club Lakers, Lakers Topbuzz, Real GM - Lakers, and Laker Dynasty 2K? Yikes.
You can say what you want about the drawbacks of the modern age, but you can't complain about the coverage of this team. Somebody is always throwing something up on the hump that gets the rest of us buzzin'.
That's especially true of you and all the other posters who make these blogs come alive.
Without you and your comments, we'd all be whistling in the dark. Thanks to each and every one of you.
If you can find it.