Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ballin' Outta Control

The luck of the Irish failed miserably yesterday after Thierry Henry's handball assist to French teammate William Gallas allowed for the go ahead goal. The French now advance to the World Cup final qualifiers and the Irish stew over poor officiating and the reality that soccer needs to enable reviewing. I don't care if it interrupts the beauty of "the beautiful game": there's nothing beautiful about an undeserved loss based on one blown call. Especially when it's as blatant as yesterday's mistake.

On a more positive note, Lakers star Pau "Goofy" Gasol made his 2009-10 season debut after a few weeks fighting a hamstring injury. Looks like Christmas has come early for the Lakeshow, as Pau went for 24 points and 13 rebounds while Kobe struggled the first couple quarters.

As Chuck said in the TNT Postgame Report, if you put in a lineup with Kobe at the point, Artest at the two and Lamar playing "small" the shortest player in the lineup is 6'6" (that being Artest). Without a doubt this is the biggest and most powerful lineup the NBA has to offer. While I agree with the TNT postgame squad that this Laker team can win a couple more championships, the only question mark remains at the point position and the consistency of the bench.

Now that Lamar is sixth man Laker nation feels at ease with a definitive leader driving and popping during the cool down stretches, but this still leaves plenty of pressure on Farmar, Shannon Brown, and Josh Powell to step up big as they have so far this season. I'd like to see more incremental substitutions from the coaching staff (keeping Artest in as a defensive anchor when turnovers are ripe for the picking) rather than sweeping overhauls that have the tendency of throwing momentum as we've seen early on this season.

The Colts and Saints remain 9-0 and are due for a loss: the Colts play a vengeful Ravens team that needs to prove itself without star OLB Terrell Suggs in a very tough AFC East division while the Saints go to Tampa Bay where the Packers lost a couple weeks ago against a breakout performance by rookie stud Josh Freeman. The Tampa Bay secondary is still very talented, and if New Orleans can't get their off-and-on running game going, I expect this to be a defensive battle and a possible upset. The Vikings are now 8-1 and play the struggling Seahawks this weekend.

Upset alerts for Pac-10 football: Oregon at Arizona, Cal at Stanford (Go Bears).

And no one cares about college basketball this early in the season.

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