Lakers Now Really Do Look Like The Team To Beat

Well, that does it. Just when you thought we were reverting to 2008, when the Eastern Conference showed the heft of the West’s longtime depth, this week goes and shows that the Lakers are going to ensure that the West is back on top. In the span of four days, L.A. beat the Celtics in Boston and the Cavaliers in Cleveland, sweeping the Celtics and handing the Cavs their first home loss of the season.

pau gasol lakers
(It’s not just the beard, Pau Gasol actually may have added toughness.)

Add to that Boston’s loss to the other Western Conference finalist a year ago, San Antonio, and it’s clear that the West is both stronger and deeper than the East just a year after Boston’s renaissance threw that conclusion into doubt. It’s almost as if the absence of young center Andrew Bynum was just what the Lakers needed, again, to propel Kobe and his crew to outright dominance.

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Ex-Eagle Makes A Run For The Border - On Patrol

• Former Philly Eagle Jamaal Green goes from prowling along the sidelines to prowling along the Mexican border.

Jamaal Green Border Patrol

• The case of Barry Bonds’ illegal use of The Clear gets a little murky.

Tommy Morrison is taking his HIV-hampered talents to MMA on PPV.

• Having problems in your apartment? Just talk to Mo Vaughn.

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Clever Caption Contest: Do You See What I See?

Hey, readers! Let’s have a gander at today’s SbB Clever Caption Contest!

To continue the eye-catching theme from yesterday’s Dinara Safina ball shot, here we have Pau Gasol of the Lakers & Tim Duncan of the Spurs looking up:

Pau Gasol Tim Duncan

Whatever could these giants of the hardwood be gazing at? Submit your suggestions into the comments section linked below. Winner will be announced in the end-of-the-day recap, with a chance to win 15% off you next visit to LensCrafters.

Good luck & good writing! And we’ll judge all the quips in about an hour.

When Will Wie Win and Will We Wish Wie Well?

Last Friday, Darren Rovell tried to answer the musical question, “When will Michelle Wie win?” He listed her recent mild successes (making cuts, qualifying for the Women’s U.S. Open, not accidentally shooting her eye out, etc.) while pointing out that she still hasn’t won a damned thing except $10m in endorsements. That sounds full of win to us.

Michelle Wie

However, Mr. Rovell, we have a bone to pick with you, sir. We have much respect for your work at CNBC, but we note you actually asked a different question in your Friday piece: “Will Wie Live Up To Endorsements?” We’re fairly certain these are two entirely different topics.
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Detroit NFL Team Hates Fans & We’re Not Lion

What keeps the Virgin Islands such a Caribbean paradise? Anti-personnel wire!

• This ticket tale pretty much sums up the Detroit Lions organization.

Detroit Lions Fire Millen fan

Tim Duncan welcomes you to St. Croix! And don’t forget to drive on the left!

• Some NBA’ers buy their moms homes & cars - Dwyane Wade bought his mom a church.

Jason Taylor wants to be remembered more for his work on the grand stage than the gridiron.

Glenn Dorsey is the Imelda Marcos of the Bayou.

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The Only Time You’ll See Duncan Go To His Left

I’m in St. Croix at the moment, and here’s the first thing you see when you come out of the airport:

Tim Duncan St. Croix

I shot the SbB Girls on the beach yesterday, and we were surrounded by about a dozen pelicans, all spending the day dive-bombing the waters for fish all around us:

Virgin Islands Pelican

And though I wasn’t going to post any of the pics of the SbB Girls from the shoots anytime soon, there’s one I just couldn’t resist posting (after the jump): Read more…

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! The NBA Playoffs Start Today!

Finally, sirs and madams, the NBA playoffs are upon us. HUZZAH! It is with much anticipation, anxiety, and satisfaction that the first round of this most excellent tournament approaches.

a minstrel

As your friendly minstrel, it is both my duty and my pleasure to present to you the first 4 of the vaunted “40 games in 40 nights.” Follow the sounds of my sweet lute as we examine today’s games.

TO THE JUMP! Read more…

13-Year-Old Chooses Size-16 Skates Over Hoops

Thirteen-year-old Nate Miller crouches into the net at 6′3″, 180 lbs, to defend the net for the Junior Pens (who include Mario Lemieux’s son, Austin). His size-16 skates act as another set of blocking pads as he towers over his teammates and opponents and nearly looks the 6′4″ Mario in the eye. And yet he gave up baseball because it was cutting into hockey time.

Big kid goalie

Nate Miller simply loves hockey.

We can’t say we’re normally proponents of boys becoming singularly focused on a sport at a young age, only to develop a robotic reaction to the sport’s nuances and expose themselves to the repetition injuries that come from specialization at a ridiculously early age. For young Nate, though, we’re happy to make an exception for a specific reason.

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Kobe Bryant Says Hes Happy Being a Laker

KOBE NOW SAYS HE’S HAPPY STAYING WITH THE LAKERS: Kobe Bryant’s a happy guy these days - if you were to believe what he told ESPN:

Kobe Luke Walton

The Worldwide Leader writes that the Lakers superstar seems satisfied about staying at Staples Center. At least for now.”I’m happy to be here,” Bryant beamed after Wednesday’s practice. “When you get here in your element and you’re around your teammates and just having a good time with them and thinking about them and not about the business of the game, that’s when it becomes fun.”

Kobe Bowen Spurs

And the fun continued for the Lake Show Thursday night, when they brought down the curtain on San Antonio. It was the 4th win in a row for L.A., and the 2nd loss in a row for the Spurs - the first time such a streak happened this season.However, Kobe’s smile may be a nervous smirk. Even though the Spurs were without stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, the Lakers still needed an 18-5 4th quarter run to eek out a close 102-97 victory.

Although Kobe appears pleased to be playing in SoCal, thoughts of a trade may not be terminated yet. When asked about his earlier demands for a new location, Bryant replied, “I don’t get into that stuff.”

Just because he has no comment, it doesn’t mean he’s 100% sold on staying. So, there’s still hope for Bulls, Pistons, Kings, Mavericks, Suns and Knicks fans yet.

Isiah Thomas suit

Check that - there’s no hope for Knicks fans.

Pitino Compares Fate With Celtics To Petrino Putrid Run With Falcons

RICK PITINO: YOUR LEADING REVISIONIST NBA HISTORIAN: The LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL today has Rick Pitino comparing his fate with the Celtics to Bobby Petrino’s putrid run with the Falcons: “He got the same bad break I got losing the pingpong balls. … You have to have the talent, or it’s a miserable life.

Rick Pitino

Petrino of course had nothing to do with being dogged by the defection of QB Michael Vick. But Pitino’s so-called “bad break” was when the Celts didn’t get the first pick (and a crack at Tim Duncan) in the 1994 NBA Draft. Apparently Pitino forgot that he took Ron Mercer over Tracy McGrady in the same draft and then traded draft pick Chauncey Billups, a future all-star, for a bag of magic beans.Forget bad break, that’s a self-inflicted compound fracture.