Planet News Views

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Detroit Loses Again to Utah, L.A. Teams Battle

Planet News Views is live and talking NBA hoops. Live just means this writer will keep giving NBA updates until he gets too tired to write another word.

Tonight what really stood out was the brilliant all-around play of Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who has been out of the lineup with injuries quite a bit last season and early this season.

Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur both gave tremendous efforts in the overtime win over the mighty Detroit Pistons. It was the second time this season that Utah beat Detroit.

And the Pistons two top scorers, guards Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton, well, they were shooting like Kobe Bryant....they scored a lot but they had to take way too many shots. They hit less than one-third of their shots combined. It's rare for them, as they are usually among the most efficient scorers in the league.

Speaking of Kobe Bryant, his Lakers are playing the other L.A. team, the Clippers, and it is the Clippers that look like the better of the two city rivals this year. Kobe is getting some attention as an MVP candidate, now that he is no longer in the shadow of Shaquille O'Neal. The problem is efficiency.

Bryant is a prolific scorer but even more prolific shooter. He is a career 45 percent field-goal shooter, which isn't horrible, but it's no where near the efficiency we expect from an MVP.

Still, many of the plays Bryant makes are unbelievable. And he does hit shots with a hand in his face, way out on the arc, with the shot clock expiring, and make it look easy. It's not.

As soon as Kobe fully takes the leadership role and proves he is making his teammates better, the team will improve and become a contender. Of course it's not all Kobe's fault the team is only at .500, as there are too many young players starting for the Lakers and Bryant is the only legitimate star.

More later tonight...

It's later, okay only about 30 minutes later, but it was time to give some more thought to the MVP candidates. Certainly there are superstars having some memorable performances for some mediocre teams.

Without Larry Hughes the Washington Wizards are barely in the playoff chase, while last year they were a contender.

Getting to that superstar on a lackluster team, Gilbert Arenas has been all-world the past few weeks, with better than 40 points several times. He's an exciting player to watch...but the Wizards don't play defense and it's doubful they will go deep in the playoffs this year, if they get there at all.

And then there's Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers, who perenially leads the NBA in scoring or is maybe second at worst. But what's up with the Sixers? They have Chris Webber, right? He had made a difference in his second season with the team. But something is missing and the superstar again is quite fun to watch, and maybe he is the best scorer.

Does Iverson deserve to be MVP? The answer would be "no" if winning means anything. There is a long list of players that are great, but it isn't translating into team success.

I'll be back in a few minutes for some more thoughts on superstars and the MVP Award. And who knows, the MVP just might be Suns' point guard Steve Nash....again.

A few minutes seemed to turn into an hour, my computer just froze and wouldn't move as my patience wore thin. I'm back but it's best to start a new post which you will see in a few minutes.


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