When the New Jersey Nets (6-6) traded Jason Kidd to Dallas in exchange for Devin Harris last February, the chorus resonating through the world of NBA prognosticators was: “Why?”
Despite losing one of the most accomplished guards in league history, a player who led them to two consecutive NBA Finals, the Nets have rebounded quite well.
It so happens that Devin Harris is a STAR. He is a multi-talented player with skills just shy of the league’s new elite guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams.
Chinese forward Yi Jianlian, is beginning to blossom into a weird version of Andrei Kirilenko, Vince Carter continues to disinterestedly average nearly 25 points a game and Pac-10 rookies Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson are settling in nicely (Chris Douglas-Roberts is nowhere to be found, sadly). Suffice it to say, the Nets are the model 5-8 seed Eastern Conference team.
Will they win a Championship? Not likely.
Will they give the Celtics or the Pistons or the Cavs a minor scare in the first round? You bet.
The New Jersey Nets are exactly the type of team that can sneak up and beat the Lakers (11-1) on a nondescript evening in late November.
They did it exactly one year ago.
Yet, November 2007 is not November 2008 and the Lakers are an entirely different team without being remarkably different. The pep and loveable misfit style has disappeared, replaced by scowls and the bitterness of a disenfranchised teenager.
The 2008 Lakers, unlike their counterparts from a year ago, when they lost to the New Jersey Nets by two points, know that they are ready to contend for a championship. They know that their time is coming… and it’s coming soon. They are right on schedule.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- National: NBATV
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- New Jersey: YES HD (Marv Albert, Ian Eagle & Jim Spanarkel)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- New Jersey: WFAN 660 AM (Chris Carrino & Tim Capstraw)
- Probable: Vladi Radmanovic (crazy ass bloody eye that gives me the chills. *shudder*)
- Questionable: Eddie “Yucateco” Najera (neck, back) & Josh BOONE! (ankle)
Sunglasses at Night: The Lakers have a veritable basketball eyewear museum coursing through the veins of their franchise history.
George Mikan’s professorial oval rims, Kareem & Worthy’s round goggles, Kurt Rambis’ horn-rimmed specs, Horace Grant’s Oakley-style shades and now, Vladi Radmanovic’s orange-tinted superpower three-pointer eye shields!
After being poked in the right eye on Friday night by Denver’s Carmelo Anthony (who seems to have a vendetta against Laker Euros. Remember when he choked out Sash?), Vladi donned perhaps the greatest Laker eyewear since the days when Mikan and Vern Mikkelsen were blowing out the Ft. Wayne Zollner Pistons.
For the love of Bo Outlaw, lets hope that Vladi keeps the specs until the end of time.
Varsity Challenge -
(Prize: You guessed it: Vlad’s specs.)
List some NBA dudes that wore goggles. It will be fun!