Incarcerated Scarface?

“He looks determined without being ruthless. Something heroic in his manner. There’s a courage about him, he doesn’t look like a killer. He comes across so calm, acts like he has a dream. Full of passion.”

“You don’t trust me, huh?”

“Well, you know why.”

“I do. We’re not supposed to trust anyone in our profession anyway.”

What up, yo. Time is runnin’ out.

AP“It was really embarrassing to come in here and lose such an important game the way we lost it,” Odom said. “…We need to think about some things as a team. It’s kind of sad, but I don’t know that we’re as close as a team right now as far as camaraderie and things like that. That’s the only way you lose games like this — when you’re not close.”

Bryant downplayed the impact of losing by such a large margin.

“In the playoffs, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s a loss, either way you cut it.”

As an unabashed member of Laker Nation, I currently find myself unable wade in the shallow waters of ‘the right way’. I’m incapable of concealing my feelings for the Purple and Gold, and any attempts to marginalize them to project a sense of even-handedness are half-hearted and ultimately counterproductive. You’re not here for that, and neither am I. Right now, I’m not a sportswriter, or even an aspiring one. I’m a fan. Fans pick a side and stay there.

That being said, we’re fucked.

As hard as it was to watch, there was a hint of foreshadowing in the fourth quarter of last night’s game. (I took around three quarters worth of notes, but I don’t have the stomach to go through the autopsy right now, and I doubt anyone wants to relive such bloodshed. Except Suns fans, and well, fuck them.) Kobe Bryant, the same player accused of tanking last year’s Game 7, left the bench to subject himself to more ridicule-and a twisted ankle. What was he doing in the game? Maybe trying to develop some synergy amongst his teammates and give them something to build on for Game 3. He certainly wasn’t going to sit there and watch. After subsequently leaving the game for treatment, the Lakers plodded on. Phoenix’s entire rotation had been taken out of the game and replaced with the likes of Marcus Banks, Jalen Rose, Eric Piatowski, and Pat Burke. The Lakeshow countered with Shammond Williams, Sasha Vujacic, Mo Evans, Brian Cook and Andrew Bynum.

As a team trailing by upwards of twenty points-and one healthy star- in the fourth quarter of a Game 2, it seemed L.A. should’ve conceded the inevitable and gone to their garbage players too. Except those are the Lakers garbage players. Seriously, there are no lower men on the roster. And these are some of the same guys who have been playing all year, and will be logging significant minutes for the rest of this series.

Half-assed crews get demolished and bruised.

As Phil and Lamar were getting lifted in the staircases after the game, Kobe was left to simmer and contemplate his latest nickname. The incarcerated Scarface.

As a certified Kobeologist, I’ve blessed him with an assortment of aliases, (Anakin Skywalker, for obvious reasons. The Prince, for his eternal second banana status, Machiavellian image- and similarities to Pac, a.k.a Makaveli-another talented soul who tried too hard to be someone he’s not. There’s more, but don’t get me rambling…) however this one is probably the most appropriate given the circumstances.

As any self assured, goal oriented, immigrant would, Kobe’s natural inclinations when cornered are to go down swinging. No surrender, no retreat. Long ago, his focus on a dream materialized into a red beam willing to take out anyone in front of it. That focus is legendary, but hazardously singular. But isn’t that Kobe’s current dilemma, that he’s all alone? He has a definitive legacy to consider and needs to win, yet he’s surrounded by neophytes and ne’er do wells with nothing to lose. Yo, they be foldin’ like envelopes under pressure, like Lou Ferigno on coke. Compounding his problems are a considerable phalanx of character assasins, a rabid media, ready to pounce on him whenever his shot totals exceed their comfort.

As we all know, through a well published-and well spun-series of events, about four years ago Kobe was essentially branded as a villain. The bad guy. A man high on a power trip, considerate of no one and respectful of nothing. He either shoots too much, or his achievements are belittled by a lack of resulting postseason success. He is in an inescapable situation, taking shots from all angles and unable to fire back. He has been shackled, or incarcerated if you will. Six shots in the last three quarters of Game 2.

As the media continues to ignore the hypocrisy of craving team play in a star driven league-and from a star with no team at that-from the agendaless perspective of a fan, I can see quite clearly. This team may fall, but not without a fight, especially from the only man who will be held accountable. Kobe is about to explode.

As the countdown to Game 3 passes, he thinks of LBJ, Nash, Dirk and others who will be showered with the praise of May. Kobe will pause and say to himself, “You’re all a bunch of fucking assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be who you wanna be. You need people like me so you can point your fucking fingers and say ‘That’s the bad guy.’ So what does that make you? Good? You’re not good, you just know how to hide. Me? I don’t have that problem. I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say goodnight to the bad guy! It’s the last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, I tell you…”

Michael Jordan’s playoff record of 63 points will fall before this series is over.

I seen it. Like a 27 inch Zenith. Believe it.


15 Responses to “Incarcerated Scarface?”

  1. Barbosa, pass the cash or leave your children….

    Maxairington knock ’em out the box all the time. But who’s the Black Trump?

  2. maxairington Says:

    Catch me at Caesar’s Palace eatin’ salad…

  3. You’re in Vegas? Drop me a line and come on over for the game tonight…

  4. Kisswriters Says:

    Buss is a gambler, and I think we may see that this summer. The experiment is most likely over. Get ready to say goodbye to Odom and Bynum, unless L.A. is able to steal the series from the Suns. Highly unlikely at this point, but I still hold out hope.

    It will take a supernatural effort on Kobe’s part to will the Lakers back into this series. So we’ll see just how good he can be over the next two/three games. I’m not ready to write these guys off, yet.

  5. I wrote this over at FreeDarko, but… I think the Lakers will probably go after Jermaine O’Neal (bye bye Bynum). Even if they don’t, all they really need to get past the first round, in my opinion, is some reliable three-point shooters. Kapano should be the #1 free agent on their list, along with a point guard with long distance range. Add a healthy V-Rad, and that is an offense that can work around Kobe.

  6. maxairington Says:

    Kev, that’s a line from the song. I’m in Minnesota.

    SML, I was thinking the same thing about JO, especially since Carlisle got canned. That whole team needs to be demolished and the Lakers are in the opposite conference, unlike a KG trade scenario. I’d take him.

    But Kiss is also right. Buss’ lust for another title is just as strong as Kobe’s, and I don’t think he’s satisfied with selling season tix. I can’t wait for this summer.

  7. Kisswriters Says:

    I’m not really a virtual GM, so I couldn’t say if the money and bodies (a package of Bynum, Odom and maybe Walton) match-up in a trade for J. O’Neal. However, as for chemistry, I would rather see K.G. in L.A. over O’Neal. Is there some plausible way L.A. could get a deal done for Garnett? Kobe excluded, of course, would Garnett have to demand a trade to L.A. for that to happen? Would L.A. have to give up Odom to get Garnett? Can L.A. get a speedy p.g. like Maurice Williams in Milwaukee? Dr. Buss, please bring Jerry West back home.

  8. maxairington Says:

    KG is defintely the superior player, and I’d like to think that with an offseason home in Malibu, he’d be willing to Californicate. But I’m not sure if Minny managment would be willing to acquiesce since they already lost the franchise to Cali once, and the Lakeshow is in the same conference. Plus, from a salary cap perspective, his contract is even bigger than JO. They might find themselves in the same trouble they had with an overpaid Shaq, unable to sign any additional players with anything other than that mid level exemption.

    I’d still give up Odom to get Garnett in a hertbeat.

  9. J.O. is not needed in LA-LA. However, I can see him going to Minny in a three-way with the Lakes, so LA can get KG. The likely Lakers package would include Brain Cook, Smush, Chris Mihm, and Lamar Odom. It’s difficult for me to see the Lakers trading Bynum because of the work Kareem put in with the young cat.

    Now, Kwame might go instead of Mihm, but I think Phil likes Kwame. Besides, if they do a trade for KG, they’ll need someone inside who can rebound his fade-aways and elbow shots. Plus, just think of the shot-blocking prowess of a Lakers inside tandem of Kwame and KG.

    For LA, the important aspect of a trade is to keep the core of the bench intact: Luke, Sasha, Maurice Evans, Radmanovic, and Turiaf. Beyond them, we’re talking about two more practice bodies to fill out the roster.

    Finally, who is going to play the point? Farmar? Is Vujacic an one or two? Is Sasha is a one, Phil need to let him know. If not then, the Lakes will either have to acquire a PG or depend on a Farmar-Vujavic combo….

  10. maxairington Says:

    They can all go except Walton, Bynum and Farmar. Those are L.A.’s most intelligent and talented young players. They’re showing steady signs of growth and most importantly, aren’t very expensive. Even if Walton resigns, it won’t be for much. Vladrad was a complete waste of money, and Kwame is an albatross. I can think of better ways to spend around $14 mil.

    If we imploded the roster in either of these trade scenarios, as long as those three guys were around when the smoke cleared, I’d be happy.

  11. Kisswriters Says:

    I agree, Max. I’d probably pull the trigger on a trade involving Odom for Garnett. It’s just, Odom’s so gifted. What does it matter. ‘Cause if he doesn’t produce 20-plus points, 15-plus boards, and victories in the next two/three games, I’m pretty sure his career with the Lakers is over. I was hoping this experiment with he and Kobe would work out. Pretty soon, I’m gonna start thinking the problem’s with Kobe. Maybe he can’t get along with the other kids in the sandbox.

  12. Kisswriter:

    I was hoping this experiment with he and Kobe would work out. Pretty soon, I’m gonna start thinking the problem’s with Kobe. Maybe he can’t get along with the other kids in the sandbox.

    Where is the evidence that there is a rift between Kobe and Odom? And if one exists, where is the evidence that it exists for any other reason than the one that has always come between Kobe and his teammates-Kobe’s refusal to accept less determination from his teammates than he accepts from himself?

    I tried to believe in Lamar as a legitimate second option for Kobe, I’ve done it for three seasons, but it has become painfully apparent that Lamar is never going to be a legit second option for an NBA contender. His mindset is never going to be aggresive enough. Lamar is a unique player and a matchup nightmare, and would be a monster thrid option.

    The problem is a Laker management that has mishandled virtually everything it’s done since the Kobe/Shaq feud.

    1. Phil completely mishandled Kobe/Shaq and let the feud become the thing that destroyed the team.
    2. Management mishandled Shaq’s demand for a trade. They would have been far wiser to have made him play out his last season disgruntled and then rebuilt around Kobe and with the $30 million in salary cap savings they would have had.
    3. They mishandled future plans by letting several PG’s go who could have been far better than Smush, and then they spent the MLE on Divacs and McKie. I don’t blame them for Radman because I expect him to contribute next season if he’s still around.
    4. They extended Kwame before he had proved he could contribute.
    5. They didn’t go for C-Webb, nor did they complete a deal at the trading deadline for anyone who could help.

    To suggest that Kobe is to blame for the turmoil the team finds itself in, is IMO, ridiculous.

  13. I don’t think KG is moving. He won’t ask out, because he knows the organization has been quite loyal to him (even allowing him input in transaction, not unlike Kobe in LA).

    Jermaine O’Neal is from the same high school class as Kobe; they have both been in the league the same amount of years. According to an ESPN report I heard (which means nothing, obviously) he would like to play with Kobe, and the Pacers obviously are continuing to clean house. He could be available, in other words.

    As much as I like Farmer and Bynum, the name of the game is win. You should trade one or both of them to get yourself a proven stud (like Jermaine) who can put you over the top – Kobe + Jermaine = 50 wins. With the right role players (VladRad, Capano, and Mo Williams would be a great PG for the Lakers), it’s a 60 win team.

    Will the Lakers make the grab for glory? Well, they can’t leave the team the way it is, that’s for sure. They are just wasting Kobe’s prime right now….

  14. Why would anyone blame Captain Selfish (KOBEBALL TO THE RESCUE!!!) I never knew that Kobe was both the G.M. and the entire Los Angeles Laker roster all rolled into one. “He’s uncoachable” – Phil Jackson. “When the game is on the line, they put the ball in my hands,” Bryant said. “I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do, I don’t care if it’s 50 shots, 60 shots, five shots.”

    How can you build a team around a man who could even conceive taking 60 shots. Oh brother. Trade Kobe and put this to rest.

  15. Staten Island Acupuncture…

    […]Incarcerated Scarface? « The Starting Five[…]…

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