Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said it was "very premature" to be discussing the Most Valuable Player race, as the Raptors readied for their 16th game of the year and the Lakers for their 15th.
He was right, of course.
It's also early -- almost two seasons early -- for LeBron James to be speculating about free agency. But this is the NBA regular season. Your mind tends to wander.
It's even early to ponder Christmas Day and the arrival of the Celtics, who were last seen bouncing Lakers heads on the parquet in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, last June.
But if Sunday night meant anything, Chris Bosh's MVP campaign died in downtown L.A., and the Celtics, particularly Kevin Garnett, will learn that Andrew Bynum's absence from the '08 Finals wasn't just a fine-print footnote.
Bosh was averaging 27.7 points and 10.5 rebounds, and nearly 10 free throw attempts per game. He had scored 40 on Orlando (which employs Dwight Howard) and 42 on New Jersey.
Here, Bynum bumped him off the lane, and held a very long arm in Bosh's face during jump shots, and got quick relief every time the nimble, 6-foot-10 Bosh tried to get a driving step.
The Lakers had a pretty easy time against a pretty good team, winning, 112-99, and Bosh went 4 for 13 with 12 points, six rebounds, four turnovers and four trips to the line.
And although Bosh isn't Garnett, he's the sparring partner you'd call in if you were going to fight Garnett, as the Lakers will do in 24 days.
With Bynum and Pau Gasol starting down low, and with Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza (another virtual absentee from the Finals) coming in later, the Lakers have a chance to throw any Boston game into the perimeter, the personal Serengeti Plain for the prowling Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers are like water, flowing relentlessly into whatever the hole in your game is.
Yes, it's the regular season. You get ahead of yourself. King James and the Celtics should worry about each other first. The Lakers aren't going anywhere. Except up.
--Orange County Register
Anyone want to take a guess what team held Bosh to his season low of 9 points?
Length by itself doesn't win basketball games. It matters. But talent and heart override height. Otherwise, a Shawn Bradley-Manute Bol tandem would still be winning titles in Philly.
- #05 (Walton)
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