clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The heat of a 1,000 fiery suns

New, comments

Football:

In lieu of more conference realignment talk and in a fit of obvious boredom Scipio went ahead and made the case that Mack Brown owes his excellence to the acquisitions of Vince Young and Will Muschamp who have combined for the 4 most excellent seasons of the Mack Brown era evidently resulting in a 49-3 record.

The run of excellence under Coach Boom will come to a big test this year with Colt gone. Last year's defense could carry a one-dimensional offense that could be slowed but the 2008 unit would not have escaped with only 1 loss if not for Maestro Colt's brilliant symphonies against the O universities.

There is a chance this defense is the strongest yet. The 2008 unit relied on dominant pass-rushing to cover up inexperience in the back seven while the 2009 unit had even better line play (though perhaps not a better pass-rush) along with a secondary that could produce turnovers. 2010 should see more excellent line play, a loaded secondary, but also perhaps a linebacker corp that reaches elite status. Keenan Robinson or Acho uno Ocho producing All-Conference seasons is your best bet at seeing the Longhorn defense improve on last year's accomplishments.

Art/Culture/Geekdom:

I finally saw the movie Avatar recently. Brilliant visually and stupid in theme. Besides the irratating over the top adulation heaped on the native world which was ridiculously compared to Iraq I was bothered by the final battle. When homeless man's Jason Statham came back to the Naavi to lead them in the final struggle I was imagining an ambush strategy of the sort we saw from the Ewoks on Endor when they overcame the Imperial Legions with rocks and sticks.

Homeless man's Jason Statham hinted at some kind of geographic advantage that could turn the tide that manifested itself in the form of a cavalry charge by archers into a line of automatic weapons that we see resulting in immediate slaughter. For all the supposed brilliance of the Naavi and their tremendous advantages in size and strength their grasp of strategy was considerably less than that of the teddy bear assassins on Endor.

They didn't even think to ask their worthless god to save them, it took the white guy convert to think of that tactic. Anyways, I would be interested to see a movie of this sort where the natives aren't so clearly good and superior as a people group. Maybe an example like the Commanches, where the natives respond by raping captured women into mental oblivion and torturing men.

Or how about this, an epic where an Alien people try to force an environmental approach to life on the industrial earthlings and we are treated to images of the Aliens using their terrible biological weapons to destroy the families of loggers while men foolishly cling to their tanks and hopelessly outgunned gas-fueled vehicles to save their way of life against the brutal onset of green.

All that said, I think Avatar was an enjoyable and often stunning visual trek that will probably survive the test of time on a level just above that of Titanic. When the visuals become a little less stunning and the story/script remains there won't be much left to find wonderful.

Basketball:

I'm not sure I've been more excited about a basketball playoff series than I am about Lakers vs Suns. You have the looming and literally towering evil of the Lakers against the underdog small ball team led by a scrappy Canadian. Size vs. speed, chemistry vs. talent, winners vs. losers.

From the perspective of beating the Lakers, which is principally what I desire to see from the playoffs, a team needs to handle three tasks:

1). You have to be able to handle Gasol and Bynum: This was the beginning and end of the Jazz series and the Suns will take on this problem differently than anyone else. No one can match the Lakers inside so it's a matter of negating their advantage on the other end and the Suns are well built for that purpose. With Channing Frye and Amare in the game together the Suns can guard Bynum with Amare, protecting him from the foul trouble likely to result from guarding Gasol, and then use Frye to abuse Gasol on the other end with the 3 pt. shot.

Gasol and Bynum don't want to run up and down the court or close out on perimeter shots and Frye gives the Suns the perfect weapon to punish the Lakers for their monstrous frontcourt. If the Lakers counter with Gasol and Odom to load fouls on Amare the Suns can respond with even more small ball playing Grant Hill or Jared Dudley at power forward with Amare or Frye matched with the Spaniard.

None of these measures eliminate the Lakers low-post game or interior D but by spacing them out and running them up and down the court they can lessen those factors considerably more than in the half-court sets and at times even turn the Lakers size against them.

2). Go Fishing: Again recapping what I've written before, Derek Fisher is a terrible defender and taking advantage of his lateral movement will be necessary to outscore LA for any aspiring championship team. As it happens the Suns have the most gifted offensive point guard in the playoffs (as well as one of the all-time greatest) along with another big time threat at the 2 with Jason Richardson which considerably weakens the Lakers strategy of moving over Kobe to defend the PG in crucial moments.

Steve Nash's might end Derek Fisher's life in this series. I'm not sure another team remaining in the playoffs could burn him as bad, perhaps Rondo and the Celtics.

3). Draw in Kobe: This happens naturally a few times every series but the games in which Gasol and Bynum score 30 points on 12 shots while Kobe puts up a 30 point game on 35 shots should be encouraged in any way possible by all Lakers opponents. Gasol should be lighting up this series and Bynum as well. Lamar Odom should be punishing the Suns everytime they try to use his presence as a reason to play small ball (and historically he has). One of the major obstacles for the LA forwards, besides the Suns strategy, is a lack of opportunity caused by Kobe's selfishness with the basketball.

The Suns should be sympathizing with Pau and saying things like, "Kobe is great but it's Gasol we are really worried about" or "Kobe might be getting old but he's still someone we look out for" and anything else they can think of to drive open the pre-existing wedge between Kobe and Pau. The Lakers can't afford division or inefficiency against the Suns.

All that said, I think the Suns can win this series although it scares me to pick against a loaded Lakers team that has pounded several good playoff opponents in the last few years with this roster. Odom has to wake up and match the Suns bench or the Lakers faults exposed by the Suns small ball wizardry will knock off the imposing champs.