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NBA Awards – May 15th, 2012

The Jerry West Award — OKC’s  Russell Westbrook  —  27 pts, 7 rebs, 9 asst, 6 FTM, 2 stl, 0 blk, 1 trey, and 10-15 shooting…Surprisingly, this is only Westy’s 2nd 20/5/5 game in his last 12. Not surprisingly, it came against an old, tired Laker squad that played a gm 4 in Den, gm 5 in L.A., gm 6 in Den, gm 7 in L.A., then flew to OKC to play gm 1…all with only 1 day of rest in between games. The Lakers didn’t have a single fast-break point in the game, and only forced 4 T/O’s…Westbrook has now played 28 career playoff games, averaging 23 pts, 5.3 reb, 6.1 asst, 1.6 stl, and shooting 42.4%. And speaking of games, he has still yet to miss one in his 4 year career, playing in all 312 regular season affairs and the 28 playoff encounters. Depending on how these playoffs go and next season, he could easily be in the Top 200 All-Time this time next year.
The Trajan Langdon Award —  The Lakers’  Ramon Sessions  —  2 pts, 0 rebs, 3 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 1-7 shooting in 26 rotten minutes…Sessions has been disappointing lately in these playoffs, and seeing Steve Blake shine brightly in game 7 Sat night (7-11, 5 treys, 19 pts, 3 dimes in 30 min) while he struggled in that game as well (20 min, 2-8, 2 dimes, 0-4 from distance) probably didn’t help his confidence much. He’s shooting 36.8% in the postseason, compared to Blake’s 42.2%. Of course, it pains me to bring you these numbers, as I remain a big fan of his (and not of Blake). The Lakers will need a lot more from him to have any chance against OKC.
Pujols — 1-4, a single…Angels shutout 5-0 by Oakland…In his last 22 games, he has 1 double, 1 hr, and 1 multiple hit game…after his April BA of .217, he’s batting .160 in May. 

2012 #’s: .197, 1 hr, 12 RBI…OBP: .235…SLG: .275 after 35 games.  If you assume he’ll end up with 600 AB for the year, and he bats .300 the rest of the way, he’ll end up batting .276 on the season. If you assume he homers at last season’s rate of 1 every 15.64 at bats, he’ll end up with 30 hr’s for the season. Talking with a friend last night, we guessed at final season numbers between .250 & .270, and around 25 hr’s and 85 RBI…at a cost of $24m…now that’s inflation!!!!
Daily All-Timer (Top 200) Playoff Resume Check
Kevin Durant, Thunder – Playoff #’s: 28 gms, 27.4, 8.0 reb, 2.9 asst, 1.25 blk, 43.0%.  Shot 35.0% against the Lakers and Artest in his first foray into the Playoffs two years ago, the numbers getting better since – 44.9% last year, 46.2% this year (and career high 49.6% this reg. season). Is obviously still establishing his hoops resume and Playoff resume, and with 3 NBA scoring titles before his 24th birthday, it’ll be pretty exciting to see how deep that resume becomes in 10 years. 
Lakers/Nuggets Game 7
I wasn’t able to watch last night’s game but was able to watch much of the 3rd & 4th quarters of the very exciting game 7 against Denver. I took a few notes as I watched:
– Lawson steals a rebound from Bynum with pure speed, quickness, and hustle. Classic case of athleticism enabling playmaking.
– Huge Artest trey makes it 73-72 Nuggets. The Nugs had just scored the first 5 pts of the 4th Q, and were completely confident and excited. If Artest misses this and Denver goes down to score, the Lakers might have had some big problems. Probably the biggest shot of the game.
– Things are getting crazy – a wild, playground-like sequence ends with a monster Javale block leading to an Al Harrington layup (who is on fire in this game).
– I watch Kobe wandering to the bench, looking like a beaten down old warhorse…16 years and 1,377 career games (including playoffs) can do that to you.
– Pau gets a half-dozen offensive rebounds on another wild play, finally scoring and making it 78-75 Lakers. Most o-rebs I’ve ever seen by one guy on one play.
– A Miller pulls a nice offensive rebound, then shows better footwork in the post than 90% of the bigs in league while faking out Gasol and making a layup. He will end up with 11 rebs and 8 asst in the game, though that was his only hoop (1-10 on the night).
– Blake hits his 5th trey of the night, making things look bleak for the Nugs.
– Faried gets an offensive rebound that, much like Lawson’s rebound, was pure explosive athleticism – he is a VERY quick jumper, very springy legs. Fun guy to watch, love his game.
– The camera cuts to George Karl on the sideline with a very content smile on his face after watching more Javale hustle (he ended up with 14 rebs and 5 blks). You get the sense that win or lose, Karl is enjoying himself and really likes this group of guys.
– After missing a shot, Bynum makes no effort at reposting, choosing instead to catch his breath 22 feet from the basket. His 18 rebs and 6 blks were huge, but for the 2nd straight game, his shooting (4-15) suffered.
– Memo to Gallinari: don’t over-dribble in front of Ron Artest, one of the all-time thieves at the SF position. He gets another on Gallo here.
– Kobe is double-teamed when he gets the ball, two Nuggets swarming all over him…but soon after he hits a difficult trey that puts the final nail in the coffin – 92-84 now with just under 50 seconds left.

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