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Sunday, February 5, 2006

Boxscore Bloggers

Filed under: Basketball — Tom Pittman @ 10:58 pm

You gotta love all these BOXSCORE BLOGGERS and their “expert” opinions. Analyzing a basketball game from a statistical box score and highlight clips is like saying you know a girl because you’ve read her measurements and saw her dating video. Can you say s-h-a-l-l-o-w?

I’m not saying that box score bloggers shouldn’t write; I’ve spotted things of value from many of their blogs. And I’m certainly not saying that stats and highlights don’t have their value because they do. But too many boxscore bloggers are like cement: all mixed up and permanently set. Don’t let that be you.

Say the world’s foremost authority on vision were to lecture at a university near you. You attend the lecture, take copious notes and he just blows you away with what he knows. After the lecture you go to shake his hand and thank him, and discover to your astonishment that the lecturer is blind and has been since birth. How much does he REALLY know about sight?

I don’t care how smart you think you are (or that you slept in a Holiday Inn last night), if you haven’t seen the game, admit your limitations — both to yourself and to your readers. You have analyzed data, that is all, not the game. That is an important difference. A medical chart isn’t the patient, it is just data that can help you understand the patient. Before you can definitively diagnose the patient’s condition, ultimately, you have to see the patient.

Case in point: Kobe Bryant’s 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors. If you cannot get your hands on a recording of this game, then at least watch a Lakers game to see how they play together.

Boxscore Bloggers have been looking at the shot attempts and calling Kobe a ball hog.

Watch the game, however, and you see that nearly every possession has multiple Laker fingerprints on the ball. Also, when you watch the game you see that the other Lakers are LOOKING for Kobe and they get him the ball. Why are the Lakers deferring to Kobe for the shots? Because they want to win the game! You do the math:

— Lamar Odom: 1 out of 7
— Kawame Brown: 1 out of 5
— Devean George: 0 out of 4
— Sasha Vujacic: 1 out of 5
— Luke Walton: 0 out of 1

If you want to win a game, where should the shots come from? The 5 guys shooting a combined 13.6 percent? Or the guy shooting 61 percent?

Teams admit all the time that their strategy against the Lakers is to stifle the supporting cast and make Kobe beat them. The Raptors forced the Lakers to make Kobe beat them, and after the Lakers struggled for most of the game, well, Kobe decided to do just that.

Watching the game though, no one could get the impression that Kobe was a selfish player “determined to get his shots.” In fact, the whole history making thing really snuck up on you.

Down by an embarrassing 18 points in the third quarter at home to the team with the third worst record in the NBA, Kobe got frustrated and decided to take over. Two thirds of his shots came in the second half. All of his points were needed to win the game, and it is CERTAIN the Lakers would not have won if Kobe hadn’t played.

Don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that I haven’t seen Kobe on other occasions play very selfishly, force shots, etc. This isn’t really a commentary on Kobe Bryant: this is a commentary on how box scores don’t really tell the whole story.

The bottom line is if a girl’s measurements and her dating video is all you need to go off of, that is your prerogative. However, don’t be angry at us when we read your blogs, groan, and think of you as shallow.

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1 Comment »

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