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Stan Van Gundy: LeBron James Is Literally Unstoppable

I guess when a guy goes for 49 against your team and scores nearly half the opposing team’s points, it’s pretty easy to find good things to say about him. And when your team wins like Stan Van Gundy’s did, it also makes praising your opponent less painful. The Magic barely squeaked out a one-point win over the Cavs in Game 1 on Wednesday night 107-106. LeBron James had 49 points on 20-30 shooting, six boards, eight assists, two steals, and three blocks. His only weak point was going 6-10 at the line. Try telling that to Stan Van who has no idea how to stop LBJ:

“LeBron just made it so difficult. The one thing I don’t leave this game with is any idea whatsoever what to do with him. As a coach you’re supposed to have some idea — I don’t have a clue. I don’t. When we double-teamed him, he made the right play every time and they made shots. When we didn’t double-team him, he made every jumpshot he took, it seemed like. He gets the ball to the basket and draws fouls. You would like to come out of Game 1 and say ‘at least we found a gameplan we think will work’ I can’t say I’ve done that. He’s unbelievable and he was incredible tonight.”

I know Stan’s telling the truth because that’s the way he is, so this comment is not exactly a good sign for the Magic. They got lucky to win the game in the sense that Rashard Lewis hit every shot in sight in the fourth quarter. He doesn’t go off like that and they don’t win, then you have Van Gundy down 0-1 and facing major problems. And believe, me, they still do have big problems.

Video: Dwight Howard Dunk Brings Down the Shot Clock

There’s a reason why people (including himself) are calling him Superman — it’s because he does crazy things on the court. A clear example of Dwight Howard’s strength was when his dunk in the first quarter brought down the shot clock, causing a lengthy delay in the game. Check it out in case you missed it:

It’s weird to see that much damage caused because the dunk didn’t even seem to be the least bit vicious. Meanwhile, Shaquille O’Neal is bitterly wondering what the big fuss is all about.

How Can the Clippers Screw This Up?

When I heard that the Clippers had won the NBA draft lottery, the first question that entered my head was pretty simple: why? With all the needy franchises out there, those desperate to pull themselves out of the depths of suckdom, why were the Clippers the lucky team to get the first pick in the draft? Having an owner who cares about the success of the team should be like a prerequisite to getting the top pick — that would have automatically disqualified the critters.

It actually wasn’t too long ago when I was raving about the Clippers signing Baron Davis and talking about how good the team would be, assuming they re-signed Elton Brand. Right. So much for that one. They’re probably better off now getting Blake Griffin and not dealing with the achilles-less Brand. While I know some people might already be forming the hypothetical Clippers roster, I’m going to temper my excitement. Sure, a starting five of Baron, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Blake Griffin, and then Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby at center looks promising. But it’s the Clippers — they’re like the Murphy’s Law of the NBA — whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Book it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Griffin dropped a weight on his big toe at the gym and were out for the season. Tell me you can’t see that coming.

Thanks to Ball Don’t Lie for the shot of Andy Roesler’s cool jacket. And dude, next time you’re on national TV, go with a different hairstyle, please.

Video: Vince McMahon Rips Nuggets, Challenges Stan Kroenke to Fight

What’s up with wrestling screwing up NBA playoff dates? Three years ago, in like the best season ever for the Clippers, the Clips had just won Game 6 against the Suns to tie their series at 3-3. They were hot but had to wait like three days in between games because the WWE had an event — Judgment Day — held in Phoenix that weekend. So with the three full days off between games, the Suns won the decisive Game 7. This year it’s the same story: the WWE is booked for Monday Night Raw at the Pepsi Center in Denver on the 21st, the same day Game 4 is scheduled to occur between the Lakers and Nuggets. WWE master Vince McMahon used the screwup as an opportunity to rip the Nuggets:

“Even though the Denver Nuggets had a strong team this year and were projected to make the playoffs, obviously Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke did not have enough faith in his own team to hold the May 25 date for a potential playoff game.”

Ouch. I think they can forget about bringing the WWE to the Pepsi Center for any future events after that bomb. To make the Nuggets look even worse, contracts were sent to the WWE to finalize the deal as recently as April 15th. That’s pretty poor on Denver’s behalf. So how does McMahon plan to handle all this? He wants a steal cage match against Stan Kroenke to settle things:

Of course he’s making a spectacle of things — it’s the WWE. But I’ll give McMahon this much — he’s right.

Kobe Bryant: Credit Aldous Snow for Sasha Vujacic’s Success

Most of the time Kobe Bryant is pretty hard-nosed and serious. There are some moments though when Kobe takes off the game face and actually plays around, like when he does commercials or post-game interviews. Take for instance Kobe’s comments after the Game 7 win against Houston. Why did sharpshooter Sasha Vujacic have a good game (9 points on 4-7 shooting)? Kobe pulled out the Forgetting Sarah Marshall Aldous Snow card to explain:

Thanks to the Kamenetzky bros, who heard Kobe say that at his post-game press conference and posted the Kobe/Sasha Vujacic video. It never really occurred to me when I was watching the Lakers that Sasha resembled Russell Brand but I definitely see it now. I guess if were a guy like Kobe who likes Sasha and is around him all the time that might have caught my eye. If you ask me, all it really takes is a European dude with long hair and stubble to resemble Vujacic.

LeBron James’ All-Time Dream Team

Ordinarily an issue like this wouldn’t even matter, but since it’s LeBron James, a highly respected player who will likely go down as one of the greats, the subject becomes interesting. Who does LeBron regard as the best players of all-time? Who would he want on his all-time dream team? He answered the question with Dan Patrick:

    PG: Magic Johnson
    SG: Michael Jordan
    SF: LeBron James
    PF: Kevin Garnett
    C: Shaquille O’Neal (LeBron almost went Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
    Coach: James Naismith (we can’t lose with the guy who invented the game)

Think that will add any fuel to Kobe’s fire should the two meet in the finals? I guess that’s getting ahead of myself but we all know Kobe wants to outdo anyone he can, MJ included. I’m pretty stunned that LeBron went as modern as he did considering his knowledge of the league’s history. Russell, Wilt, and Kareem all seemed like better answers than Shaq. And I was really surprised to see KG’s name up there. Maybe he just has tremendous respect for Garnett because the two clashed in a seven game series last year. Just think, prior to last year, KG’s name never would have been on that list!

Rafer Alston Sure Likes Kissing Guys

The NBA point guard formerly known as Skip to My Lou may have to change the first word to match the name of a popular 70s rock band. For some reason, When Magic guard Rafer Alston wants to thank someone on the court, he doesn’t high five or chest bump. Oh no. Rafer (reefer?) has some sort of lip fascination that makes him want to kiss everyone. Check out his reaction to a traveling call late in Game 6 against the Celtics on Thursday night:

As the intrepid You Been Blinded points out, that’s not the first time Rafer Alston’s kissed a man on the court. The dude’s also had smooching sessions with former Houston teammates Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes. Keep it in the locker room, Rafer.