Despite a 6-24 shooting performance in game seven, Kobe Bryant was named the NBA Finals MVP with a 23 point, 15 rebound performance in their decisive 83-79 decisive game seven triumph over the Celtics. But the real MVP of the Finals were the Lakers’ revolving door of role players coming up huge at the biggest times and outdueling the Celtics bench that played so well in Boston.
Ron Artest’s performance changed from horrible to spectacular throughout the series faster than you can say “Queensbridge” and the emotional roller coaster he took the Laker fans on are usually reserved for one of those mindless MTV reality shows. But the situation ended well for Artest, who nailed a key three and held Paul Pierce to 5-15 shooting in game seven. At the end of the series, the truth was that Artest did a good job on Pierce and LA would not have won their 16th championship without him.
Derek Fisher was huge in game seven with a clutch three halfway through the 4th quarter that ended up turning the tide in Los Angeles’ favor for good. He may have only ended up with 10 points, but he picked his spots (4-6 from the field) and made sure he didn’t make many costly mistakes.
The Laker bench may not have put up many points in game seven, but the team’s plus/minus told the story of how they outplayed Boston’s second unit. Lamar Odom scored just seven points in 38 minutes, but grabbed seven rebounds and ended up with a plus-13. Jordan Farmar was held scoreless in 13 minutes but he played some excellent defense and ended up plus-10. And Sasha Vujacic, the pride and joy of Slovenia, scored two huge points on the free throws that sealed the deal and was a plus-9 in the game.
So Kobe Bryant can keep all his accolades that comes with his 5th title (that’s one more than Shaq, if Kobe didn’t mention that about 17,000 times) because the role players were the real stars in this series.
-Awful news for the Rockies as Troy Tulowitzki is out 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist.
-It doesn’t look like Josh Willingham or Nyjer Morgan will be on the trade market this summer. One OF that could be on the market is Kansas City’s Mitch Maier.
-One prominent Mariners blog says the Twins are the favorites to land Cliff Lee this summer. Texas is targeting Lee and Roy Oswalt as pitchers they need to get to reach the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. Jack Zduriencik said he’s going to give it more time before waiving the white flag and trading Lee. Seattle may want a catching prospect in a deal and the Twins have a good one in Wilson Ramos, who is blocked by some guy named Mauer. Jon Heyman said that Ramos is an option along with the Yankees’ young group of catching prospects.
-Heyman also said that the Mets will be in the market for a starter rather than a reliever and would prefer Lee to Oswalt. Kevin Millwod, Ben Sheets and Jake Westbrook are other available starters.
-Buck Showalter, Eric Wedge and Bob Melvin have been mentioned as realistic options for the Orioles managerial opening.
-Pedro Martinez will only play for a contender this year and the Phillies are his most likely destination.
-Despite asking the Red Sox if they wanted Kosuke Fukudome, it doesn’t look like the Cubs are going to be dealing him.
-New Jersey obviously wants Evan Turner with the third pick, but they’re other top choices in order are Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins and Wesley Johnson. With Samuel Dalembert out in Philly, Nets officials are hoping the Sixers take Favors with the 2nd pick. But there was a link on the Sixers page on NBA.com with a draft board that had John Wall one and Evan Turner two. It was quickly taken down.
-Despite acquiring Dalembert, the Kings still like DeMarcus Cousins at number five, with Greg Monroe next on the list.
-Warriors GM Larry Riley said he would consider taking DeMarcus Cousins with the 6th overall pick. Riley also really liked Greg Monroe and Ekpe Udoh and is not interested in trading Anthony Randolph at the draft.
-If available, Ed Davis and Greg Monroe won’t go past the Jazz at 9. Davis has the same agent as Carlos Boozer for what it’s worth.
-Breaking news! John Wall is the sure number one, according to the Washington Examiner. Tell all your friends, this is big news…
-Daniel Orton may have an agreement with Oklahoma City at 21 but the Pacers may be interested enough to take him 10th overall and was invited by the team for a workout even though he cancelled all of his remaining visits. Orton has refuted this OKC rumor and has been compared to Celtics C Kendrick Perkins. Indiana will work out Greg Monroe and Ed Davis among others.
-Greivis Vazquez was invited to the draft in New York next week, so perhaps he’ll go way higher than everyone expects.
-Gani Lawal, Darrington Hobson and Lance Stephenson are among the notables who will work out for the Knicks on Saturday. The team would reportedly be ecstatic if Jordan Crawford fell to the 38th pick.
-From Golden State workouts, it looks like Derek Caracter got the best of Luke Harangody.
All stats courtesy of Fangraphs.com
BABIP’s Lucky Hitters
Austin Jackson (.418), David Freese (.394), Ichiro Suzuku (.391), Robinson Cano (.382), Fred Lewis (.381), Austin Kearns (.379), Justin Morneau (.373), Adrian Beltre (.371), Martin Prado (.370), David Wright (.370).
BABIP’s Unlucky Hitters
Aaron Hill (.179), Carlos Pena (.211), Carlos Quentin (.213), Carlos Lee (.216), Jose Bautista (.219), AJ Pierzynski (.235), Pedro Feliz (.235), Mark Teixeira (.241), Jose Lopez & Adam Lind & Juan Rivera (.247).
Corey Hart (.321), Miguel Cabrera (.315), Jose Bautista (.310), Adam Dunn (.301), Colby Rasmus (.292), David Ortiz (.292), Paul Konerko (.290), Vernon Wells (.290), Andre Ethier (.280), Kevin Youkilis (.277).
Robinson Cano (59.7), Kevin Youkilis (59.4), Justin Morneau (58.7), Miguel Cabrera (58.2), Albert Pujols (54.1), Evan Longoria (52.4), Josh Hamilton (51.7), Adam Dunn (51.1), Joey Votto (50.5), Paul Konerko (48.6).
WAR’s Most Valuable Hitters
Robinson Cano (4), Justin Morneau (3.9), Alex Rios (3.4), Evan Longoria (3.1), Carl Crawford (3.1), Kevin Youkilis (3.1), Marlon Byrd (3), Adrian Beltre (2.9), Ryan Zimmerman (2.9), Andres Torres (2.7).
WAR’s Most Valuable Pitchers
Roy Halladay (3.5), Francisco Liriano (3.4), Ubaldo Jimenez (3.2), Josh Johnson (3), Cliff Lee (3), Tim Lincecum (2.8), Adam Wainwright (2.7), Ricky Romero (2.6), Jon Lester (2.5), Justin Verlander (2.3).
E-F’s Pitchers Due To Decline
Tim Hudson (1.95), Ubaldo Jimenez (1.77), Livan Hernandez (1.67), Jaime Garcia (1.6), David Price (1.56), Jeff Niemann (1.55), Ted Lilly (1.37), Andy Pettitte (1.32), Ian Kennedy (1.21), Matt Cain (1.21).
E-F’s Pitchers Due To Rebound
Gavin Floyd (1.82), Brandon Morrow (1.53), Kyle Davies (1.52), Randy Wells (1.41), Wandy Rodriguez (1.19), Felipe Paulino (1.15), Jake Peavy (1.15), Max Scherzer (1.12), Luke Hochevar (1.1), Aaron Harang (1.05).
BABIP’s Lucky Pitchers
Ted Lilly (.219), Tim Hudson (.234), Jeff Niemann (.236), Ubaldo Jimenez (.239), Doug Fister (.240), Mat Latos (.240), Matt Cain (.241), Colby Lewis (.244), Livan Hernandez (.245), Jaime Moyer (.249).
BABIP’s Unlucky Pitchers
Zach Duke (.359), Gavin Floyd (.355), Randy Wells (.355), Wandy Rodriguez (.353), Justin Masterson (.352), James Shields (.349), Aaron Harang (.346), Dan Haren (.344), Francisco Liriano (.339), Max Scherzer (.338), Brandon Morrow (.338).
-Ubaldo Jimenez became the first pitcher with 13 wins in his first 14 decisions since Roger Clemens started 13-0 in 1986.
-The Yankees have scored two or fewer runs three times at 121 games at the new Yankee Stadium. Thursday against the Phillies, game one of the 2009 World Series against the Phillies and 6/18/09 against Washington. Yours truly attended two of those games…
-With two hits Thursday night, Robinson Cano became the first Yankee since Lou Gehrig with 97 hits in his team’s first 66 games.
-Philadelphia scored six runs or more in back to back games for the first time since May 14-15. Pettitte passed Ron Guidry for 2nd all time on the Yankee career strikeout list behind only Whitey Ford.
-Andy Pettitte has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 starts this season, which leads the AL.
-The Mets are 25-6 in games where Jose Reyes scores a run.
-Brennan Boesch’s .348 average is the highest by a Tigers rookie through 65 games since 1952.
-In his first 482 games, Mark Reynolds has 12 four strikeout games. This is the most among any player in that span over the last 90 years other than Bo Jackson.