Failed box out costs Thunder Game 6

OKC led 94-93 in the closing moments of Game 6 when Kobe Bryant dribbled up the right side of the floor preparing to attempt a game-winning shot…

Watch the video again. This time, notice how Nick Collison (charged with covering Pau Gasol) starts to cheat over on Kobe to help on a potential drive to the hoop. This is by design. What’s not by design is how neither Serge Ibaka (#9) nor Jeff Green (#22) rotates down and puts a body on Gasol. The players that they were covering — Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher — were ponderously standing out behind the three-point line, so they weren’t threats on the offensive glass.

Instead, Ibaka and Green turn and watch Kobe’s shot. After the put-back, Jeff Van Gundy blamed Collison for not rotating back to Gasol, but physically-speaking, it’s tough to ask a guy to help on a Kobe drive and box out Gasol. That duty needs to fall to Ibaka or Green (probably Ibaka).

Here’s a case where the Thunder’s inexperience really cost them. But it’s not like failed box outs haven’t lost games before. In the 1983 NCAA title game, Hakeem Olajuwon stood and watched the shot go up, allowing NC State’s Lorenzo Charles to sneak in behind him, catch the airball, and dunk it for the win. Here’s another look:

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

The NBA’s 68 worst contracts

The economy is really starting to take its toll on professional sports, and the NBA is no different. Bad contracts are bad even when the economy is pumping, but they really stand out in tough times like these. So I decided to look through the payrolls team-by-team to try to identify the worst contracts in the NBA. I expected to list 15-20 names, but I ended up scribbling down 68. That’s right, there are no fewer than 68 bad contracts in the NBA.

I didn’t include any of the players that are in the final year of their contracts because…well, what’s the point? They’ll be off the books in a few months anyway. Instead, I wanted to focus on those contracts that are going to haunt teams for years to come, so to be eligible, players have to have at least a year left on their current deals.

It’s tough to compare someone making superstar money to an average, everyday role player, so I split these 68 contracts up into three groups: the Overpaid Role Players, the Not-So-Super Stars and the Injury-Prones. I will rank them from least-worst to most-worst with the thinking that I wouldn’t trade the player for anyone further down the list but I would trade him for anyone previously mentioned. So, for example, if a guy is listed #7 within a particular group, I’m not trading him for anyone ranked #6-#1, but I would think seriously about moving him for a guy that is ranked #8+.

So let’s start with the role players and go from there…

(Note: In most cases, I don’t blame the player himself for his outrageous contract. The fault lies with the general manager that inked the guy to the deal. However, this rule goes out the window if the player has a history of only producing in his contract year – I’m looking at you, Tim Thomas.)

Read the rest after the jump...

Related Posts