Friday, May 29, 2009

Functional Player

Last Tuesday night, i was invited by a friend of mine to play pick-ups with the Hong Kong CitiBank basketball team. I had not seen this friend for at least one and a half years since the end of 2007. He is an awesome player with size and dead-eye mid-range. He does have some rainbow touch and i always enjoy playing with this guy.

When he asked me if i could play that night, i was like yeh man, i would love to see how good those Citibank guys are and whether i could play with them guys or not. I was telling myself i wanted to and tried to prove that i could play with anybody on the floor (Not that i usually cannot play with others).

If you ask me what type of player i want to be, i wouldn't say a scorer or ace of the team or anything like that but a 'functional player'.

I am not going to elaborate on what a functional player is here. Perhaps you can look it up on some coaching websites. A functional player basically means (and that's how i interpret it) that a ballplayer who can be any missing piece of that team. In other words, you do whatever the team needed you to do in order to win a game.

For example, in the second game i played with them guys i got assigned to a team that already had 2 guards including a point guard. Being a PG myself, of course i want to make plays all the time, yet i gave it up and told them i was going to get some rebounds, run the breaks and set some screens for them guys. They were delighted by the decision (because they saw me play PG in my 1st game) and we won at last, i could tell they were quite amazed by my performance. Even so, you surely need to have the ability to do so, you have to be capable of doing those things. Otherwise you will instead become a weakness of the team and the opponents will attack the hole, eventually become a wound of defense of your team.

Those Citibank guys are skillful but getting old. Put the fastbreak aside, they can run half-court plays effectively and rotate the ball fairly well. I am so glad that i could play with them and got to meet them. And i am proven once and for all that i am a functional player. I can play with anybody under any circumstance.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Lakers VS Nuggets - Game 4

I didn't get to watch the whole game but i was fortunate enough to watch the last quarter of Game 4.

2 minutes into the 4th, Billups showed me what confidence meant. Chuancy took up the responsibility and pressure, made plays and attempted shots. His focus and determination of 'must-win' perfectly transcended into his shots, made 2 big threes! No wonder people call him 'Mr. Big Shot'.

Melo's fire was off most of the game, yet the bench backed up with over 30 points, which outscored Lakers' bench by a large margin.

The big contrast between both teams' benches was not the only reason why Nuggets won. Rebounding was also the key. I think Lakers need to communicate more on defence and you could see (perhaps) their miscommunication on defence and hence let go of a few rebounds and left J.R. open for a few good looks.

But then, man, when you watch the 4th quarter, it's like watching Kobe showcasing his beautiful individual skills. The 'and-1's, the fallaways, the rainbow jumpers, the turnarounds and the crossovers, very much like MJ i got to admit.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some little thoughts on Lakers VS Nuggets Game 3

The Captain woke up very early this morning for the basketball cup of the Sports Festival of Hong Kong Teachers Association (i am not a teacher but i was invited to participate since i coach a middle school team here in Hong Kong).

It was raining heavily outside and quite obviously that it was going to be cancelled since we had to play in outdoor courts. Though my main man - Michael aka "The Textbook" called me and said that the Association sms'd him earlier telling him that we still had to go, so we went. To be honest, i did not really want to play today because the Lakers VS Nuggets game was on. For me not wanting to play? You know how big and attractive the game was.

Very fortunate, well sorta, that the cup was finally cancelled due to the unstable weather. I was already out eating breakfast while enjoying Game 3 with Textbook and other teammates, so we had decided to stay in the restaurant and to finish the game.

I was so excited because both teams are my favorites. My man KB24 going up against my boy Melo, who has been having red-hot stroke. Watching this game is tough for me because i love both of them as well as their teams. I even use Denver as my dynasty team in NBA 2K9 and most of the time when i play against good 2K9 users, i choose L.A.

Let me break down their rosters before i share my thoughts on the game here.

L.A. - with the King (no LBJ, sorry) leading the team as the spearhead, D-Fish is sharing his invaluable experiences, Odom keeps up his versataility, Gasol is good but needs to get tougher, Ariza is making a name for himself, so is Shannon Brown with his penetration and defense, Vujacic keeps hitting 3's, Farmer is up and down, Bynum is forgiven due to his injuries.

Denver - the leadership of Billups is probably the most valuable asset of them all, Melo is arguably the best pure scorer in NBA plus he finally defenses, Birdman is having a block party, while J.R. Smith enjoys doing whatever he wants to do on the court, K-Mart is back to the top, Nene shows you some Brazilian style on his dunks, Dahtay Jones tries to tear up the defence, Anthony Carter provides stability and Kleiza gives you sparks from beyond the arc.

It was intense throughout the whole game. They were exchanging leads fairly frequent in the last quarter. Honestly, i wanted Lakers to win, probably because i like Kobe more than Melo. But i like Nuggets more than Lakers.

You often hear people say, 'you never win until the game finishes'. That's so true and you could generally say that the 4th quarter is the most important quarter out of 4. In the 4th quarter, i saw the difference between great players and good players. When you look at Melo's eyes, you don't see the fire whereas when you look at Kobe's eyes, you can see the determination and how bad he wants to win it.

During the 4th quarter, i saw Melo messing up shots, he was forcing shots, missing free throws and got fouled out towards the end of the game. On the other hand, Kobe was quietly doing his thing, hitting 5 of his last 6 free throws and made a game-commanding 3 in the face of J.R. Smith plus a possible foul, which did not get called.

All these classified the players from good and great with their psychological standards, willingness and desire to win it all.

Kobe, who did not do very well on defense in game 2, desperately wanted to make up for the loss of game 2 at home. He was full on aggressive on offense throughout the whole game, who ended up scoring 41 points along with well-planned 'foul' strategies by Phil Jackson and his coaching staff, led to a win in Denver.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's Amazin'

A friend of mine, came up with this rhyme.
Inspired by Kanye West's "Amazing".

It's amazin'
I am the reason
Skills are proven
You'd better run

Put on Fly in the hood
Got game? Sure you would

A big brand comin' up
Everyone say what's up

Come and say it with me
You are my V.I.P.