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Everybody saw the Kobe-Shaq embrace. Here's some stuff I saw.

I think the Heat players got a little caught up with the energy in the arena and, in the first half, didn't play the way they had been the last four games. The defense was OK, but the offense was rushed. Even some of the shots that James Posey and Jason Williams missed didn't look like their normal shots.

Denzel Washington was chatting it up with L.A. writers during the game, and he was angry about the Indianapolis Colts' approach to the second half against the Steelers. He wanted Edgerrin James to touch the ball some more, and he called Peyton Manning the best "regular season" quarterback in the league. Ouch, man.

I honestly think Dwyane may have had a breakthrough in this game. Here's what I mean by that.
Dwyane has had his decent games against the Lakers, but I honestly feel that, even though Dwyane would never admit it, he felt like Kobe could defend him well -- to the point where Kobe could take him out of his game.
But in the second half of this game, even in the fourth quarter when Dwyane was playing on a bad foot/ankle, he took Kobe, no screens, no nothing, a few times, and did to Kobe what he does to every other defender in the league. I've watched all four Heat-Lakers games closely (I watch all games closely), and that's the first time I've seen him do that consistently against Kobe. Now, it's too bad it came in a loss, but I think it only opened Dwyane's eyes to the fact that, at this point in his career, no one can guard him one-on-one. And because of that, assuming he doesn't have to miss any games with this latest injury, I think Dwyane's gonna put together some great games coming up.

I said a few entries back that I thought Antoine would put together a good string of games. He made it to four straight, then he fell back to playing rushed, forced basketball against the Lakers. But just like the Heat, you have to figure it a three-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of thing, and games like Monday's will become more of a rarity for Antoine than a common sight.

Referee Joey Crawford was OUT OF CONTROL in this game. He was calling techs for no reason, looking for fouls to call on certain plays, getting people kicked out. It's funny how refs have their moments during these big-time games. I guess they have to get their airtime, too.

The play that Andrew Bynum spun and dunked on Shaq, that would have been called a hook offensive foul (Bynum used the old chicken wing with his left elbow as he spun) had Shaq been in better position defensively. Shaq was kind of falling forward for some reason, so it didn't matter what Bynum did when he spun. I doubt it, but don't be too shocked if Shaq gets some sort of fine, or even a suspension, for the forearm he gave Bynum.




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