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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rick Kamla Fails Logic 101

The L.A. Lakers routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-57 on Tuesday night, prompting NBA TV's Rick Kamla to comment that this shows just how good LeBron James really is. Maybe Kamla simply meant that as an offhand remark/joke but since his statement represents what many people really do think about the impact that James' departure has had on the Cavaliers it is worth doing a little side by side comparison.

Here is a list of the Cavaliers who played versus the Lakers last night:

Manny Harris (41:17 minutes played)
Samardo Samuels (32:54)
Antawn Jamison (30:32)
Alonzo Gee (29:34)
Mo Williams (25:52)
Ramon Sessions (25:45)
J.J. Hickson (17:07)
Ryan Hollins (16:25)
Jamario Moon (13:49)
Christian Eyenga (6:45)

Here is a list of the Cavaliers who played versus the Lakers on December 25, 2009 (which is the last time that the Cavs visited L.A. to face the Lakers, defeating the reigning NBA champions 102-87):

LeBron James (40:44 minutes played)
Mo Williams (39:14)
Anderson Varejao (32:39)
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (29:31)
Anthony Parker (24:48)
Jamario Moon (23:56)
Shaquille O'Neal (21:56)
Delonte West (16:45)
J.J. Hickson (9:48)
Jawad Williams (0:21)
Darnell Jackson (0:11)
Daniel Gibson (0:07)

Seven Cavs players played at least 20 minutes versus the Lakers in L.A. last season; just ONE of those players (Mo Williams) played at least 20 minutes versus the Lakers last night. Saying that yesterday's game shows how valuable James is makes about as much sense as saying that the Sixers' struggles this season show how valuable Julius Erving was.

James' value is actually demonstrated by how well his current team is performing. Unless something drastically changes, James should win his third straight regular season MVP--not because the Cavaliers are doing poorly but because the Miami Heat are playing very well, with James leading the way.

In case it is not glaringly obvious, I would not have picked the Cavs to win 35-40 games and capture the eighth playoff spot in the East if I had known that less than halfway through the season Manny Harris, Samardo Samuels and Alonzo Gee would be key rotation players--and if anyone based his prediction for the Cavs' record this season on knowing that information (as opposed to other, less realistic reasons) then that person should be playing the lottery!

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posted by David Friedman @ 3:09 PM

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unlike Hoop Magazine, ESPN Does Not Tolerate Plagiarism

Kevin Ding, the L.A. Lakers' beat writer for the Orange County Register, experienced a very disconcerting kind of deja vu when he watched ESPN's "Highlight Express" show a couple weeks ago: anchor Will Selva used the first several sentences of a recent Ding column to introduce the Lakers-Spurs highlights. Ding rightly called out Selva publicly and ESPN promptly responded by suspending Selva indefinitely.

It is still not too late for Hoop magazine to do the right thing regarding the way that editor Ming Wong blatantly allowed one of his writers to rip off my story about Jim O'Brien, basketball and chess; after all, Selva "only" lifted a few sentences but Hoop essentially recapitulated an entire article. It is worth noting that when Selva apologized for his actions he said that while researching the Lakers-Spurs game he had copied down Ding's words intending to rephrase them but then had forgotten to do so. This is basically what Wong told me his writer had done with my Chess and Basketball article. ESPN properly did not accept Selva's weak excuse and the publisher of Hoop should take the same approach regarding not only their plagiarist but also Wong, the editor who allowed the plagiarism to take place and did nothing to redress this matter even after I pointed it out to him.

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posted by David Friedman @ 4:08 PM

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