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A Brand New Shareef

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I don't think I've ever seen Shareef Abdur-Rahim show as much positive emotion on the court as he did last night.

Chest bumps. Cheering on his teammates. Telling Bonzi how hard he is by pushing him playfully after an And-1. Throwing his hands up after a big put-back. Running around and laughing after late by a half-second 50-foot swish.

I like this guy. We should keep him around for a few years.

Shareef and Bonzi might be the best bench tandem in the league right now. Not only are they All-Star caliber guys, but they are so entirely different from the starters they replace that they're like sticking Randy Johnson in for Greg Maddux - it's a completely different look opponents have to immediately adjust for.

I think that's a big reason the duo can put up big numbers so quickly - the other team is off-guard. Brad never plays with his back to the basket - he's shoots, passes or drives from 15-18 feet out. So when Reef comes in and gets in the triple-threat position from 12, the opposing center has to adjust. Add in that a) no centers in the NBA can guard Reef in that position and b) few players period can guard Reef one-on-one, and you can see why dude causes so many problems.

It's the same thing with Bonzi. Speedracer gets his share of o-boards, but he does it completely different than Bonzi. Speed flies in to grab loose balls. Bonzi? He mans up and beats the sh*t out of folks. Same on the other end - I think Kevin is easily the better offensive player, but he's a shooter and a driver. Bonzi is a bumper and muscler and cutter. Completely different games, completely different strategy to defend. It has to be puzzling for youngsters like Dahntay Jones.

A couple other thoughts:

  • clutch said it best in the open game thread: "Yes! 500!!!!!" Feels good, no?
  • I have a unifying theory on Ron Artest, but I'm saving it for Monday or Tuesday.
  • I have a unifying theory on Jake Tsakalidis as well, but I'll go ahead and throw that out here now: Jake Tsakalidis is teh suck because he cannot set a screen if his life depended on it. Not one screen Friday night in like 26 minutes. He's a decent enough rebounder and a big enough defender to not be on his 13th team in four seasons. But he's so useless on offense (Brad actually didn't guard him until Jake came within six feet of the rim) that he's a constant liability. Another big white stiff furthering damn stereotypes.
  • The best development from the last couple days is the incredibly evident confidence and team spirit growing in the Kings lockerroom. Best quote from the post-game? Mike Bibby saying, "It's feels like the old days." Exactly what I wanted to hear.
  • Another great quote, this one from Rick Adelman via The Bee: "We think we can beat anybody right now." Me too, which is why Dallas on Sunday is such a huge game - a statement game, if you will.
  • I hate the Lakers. Yeah.
Here's to Shareef breaking the curse! Cheers!