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Thursday, May 8, 2008

MoneyMan Memo chats with...Doug Collins?

This was an email I received from one of our long time favorite readers MoneyMan Memo. Great stuff MM, thanks for the email.

First, I was NOT at the game. I was at the Staples Center, but could not get into the game (no tickets). Instead, I watched the game in the FOXSports bar in the Staples Center lobby with my buddy, a Laker fan. In other words, I was in the heart of the enemy's territory. Sorry, no photos. Basically, envision a packed house of folks dressed in piss yellow and disgusting purple, most wearing Kobe gear, holding yellow MVP placards, and cheering everytime the Lakers scored (way too frequently). Let me tell you, it really sucked to watch the game in that environment (coupled with the Jazz playing like garbage).

However, I do have a story to share. I flew out of LAX on Thursday morning, and guess who I spotted in the airport? Doug Collins, sitting and reading the LA Times with a cup of Starbucks. He looks a lot older in person than on TV, so it took me a few takes to be convinced that it was actually him. I introduced myself as a fan of his (I am actually a big fan of his broadcast work), and of course as a huge Jazz fan. I then asked him about his thoughts on last night's game and the whole Jazz-Lakers series. We chatted for about 10 min, and he was incredibly nice and just as insightful as he is on television.

Topics we discussed:

Boozer: This is the first topic that Doug brought up when I asked about the Jazz performance in this series. He truly believes that Boozer's back is bothering him more than he is admitting, and the Jazz cannot win the series unless he gets healthy. We talked about him being subpar even during the Rockets series, and Doug pointed out that his performance begin suffering even during the last 7 games of the regular season. He said Boozer is getting treatment for his back after every game and said he asked Boozer about it last night after the game, but he wouldn't say it's an issue. I have to agree with Doug - Boozer has not looked as aggressive, and it looks strained/painful for him to even take jumpshots.

Lakers offense: Doug's comment - they are looking very very good. They are too quick for the Jazz to handle.

Jazz defense: I asked him about the Jazz fouls and why he felt there were still so many in Game 2, even after Game 1's postgame comments by both sides (my reasons for asking were that I really thought the Lakers were getting the benefit of the doubt a little too much in Game 2). He made an interesting point. First, the Lakers are very quick on offense (ball movement), in particular Odom. Also, Gasol moves very well without the ball. However, it was his opinion that the Jazz are getting called for a lot of fouls because they are playing defense with their hands out in the front of them instead of having them by their sides and moving their bodies. This makes it hard for the refs not to call a foul. Maybe that's just how Sloan and the coaching staff want them to do it - as far as I can remember, the Jazz have always done it that way and it's largely why they are known to be physical.

Lakers defense: Doug's take: Odom and Gasol's length are giving the Jazz big problems. Also, he said the Lakers are not defending the outside shot for any Jazz player except for Korver. They are keeping one foot in the paint on defense at all times to stifle the Jazz offensive sets, which are predicated on getting layups. I thought this was a good observation and an important one that Boozer brought up as well in his postgame interviews - the Jazz need to make some outside shots to keep the Laker defense honest and then they can go inside.

Comparison between Jazz-Bulls ~10 years ago and Jazz-Lakers today: He said he spoke with Phil Jackson about this. I was more interested in asking Doug about what Utah could do this time around against Phil's team to actually win, but we only got around to making the obvious comparisons. Jordan-Kobe, Kerr-Fisher, Odom-Pippen (although Doug said that while Phil tried to get him to play Pippen's role, it didn't fit for Odom). Stockton-Williams, BryonRussell-Brewer, Shandon-AK, AntoineCarr-Millsap, Malone-Boozer, Horny-Korver, Eisley-Price, and the only big deviation being Okur being completely different from Ostertag.
Doug's next broadcast is on Monday night in Cleveland for Game 4 of the Celts-Cavs series.

Thanks to Doug Collins for being kind enough to stop reading his paper and chat with a bleary-eyed commoner like myself early on a Thursday morning in the airport. He even remembered my name at the end of our talk. Go Jazz for Game 3 - I'll be praying for Boozer's back (and mental resolve) to improve.

Editors note: You're a freaking stud MM. Thanks again for the report.


Basketball John said...

Did anyone else read the title as MM "cheats" with Doug Collins? Me neither.

K-wonder said...

He looks older in person? I have been thinking things like "Doug Collins hasn't aged well" and "What is wrong with Doug Collins' hair?" during his recent telecasts, so hopefully it isn't too much worse. That withstanding, he continues to be a good analyst; much better than Fratello for sure, and less annoying than Reggie in my opinion. That's awesome that you were able to have such a good chat with him Moneyman.

Ron Boone said...

Nice work MM. That is awesome. Way to step up and not be afraid to chat with him.