Midway through the second quarter of Game One of the Finals last night, Nate Robinson tied up Pau Gasol and a jump ball was whistled. Pau controlled the tip to Kobe Bryant, who made a tough jump shot to give the Lakers a three point lead in what had to that point been a very close contest.
Mark Jackson proceeded to spend most of Boston's next possession, as well as the replays shown during a subsequent Andrew Bynum free throw, to effuse about how the play demonstrated Kobe's off the charts basketball IQ. According to Jackson, Kobe's awareness of the 24 second clock in that situation was worthy of undying admiration and praise.
The jump ball occurred with 5 seconds showing on the shot clock. The shot clock is of course part of every NBA possession, and awareness of it is hardly limited to Mensa members. But during a jump ball, there's a stoppage in play and pretty much everyone on the court has plenty of time to take a quick gander above the basket and, you know, check it out. That, plus a rudimentary understanding of the rule book, enough to understand that the clock does not reset on a jump ball if the original team retains possession, is pretty much all you need to know. Yet somehow to Jackson, this was completely uncanny, an act of pure genius. What an incredible basketball IQ. He knew the shot clock was winding down! I half expected Jackson to compliment Kobe for shooting at the proper basket as well. The whole thing was made all the more laughable by the fact that, when you think about it, we have very little evidence that Kobe in fact did know the clock. He got the ball and he shot. Um, that's pretty much what he does.
And does anyone else find it more than a little creepy when Jackson says "Mama, there's goes that man" given Kobe's history?