Saturday, March 24, 2007

A couple of men's basketball items, neither involving the NCAA Division I tournament...

In the Division II final, defending champion Winona State had its 57-game winning streak snapped, as Barton College took this year's national title. The improbability of Barton's victory can be seen from the lead paragraph of the above-linked game article:

Anthony Atkinson scored 10 points in the final 39 seconds, including a layup at the buzzer, to give Barton College its first NCAA Division II title with a 77-75 victory over previously unbeaten and defending champion Winona State.

I watched the last couple minutes of the game on television and Winona State's combination of missed free throws, turnovers, and inopportune fouls really was not something you'd expect from a team that had won 57 straight games.


In NBA action, the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, whose offensive exploits have often prompted hot-hand analyses over the years, has now scored at least 50 points in four straight games. As noted in the linked article:

Only the late Wilt Chamberlain has had more 50-point games in a row than Bryant, hitting that mark in seven consecutive games during the 1961-62 season.

As shown in this Laker game-by-game log, the team has been quite streaky in recent weeks, starting February 8 against the Pistons:

at Detroit L 78-93
at Toronto L 92-96
at Cleveland L 90-99
New York L 106-107
Cleveland L 108-114
Portland L 108-112

Boston W 122-96
at Golden State W 102-85
at Utah W 102-94

Sacramento L 108-116
at Phoenix L 94-99
at Minnesota L (OT) 107-117
at Milwaukee L 90-110
at Philadelphia L 92-108
Dallas L 72-108
at Denver L 86-113

Portland W (OT) 116-111
Minnesota W 109-102
at Memphis W 121-119
at NO/Oklahoma City W 111-105

Some of the losing stretches appear to be associated with the Lakers' going on road trips, but they've also lost some home games and won some on the road. Many of you have probably seen highlights of Bryant's shooting in recent games, and some of the video clips are truly amazing. There's one, late in the game against Portland I believe, where he goes through a set of gyrations to shed the Blazer defenders before draining a three.

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