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Chicago Bulls: The Bulls were the consensus pick to be the Eastern Conference's sacrificial lamb in the 2008 NBA Finals, but the so-called "best team in the East" is now 0-3. Why? Well, Loul "We won't give him up for Kobe Bryant" Deng managed only 10 points (4-of-12), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 turnovers against the 76ers, and he followed up that performance with 8 points (4-of-11), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 turnovers against the Bucks. Kirk Hinrich shot 6-of-24 over the weekend, had 8 turnovers, and committed 9 fouls. Ben "I'm the best player on the team" Gordon is averaging 22 points, but he's shooting 38 percent and averaging a team-high 4.3 turnovers. Ben Wallace -- the Bulls' $60 million man -- notched 1 point and 4 rebounds against the 76ers, then 5 points and 2 rebounds against the Bucks. As a team, the Bulls are scoring 86 PPG, shooting 32 percent from the field, and getting outrebounded 50-42. Their best player over three games has been Joe Smith, which pretty much says it all. Now, the Bulls are well-known for getting off to a slow start over the last few years, so they'll probably recover. But right now, they're just downright bad.

Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs suffered an astonishing 101-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, during which they were outplayed in every single aspect of the game. By the Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks. If that doesn't make Avery Johnson throw up in his mouth a little, nothing will. Of course, the Hawks would have beaten the Pistons on Sunday if not for an iffy last-second call that went Detroit's way, so the "Baby Birds" might be better than I thought.

Doc Rivers: On Friday night, the Celtics had TKO'd the Wizards by halftime and eventually won by 20. You'd think Doc would have gotten his three stars some rest, right? Wrong. Paul Pierce played 39 minutes, and Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen played 38 a piece. Look, when your team is nursing a 20-point lead for most of three quarters, they should be on the bench with ice on their knees, joking around and eating pizza. Maybe you leave one of them in to kind of settle down the scrubs, but all three? If Rivers wants to keep these guys healthy, he needs to do a better job managing their minutes.

Gilbert Arenas: In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Here is Agent Zero...now plain zero!" Arenas promised a big win against the Celtics on Friday night, then shot 5-of-20 and had 4 turnovers as the Wizards got blown out in Boston. He followed that up with a 10-point (5-of-15), 6 turnover performance as the Wizards got pounded by the Magic. It's obvious that Agent Zero hasn't fully recovered from knee surgery, and his team (0-3) is paying the price.

Golden State Warriors: In my Bestern Conference Season Preview, I said "Last year's Cinderella Team is going to be this year's floundering disappointment." So far, my prediction is right on the money: The Warriors are 0-3. On Friday night, they lost a 120-114 decision to the Clippers and made Chris Kaman (26 points, 18 rebounds) look like a latter-day Moses Malone. Not a good sign. Then on Sunday they were blown out (for the second time this season) by the Jazz. Of course, it's important to note that the Warriors are still missing their spiritual leader, Stephen Jackson. It's probably also worth noting that their spiritual leader is currenlty serving a 7-game suspension for pleading guilty to a felony charge of criminal recklessness for firing a gun into the air outside an Indianapolis club.

Indianapolis Colts: They coughed up a 10-point fourth-quarter lead thanks to a handful of defensive lapses and a couple Peyton Manning fumbles. Now we have to suffer through another couple months of "Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever!" and "Will the Patriots finish the season undefeated?" articles. Thanks, Colts.

Los Angeles Lakers: The Fakers were supposed to suck this season; that's why Kobe Bryant dissed his teammates and the organization, then demanded a one-way ticket out town. Apparently, the rest of the team didn't get that memo. Their consecutive wins against the Suns and Jazz were impressive, although both of those teams were in the second half of back-to-backs while the Lakers were coming off a full day's rest. The bright side is that the two wins have quieted the Kobe trade rumors for the time being, but I'm not sure I want to live in a world in which the Lakers aren't terrible.

Miami Heat: Shaq said it was important for the Heat to get off to a strong start this season and then promised he was going to run wild. Well, you can start calling him The Big Geraldo Rivera, because Shaq's predictions were that far off the mark. The Heat are 0-3 after losing to the Pacers on Friday and the Bobcats on Sunday. Shaq's season averages are 8.5 PPG (on 42 percent shooting), 7.0 RPG, and 1.5 APG to go along with 5.0 turnovers and 5.5 fouls. Seriously, it's time for Shaq to enter the "late Wilt Chamberlain" part of his career, where he concentrates on rebounding and playing defense. Yeah, I know: Not friggin' likely. Random Heat Fact: Udonis Haslem leads the team in shot attempts at 16.0 a game.

New Jersey Nets: The Toronto Raptors scored a first-round knockout in Friday night's "revenge game" against the Nets. Every team has the occasional bad night, but how do you explain losing by 37 at home? Richard Jefferson -- in an effort to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for most ridiculous understatement -- said, "We didn't play very well." Vince Carter said it better, though, when he said, "We took one straight in the mouth." Uh, yeah. You took it in more places than just the mouth, Vince.

Phoenix Suns: The Suns got obliterated by the Lakers on Friday night, as Steve Nash dished out only 2 assists and Amare Stoudemire scored 7 points on 2-of-10 shooting. Speaking of Stoudemire, he missed Sunday's game due to discomfort in his most recently surgically-repaired knee (as opposed to his other surgically repaird knee). Phoenix managed to rally for a win over Cleveland on Sunday, but how many 40-minute games can Grant Hill play before he crumples into a heap?

Sacramento Kings: The "Sacramento Queens" have lost their first three games by margins of 14, 16, and 21 points. They're just plain awful. One bright note: John Salmons (21 PPG, 5 RPG, 6 APG, 53 percent shooting) is playing great.

The League: Mike Dunleavy Jr. is averaging 22 PPG, 9 RPG, and 4 APG while shooting 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Those are All-Star numbers. From Mike Dunleavy Jr.!!

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8 Comments:
Anonymous Sean said...
That's because Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL.

Anonymous monr said...
Godlike QB. Also, Boston probably just kept the Three in since it was the home opener and all.

Anyway, what's the domestic abuse charge on Ron Artest? I don't remember reading anything about it, so I'm figuring maybe the NBA is really just letting him serve his next suspension now as opposed to later...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
sean -- Hunh. I certainly walked into that one.

monr -- Well, the thing was, Washington did cut the lead to 13 of 14 at one point, so I can see putting one of the Three in to get the troops settled down. And I get that it was the home opener and all, but the crowd was just sitting back in the kind of saucy, post-coital daze it hasn't gotten in a long time. Oh well.

Artest's domestic "dispute" happened last March, but didn't get settled until after last season ended. The league couldn't punish Artest until he was found guilty, and so they couldn't tag him with a suspension until the season started. Still, that's a pretty good idea; just randomly suspend him here and there for his upcoming outbursts. Then he won't have to miss all those games at one time.

Anonymous Sean said...
Basketbawful: Sorry if I came off as a typical Pats fan. I love the Patriots, for sure, but I sure as hell respect the Colts and Manning as well.

Anonymous starang said...
The Suns got murdalated by the Fakers, thats for sure...but I've never seen such a horrible collection of wanna be talent like the Fakers shoot so dam well. They seemed to never miss.

As for Amare's knee, and every joint on Grant Hill's body...I think they will be alright. I also cringe when I see Grant take it to the rack like he has been. He has hit the hard wood a lot already, and we're only 3 games in.

Historically, this team starts off slow. Even in our 2 wins, we dogged it for 3 quarters before we finally turned it on. But however horrible the Fakers are, they are not as bad as Seatle (just young) or Cleavland (just horrible), which is why we won those two. We can't play 1 quarter a game and expect a decent record against west coast teams.

East coast 4 game swing coming up, so we'll be 6 and 1 by Sat night.

GO SUNS

Blogger djnumbers said...
Bet the Bulls might want to consider trading for Kobe now. But if the Bynum keeps playing well and the Lakers keep winning I can't see Kobe wanting to leave. After all, he does have the no-trade clause. By the way, the Lakers are never terrible and never will be. They'll only be as bad as mediocre. That whoopin' they put on the Suns sure was nice.

Anonymous starang said...
You are right, they are mediocre. They'll scratch and claw for the 8 spot again, will loose again in the first round, and be mediocre next season as well. Get used to it. Kobe isn't taking that team anywhere. They are at least 2 players short of a 4 seed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"They are at least 2 players short of a 4 seed."

yawn. tell us something we don't know already. until their young guys grow up (farmar, turiaf, bynum), they'll be treading water in the west. under normal circumstances, fans will stop buying season tix after consecutive first round exits, but this is LA afterall. too much dead weight (kwame, sasha, cook, radman) for any superstar to compensate for...

you state that they need lots of help, yet still place blame on mr colorado? sounds like you should be writing for espn

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