Wally Mugging

Sasha Pavlovic: He was easily the least productive Cavalier -- among those that saw some PT -- and that's really saying something: 10 minutes, zero points (0-for-1), 1 rebound, 1 steal and 1 foul. But in another statistical anomaly that Mr. Lenova has yet to adequately explain, Sasha had the best +/- score on the team (+4). So, what? He's unproductive but invaluable?

Daniel Gibson: It's probably been official for a while now, but I'm going to say it anyway: Delonte West has rendered Boobie obsolete. And now Boobs, like Sasha, is stuck in a Catch-and-Shoot-22: He's not effective unless he's getting shots, but he's not going to get any shots unless he becomes more effective. And it showed (again) last night: 2 points, 1-for-4, 1 block and 1 foul in 14 minutes of lack-tion. It's hard to believe this now, but does anybody else remember how crucial Boobie was when the Cavs eliminated the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals last year?

Wally Szczerbiak: After a couple solid games in Cleveland, Wally transformed back into the White Larry Hughes by dropping 10 points on 3-for-8 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds, zero assists, 1 turnover and 2 fouls.

Ben Wallace: He's still dying dizzy, right? I mean 4 points, 4 rebounds, a turnover and a block. Oh, and he had the worst +/- score on the team (-11). Is that really more production than they would have gotten out of Drew Gooden? Or even Drew Gooden's beard?

Mike Brown: Not to go all kinky on you guys, but I'm starting to think that Brown is into autoerotic asphyxiation, because he tends to coach with both hands around his neck. And last night was no exception. And here are a few fun comments left about Brown on my NBA Closer Column:

Magnakai Haaskivi: You know, Mike Brown...just because a plan worked ONCE doesn't mean it'll work EVERY SINGLE TIME. You have to assume they'll adjust to your adjustments.

Burning River: Dear Mike Brown, Two things: first, please stop running a ball screen for LeBron. If you don't do this, Boston cannot double up on him. Second, Please do not have Wally on the floor when you have 3 time outs and need a rebound. Thanks, Everyone in Cleveland

Juancho: Seriously, to blow a 14-point lead, cut it 4, and end up losing by 7...Mike Brown...(speechless)...this series is like the bad basketball coaching death octagon: 2 teams will enter, but only 1 coach should be allowed to leave.

Ray Allen: Mr. Shuttlesworth played okay...for Wally Szczerbiak. The line: 11 points, 4-for-11, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers. Not a bad 40 minutes worth of work for a perennial All-Star, huh? His transformation into Chris Mullin circa 1999 is now complete. Oh, and Rajon Rondo (20 points, 2-for-3 from downtown, 13 assists) may have officially taken Ray-Ray's place in The Mid-Sized Three.

LeBron James: The final numbers were fantastic -- 35 points, 12-for-25 from the field, 11-for-13 from the line, 5 assists -- but after scoring 23 points in the first 20 minutes, King James sent cold, going 4-for-14 and getting burned by Paul Pierce. LeBron also committed 4 turnovers and, after the game, fell back into talking in the third person: "We know it's a win-or-go-home situation...but a LeBron James team is never desperate."

Kendrick Perkins: You can't even say The Beast looked as slow and helpless as Big Ben...because he looked even more slow and helpless. Perkins scored 1 points (0-for-2), grabbed 5 rebounds, threw the ball away twice, had one of his shots stuffed and committed 4 fouls in 28 minutes of sheer ugliness. It's like he's channeling the spirit of Greg Kite.

Doc Rivers: Doc pulled a K.C. Jones last night by playing four of his starters 40+ minutes. It "worked" insofar as the Celtics won the game. But if Boston continues to struggle on the road and has to play seven-game series after seven-game series to proceed, they're going to get worn down. Oh, and his management of the last few minutes of the game was (as usual) terrible.

The Boston Bench: As noted, they didn't get much of a chance to shine, as Doc played got only a combined 45 minutes out of his reserves. And Gang Green promptly sunk to the occasion: 9 points, 4-for-11 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 steals, and 9 fouls. And their numbers were only that good because of Big Baby Davis (6 points, 3-for-4).

Eddie House: He gets special attention for earning his second mario of the playoffs.

Doc Rivers, quote machine: Regarding Rajon Rondo's two three-pointers, Doc said: "Those were shots that when they go in, you love them." Thanks for the enlightenment, Doc.

Carlos Boozer: He shot almost 55 percent from the field during the regular season, but you wouldn't even guess that based on how he's been shooting in this series. Last night, the Booz Man was 6-for-16. And part of the problem has been his reliance on the jump shot, and he was 2-for-8 from outside last night. C'mon, Carlos! You're an inside player. Play inside. Karl Malone didn't start shooting bailout jumpers until he was almost 40.

Paul Millsap: This guy really frustrates me, so I can't imagine how crazy he's driving Jerry Sloan. Some nights, he looks so good, like in Game 2 when he kept the Jazz in the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Other nights, he just disappears like most of your buddies do when you have to move to a new apartment. Last night was one of those "other nights": Zero points (0-for-0), 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls in 7 minutes.

Jarron Collins: He won the Most Invisible Seven-footer of the Night ward: Zero points (0-for-0) and 1 rebound in 2:33. Take away the rebound, and that would have been a vintage Jason Collins performance.

Sasha Vujacic: I enjoy seeing douchebags fail, so Sasha gave me a happy last night by scoring 6 points on 1-for-11 shooting. He was 1-for-8 on threes, which -- in addition to slap-happy defense -- is his supposed specialty.

Luke Walton: Mitch Kupchak finished second in NBA Executive of the Year voting, and it was well-deserved. For the most part. But the six-year, $30 million contract he gave to Walton was as good a reason as any that Kups didn't come in first. The Son of Bill must have been channeling the spirit of his daddy's feet, because he played a pretty worthless 13 minutes: 1 point, 0-for-1, 2 rebounds, zero assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal and 2 personal fouls. And just think: The Lakers can look forward to five more years of this!

D.J. Mbenga: One night after Arron Afflalo did it -- and yeah, I realize I boned that one -- Mbenga matched Afflalo's seemingly impossible feat: He played exactly one second. As Basketbawful reader Justin put it: "Wednesday night, DJ 'Jazzy' Mbenja achieved the most inconceivably awesome Super Mario ever: he played for one second. I've been racking my brain for the proper term for such an epic event, but I'm too excited about saying DJ 'Jazzy' Mbenja to even try thinking of one. But if there is any man capable of both tackling this issue and actually caring about it, I know that man is you." Thank you, Justin. And I am that man. I would describe the event as phenomenally sad, kind of like watching somebody stuff sick kittens into a blender and hit "liquify." Actually, it's a little sadder than that.

Officiating: I'm not going to blast the fact that the Lakers got another 40+ freethrows at home -- although they did -- but I am going to shred the refs for letting Pau Gasol go over the back to score the Lakers' game-breaking basket. As NovakAintNoJokovic put it in my Closer column: "Did anyone else think Gasol's 'crucial' offensive-rebound-and-put-back with 20 seconds to go should have been called an over-the-back? He basically gave Okur a shiatsu massage before shoving him out of the way." The answer, of course, is yes, yes and yes.

Update! Road teams: The road teams are now 1-19 in the second round. That's historically bad. Anybody care to explain the road woes? I'm sure it has nothing to do with The Stern Button, or the fact that extended series bring in a lot of revenue. And don't forget, this stuff started happening at the very beginning of the Stern Era.

NBA Executive of the Year voters: Danny Ainge won the award, as he should have, and Mitch Kupchak came in second, as he should have. And coming in third, only two votes behind Kups, was...New Orleans GM Jeff Bower? Seriously? What, because he sat on Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler? That was a no-brainer. Or was it because he dealt a useful reserve (Bobby Jackson) for a chunky malcontent (Bonzi Wells) and a shoot-happy bench jockey (Mike James). I would really like to hear an explanation for those 12 votes.

NBA.com: Last night's two-face promo featured LeBron James versus...Kevin Garnett? Nope. It was actually LeBron versus LeBron. And here I thought there could be only one. (Thanks to Erich, j men and Milad for jumping all over this one.)

lbj vs lbj

Update! NBA.com's fantasy "expert": They picked Wally Szczerbiak as last night's breakout fantasy player. Whoops. Basketbawful reader Milan pointed this one out to me.

Wally pick

Yahoo! Getty Images: This is more of a personal amusement than an actual "Worst." But somebody at Getty Images must have realized that Basketbawful has been keeping track of their caption boo-boos, because they not only corrected a mistake, they made a really big-ass deal out correcting it (see below). Just another way Basketbawful is making the world a better place. Thanks to kobefearslebron for the 411. Oh, and thanks to dunkfu for replacing the blame.

Yahoo correction

Random Evil Ted extra: "Has there ever really been a SERIOUS caption error? Unless of course it's a writ from the Governor that mistakenly says "Execute this man" instead of "DON'T execute this man."

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31 Comments:
Anonymous Shrugz said...
ZOMG Carlos Boozer turned into Chris Bosh!!! oh the humanity!!!

Blogger Justin Sane said...
I don't understand how Luke can play for the Lakers when his dad played for the Blazers and Celtics. You'd think Bill would have raised his son to know better.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
shrugz -- I wasn't going to say it, but since you did...

justin sane -- Actually, as I understand it, Bill was a Lakers fan growing up, and he tried to get the Lakers to acquire him in the summer of '85 before he contacted the Celtics. However, Jerry West told him, "Sorry, Bill, but I've seen X-Rays of your foot."

Blogger Bryan said...
The non-call on Gasol was the about the only call the ref's got right in the 4th quarter. for what it's worth, the Salt Lake guys talked about Bob Delaney and Steve Javie, (part of last nights officiating crew) http://blogs.sltrib.com/jazz/2008/05/no-delaney-no-javie-but-two-homers.htm
so Kobe's favorite ref and on who on the surface seems to harbor a grudge against the jazz. I'm just saying... either way Boozer lost this game for the jazz, as soon as he gets out of this slump, they can get something accomplished, maybe win their home opener?

Blogger Ed said...
It's bad that the Lakers got twice as many free throws as the Jazz in LA. But it's OK that the Jazz got twice as many free throws as the Lakers in Utah? Wait, what? That only works if Basketbawful hates the Lakers.

Oh, right.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Avery Johnson was the special guest on TNT's 'Inside last night- so I just had to ask:

Who has the bigger mouth? Mick Jagger, Avery Johnson or Steven Tyler? I mean, when Avery SAYS "Basketball" (or BAYASKETBAWAL!!!) it looks like he could actually EAT a whole basketball in one bite!

Am I taking crazy pills?? Doesn't anybody else see this?

Blogger dunkfu said...
That doesn't look like a Yahoo caption correction, it appears to be a Getty images correction which Different company.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
ed -- Don't get your panties in a bunch, son. When did I say it was alright? The Jazz got more FTAs than L.A. exactly once in this series, in Game 4, when they had a 45-25 advantage that smelled like home cookin' to yours truly. However, I as noted in Tuesday, Statbuster filled in for Worst of the Weekend, so I didn't get the chance to comment on the fact.

Yes, I hate the Lakers. But I've always been an equal-opportunity basher.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I was at the game, sitting near the basket. Pau was going over the top ALL GAME and it wasn't getting called, which is fine. So to expect the refs to suddenly call it in the last minute is stupid. In a sport where there are fouls on every single play, all you can ask for is consistency.

Blogger Trev said...
This blog post explains why Jeff Bower should be considered and I kind of a agree with it, Building a team isn't a one year deal:

http://highfivehoopschool.blogspot.com/2008/05/hornets.html

Also if that does convince you, how can you not vote for a guy that looks like this:

http://www.nba.com/media/hornets/250_blog_buzz_5july2007.jpg

Blogger Austen said...
The Stern Button got so many pushes in that 4th Quarter of the Jazz/Lakers game that I was waiting for the refs to suddenly start shorting out with their heads blowing off, Stepford Wives-style. Even the Jazz don't get the kind of calls the Lakers were getting last night. How about the no-call on Gasol running over a perfectly positioned Harpring in the lane for that easy 2? Or Odom getting an "And 1" dunk continuation call with a foul on Boozer when Boozer didn't even touch him? And as bad as Boozer played last night, he was getting hacked every time he went into the post, which is why he was scoring on jump shots.

The Jazz had a great many chances to take the lead last night and blew it. But it's hard to blame them when they had to play that last quarter 5-on-8. -_-'

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Trev -- While I totally agree that building a team isn't a one-year project, NBA Executive of the Year IS a one-year award. Kind of like how MVP isn't supposed to be a Lifetime Achievement Award or a composite of regular season AND playoff performances.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Henry Abbot on TrueHoop called the Gasol-Okur situation a flop by Okur, and he's totally right. Check out the gif. http://i32.tinypic.com/2qnbk11.gif. While Gasol sure did have his elbow in his back, Okur was so far under the rim already that he had no chance at the ball AND he lurched forward on his own. No doubt about it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
best GM in the league, hands down -
Joe D.

for building a legacy... six straight years and counting

Blogger Justin said...
I imagine Phil Jackson pulling Jazzy Mbenja aside and saying, "Hey Congo, wanna go in for a sec," and Mbenja foolishly believing this is a figure of speech. Silly Mbenja, figures of speech are for kids. Phil Jackson does not mince words.

Blogger Andrei said...
I think you need to add the news that Sir Charles will go to jail if he doesn't pay up his 400k gambling debt to the worst of the night. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3397572

Blogger Nick said...
You were all over the two quotes I was going to post on here: Doc Rivers excellent quote and LeBron's third person extravaganza. Say what you will about Kobe Bryant, but I've followed him pretty closely and I can't say that I've ever heard the phrase "A Kobe Bryant team" come out of his mouth.

Blogger Exick said...
Maybe if the Jazz weren't the grabbiest, hackiest, foulingest team in the league, I might give a crap when I hear anyone bitch about them getting hosed by the refs.

P.S. Okur flopped on that Gasol rebound. Fight it if you want. You know it's true.

Anonymous Greg said...
Wait a minute..."Worst of the Night: May 14, 2004"? That should automatically be mentioned in Worst of the Night tomorrow.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Continually pointing out the FTA disparity (I mean, when it works out in the Lakers' favor, of course) is getting silly around here. This is especially true if you watched the broadcast last night, because Doug Collins kept bringing up all game how the difference in foul shots attempted was for the first time all series really close. Just because the Jazz go into overdrive with intentional fouls at the end of any game they're losing (10 Laker FTAs in the last 5 minutes of the game) doesn't suddenly mean the refs were fixing the game all night.

The Jazz foul more than anyone else in the league, and made a number of boneheaded ones last night (the worst of which was Deron Williams deciding to just grab Fisher around the waist right in front of the ref, even though Fisher was about 25 feet from the ball). This site generally does a pretty good job of masking its bias towards the Lakers, but as an NBA fan there's little that's more irritating than seeing a smart, basketball-savvy person watch the game and know one thing yet try to skew something seen in the stat sheet so they can grind their ax over some old, tired gripe.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
yams -- It's not a question of the disparity, more a question of consistency. Even Henry Abbot (check out TrueHoop) felt like the Jazz were getting pounded down low whereas the Lakers got calls off inside contact (Henry's example was Odom's ticky-tac And 1). Likewise, the Jazz were allowed to be more physical with the Lakers in Utah. And for the record, the Jazz fouled intentionally twice at the end of last night's game.

Do you think Henry's wrong too? Or biased against the Lakers? Did you not read the above comment where I mentioned the home cookin' in Game 4 that gave Utah a 45-25 FTA advantage?

C'mon Yams. You're basketball-savvy too. Do you really, truly, honestly feel that the officiating was 100 percent consistent on both ends of the court? Did Carlos Boozer get the same benefit of the doubt that Lamar got? Seriously.

Anonymous bob marley said...
gotta love that And 1 for Lamar Scrodom. possibly the worst call i've seen so far in the playoffs regardless of the series.

by the way, does anyone know if the jazz foul more than any other team in the league? I DON'T THINK ANYONE HAS EVER MENTIONED THAT BEFORE AND I AM CURIOUS TO KNOW.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Henry Abbott is a Blazer fan. That should tell you all you need to know about how he feels about the Lakers. Look, I realize that most sports bloggers/readers out there who are not Laker fans are biased against the Lakers. They're the most hated team in the league, and often times rightly so. The fact is that for most of last night's game the free throws were pretty even. At the end of the game the Jazz had a combination of stupid fouls and intentional fouls and that eventually led to the totals that you pointed out.

But as far as how the refs were calling things inside, yes I do feel that for the most part things were called pretty evenly. Boozer went to the line 8 times and Okur went there 4 times, while Odom went there 6 times and Gasol 4. Okur and Boozer were not in foul trouble during the game and neither were Odom or Gasol (the Jazz bigmen finished with 4 fouls each while the Laker guys had 4 & 3). Odom got the benefit of an and-1 on one play, but you're talking about 1 free throw, not a whole host of Laker-friendly plays.

You ask me if I really think things were officiated consistently, I ask you if you really think there is an NBA conspiracy where the refs get marching orders from Stern. One of the most insightful comments during the broadcast last night was from Avery Johnson when he said at halftime that as a coach he'd look at the stat sheet to see who was getting to the line because he wanted to see who was being aggressive, not who the refs were rigging the game for. The conspiracy angle is stupid. If there was a conspiracy, wouldn't the Knicks have won in the last 35 years? Would the Spurs be the most dominant team of the last decade?

The real free throw issue is tied to Kobe Bryant, not this perceived discrepancy between how things were called in the paint for each team. Kobe is the league MVP and he's being guarded by guys like Harpring who are notoriously grabby, and who seem to always live by the philosophy of "we're gonna foul and put the onus on the refs to call it every time, assuming they won't." This is what Utah did in the last round (the Rocket players said as much), and the Jazz aren't the first team to employ this strategy. The Lakers themselves used it in the 2001 Finals with Tyronne Lue on Allen Iverson. The point is, if you are going to body up the league MVP, and one of the smarter and more athletic guys in the league, you should expect fouls to be called. This is the way it is, and it's been this way in the league for so long it shouldn't surprise anyone. Continuing to whine about it does no good.

I'll tell you why I even bother to go into this here: this site is generally a humorous site, and this is the one exception. Just about everything else posted here is for fun, and is usually very funny. But then this one thing comes up over and over again, and you can tell it's not being done so for grins, but rather because you're a frustrated Celtic fan who hates to see anything you perceive to be helping the Lakers. I bring it up because as someone who doesn't blindly hate the Lakers it comes across in rather glaring relief compared to everything else here, and to the detriment of your site, IMO. There are plenty of things to rip into the Lakers for that are legit, and sometimes a big free throw discrepancy deserves to be brought up; but doing it with this regularity, especially when it's bogus as it is in this case, is really old and tired, and just comes across as bitter. If you really were upset with the officiating in general, you would have brought up the FTA discrepancy in Game 4 to help illustrate your point, rather than waiting till someone else brought it up and then feeling a need to defend your stance against it.

Anyway, that's my take, and my one really small complaint about this site, cause otherwise everything else you're doing here is really top notch :)

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Boozer was shackled and beaten into a bloody Alaskan pulp every time he had the ball down low and never got a call. I don't blame the poor guy for at least TRYING to hit some outside shots. At least those shots had a chance to go in- every time he posted up he looked like some gunslinger trying to draw against Trinity. See this if you don't know what I'm talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMrQLz2nTMk

I think Booz had a similar look on his face every time he was hacked and slapped in the low post.

Maybe if he tried tapping Pau Gasol insolently on the cheek...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sasha Vujacic IS a douche nozzle-

Did you see him get "T"ed up for talking trash to Kyle "Ashton" Korver? Doug Collins tells us that apparently he calls himself "The Machine". Wow. Sasha Vujacic, "The Machine"- exactly what KIND of machine are we talking about here? This may be the worst knickname since "The Shermanator".

Go back to Romanovia, dude.

Anonymous big tuna said...
definitely some home cookin going on in this year's playoffs. the gems of the night were:
-boozer's so-called push in odom's back to give him an and one - if u watch it at full speed, it looks like odom picks up speed when boozer's arm is close to his back, so it looks awkward enough to call (still don't think it was a foul)
-ak47's invisible hack on sasha as he made yet another poor decision and not wait for his teammates - the kick in the nuts here is that the foul was called by the ref on the opposite side of the court. sasha was flopping all night and it was good that the refs didn't bite on his other dives

in the end, i can live with the lakers' losses in utah. they got some calls going against them that really impacted the game (especially fisher's 2nd in game 4) but that's their job to play through it. had the bench (namely farmar) held it's own then it would've been a non-issue. utah had their chances last night after clawing back to multiple ties, they just couldn't come up with that extra play. and it took me 5 games to realize that boozer is indeed a twat and is absolutely killing the jazz with his lack of d. look at the replay of pau's putback over okur (the 50/50 push/flop play)... instead of trying to salvage the situation and hacking pau or even, god forbid, contesting the shot, he flails his arm like a short bus rider. WTF???

give deron a go-to guy that's in attack mode all the time and utah's gonna be downright scary. i've never been a fan of sloan's hard-nosed coaching style but i definitely respect that he's been able to get every one of his teams to work & play their asses off.

Blogger Bryan said...
The foul disparity was pretty even up through the first 6 minutes or so of the third quarter, then it took off in the laker's favor. I guess they figured us Utah fans wouldn't notice it as much if it wasn't as blatant as games 1 and 2 (most see us as ignorant redneck cultists). regarding boozer's slump, it could be related too the officiating, hear me out now, if you're an inside player- like Boozer- and all series long you're getting hacked, pulled, etc as you drive to the basket without getting the majority of the calls, at what point to you stop taking the beating and settle for the mid-range jumpers like carlos has been doing lately? just a thought, either that or he's afraid of possibly returning to cleveland for the finals

Anonymous Greenroom said...
If you've actually paid attention with a non-biased eye to any of the games this series you would realize that the refs have been calling pretty ticky-tacky reach-ins on the perimeter and allowing absolute carnage underneath the basket.

If you're complaining about the Gasol/Okur flop/no-call how can you conveniently ignore Boozer's repeated Shaq-like ramming into Gasol to draw a foul? What about Okur and Boozer constant pushing in the back on loose balls to get rebounds? In the first quarter Gasol had a rebound in his hands then went mysteriously flying out of bounds. Hmmm...couldn't be any kind of foul there.

The officiating overall in this series has been pretty horrific but I don't think either team has gained too much of an advantage. Nearly all of the games have come down to executing a few key plays in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter.

The Lakers have managed to do that one more time that the Jazz have, which is expected since they have more athletic, skilled players and not a bunch of grinders that constantly clutch and grab (with the exception of DWill who's phenomenal).

Blogger Wild Yams said...
The article from the Salt Lake Tribune that Henry linked to this morning sums up the reffing in the Lakers-Jazz series quite nicely.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams --

"Henry Abbott is a Blazer fan. That should tell you all you need to know about how he feels about the Lakers."

First off, Henry is about as even-minded and non-biased as anybody you're going to find. If you're going to dismiss his feelings based on who he roots for, than the only opinion you can ever trust is that of somebody who doesn't give two shits about the NBA. Only those people probably aren't watching, you know?

I don't think there's a real conspiracy of any kind. That's a joke. I do think, however, that in general, and in these playoffs in particular, that the officiating varies based on who's playing at home and who's playing on the road. If you live anywhere near Chicago, I invite you to come over and watch UTA-LAL Games 4 and 5. We'll even have the benefit of TiVo to stop the action, rewind, slo-mo, what have you. Then we can try to determine whether those games were really and truly officiated the same way.

Because here's the thing, it's not really about the freethrows (although that's certainly part of it). It's more about what a team is allowed to do off the ball or in non-scoring situations. How much extraneous bumping and grabbing is involved. Trust me, the Jazz were allowed to be much more physical in Game 4, and the Lakers were allowed to gangbang Boozer in Game 5. I have the proof on film: Come over and watch the games.

"If you really were upset with the officiating in general, you would have brought up the FTA discrepancy in Game 4 to help illustrate your point, rather than waiting till someone else brought it up and then feeling a need to defend your stance against it."

Yeah, I tried to explain this one already, but I guess I have to do it again...I wasn't around on Monday. Statbuster filled in. I wasn't going to make an extra post on Tuesday about something that happened over the weekend, basically because that's not the norm (save the two amusing broadcasting faux pas by Reggie Miller because, well, somebody has to keep a record of these things).

But seriously, what I don't get is that I run a site that's devoted solely to worsts. I have, at one time or another, blasted every team and player in the league, past and present. I've attacked my personal favorites, like Reggie and Larry Bird. I've took Steve Nash to task when he blew Game 5 of the Suns-Spurs series. I recently compared Utah's hands-on defense to a drunken, horny octopus.

Yet you and other Lakers fans freak out whenever I criticize your team. It I was to parse out all the pro-Laker comments that get posted here, you'd think I ran a site called IhatetheLakers.blogspot.com.

If you read this site closely, I almost always bring up cases of 20+ FTA discrepancies. I've done it dozens of times. And almost every team in the league has been targeted. Yet I'm picking on the Lakers?

Nope. I think that home teams are being given a lot of leeway this year. The Hawks pushed their series with the Celtics partially because they were allowed to be extra physical at home. Likewise, the Celtics get a little extra assist from the zebras at home. Take Game 5 of the CLE-BOS series. In the second quarter, both Boobie Gibson and LeBron James were taken down on successful layup attempts but didn't get the And 1's. I promise they would have gotten those calls in Cleveland.

If you want to believe that the officiating is the same both ways on both courts, fine. I see it differently.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I think we're probably closer to seeing eye to eye on this than we may be thinking. I brought up the Game 4 FTA disparity not because you didn't bring it up in the writeup after that game (I knew you didn't handle that day's WOTN), but because you didn't bring it up yesterday. I felt like yesterday if you wanted to single out the officiating as being particularly bad in the Lakers-Jazz series (which you've been keen to do), you would have pointed to the uneven FTA in all the games in this series, not just in the ones that benefited the Lakers; and that when some Laker fan brought up the officiating in Game 4 your response would have been "see, further evidence that the officiating sucks" rather than the defensive response you took about how it wasn't your responsibility to discuss that game and all that. The officiating has been inconsistent, but not in a way that's clearly favoring one team over the other.

Has the officiating been consistent from one game to the next in this series or any other in these playoffs? No, I don't think it has. Has the officiating been consistent for each team in any individual game? Most times no. But has it even been consistent for the same team in any particular game? Once again, no, I don't think so. I generally think the main problem with officiating in the NBA is that it's never very consistent, and not just that it favors one team over the other in some games, but even that if you just look at one team at one end of the floor, often something that is fairly egregious gets allowed one time down the floor, and then something far more benign gets called a few minutes later. A great example is how they call ticky-tack bullshit around the perimeter yet allow out and out molestation under the rim. That's true of every game, for every team, and has been for years. Or how refs will swallow their whistles when the game is on the line so as not to affect the outcome, or how stars get the benefits of calls. Fouls should always be called the same, regardless of what point in the game it is, regardless of who is involved, and regardless of where on the court it transpires.

As a fan of the NBA, if I had my druthers there would be a great many things about the way games are called that I would change. #1, no intentional fouls would be allowed. I would punish any perceived attempts to get the referee to blow the whistle with 2 FTs and the ball out of bounds. This includes any attempts to flop or to just rush in front of someone to draw a charge, or just grabbing someone to prevent them from getting a layup after they beat you badly on D. Any attempts to have the refs bail you out should be punished because they are hurting the sport. #2, I would cut the number of fouls allowed by each player from 6 to 4, and I would tell the refs to never call anything that's ticky tack. Call the whole floor the way they call it under the basket (in other words, let them play). #3, I would allow instant replay during any timeouts (TV or team timeouts), since it's a dead ball anyway, and I would allow instant replay for any play in the last minute of any quarter or overtime period in which all three officials agree that it's warranted (or during any timeout). If a coach wants something looked at, just call a timeout. They've got tons of them anyway, and usually call most of them in the last few minutes of the game as it is, so why not take advantage of all that downtime and make sure the refs get the calls right?

Finally, just in regards to bias, I think that despite your Celtics allegiance and Henry's Blazer allegiance, the both of you are pretty damn impartial for the most part. But if asked whether either one of you has bias, especially if either of you has any anti-Laker bias, well of course you both do. You root for teams that are huge rivals of the Lakers. This is true of a lot of people who are basketball bloggers simply because at one point or another the Lakers have been considered big rivals of lots of teams. Over the history of the league the Lakers have been a particularly successful team, especially in the Western Conference, so it stands to reason that a great many other teams out there would have them pegged as public enemy #1. The fact that the league puts them on TV so much every year, even when they're not very good, means that they're being rammed down the throat of a great many basketball fans who probably didn't like them much to begin with, and that makes them hated all the more. Having one of the most churlish and despised players in sports playing for them doesn't help either, and neither does having a coach who is as renown for his snide condescension as he is for his success. They do deserve to be ripped on, and frequently, but at a certain point it just comes across as whining, and that gets old. It similarly gets old to hear people always whining about how the Spurs are boring or floppers or dirty, but I guess some sports narratives have extremely long lives. The Lakers being the NBA's "favorite son" just happens to be the longest running one.

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