Kobe MVP

Note: Photo courtesy of Basketbawful reader kobefearslebron.

Detroit Pistons: Their defense got shredded -- Orlando shot 54 percent from the field and 46 percent from three-point range -- and their offense was stagnant (40 percent shooting, 2-for-10 in threes, only 12 assists). Mind you, part of that was some spirited "We're home!" play by the Magic, and an even bigger part was the fact that they lost Chauncey Billups less than four minutes into the game due to a strained hamstring. Which could be a big problem going forward if the injury is a serious one, because if last night proved anything, it's that Rodney Stucky does not equal Chauncey Billups

Rip Hamilton: The Phantom led Detroit in scoring (24 points) but he also had a game-high 6 turnovers.

Rasheed Wallace: The line: 11 points, 4-for-15, 4 rebounds and 4 fouls in 28 minutes. That and his +/- score of -30 was by far the worst on his team. Of course, it didn't help that he picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and had to ride the pine for a while. But it wasn't so much the numbers as his attitude. He didn't seem to have that crazy, cocky fire that the Pistons really feed off of. And they really needed that when Mr. Big Shot went down. You never know when 'Sheed is going to bring that, though.

'Sheedtastic extra: Get yer Rasheed Wallace mask here.

Jason Maxiell: He gave the Pistons a huge boost in both Game 1 (12 points, 5-for-8, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Game 2 (11 points, 5-for-5, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks). But last night, he was almosdt non-existent: Zero points (0-for-2), 2 rebounds, and 1 turnovers in about 19 minutes of lack-tion. Oh, and both of his shot attempts were blocked.

Detroit's bench: Outside of Stuckey -- who got extended minutes because Billups was out -- the Pistons' reserves didn't contribute much: 8 points, 3-for-12 shooting, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 10 fouls in about 76 minutes.

Adonal Foyle: He was the only player on either team that didn't get any PT. It's pretty bad when your team wins by 25 and you don't get any garbage minutes...not even a mario!

Carlos Boozer: I've been saying this for weeks, and other people are finally starting to realize it too: Boozer is in a slump. He has been, in fact, since the beginning of April. Just check his game log. The biggest problems seem to be that 1) his jump shot is off, 2) he hasn't been getting many easy baskets in Utah's set offense, and 3) it's pretty clear he's aware of the slump, and his confidence is down. You can see it in his eyes. And you could really see it last night when he got tagged with three early fouls. Methinks Carlos could use a good sports psychologist, because I don't think he suddenly forgot how to play basketball. Remember: 50 percent of sports is 90 percent mental. Or something like that.

The freethrow discrepancy: The Lakers once again feasted at the line last night, getting 43 freethrow attempts compared to only 16 for the Jazz. In two games, L.A. has 89 freethrows and Utah has 46. Now, Lakers apologists are quick to point out that the Jazz led the league this season in fouls per game. This is true: They committed an average of 24 fouls each and every game. However, those same people haven't really done their research, because the Lakers committed 20.6 fouls per game. For those of you who enjoy simple math, that's a net difference of 3.4 fouls. So how does that explain a 27-freethrow discrepancy? Especially during a game in which Utah consistently tried to work the ball inside. Trust me, I watched the game. There was plenty of uncalled contact.

Update! Here's a little extra tidbit for those of you who are going to inevitably accuse me of "whining." One, I realize the Jazz were intentionally fouling at the end of the game. That resulted in 10 additional FTAs for the Lakers. But take those away and L.A. still had a 17-FTA advantage, which is pretty significant. Two, the Jazz were awarded 16 freethrows when their stated goal was to work the ball inside. Check out the shot chart. Utah was 19-for-40 on layups. With all due respect to the Lakers' defense, it seems rather improbable for any team to attempt that many layups in a game and hit less than 50 percent of them without contact. Especially a team that finishes as well in the paint as the Jazz do. Sorry, but Utah took it to the basket a lot and received a lot of contact without whistles. On the other end, the Lakers sure seemed to be getting those whistles. Say what you will, but that's what I saw.

C.J. Miles: Tonight's mario is brought to you by Mr. Miles, who logged a mere 14 seconds. Amazingly, he managed to squeeze two missed threes and a foul into his meager PT. That's, um, efficient...or something.

Carmelo Anthony: Can we please get this guy a chauffeur? Seriously. 'Melo got a speeding ticket for going 60 MPG in a 45-MPH zone. Now, admittedly, I've gone 60 in a 45 zone before. Probably many times. But I probably wouldn't do it three weeks after getting a DUI.

David Aldridge: When you're a sideline reporter, you should at least know whom you're talking too, right? David didn't last night, did he Dero...I mean, Derek? (From Odenized.)

NBA.com's split-face ads: This is from Basketbawful reader sEan, who noticed something was amiss with NBA.com's hype for tonight's Cavs-Celtics game. "The Cavs have needed point guard help for a while...Steve Nash is a good choice mid-series."

Nash Cavs

Yahoo box scores: There was a lot of random fishiness going on in the world of Yahoo last night, and the people were all over it. Basketbawful reader Anfernee said: "I was checking the live boxscore of the game tonight...and I am totally confused. On the front page it said DET leads the series 2-1 with the Magic ahead 94-77 in the fourth quarter, so this means after tonight's game 3, it will be tied at 2-2? Also, on another page, it said Magic won game 3 by 30-16. Wow, I didn't know I missed the NCAA tournament game a few nights ago!" Thanks also to readers Andrew and Geriandre for the quick alert.

Karl Malone: Oh, Karl. I don't even know what to say. So I'm not going to say anything except this makes me kind of sick to my stomach.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
"C.J. Miles: Tonight's mario is brought to you by Mr. Miles, who logged a mere 14 seconds. Amazingly, he managed to squeeze two missed threes and a foul into his meager PT. That's, um, efficient...or something."

lololol. if they only played him for 40 minutes, he could miss 342 3s and commit 171 fouls.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You know the Jazz fouled pretty often at the end of the game during garbage time, right? You know they did the same thing in Game 1, right? You know that most of Utah's free throw attempts were 'and 1's because the Lakers were getting called for light contact, right? You know that most of the Lakers' free throw attempts were 2 shots because they got hacked and couldn't finish when they got into the paint, right? You know that in this game, fouls were only 30 to 20, even with all the intentional fouls, right?

If you actually know all this, then any complaining about free throws is just whining. If Utah wants the Lakers to shoot less free throws, they should stop instinctively fouling every time the Lakers get in the paint.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Am I the only one who has some kind of weird face dyslexia when it comes to those things? Last night they showed Kobe/Boozer and I couldn't even figure that one out. It's something about the half-a-face thing. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard got a delayed reaction from me too, and I'm a huge Hornets fan, and everyone knows what Kobe looks like, so those split faces are starting to freak me out...

Or maybe I'm going blind.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Laker apologists, it's always the same story, you weren't watching the same game that they were. As a rocket fan, i'm pissed off that all of a sudden the league/david stern deciding to call those fouls now. From what I've seen, the jazz haven't changed their playing style one bit from when the first round, yet you get Kobe and the Lakers involved, or a bigger market team, or a universally recognized brand and all of a sudden the ref's can see what rick adelman and t-mac have been saying the past two weeks. david stern sucks, impartial my necktie

Anonymous Anonymous said...
There should be a word of the day for athletes like Michael Vick (and, today, Karl Malone) that make you wish their athletic skill could've been surgically excised at birth and grafted onto Adonal Foyle or someone like that.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I agree with anonymous above that the whining about the foul discrepancy in this Lakers-Jazz series is way overblown. Did you know that the foul count going into the last two minutes of the game was Lakers - 20, Jazz - 22? The Jazz committed 8 fouls in the last 2:15 of the game while trying to get back into it after being down 10. The Jazz also did have 5 free throws that were "and 1" free throws, meaning they would have had 5 more if the players hadn't made the baskets.

The Jazz lead the league in fouls and it's their philosophy to play aggressive defense using their hands, and they're playing on the road. You should expect there will be a free throw discrepancy. It was even talked about in the first round that the Jazz foul all the time and just make the assumption that the refs won't call it every time down the floor. Maybe that's a poor assumption to make. No other teams make that assumption, far as I know.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
wild yams -- Here are my problems with your comments. First of all, people keep touting that the Jazz lead the league in fouls without looking at the total numbers...which I provided. They commit THREE more FPG than the Lakers...who, it should be noted, play pretty physical defense themselves (just watch Sasha Vujacic two-hand his man some time).

Second, foul count and fouls leading to FTs are different things. The Jazz attacked the basket aggressivly all game. And as I pointed out, they were 19-40 on layups. That doesn't include their dunks (they were 6-for-6 on those). Wouldn't you agree that it's unusual that a team that's going to the hole THAT aggressively would miss 21 freethrows AND only go to the line 16 times? I mean, come on. Forget for a second about the number of freethrows the Lakers got. Only consider the Jazz. Do you really think that, as aggressivly as they attacked the basket, that they weren't getting fouled? That they simply missed all 21 of those layups?

As I said, the Lakers are only a few FPG behind the Jazz...whom everybody keeps reminding me lead the league in fouls.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Oops. Made a typo in that last comment. "Wouldn't you agree that it's unusual that a team that's going to the hole THAT aggressively would miss 21 freethrows AND only go to the line 16 times?" Meant to say "would miss 21 layups..."

Blogger Unknown said...
Only time will tell. We'll see if the discrepancy holds up in Utah. If so, then the refs are being consistent, and hopefully this stupid argument will be put to bed.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, the refs probably have missed some calls in this series, no doubt, just as they always do. However, one difference between these two teams in this particular series is the Lakers do have a number of shot blockers while the Jazz only have 1 (Kirilenko). The Lakers are pretty aggressively defending the rim, with Odom, Gasol and Turiaf all going after the layups and recording blocks. Kirilenko on the other end is not really asserting himself as a shotblocker and is spending more time guarding the perimeter. Are the Lakers maybe getting away with some contact on their defense around the rim? Probably, but all that length they have may just be affecting the Jazz shooters. Utah doesn't have much of a post game on offense after all, with Boozer being more of a face up player and Okur being a 3-pt shooter. There's probably some home cooking going on, but there's probably going to be some in Utah too. It's the nature of the NBA.

The reality is that the Lakers are just flat outplaying Utah in this series. All the announcers can see it, the Inside the NBA guys can see it, and even the Utah coaches can see it. The Jazz just aren't playing with the belief that they can beat LA, and without that they certainly aren't going to be able to.

Blogger David Whang said...
Mr bawful, with all due respect and as i admit that im a huge lakers fan.. i think what we are missing here in this argument is that free throw attempts go up based on how many free throws are given in a particular quarter.

for instance, a team can have 4 fouls before going into the penalty. it seems that the jazz were called for bunches at a time whereas the Lakers were called for them evenly throughout the game.

if you look at the TOTAL personal fouls commited (and im not even taking out the end-of-game-fouls)

Game 1: 33 Jazz 27 Lakers
Game 2: 30 Jazz 20 Lakers

now altogether that is a 16 PF differential. you noted that the jazz average 3 fouls more per game. so that means a 10 PF differential if this were the regular season. now if you add up the 6-10 PF at the end of the games, you would see that the PF calls are quite similar.

now i am not going to deny that Kobe probably gets special treatment b/c he is well Kobe, your sworn enemy, but you can't truly base an argument around free throw attempts unless you take the matter of foul penalty into consideration.

btw, i can totally understand why u could have hated Kobe before but you truly can't deny that he is changing before our eyes and becoming more of a team player... can u?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Unbalanced FTA discussions are like, soo First Round (see: Boston vs Atlanta first 6 games).

Come on, we're modern NBA fans, you should be numb to this kind of injustice and Stern totalitarianism by now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the title's pretty funny since less than a year ago he was asking to be traded out and complaining about bynum

Blogger Basketbawful said...
David -- Some of this number crunching may be a little extraneous. My ultimate point was that the Jazz were committed to taking the ball inside and driving, and they had 40 layup attempts and 6 dunks. They missed over half of those layup attempts, and, shot blockers or no, there was contact on a lot of them. The Lakers seemed to be getting the benefit of the doubt on their drives in both Games 1 and 2. The Jazz shot way too much from the outside in Game 1 and altered their strategy in Game 2. Yet that yielded 16 FTAs. There's something wrong with that. And I don't need numbers to tell me, because I watched the game.

The Lakers indeed earned many of their FTs. But the Jazz certainly earned more than the 16 they got in Game 2.

I'm not going to deny that Kobe has certainly become more team-oriented this season, which is why I didn't erupt -- which seemingly is what many people expected -- when he won the MVP. Now, frankly, I would have ranked him third behind KG and then CP. But, as I've noted, I realize that KG was disqualified by the voters because 1) his team was too good, I guess and 2) he already won the MVP a few years ago. So that made it Mamba versus CP3, and while I personally would have gone with Paul, I'll admit it was a tossup between them and I didn't throw up in my mouth too much when Kobe got it. I did, however, throw up when I heard that Larry Bird said something along the lines of how he would give up his MVPs if Kobe didn't win it.

The funny thing is, as much as Kobe Fans -- and I mean the crazy kind -- try to target me for hating him, there's been far less anti-Kobe sentiment on Basketbawful this season than ever before. Has anybody noticed that?

anacondahl -- Yes. I really should be delightfully numb by now...

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, for what it's worth, I think you do a very good job of keeping your Kobe hate down to a minimum around here, and tend to only call him out when he really deserves it. Much of the basketball blogosphere has a lot of hatred for Kobe, and frequently get sidetracked into ripping him too often as a result, but you're definitely someone who doesn't slip into that with any regularity.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
yams -- I honestly try to limit myself to hating Kobe for the things he does wrong, as opposed to ripping him for no reason at all. And as long as he continues playing the right way and being a good representative of the sport, I'll get on his case less and less. Although I'll never fully trust him, and I think we all know that the minute things go badly in L.A., there's a Black Mamba who will rise up and strike again. Last summer isn't as far away as everybody seems to think.

But until that happens, if it ever does, I just don't have much to say against him.

Blogger David Whang said...
Well I watched both games and yeah the Lakers probably got the benefit sometimes -- being home court and all and I guess you can use that big-market team thing... but maybe its also cuz the refs might have the fact that the Jazz commits the most fouls in their mind (I am not saying that this is a good thing for the game -- but maybe the refs aren't thinking about that the Lakers are just -3 fouls per game than the Jazz and just punish the Jazz because they have that thought)

But you can't argue that in Game 1 Kobe didn't draw the whistle a lot with his up move and pull up with a defender's hand reaching in..

Anyways, I guess we have to agree to disagree or something in the middle-- I do think that the Lakers have probably received the benefit of the doubt but just not to the extent that you seem to be showing...

That being said, you are right on the Kobe hate -- it has definitely subsided -- and for good reason. Even I must admit that the Kobe antics at times had been ridiculous and that sometimes he had been a selfish ball-hog.

CP3 for MVP would definitely not have upset me either -- actually I wanted Kobe NOT to win to drive his motivation even higher.

One last thing..
Larry Bird is awesome and his comment was even awesomer. Haha. BTW love the blog. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Why is everyone so darn quick to point out that the Magic won last night only because Chauncey Billups wasn't playing!! That the Pistons lost because Chauncey Billups wasn't playing!! That the Magic played great offense and defense, but oh yeah, because Chauncey Billups wasn't playing!! Can't people ever give them the credit they deserve?

Mind, you weren't the only one who did it. Marty Burns at SI, who can't even deign to get the date correct for the next Magic/Pistons game, felt the need to point out after every accomplishment the Magic had was because Chauncey Billups wasn't playing!! and because the Pistons are better and because the Pistons never do well on game threes, and not because--heaven forbid--the Magic outplayed them, outhustled them, defended well, didn't turn over the ball, had good ball movement, etc.

The Magic played well and the Pistons did not, end of story. Everyone needs to stop making excuses for the Perfect Pistons. As evidenced in the first round, they're not as invulnerable as they make themselves out to be.


Blogger Basketbawful said...
Squid -- For the record, I wasn't saying that at all. I was only commenting that they looked completely helpless without Mr. Big Shot. I still think the Magic would have won the game regardless.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Kobe definitely deserves to be ripped from time to time, maybe even more frequently than most players, but I do prefer it when people save their recriminations for him for when he really does something that warrants it, and this blog is a good example of a place that does so. On other blogs it gets old repeatedly hearing about how much they hate Kobe, just as it gets old hearing the crazy Kobe fans defend him to no end or say he's unquestionably the best player ever. The guy makes a lot of mistakes, but he also plays some pretty damn good ball a lot of the time.

Last night for the most part he played pretty great, and from what I saw the only real bad thing he did was attempt one of his lame "go for the knockout punch" 3-pt shots with the Lakers up 12 or so in the 1st quarter. Kobe's much more effective when he just sticks to the offense. That assist he had late in the game where he passed it around Okur's head for a wide open Gasol dunk was one of the better crunch time plays I've ever seen.

Blogger Joe said...

"i go hunting little mexican girls"

you sure do, karl.

Blogger The Third Heat said...
The worst part of the worst of the night entries is highlighting the NBA.com or Yahoo screwups. It's funny to point out how awful adults being paid millions to play basketball are at their job, but drawing attention to typos and whatever minor gaff that's corrected within a couple hours is boring.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I just lost all respect for Karl Malone... oh wait, I didn't have any!

Blogger Faizan said...
I have to agree with the third heat. It was funny when a ridiculously gross error was pointed out a couple of times a week. But it's getting a little dull now and I usually just skip over that part. Is it just me or are the word verifications getting longer and longer?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Basketbawful, here is your answer to the confusing Jazz-Laker discrepancy:
The Stern Button!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i watched the la utah game and that reporter was the worst reporter ive ever seen in my life. he was like an awkward 7th grader getting a hard on while giving a presentation on the history of egypt in class. get em outta here!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I could be wrong, but I believe that the last time the Magic beat Detroit in a playoff game was when Tracy McGrady uttered his famous "it feels good to get in the second round" line. Wasn't the nine game playoff losing streak to Detroit begun with Games 5, 6 & 7 of that series, then continued with the four game sweep last year and Games 1 & 2 of this series?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
third heat and faizan -- Hm. I'll take that into consideration.

anonymous -- Yup. Stern Button IN DA HOUSE!

james -- For some reason that analogy made me laugh. Probably because it was funny. Thanks.

yams -- You're exactly right. It was nine straight since T-Mac and the boys went up 3-1 back in the day. It had gotten a lot of press, and I even mentioned it as a reverse stat curse in my game preview on Deadspin yesterday.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I figured that little tidbit couldn't have fallen through the cracks. Gotta post more links to your Deadspin articles so we know when to go check over there :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sorry, I didn't get the whole link in my previous post. La Times talking about the Laker-Jazz refereeing debacle.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
About Booze... it's frustrating to watch him. He has managed to disappear here in the playoffs, and it's killing the Jazz. So is the bad play of Matt Harpring. As for CJ... I think both of his shots were last second shots, when you're just trying to score to make the score difference a bit smaller.

And for the FT discrepancy... while the Jazz tend to foul a lot, they're also up there in the number of times they are fouled per game (or at least they were in the regular season).

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason that this post even got put up was that Chauncey Billups wasn't playing. And it's T-Mac's fault.

Check out my blog on Richard Jefferson's choking incident:


leave a comment.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
60 MPG is very impressive, either he was driving a really good hybrid or you meant 60 MPH, good stuff though