The Los Angeles Lakers: Teams as good as this year's Lakers squad typically don't lose the big-time challenge or statement games. When they actually do lose, they always seem to drop the ones they're expected to win easily. It comes down to a temporary loss of focus. And yeah, I'd say that's what happened in Indiana last night. The Forum Blue and Golders used a 17-0 run at the end of the third quarter to build a 15-point lead only to let the Pacers -- losers of five of their last six games, including that last two at home in overtime -- come charging back.

Kobe Bryant got outscored (32-28), out-assisted (5-2) and out-three-point shot (0-for-5 versus 4-for-10) by Danny Granger. The Lakers starting frontcourt of Andrew Bynum (17 points, 9 rebounds) and Pau Gasol (20 points, 9 boards, 3 assists) was actually outplayed by their Pacers counterparts of Rasho Nesterovic (16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) and Troy Murphy (16 points, 17 rebounds, 2 steals). And L.A. couldn't protect the glass against an Indiana team that crashed the boards for 19 offensive rebounds...including Murphy's game-winning tip-in at the buzzer. Mind you, the Pacers had to overcome a case of homecourt disadvantage to get the win: The Lakers enjoyed a healthy 45-21 edge in free throw attempts. Anyway, here's my memo to the Lakers: "Being able to block out Troy Murphy in end-of-game situations" is pretty much a prerequisite for any team with championship aspirations. That is all.

Greg Oden: Basketbawful reader Ishlifyhead sent me an email with a subject line of "Greg Oden Update! (The second coming of... Ostertag or KB54?)"...proving that followers of this site sure know how to get my attention. Said Ishlifyhead: "You gotta love this item from the AP game recap of the Blazers-Knicks game:

The Blazers shook off a dismal offensive night from rookie Greg Oden, who botched two dunks in the first five minutes and finished with two points, matching Kwame Brown for the lowest-scoring effort by a No. 1 overall pick in his Madison Square Garden debut in 40 years. 'Kind of stopped shooting after that one, because I usually don't miss dunks,' Oden said. Oden played only 19 minutes because [Joel] Przybilla was dominant in the paint, finishing with 14 rebounds, eight points and two blocked shots.
"Perhaps the GO initial and first name of Greg aren't the only similarities between Oden and Ostertag. At least Ostertag wasn't a number one overall pick." Wow. Drawing comparisons to both Kwame Brown AND Greg Ostertag in one night...that's harsh. Even for this site. And he was benched in favor of the Vanilla Godzilla. That's a pretty epic ego-ectomy. I feel like sending Greg a sympathy card or something.

Mike D'Antoni: Yeah the Knicks are 8-9, which is a near miracle, and he's making Chris Duhon (season-high 23 points, 5 rebounds, 13 assists, only 1 turnover) look more and more like Steve Nash every day, which IS a miracle, but...he's also employing his patented six or seven-man rotation, wherein most of the starters go for almost 40 minutes per game. That can tire guys out. And other teams know it. Said Blazers coach Nate McMillan: "We had a group to come in and they got aggressive and we were able to gain control of the game. And you know, when you're playing nine, 10 guys, if we play the way we condition ourselves to, we should be able to wear down some teams. I thought tonight, Duhon, in the third quarter he played well, but he looked like he wore down a little bit." Added Brandon Roy: "Yeah, we seen it. Coach said they're wearing down, they've got heavy legs, so let's keep trying to push it at them. Duhon played great tonight. They've got a number of guys that play hard, but in that fourth quarter you could see that our depth kind of outlasted them."

Now, the AP said D'Antoni's has been "playing basically seven players because of trades, injuries and the Stephon Marbury situation." Which only proves they don't know Mike D'Anonti. The man always grinds his starters into the ground. And Duhon -- who, again just like Nash, is laboring with a bad back -- Duhon played 44 minutes and missed all three shots in a scoreless fourth quarter. After the game, Duhon admitted he was a little gassed. "Once the game is on, the adrenaline and you are competing, I don't really think much about it. But at the aftermath, I definitely feel it afterwards. But I've been through this before, it's nothing that's going to slow me down or prohibit me from playing."'ve been through this before, Chris? I'm sorry, but I highly doubt he's ever played 40+ minutes as a team's featured player since middle school. Maybe.

The New Jersey Nets: The Wizards are a bad shooting team -- 44 percent on the season -- but hit 52 percent of their field goals (and 54 percent of their threes) against the Nets. And since poop flows downhill, the defensive lethargy eventually splattered over onto the offensive end of the floor, which culminated in a truly craptastic third quarter in which the Nets scored a season-low 12 points while giving up a season-high 35. The result: A 108-88 blowout. Said Nets coach Lawrence Frank: "We never got stops and then [DeShawn] Stevenson got going. We kind of lost our rhythm offensively and didn't make it happen on the other end. It's disappointing that we got thoroughly outplayed. We were devoid of all energy. That's just the NBA schedule for you." Yup. You're team didn't fail, Larry. It was just that wacky NBA schedule biting you in the butt.

Update! Trenton Hassell: I can't believe I missed this, but Dr. Hank Pym didn't -- Hassell had a rather epic nine trillion last night. Brutal. However, that is NOT the standing trillion record, which is still held by Damon Jones for his 12 trillion in Game 1 of the 2007 NBA Finals. Oh yes he did.

Devin Harris, Captain Obvious: "When we struggle to make shots, we're going to have a tough time winning games." In other news, failing to breath will cause you to suffocate.

DeShawn Stevenson, quote machine: Regarding the season-high 21 points he scored against the Nets: "It felt good, because I've been in kind of a slump. I just figured I'd come in and shoot it. If I missed, who cares?" And that, my friends, is exactly the kind of attitude I'd expect from a key player on a 3-12 team.

The Chicago Bulls: The good: They held their opponent to 39 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers. The bad: They shot only 40 percent themselves, gave up 18 offensive rebounds and committed 24 turnovers that were converted into 26 points by the Sixers...leading to a 103-95 loss in their first home game after the dreaded circus trip. Ugh.

And Andre Miller -- who was owned and embarrassed by Derrick Rose just a few days ago -- got his revenge, scoring 28 points and getting the rookie in foul trouble with his veteran tricks, which included one possession in which he pump-faked Rose into the air and then jumped into him to draw the foul. Miller was 10-for-11 from the charity stripe. After the game, a despondent Rose (24 points, 2 assists, 6 turnovers, 5 fouls) said: "[Miller] is a good point guard and he tried to get me in foul trouble. He made plays. Everybody on his team made plays. We just had so many opportunities and we just missed them."

Meanwhile, Basketbawful reader Junokasm has a few words of advice for Tyrus Thomas: "Thomas should never be allowed to take a jump shot, ever. No wide-open jumpers, no shooting drills in practice, no jump shots! Just catch the ball and dunk; jump really high and rebound. He can even drive with his neck high dribble and run over Andre Miller. Just no jump shots."

Drew Gooden: He not only got owned by Elton Brand (22 points, 14 rebounds), he also submitted the following 'bawful line: 0-for-5 and more turnovers (6) than rebounds (5). That's what I call a powerless forward.

The San Antonio Spurs: Well...Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are both back, so things are supposed to be on the upswing in San Antonio, right? Wrong. The Spurs dropped their second straight game after getting the gang back together. As a team, they shot 39 percent and committed 17 turnovers. And they had a complete meltdown in the fourth quarter, during which they were outscored 28-14: During that final stanza, Tim Duncan scored 1 point while the team shot 5-of-15 from the floor and committed 6 TOs that were transmogrified into 10 points for the Pistons. Said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "The most disturbing thing is that we were very soft. I think Detroit intimidated us. It was really sad to watch in that respect. I thought we totally folded to their aggressive play."

The Spurs didn't get a lot of help from their bench. Roger Mason didn't just cool off, he froze over, finishing with 6 points (2-for-6) and 5 turnovers. The Fabulous Oberto -- who lost his starting job to Matt Bonner, by the way -- had 2 points and 2 rebounds in 14 minutes. And Jacque Vaughn and Ime Udoka combined for 1 assist and zero-for-everything else in 10 total minutes (and Udoka had a four trillion).

Is it bad that they looked better BEFORE Parker came back?

Rasheed Wallace, quote machine: 'Sheed did his usual post-technical foul destruction dance against the Spurs, knocking down a trio of threes in the fourth quarter and scoring 17 points in the final 15 minutes after getting T'd up. According to Wallace, he was jawboning the refs because he felt the Spurs were getting a little too much benefit of the doubt. "I knew what it was going to be out there, and I didn't want our team to fall into that. We knew how it was going to be, especially going against the league darlings."

The Los Angeles Clippers: Let me recap this for you: After building a 15-point lead, the Clippers were outscored 32-17 in the fourth quarter -- and 18-4 in the final four minutes -- before letting Jose Barea hit the go-ahead three-bomb with less than a minute left in a demoralizing 100-98 non-win. Oh, and the AP rubbed a little salt in the wound with the following words: "Barea, who is 11th on his team in scoring and plays a little more than 12 minutes per game, capped Dallas' closing 18-4 run with a long-range jumper with 50.2 seconds left that gave Dallas its only lead of the game." So, you know, the Clips got beaten by a loser. They are who we thought they were. Said Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy: "A really disappointing loss for us. We played so well throughout the game. But in the fourth quarter we did a terrible job defensively." Seriously. How is this guy still employed? I'm going to assume that several gallons of goat blood and many dark rites are involved.

Erick Dampier: Tom from Clutch City Hoops had this to say: "Looks like if the Clips had boxed out better, Erick Dampier would have been the first starter ever to record a trillion. (I'm guessing there, but there can't be more than a few that have). However, Dampier grabbed one offensive rebound -- his only stat. THIS close to a three-trillion. Thought you'd want to know." Thanks, Tom. I always want to know when somebody fails, especially overpaid stiffs like Dampier. However, I must admit I'm mad-curious as to why Damp only played three minutes. Was he hurt? Did Rick Carlisle snap and shiv him? Does anybody know?

As for the record: You know what? I have no idea whether an NBA starter has ever notched a trillion that wasn't related to an injury or ejection. I'm gonna have to look into this...

The Toronto Raptors: What's that putrid stench...? Oh. It's the Raptors. Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal was back in action -- if you can call it that -- but his return didn't exactly inspire the troops. Unless it motivated them to play their absolute worst. The toothless dinos bricked 59 shots en route to a 36 percent shooting night. And, believe it or not, things were even worse on the defensive end, where they allowed the Nuggets to shoot 60 percent from the field and 54 percent from downtown. HAND. IN. THE. FACE. Said Jose Calderon: "It was a bad day. Everything was bad for us." Man, you can say that again.

After the game, the Drain -- how wasn't exactly tearing things up this season, even before he was injured -- got all persnickety: "We're going to address it as a team tomorrow. It's embarrassing not only for us but for those who support the Toronto Raptors, the organization, the city and the country. That should never happen. This is a business. We get paid a heck of a lot of money to play a certain way and if we think we can turn it on and off like that then we are fooling ourselves." How's that for a little Leadership 101.

Speaking of leaders, this is what Raptors coach Sam "Please just don't fire me on Christmas eve" Mitchell had this to say about the debacle: "For me now it's not a time to be screaming and yelling. It's a time to be trying to teach and reassure people." Awh. That's so cute. Make sure your players have their stuffed animal of choice when you tuck them in to their beds, Sam. That would be awfully reassuring.

Allen Iverson: The Nuggets are now 12-3 since trading AI to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups, and even Carmelo Anthony -- the one guy who seemed legitimately bummed when Iverson was shipped out -- can see why Denver is suddenly, you know, pretty good. "I think we're heading into a good direction right now. I say all the time, [Billups is] bringing that leadership to this team, helping everybody out, making everybody better. You look at the scoreboard, you see five, six guys in double digits, whereas before we really didn't have that." And 'Melo's not talking about practice. He's talking about games. I'm just sayin'.

The Sacramento Kings: Despite leading for most of the game, the Sactowners still lost their seventh consecutive game and the 10th of their last 11 overall. The Kings have also dropped their last seven games at Arco Arena...which is the first time that's happened since the 1993-94 season. And if they lose their next game at Arco, it'll set a new franchise record for consecutive games lost at home. Said Bobby Jackson: "It's frustrating, it's like having something on your back and you can't get it off." Yes. Much like blood stains, suck is exceedingly difficult to remove. I suggest starting with hydrochloric acid. If that doesn't work, move on to explosives.

The Utah Jazz and their no-stick fingers: If the Jazz had lost this game -- and it took some serious clutchness from Deron Williams to avoid it -- it would have been because of the Teflon-like material they had bonded to their hands before tipoff. Utah committed 25 turnovers -- 11 in the first quarter -- which pretty much kept the Kings in the game. Said Kyle Korver: "Most times when you have 18 turnovers at the half you aren't going to win." Thanks for the newsflash, Kyle. And congratulations on your promotion from Captain Obvious to four-star General Obvious.

Update! Kobe Bryant: He's making his wife write and send out all the Christmas cards. And the stamps he bought? They aren't self-adhesive.

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Blogger Unknown said...
For everyone that thinks the Lakers are soft, that Pacer game is a perfect example. I got off work and only caught the last 6 minutes of the game but the Pacers got like 5 Offensive Rebounds in the last 5 minutes and the Lakers got something like 2 defensive rebounds. Props to the Pacers though they have handed the Lakers and Celts half their losses.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
So what your memo is saying is that the Lakers can't win the title solely because the 5th leading rebounder in the league grabbed an offensive rebound? OK, are you trying to set yourself up to look like stupid?

The Lakers are definitely not as flawless/powerful as the media seems to think. But taking one play and blowing up out of context is worse. Though I guess that's the only reason for this site's existence.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Man, I think I'm going to be saying "I told you so" about Iverson all year long. I've said it about him for years, and I said it went he went to Enver. The guy will get his numbers (often, like Kobe, on a ridiculous number of shots), but he will NOT, EVER, under any circumstances make his team better.

Given that, it makes you wonder whether Larry Brown's greatest NBA achievement was not his title with Detroit, but instead was getting Philly with Iverson to the Finals.

Blogger Unknown said...
Noticing just Dampier seems to be unfair to the rest of Dirk's fellow starters. Starting PG + C = 0 points in a win. The other four starters total 7 points (3-13, 0-6 3s, 1-2 fts), 9 rebounds, 5 steals, 5 tos, and 4 pfs.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How dare you insult Ostertag by comparing him to Greg Oden!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
While I agree that the Lakers blew it last night (props to the Pacers), your Danny Granger > Kobe argument is kinda sad. You are obviously cherry-picking your stats to make a point. I like how you refused to mention the following:

1. Kobe was outscored by four points BUT on 10-21 FG while Granger was 10-27. If Kobe took six more shots, I think he could score four more points. AND one of Kobe's misses was a pass to himself off the backboard which he dunked (with 34 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, if you want to check my facts). But you would never know that because you just look at box scores and pick the stats you want.

2. Kobe was outassisted (5-2) BUT had more boards (7-4).

3. Kobe had one turnover to Granger's three. And if you actually watched the game (or just searched the play-by-play for "Granger lost ball"), you would know that Granger's three turnovers led to three fast breaks that the Lakers converted. Kobe's sole turnover led to a Danny Granger missed three pointer.

Do some research before you look so pathetic.

Blogger Austen said...
Amusingly, all 3 California teams that played last night choked in the final minute of the game and threw away games they should have won. There really is no excuse especially for how Sacramento lost last night considering how badly the Jazz played last night. At least Deron's back to playing like his old explosive self with the way he drove to the basket at clutch time for that layup.

I don't know if this is worst of the night, but did you realize that in the 1994 NBA draft which included #1 pick Glenn Robinson, Hall of Famers (likely) Grant Hill and Jason Kidd, solid players like Eddie Jones, Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose, that the person who has earned the most up until this point is Juwan Howard? He has earned 137+million to the 136+ million Jason Kidd has, and 126+ million that Grant Hill has. Check out

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Anthony -- The Pacers pounded the boards. But the Lakers also let up. I'm not sure Indiana would want to count on grabbing 19 offensive rebounds every time they played L.A.

OptimusPrime -- Tell you what. I'll respond to your "OK, are you trying to set yourself up to look like stupid?" question after you let me know if all Laker fans are joyless, overly sensitive and entirely incapable of comprehending a gag line when they see it. Or maybe it's just you?

Wormboy -- You know, for years AI and KG were always talked about in the context of "If they had better teammates..." Well, they both escaped their fates to play with better teammates. KG made it work. AI hasn't and isn't. Case closed, maybe?

hubbjm -- Hm. You have a good point...I guess I just couldn't abuse the Mavs too much for a win, however ugly.

Ryan -- Huh. I guess it's not just OptimusPrime.

Thanks for the research, Ryan, and helping me possibly avoid any future patheticness. But I don't need to search the play-by-play. I watched the game. Granger was a big part of Indy's comeback, particularly with his three-point shooting. And Kobe missed a big shot near the end that gave the Pacers a chance to win outright with a conventional field goal. And if you want to talk about cherry-picking stats, why not just look at their plus-minus numbers: Kobe was -3 and Danny was +1. We could go round and round on stats if you want, but Kobe wasn't able to help his team hold onto a 15-point fourth-quarter lead, while Granger spearheaded a big comeback. End of story.

Austen -- Huh. Good point. Although the Clippers don't really choke. They just are. The Kings have to be kicking themselves, though.

Blogger Big Man said...
Duhon was a beast in high school, so he might have played close to 40 minutes back then.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm officially completely dumbfounded by the Pistons. I hope McDyess will settle some of this eccentricity by improving the post defense. My advice to the Pistons; trade Hamilton and his sad face somewhere with Jason Maxiell or Amir Johnson (you don't need two undersized big men, either get rid of the short and fat one or the tall and skinny one) for somebody awesome before the trade deadline. You could use another big man so we don't have to play Kwame Brown ever again (seriously, Brown is the black Darko Milicic, or maybe Milicic is the white Brown). My ideas for who they could trade for include (with no research into salary and all that, mind you)is:
A.) Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby
B.) Andris Biedrins
C.) David Lee or Al Harrington
That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Blogger Unknown said...
Don't worry basketbawful im a laker fan and i like your site. In fact your Kobe Bryant updates have been some of the best additions to the site.

Blogger Unknown said...
add-in the warriors/heat game from monday and you got the Cali teams going 4 for 4 in blowing games in their last attempts.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Definetly true that Laker fans are overly aggressive and sensitive to any criticism of their team. Deep down inside they probably have doubts concerning the team but what is worse is that every Laker fan suffers from it. Greg Oden is looking like Ostertag 2.0, just a big lumbering oaf.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I said last week that the Lakers lackadaisical play was gonna come back to bite them on the ass, and it figures it happened in the next game they played on the road. Success breeds laziness with that group. Now we'll see if the loss will refocus them and make them actually go back to playing defense like they did at the beginning of the year, or if they'll continue to take teams lightly and just hope to flick the switch in the end. There's good odds they simply dismissed last night as a fluke and may take the Sixers too lightly tonight as well.

Mike Dunleavy is still employed by the Clippers for one reason: Sterling is way too cheap to fire a guy he still owes millions of dollars to. Sterling doesn't care if his team wins anyway, so why pay someone else to pilot the team right into the mountain when he's already paying Dunleavy to do it?

Blogger DDC said...
Bawful, I know you touched on the Spurs bawfulness, but that entire 2nd half was unwatchable for both teams. AI took what seemed like 10 contested shots in the 3rd qtr alone. He also had an oncourt tiff with Rasheed. That is a ticking timebomb in Detroit. Then the Spurs were really bawful in the 4th qtr. Here was the offensive strategy in the 4th, give the ball to Tim and stand around in watch, which was a ticket to the FAIL train. Watching that game made me realize that the 2005 Finals was a LONG time ago relative to the NBA today. Those teams are done.

Wild Yams, Bill Simmons touched on the Dunleavy situation last week. He's been almost historically awful of a personnel/coach over the past 3-4 seasons. Only Isiah Thomas has been worse. Which leads me to Donald "Her best sex was better than words can express"(he will NEVER live down his sex scandal) Sterling. When you are giving the likes of Bill Bidwell, Mike Brown & James Dolan a run for the worst owner in sports, it might be time to cash out of the game.

Blogger stephanie g said...
That Pacers-LA game was hot stuff. I'm surprised LA still plays like it's an AND-1 tour as soon as they get up by double digits since they lost a FINALS game doing that. But I guess some lessons come slower than others.

As for AI vs. KG, I thought that was an odd comparison. I mean, the NBA is filled with amazing players stuck on terrible teams but you can still look at what they do. AI has never been an efficient scorer, which as any stathead will tell you is a major factor in winning basketball games and why is most statistical models are never very high on him. For example, when he carried that Sixers team to the finals in that legendary playoff run he shot 39% (48% TS) which is just astounding. I'm not sure if anything like that has ever happened before. It really speaks to how weak the East was back then.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
you might need to take a gander at Jason Kapono. He was a three-point shootout winner and shoots a high percentage but rarely takes more than three or four three-pointers a game. And some of those games, he's playing more than 20-30 minutes. Some games he doesn't even jack up any shot and he's always in the running for a "trillion" Do you think he's just trying to pad his numbers?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kobe could use some alias-making tips. OptimusPrime and Ryan? Cmon Kobe, put a bit more effort into it. At least have some fun with the names.

I might have missed this on 'bawful, but can anyone explain to me the mc.Dice thing? He was traded and immediately all news was 'well, of course he will be cut by the nuggets'. Oh yes, of course. Because they traded for him, they will cut him because that, obviously, makes sense. Huh? When did this become such an automatic thing? Did he say hell-no-Im-like-alonzo-I-wont-play? Or was there some sort of pre-agreement that they'd cut him (and how would that be legal? Of course nothing could be proved easily, but no one cries about this into their pillow/blog but me?)

Its ruining the sport that players can choose if they will play or not, and then get paid to get sent home. But now its just automatically assumed that a team will cut the player after trading for him, just to clear space so they can sign some weird sounding name off the FA list (sounds like me running my nba2k4 team).
Of course I'm not a fan of the football system either, where teams can just cut their players after signing them to 10year deals, without owing them more than their current salary...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hey Bawful, I'm a Laker fun and I find your site really funny. I don't get it with these uptight "fans", I mean can't they take a joke? You're really funny and I look forward to the Kobe updates, even though Kobe is (and has always beeen since he was a rookie) my fave player right now.

Rich Muhlach

Blogger CASABLANCAS said...
Sam Mitchell = FIRED!

According to ESPN: "The Raptors have fired coach Sam Mitchell after Wednesday's 39-point loss in Denver. Mitchell will be replaced by Raptors assistant coach Jay Triano."

Well Toronto Fans should thank the Nuggets for making Colangelo realize how awful their coach was. But hey, at least Mitchell still isn't stepping off from his high horse. And I quote:

"I feel like I accomplished a lot of good things. I think the players that played for me all got better."

Blogger Ignarus said...
I think you had it right with the cynical version - I'd be surprised if his middle school games were longer than 40 minutes in total. This is new ground for Mr. Duhon!

Blogger Unknown said...
If Eric Dampier was 1 rebound shy of a three trillion, would it make sense to say his suck differential was -1?

Blogger Tom said...
Thanks for the Clutch City Hoops reference. How much longer do I need to beg you for a link?

Blogger Tom said...
Oh, and Dampier doesn't play because, um, DeSagna Diop is just that good. Which automatically disqualifies him from being allowed to start. Bums only.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Um, you probably already saw this, but Michael Jordan, quote machine:

"Do you need an oxygen mask?"

-- Bobcats part-owner Michael Jordan to Sean May, who was breathing heavy

From today's Daily Dime. I almost laughed out loud at work.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Wormboy -- You know, for years AI and KG were always talked about in the context of "If they had better teammates..." Well, they both escaped their fates to play with better teammates. KG made it work. AI hasn't and isn't. Case closed, maybe?"

Amen, bro. Amen.