Bored
Could LeBron look any more bored on this dunk. It's
like he's thinking about his grocery list or something...

The Toronto Raptors: Well, well, well...maybe Sam Mitchell wasn't the problem after all. Since Toronto management launched Mitchell into low Earth orbit, the Raptors have gone 0-3, losing by a combined 48 points. Their latest 114-94 setback to the Cavaliers -- who apparently, as a team, swallowed one of those glowing Super Mario stars -- apparently illustrates where the dinos are as a team, as brilliantly summed up by interim coach Jay Triano: "We're on the list of teams where LeBron doesn't even have to play in the fourth quarter." Yup. Pretty much.

Jose Calderon (14 points) was the only Toronto starter to score in double figures. Chris Bosh ended his night with 9 points on 4-for-11 shooting, which you'll notice is hauntingly similar to the disappearing act he pulled in L.A. just over a week ago. Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal was 2-for-6 with 6 turnovers, and he finished the game with fewer rebounds (4) than Calderon (5) despite playing eight more minutes. That's just the kind of night it was.

Quick sidenote on the Cavaliers: "In winning their ninth straight by at least 12 points, the Cavaliers, now 17-1 since Nov. 3, are the first team in league history to win nine consecutive games in a single season so handily. Cleveland came in tied with Portland (1990-91), Chicago (1996-97), Detroit (2003-04) and Houston (2007-08)." Uh, wow? I have to tell you, I did NOT foresee this kind of early dominance by Cleveland. It'll be interesting to see if they can maintain it. After all, two of the four teams mentioned in that quote -- the '90-91 Blazers and last year's Rockets -- didn't make it to the NBA Finals. (And, of course, Houston didn't even make it out of the first round.)

Allen Iverson's Detroit Pistons: That's what I'm callin' 'em from now on, because they've become a classic Iverson team: Soft and sub-.500. And, much to the woe of Pistion fans everwhere, the return of Tony McDyess didn't change a thing. The AIDP's have lost four of five and dropped to 7-9 since sending Mr. Big Shot to Denver for Not The Answer. And it looks like AI's starting to feel a little irritable about the early returns. Said Iverson: "It doesn't have anything to do with one player. It has to do with all of the players. I don't think one player has to do with having a 17-point lead, and then it dissolves like that." Well, snap, girlfriend! That's the most "defense" Allen's played since arriving in Detroit. But I'm sure he's right. I mean, the Pistons have only been winning 50+ games every season for most of the decade. I'm sure replacing their floor leader with a volume shooter who has a history of killing team chemistry has nothing to do with Detroit's seeming demise. Meanwhile, how 'bout those Nuggets...

Note also that Kwame Brown went from starting center to DNP-CD just like that. Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell didn't play either, and Aaron Afflalo finished with zero points (0-for-2) in almost 18 minute of PT. The Detroit Zoo Crew: RIP.

My damn eyes: The only thing that taints the Wizards' win -- besides three members of the starting lineup combining for 5 points on 2-for-12 shooting -- is this, er, video (from Mr. Irrelevant via Ball Don't Lie): I'm Gay (For Gilbert Arenas). Classic lines include "Me and my penis love Gilbert Arenas" and...you know what, just watch it.


The Minnesota Timberwolves' free throw shooting: McHale's Navy missed 16 in all (27-for-43). Rookie Kevin Love went 2-for-9, including four misses in the final three minutes that left the door wide open for the Jazz to come back. Which, of course, they did.

Still, at least the 'Wolves showed a little spunk last night, and Rashad McCants was make a not-so-subtle dig on his old coach, Randy Wittman, after the game: "When I turned the ball over, I'm so used to coming out of the game. Then I looked over and saw [new coach Kevin McHale] clapping and saying, 'Come on, get the next one.' It gives you confidence." That's the same thing I tell my buddies when they get dissed by a girl when we're out at the bars. Doesn't seem to give them a lot of confidence, though.

Kevin McHale, partial quote machine: McFail noted that his team looked "beaten down" with a "black cloud hanging over it" after losing by a combined 52 points in the previous two games. Which is totally, 100 percent correct...if you replace "the previous two games" with "the previous 14 years." Oh, and black cloud is shaped like a skinny, 6'11" Herman Munster.

Jerry Sloan, quote machine: Is it just me or has anybody else noticed that Sloan's attitude is strangely similar to Eeyore, the perpetually gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh? (Yes, I just made a Winnie the Pooh reference. So what?) After celebrating his 20th year as coach of the Jazz, Sloan was asked if he might be around for another double decade. "Twenty more years? I don't know about 20 more minutes." He was in much the same mood before the game, when somebody inquired about how long he was planning to continue coaching. "How do you know? I might wake up tomorrow morning and not feel very good, say, 'This is time for me to get out.' I have no idea. As far as the future's concerned, I've always taken it day by day. They might want to fire me. Even though they haven't thus far, who's to say they might come up and say, 'Well, it's time for us to go a different direction.' I would not have a problem with that. I just don't want to read about it in the paper." Well, thanks for that, Mr. Grumpy McGrumpenstein. Chase any "durn kids" off your property lately?

Deron Williams, quote machine: It's pretty clear Sloan's crochety attitude has rubbed off on his players. When asked whether it was important for the team to win on Sloan's anniversary, Deron Williams said: "We need a win regardless of anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, Hannukah. We just need wins and road wins. We know he doesn't care, so we don't care." Saucer or milk, table two, please.

Brian Cardinal: Almost four minutes and 1 turnover for The Custodian. (Suck differential +1.) I thought custodians were supposed to clean up messes, not make them.

Brevin Knight: I noticed this in the AP game notes: "Jazz G Brevin Knight played after being listed as questionable with a bruised right vocal chord." And I was like, eh? So I looked into it. Here's the skinny: "Brevin Knight was back at practice Monday, though his voice sounded more like a croak. Knight spent Saturday night in a Phoenix hospital for observation after he was elbowed in the windpipe by Goran Dragic in the first quarter of the Jazz's loss. Knight said it was the first time he had ridden in an ambulance, the first time he'd been to the emergency room and the first time he'd spent the night in an intensive care unit. 'It was a little nerve-wracking, especially when they tell you you can't fly for the risk that it'll fully close up,' Knight said." Yikes. Who knew? (Well, besides probably thousands of doctors and the patients who have suffered a bruised vocal cord...)

New York versus Chicago: I don't know what was worse: Spending two-plus hours watching the Knicks and Bulls engage in an alternating battle of Sloppy Offense versus Indifferent Defense or spending two-plus hours listening to Neil Funk and Stacy King talk about said battle. The whole "you score then we'll score then you score then..." mentality led to a near triple-double for Chris Duhon (15 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds) and almost 200 combined shots between both teams. And even the refs got caught up in the general laziness of the night: Ben Gordon committed two faily obvious double-dribble violations that went uncalled despite the fact that both happened right in front of an official...and one of them allowed him to blow right past Duhon for an easy layup. Duhon complained, of course, but you know how well that works. Anyway, Drew Gooden scored a season-high 22 points on mostly uncontested shots and Larry Hughes put the Knicks down for good with a dagger three late in the game. Said Hughes: "I'm not going to turn them down. It's going to be one of two things. It's going to go in or it's not. As long as it's a good look and one of my teammates finds me, I'm definitely willing to take the shot." So Hughes is willing to take shots?! I can't believe it!

By the way, King is now referring to Hughes as "Big Shot Larry." Yeah.

The Atlanta Hawks: The dirty birds coughed up an 8-point fourth quarter lead, thanks in part to poor shooting (39 percent) and the beating they took on the boards (57-40). Said coach Mike Woodson: "It was like we went up by eight, and we got very happy -- like the game was already over. They came back and we had no answer for them." Whoa. It's like Mike's suggesting that the team's past problems -- specifically focus, maturity, and possibly coaching -- are still, you know, problems. Or something.

Mario West and Solomon Jones: The two men were Mario Brothers -- which I guess makes Solomon "Luigi" -- since they each logged a 46-second Mario last night. However, whereas Solomon simply went zero-for-everything, Mario finished 0-for-1 with an assist. And that missed shot was blocked. As Bret LaGree put it: "Given the chance to stretch his legs for 46 whole consecutive seconds, Mario West's lone, blocked shot attempt was a wild, out-of-nowhere dunk attempt. Futile, but no less so than the Hawks' offense once Ron Artest re-entered the game in the fourth quarter." On the subject of that block on Mario...

Update! Carl Landry: As Chuck DeBruce said: "Carl Landry is a heartless man. Blocking poor Mario 'The Mario' West with 38 seconds left, being up by 10?! Come on, Carl, he's Mario West! Have mercy!" Indeed. CBS Sportsline felt so much pity they didn't even mention the block in their "full" play-by-play. Or their shot chart.

Mario block
Why, Carl? Why?! Hasn't Mario suffered enough?

San Antonio versus Dallas: Most compelling evidence that the Mavs weren't playing any defense? As Basketbawful reader Garron pointed out: "In 58 minutes of action, the Spurs comitted only 6 turnovers." Most compelling evidence the Spurs weren't playing any defense? Jason Kidd scored a season-high 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting. The two teams combined to score 259 points on 50 percent shooting (97-for-193). Sure, the double-overtime thing padded those numbers, but still. I mean, Matt Bonner went 5-for-5 -- including 3-for-3 from downtown -- for 13 points, which I'm assuming is a career-high. (Don't bother to correct me. It's Matt Bonner. I don't care.)

HOWEVER...I know I'm putting this in Worst of the Night, but I can tell you this: I would much rather see Spurs game that ends 133-126 than 82-79. So by all means, guys, please continue not playing defense.

Tony Parker, back-handed compliment machine: Regarding J.J. Barea, who scored 21 points (8-for-16) and had a fourth-quarter stretch of 11 straight points created, eight by himself -- including a drive at Duncan and another around Parker -- and a drive-and-dish feed to Kidd for a three-pointer: "It was weird for us. We never saw them play like that. (Barea's) a little like Steve Nash, dribbling 100 times. Sometimes it's tough to guard him because you don't know what he's going to do." Oh, so THAT'S why he burned you, Tony? Thanks for the explanation. I thought it was because you were playing "French Surrender" defense. My bad. Speaking of bad defense...

The Milwaukee Bucks: Not only did Shaq score 30+ points for the first time since the 2006-07 season, the Suns scored 125 points on 59 percent shooting...including 74 points on almost 70 percent sniping in the first half. When asked about his team's defense, Bucks coach Scott Skiles said: "Terrible is the first word that comes to mind, but it wasn't that good. So come up with something else." Well, how about terrifying, frightening, appalling, fearful, awesome, horrifying, ghastly, awe-inspiring, petrifying, revolting, gruesome, shocking, unnerving; see also frightful.

Shaq, deluded quote machine: Shaq scored a season-high 35 points against the Bucks, which only served to fuel the flames of the ego fire raging in the forest of his mind. Said the Big Gimme The Ball: "They keep feeding me like that, those are the type of numbers that they can expect out of me. But sometimes I get those shots and sometimes I don't." He just really doesn't get it, does he? But hey, I can't talk. After all, as Shaq said yesterday on his Twitter: "If you have done less than what i have done, how can u comment on what more needs 2 happen Shaquille oneal."

Leandro Barbosa's defense: As Basketbawful reader Sturla said: "Shouldn't Barbosa have his hand in the OTHER guys face, or have I been playing defence wrong all those years." Wait, Sturla. You've been playing defense? See, that's your problem. Remember, in pickup ball (because that's what I assume you're talking about), it's the first team to 11 points, not 11 steals/blocks/etc.

Barbosa
No, no, no, Leandro. That hand goes in the OTHER guy's face.

Tyronn Lue: He played just over two minutes and finished with a rebound. That's it. The performance, such as it was, illicited the following comment from Clifton:

"Oft-forgotten fact: Before the Suns committed to buying out Dragic's Euro contract and bringing him into camp this season, earlier in the summer they actively pursued Tyronn Lue as Nash's backup, seeming incredibly disappointed when he signed with Milwaukee. To be honest, I'm not sure if he would have been an improvement over Dragic at this point. A season chock-full of lack-tion so far continues for Lue, who played two blowout minutes for the Bucks and picked up a rebound to avoid trillionation. On Sunday versus the Lakers, he picked up 21 minutes of garbage time (also after that one was clearly decided -- remember Sun Yue getting in the game?), and Lue went 3-11 from the floor, scoirng 10, and 'contributing' 2 boards and 3 ASTs -- most of this while the Lakers were not playing defense.

"'Course, Draggy played 8 minutes tonight and contributed 0 points (0-2 FG) and 1 of everything else (rebound, asist, steal, turnover, foul). So tomorrow night, a tired Nash and no Shaq (not only the second of a back-to-back, but he'll be attending a family funeral) versus the Lake Show...hmm. And guess who gets to listen at work again? It'll be you and me, Al McCoy."
Yup. That promises to be an ugly one. Especially since L.A. dropped a shocker to the Kings last night. More on that below.

Garbage shots: The Orlando Magic's miraculous 109-108 comeback win over the Trail Blazers in Portland was aided and abbetted by a trio of three-pointers in the last two minutes...the last of which was a 25-footer that Hedo "The Turkish Assassin" Turkoglu banked in with 0.3 seconds left. Here it is:


Let me just point out the obvious here: Nobody ever intends to bank a three from straight away. Nobody. Never. It's an accident 100 percent of the time, unless you're attempting a trick shot in HORSE. Losing on a banked triple from the top of the key -- and trust me, it's happened to me countless times in pickup ball -- is one of the most agonizing ways to drop a ballgame. And Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who's always quick with a quip, knows it: "That was just brilliant, brilliant coaching down the stretch. If you're [the Blazers], you've got to roll your eyes, because we threw one in." Of course...

The Portland Trail Blazers: They sort of have nobody to blame but themselves. The Blazers went 0-for-4 and committed two turnovers in the final two minutes, including a 24-second violation with five seconds left that set up Hedo's Miracle.

Dwight Howard: As Basketbawful reader Inverno pointed out, Superman couldn't contain LaMarcus Aldridge (25 points, 12-for-17, 13 rebounds) and even had a baby hook attempt stuffed by Aldridge in the fourth. (That was one of three blocks against Howard on the night.) He was also held to a season-low 7 rebounds. (Whoa. That's a season LOW?!) I wonder how he'll look against Shaq on Friday.

The Los Angeles Lakers: So I was perusing the NBA Power Rankings at Ball Don't Lie yesterday when I read the following blurb: "To be completely honest, this team is probably ranked too high. Kobe's such a ballhog, Phil Jackson's never had to coach a team without stars, and Andrew Bynum's real age is 34. Also, the Lakers might not lose again for the rest of the year." Before I could even consider the tired use of the "Kobe's a ballhog/Jackson's never had to blah, blah, blah" reverse sarcasm, I immediately thought: "Huh. Stat curse. Bet the Lakers lose their next game." Then I checked the schedule and saw they were playing the Kings. But I was confident: The stat curse rarely lets me down. And it came through yet again last night.

Just like when L.A. dropped on to the Pacers, their 113-101 loss to the Kings -- Sactown's first win in the last nine games -- was a classic case of a really good team overlooking a lesser opponent. And Lamar Odom knows it. "We came in here thinking we were going to win, and we didn't respect our opponent. You've got to play with a certain energy. If you don't you could lose to Westchester High School." Probably an overstatement, but I agree with his sentiment.

Luke Walton: The Son of Walton logged another rugged DNP-CD during a game in which even Chris Mihm and Josh Powell played a couple of minutes. Did he slash Phil Jackson's tires or something? Sleep with Jeannie Buss? What happened?!

Kobe Bryant: After shooting 9-for-25 and taking way too many threes (as he always seems to do in a Lakers loss), Mamba was feeling extra surley in the L.A. locker room. After several minutes of intense silence, he finally said: "You know what? I need an Ahmad Rashad. Who wants to be my Ahmad Rashad? What about you, Luke? You ain't doing anything. Wanna start putting together Inside Stuff: Part II?" Then Luke began to cry.

NBA.com: Basketbawful reader Dan was quick to point out a snark-inducing snafu after last night's Lakers-Kings game: "At the end of the 113-101 Sacto win over the Lakers, NBA.com has its usual team names, logos, and final score posted as well as a list of players who produced, but in Sacramento's case, you can clearly see the Dallas Mavericks logo. Apparently the Sacramento Kings also underwent a name change after their victory as they were incorrectly labelled as Sacto Rockets." Ryan G. Ryan M. also noticed this. "Not only do they get the team name wrong, but then they get the logo wrong, but with a different team than the first error. Sacramento has decided to change their name to the Rockets, but then change their colors and uniforms to match the Mavs. They need to pick one Texas team and stick with it! (Side note: if you take out Brad Miller and maybe Bobby Jackson, I'd be willing to bet the casual NBA fan would have no idea who the Lakers played!)" Here's the faux pas, in all its glory:

Sactown Rockets
The Sacramento Dallas Rockets. Wait...what?!

Note: You'll notice based on the strikethrough above that I accidentally mis-attributed a quote from Ryan M. to a "Ryan G." That was a typo. My bad. So this message is to Ryan's friends, who apparently didn't believe that quote belonged to him. Why would he lie to you? Don't taze him, bros.

Marc Gasol, unintentionally dirty quote machine: This is a day late, but well worth it. Here are some words about that Rockets-Grizzlies game from Marc's Yahoo! Player Profile: "Marc Gasol's assignment is to bang with opposing big bodies in the paint. In this case, Gasol hammered on Yao Ming all night, holding him to 14 points and four rebounds. 'It's hard to ride him all the time, but that was the game plan,' said Gasol, who had 10 points, eight rebounds, three blocked shots, three steals and three aasists. 'I got him a little tired.'" I wonder how Yao's wife feels about that. Maybe she gave him one of those "once a year" deals like AK-47 has.

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26 Comments:
Blogger Austen said...
Man that Jazz-Wolves game was painful to watch. I actually gave up on the game with 4 minutes to go and the Jazz down by 7. Persona 4 was calling, so I thought I'd try to salvage the evening. I pulled up NBA.com a few hours later and was utterly shocked to see that the Wolves just completely threw the game away. Watching the endgame, if the Wolves had made even 1 freethrow down that final stretch, they probably would have won the game. Geez. But you talk about unintentional game winners, so how about Memo's little fade-away jumper with 1.7 seconds left to go? Odds are good that that's not the shot Sloan was looking for.

Incidentally, I have a Worst of the Night for the League last night, scheduling Sloan's 20th Anniversary as Jazz head coach...on a road game, against Minnesota.

Anonymous Chuck DeBruce said...
Carl Landry is a heartless man. Blocking poor Mario "The Mario" West with 38 seconds left, being up by 10!? Come on, Carl, he's Mario West! Have mercy!

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/photos?photoId=2101853&gameId=281209010

Blogger Bret LaGree said...
Given the chance to stretch his legs for 46 whole consecutive seconds, Mario West lone, blocked shot attempt was a wild, out-of-nowhere dunk attempt.

Futile, but no less so than the Hawks' offense once Ron Artest re-entered the game in the fourth quarter.

Blogger David said...
Another note on the Cavs' win streak is that the 21.6 scoring margin doesn't really do them justice. They've led by an average of 23.6 going into the fourth quarter. Only twice did they enter the fourth with less than a 20-point lead: a five-point lead against the Bucks and a 16 point lead against the Pacers, in games which the Cavs won by 12 and 24, respectively.

Blogger Kevin said...
Regarding my previous post 2 days ago how the Raps were steadily improving and how they were poised to win this game by 40:
This simply proves that Lebron James defies logic and math. Which probably explains why he said he was 5 times better in the season opener against the Celtics than he was in Game 7 last year

Anonymous Ryan said...
Dwight Howard was injured in that game, his ribs I believe. He couldn't jump, which just really makes him a young Eric Dampier on the floor.

Blogger Kevin said...
And one more thing, apparently Memphis is auctioning off the jersey that Darko ripped in half the other night.

http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/news/milicic_torn_jersey_on_auction_block-081209.html

There are so many jokes in there that no one really has to say anything, really

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Are the Cavs really this good? Everyone's been focused on the Celtics and Lakers, but the Cavs are flat destroying people. It's early in the year and all, but the Cavs are usually a team that turns it up a notch or two in the playoffs. This is the biggest story of the young season, IMO.

I have to say, even I'm surprised at how fast the wheels have fallen off in Detroit since the trade. I didn't think AI would be a good fit there, and figured the Pistons would be worse overall, but they're much, much worse than they were. I think if the Pistons want to try to get back on track at all they're gonna have to consider starting Stuckey and having either AI or Rip come off the bench, cause they need to have a point guard in there.

I'm not sure what to make of the Spurs or the Mavs yet. First they stunk, now they're good maybe? But where's the defense? I dunno. Do you think both teams are gonna make the playoffs this year?

Is Shaq really gonna miss tonight's Lakers game? If so that's awfully coincidental. Do you realize since he was traded back in 2004 he's only played in two games in Staples Center against the Lakers? The last time he played there (the game where he and Bynum dunked on each other), Shaq was loudly booed by the crowd. I wonder if that's why he keeps skipping the games there.

Speaking of the Lakers, I think they're at a real make or break fork in the road for their season right now. After the whipping the Celtics laid on them last year the Lakers came in this season talking about defense, and started the year really playing some. But after starting 7-0 behind that good D, they really haven't played much since. In the first 7 games of the year the Lakers were only giving up 86.7 ppg. In the 13 games since they've given up an average of 102.5 ppg. Now yes, the Lakers will probably make the Finals even if they keep playing like this, but as we saw last year, just being a great offensive team isn't gonna win them a title. Either the Lakers need to re-commit to playing defense, or they're just gonna have a real good season and come up short again at the end of the year.

And someone should tell Kobe that just because the Lakers haven't trailed late in games much this year, if his team is down by 10 with about 8 or 9 minutes to go, the way to get back into it and give yourself a chance to win is by running the offense, not jacking up wild threes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Is Shaq really gonna miss tonight's Lakers game? If so that's awfully coincidental. Do you realize since he was traded back in 2004 he's only played in two games in Staples Center against the Lakers? The last time he played there (the game where he and Bynum dunked on each other), Shaq was loudly booed by the crowd. I wonder if that's why he keeps skipping the games there."

Yams, Shaq's grandmother died and he is attending the funeral. Have you no heart? Have you no soul?

Anonymous Al James said...
To keep with your theme in this blog, you should call the Detroit Pistons the Etrit Pistons because there is no longer any D or O in Detroit. Or if you could just call them the Detroit Lions since the other Detroit Lions have officially fallen off the face of the Earth. Oh and I'm a Pistons fan suggesting this.

Blogger bsdrat said...
I'm digging the "Son of Walton" reference

Blogger Scott said...
I know the Jazz won and all, but how can you ignore the shooting of DWill (admittedly, still injured) and AK47 (admittedly, still a sucky shooter)? A combined 4-21 effort. Funny thing is...combined 11-11 from the line.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Actually it was Shaq's great-grandmother who died. Is the funeral today? I can't find any details on that, just that she died this week, Shaq played last night and should be back for Friday's game. I'm just saying, considering it's the second night of a back to back it makes for a good cover story if Shaq didn't actually need to miss the game to make the funeral. If it hadn't been almost 3 years since he played against the Lakers in Staples Center I wouldn't even speculate on that, but it just seemed a little fishy to me.

Blogger BadDave said...
How are we supposed to know about Shaq's grandmother. He didn't twitter it.

Sloan may be a grump, but he's a badass grump.

And if you want another word for the awful performance, I recommend BAWFUL. You heard it here first. After reading it here for a couple of years, I mean.

Anonymous JJ said...
my new favourite thing to do:

name plays, which would have been placed higher (#1 most of the time) in nba.com´s top 10 if they were performed by lebron james..

todays winners are:
-memo okur´s game-winning-running-jumper
-quentin richardsons and-one-alley-oop

any other suggestions?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Austen -- Seriously. You think the league wouldn't go crazy if, for instance, it was Phil Jackson's 20th anniversary?

Chuck DeBruce -- Added.

Bret LaGree -- Also added.

David -- Good points (including the ones you made on your blog). The competition they've faced has been "meh," but hey, the Pacers beat the Lakers and Celtics, and they almost got Boston twice. Fact is, the Cavaliers are clicking like mad. I wonder, though...are they peaking too early? It's happened before.

Kevin -- I'm glad I didn't have to take my SAT anywhere around LeBron. Also, your tip generated today's Christmas List post. Thanks.

Ryan -- The sad thing is, without his hops, Howard really is reduced to "young Dampier" status. Yikes.

Wild Yams -- As a Celtics fan, I'm mildly terrified by the Cavs right now. Of course, we'll need to see them take on some championship-level ballclubs first...but, besides them, there are only two: The Celtics and Lakers. Those three teams are so far above everybody else, it's not even close. Actually, it's kind of like the late 80s, when it was Boston/Detroit/L.A., or the early 80s when it was Boston/Philly/L.A.

The Pistions have shown signs, both against the Lakers and Cavs. But they need everything to go perfect and everybody to play well for "it" to happen. And what are the chances? Pretty low, apparently.

The Mavs, eh, I'm not even remotely concerned about them doing anything. The Spurs are the Spurs, though, and I think they could be a bigtime spoiler in the West. Assuming their young guys can develop some consistency.

I noticed Shaq disappeared from Twitter for a few days (yes, I follow Shaq's Twitter) and then he popped back up to say his great grandma passed away. And, as I understand it, her funeral is indeed today. So I'll give him a pass. Although, as you say, the fact that he keeps missing games in L.A. is kinda odd.

The Laker D sure has tailed off after the strong start. And they already seem to be falling into a "cruise control" mode. I wonder why that is. It might be a top-down problem. I mean, Kobe nicknamed himself the Doberman for good reason. He always wants to kill the other guys. But he doesn't seem to instill his teammates with that same killer instinct. LeBron seems to. The Celtics have a group thing going. I dunno. As you say, it probably won't matter en route to the Finals, because they're just that talented. Against Boston or Cleveland, though...?

Anonymous #1 -- Well, Yams IS a Lakers fan, so chances are he has no soul. Still, I'm guessing he didn't know great granny's funeral was today.

Al James -- Ouch. I can feel your pain. Right now, I'm worried for all Piston fans. Especially PistonsGirl4Life...she basically dropped off the face of the Earth after the trade.

bsdrat -- It's the best nickname I could come up with. And I like it. Although I might have stolen it from Craig of The Association blog.

Scott -- Eh. As someone with D-Will on his fantasy team, I'm guessing I blocked it out in a haze of white-hot rage.

BadDave -- Hmm...Bawful...you know, it might just work.

JJ -- Any standard highlight play automatically becomes number one if 'Bron does it. No questions. Actually, the harder thing to do would be assuming they were all Lebron highlights and then rank them. NBA.com might explode due to a 10-way tie for first place.

Anonymous Pistonsgirl4life said...
Bawful....

Thanks. I've been chased off every Pro Detroit forum I post on recently for pointing out the obvious...

This team sucks now. The trade was terrible, Iverson is actually WORSE here than in Denver, Curry can't coach and Miami is in every single way a more attractive place to live than Detroit so Wade, James, Bosh or Boozer are NOT coming here.

Joe Dumars just went "Isiah Thomas" on us. To quote Roscoe:

"It's over man. That's it. It's all over".

Sorry I don't post much anymore but how many ways can you say "Jeeze I wish we still had Chauncey".

We just lost to the Bullets... I got nothing yo..

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Pistonsgirl4life -- Whew. So you are still around. Good. I really was getting worried. Remember, I once lived through my own "Isiah" era, when he was coaching my Pacers. In fact, I believe his dark seeds of discontent are what inspired Artest to start that brawl...but that's another story.

Well, just remember that you can always vent at Basketbawful, free of repercussions. In fact, this site was made for that kind of thing.

As an aside, I meant to mention this in today's post, but watching the Pistons makes me think of my pickup league. My buddy Mr. P and I used to almost always play together before he started coaching volleyball and injured his hip. He and I have a great chemistry: He's the PG, I'm the SF/PF/C. Once he disappeared, I began to realize how fine a line there is between good passes and bad passes, between that split second when a pass should be made and when your defender recovers, etc. Mr. P always hit me in my spots, or when I was ready to shoot. That doesn't happen as much now, and I have to work much harder to score.

That's where the Pistons are. They miss their leader. Hope all the extra cash they're gonna have turns out to be worth it. The way things are going, they'll end up with Amare Stoudemire before they realize he's helpless without somebody to get him the ball.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, I agree with you about the Cavs and thinking they may be terrifyingly good, but we won't really know till we see them play the Lakers and Celtics; but the same can be said of the Lakers and Celtics really. These teams just need to play each other a bunch to really see where they all rank. Right now with the way the Lakers are playing D, I'd say they're definitely the lowest of the three, but I'm not sure where Boston and Cleveland are in relation to each other.

I do think the Lakers' problems come from the top (Kobe) down. While it would be a stretch to say Kobe single-handedly lost that game last night for the Lakers, he was far more to blame than anyone else in a Laker uniform (the guys from Sacramento played some small part as well). Kobe seems to be incapable of realizing that the best way to erase a deficit is to chip away at it, and instead thinks he can get it back immediately with a bunch of early shot clock threes. We've discussed this before: he's very talented, but he's a bonehead.

I meant to say something earlier about Son of Walton (or "Puke" as he's lovingly referred to by Laker fans) and his DNP-CD last night. He missed the previous game with an upper respiratory infection (which sounds akin to the dreaded "flu like symptoms"), and that is what opened the door for Sun Yue's lone NBA appearance. Luke was back on the bench last night, but my guess is with the blowout on (and make no mistake, the Lakers were blown out) Phil probably didn't put him in because of his illness (unless it was out of fear of him posting yet another trillion or Mario).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- You know, if there's one argument for reducing the number of teams in the league that I will always agree with, it's that the best teams would get to play each other more often. Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain had to face each other eight times during the regular season. Heck, even in the early 80s, the Celtics and Sixers had to face off six times during the regular season. That's how rivalries were created and maintained. Now, depending on how the schedule is made, top teams can go half the season or more without matching up.

Of course, as you already know, I agree with you about Kobe. That's why, to me, Kobe will always be less than MJ (or even other all-time greats, like Magic, Bird, Kareem, etc.) in that he doesn't seem to prize basketball efficiency. He always seems to want immediate gratification as a player. If there's a deficit, he wants to wipe it out immediately...even if it means launching five or six threes in a two minute span. He's as infuriating as he is amazing. Just depends on the night.

You know, you almost convinced me to ease up on the SoW/Puke and remove him from Worst of the Night. But somehow I just can't do it. Maybe if he was all coughing and hacking on the bench or something. Every time I want to lighten up on him, I'm reminded of that five-year extension he signed last summer...

Anonymous kazam92 said...
breaking: suns get J-rich and J-Dud for raja bell, boris diaw, & sean singletary


bow WATCH as bells superhuman 3 pt percentage drops like a bomb. Nash is a wizard. "Touch my pass, make your 3's" Worked for Tim Thomas

Anonymous kazam92 said...
DOH! Meant "now"


also a minor trade. The legendary mike james is sent to Washington along with javaris critteron for antonio daniels. Hornets ran away with this. They just got a competent PG to back up paul

Blogger Wild Yams said...
No need to ease up on Son of Walton - he got the start tonight as Vlad Radmanovic (sans shades) took over Luke's role on the bench with a DNP-CD.

Tomorrow the Suns and Lakers both deserve WOTNs. The Suns deserve it for figuring the best way to appease Amare's "I need to be The Man" desires is to trade a couple role players for a guy (Jason Richardson) who's going to want to dominate the ball. Shaq and his predictions about what happens when you feed him the ball may have to take a backseat now that Phoenix has added another offensive option. The Lakers deserve a WOTN mention for barely beating a Suns team that was missing almost everyone. I don't think that's the game ESPN signed up for when they targeted that one for their TV schedule.

Blogger Clifton said...
Just in from work. Al McCoy harped on the free-throw differential all night long; final count was Lakers 35 attempts, Suns 18, but it was worse at the half, something like 22-8. But seriously, in a non-backhanded way as is possible, this was the most impressive loss of the season, although it seemed like Phil Jackson started Luke Walton in a gesture of good sportsmanship towards the shorthanded Suns. UCLA burning a timeout early to compensate for USC losing one by rule because they wore their home reds on the road this past Saturday seems to have spread all over LA.

But it was a good game. The Suns scuffled and stayed close throughout, although the Lakers, for whatever reason, couldn't throw it in the ocean except for The Spanish Marshmallow, who went 11-14 from the field while yanking down 5 huge boards. *cough*

I don't know how well J-Rich was getting along in Bobcatville, but the Suns just unloaded a player who was becoming a huge locker-room cancer (Raja) and a player who has been one of the biggest underperformers since he signed his big contract (Diaw). The most intriguing part of the trade is that although the Suns gave up Sean Singletary in the deal, who looked like a better backup option than Goran Tragic (who, as usual, played 12 minutes and had one bucket for 2 points, although he did hand out 5 dimes), since they were already at the league minimum of 13 players and shipped out three while receiving two, they have one week to sign another player to get back to the league minimum. Unless Steve Kerr suddenly develops a glue-sniffing habit, it HAS to be a point guard. Who's out there and looking to prove they can do better than the Slovenly Slovenian?

Note: Kerr might be headed towards that glue habit already. From J-Dud's ESPN player profile: "I'm high on Dudley," general manager Steve Kerr said. "He's versatile and can guard multiple positions and play like a small four (power forward) or a big three (small forward)." So, he's already high on Dudley, which I guess is what the kids are calling it nowadays. Glue can't be far behind.

Blogger Sturla said...
Bawful: Regarding Barbosa's defense input. Actually, I managed do drag my skinny frame through seven seasons worth of classical white boy hustle in my nation 1. and 2.divisions, before bad knees, lack of talent and utter lazyness "forced" me to retire. I did know a thing or two about defense but, do to criminally bad referees, it was much easier to just do our best imitation of the 1992 knicks and beat and elbow the sh** out of the opponent.

But your on the money regarding pick-up ball defense. At least me and my pick-up mates play D like we were the 05-06 Phoenix Suns (And O like we were the 08-09 Klama City Thunders).

Anonymous Wormboy said...
"By the way, King is now referring to Hughes as "Big Shot Larry." Yeah."

Robert Horry just threw up in his mouth a little.




Regarding Detroit: I feel so vindicated about Iverson. I feel deeply for Pistons fans though. Remember, all things go in cycles. Detroit shall rise again, like a, err, Phoenix.



Regarding Kobe: He is not nor ever will be MJ. MJ, at least with the Bulls, always made his teammates better. He pulled everybody with him, sort of like how Garnett did last year. Kobe never has done that. He's really not different than Iverson, except that he has much better skills.

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