Roy 2

Dwyane Wade: I waxed poetic about Wade's amazing game at By The Horns, but now I'm gonna vent. What the hell? Seriously, what the hell?! The Bulls played one of their best games of the season, but Wade went all God Mode on them, scoring 48 points on 15-for-21 from the field [!!] and 5-for-6 from downtown [!!!]. And let's talk about those threes. One was a 32-footer to beat the halftime buzzer. One tied the game with 11.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. And his final triple -- which came off a steal that robbed the Bulls of their final possession and a chance to win it at the end of the second overtime -- was a crazy running lightning bolt of a buzzer beat that won the game. This wasn't just crazy, it was crazy-insane. Seriously. Just watch this:


That is not fair. I can think of only a handful of ways Wade’s game could have been more epic: If it had come against the Cavaliers, Celtics or Lakers; if it had happened in the playoffs (preferably a seventh game); if he had simultaneously saved all the children and a puppy from a burning orphanage; or if it had caused the fall of the Dark Lord Sauron’s tower of Barad-dûr. I'm not sure what else the Bulls could have done. It's awfully hard to gameplan against fate.

Bonus footage: Let's hear what Wade had to say about his deus ex machina game:


Ben Gordon: It's hard to fault a guy who almost outdueled Dwyane Wade in one of Wade's most epic performances to date. BG finished with 43 points (14-for-23) on the strength of 8 (out of 11) three-pointers. But he had a pretty big goat moment. The Bulls were up 103-101 at the end of regulation when Miami was forced to foul Gordon with 20.7 seconds left. BG bonked the first foul shot and then hit the second, giving Chicago a 104-101 lead that was in no way safe. As amazing as Wade is, even he can't hit a four-pointer, since such a shot doesn't exist. But a clutch three? No problem. All I could think of afterward was "What if Ben had just hit that damn free throw?!"

Tyrus Thomas: Remember this guy? Yeah, neither does Vinny Del Negro. He used to play for the Bulls, but not anymore, apparently. Brad Miller got 46 minutes of daylight. Tyrus "I thought he was the future" Thomas, on the other hand, played only 22 minutes, contributing 4 points (2-for-5), 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers and 4 fouls. Miller's arrival is causing Tyrus to fade, like a foul vapor. Of course, Tyrus didn't help his cause by getting into foul trouble and then picking up a technical with 2:28 left in the third quarter. The reason? He threw his gum at an official after picking up his fourth foul. Not a good idea, Tyrus.

Funny-looking celebrations: Sky Flakes sent in the following pic. Wonder Twin Powers...ACTIVATE! Shape of: A dork! Form of: A spaz!

celebrate

Tyson Chandler: This guy has been en fuego since the deal that was going to send sentence him to Oklahoma City fell through. But someone must have hit him with a fire extinguisher last night -- not the flame-smothering foamy stuff, but the actual metal tube -- because he finished with 2 points (1-for-6) and 5 boards. Or, to put it another way, the same number of rebounds as Mike Bibby. That's worse than good. Of course, a lot of the blame for New Orleans' 89-79 loss goes to...

The Hornets' bench: The reserve corps scored 7 points, and 5 of those points came from James Posey. None of New Orleans' pine riders other than Posey grabbed a rebound. They had as many fouls as assists (4). To put it bluntly, they suck. Said Byron Scott: "It's putting too much pressure on our starters. I can't sit there and continue to watch this." And you're going to do what, exactly, Byron? You can pretend they're All-Stars or dress them as women, but Hilton Armstrong and Sean Marks are still Hilton Armstrong and Sean Marks. Good luck squeezing blood from THAT turnip.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Their home battle against the Washington Wizards Generals was a matchup of two teams that had lost a combined 14 straight games. That, my friends, is what we call scalpers night off. And even though it would have been fitting for both teams to lose, that doesn't happen in today's NBA. So it was Minny -- the home team -- who lost to the Wicked Worst of the East and lost their 10th consecutive game. They are now 8-24 at the Target Center.

To make matters even worse for the already Al Jefferson-less 'Wolves, Randy Foye sprained his ankle during the fourth quarter and had to be carried to the locker room. How'd that happen? Well, Foye went up to grab a lob pass from Mike Miller, but came down funny and collapsed in a heap. Yet another problem caused by Miller's newfound reluctance to shoot the damn ball.

The Denver Nuggets: Okay, what happened? These guys were good, right? I mean, they spent most of the season as the second-best team (record-wise) in the West. Now they can't win, not on the road, not at home. A night after losing to the Wicked Worst of the West -- otherwise known as the Sacramento Kings -- the Nuggets dropped a home game to the Houston Rockets. Mr. Big Shot was 9-for-21, 'Melo was 8-for-21 with 4 turnovers, Nene scored 10 points on 15 shots, the Birdman played 22 minutes...need I go on? It was Denver's eighth loss in their last 11 games. And that second seed they had? Yeah, now they're slipped to SEVENTH. Yikes. Said George Karl: "The clouds will go away, the sun will come up again. I don't think there's anyone in that locker room that's afraid of the challenge that we have. It's just the funk of not playing very well for seven, eight games. I'm not going to make excuses, but there seems to be at times to be a mental fatigue to our team." What, they're THINKING too hard? Are you making them do math at practice? C'mon, George. Seriously?

The Rockets free throw shooting: Their 2-point was way closer than it needed to be, mostly 'cause the Rockets missed 15 of their 35 free throw attempts. Said Ron Artest: "That is very strange. But that was our fault. We were up so big. That's our next step right there, being able to keep a team down. We make those free throws we win by 10, nine points." They must have had shaqnopsis. Hey, speaking of Ron-Ron...

Ron Artest, alien doppelganger: On Houston's win, in which he accounted for only 22 of the team's 97 points: "We're going to win together or lose together. I'm not winning this thing by myself. Yao's not going to win by himself. You're either going to win with your team or lose with your team. It took a lot of years to understand that. But that's how it's going to be." Who is this guy and what did he do with Ron Artest?!

The Los Angeles Lakers: Like Keanu Reeves would say: "Whoa." I guess when Brandon Roy said the Blazers were looking past the Timberwolves on Saturday night, he wasn't kidding. L.A. took such a pounding that they had to outscore Portland 38-27 in the fourth quarter just to lose by "only" 15 points. The Lakers haven't won at the Rose Garden in their last seven tries; their last win there was on February 23, 2005...when Chucky Atkins was starting for them. It was L.A.'s third straight road fail. Oh yeah, and the Lakers' 38 points in the first half? A season low.

Lamar Odom: Jacob C. wrote in to say: "I don't even know what to make of this quote, really. It's pretty ridiculous...this Blazers fan is not pleased. 'We have to respect our opponent and play them like they're Boston or Cleveland,' Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. 'They play us like we're a tough team, or one of the best teams in the league, so why not play against every team like that? It would be smart for us to do.'" In all fairness, Jacob, Lamar is insane. And then there's that whole pot-smoking thing...

(Sidenote: Lamar finished with 2 points, zero rebounds and 3 assists. Sounds like he needs to take his own advice. Update! I goofed on Odom's stat line, as Justin pointed out: "Hi, when you quoted Lamar's stat line, that was actually your buddy Luke Walton's stat line. Odom had 7 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block. Definitely the quality of his post-Bynum injury performances, but not QUITE as bad as quoted.")

The continuing wussification of the league: Okay, so late in the third quarter, Rudy Fernandez was fast-breaking tot he hoop when he got thwacked by Trevor Ariza. Fernandez took a pretty nasty spill and "remained prone on the court" for more than 10 minutes before being taken out on a stretcher. Here's the video:


Now, I'm very sorry that Rudy got hurt. It's a real shame. But that was a hard foul and nothing more. Guys like Anthony Mason, Bill Laimbeer, Charles Oakley, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn, et al. used to deliver fouls like that AT LEAST a half dozen times PER GAME. Hell, Rodman once wrestled Karl Malone to the ground during the NBA Finals IN FRONT OF AN OFFICIAL and their was no call. I'm not kidding.

I just can't believe that Trevor was trying to put the hurt on Rudy. And I'm even a little on the fence as to whether that should have been a Flagrant -- although I guess any head contact these days warrants that -- but Ariza certainly shouldn't have been ejected. Maybe I'm biased because I grew up in an era where McHale clotheslining Kurt Rambis was considered an example of tough, gritty, I'd-eat-nails-and-broken-glass-to-win basketball. Not that I'm condoning that kind of behavior these days -- well, not usually, anyway -- but this isn't ballet or golf. Basketball is a contact sport. And the only reason people are outraged is because Rudy was hurt (which, as I said, is unfortunate). I mean, if somebody hit Shaq that way -- and trust me, it happens all the time -- would anybody have even noticed? Speaking of the rough stuff...

Kurt Rambis: From Basketbawful reader Jordan: "As if Rudy Fernandez getting carted out of the Rose Garden on a stretcher wasn't enough, check out this video from about 1:45 - 1:55. If you look closely at the left part of the screen, you'll notice a not-so-discreet Kurt Rambis first clotheslining and then throwing, by the nape of his neck, an innocent Blazers towel boy. Pure, unadulterated Rambis genius." Hey, Kurt: Didn't you call McHale a "thug" for doing that to you back in '84...?


Kobe Bryant: Mamba shot 11-for-29 (including 2-for-9 from three) and finished with more fouls (5) than either rebounds (3) or assists (3). Then, after the game, he left without speaking to reporters. Sore loser, anyone?

Lacktion report: Chris's mad, passionate fling with lacktion continues:

Hornets-Hawks: New Orleans's Hilton Armstrong had room service deliver him a called foul for a suck differential of +1 in 2:05, also charging him with a 1:0 Voskuhl fresh out of the mini-bar. Meanwhile, is any Hawks game complete without a Mario from THE Mario West? Tonight he celebrated the legend of Link with a 45-second stint!

Bulls-Heat: Joel Anthony may have rebounded twice, but the desire to avoid shooting the ball in 5:13 led to a slight Voskuhl of 3:2, comprised of two fouls and one giveaway.

Rockets-Nuggets: Anthony Carter recovered nicely from a left hip strain on March 5th to come back for George Karl and pan 1.25 trillion worth of gold specks!

Lakers-Blazers: Shavlik Randolph made money for Paul Allen's team faster than an Internet Explorer crash, releasing a service pack worth 2.95 trillion! In that same time period (2:58), Jerryd Bayless passed the rock to a Laker and bricked for a +2.

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58 Comments:
Blogger Andy said...
Wow, the Portland commentators certainly had a fit about that. That was just not that bad of a foul - he made a play on the ball and hit him in the head, and the commentators immediately try to play off the Lakers as a dirty team. I can see if he pushed Rudy or wrapped him up, but it looks like it would have been clean had he not hit his head. Which, if he had timed it slightly better or Rudy's trajectory had been a little bit different, would have happened.

Anonymous Sotck-tone said...
I assume Odom is going to get suspended... he DID leave the bench, no?

Blogger Shiv said...
Im pretty sure Wade blew up the Death Star with a clutch proton torpedo.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
I.Love.This.Game

Blogger Wild Yams said...
It's going to be interesting to see what happens to Odom. I would assume he'll get suspended for leaving the bench area, although he didn't actually step on the court (since the fracas took place along the baseline). That's almost surely gotta be a suspension though. It's too bad all that nonsense broke out though, cause it's clear Ariza was just trying to block the shot.

I said it last night and I'll say it again: I don't know why the refs even bother reviewing the video on those plays when they're just going to uphold the same stupid decision. What could they possibly have seen on the replay to make them think it was definitely an excessive, malicious foul worthy of an ejection? Maybe they just were worried they'd incite a riot if they didn't throw Ariza out. Who knows. It'll be interesting to see if the league rescinds the flagrant 2 foul.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Re: Ron Artest: Don't let your guard down bawful! IT'S A TRAP!

Anonymous kazam92 said...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2okxHW6cGfQ&fmt=18


a better video with epic background music of wade's amazing game

Blogger Ben said...
Err... Someone stole something from someone...

http://bullsbythehorns.com/?p=511

"I can think of only a handful of ways Wade’s game could have been more epic: If it had come against the Cavaliers, Celtics or Lakers; if it had happened in the playoffs (preferably a seventh game); if he had simultaneously saved all the children and a puppy from a burning orphanage; or if it had caused the fall of the Dark Lord Sauron’s tower of Barad-dûr."

Blogger ericL said...
I hate arguments like that. "Back in the day Bill Laimbeer could donkey punch guys while they shot free throws and nobody cared...they did it all the time." If you love basketball and you wanna see guys dunk the ball without being terrified of somebody making a dangerous play then the league has to eject players for fouls like that. I don't think Ariza tried to hurt Rudy but I think it was a dumb and dangerous play.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Andy -- That's the thing. It just wasn't that bad of a foul. I don't understand it...when did basketball become a no contact sport?

Sotck-tone -- Yeah, he did. It'll be very, very interesting to see what happens. I mean, when Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw got suspended a few years back, we were told that the "can't get off the bench" rule was a zero-tolerence policy. So...

Shiv -- Yup. And it was just like targeting the basket over Ben Gordon back home...

kazam92 -- It's FANtastic.

Wild Yams -- The league won't rescind it. David Stern has spent years trying to stamp out physical play. He's even tricked most basketball fans and even experts into believing standard hard fouls are dirty plays. Dude is straight voodoo.

AnacondaHL -- Admiral Ackbar, is that you??!

kazaam92 -- I might have to switch videos.

Ben -- Heh, well, as author of By The Horns, I reserve the right to rip myself off in the interest of saving time to do Basketbawful too.

ericL -- You know, you're right about one thing: I shouldn't have referenced Laimbeer and those other dirty guys since they did much worse. Everybody made plays like Ariza did back in the day. People say that Trevor should have given up the bucket because the Lakers were already down 30, but isn't that the time you WANT a team and its players to show some fight?

And if today's players are so much bigger, stronger and more athletic than ever, why do guys get taken out so easily? Go back and watch McHale's clothesline on Rambis sometime. Rambis got bent in half and slammed on his head, but he jumped right back up immediately. God, I remember when pro ballers were tough...

It's just like Big Baby's flagrant 2 and subsequent suspension versus Varejao. You'll notice Andy was all laying on the ground holding his head like he'd been bowled over by a wrecking ball, but the INSTANT it looked like a fight might break out, he jumped up and was absolutely fine. He was faking. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker do the same thing all the time.

I'm not saying Rudy was faking. But I think that players totally exaggerate their suffering after these fouls to sucker the refs into calling flagrants and tossing guys out of the game.

Blogger Andrei said...
ericL has a good point, with all the screaming about how the game is becoming for wusses, is that an expression of a desire for the game to back to the way it was played in the mid-90s? I don't know about you Bawful, but I would like to avoid watching more of the 68-66 New York-Miami slug fests.

As for the cleanliness of the hit, like I said last night, any collision at full speed in the air is going to have greater consequences then if the hit happened on the ground at slower speeds. I don't see the need to decipher the intent of the hitter in these situations. It's clearly a high risk, dangerous play and there needs to be punishment in place to dissuade players from making dangerous plays that could result in injury.

How clean would you find that play if a key player from the teams you follow ended up sprawled on the ground from a play like that? Or how about if you were playing pick-up and you became the recipient of that "clean, hard" hit? Would you congratulate your opponent on being a tough bastard who only wants to win? Or would you make sure he ended up in the hospital if the roles became reversed?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I've seen a couple people say now that Ariza's block attempt was "dumb and dangerous". What exactly is dumb or dangerous about trying to block a dunk attempt by swiping at the ball? You see this all the time in games and most of the time it's no big deal. The only reason this one looked any different was because Rudy was going full sprint and leaped off of one foot from far away, and because he has incredible leaping ability he was way up in the air so when he got hit he flailed out of control. The point is that it wasn't a "dumb or dangerous play" by either player, it was in fact a rather standard play by both guys, Rudy just fell awkwardly. The point is this: just because a guy lands awkwardly doesn't mean the foul was flagrant (or worse, so flagrant as to necessitate an ejection).

I understand the NBA wanting to protect players and all that, but come on, do they really think that because of a play like this that suddenly players will stop contesting dunk attempts for fear of being ejected? Throwing a guy out for a play like this doesn't send a message and won't change anything. If there's a breakaway dunk attempt in a game tonight with a defender trailing the play, you can guarantee he'll make an attempt to block the shot. Players routinely do this if for no other reason than because they'd rather make the guy earn the points from the free throw line than give up a dunk. If you could see on the replay that Ariza really tried to take him out, then that's one thing, but he was clearly just swiping at the ball. So once again: what is the point of having the refs review these plays on a video monitor if they're not going to change their minds? Just throw the guy out and move on with the game rather than hold everything up for 5 minutes.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Andrei -- I'm not suggesting a return to the brutal and ugly ball of the mid-90s. However, the response and outrage that follows every hard foul has become a bit extreme. In the post, I admitted that Ariza's fouls should have been a Flagrant 1. But a Flagrant 2 and a suspension? There was no intent to injure. He went for the ball. But because Rudy fell really hard, Ariza gets tossed? And this isn't an isolated incident (as Big Baby's suspension shows).

I'm not suggesting we transform basketball into hockey. I just think that the refs, fans, etc. need to get a grip. Hard fouls are NOT the Devil.

Blogger Kyle Franklin said...
I thought matt would tackle this but how does wade play 50 minutes and not get called for one foul. I know, I know Wade’s a great player blah blah blah, but he gets more help from the refs than any player i have ever watched. He reached on players ALL DAY LONG, and charges and travels and all of it, and NEVER gets called. Meanwhile if any other team, from the Mavs in 06, to the Bulls last night, so much as breath on him, he gets a whistle. King was saying it last night, he gets the quickest whistle in the nba by far. The refereeing last night was atrocious, and i just can’t take it anymore. 50 minutes, no fouls, pulease

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Ariza's not going to be suspended (though Odom might), so at least the NBA's league offices are showing better judgment than the refs at last night's game.

Andrei, nobody is saying we need to bring back thuggery to the NBA, but you need to be realistic: trying to block a dunk from behind is not in any way thuggery. Flagrant 2 fouls and ejections are supposed to be for unnecessarily excessive or malicious fouls, not for incidental contact which results in a nasty looking fall. Ariza was trying to block the shot, not take the guy out, and that's the difference. You're not going to get people to stop trying to block shots, nor should we want the NBA to try to get players to stop trying to do so. It should have just been a flagrant 1 because of the accidental contact with Rudy's head, but that's it.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Kyle Franklin -- You're absolutely right. And one thing you forgot to mention, and King noted this on the air, is that Wade does a lot of reaching in for steals, and there's almost always illegal contact when he does it, yet it's rarely called. Unless someone is reaching in on him, that is...

Blogger Andrei said...
Even if he was going for the block and nothing else, what's the success rate on helicopter block attempts from the side. That swiping motion pretty much guarantees that you're going to at least catch the offensive players hands. The chance of hitting the ball alone is fairly nonexistent. All the break away lay-up attempts that I have seen successfully blocked have come from behind, not from the side. The other issue is that Fernandez might have even landed somewhat upright, until Ariza grabbed onto Fernandez' hand which caused a twisting motion and made sure that he landed awkwardly. Either way Ariza attempted a play that had no chance of resulting in anything but a foul. I can understand the mentality of "make them earn it at the line", but when you make play that can basically have no result but a foul at full speed, it's not a smart decision. If the sides were switched and someone like Outlaw brought down Ariza, I would have had no problem with Outlaw getting booted either.

Blogger Latin_D said...
Hmm, Bawful, Tony does the whole grab-head-while-on-the-ground thing, but Manu doesn't. And it's never an issue, since fights are never about to start in Spurs games.

I think it was such a big deal because of the moment in which Rudy was fouled. He was on fire, had just nailed a big three, and IIRC the Blazers were winning by 30. Everyone was expecting a frustration hard foul, and then that happened. That colors people's impressions on Ariza's foul.

I sincerely doubt Rudy was faking anything. He fell _hard_ - he even bounced a little.

I'm surprised you didn't say anything about the lack of fouls to Wade in that game. He played 50 freaking minutes. In fact, he was the only player that entered the game without a single foul. There's no superstar in this league that gets the benefit of the doubt from the refs more often.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Yams -

Just to show you I'm not a blind Laker-hater, I must say I agree with you. Ariza made legit attempt on the ball and happened to catch Rudy's head in the process. And for Andrei to say that Ariza is only making a "play that can basically have no result but a foul at full speed," that's absurd. Legitimate blocks have made from the opposite direction at high speed before, and they will be again.

Furthermore, in my continued hatred of poorly played / poorly officiated basketball - i.e., "flopping" and/or "falling hard to the floor for effect" - I contend that Fernandez was in the process of putting on the old "I've been fouled" show while in midair, only to realize halfway to the ground that he was in trouble, and ended up getting himself hurt in the process.

The first instinct of a basketball player should be to get his legs under him, but these days the first instinct of Pro players is to let the limbs do a "rag doll flail" for a call. In just about any pickup game on Earth, the contact on that particular play would not result in a "chest thumping to the floor" injury. The offensive player would get his legs under him, and survive quite nicely and keep playing.

Once again, the bad habits of this game injures one of its players, and it's a shame.

-ET

Blogger Justin said...
Hi, when you quoted Lamar's stat line: "(Sidenote: Lamar finished with 2 points, zero rebounds and 3 assists. Sounds like he needs to take his own advice.)" That's actually your buddy Luke Walton's stat line. Odom had 7 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block. Definitely the quality of his post-Bynum injury performances, but not QUITE as bad as quoted.

Blogger chris said...
Are you sure a four-pointer doesn't exist? According to the same guy who did the classic D-Wade animation you linked to...Antoine Walker HAS hit one, in a nonexistant NBA Finals game against San Antonio! ;)

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

Anonymous ivn said...
an unrelated note on the Denver/Houston game...it had one of my favorite stat quirks in the NBA. JR Smith was 3-4 from three point range but somehow 0-6 from inside the line. every so often I see it (usually from someone like Smith, Eddie House, or Daequan Cook or some other 3-point gunner, although I've seen it quite a bit from Artest this year) and every time I wonder how the hell it could happen.

Blogger Andrei said...
Evil Ted, look at the replay, the only reason that Rudy "flails" is because he gets grabbed and pulled on the wrist. I'm not totally sure, but I think getting bonked on the head doesn't require flopping to sell the call. Well, that previous statement might not hold true if Kobe, Wade, or LeBron smack you on the head, that might be judged a block or a steal.

Blogger ericL said...
@ yams

I thought the dangerous part of the Ariza play was the angle of which he came. Contending a dunk at the rim and swiping at the ball while the player is taking off are both dangerous plays...but one of those is irresponsible. I'm not saying he even needs an additional suspension, but I do think the ejection was appropriate. No part of me believes that Ariza's intent was to do harm. But what he did was not a smart basketball play and him being ejected for his actions seems appropriate.

Bawful- I dont want to reference some idolized lore of "tough" basketball. Big Babies play (i agree with your opinion about) and Ariza's are separate and I think people are linking them as some sort of trend. Doing that seems to be doing a disservice to the game. Big Baby was playing defense. Ariza was acting out of frustration and did something stupid.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
ET, I definitely don't think Rudy was trying to flop or that he was faking in any way on any part of that play, any more than I think Ariza calculated the odds of success for attempting a block from the side as opposed to trying to block from behind before he went for the swat as Andrei suggests. The game is played at an extremely fast pace and players just make split-second decisions, and sometimes there are collisions, and sometimes those collisions result in injuries. I don't know why people have such a hard time accepting that sometimes accidents just happen, and that not every bad thing that happens on the court needs someone to be punished as a result.

I said this over on HP, but if the league really wants to cut down on unnecessary contact like this, where guys are more than willing to risk getting called for a foul just to prevent an otherwise gimmie layup/dunk, then the league should make rules outlawing any and all contact they feel is an intentional foul. I've long hated that basketball is the only major sport (other than soccer) where players try to actively involve the refs to their advantage. In any other sport it's always bad if you get called for a foul or penalty, and you never have players actively trying to involve the officials in the way they play the game. To me doing so just seems like exploiting loopholes, and I've always felt the NBA should rewrite any rules they feel are being exploited in this way. As a fan I just think that it's much more exciting and pleasing to watch a guy who got in the position for a gimmie layup to just hit the layup and have the game move on, rather than have an intentional foul called which stops the game with free throws. To me punishing plays like this one by ejecting the player don't address the real problem: that the NBA is set up in such a way so that attempting a defensive play like this a statistically good idea because two free throw attempts have less of a chance of resulting in two points than a wide open dunk does.

Blogger Shiv said...
Wade does not get all the calls. Case in point, that last game agains Cleveland when he got tossed. Yeah he got fouled by Varejao and should have gotten 2 at the stripe. But nada.

And seriously, with regard to dangerous plays, what about all the times when some freakish athlete like Josh Smith or 'Bron comes swooping in from behind to block a layup, but also body checks the offensive player in mid-air(after the ball has been released so a foul is never called) and sends him flyin headfirst into the camera-guys on the floor? Those are pretty dangerous, no? And what about someone swiping at the ball and catching you in the face? Just ask Amare how dangerous those are.

Accidents and injuries will happen, sometimes freakishly like in Shaun Livingston's case. Now I'm not saying that stuff like Bynum's foul on Wallace or even Big Baby's foul (yeah, it didn't look like he was making a play for the ball) should be overlooked and I'm definitely not saying that dangerous and overly physical play should be encouraged. But you can't kick players out of the game every time there's an accident.

Blogger Megan said...
whoever found that little rambis/towel boy gem made my day!!!

Blogger Andrei said...
Yams, I'm not suggesting that
Ariza needed to bust out a calculator to determine his probabilities of success, but I think he's played enough ball to know what's likely to happen. He didn't want to give up an easy bucket and decided to swipe at the ball, the worst case scenario for him was putting Fernandez at the line to make him earn the points the hard way. I totally agree with you that there are better ways to discourage this (and late game situations where fouling draws the game out) than the flagrant foul call. Overall though I hold that the call during the game was justified. Considering that it had no bearing on the outcome of the game there was no reason to leave him on the court and further incite both teams during the 4th quarter lackaction.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Andrei -

None of that contact warranted the helicopter reaction - including the treacherous "wrist pull," (which I don't see as being a huge factor) The problem is, just as yams said, things happen fast. Ergo, when an offensive player's first instinct is to fall and sell the call (players don't have the time - nor do they even bother anymore - to think "Oh, I've been hit in the head. That should be enough to draw a call."), it can cause injury. And it did in this case.

Rudy's instinct to sell it (which has become almost EVERY player's instinct) failed him and got him hurt. He had a chance to get his legs under him, and didn't. And got injured.

It's not blatant, but it's there. And I'm not even really blaming Rudy. This is a league-wide issue. Maybe when it takes down Kobe or LeBron, action will be taken to discourage it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Definite Flagrant 1 but questionable Flagrant 2. To everyone claiming Ariza was just making a good hustle play; I agree he was trying to make a play and not specifically trying to hurt anyone, but... It's pretty obvious he wasn't too worried about what would happen to Rudy if he missed the ball. If you have ever played ball you know that you, as a player, have full understanding of what "might" happen when you go for something like that and that, makes it completely intentional due to Ariza's carelessness. For it to just be a good hustle play he would know that he needed to be in waaaaay better position for it to be safe. You gotta be in control of your own body if your going to try and send a block into the upper deck. You miss and take off a guy's head, then OBVIOUSLY it was dangerous and you were in no position to attempt the play. If it wasn't a dangerous gamble on Ariza's part then nothing would've happend to Rudy. And if your argument is you can't kick players out for making a mistake, that leaves the door open for some really dangerous not so accidental "accidents". I think there is a definite need to hold a player accountable for the risks he takes on the court and thus a perfectly justified Flagrant. p.s. if Kobe (or any of YOUR favorite superstars) is on the ground at the end of a play like that, you ALL will cry a freaking river and screem bloody murder. FACT.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I have a huge problem with these so called "hard, clean" fouls and "plays on the ball". I never watched a live NBA game (it looks much slower on TV, I presume), so I can't comment on the actual ability of players to make a clean play in fast break situations.
But I just loathe the players who go for the block/foul no matter the situation in pick-up basketball.
I usually counter the hard foul by simply committing an offensive foul (which is of course not called) by using my off arm to fend off/push/tackle the flying would-be-blocker before he has a chance to make contact. I still remember (and regret) when a particularly reckless player came running full speed at me while I was standing alone under the basket. I just ducked and braced for impact as he leapt in the air. He fell over me and was really hurt (he missed a couple of months of action). He did deserve it and it was his fault, but I still felt bad after the game.

How about we abolish all flagrant fouls, but the Blazers (in this case) start committing "clean, hard" fouls on Kobe every time he enters the lane?

My point is, either stop playing "stupidly" and dangerously, or be prepared to take it as you dish it. And there is a difference between hard and dangerous plays.

For the not-dangerous block on the fast break dunk, see Maxiell's block on Garnett in the last year play-offs. He did not swipe at the ball sideways and pulled/rotated the player to the ground (as Ariza did).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Anonymous said: "If you have ever played ball you know that you, as a player, have full understanding of what 'might' happen when you go for something like that and that, makes it completely intentional due to Ariza's carelessness."

Can we all get something straight, here? NBA basketball is not chess. Plays happen in a split second. Ariza didn't have time to plan out his move and determine exactly what would happen if he tried to block Rudy's shot. Unless Trevor is an advanced basketball robot from the future -- unlikely, I'm thinking -- then the whole incident was a BING-BANG and it was over. There's no such thing as "having a full understanding of what might happen" in a dynamic physical situation where two opposing forces are acting and reacting faster than the conscious mind can follow.

I play basketball all the time, and fouls like that happen many times per night, not because people are being malicious or reckless or trying to hurt each other. When a player is trying to score against your team, it is instinct to try and stop him. Ariza doesn't have a targeting computer implanted in his head (as far as I know). He can't calculate force, trajectory, etc. while he's sprinting downcourt all-out to make a defensive play.

And this all brings me back to my original point. This entire incident is incredibly overblown. It was a hard foul, period. Call it, maybe give Ariza a flagrant, and go on. The ejection, the endless conversation, all the accusations or dirty play or thoughtless, reckless endangerment are just bizarre. Which is why I gave this a Worst of the Night.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Spot on, Mr. Bawful.

I'm curious about something: if this play had transpired between two different teams, do you think there would be this much discussion about it? Laker fans and Blazer fans are some of the most prominent and vocal (and usually not in a good way) on the web, so I can't help but wonder if this happened in a Bucks-Kings game if anyone would have even noticed.

Blogger Andrei said...
Well obviously if this happened in a Bucks-Kings game there would be less coverage. Not only due to the vocal fans, but because last night might have an effect on the playoffs. How many games will Fernandez spend on the sideline and whether or not Ariza or Odom get suspended are questions with seeding (Portland) and home-court throughout the playoffs (LA)implications. By the way, most news outlets didn't have much debate about the play. There's no great movement to get Ariza suspended for the rest of the season or anything. The only stories that are left are regarding Odom getting suspended or Fernandez leaving the hospital.

The debate's only going on blogs where Portland fans are upset because this "clean as a whistle" play cost them Fernandez for an unknown period or time; Laker fans that believe this is all a witch hunt; and tough as nails, old school ballers who like to expound on how much tougher things used to be and how every player nowadays is a flopping vagina.

Blogger benschon said...
Sasha Vujacic is doing something in this photo that I do not want to understand. Must be a Slovenian thing.

Anonymous La Dolce Vita said...
The cameras didn't capture it but Kobe was actually laughing and pointing at Fernandez as he was wheeled off.

Anonymous DKH said...
How about this scintillating commentary on the Lakers-Blazers game (from ESPN):

"Roy sealed [the game] with a statement dunk with 2:58 left that made it 106-79. Afterward, he chest-bumped his teammates."

Can't you feel the excitement? It's like I was there.

http://espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=290309022

==========

I already posted my opinion on the previous post, but if I acted with as little concern for a fellow employee's safety at my workplace as Ariza did for Fernandez, I would be fired. Doesn't matter if it was a split-second decision or pre-meditated. Doesn't matter if I was frustrated or if my coworker "flopped". I'd be gone.

Overall, my feeling is that it was a dumb play, and it looks like Portland will be paying for it longer than the Lakers will.

I agree with the comments above regarding the incentive that the NBA has set up for players to commit a foul in that situation, rather than letting the dunk/lay up go. Eliminating that incentive is a surer way to eliminate this play than any other.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Chris Quinn would have dunked that shit in Ariza's FACE.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
On Hornet's bench you say 'their' it should be "they're."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
-Bawful,

We're close to being on the same page. Ball can be a rough sport for sure, things do happen in an instant, and I'm sick to death of the Euro soccer flops... Also, again, this was basically a good play except for the fact that Ariza wasn't in good enough position to be so overly aggressive in his attempt and I stick by my statement that HE SHOULD KNOW THAT, EVEN IN A SPLIT SECOND, and deserves a flagrant for the result. Had he gone up and created some contact(even a lot of contact) that kept Rudy from scoring everything would have been fine. He didn't though, he went up to make a statement block and took a dangerously aggressive swipe from a poor position that hurt someone. Unintential and not dirty but in this particular case, it ended up being dangerous.

Flagrant 1.

Probably drew the Flagrant 2 by the officials just to keep everyone in check and the building happy. The league will probably drop it to a 1 and he wont be suspended.

You play ball so I don't buy it that you think Ariza was all hustle on that swipe. I don't think it was intentional or dirty. But for sure there was a small mental "shrug" of subconscious indifference as to what might happen if he missed due to some frustraton at the beating they were being handed... Flagrant 1.

I think if you didn't argue so vehemently that nothing at all was wrong with the play I don't think other people would feel the need to argue in favor of the call.

-Ted
Rudy flopped and hurt himself??? WOW.

Anonymous Martin said...
Kwame Brown. Kwame fucking Brown had a decent game.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
Speaking of flops, go to true hoop and examine the best example of how awful NBA refs are. With literally no contact, AK-47 flops, and a foul is called on No-win-ski. I stole that from somewhere I don't remember.

Anonymous DeWoof01 said...
I am a Blazer fan and season ticket holder and was of course at the game last night. Just wanted to put this whole thing in perspective for you guys.

1) In a Blazers fan's eyes, i saw flagrant 1, ariza was NOT attempting to hurt him, just a dumb idea when down by 30 at the end of third. A grab and hold would have been alot better move. Big Baby's f2 was not a f2 either IMHO.

2) Roy stated in a postgame interview was started the scuffle was Ariza's taunting of fernandez falling and hurting himself after the foul, and that is what lit Roy and the blazers players up, as well as the Laker bench making fun of him.

3) Props to Farmar for going over right after the fall and checking on fernandez, that was a CLASS act for any NBA player to do, especially when they were getting their asses handed to them and they were obviously extremely frustrated.

4) This whole debacle rises from last year in portland where Odom i believe was kicked out for a very hard body foul on roy that had no attempt at all on the ball, and caused quite a bit of tension between the teams and almost resulted in a fight.

5) At the season opener Kobe went up to Larry Miller (blazer president) and said "just to let you know I have March 9th circle on my calendar". One question on that comment... Did he circle the wrong date?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Anonymous: "I think if you didn't argue so vehemently that nothing at all was wrong with the play I don't think other people would feel the need to argue in favor of the call."

I call shenanigans. Blazer fan extraordinaire Henry Abbott has four posts today (1, 2, 3, 4) which bitch and moan about the play last night, the latest of which says "While I'm piling on the Lakers and recklessly showing my Blazer fandom..." (so much for the supposed impartiality of Mr. Abbott, I guess), and he's not responding to anything Mr. Bawful wrote here. You can also go check the comments to that entry on Hardwood Paroxysm that I linked to above to see all the whining even in response to a piece which says Ariza and the Lakers are dirty.

Like I said, Laker fans and Blazer fans are some of the most prominent and vocal fans on the web, and it's usually not in a good way. There would have been mucho complaining no matter what.

What bothers me so much about talking about the Lakers is that there are so many people who hate them so much that they will argue in favor of anything that goes against them, regardless of whether it is right or just or not. Most Blazer fans would be just as outraged if the same play happened in reverse, with Rudy fouling Ariza and Ariza being carried out on a stretcher, only their outrage would be that Rudy had been ejected. I too would still be outraged at Rudy's theoretical ejection were the players reversed, but the difference is that my outrage in that situation would be the same outrage I have now; and to prove it you only need look at what I wrote yesterday when commenting on Big Baby Davis' flagrant 2 and ejection.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ted
i dunno if you have ever seen ariza play before, but this is what he brings night in and night out. hes a player who is praised for his hustle plays, especially on the defensive end. as such, he brings the same amount of energy regardless of what the score is. i have no doubt in my mind he was simply going for the block, and like others have said, made a bad choice in a split second decision.

in a split second, you dont have the time to think about different possibilities...thats the entire point of noting the split second decision. however, i do agree ariza deserved a flagrant1, but like bawful and others have said, it was mostly the awkward fall that really hurt rudy. rudy jumped off one foot, this causes any contact in the air to really throw him off balance...im curious (seriously, not in a sarcastic jackass way) what kind of contact do you think to prevent him from scoring would have left him unharmed?

Blogger Zonker said...
What about last year when Al Horford fouled TJ Ford? Nasty hard foul but that was it.

If Ariza really wanted to hurt Rudy, there were much more efficient ways. Plus the guy is really athletic, it is understandable why he attempted the block (dudes with high verticals tend to do staff like that)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
http://www.nba.com/video/games/heat/2009/03/10/nba_20090310_wade_gw_spanish.nba/whatsnew/index.html

check out marcus banks reaction after d wade hits the the winner. you gotta be team cancer if you can't celebrate your guy getting 48 and 12 with an amazing steal and game winner to top it off.

Blogger Darien said...
I think that rambis/towelboy incident was actually rambis vs. towelgirl.

I hope they get paid...

Anonymous supersonic said...
Fred Jones with a 14 trillion today! and a missed shot to boot. That's gotta be a record.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How can anyone call that a good hard foul considering the context? The Blazers were up by 28 points at the end of the third quarter. There's no excuse for doing that in garbage time.

Not only was the game not winnable, it had no playoff implications for the Lakers given their record.

And look at the replay: Rudy had to duck to partially avoid an elbow to the head and Ariza pulled on his left arm, which re-routed him in the air. You could clock anyone across the head with an elbow and claim to be going for the ball. Problem was his head and the rest of his body were between the ball and Ariza.

After the play he got belligerent, as if to say, "Take that". This same $__t happened last year when Odom tried to injure BRoy. The Lakers are team of sucker punchers. (Who have the worst bandwagon fan base in the NBA, by the way.)

If Joe Scrub put Kobe on a stretcher with a 'good hard foul' like that, Scrub would be gone for the rest of the season and get his house foreclosed from the fine.

Blogger Tomas said...
So, Ted, are you saying that Rudy flopped?
Really?
Whoa, you are really Evil, Ted, and tough, and muy hombre (when it's others who are injuried, at least).
I'm not sure, maybe you've seen a different video than I have, but, I think that Ariza's arm choking his head while he was jumping (after a half court run) could have had something to do with Rudy falling...
Anyway, I remember my first coach asking us NEVER to hit somebody flying to basket on a strikeback: 2 points don't worth a rival player injury... And we were just children then, so I wonder what is the example you think children will get from such a situation: doesn't care that you cause the injury of a rival? Belong this one to the same category that a hand contact?.
I agree that basketball is a contact sport (and under the rim it's a lot-of-contact sport), but it's not wrestling, in my opinion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Probably inundated by this, but there has to be something about letting Larry Hughes score 39.

Blogger chris said...
Supersonic - That missed shot actually took him out of the wealth-garnering category, and into the suck differential scores (a +1), still a sign that Dunleavy was too ready to send out his human victory cigars before the win was secured, which it ultimately wasn't.

Anonymous: You know what scares me? I still remember when Hughes was on the Warriors and was supposed to be their franchise player, early this decade. Ouch.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Tomas -

To boil down what I said to "Rudy flopped" is a gross oversimplification of what I said. I stated my point in detail already, and stand by it.

ET

Blogger Andy said...
Just thought I'd post this to wrap up:

http://www.nba.com/2009/news/03/10/fernandez.blazers.ap/index.html

"Trail Blazers rookie Rudy Fernandez spent the night in the hospital with a bruised chest and injured right hip..."

Those are some damn egregious injuries there.

I don't get Roy's reaction, going after Ariza like that, particularly when Ariza did absolutely nothing after the foul. Players think they have to "defend" their fellow players. Looks more to me like an excuse to play tough boy. I'm sure he cares about Rudy, but I think he cares more about trying to look as badass as possible at the same time (of course this isn't isolated, happens all the time).
And the Portland commentators call Roy's actions being the "physical leader of the team." Ugh.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Andy -- So if Dwyane Wade was openly (and severely) mocked for leaving the floor in a wheel chair after a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery and plagued him for the next couple years, shouldn't Rudy be mocked for getting hauled off in a stretcher over a bruised chest and hip?

Blogger Andy said...
Bawful -

I'm not big on mocking injured players, mostly because I've been there - it's annoying, embarrassing and frustrating. However if this is all that comes of this - he has a few bruises, which, barring something bizarre will not require surgery or anything more than a week or so to heal - then yes. It's a joke to spend a night in the hospital for an injury that happens to everybody at some point in their life.

In Rudy's defense, he probably would have popped back up if he hadn't had the wind knocked out of him, and much of this freakout might have been averted.

Blogger Jerry Vinokurov said...
I know this isn't going to win me any friends in this comment section, but here goes: I watched the replay several times, and I think that Flagrant 1 would have been the right call. I'm not a Lakers fan (actually, I can't stand the Lakers) but I think anyone who is calling Ariza's play "dirty" here is delusional.

However, it seems to me that lots of people are denying that his play was potentially dangerous, and it was. Whether or not you actually end up injuring someone is a different question from whether the play was dangerous. Just to draw a parallel, in soccer, a player can be cautioned (the rough equivalent of a Flagrant 1) for "playing in a dangerous manner," and sent off outright (red card = Flagrant 2) if his dangerous play makes contact. This make sense because the last thing you want to do is have people go into challenges studs-up; that's a great way to end someone's career for good. Likewise, when you're trying to make a block in the air, if you pull it off (e.g. the LeBron highlight from last night) you're golden, but if not, you run the high risk of injuring someone. Sure, Rudy wasn't injured seriously and I'm happy about that, but he could have been. Knocking a guy out of the air the way Ariza did is just a bad play that easily merits a Flagrant 1, but I can see how officials could give a Flagrant 2 in that situation, given the context. I don't agree with that decision, but it's understandable.

This is why I can't get behind this "anti-wussification" campaign. I think that the kind of foul that can cause serious injury to a player should be eliminated. Just because it once used to be allowed doesn't mean it should be allowed again or that the original decisions to not call those were right. Basketball is a contact sport, yes, but I like to watch people actually play the game, not clothesline opponents Kevin MacHale (or even Raja Bell!) style or knock them out of the air (and if anyone remembers Devin Harris' foul on Shaq in the 2006 finals, that was a far, far harder foul than Ariza's, and I cringed even though I was rooting for the Mavs). There are many fouls in basketball that I would eliminate as being official fouls if I had my way (e.g. over the back, the reaching foul) but not hard fouls that have the potential to seriously injure a player.

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