Playoff faceplant

The Boston Celtics: I guess you could say they struggled offensively, shooting only 39 percent at home against a team that was ranked 18th in Defensive Efficiency during the regular season. They shanked six free throws, blew 10 layups and missed 48 (out of 68) jump shots. And despite being ranked second in Rebound Rate during the first 82 games, they were outrebounded 53-45 by the team that had been ranked 20th. Said Doc Rivers: "It just looked like everybody decided that they were going to be 'the guy' tonight. They were going to, you know, replace Kevin for whatever reason. And then all of a sudden we got into a fight. And one thing I’d say about our guys, they join in. But, at home, you’re supposed to start it." Added Paul Pierce: "I hope this is a wake-up call. I hope we realize that the Bulls, they're not just a team that’s happy to be in the playoffs. So hopefully the guys will wake up and realize this is reality. We’ve better come to play."

Yes, Derrick Rose (36 points, 12-for-19 from the field, 12-for-12 from the line, 11 assists) had a rookie debut for the ages, but make no mistake: The Celtics were simply outworked and outplayed at home by what is, on paper, an inferior squad. And a large part of the blame falls on...

Ray Allen: You might remember how, when last year's playoffs opened, Ray-Ray's jumper left him for Jason Kapono. Well, she's gone astray yet again, because on Saturday Allen went 1-for-12 and missed all six of his three-point attempts. But it was even worse than that: When Ben Gordon started using and abusing Ray in the fourth quarter, Doc Rivers had to play "witness protection counselor," shuffling Allen around to keep him from getting burned. But, in all fairness to Ray, the C's would have won this game if not for...

Paul Pierce: The self-proclaimed best player in the world shot 8-for-23, committed a team-high 4 turnovers and looked about half as talented as teammate Rajon Rondo (29 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists). But his biggest crime against victory came when he bonked a potentially game-winning free throw with 2.6 seconds left in regulation. That's a pretty big choke by a former NBA Finals MVP. Paul also had a potential game-tying bucket blocked by John "I can hardly move because of this pulled groin" Salmons with 3.7 seconds left in overtime.

Joakim Noah: All in all, he had a great game (11 points, game-high 17 rebounds, co-game-high 3 blocked shots), but he was the guy who fouled Pierce -- on a forced, fade-away jump shot -- at the end of the fourth, giving Paul a chance to win the game outright. As it was, Pierce "only" forced overtime, due to that big miss. But if Chicago had lost the game because of Noah's foul, well, that would have been very unfortunate.

Jon Barry: During the Bulls-Celtics game, he referred to the Chitowners as the "Chicago Bills" right before a commercial break. Playoff broadcasting fail.

The Detroit Pistons: What surprised me most about their 102-84 loss in Cleveland wasn't the margin of defeat or King Crab's rather casual 38/8/7 performance, it was Detroit's lack of fight and fiestiness. At one point, Rasheed Wallace fouled LeBron at the basket and then almost submissively apologized to James for making the contact. That was a chilling moment, kind of like having your car inexplicably break down right next to Camp Crystal Lake. It's not that they weren't trying, exactly, but it sure seemed like they didn't believe they could win. In past season's, I always felt that hubris was this team's downfall. Now it might be the fact that this season's many disappointments -- which started when Chauncey Billups was traded for Allen Iverson -- have broken their collective spirit.

The San Antonio Spurs: Okay, their opening game against Dallas was like a 48-minute Keannu Reeves "whoa!" moment for me. The Mavericks hadn't won a road playoff game since June 3, 2006 (against the Phoenix Suns, natch). Interestingly enough, that was also the same year they beat the Spurs at the Alamo Dome in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. But despite having dropped nine of their last nine away games during the postseason -- not to mention the fact that they were only 18-23 on the road during the regular season -- meant nothing on Saturday, as Jose Barea owned the fourth quarter, when he harrassed Tony Parker into 2-for-6 shooting while scoring 7 of his 13 points. The Spurs OUTCLUTCHED by Jose Juan Barea?! Yes, it happened. Not only that, but where was the famous San Antonio lockdown defense? Dallas shot nearly 54 percent for the game (42-for-78) and committed only 7 turnovers. And the Spurs did not block a single shot. Seriously.

Tony Parker, pot calling the kettle black machine: According to the AP recap, Parker claimed Barea "was flopping because he's little, but those can go both ways and it didn't go my way tonight." Wowowowowowowowoooooow.

Kevin Brock: I noticed this in the AP game notes: "The Spurs did get one fan favorite back for the playoffs: popular public-address announcer Kevin Brock, who in December blew out his knees shooting baskets before a game." Man, what a way to go down. Better stick to the microphone there, Kevin.

The Portland Trail Blazers: So...this is the team that's going to keep the Lakers from going to the NBA Finals, huh? If their 108-81 home loss to the Rockets was indicative of anything at all, it may be that the young Blazers aren't quite ready to make that leap just yet. Houston shot nearly 60 percent from the field (Yao Ming was a perfect 9-for-9) and outrebounded Portland by 14 (44-30). Yao finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds despite the fact that he didn't take a shot in the second half and sat for all of the fourth quarter...mostly because his team led by as many as 31 over the final 24 minutes. All in all, it was a pretty big egg to lay for a team that is considered nigh-invincible at home (the Blazers were 34-7 at the Rose Garden during the regular season). Said the Vanilla Godzilla: "I think it's disappointing that we didn't come out to play from the start. There's no reason why we shouldn't have come out with the same intensity." Bonus stats: Portland was 1-for-11 from beyond the arc, and only one starter (Brandon Roy) and one pine rider (Greg Oden) reached double figures (21 and 15, respectively). Note that it took Roy 23 shots to scored those 21 points.

The San Antonio Spurs (again): I couldn't help but notice that Luis Scola scored 19 points (on 7-for-9 shooting) and grabbed 9 rebounds in Houston's Game 1 upset. Seriously, you think the Spurs are regretting giving this guy away or what? And if they're not, they should be.

The Utah Jazz: Not much went right for the Jazzercisers on Sunday. They shot like hell (39 percent), couldn't get a stop (the Lakers shot nearly 56 percent), gave up 62 points in the first half, fell behind by 22 after the first 24 minutes and -- despite outscoring L.A. 60-51 in the second half -- never posed any kind of challenge. Said Jerry Sloan: "We had a very difficult time. We gave up 62 points in the first half and it's virtually impossible to beat this team giving them an edge." The most disappointing aspect of this defeat is that the Jazz really were beaten by Trevor Ariza (21 points, 8-for-10 from the field, 3-for-4 from downtown) and Shannon Brown (3-for-3 on threes). Seriously, it's one thing to be beaten by Kobe or Pau...but to be beaten by L.A.'s roleplayers?

Deron Williams dished 17 assists but shot poorly (4-for-14) and Carlos Boozer used all of his energy on offense (27 points, 11-for-16) and none of it on defense. Speaking of which...

Carlos Boozer: From Basketbawful reader Misha: "I want to make sure that Boozer gets a mention in tomorrow's WotW post. I don't think I've ever been as disgusted by watching basketball on TV. Boozer's selective effort was insulting. While I am sure he played as hard as he could on offense, he was practically absent on the other end of the court. He was absolutely abused by Bynum and Gasol in the post. After every turnover, he walked back on defence and several times the Lakers had the numbers just because he didn't bother to run just a little bit harder. His screen and roll defense was by far the worst I've ever seen. Pretending to step out on a screen without actually doing so is much worse in my mind than doing nothing. During the game, he actually created lanes for Kobe to drive to the hoop (picking his own man, Kirilenko or Brewer, a few times)." Yep. The Booz was a loss on defense. But Jerry Sloan doesn't have much choice other than to play him...and pray the Lakers miss a shot or two.

The Los Angeles Lakers: They won handily but, in doing so, gave up 7 points and 7 rebounds to Jarron Collins. And yes, both of those numbers represent season-bests. Speaking of which, Collins went to the line six times. To put this into perspective, Jarron attempted exactly 11 free throws during the regular season. As always, I'm just sayin'...

Dr. Jack Ramsay, unintentionally dirty quote machine: I was listening to Dr. Jack's Jazz-Lakers commentary on ESPN radio, and he noted that the Jazz needed to "keep Andrew Bynum from getting off, or they'll have a load on their hands all night."

The Orlando Magic: The Magicians led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and were up 14 going into the fourth...during which they were outscored 35-19, losing the game 100-98 on Andre Iguodla's 22-footer with 2.2 ticks on the clock. It was Philly's first victory over Orlando in four tries this season...and there goes that homecourt advantage the Magic spent 82 games fighting for. Here's Iggy's game-winner:


There's no shame in losing to a crazy, contested, fall-away shot like that, right? But where there is some shame -- as in, a lot -- is allowing Donyell Marshall step it up in the fourth, when he drilled a trio of triples and scored 11 huge points. Joke Marshall: "You've got to understand, when I come into the game we're usually down 15 points. So my job is just to come in and shoot." Yet, somehow, the Orlando defense failed to realize that. Fumed Stan Van Gundy: "I was very surprised at the effort. I was surprised not only for our lack of intensity defensively, but I was really surprised with our lack of focus."

Theo Ratliff: From the AP game recap: "In a rare display of speed and power, 34-year-old Magic backup guard Anthony Johnson took it end-to-end and dunked over Ratliff." Yup. Posterized by the old guy. Let's watch, shall we?


The Miami Heat: Ouch. There was plenty for Miami to be humiliated about in yesterday's 90-64 loss. Like, say, the 36 percent shooting, the 19 clanks from three-point land, the beating they took on the boards (50-35), the 7 fourth-quarter points. Yep, this one was ugly. The Hawks tied a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a playoff game, while the Heat were held to their lowest point total of the season. Basically, they could not have looked more pathetic and overmatched. Said Heat coach Erik Spoelestra: "Defensively, we were slow. We were slow in the mind, and whenever there seemed to be a loose ball or rebound, they seemed to have much more desperation than we did, and more physicality than we did." Slow in the mind? That's Miami for you...12 Forrest Gumps.

Dwyane Wade: Not a good game for Pookie: He shot 8-for-21 and committed a game-high 8 turnovers. It seemed like he spent half the game getting knocked around by the Hawks and the other half bitching at the officials. After the game, he got all grumpy when asked about why he attempted only two shots in the third quarter: "I'm criticized if I take all the shots. I’m criticized if I don't." It's hard to be Dwyane Wade, okay, people? Give him some room to breath, okay? It's hard to be a one-man team when the rest of your squad kind of sucks. (And yes, I'm looking at you and your measely 2 rebounds, Jermaine O'Neal.)

The New Orleans Hornets: On Friday's podcast, I noted that the outcome of the Hornets-Nuggets series would hinge on how many big shots Chauncey Billups hit...then immediately noted that Chris Paul was going to make Billups look very old. Well, I was right and horribly wrong all at the same time: Mr. Big Shot scored 36 points and knocked down eight three-pointers -- a career-high -- leading his team to a 113-84 win over New Orleans...which just so happens is the second-biggest blowout in the Nuggets' playoff history. The Hornets were so distracted by not getting a hand in Chauncey's face that they forgot how to shoot the ball (37 percent) or rebound it, losing the Battle of the Boards 49-35. During one particularly brutal stretch, New Orleans was outscored 21-0 between the third and fourth quarters.

Denver fans: From the AP game notes: "A fan threw a bottle on the floor in the closing minutes but nobody was struck on the court, and Paul said a fan threw a giveaway towel in his face at halftime." Huh. Maybe they're still pissed about the Jay Cutler trade.

Weekend lacktivity report: Chris was pretty damn excited about playoff lacktion!

Welcome to the real season, the Association playoffs. And in a year where a lacktion revolution came to fruition from a video game character in Atlanta...we get to begin the most important month or so of the calendar with EVERY game scoring lacktivity! I guess that the utter prestige and recognition of the first ever Damon Jones Award was enough incentive, as well as the trillions of dollars of lacktion figures awaiting the big announcement during one of the Basketbawful Podcasts.

Bulls-Celtics: While the big story at the TDBanknorth Garden was the Bulls' first ever playoff game victory against Boston (highlighted by Derrick Rose's 36 point debut), Tony Allen lacked it up midway in the game with a one-brick +1 in 8:23, the very first lacktator of the postseason!

Pistons-Cavs: Looks like the team that brought Damon Jones out of his shell in 2007 is looking for a strong run at that eponymous playoff award! Sasha Pavlovic spent a mere 3 seconds on court before the second half, but then added quite a few more to open up a treasure chest worth 1.35 trillion. And Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson lived up to his name by pinching out a 1.3 trillion of his own. (Tarence Kinsey melted out of the non-clutch with two made free throws while sharing time with Mr. Jackson.)

Mavs-Spurs: In the most recent iteration of the Battle of Texas, Mark Cuban rolled out his finest tobacco connoiseurs on the AT&T Center court with two shout outs to Doki Doki Panic, Ryan Hollins (40 seconds, along with a +1 via foul that also counts as a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl) and James Singleton (38 seconds) both racking up Marios!

The Spurs' loss probably can be best exemplified with Matt Bonner's 18:05 as starting center -- thanks to a brick with no other shot attempts, four fouls, and a giveaway, he managed to score a staggering 5:1 Voskuhl (against one rebound) despite a steal!

Rockets-Blazers: Chucky Hayes put a fright to other lacktators in the Association by taking the wealth acquisition lead with a 2.2 trillion!

Sixers-Magic: One bright spot in an otherwise heartbreaking Game 1 for Orlando was JJ Redick, who gave up the rock once for a +1 suck differential in 6:17.

Heat-Hawks: Speedy Claxton's recent return to the team has given the bench its nicotine fix, with a quickly acquired 3.35 trillion! In that same 3:20, THE Mario West failed to lack it up by being Goomba'd with a board, so Othello Hunter had to overcome his envy of Mario's recognition as the Association's premier lacktator, channeling the spirit of Link into one well-executed 6 second Super Mario!

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43 Comments:
Blogger reuben said...
LOL! at Marcin Gortat totally bugging out to the point of being physically restrained watching the Anthony Johnson dunk.

Missed the Heat/Hawks game due to work but am curious, how bad did the Heat look?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I wanna chime in on what AK Dave was saying in the last thread, that not only is the Nuggets-Hornets series possibly the most interesting of the first round, but Denver has arguably the best bench right now. Chris Andersen is almost surely gonna get a rather large payday this summer as he seems to be sort of like a modern-day poor man's version of Dennis Rodman, and JR Smith is about as explosive a scorer as there is in the NBA when he is on.

Last night I thought the most interesting thing about the game, and the best illustration of Billups' importance to Denver, was how Chauncey's big shots seemed to give Smith confidence late in that 3rd quarter, and into the 4th quarter. After Chauncey hit his 8th three, rather than come down and keep trying to hit more shots or jack up heat checks, he instead started force-feeding Smith who just fed off of the fire Billups had started, and off the crowd's reaction to it. Smith is a guy who can hit almost any shot when his confidence is high, and though it had been flagging for most of the game, Billups' bombs just turned that all around. It's really impressive that the Nuggets were able to win by that much with such a nothing game from Melo. That said, usually in a series where there's a huge blowout in Game 1, the next one is a dogfight. Expect CP3 and the Hornets to come out pissed for Game 2.

A team I have less confidence in bouncing back from a big blowout in Game 1 is the Portland Trailblazers. They got taken out behind the woodshed and slapped silly, but due to their lack of experience I don't know if a loss like that will fortify them to rise up, or if it just left them dazed. If Artest can keep himself in check like he did in Game 1 and not go 1 on 5 and can instead recognize the wisdom in just force-feeding Yao all night, Portland is really in trouble. Portland's really in trouble anyway since they no longer have home court, and that's the only reason anyone out there was giving them a shot of beating Houston. People forget that Houston was as good at home this year as Portland was (one game worse, technically), and the Rockets are now 3-1 this year against the Blazers, with the one Portland win coming on a last second prayer from Roy. If the Blazers don't step it up like they are wise beyond their years tomorrow night, you can break out the brooms.

If Boston and Orlando (and to a lesser extent, Miami) keep playing like this, I may need to revise what I've been saying about how the Eastern Conference is clearly the more interesting of the two for the playoffs this year. If it keeps going like this then Cleveland making the Finals is as much of a sure thing as the Lakers making the Finals. At least in the West the first round matchups are providing some semblance of intrigue, where they really could go either way (outside of LA-Utah). But in the East the only intrigue is of the negative variety, like "what is going on with Boston and Orlando?" Maybe Atlanta-Cleveland can provide us with some fun in the 2nd round, but I'm not holding my breath on that.

The Spurs have a must win game tonight, and my guess is they will win it. That series is gonna be a battle, as the Spurs are not gonna go quietly. But like I said before the series started, I do think they're gonna ultimately go, as the Mavs I think just have too much going for them right now. Honestly the Mavs are probably playing the best ball in the West right now, possibly even better than LA. Speaking of which...

The Lakers need to step it up a bit if they don't want their series to go longer than 5 games. As good as they looked in the first half yesterday, they looked either totally lackadaisical or just really outplayed in the second half. All the foul trouble to the frontline probably had something to do with it. I think the refs are anticipating a really hard-fought, "nasty" series just because it's the Jazz, but we aren't seeing it yet, so I don't think the refs need to be calling it as close as they were. Way too many free throws for both teams in that one. Nevertheless, the Lakers really took their foot off the gas to open the second half, letting the Jazz immediately get right back in it after going up by 22 at the break. And after that stretch the Lakers never really put Utah away. That's not a good sign for a team with title aspirations, especially against a Utah team which is not only awful on the road, but which was missing one of the most key guys they have in Okur. I'm no longer thinking sweep for the Lakers, but rather 5 or 6. It's up to LA how hard they try in this round.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
chris-

I TOLD you Pavlovic would be Damon Jones v2.0 :D

Did TP REALLY say that about Barea? That's great. I like JJ "the strength coach" Barea. He's a short guy in the NBA, he was undrafted, wasn't supposed to make it, and he did. Awesome. And if he makes life hard for Parker? Even MORE awesome!

When he stands next to Nowitzki they look like Arnold and DiVito in "Twins" (sorta.. come on work with me here)

Anonymous aban said...
the mavs beat the spurs at either the SBC center or AT&T center, the alamodome was last used by the spurs in like 2002 or something ...

Blogger Wade Word said...
Deron Williams may have shot badly, but, MAN. Every time he touches the ball- bucket. He just has such killer style with the ball in his mitts.
Jazz looked like they had no bizness being on the same court.
Obvs, they won't get career play from Brown, Ariza, et al every night.
One thing about the Lake- Bynum looks like a newborn pony out there. Looks like he is about to fall ver every time he gets the rock. At least he's tall...
And Yao put it on the Blazers so hard.

Blogger chris said...
Did anybody catch that awesome missed dunk by Chris Andersen late in the 4th quarter? If anything, I think that was an even harsher indictment on the Hornets' efense than the shots Denver actually made, because the lanes were more wide open than a two-lane road in the desert at 2 AM.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Yams-

Agree about Portland. As bad as I think Houston is, they matchup reeeaaaly well with Portland, and as somebody noted earlier, Yao struggles against fast, athletic 4/5's, but against big, slower ones, he can dominate with his back to the basket. Portland needs to front him and double-team him or else he's going to chew up Pryzbilla and Oden again.

I just didn't get the sense that Portland was ready for that game; they got socked in the mouth and couldn't recover.

Still; it's easy to get all excited over game 1 of a series, but we all know that it's not over for any of the teams which lost this weekend. I remember when AI's 76ers won game 1 of the Finals before getting dealt with by Shaq's Lakers, 4-1. Adjustments will be made, teams will wake the hell up and start playing basketball (*cough Boston/New Orleans/Portland *cough!), and it should get interesting now.

I think that the only way for Utah to win a game or two is for them to get nasty and turn it into a wrestling match. That was how Ray Allen's Sonics took the Champion Spurs to 6 in 2005 (and should have gone to 7, but I won't get started on that...). Reggie Evans and Jerome James and Nick Collison were like the Legion of Doom or the Hansen Bros. or whoever else you want to name, and they just turned that series into a melee. Utah had success vs LA when they started to just take it to the rack with reckless abandon and draw fouls. LA is a much better "finesse" team, so Utah needs to lure them into a type of game that takes away that advantage; i.e. make it a brawl!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Where the HELL do you keep finding these unintentionally dirty quotes?

Also, are the Kobe updates over? I was half expecting some sort of "Mamba called the Suns and told them they could call take-backs on Rondo" note.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Need some refs as WotN: Derrick Rose's egregious travel. Seriously, this is no less obvious than LeBron's famous crab walk. Ain't it a bit premature for the refs to grant Rose Jordan Rules?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsOF46nS4Fo

check out 2:32. That's 3.5 steps by my count.

The kid was absolutely amazing, but that was flat-out Fats Domino walking. You don't give a no call on that. Pathetic.

And I'm a Bulls fan. I'd love to see these kids break out.

Anonymous Ash Haque said...
How about a worst of the night mention for the Lakers fans, the Lakers had a 15 point lead with about a minute left, and everyone started cheering that they wanted free tacos (given out if the opposing team is held to 100 points or lower). Then when the Jazz scored their 100th point, the fans actually started booing the Lakers...

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
When I saw Noah jump i was like
NOOOOOOO!
and then the whistle blew and i was like
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
Pop had a nice double face-palm in the fourth. It was a classic.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
@Wormboy: Well yea, did you look at the list of refs on that game?

#15 Bennett Salvatore , #32 Eddie Rush , #38 Michael Smith

One old white guy that's infamously bad, and two black refs. I bring this up because I just read the Racial discrimination in the NBA paper (a long academic read, pdf), which basically means don't be surprised if game two contains 3 black refs, or even more incompetent white refs, to get Boston back in the series (gotta take Brad Miller and Hinrich out of the game you know).

Anonymous Felipe said...
@Wormboy: I might be blind but I really didn't see a travel in that play. I only saw him take 2 steps.

Blogger chris said...
Rap and potential lacktion: never knew the two went together...

http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2009/04/cd_review_joe_beast_cant_hide.html

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"But Jerry Sloan doesn't have much choice other than to play him" OR PAUL MILLSAP

that said, no neck´s dunk over the rattler was freakin awsome.

Anonymous Ruben said...
Did anyone else notice that the Noah from Rose alleyoop dunk, was the Dwight Howard Superman "dunk", (actually the world's hardest layup).

The comments about Boozer are interesting. Is he auditioning for a contract now? The question is, when he pulls his next Boozer, will it be a Carlos Boozer situation, or an Elton Brand situation? (also, the Yahoo image of him gives him a really long neck...
http://l.yimg.com/a/i/us/sp/v/nba/players_l/20081111/3632.jpg?x=65&y=85&xc=1&yc=1&wc=164&hc=215&q=100&sig=z4gj7jY.dCRTYLXugtFjIQ--
Dhalsim anyone? Uncanny!
http://www.glaucolonghi.com.br/img/portfolio/dhalsim.jpg

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Regarding the Noah foul, read this:

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-39-96/David-Thorpe-Loves-Joakim-Noah-s-Foul.html

I agree, it was a good foul for Noah at that time and place. The intimidation value is worth it. Just because something is dogma doesn't mean it is ALWAYS true.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
I'm not sure Yao really struggles against quicker 4/5's, not on offense anyways. He totally owns Dwight Howard, for example. Yao struggles against Shaq (because he's stronger than Yao and tall enough to challenge him) but not really anyone else as long as his teammates force feed him decent entry passes. On defense its another matter entirely, but few if any of them would outplay them regularly in a 7 game series. I think the biggest problem with Yao, aside from his lack of athleticism, is his coaches haven't quite used him in a way that maximizes his strenghts and minimizes his weaknesses. They did that in Game 1 and he responded, but I'm not very confident they will do it consistently for the rest of the series, especially once Portland makes adjustments. That said, Houston should win in 5 or 6 games, driving Tracy McGrady to a life of booze, drugs and unprotected sex with cheap prostitutes.

The thing about Chicago is even though they totally outplayed Boston for the majority of the game they did it by playing in a way that could very well lead them to lose by 20. I wouldn't be surprised if Tyrus Thomas has one of those 3-14 shooting nights on a steady diet of "open for a reason" long range jumpers in Game 2. Boston is also not going to keep missing those open three pointers and for all his talent Derrick Rose is still susceptible to being sagged off from as his jumper is still inconsistent. It's also a bit flat footed and his release somewhat slow so Boston might be able to sag, clog the paint and run back out to him in time to contest the shot if they actually bother to play good defense. Then again I wouldn't be surprised if they just doubled Rose at key moments and let the bulls live and die by the jumper. I admit I was very surprised by the Bulls' win and they showed tons of heart but I still say Boston takes it in 5 or 6 games.

Blogger Andrei said...
The Portland game made me want to vomit, although it could have been the vodka. I think Portland's youth is really telling in the way their defense goes hand in hand with their offense. When they're making shots they're excited and hustle on defense, when they're off on offense their defense lacks effort. McMillan better figure out a way for Portland to score or else this will be a short series. I think he made the mistake of trying to go with what was working in the regular season instead of trying to create favorable match-ups in the current series. Batum had a great rookie season, but his usefulness is very low against Houston. He's a defensive player at this stage in his career and putting a defensive specialists on Battier is a waste of time; he's also not strong enough to guard Artest. I would try moving Outlaw into the starting line-up to get more offensive fire power from the get-go to prevent falling behind early. Also, I would move Aldridge to center and Pryzbilla to the bench. As it stands now, Portland's starting line-up has three people who can score and thus end up playing 3 on 5 on that end of the floor. Portland needs to make this a track-meet instead of a plodding half-court game if they want to have a chance.

I also watched the Celtics-Bulls game and I still don't think the Bulls have a chance. All it took for them to win is Ray Allen going 1-12, Pierce sucking while missing a game winning free throw and Tyrus Thomas nailing clutch 20 footers. I don't see those things happening again enough for them to win the series. All in all, I hope the quality of play and competition improves in the next few games, it seemed that very few teams brought their best effort so far. The only game that got a little chippy was the Hornets-Nuggets game, I thought these were supposed to be the playoffs?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Ash Haque - If you want to nominate a crowd for Worst Of, you should start with Portland. What kind of whiny fans do you have to be to start chanting "these refs suck" when your team is losing by 30? As if the refs were the reason that Houston curbstomped the Blazers. Weak.

Anonymous La Dolce Vita said...
Does anyone else see the similarities between Carlos Boozer's game and Drew Gooden's? Whichever team hands out the cash to Boozer this offseason is going to regret it...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kind of hard to beat the crabs when the starters get called for 5 fouls in a playoff game. LA is clearly the superior team but watch them get worked over in the finals to give queen james a ring. The writings been on the wall all season.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ask haque
...pretty sure the fans were booing the jazz, considering they cheered for the lakers when the game ended. and besides, no free tacos!! i would boo too

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Funny how Dwyane Wade cries over getting criticized for shooting too much / not shooting at all. Wasn't Kobe in this situation merely 2 or 3 years ago?

~Rich Muhlach~

Anonymous Felipe said...
Seriously, how can a team have 10 PF in a playoff game?
Being 3 from backup-PG Boobie Gibson?

I know LeBron (supposably a very good and agressive defender) only avareged 1.7 PF in the season. But all this seems a little weird to me.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Hellshocked-

Yao can get a shot over anyone with his back to the basket, it's true. And you're right- until McGrady went out and Yao became "The Man", he was not really used the way he should have been in that offense. The pick-and-pop is OK, but he should be getting the ball on the low post and passing or scoring with his back to the basket- THAT's his game.

However, smaller, quicker, more athletic bigs (Stoudamire, Harrington...) can nullify him by fronting him and allowing even the shortest guy on the floor to come from the weak side for an easy block on his t-rex-arm shots (he'll never live down that Nate Robinson ego-ectomy). If you force him to face the basket or catch over-the-top, he's easier to deal with and tends to commit turnovers.

Additionally, guys not named Joel Pryzbilla and Greg Oden can burn him running down the floor for easy fast-break opportunities (as you also mention indirectly), which A) wears him down and B) gets him sent to the bench because he becomes a liability.

If he gets fed the ball 6 feet from the basket with the defender on his back, and no double-team comes, then he's alllll-day, as he showed us. But throw a quicker big at him, front him and allow Aldridge to come from the weak side and help (or put Aldridge ON him and rotate Pryzbilla to help from the weak side), and he is out of his comfort zone and must either pass, get blocked, or miss dunks and lose honor.

Either way, I think that he DOES have problems with quicker 4/5's, relatively speaking. He's a great center and is going to score regardless of what you do, but he just LOVES to play guys like Joel Pryzbilla who play straight up post defense.

Portland HAS to try and front him now. He absolutely torched them in the last game, so McMillan would be crazy not to throw something different at him.

Oh, and thanks for making my day with that image of McGrady drinking himself silly with his team finally getting out of the 1st round without him. Ahhh good times!

Blogger BJ said...
Tony Parker huh?!?!?Oh he did not just say that. I'm having that fucker framed.
-BJ

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Houston's starters had 8 personal fouls in ~161 minutes, Cleveland had 5 in ~175. Granted Cleveland had fewer in more time, but its what happens when one team is just better than the other and plays solid, Spurs-esque, don't foul defense. Not sure there is a conspiracty as much as Detroit has mailed it in all season. Granted it doesn't hurt to have LBJ on the team, heh.

Blogger stephanie g said...
In the first Hornets game CP3 had like 4-5 egregious flops, continuing where he left off last year when he was doing a barrel roll against the Spurs and fishing for technicals during a dead ball against Dallas. The crazy thing is it seemed like the Nuggets started to join in to counter him. And this was described by Reggie Miller as "chippy playoff ball." Yikes. But yeah, I think this fake-a-foul "game within a game" has culminated in CP3. A true artist.

Rose was overswept with sexual tension in the post game interview with Nancy Lieberman. "N-no ma'am I didn't know I tied Kareem...gee thanks a lot." Awww, so sweet and naive. You just know Nancy pounced on that like the cougar she is. Rose definitely became familiar with her bedroom ceiling.

I like the recent trend of stereotypically bad coaches becoming respected. Doc Rivers last year, Mike Brown this year. Maybe next year we can make PJ Carlesimo look like Red.

Anonymous Sean said...
I don't think Mike Brown has been a stereotypically bad coach. He's never been fired like Doc, never had a team with a bottom 5 record in the league like Doc (not even anywhere close to that, in fact), and nobody has ever even really questioned whether or not he'd keep his job.
Mike Brown has put teams on the court with traditionally solid defense, he's already been to the finals in under 5 years of head coaching experience, and his teams always step it up in the playoffs.
Granted, it helps to have Lebron. But even so Mike Brown was never talked about in the same way Doc Rivers, or Sam Mitchell, was before last year.

Anonymous GonzoPal said...
Think you watch THE game 2 right now, same as i do. unintentional dirty quote of mike fratellos partner - around 4:30 into the first: rondo is just runnin the ball down their throates

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
stephanie g: Oh, I thought Rose was more of a little spoon.

Sean: That's nice and all, considering his "teams" in his coaching career consist entirely of LeBron James year 3 and after. With oustanding commentary like this.

Anonymous GonzoPal said...
and what you probably dont hear during timeouts is due to the fact that there are no commercials on international league pass: fratello has some serious frog in his throat he tries to cough up... almost everytime. makes me almost want commercials

Blogger chris said...
stephanie g: the only way this theory can be proved to the fullest is if Isiah wins a title as an NBA coach in the next millenium.

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
Stephanie G, I do believe that Nancy L plays for the other team.

Best unintentionally dirty quote:
Jemele Hill and Skip Bayless were on ESPN's First Take this morning, and the host/moderator read two emails, one that challenged Skip to a debate, and one that praised Skip for actually being right sometimes. Jemele chimed in that it's not easy to think on your feet with the studio's bright lights on, and Skip is a tough debater. Her exact words? "Skip comes in waves."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"So if Paxson goes for Rose, he will be dead to me."

Do you still think this? Yikes.

Anonymous DKH said...
Wow, Chicago held a block party in Boston with 14 blocks in their loss...but they should work on protecting the boards more, where they allowed 21 offensive rebounds. Think that might have something to do with losing by 3 points?

Ray Allen played nearly 40 minutes, and had 30 points, and was +5. Stephon Marbury played 9 minutes, had 2 points, and was -19. Ben Gordon had 42 points on 24 shots...and no assists, and also no turnovers. So he didn't cost his team, but he didn't give the ball up, I guess.

Blogger Marv said...
everybody's talking about 58 year old anthony johnson smashed it on ratliff, but they forget that ratliff is like 70.

Anonymous DKH said...
OK, I couldn't find this on the site, so apologies if it's already been posted, but I think this is definitely part of the worst of basketball:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O210voQbdZw&feature=bz301

Oh, to be allowed to act that way on national television.

Anonymous jj said...
@marv: anthony johnson prefers being called "no-neck"

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
Does anyone really believe that coaches make that much of a difference? They have an impact sure, but my feeling is that winning games in the NBA is 90% Roster - 10% coaching. Doc Rivers is a "good coach" because he has three future hall-of-famers on his team.

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