The San Antonio Spurs: KA-THWAMMM!! That, my friends, was the sound of the Spurs' championship window, and you don't have to be an expert in onomatopoeia-ology to understand what I'm getting at. That tried-and-true formula of surrounding their Three Amigos with smart, focused, veteran role players was already looking a little age worn due to the fact that the front office hasn't been able to restock the shelves with enough fresh produce during its offseason grocery shopping trips. But now, with Manu Ginobili lost for the season and Tim Duncan hobbling around on 70-year-old knees, doesn't it sort of feel like their time has passed? Or even maybe that it passed right after their last title, only nobody realized it because these were the Spurs, a team that had spent most of the decade being one step ahead of everybody else?

Now, they've fallen a step behind. So much so, in fact, that they blew a 19-point first-half lead and lost at home to the Portland Trail Blazers for the first time since 2002. Not only was this San Antonio's fourth loss in the last six games, it dropped them into a three-way tie with the Houston and Portland for the third-best record in the West. Oh, and with this win, the Blazers won the season series 3-1. As bright as the future looks in Portland, it's getting mighty dark for the once-mighty Spurs.

Tim Duncan: The dude is straight up hurting, and unless he gets a bionic knee implant -- unlikely -- his status isn't going to improve any time soon. It's probably a sign of the team's desperation that Gregg Popovich used TD in back-to-backs for the first time in about six weeks, and the result showed why he probably should have been sitting. He finished with 4 points on 2-for-8 shooting in almost 24 minutes and got yanked when he looked like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz while going after a loose ball. Said Pops: "I didn't like the way he moved on a loose ball, so I just pulled him. He went tonight because he felt good. When I thought he didn't, that's when I decided to pull him." Added Tony Parker: "People don't realize Timmy's been playing on one leg for like a month and a half."

The Toronto Raptors: It's kind of amusing to think that, just a few days ago, everybody was talking about how hot the Craptors were and how they were building momentum for next season. Riiiiiiiight. And I'm shooting lasers from my eyes right now. Okay, that part's true, but the part about Toronto-mentum is...

Last night's 130-101 loss to the Pacers was the Craptors' third loss in a row, and it was a real stink bomb. They obviously arrived in Indianapolis with a "defense optional" mindset, holding the Pacers to just under 55 percent shooting for the game. Indy scored 37, 37 and 41 points in the first three quarters before taking the last 12 minutes off. Said Chris Bosh: "It's over, man. The best part about it is that it's over." The game? The season? All hope for this Toronto franchise? All of the above?

Jose Calderon: His team anointed him the PG of the future and exiled T.J. Ford to the Land of Corn and Hoosiers. There might not be a direct correlation, but the Pacers are better and the Craptors are worse. And last night, Ford (14 points, 7-for-10, 11 assists) thoroughly outperformed Calderon (4 points, 2-for-9, 6 assists).

The Washington Wizards Generals: Another night, another loss for the Wicked Worst of the East. And despite the fact that it came against the Craboliers in Cleveland -- where they're pretty much invincible -- it pushed Antawn Jamison another step closer to going postal: "You play selfish basketball, try to pad the stats and not play to win games, you get blown out. The same stuff has been going on all year. It gets to the point where it's frustration. I don't know. It's not playing team basketball and not doing the things you need to do in order to win. It's disappointing. We continue to take steps back. There are no excuses. The Wizards, for some reason, when they do something good, they take four or five steps back." One big, boiling, dysfunctional mess. And this seems like as good a time as any to provide a link to a graphic of Antawn surrounded by Washington's 2008-09 team slogan: Character, Commitment, Connection.

The Orlando Magic: It took a 19-7 fourth-quarter run and an out-of-nowhere scoring spree by J.J. Redick to wipe out an eight-point deficit and pull out a three-point, come-from-behind home win over the Memphis Grizzlies. This team just isn't scaring me, you know?

O.J. Mayo: As noted, Redick was a big part of Orlando's fourth-quarter comeback...and Mayo provided the inspiration: "He was just telling me, 'I know you'll give us one (miss) even though you're the greatest college shooter ever, I've heard it all. It goes back to college. It's always the same stuff." Sometimes the trash talk doesn't work.

J.J. Redick: From the AP game recap: "J.J. Redick was feeling confident after sparking a late Orlando Magic rally over the Memphis Grizzlies. His smile was big, his hair was slick and he had an extra bounce in his step. So confident, in fact, Redick had the confidence afterward to wear a light-blue shirt complete with tight white pants and white shoes in a Magic locker room where poking fun at wardrobes is practically a hobby. 'Look at J.J., he's looking like he's in Miami Vice,' forward Rashard Lewis quipped, getting laughs from teammates." Fashion fail. Somebody needs to tell Wally Szczerbiak that J.J.'s stealing his shtick.

The Boston Celtics: I suppose you could make that argument that, considering how long the Celtics have been forced to play without Kevin Garnett, any win is a good win. Of course, if you did that, I would laugh at you, mock you, and then probably make some final joke that involved me having some sort of twisted sexual relations with your mother and/or sister. Playing at home against the Nets, Boston fell behind by 10 points early and later fell asleep after taking a 106-99 lead with 1:11 left. Vince Carter scored a quick 5 points -- off a three-ball and a steal-and-breakaway-layup -- to pull the Nets to within two points with 50 seconds left. Fortunately for the Celtics, who failed to convert a score on their next possession, Vinsanity pulled his usual shenanigans and tried to hit a step-back three with eight seconds left instead of, say, trying to get a good shot.

The New Jersey Nets: The fact that they put up a brave fight in enemy territory was more or less meaningless since the Pistons' victory in New York officially eliminated them from the postseason. The Nets are now 21-38 since Devin Harris said: "We knew we were going to be a playoff team." And now, at long last, the stat curse is complete.

The New York Knicks: These guys are only five games better than they were in 2007-08. Last night, in a home game, they let the Pistons shoot nearly 54 percent while only converting on 36 percent (32-for-88) of their field goals (which included 19 missed three-pointers). They were also murdalized on the boards 57-33. Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon and David Lee combined for only 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting. And Lee was outrebounded 8-4 by Kwame Brown. So...are we ABSOLUTELY SURE that Isiah Thomas isn't still running the team? Seriously, we need to look into this. Meanwhile, Mike D'Antoni said his team "just sagged" and "didn't compete," then further added: "Our guys got overwhelmed and we lost a lot of our mojo and a lot of determination, which is inexcusable but it happens, and that's more or less the story of the game." Still a bad time to be a Knicks fan.

The Milwaukee Bucks: There will be no playoffs for the Milwaukee M.A.S.H. unit. Last night's loss to the Hawks -- in which they gave up 113 points on 53 percent shooting, the Bucks have lost four straight and are only 1-9 since March 15. It's enough to cause Scott Skiles to lose the three or four hairs he has left.

The Phoenix Suns: Their dramatic win over the Hornets smaked of "too little, too late"...since the Suns still got eliminated from the postseason for the first time since 2004 when Dallas defeated Utah to lock up the eighth and final playoff spot. It's so disappointing that I'm gonna have to recover before I can comment further...

Shaq: The body wasn't even cold -- in fact wasn't even dead -- before Shaq started looking for the next pretty young thang to cuddle up to. Only this PYT is a 40-year-old soccer mom slathered in expensive makeup and comprised mostly of plastic and silicone. But, by all means, Shaq, move on to Dallas. I will enjoy seeing you fail there, if it even happens. (And Mark Cuban doesn't sound like he's sold.)

The Hornets: That's three losses in their last four games, two of which happened in New Orleans. The Hornets are now sixth in the West, only a game ahead of the Jazz. Remember: They were supposed to challenge the Lakers for Western Conference supremacy this season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder have now lost four games in a row, all by double digits, and eight of their last 10. Oh, and they're 3-10 since Kevin Durant returned from injury. But he scored 31 points! OH MY GOD HE'S MADE TO SCORE. (But not dish, apparently, since he had zero assists.) Speaking of Durant...

Kevin Durant, crazy machine: Regarding last night's tough loss to the Nuggets: "We had a couple heartbreakers and we played them tough here, too,” Durant said. “They're a great team, a team that could be in the championship this year easily. So it does give us a lot of confidence." Did I get sucked into some weird parallel universe or something? Denver "could be in the championship this year easily"?

The Utah Jazz: Man, they are SO bad on the road. (Seven losses in their last nine tries.) The Mavs played them like a second-rate fiddle last night en route to a 130-101 win in which Dallas shot almost 55 percent and stole the ball 15 times (including a career-high 7 for Josh Howard). Said Deron Williams: "It was like they wanted it more, like the game meant more to them. It's disappointing." Added Jerry Sloan: "They just destroyed us. They deserved to win because we didn’t make it an contest for them." Speaking of Jerry...

Jerry Sloan, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "They beat us all night long." I...didn't know you were into that, Jerry.

Hubie Brown, mathematologist: Basketbawful reader Garron writes: "I love Hubie as a commentator, but this was one of the more un-eloquent remarks he has made during last nights Jazz / Mavs game: 'Ronnie Brewer is also one four guards who shoots over 50% of the field, along with Parker, Chris Paul and Rondo which is good company, otherwise there would only be three guards who shoot over 50% from the field.' At least we know he knows math."

The Golden State Warriors: A home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in which they got lit up by Sebastian Telfair (21 points, 9-for-17). Ugh, ugh and double-ugh. Said C.J. Watson: "It was pretty ugly. We stopped doing pretty much everything we wanted to do, moving the ball, playing defense, rebounding. Even running on the fast break, we stopped doing (that) in the third quarter." Added Don Nelson: "They just basically outplayed us all game long. Now, where's my beer?"

By the way, don't bother bringing up Monta Ellis' injury or that the T-Wolves have won three of their last four and four of six. You can add those little factoids to the list of things Dr. Cox doesn't care about.

Lacktion report: From Chris's brain to yours. Scary, huh?

Raptors-Pacers: Jake Voskuhl does it again in 5:11, earning his namesake stat at a Madsen-level ratio of 2:1 (fouls against board).

Blazers-Spurs: Jacque Vaughn wanted to add a third dimension to his life, so a Mario 64 should do it.

Wizards-Cavs: The Comatose Crustacean Crew did their job effectively once more, with Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson scoring a +1 suck differential (via foul) in 5:10 and Tarence Kinsey earning a +3 of his own in 2:46 through one foul, one giveaway, and a turnover from near Jacobs Field.

Grizzlies-Magic: The bear cubs continue to get All-Lacktion level performances from Greg Buckner, whose 7:23 netted him a singular giveaway for +1.

Hawks-Bucks: Thomas Gardner could barely get the zapper for Duck Hunt plugged in, as he only had a seven-second Super Mario to work with!
Kobe Bryant: Mamba made Adam Morrison and Luke Walton dress up like the Ambiguously Gay Duo for a week's worth of practices.

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Anonymous grifter_tm said...
Shaq's starting to remind me of a tick. You know the type that drinks so much blood, it weakens the animal so badly it becomes listless until it dies a slow agonizing death. After the animal dies, the tick tries to hop on to its next ride.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
The Spurs are in serious trouble this season, I don't think there's any denying that. They really sunk themselves in the offseason last year though by not addressing the fact that they were a rapidly aging team with little to no depth. Roger Mason was a good pickup, but he should have been one of many. It just wasn't smart to gamble the season on hoping that The Big Three all stayed healthy, cause you can't ever guarantee that. The teams this year who really are title contenders (Cleveland, Boston, the Lakers and Orlando) all have been able to sustain major injuries and keep on rolling because they made sure to have some depth to their teams. As I said yesterday, I don't think the Spurs' championship window is necessarily closed (though they won't win anything this year), but they're gonna do some major tinkering this summer if they want to legitimately be part of the title conversation next year.

I wonder if the Pistons are finally getting their act together now that they've excised the cancer that is Allen Iverson from their team. If so they could make one of the East's top 3 very miserable in the first round. Obviously I'm a long way from being sold on the Pistons, but they most definitely have seemed better this year when they haven't had Iverson around to drag them down.

If Detroit is getting it together a bit, I think if they end up with the 7th seed and play Boston in the first round that may realistically end Boston's title chances this year. I know that's a crazy thing to say, but hear me out. I don't think Detroit can beat Boston (unless KG is really hurt far worse than we've been led to believe), but considering it's looking like Boston's road to the title will go through Orlando in the second round, Cleveland in the ECF and the Lakers in The Finals, I just don't think they're gonna have the energy to do that this year if they end up with a really hard fought battle in the first round. I know, people might say they won last year after having a tough battle in the first round, but even though that series with the Hawks went to seven games, only the three games in Atlanta were tough fought games (the 4 in Boston were all blowouts). Also last year Boston was fully healthy, and they really aren't this year. They're gonna need all their strength and energy to beat Orlando then Cleveland and then LA (with those last two series being ones where they don't have HCA), so getting into a rough series with Detroit in the first round is gonna probably sap too much of the energy Boston's gonna need in the subsequent rounds. It's something to put in the back of your mind anyway.

Shaq is such a classless punk. I doubt anyone trades for him this summer and I think the only way he's leaving Phoenix before the summer of 2010 is if they buy him out next year.

Anonymous DKH said...

You made some comments in a previous thread about potential Spurs pickups in the off-season. I wouldn't see Sheed or Marion as necessarily good pickups for them. Sheed has a tendency to get technical fouls, and I'm not sure his character is the sort the Spurs want. On the other hand, I might have said that about Drew Gooden and there he is. So maybe with Sheed.

Marion got shipped out of Phoenix because he couldn't handle being the "third man" (but highest-paid player). Unless he's learned his lesson and become grateful when he has quality around him, he won't like being the "fourth man" in the eyes of the fans.

Both players' skill sets would be great for the Spurs, though; I agree on that account.

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
I'm surprised we haven't seen a clip of "Guy Love" somwhere yet.

And lest we forget, The Matrix nearly duplicated Calderon's scoring line, 2 for 8 in 24 minutes. He was outscored by Joey Graham. JOEY FRICKIN' GRAHAM.

Anonymous Dr J said...
Sure, the Craptors suck and the Pacers have been better this season, but extracting conclusions about TJ and Jose just because of a single matchup...

Calderon had Roko Ukic and Will Solomon as replacements while TJ Ford had Jarret Jack. Jose had to play big minutes all the season and had several injuries because he simply can't play big minutes every night.
And still, his 13.0 PPG and 8.7 APG are slightly better than Ford's 15.1 PPG and 5.4 APG (Calderon with better shooting % from all distances).

The Craptors could have chosen either TJ or Jose as starting PG and they would have done well, but seriously, having no replacement? None of these two players can play all the season without injures. They should stop relying in useless Euro players just because they're cheap.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Mentions of Shaq with indirect Terrell Owens undertones make me even sadder.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
DKH, well those were just a couple of the big name FAs that are gonna be available this summer, but there are a bunch more:

Mike Bibby
Stephon Marbury
Ben Gordon
Wally Sczerbiak
Jason Kidd
Chris Andersen
Allen Iverson
Ron Artest
Lamar Odom
Trevor Ariza
Andre Miller
Grant Hill
Paul Millsap

Then there may be guys like Carlos Boozer who opt out of their contracts as well, you never know. It's a good bet that a couple of these guys will probably get retained by their current teams, but otherwise that's a group of pretty decent players out there who will probably be available for the MLE simply because the economy is bad and because teams want to keep cap space free for the summer of 2010. There could be some very interesting reshuffling that goes on this summer.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Concerning what you said about the Craptors.
I never thought they were building up momentum for next season. It's ridiculous that anyone would think that.

Pacers are better? The only times Pacers have beaten the Raptors are when the Raptors have one of their main players out of the game. Jose missed a game in the first loss... and Bargnani missed the game last night.

Also...are you saying TJ is better than Jose from ONE game?
Did you take a look at the other Pacers/Raptors games?
1st game:
Jose (11 pts, 3-for-9, 14 asts)
TJ (4 pts, 2-for-8, 4 asts)
2nd game :
Jose (DNP)
TJ (12 pts, 5-for-9, 1 ast)
3rd game :
Jose (15 pts, 6-for-9, 12 asts)
TJ (15 pts, 7-for-16, 6 asts)

Overall, Jose outperforms TJ.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"and Tarence Kinsey earning a +3 of his own in 2:46 through one foul, one giveaway, and a turnover from near Jacobs Field."

I think you mean Progressive Field. We could have had two cool sports venue names in Cleveland at once (The Q and The Jake), yet the siren song of corporate sponsorship was just too much for the Indians to pass up. Sigh.

Anonymous Dr J said...
Hell I forgot previous matchups between the Craptors and the Pacers.
But still, the Pacers had an overall better season than the Craptors despite the Craptors were expected to be a playoff team and the Pacers were just rebuilding around Granger and without the Drain for the first time in years.

But well, the Craptors didn't take the step up they could have taken 2 years ago after losing to the Nets. They have a pretty decent starting five (Jose, Parker, Marion, Bosh, Bargs) but an awful bench. Mitchell was not the problem and they underachieved for the second straight season. But this season was just even worse.

They'll bring Ettore Messina as coach (a man with large experience in Europe but no experience in the NBA). Again, not the answer to their problems...

Anonymous DKH said...

Oh, sure, there's some number of players that will be available. No reason San Antonio won't be competitive. I was just giving my thoughts on the two you had mentioned, especially Marion as a Phoenix fan.

Blogger chris said...
Anonymous: Damnit, I am so used to calling it "Jacobs Field." (And I meant "brick" not turnover there, wow was I half-awake when I wrote last night's lacktion report.)

Blogger Wild Yams said...
DKH, I think Marion may very well be in for a humbling experience this summer. Just over a year ago he was wanting a pay increase over his current $17m/yr deal. This summer he's gonna be lucky to get more than about $6m/yr, but from the sound of it that is news to him. I think either he's gonna go the way of Latrell Sprewell or he's gonna realize he's not The Man.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
As I said before, I think the big three are done winning championships together. The Spurs need a makeover fast. They have a great GM and an awesome organization which means they can retool on the fly while still remaining competitive. They're already done it once. They're gonna need more than just MLE free agents and late first round draft picks to get back to the top of the league though.

Duncan is still putting up 20-10 and will do so until he retires because there is not a single wasted motion in the guy's game. His ability to conserve energy is wondrous. That said, he's clearly not the same player he was even two seasons ago. He's rapidly becoming less and less a guy you can run your offense through who will generate open looks for his teammates and more and more a guy you have to generate offense for. He's become more reliant on that overrated jumper of his and is having trouble finishing in traffic consistently. Still, he's the backbone of the team and one of the top players in the game which makes him untouchable.

Parker is in the prime of his career and is a unique offensive weapon who can run a team JUST well enough to not cost them in that department. It would make no sense to trade him for anyone other than Deron Williams (or Chris Paul) which is never ever ever ever gonna happen.

I still think the team's best option to get back to the top is to explore the market for Manu first and foremost. He's not as good a finisher as he was, he needs lots of space to get his jumper off and opponents aren't likely to keep sagging off him for much longer. He's still a fantastic player who can pretty much do anything you need (backup point guard, defend the opponent's best perimeter player, rain threes, draw fouls, swing the momentum at any given point) but he is starting to decline and one or two seasons from now might be too late for anyone to want him. If they can get a shotblocking-rebounding presence or a creative scorer who is good from long distance for Ginobili then they can start to plug the holes in with role players and over the hill free agents.

I think Rasheed would be a great 6th man/part time starter for the Spurs and as a fan I've hoped they either trade for him or sign him outright over the summer for the past couple of months. He's versatile, a great one on one defender, a very good shooter and, most importantly, provides the team with genuine length. Marion however would probably bitch and moan about not getting enough touches, be useless in the half court, miss a ton of open jumpers and not be as effective a defender under a very precise scheme like the one the Spurs run as he was in Phoenix where he was allowed to roam.

Yams: That list of free agents mostly reads like a must-avoid list for the Spurs. I think the only ones there who could genuinely help are Chris Andersen, Trevor Ariza, Grant Hill and maybe Milsap, but I don't see any of them as guys who can get the Spurs back to where they have been for the last decade.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
grifter_tm -- That might end up being a pretty accurate analogy...

Yams -- Please don't talk about the Pistons getting the 7th seed...because I really want to see the Bulls get that spot. I mean, if I have to cover them getting bounced in the first round, it might as well be against a team I enjoy watching.

Anyway: The Pistons have been playing somewhat better since A.I. got sent home for the year, but I just don't see them having the firepower to challenge Boston's defense. I'm just not feeling it.

Regarding Shaq: It's possible some team might trade for him during the season for playoff help or a salary dump.

Headless Chicken -- Hey, sorry, I didn't receive your email. It might have got shunted to my SPAM folder, which happens sometimes. But that's pretty funny...I'll try to add it to the post.

DKH -- I also see the possibility that Matrix or 'Sheed end up in San Antonio...I'd just as soon believe they'd sign Iverson.

Lord Kerrance -- I wonder if he's beginning to understand why the Suns didn't want to extend him for $20 million per year.

Dr J -- I'm not drawing conclusions, just pointing out the facts. The Craptors went all in with Jose this year and they took a major step back. Not saying it's his fault. Heck, I was a big fan of the move, and said so several times. Not having a backup is a problem for sure, but also not being able to get the system to work with two quality players...I mean, yeah, we know T.J. didn't want to come off the bench, but he's had some success doing it in Indiana.

AnacondaHL -- Yeah, you know, Shaq seems pretty ready to abandon ship. I'm telling you, when he starting kissing Kobe's ass earlier this season, I knew it was a portent of things to come. He desperately wants to glom on to a championship contender. He wants to further secure his legacy and also, I'm sure, is terrified of Kobe possibly catching or even passing him in titles.

Yams -- That's a pretty good list. The question will be, which of those players would be willing to submit their ego and take a huge paycut to play with the Spurs, particularly now that Ginobili and Duncan have shown signs of breakingdownage?

Anonymous #1 -- My point about the Pacers was that they've shown some marginal improvement this season despite countless injuries, whereas the Craptors have taken a pretty significant step back, i.e., the Pacers have gotten an itty-bitty bit better while the Craptors have gotten worse.

And yeah, Jose has slightly better numbers. But he's also the captain of this ship that be sinking. It is interesting to note, though, that both players' PER dropped this season. Seems like they worked better together than apart. If only they'd known...

Dr J -- Yeah, that was my point. The Craptors are a rudderless ship. They simply aren't working and it looks like they're gonna need to overhaul the system. I'm sure that'll start with a new coach. They might want to consider signing Tom Thibahoweveryouspellit away from the Celtics.

Wild Yams -- I doubt Marion will go full Sprewell this summer; he still has too many talents in demand (particularly on the defensive end). However, he'll probably have to choose between winning and making money, and I'm sure he'll go for the $$...although he won't get nearly as much as he probably expected to 15 months ago.

hellshocked -- Like you, the three players I saw on that list that I felt could go to the Spurs and whom the Spurs would want are Andersen, Ariza and Hill. However, I doubt the Lakers will let Ariza get away and I believe Hill probably will retire. So, of that list, I see it as most likely they will go for the Birdman.

Anonymous bizarro said...
bawful: the Knicks are probably reading your blog: they signed Sene out of D-League. Here is the AP headline:"The New York Knicks, in desperate need of a shot blocker, have signed former lottery pick Mouhamed Sene" Looks like they just woke up and started not being the worst blocking team IN NBA HISTORY. how many blocks do they need by your count? and how do that translate in blocks per game for Sene for the next couple of games? My guess is he would need to pull off a Manute Bol + Dikembe Mutombo like kind of blocking spree, to the power 2 to avoid the Knicks the shame.

Anonymous Captainhomeless said...
It's worth pointing out that Portland's GM is a Spurs disciple and what he's doing - or trying to do anyway, and he seems to be succeeding - is essentially assembling a younger, faster version of San Antonio during their best years. Good character guys, lots of decent roleplayers, a couple serious studs, bench depth, etc.

Portland probably doesn't have the defensive chops yet (and may never - Duncan is arguably the best defensive power forward ever), but it's obvious they're moving in the right direction.

Anonymous Baguete said...
If Shaq moves to Dallas, can we start calling him The Big Cow?

With the Suns out of picture, the only playoff series I would lik to see are Boston x Cleveland and Lakers x Portland. Other than that, will be a loooooooong month.

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
Marion AND Iverson to the Spurs?!? Sweet merciful crap, that would be a lot of ego. Especially for a team that seems to pride itself on character guys (Bowen nonwithdtanding).

PS: My confirm word was mingilly, which made me alugh for some reason.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
bizarro -- As of today, the 2008-09 Knicks rank as the third-worst blocking team of all time with 196 blocks. However, they rank as the all-time worst blocking team for a full 82-game season, 17 blocks behind the 2007-08 Knicks. Since they have only three games left, they'd have to have six blocks per game in their last three games to surpass that number...which means Sene would have to go stuff crazy.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Just for the record I'd give Detroit a 0% chance of beating Boston in the playoffs, even if KG is real gimpy. However, if KG is gimpy, I could see it being a hard-fought series. The Pistons do have a pretty good playoff pedigree and they do have a lot of talent. Without Iverson there to drag the team down, they might be better than their record indicates. They sure looked dominant last night. As for who might get the 7th seed, with the Pistons & Bulls tied right now record-wise and with the Bulls playing one more game against the Pistons in Detroit (with Detroit getting the likely tie-breaker in a win, due to conference record), I'm starting to think it's a good possibility that it really will be the Pistons against Boston in the first round. We'll know soon enough. I'll be honest though: I think either Boston or Chicago will be a tough matchup in the first round for Boston (though I think the Celtics would win either series). KG better come back in really great form cause they're gonna need him, and fast.

On to the free agent market this summer, I really think it's going to be a humbling experience for a lot of those big name FAs. I think that for many of those players they won't really even have the option of taking big money versus going to a winning team. There's only gonna be three teams under the cap this summer (Detroit, Oklahoma and Memphis), and I don't know if any of them will be big spenders. So other than those teams the most anyone will be able to offer is the MLE. That means for those FAs their big paydays will hinge on whether their current teams want to pony up the cash to keep them or not, and I think with the economy the way it is and with the summer of 2010 looming, you may not see a lot of teams who are willing to do that. For instance, even if Marion wants to stay in Toronto if they offer him more than the MLE, really how much do you think they'll put out there for him when they know they'd really only be bidding against themselves? It's definitely gonna be interesting to see what happens this summer.

AI signing with the Spurs: just imagine Pop's post-game interviews and how he says "This is the Answer" and stares in the camera...Pure entertainment.

Anonymous Jon said...

He keeps on trying...

Blogger lordhenry said...
Yams, I saw your back and forth with Abbott on Truehoop, found it hilarious. You are the fly in every other fans' ointment. As a Laker fan, I know better than to post on ESPN, I'll just be branded a "Laker Troll."

To that end, Kobe Rulz

In the mountains of L.A. the Dark Lord Kobe Bryant sits on his throne watching footage of the most recent games on his Kobetron 5000, looking for weaknesses. "So, what Jedi Knights are left to oppose us? So far, Al Jefferson, Manu Ginobli, Amare Stoudemire, and even Knee-Mac himself have fallen to the ravages of T-mac's syndrome, and the big Ticket and the big fundamental are ailing, so who is left?" Asks the Sith Lord. "My Lord, there is still Lebron and Dwight left to be dealt with, and we have no way to administer the serum as we have no games with those teams left!" says Lord Vega. Kobe smiles darkly, causing Luke Walton and Adam Morrison to back away in fear, expecting some evil hazing. "For Dwight, we need no serum, Superman's Kryptonite is simply the free-throw line, all we have to do is put him there, and as for Lebron---" at this point an evil gleam comes into Kobe's eye, causing Morrison and Walton to fill their pants simultaneously,--When the time comes, I will deal with him."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
hello mr. bawful i found a video on youtube it's from 2006 miami championship run sorry 4 it being so l8 but i taught it was funny [facepalm]

Blogger Wild Yams said...
lordhenry - Abbott's article yesterday about how he'd crunched the numbers and it turns out that by his weird math the Lakers aren't favored to make The Finals this year was arguably the stupidest thing I've ever seen him post:

"The point is, it's not likely that the Lakers will lose any one series. But between here and the Finals, three teams will get a crack at the conference champs, and each of those three teams might win. If Hollinger and Kubatko's systems are right, one of them will."


Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Yams: That is funny. Not only do the Lakers have the highest chance of any NBA team to make the finals (win conference), I just sent Bawful an e-mail describing how, as of yesterday and today, both Hollinger and Kubatko still show the Suns with a chance to make the playoffs. I will now swallow glass shards covered in asbestos.

Anonymous DKH said...

Yea, that probability and statistics stuff is really weird math. Sure, of all the teams, the Lakers are most likely to go to the Finals. But Abbott is saying that, based on Hollinger's and Kubatko's systems, it is more likely than not that the Lakers will not be representing the West.

And he's totally correct, based on the probabilities those two calculated. If you don't accept the probabilities, fine, but to come over to this blog and be a grandstanding Laker fan about how this Abbott guy is such a moron, for looking at these weird maths you don't understand, makes you sound more ignorant than he.

Probability and statistics: they aren't that hard. Baseball fans are starting to understand; basketball fans will hopefully get there eventually.

Anonymous DKH said...
Sidenote: I think it was on this blog that I saw someone talk about the probability of events occurring in a series in the context of fouls. The same concept of probability in a series is what is driving the likelihood of the Lakers (or any team) making the Finals, and despite a high chance of winning an individual series, the chance of going to the Finals is not quite so high (while still higher than any other individual team).

There seem to be a lot of explanations of this in the comments of Abbott's article, so head on over there for more details and example calculations. (Yams has the link.)

Captcha: miased
Basketball fans can't coherently discuss their team without being miased.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
DKH - Christ, now I'm getting this stupidity here too. Look, I understand how probabilities and statistics work and all that, that isn't my issue with what he's saying. My issue is with guys like Hollinger (and people like Abbott who worship his stats like gospel) who just created a mathematical formula to try to explain basketball, and use that as their only governing stick rather than actually just looking at the games and allowing their eyes to tell them what the truth is. Basketball games are not a series of coin flips, so all this .80 x .80 x .80 = .51 (or whatever the precise formula they're using) to me is totally absurd.

This idea that basketball can be "figure out" using just math (or even worse that somehow Hollinger has actually already done so) to me is just crazy. IMO there are an infinite number of variables that go into every basketball game, so to cherry pick certain stats that one guy deems "most important" and to base all predictors on his results just seems suspicious to me at best.

I'm really tired of being accused of just trumpeting the Lakers in this whole argument, because that is not what this is about. The Lakers have rather obviously been extremely dominant against the rest of the Western playoff teams all year, they have home court throughout the West and they have the NBA's best road record. To say they're heavily favored to make the NBA Finals is not being a homer, it's just being realistic. It's what the vast majority of analysts have said, it's what the Vegas oddsmakers say. It just is the truth. IMO to try to use suspicious stats and math formulas to try to negate what is just reality, and to then grasp onto that because it supports what you hope is going to happen, that is being a homer, or being biased. Me simply debating against an incredibly stupid argument is not being a homer.

The Lakers will be in the NBA Finals this year unless they have a major injury or unless some team pulls of a huge upset. If they do make it to The Finals it's not because they bucked the law of probabilities or the law of averages or because they somehow cheated Hollinger's spreadsheet, it's because they're the best team. I'm not arguing against math in general, I'm just arguing that basketball can't be figured out like that using pure data crunching, and that if your computations give you an answer which is pretty clearly at odds with what seems patently obvious otherwise, then maybe it's time to rework the formula. Make sense?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- Totally, totally, totally agree. That's right: Three totallies.

Henry's my boy and all, but we have really gotten into some heated debates about Hollinger's advanced stats. Henry really believes in them and wants to be at the forefront of this "new wave" of enhanced basketball understanding.

However, as you pointed out, the games aren't some sort of computer simulation. If Hollinger's math was absolute, he wouldn't need to constantly update his playoff odds or what have you. He'd just crank the numbers, give us the results and we could call off the season.

All these things do is add a little spice and some things to discuss and debate a little. But anybody who has watched basketball this season should understand that, barring a natural catastrophe or a major injury, the Blazers have no chance to beat the Lakers...nor does any other Western Conference team.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, I'm glad to hear you say that. I really hate that it's the Lakers that are the team here in question because it ends up clouding this whole argument with the "you're a Laker homer" nonsense. For me what teams are involved is beside the point. If it was reversed and the Blazers had played exactly the same way as the Lakers had played this year and LA had played the way Portland had, I would find it equally silly to try to use probabilities in this way to say that the math shows Portland won't make The Finals.

I think the area of advanced stats is an interesting one, and an evolving one, but it's a very imperfect one at this point, and it should be treated as such. I think stats of all kinds should be used to help you understand what you have seen on the court, they should not be used to make you doubt what you've seen on the court. If you come up with a math formula that's supposed to tell you definitively which player is better than another player, the way you check to see if it holds true should in some way be based on whether the results seem to make sense. So if your formula tells you that Zach Randolph is better than Carmelo Anthony or David West, then maybe it's got some flaws and you may need to go back to the drawing board. Or maybe you need to just accept that basketball is a game of nuances as much as it is a game of stats, and that not everything can be calculated and predicted in that way.

I understand why John Hollinger treats this stuff like gospel. After all, he invented it and has a vested interest to see it succeed. What I don't understand is why a smart guy like Abbott blindly buys into it the way he does. Maybe it's simply because Abbott is a Blazer homer and he clings to any stats which say Brandon Roy is the 7th best player in the league and that Portland might beat the Lakers in the playoffs. But if someone showed me a series of stats that showed how Kobe Bryant statistically was more deserving of the MVP award this year than anyone else, I wouldn't embrace it just for supporting some point of view I'm supposed to share; but would instead say "your stats are wrong - just watch the games and you can see that they're wrong."

Stats are fine, and they can be a useful tool. But they don't trump common sense.

Blogger lordhenry said...
Yay! I started an argument.

"Stats are fine, and they can be a useful tool. But they don't trump common sense."


Kobe Rulz