worst seat in the house
Worst seat in the house.

The New Orleans Hornets: I don't have a Ph.D. in Wordology, but I'm still pretty sure the phrase "great googly moogly" was invented for games like this. This truly was a history-making debacle. And who could have seen it coming? I mean, Denver had looked like the better team through three games, sure, but I never expected the Hornets to play Alderaan to the Nuggets' Death Star. This was the most brutal, one-sided rout I've seen since Megatron killed all those Autobots during the Instruments of Destruction scene in Transformers: The Movie. (Which, by the way, remains the best after-school-cartoon-to-movie motion picture of all time.)

Okay, enough with the cutsie analogies and onto the nitty-gritty. The Hornets lost by nearly as many points (58) as they scored (63). They were never in the game, falling behind by 21 after one quarter, 22 after two and 39 after three. The 121-63 loss matched the largest margin of defeat in NBA Playoff history. The Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks 133-75 in 1956. Think about that: No playoff team in 53 years has been beaten as badly as the Hornets got pummeled last night. And this was, gulp, a HOME GAME.

More numbers of woe: New Orleans shot 31.5 percent (17-for-54) and committed a franchise playoff-high 27 turnovers (which gave Denver 41 bonus points). Think about that: The Hornets finished with 10 more turnovers than field goals. New Orleans also notched all-time playoff lows in points, field goals made, field goals attempted, assists (10) and second-half points (24). And those 121 points the Nuggets scored set an all-time playoff high for a Hornets opponent. This is 'bawful beyond the ability of human words to articulate. So, after much thought, I can only compare this drubbing to the death administered to the skateboarding assassin in Hard Ticket to Hawaii:

Yep. I think that pretty much sums it up. But here are some reader comments anyway. Eric, who attended the game, said: "If there was any more indication of how badly the Hornets played, the highlights of the 1st half they put up on the Jumbotron included two shots from timeout entertainment: The three-pointer a guy made to win his section 7-Up and the dunk of a six-year-old."

More dogpiling from Justin: "I'm sure you're getting plenty of emails on one of the extravaganza of humiliation in New Orleans tonight. All I have to say, as someone who watched two quarters of this turd, is this: no photograph from the game will ever properly convey the sheer size and density of the facepalm that was this loss. So I give you this. Use it wisely. Although, what I was really looking for was this guy. It's just that he makes me kind of nauseous."

And finally, from Dr. Hank Pym: "In tomorrow's WotN, make sure to mention how much of a ripjob Rick Kamla and Steve Smith, the commentators for NBATV's broadcast of the Nuggets/Hornets game, put on the Hornets. At some point in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Rick and Steve were so bored they were going off-topic, and when it was near the end of the game, they were ROOTING for the Hornets to not score anymore points! Kamla said something along the lines of 'If we have to sit through 48 minutes of this, we may as well make it a record night.' And Steve Smith was actually chanting 'Defense!' during a Hornets possession, hoping they would break the record for biggest playoff blowout. Man, they were just cracking so many jokes and just not caring at all about the game, it was completely hilarious, yet so sad at the same time. Wasn't this the team that was supposed to be a legitimate competitor to the Lakers this year?"

Chris Paul: The Hornets may lack depth, but they were pretty much expected to win the point guard battle. Like, by a lot. However, except for Game 3, Chauncey Billups has been by far the best point guard in this series, and maybe the Western Conference Playoffs. And Paul? Well, he crashed and burned, big time, in the fourth game: 4 points (2-for-7), 6 assists and 6 turnovers in 36 minutes of...of...LACKTION. Yes, CP3 was a lacktion superstar in this one. It was one of the worst games of his career, and certainly his worst-ever playoff game: It was, after all, the first time Paul has ever scored fewer than 14 points in a playoff game. Said Nuggets coach George Karl: "I'm pretty sure Chris Paul is not 100 percent." When the opposing coach is pulling out the "Injury Excuse" for you, that's a seriously bad sign.

Carmelo Anthony, Captain Obvious: "I wouldn't have thought that we would win by 58 points. I never thought anyone could win by 58 points in the playoffs." 'Melo truly is the Large Hadron Collider of NBA Playoff insight.

Carmelo Obvious

The Miami Heat: The Heat were probably thankful that the disaster in New Orleans distracted from their homecourt fail against the Hawks. Instead of putting Atlanta into a playoff headlock, then moving into DDT, Miami came out and played like it was the preseason: 37 percent shooting, more turnovers (12) than assists (12), AND they got owned by Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 18 rebounds, 2 steals). It was like a night at Harry's Chocolate Shop, as the Heat went ugly early and never recovered. From the AP recap: "The Heat shot 5-for-23 in the first 21 minutes, digging a 21-point hole. At one point, Miami nearly had as many fouls (15) as points (19), Wade had four airballs (arguing he was fouled on two), and the Heat were unraveling." I suppose you could point at Dwyane Wade's 9-for-26 shooting (including 1-for-8 from downtown) and game-high-tying 4 turnovers, but a large share of blame goes to...

The Miami Heat "bench": The one thing that could have made this group failure truly complete would have been for a tumbleweed to blow forlornly by them. They combined to score 2 points (on 0-for-7 shooting) and 9 fouls in about 48 minutes of daylight. When Zaza Pachulia BY HIMSELF is nearly 45 times better than your entire bench, well, you know...SAD TROMBONE.

The Utah Jazz: Maybe next year, huh?

Carlos Boozer: In what likely will be his final game in a Jazz uniform, the Boozeman went 3-for-8 from the field, finishing with 10 points and a plus-minus score of -11. That's not Karl Malone lite. That's not even zero-calorie Karl Malone. That's Karl Malone's jock strap on a bad day. It's been a fun couple years, Carlos. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, okay?

Andre Kirilenko: Dan. B sent in this pic, and I just had to include it.

"The ball...it's like a piece of iron."

The Los Angeles Lakers' killer instinct (or lack thereof): From Karc: "Wow, I do not think I have ever seen a series where a team wins after blowing a big lead late in each game. But the Lakers did it. Seriously, L.A., take a cue from Cleveland. Up by 20 in the fourth quarter, you finish that game and win by 25 or 30. You do NOT let the lead get down to 6, mostly due to your 'star' player getting three turnovers to spark a run by the Utah bench. I laughed when Phil Jackson benched Kobe Byrant, not because he wanted to rest him as a reward for his play in the series, but because he sucked on the court. Geez, it seems like everybody but the Lakers was ready to call it a day, as Boozer and Williams weren't even in the game. I was hoping the Jazz would break 100 so that the Laker fans could boo this team for another collapse that cost them free tacos. Maybe then they would get the message. Good luck trying that nonsense against Denver or Cleveland. Hint: it's not going to work. Because those two teams are likely to look at a 20-point hole in the second half and think 'Hey, we have this thing won.' Which normally would be insane. Against the Lakers, though, it's the
truth. Just ask Boston."

Lacktion report: From Chris: "What an appropriate time to work on the lacktion report -- on my TV in the background is Food Network's Good Eats, and Alton Brown's doing the episode on...CRABS! Ahh...memories of Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson still fresh in my mind. (And of course all eyes in the next round will be on Tarence Kinsey, who is in a serious slump towards semi-useful ball!) Now to the non-contributors of this playoff night."

Hawks-Heat: Solomon Jones wisely played the role of human victory cigar for Atlanta, staying sharp with a foul in 3:26 for a +1 suck differential and a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl.

Erik Spoelstra saw home court spoiled tonight despite the brave efforts of two of his top lacktators. Joel Anthony negated a board in 4:26 with two fouls for a 2:1 Madsen-level Voskuhl, while Jamaal Magloire did one better by avoiding any positive play with a brick and two fouls in 1:52, a +3 that also counted as a 2:0 for his second Voskuhl in three games!

Nuggets-Hornets: When George Karl's squad nearly scored twice as many points as New Orleans did, it's understandable that the Nuggets' lacktion faction got some rest from avoiding contribution, with Johan Petro even making a few shots! So the Hornets' failfest becomes the story of the evening, first with starting center Tyson Chandler (who as we all recall, nearly got traded to the Thunder earlier this season), who chose to pay tribute to Toronto's buffoon of a big man for the second consecutive game.

Chandler did take two boards and two assists in his 12:46 from the opening tip, only to miss two shots and get charged with fouls four times for a Voskuhl ratio of 4:2. The news only got better for Byron Scott -- better that is, if Scott is a fan of lacktivity -- with Hilton Armstrong checking into the ledger tonight after a 12-minute stint, with a field goal and board (plus two steals) negated by four giveaways and three fouls for a 7:3 Voskuhl of his own, tying the lodger with Kwame Brown for the worst playoff Voskuhl ratio so far. Ouch.
Symone Fisher: First Luke Walton, and now Derek Fisher? Really?! Yes, really.

Derek Fisher is seeking a temporary restraining order against a woman who he says is stalking and harassing him.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard, who is playing in Game 5 of the NBA playoffs against Utah, filed the paperwork with the Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier Monday.

He claims that the woman, Symone Fisher -- no relation -- has been harassing him since 2001 but that the situation has gotten worse over the past few months. Fisher claims that the woman has been showing up at his place of work and at his private residence.

In the restraining order, he also asked for protection for his wife, Candace, and four children.

A Los Angeles County detective investigating the case recommended that Fisher get a restraining order after looking into a number of unsolicited e-mails, internet messages and letters sent from Symone Fisher suggesting that the two were married.
So add two cases of stalking to the thousands of cases of unhealthy Kobe obsession. What is it about the Lakers, exactly, that causes people to become mentally unhinged? Also, Wild Yams noticed something about that writeup that I also noticed: "From the article about Fisher's stalker: 'Fisher claims that the woman has been showing up at his place of work and at his private residence.' OK, showing up at his house is definitely a bad sign, but there are lots of people who routinely show up at his 'place of work.' They're called 'season ticket holders' or possibly even just 'basketball fans.'"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
you mean Alderaan, not Alderon, right? O_O

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I don't know what to say about the Hornets. After just last week trying to remember a worse home playoff loss than Portland's in Game 1 and being unable to do so, now I'm sure I've seen the worst home playoff loss any of us will ever see. That loss was so bad they're talking like Byron Scott's job is now in jeopardy. Maybe the Hornets' GM was right with that Tyson Chandler trade after all, this team certainly looks like it should have been blown up before now.

The Heat's chances are literally riding on Dwyane Wade's back right now. If he keeps having back spasms, then it's gonna be the Hawks who get smoked by Cleveland in the next round rather than Miami.

I wouldn't read too much into the fact that the Lakers surrendered a big lead in every game in their series with the Jazz. A lot of that looked like it was due to boredom after going up huge on Utah. I doubt they're going to play any more teams this year who fail to defend as spectacularly as the Jazz did, so I wouldn't expect many more Laker games of the 60% shooting and 20+ point lead variety. I just don't see them routinely blowing out Houston, Denver or Cleveland, do you?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
By the way, I know there were several typos in this one. I went back in an fixed 'em.

Blogger chris said...
So, where does the Lakers' game 6 in the Finals last year rank on the "Alderaan Scale," Bawful? ;)

Sadly, plenty of Suckramento's attempts at playing basketball this year would fall firmly to the wrong end of that metric.

What's ridiculous about the Hornets' stats is this: If you count an offensive rebound as the start of a new possession, the Hornets turned the ball over on 1 out of every 3 possessions. They had 1 turnover for every 2 shots TAKEN.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
Man, that Hornets game was extra bawful for me. I'm a big Hornets fan, but I live a few hours from New Orleans so I had never been to a game before. But... my brother, who lives in New Orleans, managed to get my tickets to last night's game for my birthday. Good tickets... great seats in the lower section.

So I'm all pumped... I get to see my team play in person for the first time ever, and it's a playoff game, and its my birthday, and we've got great seats... and man its' just going to be awesome!

And then that horrible excuse for a game happened. It was atrocious, horrible, dreadful... every negative adjective you can think of. The pregame introductions were by far the most exciting part of that "playoff game."

Blogger Cortez said...
"That's not Karl Malone lite. That's not even zero-calorie Karl Malone. That's Karl Malone's jock strap on a bad day."

One could construct a credible argument that Karl Malone himself was Karl Malone-Lite.

"I just don't see them routinely blowing out Houston, Denver or Cleveland, do you?"

Maybe not Cleveland, and thats a big maybe, but those other two teams can get their fishing poles waxed and ready. It will be a wrap for them soon enough.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Regarding free tacos:

What do Golden State/Clippers Fans have as a basis for free tacos? Typically the over/under is 100pts, either for points allowed or points scored by the home team.

If it's 100pts allowed, well, the clips and warriors fans pretty much never get a taco/big mac/whatever.

If it's 100pts scored, the warriors get that every time! (though their opponents score 20 more pts than them regardless).

Either way, its pretty much a certainty that the home team AND opponents will score 100+ points, so either the fans are always screwed, or the fast food places are constantly getting raided for free big macs. So do they set the over/under at 120pts? Do they offer free tacos if Mike Dunleavy/Don Nelson show up to the press conference drunk? How about free tacos if the team manages to finish within 10pts of their opponent?

Anonymous AK Dave said...
"Maybe not Cleveland, and thats a big maybe, but those other two teams can get their fishing poles waxed and ready. It will be a wrap for them soon enough."

You know, Cortez, the more I look at Denver, the more I see Detroit from 2004 when they beat the Lakers and shocked many people. Denver's lineup:

Billups= Billups (thank you, I'll be here all week!)
Hamilton= JR Smith
Ben Wallace= Nene/Anderson
Rasheed W= Carmelo Anthony
Tayshaun Prince= Kenyon Martin (ok it's a stretch, but Dhalsim Prince is a weird/unique player)

They also have a lockdown perimeter defender in Dahntay Jones, a slew of great bench players (some of whom could be starting somewhere), and MAN they showed the Hornets what time it was last night! I think they can challenge the Lakers if LA doesn't get it's head together. Denver is focused and talented. LA is talented but yet unfocused. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and the Lakers tend to lapse. I think it comes down to whomever decides to bring it FUEGO, but the Nuggets have a shot in that series.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Cortez - Don't get me wrong, I do see the Lakers beating Houston and Denver (and probably Cleveland as well), but it's not gonna be in the same way they were able to blow out Utah (till disinterest kicked in). I think Houston and Denver will both make the games respectable in Staples Center and will probably either win games at home or will at the very least make the games go down to the wire in the Toyota and Pepsi centers. And that was my point: I think LA will win those games, but I doubt we'll see them build 20+ point leads with the regularity they did against Utah in this opening round.

Blogger chris said...
AK Dave: As of 2001...100 points scored, win OR lose:


Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Rasheed W= Carmelo Anthony
Tayshaun Prince= Kenyon Martin"

this is ridiculous

Anonymous mark.g said...
Jerry Sloan should be mentioned for calling a time out with 3:15 left in the 4th quater when the Jazz reserves were making a huge run. They closed the Lakers lead from 22 points to 6 and had a chance to make it 4 on a fast break when Jerry called the t.o., effectively destroying any momentum the Jazz had going for them and allowing LA to blow the lead back open to 11 with a minute to play. Worst coaching decision I've seen him make in years, aside from starting CJ Miles.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AK Dave - Judging by how little trouble LA had with beating the Nuggets this season, I don't really see that happening. Denver's got a huge size and athleticism advantage over the Hornets, and that's why I picked them to win that series in 5; but against the Lakers the tables are turned (well, at least in the size department - athleticism is probably even). Luke Walton's injury will be an overlooked wrinkle against Denver though, as for whatever reason he's actually been quite good defensively against Melo over the years (see last year's sweep as evidence). But I'm still not buying the Nuggets against LA. Less than 3 weeks ago Denver came into LA riding an 8 game winning streak and the Lakers rather casually batted them aside by 14. Denver will make it a good show if they advance to the Western Conference Finals, but barring more injuries for the Lakers, I don't see the Nuggets advancing to The Finals.

Dahntay Jones has really helped to slow down Paul in this series, but who would he guard on the Lakers? Kobe? That won't work. Kobe's always much more effective against smaller defenders. Maybe the Nuggets will try K-Mart on Kobe the way they did in last year's playoffs, but then who's gonna guard Odom? Also, Chauncey Billups has had the benefit of not being guarded by Paul in this series due to Byron Scott's reluctance to expose CP3 to foul problems, but against LA he'll have two bigger, stronger PGs to defend him in Fisher and Brown (bigger PGs are not something the Hornets have any of, which is why Billups is running wild in that series). Then you've got Kobe and Ariza to double on Melo as opposed to Peja Stojokavic like the Hornets are using (Kobe's gonna roam all over the place with Dahntay Jones in there). And you have K-Mart, Nene and Birdman all being undersized against the Gasol, Bynum, Odom frontcourt of the Lakers. Sure, JR Smith will make Kobe have to defend him when he comes in, but then again, the Lakers will be able to ignore Birdman when Denver's on O, other than to box him out.

I'm just not seeing it. The Nuggets match up extremely well against New Orlenas, but the Lakers match up extremely well against Denver.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Bwaful: You have to edit the Large Hadron Collider reference. The LHC hasn't actually done anything, it's just potential to be the biggest and to discover new things (I guess Carmelo is kinda like that). I've switched camps, put my faith in the USA for once, and you, especially as a native Illinois-ian, and as a red-blooded American, should join me in supporting the Tevatron up in this bitch.

Also, Andrei's ZERO rebound performance, combined with Deron Williams's hints that he was complaining of AK47's soft play, made a perfect curtain call to the Jazz season.

Blogger Cortez said...
"You know, Cortez, the more I look at Denver, the more I see Detroit from 2004 when they beat the Lakers and shocked many people."

The more I see Denver...well...the more I see Denver.

Denver = Phoenix = Mavericks = Sacramento = (the long history of offensive juggernauts) = FAIL!

The Phoenix Suns had a "lockdown" perimeter defender also and that's nifty thing to have but the problem comes in when the rest of your team is made up of defensive liabilities.

Blocking shots != Defense.

Great 1-on-1 offense > Great 1-on-1 defense.

Bryant will, in all likelihood, destroy Jones and 10 other bums that look just like him.

Don't let Chris Paul (and to a lesser extent David West) and his virtuoso play blind you.

The rest of that Hornets team is kind of unimpressive. A bunch of servicable, but highly flawed, fill-ins.

As for that 2004 Pistons/Lakers series I'll quote myself...

"One could construct a credible argument that Karl Malone himself was Karl Malone-Lite."

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Anonymous- you make a strong point. After reading all of your arguments, I can see the error of my ways. Thank you for that brilliant analysis- you've changed my life!

Personalities aside, I don't think the Carmelo/Wallace comparison is that far off. Both have good post moves, good jump shots, OK 3-pointers, present matchup nightmares, can create their own shot, on and on. I think they are quite similar in fact.

And I admitted that Martin/Prince was a stretch.


Dahntay Jones will be on Derek Fisher duty most likely. Who guards Kobe? Short answer: nobody really can, but I'd rather have Jones on him than K-mart (too slow) or Billups (lol). Denver uses a zone? I guess we'll see when/if it happens. I can't argue with what you've said about individual matchups, but I was also dead certain that the 2004 Detroit Pistons were going to get a woodshed-style beating by the Lakers, who if I'm not mistaken, only had lost 1 postseason game going into those finals (the Pistons, on the other hand, had to eke out some tough series', most notably vs. the Pacers).

They also matched up poorly against the Lakers on paper (Ben Wallace on Shaq lol), although they were a younger team and Billups was much stronger defensively. However, they were, in the words of Charles Barkely "on a mission"- and right now the Lakers aren't "on a mission", or else they would have beaten Utah by 58 in a game or two. Denver is HUNGRY, playing together, and I like their chances against anyone right now.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"One could construct a credible argument that Karl Malone himself was Karl Malone-Lite."

Okay, Cortez. That's twice now. Are you TRYING to rile me up here?

Blogger chris said...
Cortez: Of course, Phoenix HAS taken down a weaker Lakers team before, but that was when Kwame Brown was starting center...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- "The LHC hasn't actually done anything." That was the point of my reference. He made a statement (which was rife with potential) that basically said nothing and provided no insight whatsoever. You know?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Oooh, I thought it was a "sarcastic opposite" type statement, since out of the few people here who know what the LHC is, probably think it's the best thing out there (like Chris Paul?), but Tevatron is like the underestimated veteran (like Chauncey Billups?) and is totally kicking LHC's ass. I heard Tevatron also stole LHC's lunch money and was all like "oh stop crying like a bitch it's just a little liquid helium leak, you pussy."

Blogger Cortez said...
"but I was also dead certain that the 2004 Detroit Pistons were going to get a woodshed-style beating by the Lakers."

I was too.

The only caveat I gave was if the Pistons could commit to guarding Shaq one-on-one and make him beat them with legitimate basketball moves and, by the beard of Zeus, they did just that.

"Okay, Cortez. That's twice now. Are you TRYING to rile me up here?"

I didn't even know you were a big Malone fan. Even so, I'm fairly certain you can construct that credible argument also.

At least I love Stockton. We can agree on that, right?

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Unless the Hornets win this series, they won't, Chris Paul shall have his best PG in the league status revoked

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AK Dave - In 2004 the Lakers actually had an incredibly difficult road to The Finals, losing five games before reaching the championship round; with that six game series against San Antonio in which the Spurs had home court (Game 5 was the famous Fisher 0.4 shot), and then they went six as well against the Timberwolves who had the league's best record that year. Additionally, the Lakers were basically without Karl Malone for The Finals (his backup was, drumroll please, Stanislav Medvedenko), and the Lakers had major injuries to Rick Fox and Devean George along the way as well, and had rookies Luke Walton and Brian Cook seeing minutes as well as second year player Kareem Rush. True they still had Shaq and Kobe, but the Pistons were pretty loaded, as we've since seen. Those Pistons had both Wallaces to put on Shaq (since they didn't have to worry about guarding the PF spot) and they had Tayshaun Prince to guard Kobe (since they didn't have to worry about the SF spot). In retrospect it's not too surprising that the Pistons won that series.

But I don't know what that Pistons team really has to do with this year's Nuggets, or what that depleted Laker squad has in common with this year's team. The main difference there is that this year's Nuggets have nobody to guard Kobe the way those Pistons did. But the real reason Denver can't beat LA is really just the size difference. Like I said, Denver has a size advantage over New Orleans, but they're undersized against the Lakers. Denver might be able to push LA to 6 games, but my gut tells me it probably wouldn't go more than 5. Same goes for an LA-Houston matchup.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Wild Yams-

You've crushed my hopes and dreams with your logic and reasoning. I hope you're happy! :(

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
This comments section has turned into a 6-10 person forum session. Depending if baddave, AK Dave, or I (or a combination of us) are here.

Plus several others, occasionally.
Maybe actual forums could be formed?

Blogger Evan said...
re: Fisher's "place of work." The article in the LA Times said that the woman was showing up to the Lakers' practice facility, which is a bit different than going to a game.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AK Dave - Not to worry, I totally am. I'm dancing around with glee, giggling like a madman at my resounding victory. If you need me, I'll be taking a victory lap.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

I'll concede that it doesn't look as good for Denver as I would like it to, and I admittedly have a newfound man-crush on that team- however I just need to set one or two things straight before you finish your victory lap:

1) "I don't know what that Pistons team really has to do with this year's Nuggets"

Answer: Chauncey Billups- he's playing out of his MIND right now.

2) "True they still had Shaq and Kobe"

And that is exactly why they should have rolled Detroit.

3) Losing a total of 5 games through 3 rounds hardly counts as an "extremely tough road to the finals". Tell that to the 1995 Houston Rockets, who lost 7 games through 3 rounds, including being down 3-1 vs. Barkley's Suns before coming back to take the series, and Sweeping Shaq's Lakers as a 5-seed in the West. Oh yeah, and that was when the 1st round was only a 5-game series.

OK I'm done. White flag raised.

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
"Tell that to the 1995 Houston Rockets...and Sweeping Shaq's Lakers as a 5-seed in the West."

I'll bet you $50 that the Rockets didn't beat the Lakers in the 1995 NBA Finals. Double or nothing on the Rockets not being the #5 seed. I will bet that it was the Magic in the Finals, and that Houston was the #6 seed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
24 pts, 24 rebounds, 2 elbows to players heads (one elbow-drop to a teammate)...double double - animal style right?? maybe w/ extra mustard

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't know if ESPN unconciously put in some marijuana related numbers in their articles...

"Howard's biggest gift to the Mavs: a momentum-changing 3-pointer with 4:20 left in the third..."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Because I am shallow and juvenile, I was hoping for mention of the Reggie Miller unintentional dirty quote during the Lakers/Jazz game.

Mr. Miller was speaking of Kobe Bryant's awareness of his role at any given point in the game. The quote was something along the lines of "[Kobe] knows when it's time to get Lamar Odom off."

And I thought, "No wonder Odom often has that silly smirk going on."

Anonymous ak dave said...
Agh! Dude abides is right. It was the magic obviously. Oh, the 6-seed. Even better!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AK Dave - 1. Chauncey Billups is playing out of his mind right now, no question about it. He's also being guarded by Rasual Butler. I'm just sayin.

2. All the Lakers ever needed to beat anyone was just Shaq and Kobe? It didn't matter that they were out there with Slava Medvedenko, Luke Walton and Devean George? Oh yeah, and let's not forget Gary Payton's contribution of 4 ppg in The Finals while being a defensive stopper to the tune of letting his assignment (Billups) win Finals MVP. This against a team that featured 4 future All Stars and a couple of the top defenders in the league? Like I said, with Medvedenko as the Lakers' de facto PF it allowed the Pistons to use Sheed and Big Ben to double Shaq with impunity, while they put Tayshaun Prince on Kobe (who had to then guard Rip Hamilton on the other end of the floor). Meanwhile on defense you had Medvedenko and Walton/George trying to check Sheed and Prince (Shaq didn't let Ben Wallace go off, but then again I could probably handle that defensive assignment), all while Gary Payton was getting lit up like a pinball machine by Billups. But Shaq & Kobe alone should guarantee championships? Believe me, those three title teams the Lakers had with that duo also involved a lot of top quality role players who came through huge when it mattered most. The 2004 team relied a lot on Malone being healthy and Payton being able to perform, and neither happened in The Finals.

3. The Dude Abides already covered some of this, but Houston never played the Lakers in the playoffs in 1995 (they went through Utah, then Phoenix, then San Antonio then Orlando), and Houston was the 6th seed. However, Houston didn't have to face any team as tough as the San Antonio team that LA went through in 2004 (the uh, defending champs, as you may recall), and the Lakers had that as a warmup to then facing the #1 seeded Timberwolves with that year's MVP, Kevin Garnett, as well as Cassell, Sprewell, etc. Even still, LA might have won that year if Malone had just stayed healthy because he'd been such a huge part of that Laker team, but he re-injured his knee in the Western Conference Finals, and that left the Lakers really depleted (especially after having both Rick Fox and Devean George go down with injuries in the previous round).

We're way off topic here though, that's all ancient history, but I still repeat what I said above about this Denver team, and how it bears literally no resemblance to that Pistons team. Once again: who on the Nuggets is gonna guard Kobe?

Blogger Cortez said...
"Once again: who on the Nuggets is gonna guard Kobe?"

Dahntay Jones. He's a stopper.

(HAHAHAHAHAHA! Man, that gets funnier every time I read it.)

"Like I said, with Medvedenko as the Lakers' de facto PF it allowed the Pistons to use Sheed and Big Ben to double Shaq with impunity"

As a side note, I don't remember the Pistons sending many double teams to get the ball out of Shaq's hands, especially on the initial catch.

It was Wallace (either one) playing behind one-one-one most of the time.

Blogger Evan said...
"But Shaq & Kobe alone should guarantee championships? Believe me, those three title teams the Lakers had with that duo also involved a lot of top quality role players who came through huge when it mattered most."

Wild Yams speaks the truth. Everyone remembers Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue after hitting that three pointer in Game 1, but Lue contributed some major minutes and defense guarding AI in the 2001 Finals. Of course there was Rick Fox and Robert Horry, but even Devean George was good in the 2002 Finals.

Blogger Fowill said...
Wild Yams - "Houston didn't have to face any team as tough as the San Antonio team that LA went through in 2004"

Ahem. Stockton and Malone's Jazz in 5 (in a 5 game series), Barkley's Suns in 7, Robinson's Spurs in 6, all before sweeping Shaq and Penny's Magic.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams, I'm going to have to agree with Fowill. Nothing against those Spurs teams, because they did an awful lot of winning, but the Finals victories over the Knicks, Nets, Pistons and a pretty weak Cavaliers team weren't exactly the stuff of legend. They were very good for their era, but somewhat overrated by their number of championships.

Oh, and that T-Wolves team you mentioned had a severely hobbled and nearly-useless Sam Cassell for that series. Houston's road to the championship in 1995 was much, much tougher, IMHO.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I will readily admit that the Pistons beating LA in 2004 was a big shock at the time to everyone (me included), but when we look back it really shouldn't be. That Pistons team was largely unknown at the time, but I think they've proven pretty decisively since then that they were loaded with a lot of top quality players. Even beyond Ben Wallace, Sheed, Rip, Billups and Prince, they had a solid bench which featured future All Star Mehmet Okur, as well as Lindsey Hunter and the Amityville Scorer, Mike James (along with Elden Campbell and Corliss Williamson). The Lakers did have Kobe and Shaq, but they had little else; and that's a lot to ask of a team going up against an opponent with five players who would make All Star teams in the next three years (along with Tayshaun Prince, who as of yet still has never been an All Star). Looking back that shouldn't still be considered the upset that it was at the time.

Fowill - Did the Stockton & Malone Jazz win any titles? Had they even been to The Finals in 1995? No. Had Barkley's Suns ever won a title? Would they? No. Did Shaq and Penny's Magic ever win a championship? Nope. You're telling me that any of those teams were better than the Spurs in 2004? San Antonio, who had won in 1999 and 2003, and would go on to win in 2005 and 2007 - you're saying that the Stockton & Malone Jazz, Charles Barkley Suns or Shaq & Penny Magic were better than those Spurs? Really? Make no mistake, the Lakers in 2004 basically stopped what probably would have been a Spurs three-peat, and it required a miracle shot from Derek Fisher to do it. That's a pretty tough second round opponent, don't you think? It was then followed by the team with the league's best record and the current MVP, and then they had that Detroit team with all those above-mentioned players. Like it or not, that's a pretty damn hard road to a title.

In any event, I was just pointing all this out because AK Dave said this above: 'I was also dead certain that the 2004 Detroit Pistons were going to get a woodshed-style beating by the Lakers, who if I'm not mistaken, only had lost 1 postseason game going into those finals (the Pistons, on the other hand, had to eke out some tough series', most notably vs. the Pacers). They also matched up poorly against the Lakers on paper (Ben Wallace on Shaq lol), although they were a younger team and Billups was much stronger defensively. However, they were, in the words of Charles Barkely "on a mission"- and right now the Lakers aren't "on a mission", or else they would have beaten Utah by 58 in a game or two.' Hopefully I've helped show that a) the Lakers didn't just cruise easily into The Finals in 2004 and b) it wasn't just a case of Detroit being "on a mission" that gave them such an advantage that year.

Denver is playing great right now, but they're playing great against an inferior opponent that is undersized and has no depth. That won't be the case if the Nuggets meet the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, I guarantee it. Like I said above, just look what happened when the Nuggets played LA not three weeks ago while Denver was riding an 8 game winning streak. Trust me, if Denver and LA meet in the WCF, LA's gonna win it in 5 or less.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
@Wild Yams... Rasual Butler is probably the best man-to-man defender the Hornets have outside of a healthy Tyson Chandler... and that's including James Posey.

Of course, you wouldn't know that from watching this series.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Sorry to disagree with you, but the 2004 Spurs went on to beat those same Pistons a year later. You know, when Detroit was the reigning champs? You're also forgetting that the previous season the Spurs knocked off the three-time defending champion Lakers, who if I recall were pretty good. For most of the the last 10 years or so the teams from the West that have won titles shouldn't be measured by their opponents in The Finals, but rather by their opponents in the Western playoff bracked. After all, do people remember those three Laker championship teams because they rather decisively beat three overmatched Eastern opponents 12 games to 3 in three years (beating Indiana 4-2 in 2000, beating Philly 4-1 in 2001 and beating New Jersey 4-0 in 2002)? No. People remember them beating the Blazers, Spurs and Kings.

In any event, you're agreeing with Fowill that Houston played a tougher opponent in 1995 than a Spurs team in 2004 that was in between championships? Come on, that's just silly. None of Houston's opponents in 1995 won a title, before or after that year. Houston had a very tough road that year, no doubt, and probably a tougher overall road than LA did in 2004, but none of their opponents was better than the Spurs team that LA faced in 04.

This is all beside the point though. AK Dave was trying to argue that LA had it easy in making the 2004 Finals and were only beaten by a supposedly inferior Detroit team because the Pistons were hungrier, when in reality neither are true. He then brought Houston's 1995 playoffs into this for some reason, but even if Houston's road to the Finals in 1995 was tougher than LA's in 2004, that still doesn't mean the 04 Lakers had it easy. I'll concede that overall Houston had a tougher three rounds to make The Finals in 95 than LA had in 2004 (Houston had to beat a 60 win team, a 59 win team and a 62 win team just to get to the championship round), but IMO none of those opponents were as good as a Spurs team in the middle of a 4 title run. Sorry. Maybe collectively it was harder, but Houston didn't go through one individual opponent who was as tough as the 2004 Spurs. I fail to see what this has to do with a potential Lakers-Nuggets matchup this year though.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- Okay, no. You don't get to trot out the "Those teams never won a title" defense, not when you're talking about teams that very well might have won a title if Michael Jordan didn't exist, or, for that matter, if Hakeem hadn't sucked down his Jordan potion those two seasons.

The 2004 Lakers were flawed. Shaq and Kobe were fueding, Kobe had his legal problems and his need to be The Man, Shaq was gimpy and out of shape, Karl Malone's knee went out, Gary Payton was useless, and the supporting cast was pretty piss poor. The mere fact that such an uninspiring team beat San Antonio is proof positive that the 2004 Spurs were, themselves, a flawed product. Just because other Spurs teams of the decade won titles doesn't mean that the 2004 Spurs = the 2005 Spurs, or the 2003 Spurs, or whatever. Remember, that was the first post-Admiral season, which meant that San Antonio was going to war with Rasho Nesterovic at center. Tony Parker hadn't figured out how to hit a jump shot yet. And Manu wasn't the clutch master he would become. They were a fantastic defensive team and a middle-of-the-pack offensive team...hardly all-world.

And while the 2004 Pistons were indeed a high-quality team with top-tier talent, they won the title that season largely because said flawed Lakers team couldn't get their shit together (Kobe was absolutely determined to win the Finals MVP) and Malone was shambling up and down the floor on one leg.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams - "In any event, you're agreeing with Fowill that Houston played a tougher opponent in 1995 than a Spurs team in 2004 that was in between championships? Come on, that's just silly."

Okay. You're honestly going to argue that the 2004 Spurs, sans David Robinson and starting Rasho and Hedo "I was four years away from becoming a legitimate NBA player" Turkoglu, and without a fully-formed TP and Manu, and with a bench that wasn't scaring anybody, was some amazing team? No, no, no. You cannot trot out the fact that they won titles in 2003 and 2005, because the teams and circumstances were different. That's like saying that this year's Bulls are freaking awesome for pushing Boston so hard, after Boston creamed the Lakers to win last year's title. It doesn't work that way. The 2004 Spurs are the 2004 Spurs, not the 2003 or 2005 Spurs. And that team was very good for the league in that particular year, but they were hardly an all-time dominant force.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - I dunno, we can go round and round on this if you want, but I guess we'll just end up agreeing to disagree. The 2005 Spurs started Nesterovic at center as well and really had virtually the same roster as the 04 team that the Lakers beat. I'll definitely concede that the 04 Lakers had their fair share of problems (though Malone's knee was technically healthy for that Spurs series).

I'm done debating this though. The original point AK Dave was trying to make was that this year's Nuggets could beat this year's Lakers because the 04 Pistons beat the 04 Lakers, and he said LA's easy road to The Finals that year was like LA's easy road in the playoffs this year. He then said LA was great on paper in 04, just as they are this year, but the 04 Pistons won just cause they were hungrier, just like this year's Nuggets are; but the 04 Pistons won because they were just a much better team, unlike this year's Nuggets. When I pointed out that LA in fact had a tough road to The Finals in 04, rather than agree that he was mistaken, he brought up the 95 Rockets out of nowhere. They have nothing to do with anything though, and certainly don't have any bearing on a Lakers-Nuggets WCF matchup. Bringing the 95 Rockets into this is just derailing the real topic at hand, so I'm done discussing them.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Wild Yams -- I'm fine with agreeing to disagree, except on one point. As an official Karl Malone Historian, I can tell you that Malone's knee was never healthy after the injury. He said repeatedly that it never fully healed during the season, and Phil Jackson noted the same thing. It's a damn shame, too, because the Lakers would have won that title with a healthy Karl. (GOOD GOD, WHAT AM I SAYING?!)

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Wild Yams-

You said that "- In 2004 the Lakers actually had an incredibly difficult road to The Finals, losing five games before reaching the championship round"

I was only nitpicking after conceding the previous argument about Denver vs. LA this year, but apparently you are steadfast in your opinion that losing 5 games through 3 seven game series' is a "tough road to the finals"

I brought up Houston not "out of nowhere", but to give an example of a team that REALLY DID have a tough road to the finals, being stretched to the limit by the Jazz (who apparently in your mind were a lesser opponent because they never won a championship), and who was in fact down 3-1 vs the Suns, and overcame all of that to embarrass Shaq's MAGIC (not Lakers ><).

Then I waved the white flag, and your cannons are still firing.


It is fun to remember those old series' though. I thought the Suns were going to win that season (95), but Hakeem went ballistic and Barkley's dreams were crushed... again.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Malone may not have been 100% after coming back from the knee injury (he wasn't), but he was still pretty damn good (witness his 30 & 13 game against Houston in the first round that year). I do agree that if Malone had been healthy then LA probably would have won the title that year. I also think if he'd not stubbornly refused to wear a knee brace after returning from the injury (he felt it made him less of a man or something), then he probably wouldn't have re-injured his knee in that Timberwolves series. It's ancient history now though. Just another title the Lakers were deprived of due to ill-timed injuries :)

AK Dave - IMO going through the reigning champs and a team with the league's best record and current MVP, both while not having home court advantage, is a pretty tough road to The Finals. I didn't say it was the most difficult road any team had ever taken, but that's still no walk in the park. You then brought up an example of a team that had a more difficult time in getting to The Finals, but that doesn't dispute what I was claiming about LA having a tough road to go in getting there in 2004. Your introducing Houston into the debate is a textbook case of the straw man argument.

I would like to point out that how difficult the road to the title is should not be determined by how many losses a team has along the way. For instance, in 2001 the Lakers faced a Portland team in the first round that had won 50 games that year, a Sacramento team in the second round that had won 55 games that year, and a Spurs team in the third round that had won 58 games that year. That the Lakers went undefeated against those three opponents en route to The Finals doesn't suddenly mean that they were given an easy path to the title - it just meant they were much better than any other team that year.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
OK Yams. I'm a straw man.

Look, nobody has an "easy road" to the finals. It's hard no matter what. I just don't consider that '04 Lakers team to have gone down a particularly epic road when they only lost 5 games. Clearly you do. Clearly, you're a Lakers fan, so your memory of that season differs from mine.

And Matt already addressed the Minnesota situation (injuries) and the Spurs (transition year, TP was so awful he was almost traded that offseason, Manu hadn't fully developed etc.), so now we're just going in circles.

Linking to a wikipedia page doesn't lend you any more credibility here. Take off your purple and gold glasses: it wasn't an epic road to the finals, and if Detroit was really THAT GOOD in retrospect, then we could conclude that Indiana and the Eastern conference was superior to the west- right?

love always and forever-

AK Dave