Cynical fans

The Cleveland Cavaliers: The best team in basketball. At 66-16, that's what the Cavs were during the regular season. That's what Mo Williams says they are now (see below). They were so dominant in the opening two rounds of the playoffs (against the hapless Pistons and overrated Hawks) that some people were talking about them going fo' fo' fo' on their way to the NBA Finals. And yet, after last night's 116-114 overtime loss in Orlando, the Cavaliers are staring up at a 3-1 series deficit that, if not for some truly lousy last-second defense by the Magic, would have been a 4-0 sweep. When was the last time that the "best team in basketball" came within a single second of getting swept out of the postseason?

Mind you, this has been a freaky-close series. (It actually kind of reminds me of the 1981 Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Sixers, where Games 1 and 7 were decided by a point and Games 4, 5 and 6 were decided by two points.) Games 1 and 2 both featured clutch shots and were each decided by one point. Game 3 featured even more clutch shots and went to overtime, where the final margin was only two. So clearly things could have gone either way, and Orlando could very well be the team that's down 3-1. But they aren't.

So what went wrong for Cleveland? Well, for starters, their best-in-the-league defense failed them once again. The Magicians shot 50 percent from the field (40-for-80) and nearly 45 percent from downtown (17-for-38). In fact, those 17 threes set an Orlando team playoff record. And it wasn't even the usual suspects (Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis) doing most of that triple-threat damage, either. Rafer Alston (26 points, 10-for-17) drilled six three-pointers and Mickael Pietrus (17 points) nailed five. (Alston even knocked down a banked three-bomb over King James.) Of course, that's what makes Orlando so dangerous...you really do have to guard everybody on the floor. Which is something the Cavs weren't able to do last night.

It also didn't help that their offense has, at times, regressed to the 2007 version, or the 2006 version, or the 2005 version. That is, lots of standing around while LeBron either holds or dribbles the hell out of the ball. Sure, that allows 'Bron to pad his stats and, yeah, it sometimes generates open shots for his teammates. But when that happens, Cleveland's shooters had all the rhythm of The Urkel Dance, hence the 6-for-22 shooting from beyond the arc (2-for-12 sans LeBron's 4-for-10). Mo Williams (5-for-15) and Delonte West combined to go 0-for-6 from distance. And those guys shot 43.6 and 39.9 percent in threes during the regular season. The other big problem was...

LeBron James: His near triple-double (44 points, 12 boards, 7 assists) was actually a near triple-bumble, thanks to his game-high 8 turnovers. Even more damning is WHEN those turnovers occurred: 3 came in the final 3:50 of regulation and he committed another 3 in overtime. That's 6 TOs in "clutch time." (For the sake of perspective, all of the Cavaliers not named "LeBron James" had 4 turnovers FOR THE GAME.) And a few of King Crab's TOs were just bad, careless passes. I suppose it's also worth mentioning that he was guilty of overdribbling and spending way too much time looking for or trying to create his own shot. The Cavs' offense was at its best last night when the ball and the players were moving. And last night, LeBron spent too much time killing the clock.

Mo Williams: In case you missed it, here's the full text of Mo's guarantee: "They deserve respect. They are a good team. But we are the best team in basketball. I don't feel that they've had to adjust to us one time in the series. ... Guarantee we're going to win the series? Yeah, yeah. We are down 2-1. But there is nobody on this team and definitely not myself that says we are not going to win this series. Yeah, it is going to be tough. We know that. We get this game tomorrow, go home, still got home-court advantage. We don't see ourselves losing two out of three at home." If Cleveland goes on to lose this series, Mo is going to surpass Devin "We knew we were going to be a playoff team" Harris for the season's greatest and most crippling stat curse. Oh, and here's a memo for Mo: Next time you make a "Guaransheed," you might wanna do better than 5-for-15 from the field and 0-for-3 in threes. I'm just sayin'.

The Orlando Magic: The Magicians played most of the game from behind but managed to forge an 8-point lead (83-91) when Courtney Lee hit a three with 7:48 left in the fourth. From that point on, their offense went stupid. I'm talking grown men dressing up like the Super Mario Bros. and waging a live action lightsaber duel (with special effects!) stupid. I'm talking Sony releasing a stupid piece of sh*t that doesn't f*cking work stupid. Rushed threes, too much dribbling, nothing going toward the basket. I will never understand why a team insists on chucking it up from 20+ feet when they're in the freaking penalty. Can anyone else explain this?

Oh, and here's a memo for Stan Van Gundy: The Cavaliers figured out that high screen and roll with Hedo and Dwight. I understand Van Gundy's desire to go back to that play, because they've scored a lot of points off of it during this series. But it wasn't working in the fourth quarter, mostly because Anderson Varejao -- unlike Zydrunas Ilgauskas -- can actually MOVE LATERALLY. Sideshow Bob even pilfered Hedo twice, so easily that it was embarrassing. Not exactly the leader of the free world getting outsmarted by a door, or getting your frank 'n beans caught in your zipper on prom night, but still.

Dwight Howard: He had a MAN-type game (27 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocked shots), a MAN-type overtime (10 points, which included three dunks) and a Rick Barry-type night at the line (7-for-9). BUT...he scored only 4 points in the third and fourth quarters, and he was blanked during the fourth when the Cavs were making the charge that almost allowed them to steal the game. Heck, Delonte West even drove right at Howard for a layup near the end of regulation. His second-half disappearance (until overtime) very nearly cost his team the game.

More lousy officiating: Ugh and double-ugh. Dwight Howard gets a technical foul with 4:11 left in the fourth for...flexing looking really happy after getting an And-1? (If this one stands, I will demand that the NBA retroactively assess about 371 technical fouls on Alonzo Mourning.) And even though only one tech was called, Mo Williams gets two free throws? Did I miss something? (Not according to the game log I didn't.) LeBron draws a foul by falling into Pietrus with 0.5 seconds left, "earning" two FTAs that allow him to tie the game. Then Varejao rides Howard out of bounds on Orlando's final play and there's no call. (Even the always-impartial AP said: "Both players tumbled out of bounds, and although there was enough contact for the officials to call two or three fouls, there was no whistle.") Now, mind you, I would have been fine if either a) both had been no-calls (my preference) or b) both had been called. Again, at this point I've given up my hopes for correct officiating and only want consistency. But I can't even get that. Unless by consistency I mean "King James always gets the benefit of the doubt"...because I get that in spades.

Tuesday night lacktion report: It's pretty hard to hunt down lacktion in a two-point overtime game, but Chris did it: "Joe Smith routinely pinched out a 4.15 trillion (the largest payday in the third round so far), while Tony Battie continues his epic run to the Damon Jones Award -- and a potential trip to the Finals - with a celebratory brick for a +1 suck differential in 5:09."

Weird Gold Jacket Guy: From Basketbawful reader Wade Wisdom: "You might have already addressed this at some point in time, but my friend and I have seen this guy (picture attached from the Magic game 5/26) at four sites during the playoffs, including L.A., Denver, Houston and now Orlando. He is really weird and seems to have no affiliation with any one team. The only constant is that he wears that stupid jacket and hat. Maybe one of your readers will know? Thanks for the help."

Gold jacket

Well? Anybody know who this guy is?

John Denton, unintentionally dirty headline-writing machine: NBA rescinds 'flagrant-one' foul on Magic's Johnson‎. Let's hear it for jokes that write themselves.

Kobe Bryant: Basketbawful reader catfish writes: "From ESPN: 'Who would win a 1-on-1 game? Quick Olympics story: Both guys played P-I-G against commoners last summer. LeBron almost lost to Sean Gregory of Time Magazine. Kobe used a dunk on his first shot to give Adam Wright of the U.S. water polo team a P, and it was all but over. It's Kobe.' Who dunks in P-I-G or H-O-R-S-E other than a huge dick? That's like challenging a small kid to a game of 1-on-1 and making it 'make it take it.' I'm gonna put my foot on your throat and never let up, and I could care less if you're only seven years old..."

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54 Comments:
Blogger Junior said...
I don't know if it's really a good bawful material, but well


Marko Jaric did it, Adriana Lima is pregnant...

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20281112,00.html

Blogger Mark Scott said...
The weird old guy is named James Goldstein. He's a billionaire with a more than mild obsession with the NBA. Check out more at his wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Goldstein

Blogger Wild Yams said...
It should be noted that in addition to his 8 turnovers (3 of which were in OT), LeBron also fired up a three-point airball as the shot clock expired with 1:44 left in OT, and that technically didn't count as one of his turnovers, though it had the same effect as one.

Also, Mo Williams got two free throws because they called a T on Patrick Ewing as well as Dwight (you can see it in the boxscore).

That creepy guy in the hat who looks like the bad guy from Poltergeist II is named James F. Goldstein. Here's a link to his webpage and a link to his Wikipedia page. Ugh.

If you're going to bring up LeBron and Kobe's playing P-I-G against "commoners", you gotta reference how Dwyane Wade was beat by some contest winner in a game of F-A-V-E-S (sponsored by whoever does that Fave 5 nonsense). I don't have a link for that, but TNT showed a little snippet on it last night at some point.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The second technical was on Patrick Ewing for arguing in Howard's favor after his tech.

Anonymous dewoof01 said...
I cannot believe someone saw that guy again. last year in the playoffs my wife and i saw him at alot of playoff games in different cities and we couldn't figure it out either. I think its like a real life fringe episode where instead of that bald guy you got this creepy bastard, and whenever he is there, the refs take over the game and try to decide the outcome.

Blogger Kevin said...
This is why I thought Mo Williams didn't deserve to be on the All-Star team this year, simply because he was riding the LeBron wave this season. As the second option, he is supposed to be able to get his own shot and make plays for the team when they need it. And when you proclaim yourself to be an All-Star player (as well as guarantee a win), you're going to have come up big when it matters and he really isn't.

Anonymous Dan B. said...
My favorite take on the Weird Gold Jacket Guy so far: Someone on Deadspin said "Jesus Christ, David Carradine has really let himself go."

Anonymous Gengar said...
I’m still in shock as to how Orlando could be up 3-1 against Cleveland. The one persistent thought that fails to leave me is the question of Orlando’s killer instinct: can they really close this series out? I want to say “yes”, seeing as I’m strongly rooting for the Magic, but even Philly took them to six games. The Cavaliers would become the league’s laughing stock if they blew this series in five games. Even the Clippers would share a joke at their expense … and then proceed to weep at their own miserable position in the NBA.

About the game: the last second of regulation had me tearing my hair out. I don’t think Pietrus could have made more of an attempt to move away from LeBron if he wanted to. There was so much space between them during the whistle that Stephen Hawking wrote a book about it. The non-call for the Varejao-Howard battle on the final play wouldn’t have bothered me so much, as Bawful said, if LeBron hadn’t drawn an ethereal foul way back half a second earlier.

Anyway, game five should be fun. I know many Cavs fans are saying to themselves that LeBron’s hunger will not allow for them to go down so soon; myself, I have mixed reactions toward such beliefs. There are two types of hunger: there’s the hunger you have when you’re fighting for your first championship with a team you know is a contender, and the hunger you have when you simply haven’t eaten food in a long time. When you consider the fact that LeBron’s legs look as bruised as Tracy McGrady’s ego, Mo Williams’ eye looks like an oyster, and Zydrunas Ilgauskus looks as exhausted as my father’s ‘87 Lincoln Continental, the Cavs may be feeling the wrong type of “hunger”.

Blogger Kevin said...
And hold the presses: a game of PIG or HORSE is now the gold standard in which how good a player is at 1-on-1 is measured. And you don't even have to play against the player you are being compared, only up against some random dude who doesn't even play basketball.

Blogger verde said...
Do you really think that Howard was fouled on the last play? What should a defender do to prevent Howard from going to an obvious alley-oop? I think the right thing to do was putting a body behind Howard and the basket is the right answer, bu it doesn't seem to work for you. I really would appreciate a proper answer on defending Howard on that last play.

It's pretty annoying to see a blog entry about lousy officiating without mentioning how Howard is protected by the refs and/or teammates. Howard committed at least ten fouls at the game, five of them are called, some other fouls are called to the other players -it is not a big surprise after seeing all those fake hands raised when a foul is written on Howard. And there were some plays that drove me crazy as a Celtics fan, like the so called screen made by Howard to Lebron at the end of regulation. If Perkins made the same play at the same condition, it would definitely be an offensive foul. But i think Howard is allowed to put his butt a foot behind while setting a screen.

Also Pietrus is now free to touch Lebron every time he gets the ball, say the offensive foul called on that elbow hit at the fourth. I am pretty sure that a defender is not allowed to enter the body cylinder of the offensive player. Not if you're called "Lebron stopper" by ESPN or so, after letting him score only 40+ ppg for the series.

Give the Magic credit for going at the obvious gaps Mike Brown has leaked at the Conference Finals, for hitting so many threes, but when officiating is the issue, you have to look at the bigger picture. Just sayin'.

Blogger T-Duck said...
The guy with the gold jacket is James Goldstein, who is apparently famous enough as an NBA superfan to have a wikipedia article on him. He's a regular at the Staples Center, sitting close to Penny Marshall.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Goldstein

http://www.jamesfgoldstein.com/basketball-frame.htm

Anonymous Wormboy said...
1) Lousy officiating: While I think the LeBron has been the beneficiary of ridiculous calls (and Howard has been shafted), the 0.5 sec call last night was not one of them. My first reaction was "BS," but I watched it several times and saw quite clearly that Pietrus' foot goes toe to toe with leBrons's lead foot, thus taking him out. One of the few good calls of the series.

As is another: I think the Howard/Sideshow no call under the basket was a good one. Fact is, if anything the foul was on Howard, for grabbing and potentially over the back, as Sideshow had position. but by far the best call was no-call, which they did.

2) Weird gold jacket guy: Any chance that this is the same "rainbow afro" guy who showed up right behind home plate at World Series games in the late 70s/early 80s? I have a clear childhood memory of the rainbow fro during some Reggie Jackson October at bat (or maybe not--you know how fickle childhood memories can be).

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/457/whats-with-those-john-3

Actually, could be him, given the age.

Blogger Joe said...
I'm not a fan of either team in the series, but it looked to me like Lebron was already falling over himself before he hit Pietrus' foot. Doesn't matter though

Also, I think the PIG HORSE douchebagery (sp?) thing about Kobe is the whole point. Lebron et al might think it's fun, Kobe doesn't care who you are, he lets up for nobody!

Blogger stephanie g said...
We can't forget about Mo Williams in the locker room interview looking like he was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Or, as the suburban hipsters might say, he was looking shook.

Then there was Orlando taking 38 threes. 38?! Thirty eight! They took 80 FGA. My ghast is flabbered.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Verde, the problem with the Varejao non-call is that he grabbed Howard's arm to get position.

As for the rest of it - which cheese would you prefer?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
stephanie g -- Here's some more flabber for your ghast. I was recently watching Game 6 of that 1981 ECFs I referenced in today's post. Bird launched a three and the announcers noted that it was the Legend's first triple of the series...and the third attempted by the Celtics over the course of the series. A little less than 30 years later and we're slowly edging toward an NBA reality in which half of the shots that are attempted are threes.

Blogger Jacob said...
The last two calls of regulation were shockingly correct. Not only did Pietrus trip him up, but he pulled him down with the right hand. Now Lebron MIGHT have been falling down on his own anyways, but the call was correct. I don't think it's a terrible play because I'd rather LeBron shoot his two free throws. Did anyone think that he was going to make both? I sure didn't.

A call on Sideshow Andy would have been one of the worst calls ever. Varejao grabbed Dwight's arm? Whah?

I'm a Nuggets fan. I'm praying that we play Orlando, but those two calls were correct.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
I didn't like the Lebron foul as a critic of refereeing and officiating in the NBA, but I have been rooting for Lebron since the Spurs went out (sorry McHale, long story), so I was fine with it.

Other than Lebron's TOs, I blame Mike Brown and Mo Williams for the loss. At one point late in the fourth (2 mins or less) Mo calls off Lebron, runs a screen and roll with Sideshow Bob, ignores Bob when he gets open, drives, and tries to throw a hard bounce pass to Ben Wallace with 2 on the shot clock, of course the ball is stolen, but Big Ben has Stone Hands, so what was Mo thinking? Williams and Booby both sucked at covering their man late, leading to about 4 wide open threes for the Magic.

On Mike Brown: Good job. Call in Ben Wallace to cover Rashard Lewis when you know the three is coming. You know, Ben Wallace always gets through screens and covers combo forwards that are 20 years younger than him (he ages in double speed, as you could tell if you look at his last, like, 4 years in the league).

I'm afraid that the Cavs are about to go out. But then again, Only the Good Die Young (Credited to Brian May, performed by Queen in 1997), so at least the Cavs can claim that.

On the Howard-Varejao lob: Howard tried to pull Sideshow to get pivot to from side of basket to front of basket position, and then they both hooked into each other. No call was the right call there, unless you wanted to call an offensive foul on Howard, which they didn't want to do because the overtime was coming up.

I'm not sure I can enjoy the Finals this year, unless Denver and the Magic make it, because I'm steadily starting to hate the Magic, due mostly to this series.

On McHale's stat on Bird:

Wow. This is a lot like the future predicted by Pistol Pete's father. The guy also wanted to introduce a three AND four point line, and eventually a higher goal (like 12 feet).

Blogger friesenth said...
I have a WotN nomination. Did anyone else notice that NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown wasn't even coaching in overtime? I noticed a couple of Time-outs where he wasn't the one drawing up the plays. He had one of his assistants do it while he watched from the side. This was probably the most important game of the season for the Cavs and their coach decided to sit out the most important part of it, that doesn't make sense. I can't imagine Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, or any other coach doing something like that. I've never noticed it before but maybe it is something that Brown does all the time, just seemed weird to me.

Blogger tonious35 said...
Don't you know the Gold Jacket guy is the dude from Jeepers Creepers? I mean he is about to mold his skin away and is looking at these athletic specimens on court as his next prey to feed on. He seems to have man-bat love for Dwight Howard and it is getting very very hungry.
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You know I am just kidding right?

Anonymous Less Inflammatory Name said...
Oh my gawd....so much to talking about.

The Tech On Patrick Chewing....

King Crab's butterfingers....could it be they're being eaten for lunch?

Mo Williams looking like he's doing his best Lady GaGa

http://media.photobucket.com/image/lady%20gaga%20poker%20face/moon1412/lady_gaga_-_pokerface_lpcm_ntsc_po-.jpg

Also, D-Wight's flying elbow to Big Z, cajun style!

And is is just me, or does Marcin Fucking Gortat have better low posts moves than Superman?

Besides the Elbow....that elbow move was CLUTCH.

Anonymous In AK Dave in Defense of the 3-Pt Shot said...
Re: "A little less than 30 years later and we're slowly edging toward an NBA reality in which half of the shots that are attempted are threes."

I like the 3-ball. These players today are monstrously huge. When I and other mortal men play basketball (which I haven't done for about 5 years now), the floor is big enough for us all, and the hoop is high enough that just touching it with an index finger makes one feel good about himself.

When monster colossus 6-10 athletic freaks who can dunk without leaving the floor play the game, the court and especially the paint get real crowded, real quick.

Not to compare eras or get into the whole "basketball players now would kick everyone's ass in 1980" discussion, but players were shorter and less athletic as a whole 30 years ago, due to the natural progression in sports science, competition, and nutrition.

The 3-pt line spaces the floor and gives people a REASON not to pack it in the paint. If you can hit a 3-pointer 40% of the time, that nets more points than somebody hitting 2-pointers 50 or even 55% of the time. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Orlando takes a lot of 3's (although I agree that when you're in the penalty, you go to the hole, and you should never take a three early in the shot clock unless you're WIDE open and you have numbers for rebounding in case of a miss)

So now you have some room in the paint for big guys to rumble without tripping over guards and wing players, and you have "specialists" who can catch fire and nail long-range shots. That's fun to watch.

I also think it's ridiculous to take ill-advised 3's, but then again, a bad shot is a bad shot. Basketbawful even criticized Hinrich for taking a wide-open layup, (the goaltend that wasn't called on Rondo) because the TIMING wasn't right (I say "take the points", but whatev). The point is, don't hate the 3. It's a necessary part of the game, and nothing gets the crowd into (or out of) the game like a well-timed 3.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Since the three point shot was only introduced to the NBA in the 79-80 season, was it just the case that fewer teams/players utilized it back then? Defenses were a lot more lax back then, so maybe teams figured there wasn't much of a need to settle for shots from downtown (honestly I don't know, that was all before my time).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AK Dave -- I wasn't saying that I'm against increased three-point shooting necessarily -- assuming they're good shots -- but for someone raised on 80s NBA, and who goes back and rewatches it as often as possible, it's a rather stunning change.

Yams -- It was a combination of the break-in period, the fact that not many people shot threes, that fact that coaches hated threes (because they were low percentage shots) and because back then everything was predicated on moving the ball TO the basket rather than away from it. It was all about attacking the rim, and shooting from 25 feet was a gross violation of what, at that time, was a basic tenet of the game.

As I said, I'm not necessarily evaluating the change, just noting that it's kind of crazy when you think about how rarely guys shot it back in the decade of its NBA birth.

Anonymous RT said...
It looks like I really jinxed the Cavs. And I usually don't openly cheer for a team because they always lose (always), but since the Cavs are going to watch the NBA Finals in the comfort of their own homes (along with reruns of Lost, Heroes and the Desperate Crustaceans), I'll root for them now.

And as for Wild Yams' line: "Like the media tells us, when LeBron has huge games like he did tonight and his team loses it's cause his teammates didn't step up, but when Kobe has similar games in Laker losses it's cause he's selfish."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YujYTVQ4_S0

around 0:55 - 0:59

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - So what was the turning point for the three point shot in the NBA in your opinion? Was it Michael Cooper's 5 threes in that Finals game (I forget which year that was)? Or was there not really a turning point per say, but just a slow progression towards accepting and incorporating the three point shot as a viable weapon?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Wild Yams -- Okay, I'm gonna speak off the cuff here, although I'm sure AnacondaHL will rush in with stats that will settle this. But it's my belief that things changed forever from 1994-95 through 1996-97 when the NBA shortened the three-point line to 22 feet. After that, EVERYBODY started shooting threes, Dennis Scott immediately set a record for most three-pointers in a season, and

And even though the league pushed the line back to 23 feet, 9 inches for the 1997-98 season, the damage had been done.

Anonymous Margaret said...
Thank you thank you for posting who gold jacket guy is. I spent way too much time this morning trying to figure this ess out :)

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
Well Yams and Kobe defenders, chances are that the media says Kobe having a big game and losing is his fault, and 'Bron having a big game and losing is his teammates fault is probably because LeBron would have had about 4-7 more assists if his teammates would have just made the wide open shot he got them.

I'm not saying Kobe didn't have the same problems, but I will say that Kobe hoists more 'stand-still-for-15-seconds-while-completely-covered-threes' than any player in history. Also he acts like a douche all the time so he deserves it.

Oopsisaidwhateveryonewasthinkingwhoisn'talakersfan.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I call BS on the answers provided about the guy in gold - he's clearly Tom Petty. The league owed him for using his songs as the intro to each Finals game in 2006.

Aside from that, is anyone else unimpressed with Howard? Yeah, he's putting up some good numbers - but let's face it, Big Z isn't exactly what I would call a 'decent' center. Perkins outplayed him last round (yes, Howard's numbers were better, but not that much better - especially when you consider he's a 'superstar' and Perkins is a replacement for a superstar). I have this feeling we're going to be reading 'What happened to Dwight Howard's game' columns on ESPN in about 4 years. He just dunks - he's got no moves and zero range.

Blogger Glenn said...
That goldstein guy reminds me of this one guy that would go to all of the big WWE/WWF pay per views. Maybe he still does it, I dunno. I'd say out of 30 ppvs he was in about 20 of them.

Bald guy with glasses wearing a pink jacket. And he was always on camera to the left. Not as creepy looking as Goldstein but when you're the only one wearing pink in the front three rows, wtf.

--GCII

Blogger stephanie g said...
NBA average height has been 6'7 for about 30 years. You'd think it'd actually be shorter considering all the PFs playing C nowadays, but the NBA surveys say it's the same.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
"And even though the league pushed the line back to 23 feet, 9 inches for the 1997-98 season, the damage had been done"

-See? You're a 3pt hater, man. I knew it!! :D You're right though, and I clearly remember Reggie Miller whining like crazy that anyone could make a three when they moved the 3-pt line in. This makes the fact that Wayman Tisdale never made a three in his career even more impressive!

Stephanie G: Interesting... what about the average weight of players? average vertical leap? average wingspan? Maybe they are as tall as they always have been, but they sure seem bigger and faster these days. Maybe they're just more hyped up.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Additionally, I'd rather see average height by POSITION, and how that has changed over the years.

Anonymous Creative Plane said...
This could go 7. The Cavs finally hit a few outside shots and Lebron got his near triple double as I expected.

I didn't think that the Magic would make almost 20 treys. I don't expect that to continue. If it did, they would be the ones with 66 wins in the regular season.

Cavs in 7.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Buck Nasty - Wait, now I'm a Kobe defender? Trust me, I don't think Kobe should get a free pass if he does jack up a bunch of ill-advised threes, or if he decides to dribble it into traffic and turns it over. In those cases he should get the wrath of the media just the way he does. My point is that so should LeBron. Perception is reality though, and that was my point last night. If you watch Kobe play without a lot of hate tinting your vision, you'll see that he gets his teammates a lot of wide open looks as well, and they don't always knock them down either. But people have their preconceptions about both Kobe and LeBron, and as such just focus on the things which will end up supporting those preconceived notions. So as a result people will focus on the passes to wide open players that LeBron made while glossing over all the times the offense for Cleveland looks like the kind of thing you'd run on the last possession of a quarter (LeBron dribbling all alone out around half court for 10 seconds or so before deciding to drive or fake the drive and instead pull up for a long range shot); and similarly you won't remember the great passes Kobe made, but will instead just remember the too-deep threes he took with 20 seconds left on the clock, or the drives into three defenders. It's just human nature.

Nevertheless, LeBron didn't look like he did much of a good job of getting anyone else going last night, and he really hasn't done much of that in this series. He's certainly getting his though, but the results speak for themselves. That doesn't suddenly mean that Kobe has been a great teammate who has set everyone up or anything, so I'm not defending Kobe. If anything I'm just saying that LeBron has been playing in the same selfish way that's detrimental to his teammates that Kobe often does. So don't get it twisted and think I'm saying Kobe deserves a pass just like LeBron, instead I'm saying LeBron should be criticized for it just like Kobe is.

But LeBron is the Chosen One and the Bono of the NBA, and I'm just a witness, so who am I to criticize?

Blogger DDC said...
Lebron had quite a bit of success posting up last night. I wonder why he/the Crabs are so reluctant to continue posting him up?

Blogger Spencer said...
Regarding the Kobe story, I'd like to point out that even MJ, who is by and large considered one of the biggest dick's in the world when it comes to winning at anything, doesn't play basketball against regular joe's like that.

If you watch the video of MJ losing to the dude at one of his camps, obviously he could have just backed him down to the hoop and spun for an easy layup, but he apparently isn't as big a dick as kobe and just takes jumpers.

Kobe - superdick

Anonymous medrawt said...
(1) I'm pretty sure a detailed analysis of the adjusted plus/minus numbers would make me look like foolish on this, but I don't think the Magic lose much of anything when Gortat is on the floor instead of Howard. And Gortat has way better post moves.

(2) My crackpot theory is that Shaq warped everybody's minds for ten years. Almost everyone who you think is an undersized center today would've played center in the 80s. Almost everyone who started at center during Shaq's years of dominance would not have started in either the 80s or today. Shaq made all the dominant bigs coming out of college vomit out of fear, after which point they said "You know what? I'm a power forward!" Some of today's "undersized" centers are physically smaller than the average center of yestercentury, but they do and would have made up for it with the athletic gifts that allow them to play power forward, just like Hakeem Olajuwon.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
DDC - People have been wondering for a while why LeBron has no post game, but his post game really was quite impressive last night. It's been said for a while that if he develops a post game, watch out. It would make infinitely more sense for him to play out of the post than it would for him to play on the perimeter.

Blogger Timothy said...
"But LeBron is the Chosen One and the Bono of the NBA, and I'm just a witness, so who am I to criticize?"

I'm not saying you are a LeBron hater, but are you denying the fact that LeBron is a better passer, and always has more assists? Certainly, some of this has to do with the offenses they run, but do you really not think that he does more to help his teammates get their's than Kobe? I agree thtat LBJ made some really dumb decisions last night, but Kobe is simply NOT as good at making things happen for teammates. He never has been. He's not a terrible passer, but LeBron is one of the best in the league.

Blogger DDC said...
WY - Especially when Pietrus is defending him. The Cavs got easier shots when he posted, and Lebron in particular got easy buckets when he posted. It's just more efficient and kind of maddening that Cleveland isn't taking more advantage of this matchup.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Random Observance:

10 out of 10 "experts" picked the Cavs to win the East on espn.com's page.

Charles Barkley picked the Magic in this series.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4210030&categoryid=2459788

Lamar Odom has a guy buy him ridiculous amounts of candy everyday.

Blogger elduderino said...
Jim Goldstein is the man. His home is featured in The Big Lebowski...nuff said?

http://deadspin.com/5271507/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-nbas-jaunty-superfan

Blogger elduderino said...
Jim Goldstein. Duh...

http://deadspin.com/5271507/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-nbas-jaunty-superfan

Anonymous Karc said...
Ratings for Monday

WWE Raw - 3.2 (I predicted 3.2)

Lakers/Nuggets Game 4 - 6.9 (I predicted 6.7)

I believe I had that one. You lose, Vince. Go away.

Anonymous RT said...
I'm sorry if I made anyone think Wild Yams is defending Kobe. He clearly had a disclaimer against that.

I just wanted to say that personality goes a long way.

Anonymous tony.bluntana said...
But.. you've heard that story about Michael Jordan cheating against his college buddy's mom in a game of cards, right?

They're all dicks. Kobe doesn't try to hide it. Once again, Bryant over Jordan all day, every day.

Secondly, when people said that the Nuggets' higher-ups didn't have enough faith in the team to think they'd still be in the playoffs on that Date-In-Question, did anyone mention that - maybe - the Nuggets' people had so much faith that they thought Denver would have Homecourt Advantage this far in the playoffs (and that game would have been slated for the Staples Center)?

Just wondering.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
how to defend that last second alley oop to howard?

jump for the ball

Anonymous Andy's annoying, wah wah, make him go away! said...
"how to defend that last second alley oop to howard?

jump for the ball"

Right, because that totally works to the beastly Brazilian's advantage. If there's a collision in the air between Howard and Varejao, Howard's going down, no question. Andy smells and he shouldn't be allowed to touch smiley shoulderbeast.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Timothy - You're right, I'm definitely not a LeBron hater. The guy is probably the best basketball player alive - I'm just not someone who thinks he's above reproach, and I'm also not someone who looks at what he's done in this series and thinks, like JVG, that it's some of the greatest basketball I've ever seen someone play, if for no other reason than because his team came one last second shot from being swept. I remember Jordan's attitude after he scored 63 on the Celtics in a double OT playoff loss back in 86 and how he never counted that as one of his best games simply because the Celtics ended up winning. I think LeBron has had some great scoring performances in this series, but his team didn't win all those games this year with him scoring 44 ppg (or whatever it is). He needs to get the rest of his team going, and let's be honest, he hasn't done that in this series. I don't think the fact that his team has disappeared while his scoring has gone through the roof is just a coincidence either.

Overall LeBron probably does get his team more looks than Kobe does, but as you alluded to I do think that's a function of the offenses that both players play in. Cleveland's offense is basically "give it to LeBron and let him make something happen" so it shouldn't be that surprising that he scores a lot and gets his teammates good looks. The Lakers' offense, on the other hand, generally begins with passes into the post, cuts and swinging the ball around from side to side. Kobe may dominate the ball more towards the end of the shot clock, when he's counted on to just bail the team out with a shot; but for the most part the Lakers are not looking to just put the ball in his hands at the start of the shot clock so he can "make something happen" the way Cleveland does. That said, I think Kobe has shown throughout his career that he is just as capable of getting his teammates great looks if he's motivated to do so (last night's game was a great example); the question, of course, is always whether he looks like he wants to do that, or whether he wants to try to do it all himself. And that's why I won't defend Kobe: cause he often does go outside the offense to try to go it alone, and whether it's selfishness or an unwillingness to trust his teammates, the result is the same. He should get criticized when he plays that way.

But so should LeBron.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Guy in gold jacket and hat is ESPN's Lee Corso

Blogger Josh said...
Julius Erving...Kareem Abdul-Jabbar....Jerry West... and 18 other sports legends will be putting on their best poker face in a high stakes Texas Hold 'em tournament for a grand prize of 5 million dollars. Want to join in? Visit www.SportsLegendsChallenge.com to see how YOU can play side by side with them at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas!

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