The agony of Gortat

The Orlando Magic: This is the kind of loss that could convince Ben Q. Rock to change the name of his blog to "Fourth Quarter Collapse." Much like the Nuggets in their Game 5 failure in L.A., the Magic played the Cavaliers to a standstill through three quarters -- despite falling behind 32-10 nine minutes into the game -- and were actually up by a point going into the fourth. And that's when Orlando crumbled under Cleveland's defensive pressure.

On the Magic's first fourth-quarter possession, Anthony Johnson had his shot blocked by Boobie Gibson, which forced a shot clock violation. That one play seemed to set a tone for the final 12 minutes, during which Orlando couldn't get on track offensively and couldn't get a stop on the other end. The bottom line was, they were just straight-up outplayed, not to mention outscored 34-23 on the way to a 112-102 defeat. Basically, it was the second-worst ending I saw yesterday...the first-worst being this conclusion from Charles Barkley Shut and Jam Gaiden:


Defensively, the Magic weren't able to stop Cleveland's three-point shooters (who went 9-for-18 on the night), and they couldn't do ANYTHING with LeBron James (37 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists). They did manage to shut down Ben Wallace (zero points, 0-for-2), but that's about it. Of course, things might have gone a wee bit differently if not for...

Orlando's free throw shooting: The Magicians bricked 13 freebies, which is a pretty significant number in an 10-point loss. And 10 of that basker's dozen worth of misses were split up between Orlando's big three of Dwight Howard (five misses), Rashard Lewis (three) and Hedo Turkoglu (two). Then too, another problem was...

Orlando's three-point shooting: While the Cavs were knocking down half of their three-bombs, the Magi were hitting only 32 percent (8-for-25) of theirs. Considering how many long-distance shots they take, it seems to me that Orlando really needs to shoot 40 percent or better from downtown to win. On the subject of shooting blanks from distance, I should probably address the woes of...

Rafer Alston: My oh my this guy was awful last night: 1-for-10 from the field, 1-for-7 from beyond the arc, 3 points, 4 assists, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls. Oh, and he had BY FAR the worst plus-minus score (-20) of the night. (Hedo Turkoglu was a distant second at -11). And yeah, a lot of that was racked up when the Magic fell behind by 22 in the first quarter, you can see by this game flow chart that Orlando wasn't making much of anything happen when Skip to My Lou was on the floor. And that's becoming a pattern, as Ben. Q. Rock pointed out: "Rafer has shot 6-of-27 in the three games in Cleveland this series, which has me wiping egg off my face after highlighting his usually outstanding marksmanship in The Q over the last several seasons. Poor shooting, poor decision-making, and poor defense from Rafer tonight. Not even Anthony Johnson's steady play -- yeah, he shot 2-of-6, but it seemed better than that -- mitigated Rafer's poor showing." Which brings up an intersting point...

Stan Van Gundy: Why did he go to Rafer in the fourth quarter despite the fact that Alston was having the kind of night that was only slightly less humiliating than starting the first slap fight in NHL history? There HAD to be a better crunchtime lineup, right? Mr. Rock thinks so: "Rafer's poor play had me questioning why he was even on the floor with the game on the line during the fourth period. Either he has it or he doesn't, and tonight, he didn't. Quite obviously. The Magic have had some success with Hedo Turkoglu running point-forward, using Courtney Lee as the nominal point guard with Mickael Pietrus in the backcourt. Very, very surprised not to see that lineup on the floor late in the game, and I can't think of any disadvantages to using it, frankly. Lee can handle either Williams or Gibson, with Turkoglu trying to check the other one as Pietrus works (futilely?) to defend James. And before pointing out that Turkoglu hasn't the quickness to effectively defend those guys, let me remind you that they're essentially stand-still shooters in late-game situations, as James gets the ball at the top of the key and goes to work. He's the one doing the driving and the kicking, not them. Turk, at 6'10", has the size and length to effectively close out on either player. So again, I ask: 'why didn't the Magic go point-guard-free at the end of the game?'"

Thursday night lacktion report: Even this titanic Game 5 clash was not free of lacktivity, as Chris will now prove: "Sasha Pavlovic moved some building blocks to the tune of 'Korobeniki' for a 58-second Mario, while Tarence Kinsey did his part to will the Crabs to victory, eating a power-up mushroom quickly for a 2-second Super Mario! In his three lacktive appearances so far this round, Tarence has continued to mash the NES Advantage with Marios in all of those games, a total of a mere 19 seconds played so far for the aforementioned matches!"

Cleveland: Remember how almost a month ago I posted that Cleveland tourism video? Well, an alternate version made it onto TNT last night. Hey, TNT crew. I beat you by 24 days. I'm just sayin'. Here's the video:


Ron Artest: Basketbawful reader Yiping said that this was the best 4 minutes of his entire lifetime. Maybe it'll be yours too...as Crazy Pills video-blogs from his bed.

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24 Comments:
Blogger BadDave said...
I just want to make a shout out to middle-age white guys with kids that talk all corporate and wanna make the NBA but they gotta work jobs and they never made it outta suburbia, and they play in gym leagues with funny goggles and wanna be in the NBA but they gotta work a ninetofiver. I pay homage.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Man, that Cyberdwarf is one horny little bastard :) They misspelled tokhes in that video though, but that's a common mistake.

I thought the Inside the NBA crew had a really interesting discussion last night about Cleveland's fourth quarter "offense", and how for the whole quarter they basically told everyone to go spot up around the perimeter, while they gave LeBron the ball at the top of the key and just said "go make something happen". It's really a testament to how truly phenomenal LeBron is as player that Cleveland can get away with running that for a whole quarter in a Conference Finals game; but it also doesn't bode well for Cleveland if that is their big answer for how to play in a tight game down the stretch. I mean, facing elimination that is what Mike Brown came up with? I don't have a whole lot of hope for Cleveland in Game 6, I'm sorry to say.

BTW, I'm a big fan of the 2nd Cleveland tourism video that guy made as well :)

Blogger tonious35 said...
MAN LOVE!! via Bron and Wally

http://thestar.blogs.com/raptors/

Blogger Mike said...
the next time the WWE and the NBA have a scheduling conflict, Stern really needs to take advantage of the situation. put ron artest (and possibly karl malone if he's up for it) on the ticket.

Anonymous dewoof01 said...
I really am trying to figure out how it is possible for Ron Ron to take 4 minutes to say all that. I sat there for about 3.5 minutes trying to figure out where he was going with this and then the video was done. I mean what the hell did he say "Chris Webber shouldn't be downing me because i am from the hood" I mean does it really take 4 minutes to say all that?

Blogger DocZeus said...
Can we get a Bawful for Mike Brown finally realizing in the 4th quarter of Game 5 that perhaps it's not the best idea to stick a 6'2 combo guard on a 6'10 point forward.

If I have to watch Hedo torch Delonte West one more time with that gimmicky little over the shoulder whoosh pass thingy to an open Mickael Pietrus because West is giving up 8 inches to the man and the Turk is fast and strong enough to blow right by him, I'm going to burn my eyes out with a cigarette lighter.

Really, Mike Brown? You have Lebron James, the runner-up for NBA defensive player of the year, covering either Courtney Lee or Rafer Alston for 5 straight games. Why?!?! Its giving the Magic a mismatch at every position! What strategic advantage do you gain by this?

Its like Mike Brown had consciously decided that its not enough of handicap for Jesus Christ in the flesh to essentially play one on five in the offense. Lets stick on him on the two most irrelevant players on the court so the Magic have mismatches at all five positions at all times. Why not just have Lebron sit out on defense if you are going to continue with this stupidity.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
BadDave -- Ah...way to give yourself a shoutout there, dude.

Yams -- EvilTed was making the point that Cleveland's fourth-quarter offense was basically a variation of Boston's clutch O, only with LeBron playing the part of Paul Pierce. Ideally, isn't that the way you want things to go? With the superstar getting his teammates involved for three quarters and then taking over in the fourth? Because LeBron can't be guarded one-on-one, so if his 'mates are hitting shots, that strategy becomes unstoppable.

tonious35 -- Ha! I had that man love post ready to go already, and with bonus shots. But thanks for sending it in...we must never let good man love be missed.

Speaking of which, I dropped the ball on a few man love posts during the playoffs. I'm gonna try to do a massive man love post after it's all over.

Mike -- Ron-Ron would never work well in a WWE match. He would have NO idea it was fake and probably end up killing somebody. And then maybe eating them.

dewoof01 -- "I mean does it really take 4 minutes to say all that?" Yes. It's Crazy Pills' world and we're just living in it, bro'.

DocZeus -- Doc, Doc, Doc. That's the NBA Coach of the Year you're talking about. This is all part of the plan...

(...if his plan is an early summer vacation.)

Anonymous Axel Foley said...
If lebron james has to actually defend all game then how is he gonna get all of his weakside blocks that got him those DPOY votes? Also how will he have the energy to excecute mike browns patented "anyone in the stands can do my job" 4th quarter game plan of essentially not coaching? Not to mention the fact that he might be exposed as a fraud defensively.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yeah, because all the coaches voted him on to the first defensive team because he can OMGWTF WEAKSIDE BLOCK!!!1 I think that is what all the coaches put on their ballots instead of a name, actually, and anytime that appeared they just counted it as a vote for James. Clearly a fraud.

Blogger TradeBait said...
I'm pulling for the Magic to end this because I HATE the LeBron Hype Machine (not the man just the machine) and Mo Williams' diarrhea mouth. I also hate The Machine. I feel I should tie this in with the terminator movie, but I won't. Isn't Mo the SAME player he was last year, the guy is not any better now, at least Larry quietly rode the coattails.

Blogger DocZeus said...
Trust me on this Axel... Lebron DEFENDS one on one. Hedo Turkogulu disappared in the 4th last night when James was covering him. That's not coincidence. If anything, his weakside defense has been a liability in this series because it's not helping shut down Dwight and its leaving the Magic open for wide open threes.

Blogger dunkfu said...
"Ideally, isn't that the way you want things to go? With the superstar getting his teammates involved for three quarters and then taking over in the fourth?"

Yes unless you're the Lakers and it's Kobe not Lebron. Then Kobe is just a ball hog not trusting his teammates (I know Lebron gets his teammates involved more but that's not my point).

Also Van Gundy has to get some more bawful for not adjusting to the 1 on 5 offense of the Cavs, seriously you're just going to let Lebron go one on one every time knowing that Lebron will 1. Get open every time 2. Get a shot off every time and 3. Get every ref call and Van Gundy doesn't feel the need to adjust?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
DocZeus-

Turkoglu disappeared because he knows how to pass the ball to his teammate with the better matchup. If TheBron is guarding you, and Varejao is guarding D-Ho, you pass. Hedo knows this. He's the Turkish Michael Jordan.

Blogger chris said...
Mike: Artest probably will be neutralized by any flying chairs, if only because it brings up memories of certain chair-centered pickup basketball games ca. 1991 (and NOT involving Yi Jianlan).

Bawful, et al: Mike Brown's only trying to follow Doc Rivers's successfully enacted coaching strategery, except that Rivers has more than one star to utilize. Woops. I realize King Crab is something special and can function like multiple stars, but still...

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - While I do think there's a definite time to use the "clutch O", and that time is the end of the game, I think it should be more like the last 3-4 minutes of the game, not the last 10-12. I mean, if that offense is really totally unstoppable, why not just use it all the time? Eventually you need the rest of the team to do more than just stand around and wait for one guy to either score or get them a wide open look. That's the point they were making on Inside the NBA last night: it's just not possible to go to that for so long and expect it to continue to work. I think if that's the same game plan for Game 6, they're gonna be in trouble.

Anonymous Baal said...
I can't believe you left this one out: Reggie Miller actually said: "Varejao is like Bill Laimbeer" now i'm too you so I actually never saw Bill, but that much I now: he wasn't like Varejao...

Anonymous Axel Foley said...
My point is the same as yours, he should be guarding him ALL of the time not just the 4th quarter. But since brown doesnt know how to come up with an effective gameplan for a tight 4th, he has to be sure that james isnt gonna be tired at the end of the game when he is expected to go 1 on 5.

Blogger chris said...
Wild Yams: The scary thing is, I can see Mr. Brown thinking, "this King Crab-as-the-generator-of-everything plan worked great for one quarter, why not make it go for four?" right now.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
dunkfu -- Yes, Stan was guilty of that age-old coaching philosophy, "We'll just keep doing what we do and eventually we'll stop them or they'll miss on their own." Boner.

chris -- Meh! I hate Mike Brown. I will never forgive him for not rightly refusing to accept a CotY award when Jerry Sloan has none.

Wild Yams -- I remember years ago when K.C. Jones was coaching the Celtics, there was a game where he kept calling "32" -- which was a post-up for Kevin McHale -- over and over and over. During a timeout, Bird asked Jones how long he was gonna call that play, and Jones said, "Until they stop it." The Magic never stopped that play. There was no point, last night, in Brown making an adjustment. Now, if he blindly keeps doing that in Game 6, it will be a mistake, because the Magic will be expecting that surely.

Baal -- This is reason 1637 why Reggie cannot be taken seriously as a commenter.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
The Polish Hammer:

"I JIZZED in my PANTS!!"

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: So how is what Stan is doing different from what you note KC Jones did, except that the 'stache chose to do it in reverse - keep doing what wasn't working, UNTIL it potentially works?

Blogger Glenn said...
I don't care who gets out of the east, but probably the only reason I would root for Cleveland to get to the finals is so that the tourism videos could be played ad nauseum. They're reaching I AM AN EFF BEE EYE AGENT status.

--GCII

Blogger Yiping said...
The first comment is definitely the best shoutout, besides Ron-Ron's own shoutouts of course.

I have watched it about 5 times, making it the best 20 minutes spent in my entire lifetime. And I still can't figure out what Ron-Ron is trying to say. So awesome. He needs his own TV show.

Blogger Spencer said...
Wait, Mr. Bawful.

Are we to understand from this post that despite all the whining from Magic fans and Lebron/Cavs-haters, you - the man who never has a problem calling out officiating - don't have any substantial complaints about the officiating in last night's game?

Are you saying that the officiating in last nights game was pretty fair and did not favor Lebron James?

Or:

Should we assume that you have become part of the Lebron hype machine?

Are you now an employee of the NBA/Nike?

If I were to say David Stern has photos of THE Basketbawful in several compromising situations with a pre-teen Thai lady-boy, would that be an accurate description of the circumstances surrounding the lack of complaints about the officiating in game 5 on this blog?

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