Deron can flyyyyyyy
If only Deron were an airplane, he could have flown
far, far away from last night's debacle in L.A.

Chicago weather: Let's see...9 degrees with -22 wind chill. Want to know what my walk to work from the train station was like? Then fast forward to the 3:40 mark of this video. Seriously, my morning has become a bad Arnie one-liner.

I ahm Mistah Fuhreeze
"Hey, Shu-cah-go. Cheel out!"

It's like the Bulls' epically bad shooting has caused an unearthly cold to descend upon the city. Speaking of which...

The Chicago Bulls After last night's apocalypse in Atlanta, the Bulls have lost five straight games and nine of their last 10 overall. Their only victory in that stretch was against a Detroit Pistons team that had fewer fresh bodies than your average morgue. I understand this team is lacking in offensive firepower, but where has the defense gone? In their first 10 games, the Bulls surrendered 100 points only once. At that point, they were ranked a very impressive 4th in Defensive Rating. Since then? Check out the points Chicago has given up in the last 10 games: 108, 112, 122, 105, 99, 85, 101, 110, 103, 118. Now they’re ranked 20th in Defensive Rating. And that number doesn’t even reflect their defensive fail against the Hawks.

But Vinny Del Negro isn't worried about his job.

Of course, the Bulls haven't quit on Vinny so much as given up on themselves. Seriously, this group of sadsacks looks as defeated as the Nyets did on the night they hit 0-18. If New Jersey can keep fighting despite all they've been through, why not the Bulls?

Vinny Del Negro: If you want to take this entry as an answer to that last question, go for it. By the way, did I mention he's not worried about his job? Job security is all about results. This 10-game festival of fail represents 1/8th of Chicago's season. Mind you, I'm a technical writer. So let's assume that I spent the next 45 days -- which, unless I'm the worst mathematologist in the world -- is 1/8th of my working year -- turning in all my assignments (user guides, help text, technical notes, functional specifications, and so on) written in crayon on giant stone slabs. Only instead of actual instructions on how to use software, the stone slabs were covered in dirty jokes and pictures of boobs.

I think I'd be a little worried about my job after that. Don't you?

Kirk Hinrich: He missed several games with a sprained left thumb -- he's a right-handed shooter, by the way -- before returning last night for a zero-point, 0-for-9 performance. It's like the Sprained Thumb Fairy showed up in the middle of the night to replace his hands a pile of wet spaghetti. The sad thing is, that misguided shooting performance will barely affect his average, which was already a lowly 36 percent.

The Indiana Pacers: This season, Greg Oden has been like the cursed Tiki idol from that old Brady Bunch episode.

I mean, Portland's injury problems have gotten so bad that even their coach blew out his right Achilles' tendon at practice and had to have surgery. But the Danny Granger-less Pacers were the perfect prescription for what's been ailing the Blazers. Even though Portland only had nine players available for last night's game, Indy still lost by double-digits at home. It was their sixth straight loss...and that streak could get pretty long with Granger out. Maybe somebody gave the Pacers a Tiki idol too...?

Dean Demopoulos, quote machine: Portland's assistant coach, who's currently filling in for the recovering-from-surgery Nate McMillan, is one serious quote machine. Regarding his boss, Dean said: "Even when I was young enough, I wasn't good enough. I'm 10 or 11 years older than Nate. I'd blow both Achilles' out." Then, regarding Brandon Roy: "I could almost fall asleep when he's got the ball. That's how comfortable I feel with him. He always comes through." I hope Nate gets better soon and everything, but I hope it's not too soon. Demopoulos is on a roll.

The Philadelphia 76ers: It seems fitting somehow that in his first game back with the Sixers, Allen Iverson got to lose to his second team, and in his second game back he got to lose to his third team. And mind you, his third team -- the Detroit Pistons -- was missing three of its four best players (Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince). Iverson went 3-for-10 and committed a game-high 6 turnovers, and freaking Kwame Brown (11 points, 5 boards) almost outplayed the entire Philly bench (12 points, 5 boards). And this happened in Philadelphia! Make it 11 straight losses for the Sixers.

The Not Answer strikes again.

And, according to the AP recap: "New Jersey and Minnesota are the only teams with worse records than the Sixers. The Sixers haven't won since Nov. 18 vs. Charlotte and they've lost by five or less points six times during the skid." But according to Iverson: "It's going to get better. This is one of those times when you find out what type of character you have as men." So says the guy who quit on his last two teams because he didn't want to come off the bench.

The New Jersey Nyets: If you honestly wondered whether the Nyets could recapture the magic they had against the craptacular Bulls, the answer -- and this really should have been obvious, shouldn't it? -- was:

So, really, the Nyets' 105-89 home loss to the Golden State Warriors was surprising only if you're a space alien who had never watched "The Basketball" before. And if that's the case, welcome to Earth, strange friends from afar! Please don't vaporize us with your Vaporizer Rays! We have so much to give your culture. Like Bacon Salt and Internet porn!

Said Devin Harris: "We made a lot of mental mistakes tonight. We came in and talked about what they do well. They create turnovers, they score off their turnovers, they're a fast-break team. We got a little bit careless with the ball and that led to a lot of uncontested layups and we kind of dug ourselves a hole." Oh! That's why the Warriors score 30 points off your 22 turnovers! Who knew taking care of the basketball was so important. Other than "everybody" that is.

The Toronto Raptors: Another night, another defensive fail for the Craptors. This team gives up points like the lives of their loved ones depend on it. On average, Toronto gives up almost 109 PPG. Well, they outdid themselves against the Bucks in Milwaukee, surrendering 117 points on 52+ percent shooting. The 22-point blowout came against a Bucks team that had dropped four in a row and eight of 10 overall. The Craptors are like a necromancer bringing dead offenses back to life.

Chris Bosh, quote machine: After the 117-95 loss, the RuPaul of Big Men said: "We gave ourselves a chance, but we didn't stick to our principles." Ooookay...?

Ersan Ilyasova: He just looks so silly.

Me slip on banana peel
Pure athleticism.

Jonny Flynn: I'll give the rookie credit: he stood up to Chris Paul and his team was up by a point with 3.9 seconds to go. Sure, they had choked away a 16-point lead, but it really looked like the Timberpups were going to pull some fat out of the fire. Well, that sizzling sound you hear? It's their fat in the fire. Flynn committed a major defensive fail by turning his head after CP3 inbounded the ball to David West, which allowed Paul to streak to the hoop, receive a backdoor pass from West, and lay in the game-winner with 1.4 seconds left. Whoops.

Said Flynn: "We should have got this win tonight. I'll take some of the blame on that last backdoor cut." You'll take some of the blame, Jonny? Well, that's mighty gracious of you.

The Cleveland Cavaliers: So much for coming back strong after losing to the Grizzlies, huh? The Crabs got a little lesson in defensive tenacity from the All-Star-less Rockets, who forced 20 turnovers, frustrated Mike Brown into a two-tech ejection, and held Cleveland to a season-low-tying 85 points. Other than LeBron James (27 points on 8-for-21 shooting), no other Crabs starter made it to double digits.

King Crab, who hasn't been doing much dancing lately, said: "We just can't have unforced turnovers. You have to take pride in avoiding them and we didn't." Statistical note: James had a game-high 5 TOs. There's no "me" in "we," but there should be in LeBron's case. Maybe James should do the dance of shame.

The San Antonio Spurs: I know a win's a win and all that, but I'm not sure the Spurs should feel very confident about beating the Kings last night. Remember: San Antonio's championship teams have always been based on a relentless and stifling defense. Last night's 12-point win, on the other hand, was accomplished by seeing who could outscore who. Despite getting into town late after a tough loss in New Orleans the night before, the Kings shot over 52 percent as a team, had 62 points in the paint, got 24 points on the fast break, and finished with 106 points on the night. Meanwhile, the Spurs had to shoot 55 percent and go 8-for-9 from downtown just to outpace the feisty Sactowners.

Manu Ginobili may still be sporting the ugliest bald spot in the league, but he knows what's what: "A team that has come from New Orleans last night should have been more tired
than us, but they ran more." Yeah...what's up with that, Manu? I mean, should Beno Udrih and Omri Casspi be able to come off the bench and combine for 35 points on 16-for-25 shooting against a Popovich defense?

The Utah Jazz: The Jazz had a Memento moment last night. I mean, short term memory loss is the only reason I could come up with for why they forgot to show up for the fourth quarter of their game against the Lakers. Utah scored 6 points -- that's right, 6 points -- on 2-for-18 shooting in that Fourth Quarter of Doom. Mind you, the Jazz were only down by two points after three quarter, but ended up losing 101-77.

For some perspective on this dubious accomplishment, the Jazz became the ninth team in the shot clock era to score 6 or fewer points in the fourth quarter. HISTORIC FAIL.

Said Jerry Sloan: "They came out and just destroyed us. We were hanging in the ballgame, but that just shows you what a great team they have. ... We have to learn to stay within what we are trying to do. You can't go out and play street basketball against this team. They will annihilate you."

Fun fact: The Lakers have won 10 games in a row and are 17-3 overall. However...they've played only four road games so far this season with only three sets of back-to-back games (the last of which came against the Warriors/Nyets poop-and-vomit combo). I guess there really is no place like home.

Kosta Koufous: Reid S. send in this truly bawful sequence for poor Kosta:

If he'd slipped on a banana peel, his night would have been complete.

Tim Thomas: So...Timmy T. was somehow involved in a brawl -- at Denny's of all places -- in which chairs were thrown, tables were knocked over and police had to be called in. I know people were kinda hurt and everything, but night at Denny's ever, right?

Fun fact: Did you know that Thomas has earned almost $100 million in salary over his career? Yeah. If I ever write a suicide note, you've just read the first line.

Lacktion report: Fresh off yet another purple pauper Loss That Ain't As Bad As Others, Chris is back on the lack track:

Pistons-Sixers: Detroit's DaJuan Summers warmed up to a foul in 2:20 for a +1 suck differential. In response, Philadelphia's Royal Ivey decreed a +3 in 1:37 via brick, foul, and giveaway.

Warriors-Nyets: Sean Williams countered two boards with a pair of turnovers and a trio of fouls for a 5:2 Voskuhl in 6:14, while fellow ruble-rouser Tony Battie earned a +2 via masonry in 4:31

Raptors-Bucks: Rasho Nesterovic made one field goal in exactly 13 minutes as starting center, only to take a rejection and three fouls for a prehistoric 3:2 Voskuhl.

Hornets-Wolves: Hilton Armstrong checked himself past the vestibule of Voskuhls with three fouls and a turnover in 5:04 against two boards for a 4:2 ratio.

Kings-Spurs: Ime Udoka made bank tonight with a 2.7 trillion (2:42) for the purple paupers, while San Antonio's Malik Hairston went nostalgic by sneaking through a level of Metal Gear for 22 seconds, resulting in his second Mario in two games.

Crabs-Rockets: Jawad Williams was one tick of the clock away from pinching out a fortune, but instead had to get back into the Mushroom Kingdom to collect gold coins in a 59 second Mario. Meanwhile, Chase Budinger pursued a spot as Clutch the Bear's human victory cigar with an incredible statline of SEVEN bricks (twice from One Shell Plaza, followed by another pair from the charity stripe!!!) and a rejection for a +8 in 8:04, good enough to tie the Nyets' Terrence Williams for the highest single-game suck differential this season!!!!!

Jazz-Lakers: Kosta Koufos took down three boards in 4:14, but in an evening in which Utah went from very competitive in three quarters to near-complete silence in the fourth, giving up the rock three times and fouling twice led to a 5:3 Voskuhl. With the reversal in fortune complete, Phil Jackson was able to summon Josh Powell as tonight's human victory cigar, bricking once for a +1 in 2:04.

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Blogger Cortez said...
B'awful, you should see about contracting yourself out as a technical writing consultant to the Dallas Police Department.

They're terrible (and I assume that report is one of the better ones!).

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
From Elias Says via ESPN:
Ben Wallace grabbed 12 rebounds in the Pistons' win at Philadelphia, but for the fifth time this season he was scoreless in a game in which he played at least 30 minutes. All other NBA players have combined to do that only six times this season and no one but Wallace has done it more than once.

You know what would be fun? Seeing Wallace up against the Warriors interior D. Who do you think would win?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Yes, the Bulls looked awful, but NO one can look as defeated as the Nets looked on the 0-18 night. Grown men on the verge of crying, choking back tears as the NY media hounded them. But they are fighting back, and I'd say in the past week, the Nets could now be better than Minnesota.

Which is hilarious, since all Minnesota needs is another PG, amirite? *the John Hall watch continues*

Blogger Murcy said...
Seriously, Bawful, I love your site and I know Iverson has made plenty of bad decisions, has plenty of faults, and has quit on Detroit (on which EVERY single player has, not only him), that Billups revitalised Denver (that had a lot to do with Melo, Andersen, Martin, Nene and better coaching from Karl), and that Iverson simply fucked up the Memphis situation (nothing else here) but how the hell was this loss his fault? why the 'not answer strikes again' line? philly has been awful all season long. not because of AI, not since he returned, but all season. I don't get it. all times you seem totally consistent in giving out blame and just (see the Bulls or celtics entries in WotNs, even though you are a fan of them both), but I don't feel the same in case of AI. I appreciated your post on him a few days ago, but I just don't get this post. seriously.

anyhow, great read as always, keep up!

yarr mateys, the pirate is sailing agan

Blogger chris said...
Dean's "Achilles" line is really appropriate considering the organization he works for...

Blogger chris said...
BTW, it really does appear that Koufos nearly earned all of his Voskuhl ratio tonight in that screenshotted stretch of suck! Ouch.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
chris - Sorry, I was a little busy the past couple of days. Here's the basic outline of my formula. Do keep in mind that I constructed it based on a gut feeling of what factors are at play instead of empirical evidence that these things actually do impact one's power rankings. Also, keep in mind that this was designed to assess the strength of good teams. This makes a difference, as mediocre teams just need to get wins however they can get them, whereas I feel that teams that expect to go anywhere in the playoffs need quality as well:

Each game is calculated separately
1) Take the square root of the point difference (I find absolute point difference silly. There isn't as big a difference in beating a team by 25 or 35 as a 10 point differential suggests). Retain the sign for the point difference.
2) Add 2 points for a home win, 3 points for a road win. A home loss is worth -3, a road loss is worth -2. (Based on the idea that you should be more likely to win at home than on the road, due to factors ranging from better rest to crowd influence.) An overtime win is worth 1, an overtime loss is worth -1 (getting to overtime suggests that two teams were more closely matched than "loss by 5 points" would suggest). For similar reasons, the point difference is scaled by 1.2 for road wins and home losses (things that say a little more about your team) and 0.8 for road losses and home wins (it's not as surprising).
3) Add the scaled point difference and the win/loss bonus together
Some sample values: A road win by 19 is worth 8.23 points, a road loss by 5 is worth -3.79 points, an OT road loss by 9 is worth -3.40 points.
4) Multiply by the opponent's final win percentage squared. (The reason I place greater emphasis on how teams do against strong teams is because it's extremely point that they stack up well against elite competition. Sure, for a team like the Bobcats, they're more in "you shouldn't lose to horrible teams like the Nets, nor do we expect you to beat the Celtics and the Lakers" mode. For teams like the Cavs, Magic, Lakers, Spurs, though, you have to show that you can beat strong teams. Sleepwalking against one or two easy opponents is less of an indictment against them than an inability to beat top-flight competition.)
Sample values: The Cavs' season opener against the Celtics was a 5 point road loss. Their next rematch resulted in a 10 point home win. Their values are -2.17 points and +2.91 points. By contrast, a 36 point home blowout of the Knicks was only worth +0.86 points, and a 17 point home win of the lowly Clippers was worth only +0.31 points.
5) The scores are scaled based on how late into the season we are. This is naturally because later into the season, we get a better sense of what a team is like. The first 10 games are scaled by 0.5, the next 10 by 0.675, 21-40 are scaled by 0.75, 41-60 are scaled by 0.875, and 61-78 remain the same. I decided to exclude the final 4 games for everyone because there's a good chance for tanking or resting starters by then. (Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the Cavs and Celtics would play again for the Cavs' 80th game or forseen that the West would have that much jocking for seeding. However, I didn't want to revise the formula for fear that I'll start making exceptions left and right to make the formula fit this season's results.) The final result is divided by 0.791 to rescale the scores back to the same scale.
Sample values: The previously mentioned season opener for the Cavs gets scaled to -1.37 points. However, their rematch, which was game 35, gets scaled to +2.76 points. Indeed, I'm much more willing to believe a big win later than an early season loss.)
6) The average score across the 78 games as well as the trends are calculated. I give greater weight to the average score, but I didn't want to ignore seasonal trends that suggested teams on the rising or slumping.

Blogger chris said...
NarSARSist: Nice explanation!

Obviously I assume the point value of wins/losses is meant to quantify strength of schedule/team. Have you tested this out against last season's results to verify the formula?

Blogger chris said...
Oh man...

According to the elder statesman of the Crabs, the king of the crustaceans could be a coach right now.

Ya mean that he ISN'T already, with Mike Brown serving the same role for LeBron that Kermit The Frog served for Jim Henson!?

Blogger chris said...
Meanwhile, Hollinger puts the Bulls' failfest in harsh perspective:

So badly outplayed were the Bulls that the Hawks shot 4-for-17 on 3s in the first three quarters and still led by 30. Just imagine if they'd been hitting. It was so bad that Atlanta's Maurice Evans needed just four seconds in the third quarter to tie his career high in blocks, rejecting successive shots by Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng. It was so bad that Noah missed a wide-open dunk, so bad that Rose was called for traveling while going down the lane on a simple 2-on-1 break.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
chris - There are more tweaks that I want to add that I still can't decide on or would have trouble doing. One of them is back-to-backs and 4-in-5s. While it's easy to give a team a discount for doing poorly in their own back-to-back, it's really hard to track whether their opponent is on a back-to-back for each and every game (unless there really was some really easy way). Perhaps I just need to write a Java program to make mining this stuff easier.
Another big point that I don't know how to address is injuries. That would, short of a highly subjective score assigned by me, require digging into performance over replacement and how other players around him get impacted as well as playing time. The reason I look at trends too is in part to capture the impact of injuries. (If the player really had a big impact, but was lost for the rest of the season, you would expect the team to start trending negatively. In fact, that was the case for the Celtics.)
A big problem with the trends is that the score also relies on your schedule. A good team that gets scheduled this season to a bunch of softies like the Nyets and the Timberpuppies at the end of the season would have a pretty hard time trending positive simply because beating those teams won't generate a lot of points.
I also can't decide how to account for regular season head-to-head results in the post season. I ignored them for now. However, there's evidence for both camps. (The Grizzlies won the season series against the Spurs, and were bragging about that. In response, the Spurs swept them out of the playoffs. On the other end of the spectrum, the Warriors matched up well against the Mavs, and we saw how Herr Dirkalicious' postseason ended.)
I used point differences and the type of win, but I did not include as a part of the formula how teams scored and defended against good and bad teams. Could those readings give insight on their offense and defense (i.e. A style of offense that blows through weak-sauce teams but can't score against good teams. For the record, I'm not referring to the Suns, so don't get mad AnacondaHL).

Anonymous Al James said...

I can't believe we still have A.I. apologists in this day and age. He SUCKS now, that is the reality. That bit about Billups not really improving the Nuggets is unfounded considering the only thing that changed last season was that A.I. was gone and Billups was added.

Also, EVERY player quit on the Pistons? I think by every you mean 2, A.I. and Sheed. Have you seen them play this season? Sure, they haven't been winning a whole lot, but they sure as shit haven't been quitting. I am actually liking this Pistons season and think things will bode well for them when Rip and Tay are traded for something better.

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
"Which is hilarious, since all Minnesota needs is another PG, amirite? *the John Hall watch continues*"

I've heard about that lead singer from Orleans. He's supposed to have a wicked crossover, so wicked that it got him elected to Congress. Do you think he'll be able to get off the Minnesota bench?

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
chris - I need to go dig up exact values, but here's the approximates that I jotted down:

(Team - Average, Trend)
Lakers: .7, downwards
Cavs: .65, downwards
Celtics: .6, downwards
Magic: .6, very upwards
Rockets: .25, upwards
Blazers: .15, very upwards
Nuggets: .15, very upwards
Mavs: -.05, very upwards
Spurs: -.05, downwards
(this is from notes from a little earlier, so I don't have the values for other two Western teams or some of the Eastern teams, but they weren't that good. The Hornets I'm positive were below the Spurs and trending very downwards).

From this I drew up:
Lakers over Jazz in 5. (much superior in average)
Nuggets over Hornets in 5. (much superior in average)
Mavs over Spurs in 6 or 7. (Spurs trending down, Mavs trending up)
Rockets over Blazers in 6 or 7. (Rockets had a better average, but the Blazers were heating up more)
Lakers over Rockets in 5 to 6. (much superior average, but opposite trends)
Nuggets over Mavs in 5 to 6. (much superior average, better trend)
Lakers over Nuggets in 5 to 6. (though the Lakers were well outperforming the Nuggets, they were trending down while the Nuggets were heating up).

I took it as a fact that the Cavs, Magic, and Celtics were going to win, so I only looked at their matchups.
Magic over Celtics in 6 to 7. (same average, opposing trends)
Magic over Cavs in 7. (slightly worse average, but very opposing trends favors the Magic)

Lakers - Magic split decision. (This was the big miss. The difference in average was starting to get sufficiently apart, but it's hard to ignore the trends. In fact, we could argue that the Lakers very much showed that negative trend in those first couple of rounds, and had they not turned it around in those last couple of games against the Nuggets, the Magic very much could have won.)

Just for kicks, I looked at the Bullies. While they were way in the negatives (like .2 or .3), they were trending up like nobody else (more than double). I gave the first round to the Celtics in 6.

The system works fairly well (I need to go back and look at previous seasons next). However, one of the things it doesn't look at is playoff performance. Hence, the deeper you get, the more likely it's going to be off. You could probably argue that the Magic weren't trending upwards by that much anymore by the Finals with close victories against the Cavs, a tough series against the Celtics, and an ugly series vs. the 76ers, whereas the Lakers, after finally shaking the rust in those last couple of games, were closer to trending upwards. In any case, I'm definitely open to suggestions. What I want to do is ultimately make this a formula that looks at the value of each game and assesses the playoff hopes of each team.

Blogger chris said...
NarSARSist: If you can write a Java program for that formula (and probably factor in the calendar in that)...I wonder if you could write one for lacktion tracking, too!!!!

Blogger chris said...
And I actually, IMO, agree with your formula considering Lakers-Magic as a split decision, more than the 5-game snooze it became - the Magic choked some critical, winnable games (Dwight Howard at the charity stripe FTL).

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The Dude: Haha whoops, you know I meant John Wall =)

Anyways, NarS:
"I used point differences and the type of win, but I did not include as a part of the formula how teams scored and defended against good and bad teams. Could those readings give insight on their offense and defense (i.e. A style of offense that blows through weak-sauce teams but can't score against good teams. For the record, I'm not referring to the Suns, so don't get mad AnacondaHL)."

First, that's a valid snapshot of post 2004 Suns.

Second, people who also hate straight point-differentials already account for opponents with SRS calculations. You should think about adjusting using those, rather than abstract operations.

(omg my word verification is "retingle")

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
chris - I'm thinking it's not impossible. It would help if I were to track every game daily. That way I could track 5 or 10 games a day instead of over a thousand at the end of the season. Box Score formats are pretty standard after all, so if I could figure out the formatting, I could probably easily compile a database. I would be very interested in doing that for another extension of the idea of performance versus an opponent, namely your individual stats. Someone that feasts on the Warriors but starves against the Celtics is probably a little less trustworthy than a guy who does very well against both, no?

As for the Magic-Lakers final, as much as I was rooting for the Lakers, indeed I agree the final outcome is hardly indicative of the difference in their skills.

Also, for the number of games prediction, I'm trying to figure out a good way to convert H/R splits and such into win likelihoods. Take a home pitbull like the Cavs. They would probably on average win a series over an inferior foe faster in a 2-2-1-1-1 format than a 2-3-2 format. However, that's for way later, when I have taken care of some of the scheduling issues and whatnot. I consider that a higher priority, since, take the Suns this year. The scoring system will weigh those Laker games quite important and negatively, but they were coming off of a back-to-back in both cases. It's less of an indictment on their skills than the schedule.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - You'll be happy to know that after the Lakers' next game against the lowly Timberwolves at Staples Center they will play 19 of their next 28 games on the road (meaning by that point they'll have only played 3 more home games than road games). It seems to me like even Laker fans are not happy about this weird home-heavy start, as we're worried that it may be breeding complacency with the team. To their credit they keep blowing everyone out, but they sure seemed to be lacking a whole lot of fire in their bellies last night, at least until the 4th quarter started.

Speaking of that 4th quarter, I don't know how many people were able to see it (those of you in LA and with League Pass I'm guessing), but the Laker defense was out of this world for those 12 minutes. They forced the Jazz into 8 turnovers in the quarter, and in one three minute stretch they forced them into three shot clock violations. I don't think I can ever recall seeing that many 24 second violations in such a short span like that. In the whole quarter the Jazz only made two field goals, and one of them was basically a concession basket with only 45 seconds remaining and with the game long over (LA was up 26 at the time). That defense was absolutely smothering, and you could see why the LA defensive rating is so high this year.

Murcy - How can you ask what Iverson had to do with yesterday's loss like that after Mr. Bawful included the key stats in his recap? Did you miss the part where he said "Iverson went 3-for-10 and committed a game-high 6 turnovers"? Yes the Sixers were bad before Iverson arrived, but a stat line like that certainly had to play a part in last night's loss, don't you think?

Blogger Clifton said...
You know how in baseball, when you have a kid come up from AA or AAA as a mid-season call-up, and he goes on a crazy-good streak for the first two or three weeks, due to the fact that no one really has a scout book on him yet? Then, after a few weeks, everyone's got tape on him, and scouts start identifying his weaknesses, and before you know it, he's scuffling and on his way back to AAA.

Demopoulos, I think, is in a similar situation. He's got the spotlight right now, and he looks like the Henny Youngman of coaches ("Take Oden's knee... please!"). Before long, though, just you wait... if McMillan's out for a few weeks, he'll be more like a Vincent Del Negropoulos. From a future AP recap: "Demopoulos had this to say at the postgame press conference: 'Well, we just need to execute better out there.'"

Blogger Murcy said...
@ Yams: holy crap did I miss it. my bad and apologies. finals and exams taking over my ability to comprehend. damn.

@ Al James: i didn't say Billups didn't imrpove the Nuggets, I said many plyers stepped last season, including the ones I listed. as for the Pistons, I did not see too much effort from Hamilton and McDyess either, but that's just my view.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Murcy -- In addition to what Yams pointed out that I already said, it's worth noting Iverson's complete lack of impact on the team. Yes, the Sixers have been awful, but on paper at least they have a decent amount of talent.

One would think the return of a former hero would light a real fire under the team. The only fire I've seen is from Andre Iguodala, who seems to want people to remember it's "his team" now.

Philly added one of the supposed all-time greats and they're still playing like a group of cadavers. There hasn't even been a psychological boost from bringing him back...which should tell you something about how his teammates regard him.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: Can you think of another homecoming like Iverson's in which the return to the old team has accomplished nothing for either the player or his squad?

Anonymous Shrugz said...
Tracy McGrady starter for the all-star game???!?!??!?!?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Shrugz - It wouldn't be the first time someone who had barely played would still get voted in by the fans (I believe Vince Carter was on the receiving end of just such an unwarranted selection).

Shaq has never been one to waver from going way overboard in praising whatever new team he's on, so saying LeBron could coach in the NBA right now is pretty much par for the course with him. I will say that LeBron could easily be a player-coach for the Crabs, because does it really matter whether Mike Brown is saying "everyone get the ball to LeBron and get out of the way" or whether LeBron is saying "everyone gimme the ball and get out of the way"? I don't think so.

Mr. Bawful - That's an interesting point about how nobody on Philly seems to have elevated their game with Iverson on the team except for Igoudala, and that's seemingly just because he wants to really establish his alpha dog status on the team. Glad to see you can still count on The Canswer to bring a locker room together.

Wild Yams, I was about to post the same link about Shaq.

So Shaq, how does LeBron's ass taste?

Anybody here think Shaq is realizing he is hurting the team, so he is trying to suck up to alpha male?

Anonymous arson55 said...
As someone who has spent a large amount of time up at Denny's as of late on account of my friend working late night at one, I'm going to say a brawl at Denny's is not at all surprising given the large number of drunks one is likely to encounter there.