The Sacramento Kings: After coming back from a 35-point deficit to beat the Bulls in Chicago, the Purple Paupers were within a single game of .500 (13-14) and everybody was talking them up as the surprise team of the season. Well...surprise! After their 98-86 loss to the Sixers in Philly -- despite the return of Kevin Martin (19 points, 4-for-10) -- the Kings have lost nine of their last 11 games. And the two victories came against the Denver Nuggets, who were without Chauncey Billups in the first game (which the Kings won 106-101) and minus Carmelo Anthony in the second (which Sacto won 102-100). They are now 15-23. I'm just sayin'.

Tyreke Evans: In case you didn't know, the Freak grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, not too far from the City of Brotherly Hate. In fact, he was a McDonald's All-American out of American Christian and a two-time state player of the this was something of a homecoming for him. Sadly, he finished with as many turnovers (3) as field goals (3-for-10). Sometimes you just can't go home again.

Elton Brand: From the AP recap: "Elton Brand -- who was benched for entire fourth quarters a month ago -- scored 14 points for the Sixers and continued to find success in his role as an $80 million reserve." I really hav nothing to add.

The San Antonio Spurs: After San Antonio beat the shorthanded Lakers and then defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder sans Timmy D, some commenters wanted me to give the Spurs a little credit were they felt credit was due. I said no...and this is why. Despite getting Duncan back, the Spurs shot 38 percent and managed only 76 points in a 16-point loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte. During a nine-minute span that bridged the third and fourth quarters, San Antonio went 0-for-14 from the field and was outscored 19-2.

The Spurs' "big three" went 12-for-30 from the field. I said it last season and I stand behind my words now: the Spurs time as a dominant team has passed.

The Phoenix Suns: No discussion of teams whose time has passed would be complete without mentioning the Phoenix Suns, who after a strong start have joined the Heat and Jazz as the league's premier Bipolar Girlfriend Teams. But that'll happen when you mix a league-best Offensive Rating of 113.8 with a next-to-last Defensive Rating of 111.4. When Phoenix is playing, no lead is safe...either way.

Still, the Suns could have calmed their fans down a bit by beating the Hawks in Atlanta. And when Steve Nash hit a couple foul shots to put them up 100-96 with 10 seconds left, it looked like that was exactly what they were going to do. The Suns only needed to play defense for 10 seconds.

I'm sure you know where this is going.

Jared Dudley fouled Josh Smith with six seconds to go. Smith nailed the first freebie and missed the second, but Jamal Crawford snuck in for the offensive rebound and putback. Now Phoenix led 100-99 with three seconds left. The Hawks quickly fouled Amar''''''e Stoudemire, who of course missed one of two. Now the Suns only needed to play defense for three seconds.

I'm sure you know where this is going.

Here's a quick question for Jared Dudley and the Phoenix coaching: why in the name of Hitler's dead balls would you give Jamal "I fucking shoot first and ask questions never" Crawford any space whatsoever. He had the ball and three seconds on the clock. Did you really think he was going to do anything but chuck one up? There was no excuse whatsoever for Dudley to be anywhere but inside Crawford's jersey. Holy Christ.

Of course, Crawford would never have gotten the opportunity to drill that dagger if the Suns hadn't gone 18-for-37 at the rim...

Amar''''''e Stoudemire, quote machine: Regarding Crawford's game-winner: "That's what we wanted -- a well-contested shot." My response:

Steve Nash and Grant Hill: Remember Crawford's offensive board and layup that made his buzzer beater possible? Well, it happened because Nash and Hill ran into each other instead of collecting the board. Said Nash: "It was just unlucky. He was hustling and I was going where I was supposed to go and it just bounced right between us." Face palm.

The New York Knicks: The LeBron Audition took another hit on Friday night, as the Craptors raced out to a 28-point lead before settling for a 112-104 win over the Bricks in New York. Toronto shot 53 percent from the field, 54 percent from downtown, and earned 11 more free throw attempts. It's hard telling why the Craptors were the aggressors in this one. What do you think, coach D'Antoni? "We could've done better. We just didn't do it for whatever reason. Seemed like we were a little bit tight for the first couple of quarters."

Coaching genius.

The New Orleans Hornets: I have bloody grooves in my scalp from all the head-scratching this game caused me, so I'll just leave you with an excerpt from the AP recap:

The Detroit Pistons have gone through a lot of strange lineup combinations during an injury-plagued season.

Friday night might have had the oddest of them all.

Even though they were reduced to playing 6-foot-10 rookie Jonas Jerebko at point guard and 6-foot-11 Austin Daye at shooting guard, the Pistons beat the New Orleans Hornets 110-104 in overtime.

"I don't think I've played point guard since I was about 15," said Jerebko, who had a 10-inch height advantage over Chris Paul during their brief matchup. "I think it went pretty well. I'd rather play the point than play center in this league."

Emeka Okafor: His line: 7 points, 6 rebounds, zero assists, 2 blocked shots. Ben Wallace's The Mummy's line: 13 points, 21 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocked shots. Memo to Emeka: You're supposed to respect your elders, not let them walk all over you.

The New Jersey Nyets: The tragic comedy of the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets continued against the Pacers, who scored 72 points in the first half and then cruised in for a 121-105 win that dropped the Nyets to 3-36.

Kiki Vandewghe, Coach of the Year candidate: Regarding his team's blowout loss in Indy: "It was a three-minute period that hurt us. That's just something we have to learn. It's a 48-minute game, not 45."

The Minnesota Timberwolves: While the worst team in the league was giving up 72 points in the first half of their game against the Pacers in Indianapolis, the Timberpoops were surrendering 69 points in the second half of their game against the Grizzlies in Memphis. And I know this is going to blow your socks the hell off, but the result was the same: A depressing blowout loss.

Said Al Jefferson: "I don't know what you could possibly ask me after that." Added Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis: "Our defense was atrocious. I'm embarrassed about how our guys played. There was no energy or focus on the defensive end. Those were his only comments before storming back into the locker room to bitch out his team. Seriously. Said Kevin Love: "[Rambis] had some choice words for us. It was nothing we wanted to hear, but we knew it was coming."

Ah, rebuilding is so much fun...

The Gol_en State Warriors: It was business as usual for the Warriors on Friday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks -- who average 97.6 PPG on 42 percent shooting and rank 25th in Offensive Rating -- scored 113 points to pull out a rare win. And they did it on the Warriors' homecourt. Mind you, that 113 points was Milwaukee's fourth-highest point output for the season.

If you're looking for excuses, the Warriors have a few. After all, they entered the game with only eight players in uniform, lost Anthony Morrow to a knee injury and had three others foul out. Unbelievably,that left Nellie with only four players. Under NBA rules, Stephen Curry -- the last Golden State player to foul out -- was allowed to return for the final four seconds.

Said Nellie: "I thought we did the best job we could. I have no complaints from the effort the guys have. It was hard for them to finish with not that much in the tank."

Yeah. I guess an empty tank and no defense will do that.

More on this historic bawfulness from AnacondaHL:

Warriors update: Biedrins fouled out, leaving 5 players... then Curry picked up his 5th and 6th PFs! They had to let him keep playing, (as explained by Rule 3) and according to basketball-reference's game logs (1987-2010), this is the only time a player has ever logged all 48 minutes in a non-overtime game with 6 PF.

Same timeframe, believe it or not, there's actually one instance of a guy with 7 PF: Cal Bowdler in 1991 for ATL at POR, but this was due to a referee's error. A few others in the 50's had 7 and even 8 PFs, according to this post.
The Los Angeles Clippers: In what may be the defining "They are who we thought they were" game of their season, the Clippers lost to the Lakers by 40 fucking points. Man, I've stepped on ants that put up a better fight than the Clippers did. And talk about historic fails: This debacle represented the Lakers' biggest win against the Clippers since the Clippers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles prior to the 1984-85 season.

When a team that has sucked as badly for as long as the Clippers have receives one of its worst-ever ass-kickings, well, that's really, really saying something. Which might explain why Baron Davis just completely lost his shit.

Said B-Dizzle: "In the second half, they were real scrappy. They were definitely playing with a little more aggressiveness, and that's what they do. They slap, they grab, they try to bully you. And that's what they were able to do. They were able to bully us tonight."

Well, I guess we now know how Baron feels about bullies.

The Orlando Magic: Vince Carter returned to Orlando's lineup just in time for Brandon Roy to be scratched from Portland's lineup...which means the Frail Blazers are missing so many dudes I don't even want to take the time to list them all. But it didn't matter: Portland's M.A.S.H. unit still won in a 102-87 blowout.

Spoiler Alert!! The Magic are in trouble.

The Pumaman struck again, by the way. Despite facing a club that's currently missing both of its centers, Dwight Howard managed only a modest double-double (11 points, 11 boards) while doing 3-for-10 from the charity stripe. Said Howard: "One thing we can't do is point the finger at each other. We've got to play through these situations." Yeah...starting with you, big man! And then Vinsanity, who went 1-for-7 and disappeared without talking to the press after the game.

The never should have let Hedo Turkoglu leave. Seriously.

Friday lacktion report: Chris provides us with a heaping helping of Friday nigh lacktivity:

Kings-Sixers: As the Purple Paupers put on a pitiful performance in Philly, Donte Greene stepped down to the plate with some lacktion for Paul Westphal, providing a rejection and a brick for a +2 suck differential in 2:04.

Spurs-Bobcats: Acie Law laid down 1.65 trillion (1:40) in legal fees on behalf of Stephen Jackson, a time period which also saw Gerald Henderson take a rejection and bake one piece of masonry for a +2. DeSagana Diop also gave Michael Jordan and Larry Brown more mediocrity of his own, fouling twice and losing the rock once for a 3:2 Voskuhl in 7:10, negating two boards.

Bullets-Bulls: As Steve Novak has sunk into a sentence of warmup wearing for Team Dunleavy, Dominic McGuire has ever so slightly placed his crosshairs closer to the target of top Association lacktator!!! Despite the potential for overtime to cool down the fuse of futility, McGuire fired off one shot that spared the basket, and also saw another attempt absorbed by Chicago's defense for a +2 in 2:04, showing similar marksmanship to Fabricio Oberto, who triggered two fouls for the same score in 2:32 (and also earning a 2:0 Voskuhl in the process!!!) In more evidence of his continuing conviction in the quest for the lacktator crown, this non-performance was McGuire's second straight, putting him on 12 non-contributory nights this season, just three behind Novak for the Association lead!

Vinnie Smallz wanted in on the fun and had James Johnson play the role of the dynasty-era Jud Buechler, and Johnson got jammed with two fouls, one miss, and a giveaway for a +4 in 3:18.

Suns-Hawks: WELCOME BACK TO THE LACKTION REPORT, MARIO WEST!! A 2.85 trillion (2:52) shows that the overalled plumber has NOT lost any bit of his form - even in the wake of a 12 minute Wario earlier this week! But it was teammate Jason Collins who provided his teammate's namesake stat by conecting the lines in Qix briefly for a 31 second Mario.

Raptors-Knicks: Jonathan Bender was retired this time last year, but this time this year, can play like he hasn't yet unretired on the hardwood - a foul and giveaway garnered a +2 in 5:08 for Mike 'antoni.

Wolves-Grizzlies: Aleksandr Pavlovic put a nickel in the brick column - once from the Peabody Hotel - and also added on a turnover and a foul for a +7 in 10:53. For Memphis, Marcus Williams earned a +1 via foul in 5:58.

Bucks-Warriors: Chris Hunter fouled out in 11:01 and bricked once to negate 5 rebounds with a 6:5 Voskuhl.

Clippers-Lakers: With Steve Novak slumping into contributory basketball, Mardy Collins picked up the slack by losing the rock once for a +1 in 4:14.

The Sacramento Kings: Make it 10 losses in their last 12 games. And what a way to lose: Defeated by the Washington Wizards Generals Bullets, who not only suck but where coming off a double-overtime loss to the Bulls in Chicago the night before. Also, it was Washington's fourth game in five nights. And did I mention they're terrible?

The Phoenix Suns: Hmm...the second game of back-to-backs for the Suns, eh? Well, if you read Basketbawful, you know what that means:

To wit: the Bobcats led by as many as 39 points, set a team record for points in the first quarter (43), first half (74) and reached .500 this late in a season for the first time ever. The final score was Charlotte 125, Phoenix 99.

Reality check: The Suns are now 10-14 after starting 14-3, with losses in 10 of their past 11 road games. And here's a reality quote from Suns coach Alvin Gentry: "We didn't slow them down at all. I mean they're not a team to score a lot of points. They're averaging 93 points a game. They had that in the middle of the third quarter."

Toss in the Suns' back-to-back losses and the fact that the Saints nearly killed poor Kurt Warner during their 45-14 annihilation of the Cardinals and, well, it was a rough weekend to be a Phoenix sports fan.

The New York Knicks: The LeBron Audition took another hit on Saturday night in the form of a 94-90 loss to the Detroit Pistons on a night when Rodney Stuckey was forced to play 42 minutes with flu-like symptoms and dehydration because Ben Gordon and Will Bynum are still injured. Said Stuckey: "I didn't get home from the hospital until 4 a.m., because I needed IVs, but I had to fight through it. When Ben Gordon and Will Bynum get back, maybe I'll get some rest, but right now, I have to keep going."

Stuckey still managed 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals...and he showed a helluva lot more heart than any of the Bricks did. What do you think, coach D'Antoni? "We had a lack of energy, a lack of focus and a lack of urgency. We picked it up, obviously, at the start of the fourth quarter but it was too late. I don't think we came out with any kind of desire to win."

Coaching genius.

The Miami Heat: The Bipolar Girlfriend strikes again! One night after an impressive 115-106 win over the Rockets in Houston, Miami was pimp-smacked 98-80 by the Thunder in Oklahoma City. It's just been that kind of one-step-forward, one-step-back kind of season for the Heat, who couldn't have defended Kevin Durant (36 points, 14-for-18) with all four of Agent Zero's handguns.

Said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra: "I can say this now because we don't play them again, but I'm glad we don't meet these guys again until next year. It'll give us some time to figure [defending Durant] out."

The San Antonio Spurs: Remember what I said about how the Spurs time has pretty much passed? Their 92-86 loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis didn't do anything to change my mind. Manu Ginobili was bawful from the field (3-for-10) and Tony Parker was bawful from everywhere (4 points, 2-for-8, 3 assists, 2 turnovers). And don't look now, but San Antonio's record (24-15) is barely better than the Grizzlies' (21-18). That sound you just heard was a collective pants-shitting by Spurs fans everywhere.

Lionel Hollins, quote machine: He seems to think his team could maybe kinda-sorta make the playoffs. Someday. I think. "This is what the playoffs is all about, and we can do that -- whenever we are going to do it. I'm positive we're going to do it one time."


Crabs-Clippers: On the one hand, I feel like I have to give this one to the Clippers for following up a 40-point loss with a one-point loss, proving they can break your heart in a new way every single night. I mean, the Clips lost at home despite shooting 60 percent from the field! On the other hand, I kind of what to give this to the Crabs for letting The Other L.A. Team shoot 60 percent and almost losing to the Clips one night after they lost by 40 to the Lakers. I mean, this whole affair was bawful pretty much every way you could possibly cut it.

Still...what a week for the Clippers, huh? They found out Blake Griffin is out for the season and then followed their four-game winning streak with a four-game losing streak, which included a one-point loss, a two-point loss, and two blowouts. I guess karma really is a bitch...

Saturday lacktion report: Chris delivers less lacktion than Friday night, but with a whole lotta love:

Kings-Bullets: Andres Nocioni exploded with a pair of bricks and a foul and rejection for a +4 suck differential in 4:10, while Kenny Thomas was shelled with a foul and giveaway for a +2 in 2:51.

Heat-Thunder: As noted in comments, Joel Anthony took a foul for OFFENSIVE GOALTENDING, adding a foul and a brick to the list for a +3 in 9:58 that also was worth a 2:0 Voskuhl.

Bucks-Jazz: Kurt Thomas negated a steal and assist in 5:48 with a brick and two fouls, earning a 2:0 Voskuhl. Thursday night hero Sundiata Gaines was convinced by Kosta Koufos to climb some ladders and rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong as 58 second Mario Brothers, with Sundiata also tossing a brick to give himself a +1!!

Crabs-Clippers: Brian Skinner shrank into somnambulence with a +4 via fouls in 11:38, also earning a 4:0 Voskuhl!!!!!

Many thanks to everybody who sent in this picture of Mark Cuban. Speaking of which...

The Dallas Mavericks: A blowout loss to the Toronto Craptors. As I said earlier this week, can we all just agree the Mavs aren't contenders this season? They're stuck (alongside the Spurs and Suns) in what I like to call the Early 2000s Utah Jazz Zone. They're still good enough to beat crappy teams most nights, and they can win 50-ish games that way, but they aren't going to contend for much beyond a first or second-round playoff exit.

At any rate, Jason Terry had lots to say after this crummy loss: "There was no smiling and joking in this locker room after that game. That was embarrassing. I don't care who you're playing or what their record is. When you're in their building, you've got to come out ready to fight. We come in the game and we just think it's going to be easy. Their second group came out there full of energy, making shot after shot, making plays. We didn't bring it."

True dat.

The Utah Jazz: 49 free throws for the Nuggets. Wow.

The Los Angeles Lakers: From AnacondaHL: "The dream of every Lakers fan, an interactive tour of the Lakers facilities, complete with bad acting cameos! That naked Farmar level made me gay for the Lakers. (This is one of those phrases that I do sometimes, which sound simultaneously serious and sarcastic, but yes there's actually naked Farmar. Click the link, you know you want it.)"

Sunday lacktion report: So there were only two games in the Association, but one was enough for Chris to get his caseload documented!

Jazz-Nuggets: Sundiata Gaines has now played 7 times in the Association, of which one of those instances was a Youtube-friendly career-defining game-winner. However, three of those nights have involved the lacktion ledger, including tonight's one-turnover +1 suck differential in 2:17, paired up with Ronnie Price's +5 in 4:31 via brick, giveaway and three fouls. (In fact, Sundiata has not provided a single point to Utah since that TNT moment!)

Despite four boards and two steals and blocks, Chris Andersen flew into the report of non-
contributory recidivism, fouling thricely and losing the ball three times for a 6:4 Voskuhl in 21:08.


Blogger Wild Yams said...
Just FYI, that's not the first time in the last month that some unwanted nudity in the Laker locker room has shown up online. Forgive me if this was already posted over the holidays (I wasn't around to see if it was), but the local LA station accidentally put Shannon Brown's naked ass on live TV while interviewing Derek Fisher (click for video if you really want to see this - obviously NSFW).

Also, I thought I'd bring this up for discussion (note that I personally don't agree with this, not yet anyway), but over on Fanhouse they're claiming the championship window for Boston is already closed:

The Celtics (27-11) still have the third best record in the NBA, but records are deceiving. Their fade has begun. The second half of this NBA season will only confirm what some suspected this summer.

Their window of opportunity already has closed.

Ray Allen, 34, Kevin Garnett, 33, Paul Pierce, 32, were marvelous when they won the championship in 2008. The league celebrated a wonderful accomplishment when they came together, put egos aside, and became the best team in the world.

We should have known it was one-and-done.

Losing six of their last 10 games isn't a fluke. It's a sign of things to come when you are patching up holes and springing more leaks this early in the season.

Garnett has missed nine of the first 38 games, still struggling with the surgically repaired right knee that submarined last season. Pierce has missed five games already, also with right knee issues. Allen, the oldest of the three, is likely next this season to start feeling the aging process and start missing games.

A bit early to be sticking a fork in Boston, isn't it?

Blogger chris said...
Man, did the Comeback result in bad karma for the purple paupers?

Please say it ain't so.



Anonymous Stockton said...
snif, snif... I smell some Denver home cooking...
By the way, don't count out the spurs yet... I mean, those guys are like the killer in a horror movie... when you think he's dead, he comes back at you holding a butcher knife!! For the meanwhile you may call them the San Antonio Living Dead, whenever they make a run, you can always quote "rise of the dead"

Blogger chris said...
So, Austin Daye, semi-regular to the lacktion report, was part of what sparked the Oakland County basketball team's win over the Hornets?

Ouch. Just ouch.

Blogger chris said...
And what were Rambis's choice words?

"You know, if you guys continue to play like this, I'm going to make you feel the same way I did when your former GM took me to the laundry once in 1984."

Anonymous DOH said...
Chauncey Billups had a very real Dantley with 17 of his 29 Points coming from the Stripe. Thanks Matt Boland , Bennett Salvatore , Phil Robinson. You guys are the greatest! :)

Blogger Will said...
If Rodney Stuckey was playing with flu-like symptoms, was The Hospital the name of the bar?

Anonymous Stockton said...
Regarding the banner, can anyone tell me who are:
- the guy next Ostertag (masked one)
- the two surronding Ron Jeremy

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Given that Phoenix is completely inadequate on defense and that they were up two with three seconds left, shouldn't they have intentionally fouled Jamal Crawford before the shot? Then again, Phoenix is soft enough to give up an offensive rebound off a missed free throw so it might not have worked out any better for them.

People kept saying that Turkoglou was overrated, only had one good season, etc. Toronto totally overpaid for him but he left a gaping hole in Orlando that Vince Carter is certainly not going to fill. He was the team's de-facto point guard and go-to guy in the clutch. He was responsable for moving the ball around and keeping the offense from becoming a series of ineffective isos. It's no surprise Dwight Howard has been struggling when the team got rid of the only guy who could throw a quality entry pass.

Also, is it me or does that quote by Lionel Hollins read suspiciously like a very conscious effort at avoiding a stat curse?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
chris: More like, the people of Chicago have been mass spamming all the new YouTube mixtapes and game footage of Ricky dominating to the Kings :op

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- Yeah, it's too early to stick the fork in the C's, but writing about it isn't a huge risk because Boston is (obviously) dealing with injury problems and is also behind the other two realistic contenders (Lakers first, Crabs second).

The Celtics can still win if they're healthy. Their defense is good enough to stop anybody, and they have sufficient firepower on offense. But since only one team can win the title each year, writing a post specifically dedicated to the C's being done is 1) playing the odds and 2) likely to generate page views.

chris -- It ain't so. More likely that they are who we thought they were. Which isn't a bad thing. They're a bunch of big-hearted overachievers...but expecting a .500 season from that group, especially out West, was probably asking way too much.

Stockton -- That's been the popular theory about the Spurs most of the past decade, and it was spot on through 2007. But as each year passes since they were a true threat, it becomes less and less true. With all the talk about the championship window closing on the Celtics, I thought about the two main signs that a championship window has truly closed. They are:

1. Conspicuous lack of wins against quality competition.

2. Real difficulty winning on the road.

Both of those things are true about this year's Spurs. Now, if their standard M.O. holds true, they'll make their push in the second half of the season. But track those two indicators.

Also, the guy in the mask is Brian Cardinal. The guy to the right of Ron Jeremy is Clay Bennett. The other guy...huh...I don't know...

Will -- Hmm...just do a Yelp search in Detroit...

Hellshocked -- You're dead on about the Magic. Hedo was the team's facilitator AND their best clutch shooter/playmaker. He was so incredibly important to their success the past two years, I was shocked -- I mean, fucking shocked -- that there were people (experts!) that felt the Magic were actually better with Vince than Hedo. Seriously? A gutless bum who's been known to hog the ball, avoid contact and quit on his team is better than the guy who has probably been your best or, at worst, second-best player the past two seasons?


Hollins was totally avoiding the stat curse.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't know why you insist on calling them the Craptors. considering since December they've had one of the best records in the league since december and are now over .500 after quality wins over Houston, San Antonio, Orlando and Dallas. Nice journalism there.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Anonymous -- Journalism? Who the hell do you think we are??? But seriously, no matter if they win a championship, they have always been and always shall be the Craptors. That's just the way it is.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...

The Crabs should've done the same thing against the Other LA Team. Luckily, the inbounds went to Baron Davis and, in all his Ballhoggery, took the last second shot. What a d-bag. Gordon or Butler deserved that shot based on how they played and Baron was dumb enough to take an off-balanced 3 (which they didn't need) with Lebron all in his grille.

I tell ya, I absolutely hate players like Baron, Wince, Crawford, and McGrady to name a few. A bunch of overrated chuckers who can score in bunches but need a ton of shots to do so. Christ, Baron took that shot in a game he had only scored 8, missed a ton of clutch free throws, while Butler was going all Mark Price NBA Live '95 style.

Also, regarding Hedo, yeah he was important to last years run, but he also benefitted from the Cavs checking him with a guard who is 6-7" shorter than him. That team was taylor made for Cleveland last year. Not so much for the Lakers. Remember, Orlando replaced Hedo with 3 or 4 guys who all fill a different gap on that team. The problem now is chemistry and a lack of control on SVG's part. Dewey being in complete meltdown mode doesn't help either. On paper, Orlando is a better squad than last year. At this point, its a matter of whether No Hands can get these guys to gel. I will agree losing a piece like Hedo who can play point is a loss, but his skill set only created a matchup problem for Cleveland - not Boston, LA, or Atlanta to some extent.

Anonymous BW in Cleveland said...

Any team that plays a Eurocentric style of basketball in the NBA can be called the Craptors whether their real name is the Raptors or not.

Lets not forgot they are still on pace to be one of the worst defensive teams of all time, hence my statement above. Craptors. Always have been, always will be.

Blogger Circle said...
Suns on a 17 game losing streak when TNT broadcast their games. I guess everytime TNT broadcasts the Suns, they throw bombs in the Suns' _efense?

Blogger Circle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I don't know why you insist on calling them the Craptors. considering since December they've had one of the best records in the league since december and are now over .500 after quality wins over Houston, San Antonio, Orlando and Dallas. Nice journalism there.

I bet you still believe in the Easter Bunny, too.

Blogger chris said...
Hellshocked: I clal that the "James Posey" effect, in which a player AND the team he leaves both end up doing worse after they part ways!!!

Bawful: Well, as I have oft-repeated here...can't we just pretend that the Kings are in Cincy once again? Free playoff spot! sigh.

I do realize that this is a rebuild, etc., yadda yadda...but don't most great rookies rescue a team from terrible records in their first season? The early 80s offers some prime examples you may be familiar with...

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
LeBron: 17-65 to 35-47
Bosh: 24-58 to 33-49
Dwight: 21-61 to 36-46

Blogger Unknown said...

Suns deserve to be completely lambasted for the rebound fail and Amare missing his FTs, but I honestly don't think they could have defended Crawford's shot any better. If Dudley got all up on him, Crawford could have drawn the foul, where he would have had an 86% chance of making each FT, as opposed to a 35% shot of making the 3. I was okay with the way they defended that shot. Amare's missed FT though...jesu christ.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Stockton - Mr. Bawful's just being coy, the last guy in the banner is David Friedman, a blogger who basically seems to have devoted his entire blog to verbally fellating Kobe, and who came here and stirred up some trouble a long time ago.

Regarding Hedo, I'm not the first to have said this, but his value with the Magic was that combined with Rashard Lewis it gave Orlando an effective combo that was very hard to match up with, due to their size and perimeter-oriented play. It's why Cleveland had such trouble against them, cause guys like Ben Wallace and Andy Varejao had a hell of a time guarding one of those guys at the three point line. LA matched up so well against Orlando though because they had Odom, who is that same kind of perimeter-oriented unconventional PF. Anyway, now with Vince instead, the Magic have a much more conventional lineup which is far easier for most teams to match up with.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
@BW in Cleveland:

Turkoglou + Lewis was definitely a matchup nightmare for the Cavs (and would be an even bigger one this year) but the vacuum Hedo left in Orlando will definitely be felt against the Lakers, Celtics et all, albeit in different ways.

Without Hedo, Orlando's offense has essentially become a series of isos: Vince Carter working 1 on 1 (and typically bricking a fadeaway), Rashard Lewis 1 on 1, Jameer Nelson 1 on 1 and *gag* Dwight Howard 1 on 1. Even if we ignore his clutch credentials, Hedo was the man who spread the wealth for the Magic, creating for himself and others. He could get Lewis and Nelson open jumpers and give the ball to Howard when he was in scoring position so he didn't have to dribble more than once (at most). He was also just as comfortable dishing out the assist as dishing out the pass that would eventually lead to the assist. For all his flaws (inconsistency, soft defense) he was the guy that made that team click on offense. Jameer is a fine player, but he is more of a tiny, tiny shooting guard. Lewis doesn't have the mindset or skillset to create for anyone else (or himself on a consistent basis) and Vince Carter has been in a slump for so long this season that we are a month away from calling him washed up. Turk is a guy whose value lies not so much in his numbers (which were decent enough, borderline All-Star for the past two seasons at least) but in what he does for everyone else's numbers. In Orlando, anyways. With Turk, Orlando would lose to the Celtics and Lakers. Without him I think they'll get embarrassed out of the court, if they make it that far.

I'm not saying they should have overpaid the way Toronto did, however (and that team is just about the worst fit for Turk in the league, or at least near the top). He is almost 31 years old and the team proved last year that they couldn't win a championship with that specific combination of players. It makes no sense to pay through the nose for 4 more years of the same given his inevitable and imminent decline. They made a business decision to let him go and I can understand that. My problem is with the Vince Carter trade. They are paying about as much for him as they would have for Turk and despite however they or the media might try to spin it, in my eyes they are definitely not better off because of it. To me, they are appreciably worse.

If there was a list of overpaid yet underrated NBA players I'd rank Turkoglou somewhere near the top.

By the way, Marbury signed with a team in China. I hope this gets its own post tomorrow, or at least a not so brief mention. Maybe a Tom Selleck in Mr. Baseball reference? Starbury in China. That has the makings of an awesome reality show.

Blogger DocZeus said...
I think the true mistake that the Magic made wasn’t necessarily shipping out Turkoglu and trading for Vince Carter. It was letting Turkoglu go and using the money they would have just spent on him on Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat.

Much like the Shaq trade, the Magic acquiring VC was a calculated gambit designed to improve their chances against the strengths of more traditional contenders like the Celtics and Lakers. It would have kept the unique makeup of last year’s Magic and added another multi-dimensional weapon (even if that weapon happens to be Vince Carter…) to their already formidable squad. However, the gambit only really could be maximized if they were willingly to hold on to Hedo too which at the time, we all assumed was because of business decisions. Otherwise, your sacrificing the chemistry of last year’s squad on the chance that Vince effin’ Carter comes around.

At the time, it was assumed that they were letting Hedo go because they couldn’t afford his asking price and didn’t want to overpay a 31-year old sort-of all-star when that team went as far as they could with him as the focal point for their offense. A reasonable conclusion if short-sighted. The problem was they turned around and spent that money on Brandon Bass and Marcin effin’ Gortat. A backup center and a backup power forward that offer nothing the team didn’t already have. The Magic aren’t going to live and die if Marcin Gortat plays well or not. Instead of handicapping themselves to an aging and clutch Turk, they handicapped themselves to Marcin Gortat.