Mamba wants anal rampage
"So...how do you feel about anal rampage?"

The Los Angeles Lakers: It's kind of hard to find fault in a game that featured a superstar duel between Kobe Bryant (39 points) and Dwyane Wade (27 points, 14 assists), included 19 ties and 31 lead changes -- two more lead changes than any other game this season -- and went down to the wire in overtime...but that's my job here, and I take it seriously.

The Lakers are supposedly one of the league's top defensive teams, but the Heat shot nearly 53 percent as a team and Quentin Richardson scored a season-high on 8-for-13 shooting, including 7-for-11 from downtown. (Hand in the face guys...it's more than just a theoretical concept.) On top of that, L.A. shanked 10 of their 25 free throw attempts -- including two straight bricks by Ron Artest with 2:19 left in regulation -- which is kind of a big deal in a game that goes to OT. They also gave up a whopping 24 points off only 16 turnovers. But perhaps the most damning statistic is that the Lakers had only 15 assists on 45 field goals...which was only one more dime than D-Wade had by himself. But a lack of ball movement is pretty standard when Mamba has a big scoring game.

And sure, L.A. still managed to shoot 51 percent as a team and Kobe's shooting was solid (15-for-28). BUT...Kobe was only 2-for-7 from downtown -- the Lakers were 6-for-23 overall -- and Pau Gasol was never really featured and so never really got it going (4-for-11). Maybe it's just me, but it felt like the Lakers made scoring a little too hard on themselves.

Still, they very well could have stolen the game, especially after Kobe forced overtime with another clutch jumper. (Look, I hate Kobe and all, but can we all just agree that the numbers are wrong? There's nobody better right now with a game on the line.) But sometimes the Mamba giveth and the Mamba taketh away. With under 20 ticks to go in OT and the Lakers down a point, Bryant drove in for a layup, but Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal was there to take the charge. What's worse, The Drain had been telling his teammates that, the next time somebody on L.A. drove, he was going to take the charge. A called charge? Really?

Really.

Said Wade: "I saw it coming the whole way. That's J.O. -- J.O. not only protects the basket by being a shotblocker, but he also protects it because he can take charges. And that's great. Everybody did their job tonight."

Everybody except the Laker defenders.

Said Kobe: "We just couldn't get stops. We basically traded baskets to start the overtime. We didn't execute well defensively."

baaaaaall
"Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall!!"

Phil Jackson, complaint machine: Phil Jackson wouldn't be Phil Jackson if he didn't bitch about the officiating after a tough loss. And sure enough, he took exception with a call Kobe didn't get after a seeming airball with half a minute left in the fourth quarter and the Lakers up one. Said P-Jax: "I'm sure he didn't shoot an airball. That's unconscionable that that call can't be made at that point in the game, because that's a shooter and there it is."

What made it especially frustrating for Jackson is that was the only missed call either way all game.

The Chicago Bulls: The Windy City Stags came out like a five-layer "asses of fire" burrito stuffed with a lightning storm...and with good reason. This was the second game of a nine-game stretch versus playoff contenders, including the division-leading Mavericks (twice), Magic and Craboliers. With a road loss to the Pacers and a home blowout to the Hawks in their rearview mirror, the Bulls really, really needed to prove they could win one without Joakim Noah, who's out semi-indefinitely with plantar fasciitis.

Problem: Noah is Chicago's leading rebounder, best interior defender and probably their second-best player overall (after Derrick Rose). And the Bulls had to face off against a Memphis frontcourt of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay that came into the game averaging 55.7 PPG and 27.0 RPG.

"Uh oh" is right.

Those three players ended up with 60 points and 30 rebounds to go along with 6 steals and 5 blocked shots, while shooting 22-for-42 from the field and 15-for-18 at the foul line. To put that into perspective, Chicago’s entire starting lineup combined for 78 points and 23 rebounds, and the Bulls earned 21 free throw attempts as a team.

It gets worse. The Grizzlies outrebounded the Bulls 46-31, outscored them 62-42 in the paint and finished +9 in free throw attempts. To put things in a more science-y way, Memphis had decided advantages in Effective Field Goal Percentage, Offensive Rebound Percentage and Free Throw Rate…as illustrated by this Four Factors chart from Statsheet.com:

4 factors griz bulls
Science says: "Fail."

Chicago won the first quarter 32-19 and went up by as many as 17 points in the second. But teams with an strong inside game and an opposing frontcourt tend to win the battle of attrition in the NBA, which might explain why Memphis is tied for the most comeback victories from a deficit of 15 points or more this season.

The Grizzlies outscored the Bulls 29-16 in the final quarter, and the most telling stretch occurred after Memphis had tied the game at 90 on a foul shot by Randolph. The Grizzlies then got two three-point plays — a layup and one — from Gasol on back-to-back possessions to go up 95-90. Gasol missed the free throw on his second three-point play opportunity, but Gay ended up with the offensive rebound, and then O.J. Mayo swooped in for a layup.

Just like that, the Grizzlies were up 97-90 and the game was essentially over.

While Memphis was getting high percentage shots at the basket -- the Griz finished with 23 layups -- the Bulls were settling for long jumpers, or forced jumpers, or having layups blocked.

Said Rose: "It hurts. We worked so hard, then the ball bounces their way. We were right there and they made some great plays, effort plays, and they got the ball."

Zach Randolph, poster boy: He almost single-handedly beat the Bulls with 31 points and 18 boards. He also sent Taj Gibson to the bench with six fouls. But he also took a messy facial from Derrick Rose. Enjoy.


The Phoenix Suns: It's pretty tough to shoot almost 58 percent from the field and lead by double-digits for most of a critical home game against the team you're trying to leapfrog in the playoff standings and then lose anyway...but give the Suns credit. When they put their minds to it, there's nothing they can't not do.

Or something.

Phoenix shot almost 74 percent in the first quarter and nearly 65 percent in the first half, but they wasted an opportunity to kick Utah into an early grave by not protecting their defensive backboards. During the first 24 minutes, the Jazz grabbed 11 rebounds -- half of their rebounding total for the first two quarters -- and scored 11 second-chance points. That kept them in the game...and helped lead to another Suns collapse from a double-digit lead.

Frankly, Phoenix just wore down. Remember, they played the Clippers the night before, and fatigue seemed to show in the fourth, during which the Suns were outscored 41-22. Utah got hot, and the Phoenix _efen_ers couldn't find their hands or any faces to put them in. The Jazz shot 7-for-11 from beyond the arc in those final 12 minutes. Meanwhile, the Suns were 5-for-19 on treys for the game. I guess turnabout is fair play.

Of course, I bet Suns fans would rather sit through 12 minutes of this than the last 12 minutes their team put them through.

gentry facepalm
Is it possible to coach an entire fourth quarter while facepalming?
Suns coach Alvin Gentry says: "Yes. Yes, sirs and madams, it is."

Said Amar''''''e Stoudemire: "I don't know if fatigue set in, but we played well most of the night. We just didn't play well defensively down the stretch. We just have to key in defensively in the fourth quarter to get some stops." Is that a stock quote or something? Because I've been hearing that refrain from Suns players since 2005.

Anyway, the Mormon Musicians were just the more aggressive team, earning a 38-28 advantage in free throw attempts on the Suns' home court. Then there were Utah's 19 offensive boards, plus the 24 points they scored off 19 Phoenix turnovers.

C.J. Miles, possibly unintentional poop humor machine: "Basketball is a game of runs, and we got ours at the right time."

Carlos Boozer, quote machine: "You never know what's going to happen and who's going to end up where in the playoffs. Especially when you're playing in the 'Wild West' where every game is monumental."

The Minnesota Timberwolves beg to differ, Carlos.

Brittney Griner: Girl fight! But, sadly, not the hot kind. Watch as college hooping phenom Brittney Griner suckerpunches a lass named Jordan Barncastle. Yes, that's a real name.


Look, we can't let this kind of thing slide. I say we settle this old school...with pillows, lingirie, a wading pool filled with baby oil and, most importantly, some carefully chosen body doubles.

The Boston Celtics: The Celtics just got older and slower! Way to turn a fizzling season around, Danny Ainge!

Danny Ainge, quote machine: Regarding his pickup of Zombie Finley: "I certainly don't consider Mike Finley to be someone that's going to make the difference in us winning the championship."

Wait, what, really?! If a player won't make a difference, why sign that player? I'm pretty sure Brian Scalabrine has that whole "handing out Gatorade in team huddles" thing down to a science. Maybe the Celtics are just trying to pull in the always-elusive "undead American" demographic.

Lacktion report: And now for chris's very brief lacktivity update:

Lakers-Heat: Joel Anthony fouled once in 6:05 for a +1 suck differential and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl!

Jazz-Suns: Ronnie Price bricked once from the Orpheum Theater and took a foul for a +2 in 3:14.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

20 Comments:
Blogger AnacondaHL said...
BBref's Playoffs Probability Report has the Nets winning 10+ games. I don't want to believe.

Blogger Adam said...
I was under the impression that Kobe didn't airball at all and that it was short because the defender got a piece of it. My brother was watching on the local channel and I was watching on TNT and he said on his feed it was a clear hack, but it looked clean to me, so I don't know.

What I do take issue with is Kobe even going to the basket and getting a charge when Pau getting mauled under the basket a couple seconds before should have resulted in a Miami foul first. I guess it makes up for the Lakers getting possession after the ball bounced out of bounds off Pau's knee.

I kept yelling at them to actually cover the open shooters but to no avail. The only one actually playing much defense was Artest, who handled Wade pretty well.

Blogger Adam said...
AnacondaHL: While I so want the Nets to secure their place as Worst Team Ever, I have this long shot fantasy where by the end of the season they manage to beat the Crabs, Magic, Hawks, and Lakers once each, but fail to win anything else. I think the pure absurdity would eclipse the simple bawfulness of being exceedingly terrible.

Anonymous Lucas said...
It's about time the "undead American" demographic got some respect.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Maybe the Celtics need another player who's at least 1,000 years old for some sort of group senior citizen's health care plan.

Apparently they're also going to sign Larry Hughes? At this point I think they should complete their roster and pick up Greg Ostertag.

BALL.

Blogger Adam said...
http://www.nba.com/2010/news/03/04/iverson.divorce.ap/index.html

AI's wife files for divorce. I'm too tired to make some sort of "lack of practice" joke.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Adam -- The other day when I first posted about Iverson's divorce, I mentioned that I won't make jokes about the situation right now because it's just sad, and we also don't know much about his daughter's health. However, I will pass along this link, which also says that AI's been apparently fighting some drinking problems lately as well. What a sad mess.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Amar'''''e saying that the Suns need to man up and get defensive stops in the fourth quarter is like Kobe Bryant saying the Lakers need to shoot less contested long range jumpers and move the ball more.

Blogger stephanie g said...
The Suns lost because they were on TNT. Well, wait. It also didn't help the announcers were praising their defense since starting Lopez and at half time Chuck was joking that the Phoenix Mercury were no longer the toughest basketball team in Arizona. Stat curse fail!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
BBref's Playoffs Probability Report has the Nets winning 10+ games. I don't want to believe.

I already called a late-season "run" that will get them to 10 or over. Sadly, I believe.

I was under the impression that Kobe didn't airball at all and that it was short because the defender got a piece of it. My brother was watching on the local channel and I was watching on TNT and he said on his feed it was a clear hack, but it looked clean to me, so I don't know.

I thought there was some contact.

It's about time the "undead American" demographic got some respect.

Agreed.

Apparently they're also going to sign Larry Hughes? At this point I think they should complete their roster and pick up Greg Ostertag.

This cannot happen. If it does, it will go down as the all-time saddest desperation move of all-time. YES, I used all-time twice in that sentence purely to underscore how bawful the C's signing Big Shot Larry would be.

AI's wife files for divorce. I'm too tired to make some sort of "lack of practice" joke.

Iverson is slowly creeping into "even Basketbawful won't make fun of him" territory.

The other day when I first posted about Iverson's divorce, I mentioned that I won't make jokes about the situation right now because it's just sad, and we also don't know much about his daughter's health. However, I will pass along this link, which also says that AI's been apparently fighting some drinking problems lately as well. What a sad mess.

Agreed.

The Suns lost because they were on TNT. Well, wait. It also didn't help the announcers were praising their defense since starting Lopez and at half time Chuck was joking that the Phoenix Mercury were no longer the toughest basketball team in Arizona. Stat curse fail!

Seriously, after all that, I just sat and calmly waited for the fourth quarter collapse. Normally, I would have been all sweaty palms and curse words, but I just sat and took it, knowing there was no way out of it, the stat curses were stacked and locked in.

Huh. I wonder if that's how Clippers fans feel every day.

Amar'''''e saying that the Suns need to man up and get defensive stops in the fourth quarter is like Kobe Bryant saying the Lakers need to shoot less contested long range jumpers and move the ball more.

Good one. The funny thing is, Amar''''''e has been talking defense for years and years, yet he's like a cat door in the paint...any pussy can slip through him. Cat. Pussy cat.

Blogger Factfinder said...
I'm so tired of hearing about teams playing poorly on back-to-backs. Games have been scheduled like this since forever but now teams/players/sports writers are using this as an excuse for guys not playing well... Anytime anyone uses playing in a back-to-back as an excuse, we should add it to a list called "The Vagina Monologues". Seriously though, if we're going to keep talking about back-to-backs...we should at least keep track of who has the best record in back-to-backs...

Blogger Adam said...
Dan: I'm one of those people who doesn't consider much sacred so I didn't have problems making fun of the divorce. Even with that said, it's really his kid that I'd never make fun of. Something like a drinking problem I still consider fair game but a sick kid is out of his control.

Blogger Chris said...
I feel like if ballet or opera or whatever had more productions with Kobe pirouetting and BALL, it might not be the worst thing in the world.

Best part is, Kobe's already got the drama part down (see: the last minute of regulation last night). Facial expressions, blatant gestures, the ability to cry on cue -- he's a natural.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Gak the highlights from that Lakers game make me ill. Black Hole Mamba shimmies around taking ridiculous shots which he hits while his teammates stand around, open and forgotten.

The charge and the end of the game is particularly egregrious, the whole Heat team was collapsing on him. He could have passed to any of his open teammates. Not to mention anyone with a modicum of non-arrogance could have avoided that charge. Jermaine O'Neal was standing there for five minutes. How is running him over a good plan? Not even Flash gets that call anymore.

Exhibit A of why people hate Kobe. As Larry Brown says, you should play the game the right way. Kobe plays the game the wrong way, and revels in it.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I found one crappy article looking at second games of back to backs, here, but it doesn't actually answer the real question. Which should have been to compare those second games excluding the ones where the opponent is also on their second game, so you could actually see the effect of one tired team. Obviously in the situations where both teams are on 0 days rest, someone has to win, so the results will skew closer to 50%, which the article incorrectly attributes as not meaning anything or a small data set.

Even with that, it finds a total win% of 45%, and a road win% of 34.9% (I weighted it myself), which are already lower than the expected 47% win% and 40% win% on the road, and would be lowered further after filtering by my suggestion. Even more telling is the second game of back-to-backs with both on the road, which is a paltry 32.9%.

Dunno about you guys, but that looks like an an effect to me.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Factfinder - I'm not sure why you're refuting the idea that a tired team wouldn't have a disadvantage against a fresh team. Here are the facts you wanted to find with the Western Conference playoff teams:
The Lakers are 10-5 (67%) in the second night of back-to-backs, and 36-11 (77%) otherwise.
The Mavericks are 9-7 (56%) in the second night, and 32-14 (70%) otherwise.
The Nuggets are 7-9 (44%) in the second night, and 33-12 (73%) otherwise.
The Jazz are 6-7 (46%) and 33-15 (69%)
The Suns are 6-9 (40%) and 33-16 (67%)
The Thunder are 6-7 (46%) and 30-17 (64%)
The Spurs are 4-5 (44%) and 30-19 (61%)
The Blazers are a ridiculous 12-3 (80%) on the second night of back-to-backs, and 25-24 (51%) otherwise

Other than the Blazers, who are certainly quite the conundrum this season, none of the other teams has played up to their level on the second night of back to backs. If you ran yourself ragged the first night, hop on a plane, travel somewhere, sleep, and then play shortly after that, you're going to have some performance problems. This generally becomes especially noticeable in the 4th quarter, or when players log heavy minutes the previous night. My dad predicted a 20 point loss to the Jazz because the Rockets ran their starters for 40+ minutes against the Spurs the previous night, and lo and behold, they lose by 23. It's not him being clairvoyant, it's just common sense.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Anaconda: I dunno if he was saying the effect didn't exist. I think most people believe it does. It's the no excuses thing. Broken leg? Walk it off and get back in there, sissy.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I didn't say "exist", I said "effect".

And the effect is greater than just playing road games, which is why it's used as an "excuse".

Blogger Factfinder said...
Re: Back-to-backs

I don't dispute the numbers. By the way... thanks for the numbers NarSARSsist. I just think players will now use it as another reason to explain poor performance. The reality is these guys "work" maybe 5-6 hours a day, including warm up and practice time. The last thing these guys need is another excuse...

Cheryl Miller: "Kobe, tough night out there tonight. You went 5/19 tonight... Seems like you couldn't find the bucket."

Kobe: "Well, Cheryl, you know it was the second night of a back-to-back"

Point: given that an effect has been proven, players still sound like sissies when they use it as an excuse

stephanie g: re: broken leg LOL :-)

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Factfinder - Oh yeah, that's definitely on the whiny side. 8/19 is "man, I was so tired." 5/19 is "man, I really should pray for the will to shoot less." I'm a Kobe fan all the way, but it doesn't mean I appreciate his decision-making sometimes.

Links to this post:
Create a Link