melo bench
I bet 'Melo wishes he could have "blacked out" again last night...

The Boston Celtics: Let us harken back to the words of Paul Pierce, as reported in yesterday's WotN post:

"We want to be the champs. That's the minimum level [of achievement to consider the season a success]. I don't care what our record is. I don't care how we've played. Our minimum level is winning the championship. That's been our goal since we brought the team together, and that's not changed." But is it realistic? "Yeah," Pierce said. "Without question."
Those are some mighty big words, and a good way for the Celtics to back them up would have been to shut down the Bulls in Chicago last night, thereby giving them a chance to wrest the third seed in the Eastern Conference away from the Atlanta Hawks.

But that didn't happen.

Instead, Derrick Rose (career-high 39) and Kirk Hinrich (season-high 30) combined for 69 points -- including 27 in the fourth quarter -- to beat Boston 101-93. This drops the Celtics to fourth in the East and means a second-round matchup with the Cleveland Craboliers. Assuming the C's can make it that far. I mean, it's a bad sign that a team specifically built around defense was beaten by two guys.

Boston has lost six of the last nine games.

Said Pierce: "One game left and we've got everyone healthy going into the playoffs, which was the No. 1 goal of the season."

Wait, I thought winning the title was your number one goal, Paul. Sounds like you've revised your expectations. Which is probably appropriate.

Rasheed Wallace: After his latest stink bomb -- a 1-for-7 shooting performance, 0-for-2 on threes -- I'm officially going to start calling chuck-it-up games from overpaid (and overrated) bench players "taking a 'Sheed." It's the same as taking a dump, only you're pooping directly onto your teammates. Note I almost named this a "dirty 'Sheedchez" after, well, you know.

Anyway, the best part of Wallace's dreadful showing was that he scored as many points for the Bulls as he did for the Celtics. Oh, yes. As Basketbawful reader Adrian said: "Holy shit. Sheed just choked on a rebound so hard he put it back in the Bulls' basket. Now I've seen it all. Only two years left with him, Boston!"

Added Basketbawful reader winnetou: "While looking for a short clip of the events Adrian mentioned, I also came across a longer video mentioning that he had actually done this before, in November '08. Unfortunately, the video only really celebrates the cAnswer without showing Sheed's bawful moments, so all that I can link is the ESPN recap."

But wait! There's more! Watch 'Sheed not even try to contest Rose's slam. Why be in the poster, right?

What a bum.

John Paxson: And you probably thought that firing a guy on Christmas eve was the biggest superdick move Paxson could pull. Well, I'm not sorry you were so totally wrong. The latest: After a recent home loss to the Phoenix Suns, Pax grabbed coach Vinny Del Negro by the tie, jabbed him in the chest a couple times and challenged him to a fight. Why, you ask? Because Vinny played Joakim Noah -- who had recently missed 10 games with plantar fasciitis -- two minutes and five seconds longer than the 25-minute limit Bulls management had mandated. Seriously.

Stay classy, John Paxson!

Jerry Reinsdorf has dispatched lawyers to investigate the incident. Paxson, not surprisingly, has not been available for comment. This is what Vinny had to say: "I'm not going to comment. I go about my job every day no matter what happens. I'm a competitor. I've been involved in the game a long time. I love the challenge of it. All the other things that happen pretty much stay internally."

Said Bulls spokesman Tim Hallam "This is an organizational issue, which we will handle internally."

Added Joakim Noah: "I don't want to talk about it. Things happen in an organization. ... I don't think it's fair for us as players to be talking about that stuff. It's nothing. Really, it's nothing."

Uhm, no offense, Jo, but a boss physically abusing -- some would even say "attacking" -- his employee is something. Something pretty bad. Something most people in the real world would probably lose their jobs over. However, it's more likely Paxson will remain with the organization while Vinny gets the boot as soon as the season ends, either tonight or after a first round sweep by the Crabs.

Sounds fair, right?

The Gol_en State Warriors: Now that Nellie is the NBA's winningest coach ever, people have stoppped caring about the Warriors again. Which is how it should be. So, fittingly, I don't care enough to recap Gol_en State's home loss to the Jazz. I'll simply leave you with this: Devean George scored a season-high 21 points for the Warriors. Doesn't that sort of say all you need to know?

The Denver Nuggets: With homecourt advantage in the playoffs on the line, the Nuggets...lost 123-101 to the Suns in Phoenix. And the beating was actually worse than that. So bad, in fact, that Steve Nash and Amar''''''e Stoudemire sat out the entire fourth quarter. The Suns -- who knew the Nuggets had played the night before -- ran out to an 18-2 lead and Denver never really recovered.

And this is the team that's supposed to challenge the Lakers in the playoffs?

The Suns shot almost 54 percent from the field and went 14-for-24 from downtown...including 11-for-17 during the first three quarters.

Said Chauncey Billups: "Man, there's really nobody that's going to beat them when they shoot like that."

I've heard hands in faces can help with that, Chauncey. Speaking of Mr. Big Shot...

Chauncey Billups: Remember when the talk was always about how Billups owned Nash? Well, last night Captain Canada had 18 points and 10 assists in three quarters (despite a tough shooting night), while Mr. Big Shot went 1-for-6 from beyond the arc and didn't register a single assist in 33 minutes of PT.

The Sacramento Kings: The best thing about their 106-100 loss to the Mamba-less Lakers? The Purple Paupers are now one game closer to the end of their season. Hip-hip-HOOOORAY!!!

(Still, letting Shannon Brown -- 24 points on 10-for-19 shooting -- pull a Kobe impersonation on them was pretty embarrassing. Assuming they have any shame left.)

You know who's sad this year's crapfest is coming to it's crappy end? Paul Westphal: "Honestly, I'm sorry it's over. I really like this team. We knew that we had a hill to climb, and the journey is just beginning. We added eight more wins and added some players we can build around, so by any measure, there was improvement. The first thing is that we had to compete this year. We did that, and one of these days, we'll learn how to win."


Lacktion report: Only one entry for chris's daily lacktion update:

Celtics-Bulls: Flip Murray bricked twice and fouled once in 4:24 for a CELEBRATORY +3!

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Anonymous Hellshocked said...
"The first thing is that we had to compete this year. We did that, and one of these days, we'll learn how to win."

Westphal is sorry it's over because he knows he may very well get fired during the off season. That quote looks like he is pleading his case to management.

I can't believe I was actually hoping the Spurs would sign Rasheed last year. His season makes Richard Jefferson's look MVPish by comparison.

Who got credit for the basket? No Bull was anywhere near. Noah was closest at about 15 feet away, I'm assuming it was him.

Blogger Will said...
I posted this this morning on last night's BAD post, but I want some feedback.
To all those purple pauper fans out there: what is your opinion of Beno Udrih? I had him on my fantasy team this year and I thought he was a solid player. He didn't start, but when he was in my lineup he shot a good percentage (~50%) and gave me 12 and 4 with low TOs and a 3 or a steal here and there. He didn't bring a ton to the table, but nothing came off.

Blogger Silva said...
I believe that those 2 points coming from Rasheed Wallace's brilliance are awarded to the captain of the Bulls team.

Blogger Barry said...
You're a point guard and you fail to dish out even ONE FREAKIN' assist? IN 33 MINUTES?

Blogger chris said...
Will: Pretty much as advertised, solid but unspectacular - though I got the sense that he played a lot worse last year than he does now.

Hellshocked: You do realize that they just signed Pauly W to an extra year on his contract two days ago, right?

Blogger Unknown said...
I'm curious what you guys think of San Antonio purposely tanking the last game. If they lose, they can stay in Texas for an entire first round series, rather than travel to Utah/Phoenix/Denver. Miami and Milwaukee are in similar purposely-tanking positions, since being in the 4/5 slot in the East gets you the right to lose in the second round to a Cavs.

Also, Which teams will give a shit tonight even with nothing to play for? Oklahoma City (although OK probably wants a 50-win season), Memphis (to get to .500), New York (to get to 30 wins), and Indiana (to screw over their draft status).

Anonymous Hellshocked said...

I meant it as a joke, but no, I didn't know. Wasn´t he already on board for next year? Westphal is a good coach and all, but I don't think he has done a very good job this season, especially with regards to the way he's handled Tyreke Evans.

I would have waited to see how he does next year before re-signing him. Seems like jumping the gun to me.


I don't play fantasy so I can't help you there, but here's my real life assessment of Udrith (mostly from his San Antonio days, admittedly):

Good but streaky shooter. Slow, which makes him a poor defender and not much of a threat to drive off the dribble. Can get to the rim off screens though. Not a very good ball handler for a 1. Unselfish and has decent court vision but rather soft and mistake prone. His biggest problem is game to game inconsistency. His biggest strengths are height and shooting ability.

He makes a pretty decent backup, but as a starter he is usually overmatched. Still, from what I've seen of the Paupers this year they played better when both he and Tyreke were on the court than when it was Tyreke running the point solo. I'd compare him to Steve Blake, but less consistent and incomparably softer.

Blogger chris said...

Yeah, he was already on board for next year. I think it's simply management knows the fans are currently in Pauly W's corner, and there've been so many coaching changes post-Adelman that they feel like sticking to one option for a while will at least provide some stability that hasn't existed since Rick's departure.

Whether that's the right decision or not remains to be seen.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
In all fairness to the GSW fans, who by the way still rock the house, they are still cheering for and rooting for Curry, who's made a co-ROY award almost likely this season.

BTW, I hope everyone realizes that if Sacramento had actually drafted Rubio like they really should have (as a perfect match to Kevin Martin), the Timberwolves could have drafted Tyreke AND Curry? And that if you pretend LOL stands for "lots of lols", you can make an infinite recursion acronym?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Playoff Race,

Smart money is on the Raptors as they have to beat the Raptors. Even they wouldn't be able to screw that one up right?

Blogger Unknown said...
AnacondaHL: Wow, probably would be the second best young team behind OK, if the Rubio scenario happens . Imagine this starting five: Evans, Curry, Brewer, Jefferson, and Love. Too bad The Rambasador would be the coach.

Anonymous Big Aaron said...,0,6569122.htmlpage

Do your worst, Bawful!

Blogger Ash said...
Wow AnacondaHL.

If the Wolves had Tyreke and Curry with Love throwing them outlet passes... god. It's a tragedy that this didn't happen.

Blogger The Gazelle said...
does anyone have video of the start of the bulls game? They were gonna cut to commercial and showed a few short clips of players, Noah popped up and the last thing I heard before the break was Chuck screaming "JOAKIM NOOOAHHHH"

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Kevin: Ahem, that's Evans driving to the basket, Curry's hotzone shooting from anywhere, Brewer's really shitty shooting but good defense and steals, Jefferson, uh, doing his thing and shitty defense, and Darko complimenting Jefferson with more D. K-Love and his rebounding and no defense and crappy at-rim shots and outlet passes as 6th man please tyvm.

This all assumes they don't start sucking because they're pissed they live in Minnesota. But honestly, I want to believe this NOT happening is the reason why the Twins have sold out their new stadium for the entire year, just to stay away from the stank that the Timberwolves have become.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wishing Timberpoop-dom on anyone is just plain evil. Imagine getting your ass beat every night on the court then having to soak in a hot bath for hours just to get your frozen testicles to come back down.

Besides, there's not enough balls to go around for that Evans, Curry, et al. line-up, and in honor of their defense you could rename the team the Turnstiles.

Blogger chris said...
Ash: It's not from my perspective, because it then allows Tyreke to come to Sacramento and make the team worth watching, which then enabled the hillarious Discount Store trade that helped the Rockets scrappily play their way out of a postseason berth!!!!

...and then I realize that at this rate, if Tyreke's career mirrors that of previous pauper Oscar Robertson, he will end up with another team winning a title in 9 years. :p

Blogger Ash said...
Chris, trying to imagine what Kings games would have looked like this year without 'Reke on the floor is just depressing.

You can have your cake.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I still think Westphal needs to use a stronger hand to mould Tyreke while he is still pliable (ie: not making 9+ million a year and tuning out his coach). His talent is undeniable but I don't think simply giving him the reins and letting him do whatever the hell he wants is the best way to go. We want him to become the next Brandon Roy, not the next Larry Hughes. Evans has a much stronger field goal percentage but otherwise his numbers are disturbingly similar to Hughes' sophmore stats.

Anonymous Panki said...
I'm beginning to believe Sheed is a genious of some sort and basketball is not enough to occupy his mind. During the game he drifts away analizing string theory or something... Thats why he can't run - it would disturb his thoughts.
This time he drifted so far that he forgot its defence not offence time, and went to score on offensive reboud...

Blogger chris said...
Hellshocked: Maybe Pauly W thinks that he can go the KC Jones approach here? Isn't it a little too early for this?

Anonymous Hellshocked said...

The thing is, Tyreke has some bad habits which have only been reinforced this year. Rookie year is the perfect time to knock those out of him before he gets a big paycheck that makes it impossible to.

He doesn't seem like a knucklehead and has a chance to be special which is all the more reason to get him to focus on the things that are going to get him there.

Of course it's too early for this, but I certainly don't think Evans is alone in this category. Derrick Rose's case was a bit similar as is Steph Curry's this year. Even Kevin Durant didn't take off until he got some real coaching. Under Carlesimo he was a chucker who shot 40% from the field, grabbed maybe 2 rebounds per game, didn't even try to guard anybody and seldom passed the ball. He was, pretty much, a Glenn Robinson clone (and you thought my worst case scenario Larry Hughes for Tyreke Evans was harsh). Brooks began holding him accountable on defense, urging him to pass the ball and to drive and draw fouls as opposed to fading away each time down the court. Durant is a special talent but Brooks put him in a position to maximize those talents. Could he have figured it out on his own? Perhaps. At best though it would have taken him longer.

I'm not a fan of the "let em play it out they'll figure it on their own" brand of coaching and I think it's particularly harmful for ball dominating guards. That's all I was getting at.

Blogger Iain MacKenzie said...
Did you notice the 4 minute argument at the start of the Celtics Bulls game between the Czar and Reggie, about Noah's minutes being limited? Reggie had a good stance on that. The Czar then chimed in later jabbing at Reggie about learning his medical skills at UCLA.