captain jack again
Stephen Jackson has resorted to using props to sell fouls.
Is this move Vlade Divac-approved?

Thanks to Basketbawful reader Brian for today's top pic.

The Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats just love giving things away! Their 21 turnovers were key in this loss -- yes, I'm looking at you, Stephen Jackson -- as was Orlando's 35-18 advantage in free throw attempts.

It was a weird game in that the Magic didn't play all that well, the 'Cats just played worse. Gerald Wallace fought his way to the line for 10 foul shots, but he went only 3-for-7 from the field. Boris Diaw finished with 5 points and 5 turnovers. Theo Ratliff, the team's SINO at center, finished with zero points (0-for-3) and a rebound in 13 minutes. Ray Felton had a single-single (4 points, 4 assists) while shooting 2-for-6. And then there was Captain Jack, who scored a game-high 27 points but had 12 combined turnovers (7) and fouls (5).

Not exactly the production Larry Brown wanted from his starting lineup.

Actually, what Brown wanted was a few more whistles going his team's way. Said Larry: "We had three players that played tonight that got to the foul line, and one of them took one shot, one free throw. Can't play that way. Maybe we've got to get more respect, I don't know."

larry brown
Looking all pissy probably won't earn your team any free throws,
but don't let that turn your frown upside down, Larry.

Brown wasn't the only Bobcat representative who was upset with the officiating. Frankly, a lot of the Charlotte players were getting frustrated, none moreso than Jackson, who missed a layup near the end of the game and decided to stay behind to bitch at the ref instead of participating in his team's transition defense. The result: A three-point play for Jameer Nelson that pretty much sealed Orlando's win.

But S-Jax felt justified: "I knew my headband didn't get knocked off by itself."

capn jack headband
That's one horrific unibrow, Stephen.

Now the Bobcats -- who have been whispered about as a possible dark horse for the last couple months -- are down 0-2, which means history is against them. According to ESPN Stats and Information: "In NBA playoffs history, teams with a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 series are 209-14 (93.7 percent)."

Stat curse? We'll see.

Freaky puppets: Nightmare fuel. Or maybe it's just me.

pumaman puppet
Puppets have always freaked me out. This isn't helping.

The Dallas Mavericks: If Mark Cuban hated the Spurs before, how do you s'pose he feels this morning? Is he sitting in his secret volcano lair trying to figure out how to put Tim Duncan in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death?

I'd like to think so.

So what does this game tell us? That the Spurs are still dangerous, or that the Mavs aren't as dangerous as we thought?

It's hard to say.

In the NBA playoffs, it's tempting to overreact to a single game. When a team gets blown out or loses home court advantage, people start shoveling dirt on their grave. I'm sure a lot of folks will feel like Dallas has lost control of this series after their Game 2 crapfest...and maybe they have. But we should probably wait and see if they can steal one back in San Antonio before we start writing the obituary.

Speaking of obits, I wrote one for the Spurs back in, like, December. Yet here they are, still alive and kicking playoff ass. The Mavericks choked like it was 2006 all over again. (Or 2007. Or whenever.) Dallas shot 36 percent as a team, and there were plenty of culprits: Ericka Dampier (0-for-1), Jason Kidd (1-for-7), Shawn Marion (2-for-7), Caron Butler (6-for-17) and Dirk Nowitzki (9-for-24). Even their one hot player -- Jason Terry -- was only 9-for-19.

You can kind of forgive guys like Kidd (who never was a great shooter) and Marion (who can't create his own shots), but what was up with Dirk? The dude looked like a seven-foot wet noodle. There were some shots where I thought he was having a seizure. It was like he was trying to use body English to guide the ball in. Heck, he couldn't even shoot over Manu Ginobili. Gak.

Of course, the Mavs came back from 20 down in the third quarter and then from 13 down in the fourth, but even when their offense clicked for a stretch here or there, they couldn't ge stops. It was classic Spurs basketball: Guys moving, sharing the ball, making the extra pass. And of course, a steady diet of Tim Duncan (25 points, 11-for-19, 17 rebounds). Turns out TD has something left in the tank after all.

jiggy wit it
Na na na na na na na nana na na na na nana! Gettin' jiggy wit it!

The Spurs also got a pretty strong game out of Richard Jefferson (19 points, 7-for-12, 7 rebounds). Jefferson was actually 7-for-9 by halftime, and I'm pretty sure Rick Carlisle didn't game plan for an out-of-nowhere offensive explosion from Richard Jefferson. Why would he?

The Mavericks also gave up 16 offensive rebounds, which was crippling considering the Spurs shto nearly 50 percent. Let's face it, Dallas got outworked, outsmarted and outplayed by the kind of Spurs team people predicted San Antonio would be going into the season.

Let's see if they can keep it up.

Gregg Popovich, quote machine: Regarding Cuban's "I hate the Spurs claims, Pop said: "It's an exaggeration. If he hates us so much, he wouldn't have that good barbecue in the locker room after the game."

Of course, this was after he bitched about Dirk's many trips to the line in Game 1: "He can sell it better than anybody in the league," Popovich said before the game. "Some guys are really good at it and some guys just can't do it. It's not coached or anything like that. Of course, Dirk was with Nellie [coach Don Nelson]."

In related news, Nowitzki earned only 6 free throws in Game 2, down from 12 in Game 1. But I'm sure, as always, it's all just one big crazy random happenstance.

Oh, and Popovich also said his team played "like dogs" in Game 1. Dan B. forwarde me this great tweeted response to that comment: "Gregg Popovich believes the Spurs played like dogs in their Game 1 loss to the Mavs. Hardly - dogs can hold on to a ball."

LeBron James, quote machine: Regarding his almost-one-man show against the Bulls the other night: "I feel like my presence on the court as an individual automatically gets my teammates involved."

Charles Gaines Vs Du Feng: This video has already been making the rounds, so I almost didn't post it. But with all the Street Figher II and Mortal Kombat discusions/references we make here at Basketbawful, I felt like I was doing our readers a disservice. By the way, go here for a great picture of Du Feng -- who pretended to faint after Gaines bitch-slapped him -- getting carried out like a dead body being carted away from a crime scene.

Lacktion report: chris's irrational love of non-actioneers continues in today's lactivity update:

Bobcats-Magic: Theo Ratliff had a board and a steal in 12:34 as Charlotte's starting center...only to brick thricely, lose the rock once, and foul three times for a 4:1 Voskuhl!

Despite a 100% shooting percentage (on one shot attempt), Derrick Brown donned a fireflower in 53 seconds for a Mario.

Spurs-Mavs: Roger Mason was jarred by a forgettable 5:43 for Gregg Popovich - a foul and a brick from the Statler Hilton led to a +2 suck differential. Garrett Temple had 55 seconds to consult Dr. Mario for help in solving a Virtual Boy-induced headache.

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Blogger Dan B. said...
Nice to see Captain Jack has finally embraced his inner pirate by donning a quasi eye-patch.

Also, fun fact: that creepy Dwight Howard puppet has better post moves than the real Dwight Howard.

Blogger chris said...
Dan: So when are we going to see one-on-one between the Mamba puppet and that nightmare fuel Pumaman prop!?

Blogger Dan B. said...
By the way... damn you, Bawful. Now I've got that Will Smith song stuck in my head. I'm going to be humming it for the rest of the day.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
By the way... damn you, Bawful. Now I've got that Will Smith song stuck in my head. I'm going to be humming it for the rest of the day.

[places pinky finger next to lips]

Muwahahahahaha! Muwahahahahahahahaha! Muwahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Some chinese players have been taking classes at the "Carmelo Anthony Falling Down and look like a dead corpse Institute", glad to see his impact all over the globe.

Blogger Unknown said...
That wasn't a bitch slap, that was an open-handed punch, a la Noob Saibot (is Reptile better?). Flawless victory, Gaines!

In Capt. Jack's defense, he was trying out his new Salvatore impression.

Blogger Unknown said...
Vince Carter headpalm

Blogger 49er16 said...
Capt. Jack embraces the role of the Lone Ranger.

Blogger Siddarth Sharma said...
Didn't get as far as the caption..deja vu at the picture. Reminded of The Duncan face..for all the talk of him being a cyborg, he can be pretty expressive at times.

Here's how I see it:

The "You still stand by your inane call ref? Huh?" face. Because if you do I will bust this ball. It speaks to me and concurs.

Blogger Unknown said...
96-team crisis averted...for now:

Thoughts on a 68-team field next year? I feel like its the last step in making the tournament near perfect. Then again, it could be the first step in making it worse.

Anonymous bizarro said...
i can't help to remember you mentioning the ginobili effect was just a contract year are so wrong about the spurs. i agree they're no dominant team anymore and duncan can't have this kind of games for a full series anymore, but there is no way you can doubt their heart and professionalism.
i love those guys. see what ginobili had to say about them hosting the next games -along the line of let's say humble they beat us badly at home before. too bad they're not going to get past the first round though. i don't see them dominate at home indeed

Blogger Basketbawful said...
i can't help to remember you mentioning the ginobili effect was just a contract year phenomenon...there is no way you can doubt their heart and professionalism.

First, I never said Ginobili's scoring outburst was "just" a CYP, only that it probably played some part, even if only on a subconscious level. Manu's human. Who wouldn't be affectec by that?

Second, I never said I doubted the Spurs' heart or professionalism...only their talent. They have seemed too old, injured or just not clicking to contend for a title. I still haven't seen any evidence to the contrary. Maybe they'll prove me wrong. We'll see, because, as they say, ball don't lie.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That Pumaman puppet is certainly the type to come alive with glowing red eyes in the middle of the night and attack your vulnerable sleeping body. Look at that gotdamn mouth!

Blogger DDC said...
Pumaman's puppet is creepy, but it followed his body structure to a T. Muscular upper body, and skinny-ass bat legs.

WV - ballogi
As in Stan Van Gundy looks like the type of dude that enjoys a ballogi hoagie after a game.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Or as Turk so eloquently put: ball.

Blogger Will said...
DDC- It's not like Pumaman is Keon Clark.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Just remember: 16-seeds are 0-104 in the first round, while 1-seeds are 97-0 in the first round.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: Of course, in comparison, 8th seeds have not exactly been burning it up in the Association either, with 1994 the first time _ever_ that one had won a playoff series.

Blogger Unknown said...
Anaconda: Is that a real stat? How is that possible?

P.S. Speaking of college bball. I saw a sweet old-timey radio (probably from the 40s or 50s) at an antique shop last weekend adorned with Purdue Pete decals. After examining it, it looks to have been originally designed with the decals, instead of being added later.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Lets then forget about the Association until the second round comes. First rounds are always anecdotic anyways.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Kevin: Yes, it's real. 1 seeds are physically 104-0, but only 97 wins count due to 7 wins being retracted for NCAA violations, etc. Pretty disgustingly high percentage of caught cheaters, ain't it?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Anaconda - Which makes it perfectly logical to expand the tourney, what with not being able to find 64 teams that are any fucking good in the first place!

Granted, it doesn't explain the feebleness of NBA 8th seeds. It's not like it's the Crabs versus SE Mizzou State; they're all making millions.