Hey Pumaman, you do realize hiding the ball behind your back like a baseball pitcher doesn't accomplish anything, right?

I'm absolutely braindead after a long week at work, and I have to wake up early Sunday morning to bowl in a tournament, so I won't get a good chance to catch up on sleep. Ugh. Let's keep this short and sweet today. My snark-meter is running on empty.

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

Stan Van Gundy practices his fist pumping in hopes of landing a spot in the next Jersey Shore cast

During the middle of a game is probably not the best time to work on your pushups

Vag Carter showboating after a dunk makes me much angrier than it probably should. Just so you know.

All The Friday Games:
Crabs at Celtics - ESPN, 7:00pm
Series tied 1-1

Hey, did you know LeBron's elbow is bothering him?

I can't believe how close this series can actually be. The Crabs are highly reliant upon King Crab to lead them, and if he comes out flat, the whole team plays flat. If he gets a little momentum going, the whole team goes with him. It's amazing. More importantly, Mike Brown in no way ever deserved a Coach of the Year award, and is very possibly holding this team back. I am just still dumbstruck by this and don't really know what to expect in this game. You know, except for being reminded about The Elbow every five goddamn seconds.

Suns at Spurs - ESPN, 9:30pm
Suns lead series 2-0

Even Bill Simmons is talking about this Suns team. Is that good or bad? I have no idea. I'm just glad Robert Horry and Bruce Bowen aren't around to hipcheck me into a table or torment the hell out of me with trips, shoves, and so forth, and I'm sure Steve Nash and the Suns feels the same way.

* * *

All The Saturday Games:
Magic at Hawks - ESPN, 5:00pm
Magic lead series 2-0

My buddy Matt (quick tangent: I know like 308 people named Matt, and yes, it is confusing as hell sometimes) posted a comment on Facebook before Game 1 of this series about how he hoped to see a Suns/Hawks matchup in the Finals. I replied saying I too wanted the Suns to make it and wouldn't count them out, but the Hawks were dreadfully overmatched and poorly coached and just not up to the challenge.

Last night he replied: "You were right, the Hawks are complete shit." So there you go.

Lakers at Jazz - ABC, 8:00pm
Lakers lead series 2-0

How close can the Jazz make it without winning for a third straight game? I'm on pins and needles!

* * *

All The Sunday Games:
Crabs at Celtics - ABC, 3:30pm
Series tied 1-1 (before Friday's game)

Suns at Spurs - TNT, 8:00pm
Suns lead series 2-0 (before Friday's game)

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Anonymous Czernobog said...
Love the FT discrepancy between the Suns and Spurs so far. Not that I think that's the reason for the big lead, but damn.

Anyway, I'm in the minority who want the spurs to win. I want them to be in another final, if not win another championship, only for Tim's legacy to be considered greater then that of Kobe and Shaq (and hopefully ElBron's as well.)

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Goran Dragic just made me jizz my pants.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
I vaguely remember someone using Dragic as the butt of his jokes like twice a week a couple of years ago. For the life of me I can't remember who, though.

Blogger beep said...
There's LeCrabs 'block' on nba.com highlights, and I may be biased, but after watching it several times I think it's a foul nothing else.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Uuuugghhh and I'm spent.

LeBron James? 21 point 1st quarter? Get your weak shit outta here. Meet Dragic Destroyer of Worlds (9-10, 23 pt 4TH QUARTER)

Anonymous Arouet said...
Basketbawful, if the Suns win game 4. You must post this video. No exceptions or excuses. Post it.


Anonymous AK Dave said...
Dragic looked like Allen Iverson, Bill Russell, Reggie Miller, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar all at the same time.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Unleash the Dragon! One step closer to a PHX-ORL finals.

Suns are gonna take Dragic out to the finest strip clubs tonight. I was literally loling watching him almost single handily destroy the Spurs, abusing a confused Duncan and Parker all over the place. Suns were down by 18 and won by 14 on the road. That would never happen in the past. Nash stuck the knife in the back, Dragic buried the body and cleaned the trunk.

Blogger Clifton said...
Czernoblog: I was a big part of the biweekly Goran Tragic updates in the early part of last season.

I've been a Dragić convert for a while, though... see? I even give him the accent-grave like his jersey has now.

It's just a matter of confidence with him. He can be so timid sometimes... but you saw the light go on tonight. Amazing.

Am I crazy? Could this team be a title contender? On a night in which Stoudemire was an absolute non-factor, and usual energy-guys Amundson and Dudley were equally ineffective, we hear from Dragić and Barbosa. Go figure.

I just wish I felt like they posed a threat to the Lakers. Even through my fog of homerism, I understand that the Lakers are a matchup nightmare if Odom and Bynum are firing. We'll have to see. (Of course, I'm working off the assumption that the Jazz will continue to pose no threat to Los Angeles at all, and that the Suns will find a way to win 1 of the next 4.)

I'm so drunk right now... I got celebratory-drunk, and I don't even drink. We busted open some random crap that's been in the fridge here at The Condo since God-knows-when. It was awful... but glorious at the same time. I try not to get too invested in any one team, but I'm completely hooked by this Suns squad. I haven't felt this way about any team, just breathless and on the edge of my couch-seat for the entire game, since I was 12 years old watching the '92-'93 Susn make their playoff run.

Anonymous DKH said...
Such an awesome Suns game to watch. Check out the Goran Dragic "Top Performer" photo because it's so high quality:


Amare deserves a worst-of for his poor defense. DeJuan Blair, rookie undersized power forward, was taking his lunch money. ESPN seems to be making a lot of the fact that he never returned to the game, but I don't think that really means much. I think it's just that Gentry was smart enough to ride the hot players for as long as possible.

Cavs/Celtics was pretty good, too. Now I can look forward to Sunday more.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I have no idea what to say about Dragic. I felt like I had fallen asleep and was dreaming during his fourth quarter super nova. It was like the Suns had turned on a cheat code. Can we go back and give Alvin Gentry CotY for developing the first Phoenix bench in NBA history? Holy shit.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Dragic defecating on the Spurs was the highlight of the playoffs

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I vaguely remember someone using Dragic as the butt of his jokes like twice a week a couple of years ago. For the life of me I can't remember who, though.

Not to take ANYTHING away from Dragic's amazing fourth quarter performance, one of the best I've ever seen going back to the 80s, but the in 11 quarters in this series prior to the fourth of Game 3, he had scored a total of 7 points on 3-for-14 shooting (1-for-5 from downtown).

I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous Mladen said...
Look, the fact is that I've noticed that you American basketball fans pay absolutely no attention to players that haven't, in some way, played in the States, prior to their arrival in the NBA. Now, I know you'll try to prove me wrong and quote some article where you said some fine words about Nowitzki or Ginobilli, but the fact is that you've been making fun of Dragic, who is a backup pointguard on a team boasting Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa. And even though his performances haven't been even average, you made fun of him mostly because of his last name. If you really followed some European basketball, you would have seen his European Championship performances, for example. He crushed our national team almost singlehandedly, with a similar performance. He is well-known in Europe, and I found it ridiculous that he was the whipping boy here.
I'm sorry, I don't usually rant about stuff like this, but I just can't swallow all of this bullshit. First you ridicule him constantly, even though he didn't get many chances to shine, and now, you're acting like he's the best thing since sliced bread.

Also, it wasn't Pireaus, it was fucking Partizan!

Blogger beep said...
Ignorance is good to make fun of, and it's funny to see your ignorant ass talking about "Olypmiacos vs Pireaus" which is like saying Nets vs New Jersey. hahaha

Blogger Unknown said...
Phoenix man love. Jared Dudley has something to tell Leandro:


Blogger Steve said...
Although I'm hesitant to join the crowd of OMG DRAGIC love (he deserves it but still), I want to point out that his performance wasn't just amazing for the positive stats. He also had zero turnovers, zero fouls, and zero bad shots. The only thing he did wrong was (inexplicably) miss two freethrows. Let's say 'Bawful has made me pay more attention to those.

In addition to the ridiculous positive stats (and dearth of negative ones), he played Tony Parker as well as you possibly can. Parker's makes were few, and difficult: He made three highly-contested layups versus Dragic (10:05, 8:50, 3:28).

On the other hand, Goran blocked a Tony Parker layup by jumping a foot above TP (29.9 left in the 3rd).

Or there's this sequence (11:44-11:29, 4th) for which the stat sheet read 2 rebounds:

- Stopped a fast break (on a TO from Manu's steal from Barbosa) led by Tony Parker with Frye (11:39 4th) by disrupting the play and getting a good hand in Parker's face to get a miss right at the basket - AND got the rebound

- Turned that into a fast break of his own and would've had an amazing assist on a pass from the half-court line to the wing if Barbosa hadn't laid it up too hard

- But even then, he anticipated Barbosa's miss and got position versus McDyess (I think), Parker and Bonner for the rebound. Parker was so frustrated he reached in and Dragic drew the foul.

He also had several plays that didn't show in the box score at all:

- Coordinated a sweet switch with Frye against Parker who, sandwiched between the two, threw up an awful shot (6:00)

- Pressured the ball out of Ginobili's hands (5:29) with Hill

- Responsible for an offensive rebound (tipping it to Barbosa) (5:12)

- At 3:58, Hill got caught behind a screen, and Dragic was the only Sun between Manu Ginobili and the basket. Manu also had Parker coming down the baseline: This was two on one. Two of the deadliest driving players in the NBA versus the 2nd-year 24-year-old Goran Dragic. Dragic closed on Manu to force him to pass, and anticipating it, tipped the pass away and out of bounds, preventing an almost certain layup.

The mind reels.

Jared Dudley came in and changed Game 2 with his energy and determination without scoring a ton. Dragic one-upped him by not just putting up a freaking INSANE stat sheet (1 point every 39 seconds, 3 Reb, 2 Ast 1 Stl, 1 Blk) but bringing that energy and more to the other end.

THAT is what made it incredible. That's why the Suns won by 14 and not 3 or 6.

Blogger Clifton said...
Sad Bench Photo, with the +1 of Sad Duncanface!


Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Current front page pic on ESPN.com. Too many easy captions. But I'm thinking the Mr. Burns-style "excellent."

Also, Live chat is going on right now.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
SON OF A BITCH. I totally went to bed after the first half of the Suns/Spurs game thinking it was pretty much following the playoff script.

And I missed the second half. What a Dragedy! (rim shot)

AnacondaHL - that pic is my new background. AWESOME.

Mladen - I don't entirely disagree. We *don't* pay much attention to international players prior to NBA. Part of that is our egocentral outlook, of course. Part of it is that we can't keep track of every player everywhere. However, NBA scouts now do and that's what matters.

No, I think this site (myself included) mocked Dragic because he did have sub-par games. But lots of players get terrible stats that we mock. Some of the interesting ones are really bad mostly due to a lack of ability to get rhythm in limited minutes. It doesn't change the fact that he had some awful games, though. And was thusly mocked for it.

For the record, we also mock anyone with what we think are funny names. Dragic just joins the crowd.

Blogger Clifton said...
Wait... I can't decide if I like the Sad Duncanface sad-bench photo better, or this one, featuring a Duncan Headpalm...


Also, this is the direct link to the man-love shot that steve.mcmackin referenced above: http://media.mysanantonio.com/images/spurs%20suns%20g3019.jpg

Blogger Clifton said...
Btw... I think THE biggest reason the Suns are doing so well is because of their team chemistry. Obviously, the individual talents that have been assembled mesh well, but these guys just gelled this year.

Case in point... according to Jason Richardson's Twitter, after practice today, nearly the whole squad went out together to watch Iron Man 2: Richardson, Dudley, Nash, Amundson, Barbosa, Frye, Dragić, Robin Lopez, Earl Clark, and Taylor Griffin. You just get the feeling that these guys are actually good friends, and that extends on to the court.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Check out this quote from ESPN's recap on the Magics destroying the Hawks (again):

In the second half, the crowd took out its frustration on Johnson as he kept missing the mark.

"That doesn't bother me," he said. "I could care less if they showed up or not."

And people want him on their team?

Blogger Bakes said...

That's good to hear. Maybe they can all go fishin together after the Western Conference Finals.

Blogger DC said...
I loved Dragic's inexplicable turn into an unstoppable scoring machine as much as anyone. But we have to also remember that Dragic was partially responsible for the Suns getting into the 18 point hole in the first half. Or at the very least, he and the Suns bench didn't really help stop the deficit from growing that much. In other words, we wouldn't have much to say for Dragic if he had only played somewhat above average (for himself) in the 4th quarter, and if the the Suns had lost. That's why we discount Dragic - because he's generally been an average PG backup, not because he's European.

You could think of Nash and the starters as setting the stage for Dragic's heroics by slowly but steadily chipping away the lead in the second quarter, then trading baskets with the Spurs in the 3rd. But in the end, Dragic was the reason why a 4-6 point close deficit became a 14 point victory.

Blogger The Cruise said...
I don't know if anyone else found this bit of TMZ stuff, but I think it's amazing the coaching job that van gundy is doing considering his current legal troubles:


Blogger chris said...
Did ANYONE witness that Phenomenal Moment in Inbounding History, when Rondo slammed the rock at Varejao's groin region to maintain possession!?

Blogger Will said...
chris- I saw it... and I laughed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I saw that play too. I laughed also!

Most awesome of the night mention: Rajon Rondo, and me. Him for his CRAZY triple double, and me for picking him in NBA.com's fantasy game: Drive to the Finals. 60 fantasy points. The man is a GOD.

Man, I loved that game! :D

Blogger Will said...
I think Ace speaks for all Suns fans in this video.

Blogger chris said...
Also from the Crabs-Celtics game, epic commentary:

"Shaq is valuable to Cleveland because...he draws lots of fouls, putting the other team in the penalty."

Translation: Excuse for why it's okay he is a charity stripe masonry machine. LOL.

Blogger chris said...
Craig Sager in a purple suit. WOW.

Meanwhile, epic exchange between I think Vinsanity and Cheryl Miller:

"So do you have a question for Barkley?"
"Yeah, what's it like to win a championship?"
"He hasn't won one, you know."
"Well then I guess he doesn't know what it's like either!"

Blogger DC said...
chris: For most NBA players, the correct term would be "man region", not "groin region". But since this is Varejao we're talking about, the correct term now would technically be "woman region". Good job there Andy, for not paying attention while trying to flop your way into a Celtic foul.

Blogger Clifton said...

...You mean, when they all go fishin' together after they sweep the Lakers, 'cause they've got 5 or 6 more days of rest waiting for the Eastern finals to wrap up? WHOOOOOOAA (/irrational homerism)

I dunno. I can't decide whether to say, "Even if we get boat-raced in the next round, I'll still be able to say the season was a success, given that we finally overcame the Spurs"... or whether I'm going to let myself believe that tonight was a sign that this is actually The Year. I'm going to send a Get Well Soon(er) card to Robin Lopez's bulging disc, however. I think that without a healthy Lopez, Gasol and Bynum are going to have their way with us. Jarron Collins standing around like a tree for the first six minutes of each half is not going to be the formula for success.

Hopefully, Jared Dudley = Raja Bell in the "Kobe-Stopper" department. I'm sure Kobe will get a steady diet of Dudley and Grant Hill throughout.

And even more hopefully, maybe the Jazz can sack up and find a way to prolong the series, and maybe wear the Lakers out a little! :-)

Blogger Clifton said...
And one more thing, before I go to bed... it seems like with each passing Lakers game, Ron Artest's under-jersey crap seems to get larger and more-encompassing. I think by Game 1 of the Western Finals, he'll be wearing a full-body wetsuit with his jersey over it.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@Drake: No, you were making fun of a guy who got around 18 minutes per game this season, and is averaging 16 minutes per game for his career. Anyway, I wasn't even saying that Basketbawful makes fun of international players (or particularly European players) exclusively. The Lacktion Report is usually filled with lots of American "accomplishments" as well. And, as BadDave pointed out, an American basketball blog can't really keep it's eye on every player in the world. But, my point is this: You can make fun of Mario West, whose greatest accomplishment is being named team captain in high school and college. He's a pine rider, and a human victory cigar, who, despite having great athletic predispositions, will probably never accomplish anything in the NBA, and will one day read the archives of this site in awe. But guys like Dragic have actually achieved something prior to coming to the NBA. If nothing, playing in Europe, for example, is ten times harder for a young guy, than playing college hoops in the States. There are always several strong leagues to be played simultaneously (e.g. your national league, the Euroleague, a regional league...), and you are regularly guarded by older, experienced players. Not to mention that the playing style is different, and you don't get foul calls simply because somebody sneezed in your general direction. Dragic, particularly, played in the Spanish league, which is arguably the strongest in Europe. He hasn't been putting up mega-awesome numbers in the NBA, simply because the Suns already have a mega-awesome player, who would be playing trough the whole game (thus relegating Dragic to towel-boy status), if not for chronic back problems. So, when you made fun of Dragic, even though you had the right to do so, you acted like he was just some scrub somebody picked up on the streets of Slovenia, gave him a ball, and told him to shoot at the round-shaped thingy attached to the board. I do agree that he has to prove himself in this league, and that he shouldn't be praised just because he competed on the international stage and in Europe, but it still pisses me off that all of a sudden 90% of the people are acting like: "Oh, yeah, that guy is totally awesome, just like you'd expect.", and, of course, there's the 10% that are still saying "Meh.".

Also, I'd like to point out that I'm not a Suns fan in particular, nor a Dragic fan (if such a thing exists), nor am I Slovenian. I'm just using his case to criticize the general "if it didn't happen in the States, we don't care about it" attitude some people have.

Oh, and Steve Nash is a total badass, and Rondo is being a total Steve Nash right now for the Celtics.

Anonymous Geert said...
Phil Jackson, Master of Subtle Irony: "Ron is a person I think you have to have a more direct influence as far as the subtleties of irony that sometimes I get involved in might pass him by."

Anonymous Stockton said...
We... were... so close!!!!!!

AK returning, 13 point lead, FT advantage, and still lost... #### IT!!!!

Blogger Alex said...
Wow! I didn't know that the Celtics-Suns greatest game ever was in 1993! How'd I miss that one?


"The defending champ Los Angeles Lakers, the presumptive opponent in the Western final if the Lakers can close out their current 3-0 advantage over the Jazz, could be the only barrier in the Suns' way of appearing in their first NBA Final since their 1993 faceoff with the Celtics that brings back memories of the triple-overtime thriller in Boston Garden."