Fallen Crab
Talk about taking the Crab Dribble to strange new lengths...

The Cleveland Craboliers: By the end of the regular season, and as the Crabs were knocking a surprisingly fiesty Bulls team out of the playoffs, everybody was rushing to compare LeBron James to Michael Jordan. Guys like John Hollinger had the advanced stats to back up these claims, and one Chicago-based writer's 'Bron-gasm was so uncontrollable that he boldy proclaimed King Crab was going to be better than MJ. Forget the fact that James has yet to sniff an NBA championship...unless you count that four-game sweep in the 2007 Finals as getting a sniff.

I don't. I mean, did you see the Eastern Conference in 2007? That was some weak sauce.

I'll be honest: I hate forecasts. I hate predictions. And I hate comparisons. I get that people don't know whether they're buying a gallon of milk unless the words "One Gallon" actually appear on the jug. Measuring sticks are important when buying dairy products or bulk candy. But honestly, comparing players always seems to minimize and diminish both parties.

Think about it. Based on the numbers, LeBron is right there with Jordan, right? And yet he is not Jordan. I mean, can you imagine MJ's Bulls taking a huge dump at home in the playoffs right after Mike accepted an MVP trophy? Would that have ever happened? No. They would have had to carry away what was left of Jordan's teammates in a bucket. A small one. So that's what I'm talking about. When you use the numbers to say James is as good as MJ, it denigrates MJ's accomplishments, and when you hold Mike's end results up to LeBron's achievements to date, it seems like James can't DO IT when it really matters, crushing anyone and everyone in his path...which more than anything else was Jordan's hallmark.

Okay. I'm done with that rant.

So...how 'bout them Craboliers, huh? Maybe we should have seen this meltdown coming. After all, in the first round they were supposed to obliterate an undertalented Bulls team that barely eked into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season only because Chris Bosh broke his face and the Toronto Craptors pulled off an epic choke job down the stretch. Again, by comparison, all Jordan's Bulls ever left behind of teams like that were smoking craters surrounded by police tape. Yet Chicago -- a team that lives off long-range, contested two-point jumpers, a.k.a. the worst shot in basketball -- kept every game but one close and almost stole two in Cleveland.

Then it took an offensive collapse by the Celtics for the Crabs to win Game 1 of this series. So yeah, maybe we should have predicted something like this 104-86 loss was going to happen. But then, catastrophes are always obvious in hindsight.

Cleveland saw Boston's offensive collapse in the first game and upped the ante by getting outscored 31-12 in the third quarter of Game 2. According to ESPN Stats & Information, losing that quarter by 19 points tied for the second-highest negative scoring differential in a quarter the Cavaliers have ever had in a home playoff game. Seriously, that never even happened when Jordan was tormenting poor Craig Ehlo. That's some historic fail right there.

Of course, the Celtics -- being the Celtics -- nearly collapsed again. They led 91-66 with 9:08 left before the Crabs went on a 15-0 run to pull to within 93-83. Boston fans -- at least this one -- were thinking "Oh no...not again."

But it turns out a 25-point lead was actually enough this time.

Cleveland couldn't do anything (again) with Rajon Rondo, who tied a Boston franchise record by dishing out 19 assists. Ditto for Ray Allen (22 points, 8-for-15, 7 boards) and Kevin Garnett (18 points, 10 rebounds). Hell, even Rasheed Wallace killed it (17 points, 7-for-8, 3-for-4 from downtown, and a slam dunk).

Sheed dance
'Sheed celebrates his first good game as a Celtic.

Oh, what the heck. Here are some of 'Sheed's highlights:


Crabs "coach" Mike Brown was freaking out after the game: "We did not fight back until late. We've gotta decide if we're going to take the fight to them and take these games. Nothing is going to be given to us at all. Ain't a ... damn thing going to be given to us at all in this series.

"We've got to fight better than what we did tonight. Coming from behind in the first game, coming from behind in the second game, that's not good enough. That's not good enough for me or anybody in that locker room. If we expect to win that series, we've gotta bring more of a sense of urgency than what we brought tonight. Plain and simple they kicked our behinds."

He's not wrong. About that, anyway. I won't go into his offensive playcalling.

I'm also not going into the bizarre officiating in this game (although I knew things were going to be bad when, early on, KG was body-blocked to the ground on a layup in front of an official but didn't get the call). I'll leave the final epitaph to stephanie g.:

The shot, the drive, the fumble...the elbow?

Seemed like everyone was in on a conspiracy to make this game have as many bawful threads as possible. The freshly minted MVP sucking badly, Cleveland getting killed, lots of funny calls that make no sense, a mini-Boston meltdown, a fan throwing a beer bottle, fans booing Mo Williams, lots of silly "confrontations," Rondo almost getting the playoff assist record by messing around, Mike Brown looking clueless, and 'Sheed actually playing well. The only thing missing was KG punching someone and then running away.
Update! Officiating: I know, I know. I said I wasn't going to say anything about the officiating...but COME ON. The nearest ref should have demanded 'Bron's passport before this travesty happened. I decided to refer to the official NBA Video Rule Book on this one...turn's out 'Bron's move is a legal jump stop: "An offensive player may end his dribble by alighting off of one foot and landing simultaneously on both feet. The offensive player on this play gathers the ball, alights from his right foot, and then lands with both feet simultaneously on the floor. Note that at this point, the player may not pivot; if he lifts either foot, the ball must be released prior to that foot returning to the floor."

My bad.


Mo Williams: Remember his slam that woke the Crabs up in Game 1? Yeah, I know...it's hard for me to remember it too, especially after last night's 1-for-9 shooting performance.

Speaking of Mo and his Game 1 jam, Basketbawful reader V Singhai would like you to see Mike Brown's reaction to it:


Shaq: The Big Creaky played only 19 minutes, going 4-for-10 from the field and grabbing one lonely defensive rebound. The "moves" that worked against Chicago's undersized frontcourt -- namely, shove the defender around and wipe him out with a forearm smash -- don't work against Kendrick Perkins. That fact renders Shaq pretty useless against the Celtics.

Doc Rivers, quote machine: After being told that his team led the league in technical fouls this season, Doc said: "That was our goal."

The San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs have been the Suns' Kryptonite during the Nash era. Since Captain Canada came to Phoenix, the Suns are winless against the Spurs in the playoffs but are 6-1 against everybody else.

Apparently, that fact pisses Nash off.

And Steve went the hell off against the Spurs in Game one, hitting his first five shots, scoring 17 points in the first quarter, and finishing with game-highs in points (33) and assists (10). Nash shot 13-for-19 from the field, 2-for-4 from downtown, and 5-for-6 from the line. No one could stay in front of him. Nothing could stop him.

Of course, everybody is making such a huge deal about King Crab's elbow...meanwhile, a 36-year-old dude with a chronic back ailment and a bum hip is killing the Spurs. Maybe Steve's whole body needs a Twitter page like LeBron's elbow.

Awesome.

Said Nash: "You never know what the game is going to present. You have to be willing and aggressive and do whatever you can. For me, I didn't know how I was going to feel physically, but dragging my leg around in Game 6 in Portland wasn't very fun and it was great to get out there and feel like I could do something."

Other than their usual problem with turnovers -- where they gave up 18 points off 16 miscues -- the Suns ran their game plan to perfection. They ran out for 27 fast break points, scored 56 points in the paint, and shot 52 percent for the game. Hell, they even outrebounded San Antonio 44-38, including a 37-29 advantage on the defensive backboards.

And although they got exploited (per usual) by the Spurs' big three of Tim Duncan (20 points, 11 rebounds), Tony Parker (26 points, 11-for-21) and Manu Ginobili (27 points, 4 steals), for once they didn't let San Antonio's role players kill them with clutch shots and key plays.

It was a complete reversal of fortunes. Instead of the Suns having to claw their way back into the game, the Spurs had their big push swatted aside by clutch plays being made against them by a Phoenix team that has historically folded in these situations.

Egad!

Richard Jefferson: Look, the Spurs know what they're getting out of TD, TP and Bat Manu. The Suns know what they're getting out of Captain Candada and STAT. That means this series will come down to X-Factors...and the two biggest X-Factors are Jason Richardson and Richard Jefferson.

Richardson finished with 27 points while shooting 10-for-16 from the field and 3-for-6 from downtown. The Suns are now 30-4 this season (regular season and playoffs) when Richardson scores 20-plus points.

On the other end of the good-suck spectrum is Jefferson, who logged 33 minutes but scored only 5 points on 1-for-3 shooting. Remember: This guy was supposed to be the Difference Maker for the 2009-10 Spurs. Instead, he's been their Walton's foot.

George Hill: Hill is still starting at PG for San Antonio, and like Jefferson he played for 33 minutes. Too bad he forgot to contribute. The line: 2-for-9 from the field, 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, and only 1 assist. And Nash abused him so badly I'm surprised the Department of Family and Protective Services wasn't called in.

Kyrylo Fesenko And now a very special message from The Dude Abides:

Mr. Bawful, I'm very disappointed that you haven't been talking about my new favorite player Kyrylo Fesenko, starting center for the Utah Jazz. How can you not love a player who Sloan believes was distracted by the balloons dropped from the rafters during the Game 6 introductions, leading to his worst game of the Denver series?

"I think he was a little bit concerned about the balloons going off when he was starting the game," Sloan said. "Everybody has to have fun, but you've got to stay focused on how to play basketball. That's what we've said all along. He's got to continue to work at that."

That is one of my favorite quotes ever. I'm hoping that if he's ever in a situation where he catches a full-court pass on his way to a fastbreak dunk, some fan behind the basket rolls out a ball of yarn to distract him, he dribbles the ball off his foot and out of bounds, then dives on the ball of yarn and tries to push it away from his hands with his feet.

Of course, that scenario probably won't happen, because this is what he did on Saturday:

"The Jazz had Fesenko working on his catching with a ball-return machine before Saturday's practice."

Yeah, he'll probably drop that full-court pass, anyway.
My most sincre apologies, TDA. I hope my inclusion of your comment in today's post has rectified my unfortunate oversight.

Lacktion report: And now, chris presents those players who were even less active than LeBron's elbow:

Celtics-Crabs: As the crustacean nation cleared out the Q, garbage time took over in the final 74 seconds - time enough for Boobie Gibson and Jawad Williams to each claw a brick from Euclid Avenue for a +1 suck differential! Meanwhile, Nate Robinson and Shelden Williams consulted Laikatu's cloud in 40 seconds as Mario Brothers, while Marquis Daniels fouled and bricked once in 6:10 for a +2.

Spurs-Suns: Garrett Temple continues to be a headstrong participant in any rapid-fire Super Smash Bros. showdowns, as evidenced by a 7-second Super Mario! For Phoenix, starter-in-name-only Jarron Collins countered a board in 8:50 with a brick, foul, and giveaway for a 2:1 Voskuhl.

Labels: , , ,

59 Comments:
Blogger Kristinn Bergmann said...
You know, I can't see that Lebron travelled. He's dribbling the ball and once he stops dribbling he jumps from his pivot foot.

Blogger Barry said...
Doc Rivers' reaction is just golden. You can see him thinking: "One......two.....three?"

And then a confused look back at the bench. Seriously how do you not call that? Even James was checking with the ref.

Blogger Cortez said...
"In no known universe is this not a travel."

King Crab irks me like no other in the modern age but this isn't as clear cut as people are making it.

Watch the video again from the closer angle.

It looks as if he ends his dribble on his left foot at first glance.

His dribble doesn't actually end until he has established his right foot on the ground (step 1) then he jumps and lands on two feet (step 2) then he jumps up and takes the shot.

That is perfectly legal.

At any rate...

Go Celtics!

He stopped dribbing with his right foot on the ground. Then he jumped into the lane, and landed. Then he jumped again, and laid it in. That is a travel, specifically, an up-and-down. You cannot fully leave the ground with possession of the ball, and then land again without getting rid of it. It is not a "step".

Anonymous Mladen said...
I have to agree with Kristinn and Cortez. I don't know in which universe you live, but that's a legitimate basketball move in this one...

Anyway, now we have video proof that Mike Brown is retarded.

Anonymous UpA said...
According to the Ask Bernie Section on NBA.com:

"A friend of mine uses the jump stop almost obsessively. After landing on a jump stop, you have to shoot or pass, don't you? He claims that he still has a pivot foot and that he has one more move to make. To me, he's traveling so often he should be earning Frequent Flier Miles. Please help us solve this quandary.
-- Da Vulture

Bernie's Answer: When a player gathers the ball with one foot on the floor, he is allowed to take a step and jump off the other foot (step one) and then land simultaneously with both feet (step two). That's a jump stop. At that point he may not pivot. If one or both of his feet leave the floor, he must shoot or pass prior to it returning to the floor."

So then... L'ElBow makes 2 steps and THEN the jump stop, and WHAT A JUMP STOP!, BTW, is there a max height-distance allowed for a jump stop?

I'll start a group on Facebook called "Going strong against LeCrab's Traveling Violations and Refs whistle swallows"

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I double-checked with the official NBA Video Rule Book. LeBron did, in fact, execute a legal jump stop. Post updated.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Can we at least agree that the "jump stop" rule is beyond confusing since it doesn't really fit in the same mold any of the other dribbling/traveling rules? I had no idea this rule even existed, and for the life of me can't figure out why the rule exists.

Anonymous Axe Head said...
If Lebron James fails this year AND next year, he'll have matched Michael Jordan's career-starting championship futility.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i think what makes the jump stop confusing is the height. Lebron's jump was rather high than the usual jump stop that i'm used to seeing which is what made it look like a travel at first...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
oops, late to the jump stop party

Anonymous Anonymous said...
A jump stop is a legal move. The question is when he gathered the ball too soon. When he grabs the ball with both hands, is he off the ground yet? I certainly can't tell in real time, and even in slow-motion it's very close. I know the announcers thought it was a travel, but they're wrong sometimes (often). I would love to see some of the Celtic muggings again though. Some of those no-calls were so bad that even the obnoxious rule-benders in my pick-up league would admit, "yeah, I fouled you there."

Also, yeah, Lebron is no Jordan. His elbow's ridiculous, but I blame the announcers/espn for that being blown out of proportion. If you've watched Lebron play, he often explores what is possible on the basketball court. His left-handed free throw seemed very much like a "My elbow's buggin me, I wonder if I can get this to go" sort of thing. He's not a stupid guy, and he's certainly willing to have public attention focused on him, but I think you give him too much credit if you think he's trying to make people think he's seriously hurt. His game and his interactions with the media portray a transcendental and self-absorbed athlete that loves the game and maybe doesn't pay enough attention to what other people will make of his words. His focus on winning isn't Jordan-esque, but his efficiency (offensively) definitely is.

He also seems to get along with his teammates better than Jordan ever did, and Jordan didn't win titles for a while either. His crazy 1988 MVP season he got knocked out 4-1 by the pistons in the 2nd round I think, and people started saying that a scorer like him couldn't win it all, and we know how that turned out.

Comparisons, huh? Who knows? If he keeps this up for a few more years, Lebron might be end up more like Karl Malone (in efficiency, build, and no championships or killer instinct) than Jordan.

Still, that game 5 against the pistons was an incredible experience. I'm a Boston fan (born and raised), so I'm not hoping for it this year, but I'd love to have another experience like that: watching 2 teams I don't really care about, but being blown away by the brilliance.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Can we at least agree that the 'jump stop' rule is beyond confusing since it doesn't really fit in the same mold any of the other dribbling/traveling rules?"

No.

The primary problem is that very few people know any of the actual rules in the first place.

For example...

"BTW, is there a max height-distance allowed for a jump stop?"

and

"i think what makes the jump stop confusing is the height."

See what I mean? Imagine that.

[Ref:] Traveling! You jumped 27" inches high. You can only jump 24" inches, you should know that son.

Anonymous DKH said...
I was also going to comment that the video just shows a jump stop, but it looks like others got here first. My question/observation: I see this move more often in the college game than at the NBA level. Any idea why this is? (Assuming the observation is accurate; maybe there was just an Arizona player that liked the move a lot.)

Do NBA players not want to restrict themselves to passing or shooting with no pivot foot after executing the stop?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Can we at least agree that the "jump stop" rule is beyond confusing since it doesn't really fit in the same mold any of the other dribbling/traveling rules? I had no idea this rule even existed, and for the life of me can't figure out why the rule exists.

Yes, we can. I was always taught you couldn't jump, land, and then jump again. But the jump stop move allows you to do just that. Why couldn't a player jump up for a shot, decide against it, and then jump again? Why create two different sets of circumstances where jumping twice is both legal and not legal?

If Lebron James fails this year AND next year, he'll have matched Michael Jordan's career-starting championship futility.

I was HOPING somebody would bring that up...

...and here's the difference.

Jordan didn't win his first title until his seventh season (this is King Crab's seventh season by the way...). It could easily be argued that the Bulls weren't talented enough to win it all during his first six seasons, and that MJ did not yet "get it," did not yet understand that he needed to trust his teammates instead of doubting and demeaning them for every mistake.

Once the Bulls had sufficient talent and Jordan "learned The Secret" (as Bill Simmons might say), the Bulls became virutually unstoppable.

Well, first off, LeBron has gotten The Secret from Day 1. Way back when he passed to an open Donyell Marshall for the potential game-winner in a critical playoff game -- even though the Crabs lost -- it was clear that, for all his faults as an ego-maniac of the highest order, James is a team-first player. So, at least in that area, he was far ahead of Jordan.

Now, the Crabs had sufficient talent to win it all last season but did not. They have sufficient talent to do so this season...and they certainly could. But, again, when MJ's Bulls had sufficient talent to win, they were unstoppable. LeBron's Cavs are not. They were upset last season, and they haven't looked great this season. They struggled with the Bulls, a vastly inferior team. They got blown out at home by the Celtics...a team with similar talent but one that should not have so thoroughly humiliated them at home in a critical playoff game.

Everyone was talking about LeBron as a closer and an assassin because of his evil eyes during the Bulls series, but while he may be Jordan's near equal by the numbers, he does not possess Jordan's will and killer instinct...which was almost surreal.

That's the primary difference and why, for now, Jordan is unapproachable.

Blogger Dooj said...
I know it's not basketball, but it certainly is bawful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-RLqLx1iYI

Anonymous Axe Head said...
I messed up on the James championship futility. I looked up James on basketball-reference.com, and something failed in my brain, and for some reason I saw four years in James's past, which, if I had stopped to think (and I didn't), is clearly wrong. There's no explaining it except: 1) I saw what I wanted to see or 2) it's too early in the day for me.

I did look at the Jordan Bulls first six years, and there were some sloppy playoff wins, but you're right--starting in year 7, they were killers. And James should be a killer now, but isn't.

Also, Jordan had Phil Jackson, who is a killer coach. Mike Brown just isn't in the same class, and coaching really does matter (witness Denver total meltdown).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Also, Jordan had Phil Jackson, who is a killer coach. Mike Brown just isn't in the same class, and coaching really does matter (witness Denver total meltdown).

You're absolutely right. It could very well be that LeBron has been crippled so far by bad coaching. Well, offensively speaking. Brown is a great defensive coach.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
In addition to Nash going crazy, Goran Dragic had 2 "how in the hell did he get that layup" layups last night. I found last night to be acceptably entertaining.

BTW, if James doesn't win his first championship this season, he'll be behind Jordan. I hope this is an additional motivating factor to building a superteam in Chicago/Miami/NY/whereever.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
I said it before, and I really think that SA is going to have problems without Bowen to guard Nash. And by "guard" I mean bludgeon, grab, hack, nut-sack, and hip-check.

Bowen used to pester Nash into making bad passes, prevent his penetration (huh huh), and keep him from getting a clean look at the basket. Bowen was as quick as Nash, but had giant octopus-arms and was hell-bent on shutting him down. Now that he's gone, I think Nash is going to have his way against them because they just don't have a guy that could do what he did- especially hitting those fucking annoying corner-3's with amazing frequency. Got I hated Bowen.

Here's hoping and praying that the Suns finally get by the Spurs. If they do, to hell with the conference finals. This year's playoffs will be a roaring success for them.

Blogger Drake said...
The most confusing part of the jump stop rules? I think the idea that you can land on both feet, simultaneously, and be credited for taking only "one step" according to the NBA rulebook is rather mindboggling. As others have put it, this rule is so unlike the other dribbling/traveling rules that it just seems wrong. But it's legal nevertheless. Just keep practicing it and use it in your pickup games, and you'll have another weapon at your disposal.

Speaking of travelling rules, one of the keys to a McHale-esque (not Mr. Bawful, although I hear he has decent moves down low) low post game is understanding what how you can move your feet around. After all, footwork is one of the biggest parts of the low post game. And if you don't understand what you can or can't do off the dribble, your repertoire is going to remain limited. Also, if you know the rules, you can argue your way out of fake "traveling" violations that are bound to occur just after you've abused your defender(s).

Finally, if there's one thing not not to learn from Kevin McHale, it's his art of switching the pivot foot. Or, try to switch them quickly enough so nobody's even sure whether to call traveling or not....pretty much just like McHale did back in the day.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
AK Dave - This year's Suns team may actually find motivation to try and sweep the Spurs, since doing that would be glorious, glorious revenge for 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2008 for the Phoenix fans. But alas, they will probably be all soft and give up game 2, and/or one in San Antonio.

Bruce Bowen cameo in the new Karate Kid movie please!

Blogger Dan B. said...
I was always taught you couldn't jump, land, and then jump again. But the jump stop move allows you to do just that. Why couldn't a player jump up for a shot, decide against it, and then jump again? Why create two different sets of circumstances where jumping twice is both legal and not legal?

That's why I assumed the jump stop move was traveling. It's not used very often by any of the pro or college teams I watch regularly, so it always surprises me. And the move goes against all of the basic logic my dad taught me about traveling rules. Not really sure why it was written into the rulebook when it's such an anomoly compared to the rest of the traveling rules.

Blogger Iceberg said...
I suppose I should say up front that I am a Cavs fan, but I think this might be falling into the 'judging a team/series off of the most recent game' trap. This should be a 6 game Cavs-win series, right? The blow out is bad, but a loss is a loss. I expect the Cavs to steal at least one in Boston and still win the series.

As for the LeBron--MJ comparison, I don't see a problem in making the comparison. I don't mean to be a LeBron apologist -- I think he has an asinine ego and the Yankees gear pisses me off (fan whore) -- but James is obviously trying to mold himself after Jordan, so that comparison should be made. What is someone supposed to say in a column, 'LeBron is clearly a great offensive player, and maybe in 5-10 years we can start trying to compare him to Jordan'? I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to point out individual-level similarities. That being said, I do agree that it might be more interesting to see a comparison of their mentalities than their stats. I definitely don't think LeBron has the same killer instincts as Jordan (or Kobe).

Anyhow, I have a question about the early Jordan v. LeBron playoff experiences: how would you compare the big men that each had at that point? I think the Cavs have a rotation of solid players, and I like them all individually, but I think you'd have to agree that is the weakness of this team.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Why is lebrons elbow on and off? Game 1, crabs won and lebrons elbow was just fine and dandy. Game 2 they lose and suddenly the media says lebrons elbow is as healthy as Alex Murphy was after he got gunned down (Robocop reference.

Plenty of upper echelon players play when hurt. Hell the black mamba has an arthritic finger, a sore knee and a bum ankle and still he shuts and plays his game. Jordan like my ass.

Blogger geremy said...
i wanted to take this moment to show my appriciation for lebron's consecutive MVP award.

just like the last time a man with NO CHAMPIONSHIPS took home his second MVP trophy in a row, every media outlet is busy talking about the reigning mvp's unquestionable deservedness of such an award. how the near landslide of votes still wasn't enough for king james' amazing-ful-ness.
that, and spending the entire next day discussing a highly important "hop stop" move.

yup. unquestioned. that's EXACTLY how it went down the day after last time. so good to see history repeating itself in a fair manner.

Blogger gordon gartrelle said...
Yeah, getting demolished at home like that should never happen to a player like Lebron, but these things happen to pretty much all sub-Jordan players.

Kobe let the Celtics come back from two 20 point deficits in LA in the 08 Finals (Boston won one of them), and none of us held that against him (well, I enjoyed it, but it didn't mean he wasn't a great player).


I've been saying it here for a while, but the Cavs aren't winning jack this year. Last season, even with a less talented team, they played more consistently, they were hungrier. They just ran up against a matchup nightmare in Orlando.

They are complacent this season, which is weird since they haven't won anything and Lebron's future in Cleveland could ride on this post-season.

Blogger Eddie said...
Popovich seems to have a thing for these types of statements...makes you wonder...

“He ran it down our throat,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Anonymous Tree said...
Bawful - you deleted a comment?!? I've never witnessed that on this site before ... smart-assery seems to be encouraged here (which is why I read everyday)!

On another note, something must be said about Paxson's "apology" to Del Negro today. It takes a big man to attack a coach, try and leak some BS to the press that suggests he was actually the victim of an attack by VDN, and then take the time to apologize to him months later after he's fired the guy. Let's all stand in awe for the jack-assery of Paxson (I've never used the 'word' assery before today ...)!

Blogger BadDave said...
Tree - Every now and then a comment gets deleted - it's usually beyond smart-assery and into superdickery. One of the things that made this site successful was Bawful's zero tolerance for flame wars or outrageous inappropriate language. Even in Bawful, we have respect.

Elbron has one thing in comparison that he totally pwns MJ: Public Relations. MJ wasn't nearly as big at this point in his career in mainstream culture.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Bawful - you deleted a comment?!? I've never witnessed that on this site before ... smart-assery seems to be encouraged here (which is why I read everyday)!

I didn't delete a comment...at least not knowingly. AnacondaHL, Dan B. and Chris all have the authority to do that...guys? Any word on this?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I suppose I should say up front that I am a Cavs fan, but I think this might be falling into the 'judging a team/series off of the most recent game' trap. This should be a 6 game Cavs-win series, right? The blow out is bad, but a loss is a loss. I expect the Cavs to steal at least one in Boston and still win the series.

I'm not saying the Crabs won't still win the series, or that they can't. Only that, for the best team in the league (based on the regular season records) with the best player on the planet, they haven't looked very good so far. Aside from the Game 4 blowout in Chicago, Cleveland struggled with the Bulls, were saved by Boston's offensive collapse in Game 1, and got their asses whupped in Game 2. So the buildup to this loss shouldn't have been too surprising, considering their play has not been stellar in the postseason. Maybe this will be a wakeup call. Maybe they aren't as good as we thought. I guess we'll find out.

As for the LeBron--MJ comparison, I don't see a problem in making the comparison. I don't mean to be a LeBron apologist -- I think he has an asinine ego and the Yankees gear pisses me off (fan whore) -- but James is obviously trying to mold himself after Jordan, so that comparison should be made. What is someone supposed to say in a column, 'LeBron is clearly a great offensive player, and maybe in 5-10 years we can start trying to compare him to Jordan'? I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to point out individual-level similarities. That being said, I do agree that it might be more interesting to see a comparison of their mentalities than their stats. I definitely don't think LeBron has the same killer instincts as Jordan (or Kobe).

Like I said in the post, comparing LeBron (as good as he is) to the greatest player ever before 'Bron's career is even half-over (assuming he never suffers a major injury) does both player's a disservice. Frankly, LeBron hasn't even begun to approach Jordan's greatness yet. Comparing them right now with intellectual honesty makes James seem very inferior, and it also minimizes the way Jordan simply owned the NBA during the second half of his career. If you want to compare this or that LeBron season to this or that Jordan season, fine, by all means do so. But at the moment, Jordan's body of work is untouchable. And until somebody is actually approaching that, I would prefer we shelf the comparisons.

Anyhow, I have a question about the early Jordan v. LeBron playoff experiences: how would you compare the big men that each had at that point? I think the Cavs have a rotation of solid players, and I like them all individually, but I think you'd have to agree that is the weakness of this team.

Hm. Do you think Jordan would have preferred playing with an over-the-hill Shaq or an over-the-hill Bill Cartwright? Or, for that matter, Will Perdue, Bill Wennington, Luc Longley, et al.?

Even Big Z had more all-around skills than any of MJ's centers. On the other hand, Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman were probably better than any PF LeBron has had at his disposal.

The real key, I think, was coaching. Phil Jackson made better use of his big men than Mike Brown has made of his. In the final analysis, one of the main things separating MJ and LeBron may be the coaching.

Blogger Iceberg said...
Pretty sure the comment was deleted by the person who wrote the comment. Blogger lets you do that if you are logged in to your Google account.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Iceberg might be right. I haven't deleted any comments today. (I usually read comments before I will approve them, but 95% of the time if I don't approve something, it's because it's just a spam message)

Anonymous Tree said...
That comment was really in jest ... I assumed it was worthy of deletion. It just made me wonder what someone could have said, given the stupidity of certain comments I've seen in the past (i.e. 30% of the Lakers/Kobe comments ...). With the informal nature of the site and the light heartedness and humour of the posts, I just assumed that there's very little opportunity for someone to be a dick.

Blogger Iceberg said...
There is no way the bodies of work compare, and I really don't think they ever will. I still find the individual, season-based comparisons interesting. For one thing, it helps identify where the difference between the players' and/or teams' success must be, right? If James is having what should be an all-time great season, but he isn't, then what is the problem? Is it mental, is it the team, etc. etc. I understand your frustration though, because most people probably do just read Hollinger and decide that James=Jordan, and that clearly isn't true.

The question about teams was sincere. I know who was on the teams, but I don't have any way to compare them myself. I was too little to be watching much ball when Jordan won his first title. As for the coaching, Mike Brown's comment from early in the year about how he wanted his players to coach in the playoffs told me all I needed to know about his utility in getting the Cavs over the hump.

Anyhow, thanks for the detailed response.

Blogger Cortez said...
"I just assumed that there's very little opportunity for someone to be a dick."

Ha! You better check my previous posts!

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
Mr. Bawful, I am honored that you included my Fesenko comments in today's post. He is now my favorite non-Laker.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Funny thing is, we have to approve the comment before it can be deleted by the comment author, so it still gets sent by e-mail (if you were an earlier poster and had checked the box to recieve follow-up notifications). Sadly, my first comment came well after said deletion, so it may be a mystery forever...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
http://basketbawful.blogspot.com/2007/06/draft-day-whaaaaa.html


GOOD CALL ON THAT WHOLE ARTICLE. LOLZ

Anonymous Sorbo said...
The Celts-Cavs series has been all about poor coaching by Brown. For example:

-Garnett is guarding Jamison, but we've yet to see one iso play on the wing. Insane, everyone knows Garnett has lost a step on guarding perimeter guys.
-Boston has trouble with younger, faster teams (see: Atlanta). Stick a line-up of Varajao at center and any combo of Cleveland's younger guards/forwards to speed the game up.
-Run Rondo off screens. Get the ball out of his hands.

Blogger stephanie g said...
http://docfunk.blogspot.com/

This blog has been cranking out a ton of playoff caption pictures. Sturgeon's Law applies here, but there's some pretty good ones.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9IqfGr0b-I/AAAAAAAABvM/NHZsS-b_wLI/s1600/10.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S8tOszNHISI/AAAAAAAABYc/oaNULEWWMZg/s1600/15.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S93j-HvgJrI/AAAAAAAACa8/BIL9I8lkljU/s1600/17.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9dDP4RxX-I/AAAAAAAACD0/UuHMJGsyrcI/s400/02.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9qCMevezFI/AAAAAAAACPU/g-FxlfAqLa0/s1600/08.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9oT8YCk-kI/AAAAAAAACOU/ZDD-out2Ins/s1600/11.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9E28JUjUCI/AAAAAAAABt8/ZlKSRLLoerc/s1600/15.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9UgMN8LO8I/AAAAAAAAB9c/2BdZ0ZO6u0s/s1600/03.jpg
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9joQspnmSI/AAAAAAAACKE/_b4iV6lo9QM/s400/11.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CqDk4jAv_Y4/S9kOWhlR1nI/AAAAAAAACLs/tqY2GMmNPdM/s1600/06.jpg

Blogger Wormboy said...
I'm not fond of comparisons. Jordan was a great lock down defender, and LeBron isn't. But Jordan didn't pull nearly as many of those "how the hell did he get to that ball" come from behind blocks. They're very different players, with very different styles. We didn't call Jordan "the next Russell." Why should we insult Jordan (and LeBron) with this silliness?

How about we just agree that LeBron is the next LeBron? He is clearly an all-time great. His game is unique. He hasn't yet proved himself on the biggest stage, but I have little doubt that he will. Isn't "top 10 player" sufficient?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Don't you just love how the shock of getting enough plays for a Sheed highlight reel robbed the uploader of the ability to spell

Anonymous DKH said...
I'm not saying the Crabs won't still win the series, or that they can't. Only that, for the best team in the league (based on the regular season records) with the best player on the planet, they haven't looked very good so far. Aside from the Game 4 blowout in Chicago, Cleveland struggled with the Bulls, were saved by Boston's offensive collapse in Game 1, and got their asses whupped in Game 2. So the buildup to this loss shouldn't have been too surprising, considering their play has not been stellar in the postseason. Maybe this will be a wakeup call. Maybe they aren't as good as we thought. I guess we'll find out.

I agree the Cavs haven't been stellar thus far this postseason, but the only reason last night's game was a blowout was Rasheed Wallace. I doubt the Cavs planned for that guy to go 7-8 for 17 points. If he turns in his usual stat line, then it's a much more manageable game for the Cavs late (although still a likely loss).

Totally agree with all the comments regarding the Cavs coaching. Mike Brown is just not in the top tier of coaches.

Also: holy crap do the refs ever plan to call an illegal screen this series? I only saw the first half of the game, but I'm pretty sure I saw 10-15 illegal screens between Perkins, Varejao, and Garnett, including one where Perkins just straight up bear hugged Mo Williams (I think) to get Rondo open.

Also, you reference a KG play (in the original post) where he got decimated by, I think, Varejao, and you are right. But I'm also pretty sure KG shoved a Cavs player down right before he took the shot, so it's tough to be sympathetic. I also saw the Celtics obliterate shooters following two Cavalier three-point shots.

Even with all this, the Cavs had a 31-16 PF advantage. I don't know if that's ref favoritism, or if the Celtics are making a concerted effort to put people on the line. Obviously, shooting only 68% at the line encourages your opponent to put you there.

Blogger stephanie g said...
There are also some articles and tweets out there saying Fesenko has also been distracted by the kiss cam and the LA girls.

As far as Lebron vs. Jordan I never liked that comparison much. I'd say LeBron is more like a modern day Magic (even down to their personalities) or what Barkley would've been given another couple of inches and if he didn't eat donuts all day.

Other than the fact that LeBron scores a lot of points on great efficiency their games just aren't very similar. LeBron loves 3s, Jordan never did. Jordan's game up until his 1st retirement revolved around pull up jumpers. LeBron rarely stops for the mid-range pull up right on the edge of the paint. If he did he'd be almost unstoppable, but I wonder if someone that big can even stop himself in time. LeBron goes 1 on 5 at the top of the circle for most of the game, Jordan usually started his offense on the wing or coming off pin downs. Jordan did the top of the circle thing too, but not nearly as much. Jordan did most of work on offense just getting open. His off the ball movement was vastly superior to LeBron's (and even if James wanted to emulate this he'd be worse just due to his size).

One area that LeBron comes close is that he converts at the basket really well. Not in the same way though. He has some pretty moves, but Jordan had way more variety. But the raw efficiency is really high if you look at 82games. I haven't checked this year, but he's always at the top of the league for perimeter players, usually by like 5-10%, which is nuts.

Also, even though though nothing would make me happier than seeing LeBron (and Kobe!) epic fail, I would say that MJ had way better teams early on. Pippen is better than every non-Lebron Cav starter put together, even in the late '80s when he was a wimp. Horace Grant is better than most of the Cavs too. I think Hickson has the physical tools to be as good but he's raw as hell and mostly good for fast breaks and alley oops or broken plays. Not so much in a half court set. The Cavs are deeper, but I'd rather have that top 3-4 really good players than 8 slightly above average players.

But mostly my biggest criticism of LeBron is that it seems all of his shots are either terrible 3s, long 2s, or very close in baskets (which is good, but once he beats his man everyone knows what he's gonna do and they pack that paint. That's how he gets shut down so easily). The mid-range area is hardly ever used. His post game is horrid looking whenever he tries. People sometimes say MJ only developed a post up when he aged but that's not true at all. He relied on it more, sure, but he had an insane post up by '88 if you care to watch old games. He destroyed Clyde's soul in '92 with a foundation of post play.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: You just described Mike Brown as a "good defensive coach."

Um, isn't that what we're supposed to credit the real coach of the team, King Crab, for? :P I wonder what practices must be like..."okay, guys, turn over the ball and I'll do a chasedown."

Other than the C's and Crabs, can anyone think of a less-externally-coached team in the Association right now?

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
Stephanie G, those Fesenko tweets are from Kevin Ding's twitter feed:

Fesenko absolutely transfixed by the Kiss Me Cam on the scoreboard in this timeout.
1:15 PM May 2nd via TweetDeck

Then, eight minutes later:

Fesenko, the sequel: Fesenko absolutely transfixed by Laker Girls in this timeout.
1:23 PM May 2nd via TweetDeck

http://twitter.com/KevinDing

Blogger Basketbawful said...
You just described Mike Brown as a "good defensive coach." Um, isn't that what we're supposed to credit the real coach of the team, King Crab, for? :P I wonder what practices must be like..."okay, guys, turn over the ball and I'll do a chasedown."

The Crabs actually play pretty solid, fundamental defense, and they have since Brown took over. LeBron's defense had definitely improved since he started giving a shit about it...

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: Is the lead crustacean caring about defense something that he motivated himself on his own to do, or did Mike Brown's words of advice lead him in that direction?

Blogger Shiv said...
Another confusing aspect about this whole jump-stop business is why jumping of one leg and landing on both is legal, but jumping off one foot and landing on the same foot is not, rendering the hop-step illegal.

@Geremy: They have an award for the MVP who won a championship. It's called the FINALS MVP.

@Bawful: You forgot Pippen. He could have been a superstar on any other team. He was the second best wing in the league (after you know who), but chose to defer and be a complementary player while also playing good-cop to MJ's bad-cop. As dominant as MJ was, I don't think it's possible to overrate Pippen's contribution to those championships either in tangibles or intangibles. If Wade decides to play for Cleveland next season, then maybe we'll be getting close to putting Lebron on even footing with MJ (as far as team-wise talent goes).

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Steve Nash, responding to Wilbon on PTI about what could possibly go wrong with the Suns against the Spurs considering the history:

"[i]*deep breath* Yea, you never know... I mean, uh, at any moment uh... something could come down from the rafters, or... something could come out of the Hot Tub Time Machine..."

I love him so much.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
and apparently I fail at using i tags. bleh.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: Nash afraid that 2005-era Bruce Bowen will be arriving from the HTTM?

Anonymous Robert M said...
Since I've loved the Suns as long as I followed the NBA (about 10 years now), last night was a wonderful game for me. However, if the Suns lose this series after getting all their fans' hopes up....I think we'll all simultaneously drink ourselves into a coma.

Also, I want Nash to get to the finals - this could actually be their year. The Spurs, Jazz, and Lakers are all teams they could "possibly" beat.

Blogger Barry said...
Fair enough, I didn't know that jump-stop rule. To my untrained European eye it seems kind of awkward but if it's legal, alright.

To my defense, I'm a Celtics fan and I'll criticize anything Cleveland right now!

Blogger geremy said...
Shiv wrote "They have an award for the MVP who won a championship. It's called the FINALS MVP."

@Shiv: in trying to be light about the issue i think i may have talked around my own point. i'm aware that there is a finals mvp. my issue is that the day after Nash took home his second i had to listen to every media outlet and their mom bash him. the defense was that nash was undeserving to have a second mvp because he didn't have a ring, and that the voters only give him the second, without the ring, because he was white.

yet after king james wins his second (and deserving i believe), not a single media outlet is complaining about the "ringless" factor that dominated the news when nash was awarded his. instead the air is filled with an unquestionable sense of how much he deserves this. sounds totally fair. there were even some calling for nash to give the award back, and to this day there are commentators who always astersik any comment regarding nash's two awards or side commenting on his two by saying he only deserved one at most. rediculous.

Blogger Shiv said...
@ Geremy: Sorry about the misunderstanding. I completely agree with you.

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