bulls sad bench
"We got Carlos Boozer back. Yay."

WizardsGenerals-Raptors: Let's go to our live correspondent (via the BAD comments):

Hey loyal Basketbawul readers! Toronto resident and faithful Craptors fan The Other Chris here with an eyewitness account of tonight's exciting lacktion - Craptors vs. Generals!

Now, the last time these two teams played on November 17th, the Raptors had just come off of a Florida back-to-back where - despite their 1-7 record - they beat Orlando at home and gave Miami a good run. They then travelled to Washington, to play one of the worst teams in the NBA, on three days rest.. and got their asses handed to them like a turkey on Thanksgiving. I personally stopped watching said game in abject disgust. The Internet tells me that the corpse of Gilbert Arenas scored 20 points, with Bawful All-Star Andray Blatche dropping 22 and Nick Young chipping in 20. This is without #1 overall pick John Wall, by the way.

So the stage was set for a classic revenge game. Or more bipolar girlfriend play from the Raptors. Which team would show up - the one that beats Orlando and Boston, or the one that gets bitchslapped at home by Atlanta and Charlotte?

Well, the Raps and Wiz must have a prop bet about who can suck more on the road, because Washington started badly and went downhill. Then rolled off a cliff, smashed into the bottom, caught on fire, and exploded. After allowing the Raptors to score 72 points in the FIRST HALF, Washington "responded" by coming out after halftime and immediately turning the ball over three times for three layups. 28 point lead, game over.

Someone forgot to tell Washington that the game had started and it was time to do things like defend the rim, or defend at all, because the Raptors were running a layup drill all night. Let's see - 58% from the field, 55% from three. And that doesn't begin to reflect the beating the Dinos laid on the hapless Generals. Seven Dinos reached double figures; basically everyone who can throw it in the ocean was free to do so at will. Only the offensively limited trio of Amir Johnson, Joey Dorsey and Julian Wright (5 minutes) really failed to score.

Surprisingly for a team which that features Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee at the power positions, the Wizards also managed to rack up a -22 rebound differential. You know, in the same way it was surpising that Ricky Martin is gay. And this without Reggie Evans playing, a player who has no discernible NBA skills other than "getting every fucking rebound". Andrea "Allergic to Rebounding" Bargnani had 8 boards fer Chrissakes.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, this game featured extended minutes for the likes of Alonzo Gee (starting - way to "blossom", Al Thornton), Cartier Martin, Kevin Seraphin, and Trever Booker. Protip: If when the announcer calls the names of your players checking in, and someone as NBA-obsessed as myself doesn't know who they are, your team is in a whole heap of trouble. Had I been drinking, I might have assumed that I had some sort of aneurysm and ended up at a D-League game in Idado by accident. The talent and energy the Wiz showed tonight - giving up 100 points by the end of the 3rd quarter - was certainly reflective of that.

Basketbawful correspondent The Other Chris signing off. Next up: Craptors and Nyets, Friday, Decemer 17th!

PPS. There is one play in particular which summarized the goings-on of last night. The ball was swung to Sonny Weems on the left baseline, in the first quarter. There was no one within a country mile of him. He began to aggressively drive towards the basket, but hesitated for a split second - you could see him thinking, "Surely someone is going to rotate over and challenge me?". Well, the closest defender to the unfolding baseline dunk was Future NBA 1rst team _efence Null Star Andray Blatche. He took about 1/10th of a halfhearted step towards the baseline, then gave up and went into his famed statue defence. Sonny drove from the 3 point line to the basket, soared in for a dunk, and there was still no one with 5 feet of him.

Forgot about hand in the face. How about some part of the body in some general vicinity of someone.

Also the list of groups attending the game included as the last one: Vandelay Industries. I don't know if you've heard, but they're in latex.
The Chicago Bulls: I'll go ahead and refer you to my recap at By The Horns for all the grisly details of this massacre, but here are the lowlights:

Despite all the good vibes from Chicago's first winning circus road trip since the Michael Jordan era and the return of Carlso Boozer, the Magic straight up owned the Bulls. They got whatever they wanted. They scored at will and finished with an Offensive Rating of 126. As in 126 points per 100 possessions. They totally dominated that shaded rectangle known as the paint, outrebounding the Bulls 44-21 and outscoring them 27-10 in second-chance points and 46-26 in the paint. The 26 points in the paint were a season low for the Bullies. Their 78 total points were also a season-low. And the 21 rebounds were a franchise low.

Chicago's worst rebounding game ever? Yep.

The previous low was 25 boards in a 102-80 loss to the Miami Heat on February 18, 2002. That particular Heat team won only 36 games. That Bulls team -- which featued a starting lineup of Fred Hoiberg, Kevin Ollie, Trenton Hassell and "Baby Bull" rookies Tyson Chandler and Eddie Curry -- won only 21.

But the 2010-11 Bulls surpassed them in rebounding ineptitude. Speaking of which...

Joakim Noah, Worst Player of the Night: Back on Thanksgiving night, Charles Barkley predicted the Bulls would win the Eastern Conference and reach the NBA Finals. Not in the future, mind you. Chuck said the Bulls would do it this season.

This prompted a strong response from Joakim Noah:

"Poison. We're not in the Finals yet. I love Chuck. I think he's great for the game. I love his honesty. He always tells you how he feels. But it's poison. ... I want to be in the Finals. But just because Chuck says it doesn't mean that we're there, ya know? We got a long way to go. We got a big game against Orlando. ... I love Chuck, but at the end of the day, it's one thing to talk about it, and it's one thing to actually live it."

Remind me to add "prophet" to his next scouting report.

Noah -- one of the NBA's premier rebounders over the past two seasons -- began the night as the NBA's second-leading board hauler-inner at 13.2 per game. And he finished last night's ass-kicking with...

...zero rebounds.

Do you know when the last time Noah went an entire game without grabbing a rebound? It was December 27, 2008, in a 129-117 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. In that game, Noah logged five minutes and 35 seconds and finished with a five trillion. But there's a world of difference between the Joakim of then and the Joakim of now. Before last night, Noah had never gone rebound-less in games in which he'd played at least eight minutes. What happened?

I guess he was poisoned.

Said Noah: "It's frustrating. That's my job, to rebound the basketball, and I wasn't able to do that tonight."

No kidding.

Carlos Boozer: I know it was his first game back and all, and I realize that he's rather, ahem, slow afoot. But Rashard Lewis -- a guy I didn't even realize was physically capable of crossing over the three-point stripe -- walked right around him for an easy layup in the first quarter. That might have been Rashard's first layup since his Seattle days. Oy.

Update! Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: From Shrugz via ESPN's DailY Dime: "How'd the Heat do tonight? Was their chemistry good, did they all get along? Tomorrow, the only the thing that's going to be on ESPN is LeBron going back to Cleveland, right? Because ESPN only covers two stories -- Brett Favre and the Miami Heat. And then we have about five minutes for the rest of the sports world."

The Boston Celtics: Yes, the Celtics won their fifth game in a row to run their record to 14-4. And yes, the Frail Blazers lost their fifth game in a row and fell two games below .500. But Boston still earned a little stink eye for wasting a 57 percent shooting night not to mention a 96-80 lead by letting Portland go on a late 15-0 run to make it a one-point game with 42 seconds left.

It took a clutch three-pointer by Ray Allen -- who shot 3-for-12 and had been 0-for-5 on threes to that point -- to pull the C's fat out of the fire.

Mind you, this was a home game for the Celtics. But hey, giving up double-digit leads has been a trademark of this team for the past two seasons. So I guess everything went according to plan.

The Portland Frail Blazers: Yeah, well, there's that whole "two games below .500" thing to take into consideration.

Jermaine O'Neal: From the AP game notes: "Injured Celtics C-F Jermaine O'Neal told Rivers he hoped to begin working out again next week after being out with a sore left knee. O'Neal has played in just seven games this season."

The New Jersey Nyets: If a team was going to lose a triple-overtime game at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder on a night when Kevin Durant sat out with an injury...does it surprise you whatsoever that it was the Nyets?

Okay, maybe you'd expect it to be the Clippers, but still.

Believe it or not, the Nyets looked like destiny was on their side when Anthony Morrow sent the game to overtime on a running three-pointer at the end of regulation. But New Jersey couldn't hold onto a six-point lead in the first overtime and then, in the second overtime, they were leading by three with 4.6 seconds left when Stephen Graham fouled Jeff Green on a three-point attempt. Green sunk all three freebies, the game went to a third overtime...

...and, well, I'm sure you can guess what happened.

Actually, maybe you can't. Russell Westbrook -- who BLEW UP for 38 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals and might be surpassing Kevin Durant as the best player on the Thunder -- scored all 13 of his team's points in the third OT.

That's not to overlook Jeff Green's career-high 37 points. But damn.


In related news, the Nyets are now 6-13 on the year and 4-5 at home.

The Charlotte Bobcraps: Michael Jordan's team fell to 6-12 on the year -- and just 3-7 outside of Charlotte -- after being held to 11 fourth quarter points and scoring a mere 73 total points against the New Orleans Hornets.

Bobcraps coach Larry Brown -- who's probably already looking around and wondering which teams are going to have coaching vacancies this season -- said: "It's the same old, same old. We didn't match their intensity. They have a couple of finishers. West and Chris Paul took over. They defended great. They made every play and we didn't."

Stephen Jackson: The Bobcraps sure could have used Stephen Jackson during last night's fourth quarter meltdown. Too bad he was suspended.

The Los Angeles Lakers: Allow me to quote the opening line of the AP recap: "
The Los Angeles Lakers have lost four straight for the first time since April 2007." And now allow me to state a possibly significant fact: None of Phil Jackson's 11 championship teams have ever lost four games in a row.

I...I think I just got goosebumps!

The Lakers sure did look invincible during the first few weeks of the season, when they were playing mostly at home against sub-.500 teams. Now the defending chumps have lost four in a row, with the last two losses coming on the road against sub-.500 teams. And as Pat Sullivan of The Dream Shake noted, "Falling Sky" has been added to the list of natural hazards currently plaguing Los Angeles.

So what happened last night? The Lakers' defense "held" the still Aaron Brook-less and Yao Ming-less Rockets to 109 points on 50+ percent shooting and "shut down" Shane Battier, holding him to a mere 11 points in the final three minutes. And who was "defending" Battier during that stretch?

Mr. Bean.

Yep. As Basketbawful reader Bing pointed out, L.A. got beaten by this guy. Let's watch Battier dominate Kobe and the Lakers...shall we? Of course we shall.

And Kobe was pissed. So pissed, in fact, that I couldn't even read the Bucks-Nuggets recap without seeing his unhappy face. Which, naturally, made me very happy.

kobe pissed
Kobe's displeasure...it's everywhere.

Said Kobe: "How do you know how good we think we are? We're fine. Are we going to win a three-peat today? Probably not, but the [expletive] is not played today. We've got to do a better job," he said. "Houston shot 50 percent tonight ... that's unacceptable for our defense. We're slow. We're slow on rotations. It looks like we're kind of running in quicksand a little."

On the subject of the Black Mamba, Kobe's having an interesting season. He's the NBA's second leading scorer at 26.7 PPG. Yet he's having his second-worst year shooting the ball -- or his worst-ever year if you go by eFG% -- and he's somehow managing to lead the league in shot attempts (leading second-place Monta Ellis 400-351) and Usage Percentage (leading second-place Kevin Durant 35.9 to 32.2) despite playing the fewest minutes per game (33.5) since his rookie season.

L.A.'s recent woes when Kobe takes 20+ shots have been well-publicized. Last night, he went 10-for-24. In fact, Basketbawful reader draftaraujo offered up this:

New formula if
X = Kobe Bryant,
Y = Shots taken

X+Y > 20 = Fail
Okay, almost done. Despite the presence of the game's "best closer," this graphic from ESPN Stats and Information illustrates how anti-clutch the Lakers have been this season:

lakers clutch

Update! Ron Artest: From Dan B: "Unreal. From Deadspin: Ron Artest called into a Rockets post-game show pretending to be Luis Scola. Of course he did."

The San Antonio Spurs: When the Spurs opened the season with an NBA-best 15-2 record -- including 8-0 on the road -- did anybody think they'd lose to the Clippers? Anybody? Bueller?

No. Of course nobody thought this would happen. I mean, the Clippers had lost 18 straight games to the Spurs and owned the league's worst record at 3-15. And yet, against all reason, The Other L.A. Team has now beaten a team with the NBA's best record for the second time in 10 days thanks to last night's win against the Spurs and their recent victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

It...makes the kind of sense that doesn't.

Said Eric Gordon: "Yeah, we play well against teams that have a good record. We just have to compete like that all the time. Our offense was good, and we didn't have any letdowns during the game. We just have to be consistent."

It helps when the veteran team you're playing against is on the second night of back-to-backs and ends up shooting 35 percent.

Said Tim Duncan: "We played badly, bottom line. Nobody played well. I played awful. The ball wouldn't go in the hole. On top of that, Blake played great, Eric played great and they kept making shots down the stretch. ... Our defense gave us a chance, and we got to that threshold where a 3-ball or any made shot would have got us right in it, and we couldn't get the ball to go down."

Added Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "You have to give the credit to their defense and to their energy, so I'm happy for them. It's the NBA, and anybody can beat anybody at any time."

I guess so.

Bonus bawful stat: San Antonio was outscored 56-34 in the paint despite the fact that Chris Kaveman missed his 11th straight game with a sprained ankle.

Bonus bawful quote: From the AP Recap: "When Duncan fell to the court holding his foot in the second quarter after drawing a foul on an apparently clean block by DeAndre Jordan, a fan near courtside screamed: 'We know bad acting, Tim Duncan. This is L.A.!'"

Duncan face!

Bonus bawful video and memo to the NBA: If you see Blake Griffin running toward you...GET OUT OF THE WAY.

I can't find video of Griffin posterizing Matt Bonner, but I can give you this quote from Basketbawful reader Andrei: "Not only did Matt Bonner get posterized by Griffin tonight, but his name is censored by twitter: '@jadande Wow, Matt ***** came this close to getting Mozgoved.'"

I'm pretty sure Basketbawful readers know what "Mosgoved" means, but just in case...

The Milwaukee Bucks: John Salmons broke out of his slump by scoring 21 points. Corey "Bad Porn" Maggette added 17. Freaking Larry Sanders had 14 points, 10 rebounds and a crazy 8 blocked shots. And Carmelo Anthony was ejected with 2:40 left in the third quarter for bitching at the refs about a no-call.

None of it mattered. The Bucks -- now 6-12 -- lost anyway.

Said Maggette: "They had their best player out with Melo getting thrown out of the game. We really should have capitalized on it but we didn't. We just didn't do the things we needed to do while they continued to execute."

For the game, the Bucks shoth 32-for-80 from the field and gave up 41 free throw attempts while bricking nine of their 32 freebies. Milwaukee actually led by as many as 11 points...then lost by double-digits after falling victim to a 'Melo-less onslaught.

The Detroit Pistons: The Heat found their easy button. It was the Pistons.

The Indiana Pacers: Indy began the day yesterday with a surprising 9-7 record and an even more surprising third-place ranking in Defensive Rating.

One game against the Jazz -- during which Utah scored 110 points and had 29 assists on 45 made baskets -- and the Pacers dropped to 7th in D-Rating. It didn't help that Indy scored only 88 points and gave up 26 points off 18 turnovers.

The Jazz are now 15-5 and a far cry from the discombobulated team that opened the season with a 110-88 loss to the Nuggets and then a 110-94 defeat by the Suns. Deron Williams had 26 points, 16 assists and zero turnovers. Al Jefferson (17 points, 10 boards, 2 blocked shots) has Utah fans saying "Carlos who?". And the Jazz look pretty darn tough.

Said Jerry Sloan: "We could have exploded early in the season. Guys could have gone south. But they stayed together."

As for the Pacers -- playing on the second night of back-to-backs and in their third road game in four nights -- they had no legs...as evidenced by Utah's dominance on the boards. The Jazz outrebounded Indy 46-32, including 19-7 on the offensive glass. During the first quarter -- when Utah outscored the Pacers 35-17 -- the Jazz had a 14-3 rebounding edge.

Al Jefferson, jump shooting quote machine: "I always had a jumper. I just never had to use it. I was always greedy. I like that paint. In this offense, you got to be able to hit that jumper."

Andre Kirilenko, broken english quote machine: "It's ups and downs in the NBA. You remember in preseason we won eight in row, then the beginning of the season we went down, then the road trip we went up then, home games we've been sloppy. Now we're up again. I hope we can stay up a little bit more."

Chris's Lacktion Report:

Grizzlies-Hawks: Zaza Pachulia didn't get wealthy in 11:59 after taking down three boards, but did get a 4:3 Voskuhl after three fouls and a turnover.

Thunder-Nyets: Royal Ivey struck a vein of gold coins and criminis in just 26 seconds for a Mario!

Generals-Raptors: Kevin Seraphin segued into the Association tonight with a 100% field goal percentage (on one shot) in exactly 13 minutes...only to counter that and a board with 4 fouls and a turnover for a 5:3 Voskuhl.

Frail Blazers-Celtics: Sean Marks made himself known for Portland tonight not by earning a board in 7:58, but by bricking thricely, losing the rock twice, and coming one foul away from leaving the game in a 7:1 Voskuhl!

For Boston, Von Wafer has continued to establish himself as the Association's premier lacktator after a 3 second Super Mario!

Pistons-Heat: Erick Dampier celebrated his presence in South Beach by reacting to a board in 8:11 with three fouls for a 3:1 Voskuhl.

Magic-Bulls: Jason Williams searched for Princess Peach in 18 seconds in a Mario, while for Chicago, Kurt Thomas bricked once in 1:49 for a +1 suck differential.

Wolves-Mavs: Lazar Hayward tossed two pieces of masonry (once from Pioneer Plaza) for a +2 in 3:43.

Bucks-Nuggets: Gary Forbes opened up an early Christmas present of the Lost Levels cartridge in 44 seconds for a Mario.

Pacers-Jazz: Francisco Elson treated Utah fans to a 2:1 Voskuhl in 7:51 after garnering two fouls against a board.

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Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The attempt to end 1OT I believe was an airball by Brook Lopez, and at the end of 2OT a just-nicked-the-rim airball by Farmar, so yea, the Nets.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Jesus. This place is like a ghosttown. All that's missing is a tumbleweed blowing by.

I guess everybody must be thinking about the Heat-Cavs game.

Anonymous DKH said...
I think Stan Van Gundy forgot Tiger Woods, but, yea, he's pretty much right about ESPN.

I wish they told the actual story of the game anymore, instead of just showing two highlights and being done with it. "Here's the go-ahead score, but we're not going to tell you how the game got there."

Blogger Dan B. said...

Anonymous JKain said...
nice entry bout the detroit miami-easy-buttons

I have a real satisfying streak going- for every heat-game i've watched this season...they lost (against celticsx2,hornets'n'pacers)
I've got a feeling that 4game doomed-heat-streak is going to end tonight at booo-fest...
But in the end of the day it'll be just about enjoying the Hatred

But if the cavs really do manage to get the win...well, you're welcome

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I'm expecting Ilgauskas to get a standing ovation when his name is announced tonight which should contrast very nicely with the non stop venom Lebron will be receiving.

Anonymous Patrick said...
It would have been funny if, in reply to Stan Van Gundy, a reporter said something like:

"Honestly, Stan: we're just sick of writing the 'Orlando dominates in the regular season and fades in the playoffs story' for the fourth straight year."

Anonymous JKain said...
oh...and btw...
nothing about mr.formerly-known-as-longoria?-
"Tony Parker, who reportedly had lunch with estranged wife Eva Longoria earlier in the day, played just 18 minutes on Wednesday, finishing with two points and four assists in a loss to the Clippers"
he looked sooo sad and left alone on the bench.....it was heartwarming (hope brent was watching...hmm...but it Was a clippers game....soo...guess not)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
It would have been funny if, in reply to Stan Van Gundy, a reporter said something like:

"Honestly, Stan: we're just sick of writing the 'Orlando dominates in the regular season and fades in the playoffs story' for the fourth straight year."


Anonymous kazam92 said...
Ilgauskus, in a truly heroic act will dive in front of the bullet shot at Lebron James, this sacrificing himself in the process

Best movie ever amirite?

Seriosuly Cleveland, please don't kill anyone.

Anonymous Business Time said...
Mo "no really, I'm an All-Star" Williams on LeBron's departure:

"He knows he had a good supporting cast last year," said Mo Williams, whose once strong personal relationship with James has eroded since July.

"At least I hope that didn't have anything to do with his decision. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. Everybody knows we were good."

What universe does he live in where the Cavs ever had a good supporting cast? I guess it's the same universe where Mo Williams is an All-Star. His path to All-Stardom via LeBron's coattails reminds me of a comment I saw about the Kardashian sisters once (paraphrased) - "Kim Kardashian is so hot that her sisters became famous."

Side note: most bawful All-Stars ever could make for an interesting post some day. Off the top of my head I can think of Mo, Jameer Nelson, Jamaal Magloire, Theo Ratliff.

Blogger Will said...
Free Darko is looking for the best All-Jewish line-up. According to the sketches of the players, its also an All-Ugly line-up.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Ilgauskus, in a truly heroic act will dive in front of the bullet shot at Lebron James, this sacrificing himself in the process

Best movie ever amirite?

Actually, I was thinking of a funnier movie scene, shot in slow motion, where a bullet is fired at LeBron. Ilgauskas sees it, grabs LeBron, and you think he's moving LeBron out of the way...

...only to find out he realized the bullet was going to miss and he actually moves 'Bron in the bullet's path.

Seriosuly Cleveland, please don't kill anyone.

Yeah, I heard some Cleveland sportswriter on ESPN 1000 this morning saying that he was getting e-mails from people saying they didn't care if they got arrested, they were planning to throw stuff at LeBron during the game.

Not possible, you say? Anybody remember when Cleveland Browns fans injured their own coach by throwing shit on the field?

Whether live or on instant replay, the evidence was conclusive and indisputable: Cleveland Browns fans were out of control. Angered over an overturned call in the final minute, Cleveland fans threw plastic bottles at players and officials and tossed other debris on the field Sunday at the conclusion of Jacksonville's 15-10 win over the Browns.

The emotional outburst by fans was embarrassing — and scary.

"We feared for our lives," wide receiver Jimmy Smith said. "It was like dodging bullets."

Browns coach Butch Davis injured his knee avoiding a beer bottle and was limping after the game, according to The Plain Dealer. A Browns assistant said the 4-year old of another assistant was hit in the head with a cup.

The game was stopped for about a half-hour with 48 seconds to play because of the violence, and it resumed only after NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue insisted.

Most of the bottles were plastic, but many were filled with beer, making them dangerous weapons. A few fans tried to run on the field but were quickly caught by security personnel.

"They were throwing stuff on our sideline, but they were throwing it on their side, too," Jaguars wide receiver Kennan McCardell said.

The Jaguars and Browns had to dodge flying objects as they sprinted to their locker rooms, and the officials were doused with beer and cups as they ran for safety.

"I was definitely looking over my shoulder for bottles flying," Browns quarterback Tim Couch said.

Ah, the Tim Couch era, everybody!

Here's a video of "Bottlegate".

Then there's this headline, which speaks for itself: 8-year-old Jets fan tackled by Cleveland Browns fan.

Mind you, the kid got tackled AFTER fans had been cussing him and his father out and throwing food at them.

So...stay classy tonight, Cleveland.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I should have included this quote from former Browns QB Derek Anderson:

"The fans are ruthless and don't deserve a winner. I will never forget getting cheered when I was injured. I know at times I wasn't great. I hope and pray I'm playing when my team comes to town and (we) roll them."

Cheered when he was injured? You betcha:

The low point occurred on Nov. 30, 2008, when, with 1:16 to play in a 10-6 loss to the Colts, former Browns tackle Kevin Shaffer gave up a sack to Robert Mathis. Anderson suffered a torn knee ligament on the tackle. Fans at Cleveland Browns Stadium cheered as Anderson lay on the ground in obvious pain.

Like I said, stay classy tonight, Cleveland.

Blogger Will said...
Bawful, I think this is a good time for my favorite Sam Wyche quote.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
What universe does he live in where the Cavs ever had a good supporting cast? I guess it's the same universe where Mo Williams is an All-Star. His path to All-Stardom via LeBron's coattails reminds me of a comment I saw about the Kardashian sisters once (paraphrased) - "Kim Kardashian is so hot that her sisters became famous."

Now just hold on a tick. I think Cortez summed this up recently, but it looks like I have to do the same:

2009-09 Cleveland Cavaliers
66 wins - best record in the league
1st Opp PPG (91.4)
2nd 3P% (.393) with 4 guys over 40%
2nd Opp eFG% (.468)
3rd Def Rtg (102.4)
4th Off Rtg (112.4)
4th eFG% (.519)
7th in Total Rebounds (3460)
7th in Total Blocks (435)
9th DRB% (.746)

2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers
61 wins - best record in the NBA
2nd DRB% (.772)
2nd 3P% (.381) with 4 guys over 40%
3rd eFG% (.532)
3rd Opp eFG% (.482)
6th Off Rtg (111.2)
6th Tot Assists (1835)
7th Def Rtg (104.1)
10th in Total Blocks (425)

I'm sorry, but no living human being is so amazingly great that his TEAM compiles those kinds of numbers with a bunch of chumps and bums. LeBron was surrounded by a group of very good players and you're kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

What Cleveland's supporting cast was "lacking" was another top 10 or top 15 player. If you look at the NBA champions throughout history, they usually have at least two such players: Kobe/Gasol, KG/Pierce/Allen, Tim Duncan/Tony Parker, Kobe/Shaq, Jordan/Pippen, Hakeem/Drexler, Magic/Worthy, Magic/Kareem, Bird/McHale/Parish, etc.

Sure, some teams have gotten by without two top 10 or 15 guys. The 2004 Pistons. The 1999/2003/2005 Spurs. The 1994 Rockets. The 1989/90 Pistons. But the majority of teams need the two-superstar system.

But just because the Cavaliers didn't have a second superstar doesn't mean King Crab's teammates were all crap. Cleveland had a lot of key roleplayers doing their jobs at a very high level. And check out Mo Williams' splits from his All-Star season. From January through March, he averaged about 20 PPG while shooting 47 percent on threes and 91 from the line. The Cavs went 35-8 during that stretch, including 16-1 in March.

And if you watched the Cavs as much as I did, you would have realized that Mo's ability to spread the floor with his shooting AND his ability to create his own shot without LeBron's help really took Cleveland to the next level compared to the previous season when they won only 45 games.

"LeBron had no supporting cast" is as much a myth as "Michael Jordan won six championships pretty much by himself."

Anonymous DKH said...
I think there's a difference between being angry at an opposing player who left the wrong way and is returning, and being angry at your own player that has an attitude problem and projects an image of not working hard or improving. I think the past week's coverage of Derek Anderson was a little unfair, but it's also indicative of who he is. I wouldn't put much stock in Derek Anderson's sour grapes.

I don't know much about the whole "tackling an 8-year-old" thing, but I got the sense that was blown out of proportion nationally, and it's individual behavior anyway. I don't know much about that Browns/Jaguars game.

But if I wanted to point out past Cleveland fan rowdiness in general, I couldn't forget Ten Cent Beer Night. The game couldn't be finished due to the violence.

But I wouldn't worry about the game tonight. There will be cheers for Z, boos for LeBron, and maybe the chants will edge into Delonte territory. A few idiots might throw things, but that seems doubtful to have much effect. I have read zero comments online advocating any violence or general misbehavior.

Certainly Cavs fans don't need a Miami fan lecturing them on how to be a fan. The Cavs are currently 6th in total attendance while playing an average number of home games. People are still fans of the team, even when they aren't doing well (at least for a motivated owner, although he'll need a turnaround plan soon).

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
I don't know much about the whole "tackling an 8-year-old" thing, but I got the sense that was blown out of proportion nationally

OK, I'll bite.. how does one "blow out of proportion" tackling an eight year old? It's pretty self-explanatory, innit?

Did Tommy Heinshom move to Cleveland and decide to adopt the internet moniker DKH? (Don't Know it's Heinshom? ;-)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I think the past week's coverage of Derek Anderson was a little unfair, but it's also indicative of who he is. I wouldn't put much stock in Derek Anderson's sour grapes.

Uhm, they cheered while he was writhing on the turf after suffering a season-ending injury. That's not a "Derek Anderson's sour grapes" thing. I would expect better behavior from fans if all he'd suffered was a hangnail. Which, according to Dwyane Wade's people, can be pretty serious.

I don't know much about the whole "tackling an 8-year-old" thing, but I got the sense that was blown out of proportion nationally, and it's individual behavior anyway.

Individual behavior...reminds me of the Evil Overlord's To Do list: If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This." and kill the advisor.

And anyway, if I recall correctly, there was only one dude throwing diet Coke cups at Ron Artest a few years back...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
OK, I'll bite.. how does one "blow out of proportion" tackling an eight year old? It's pretty self-explanatory, innit?

Did Tommy Heinshom move to Cleveland and decide to adopt the internet moniker DKH? (Don't Know it's Heinshom? ;-)

This comment came in while I was typing mine...too funny, The Other Chris.

Anonymous Business Time said...

2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers
28th Off Rtg (101.6)
16th Def Rtg (107.4)
27th eFG% (.475)
24th Opp. eFG% (.511)

While Mike Brown probably has more to do with the defense slipping, he's certainly never been accused of being an offensive mastermind. About Mo's splits in his All-Star season, not sure you can use his March stats as proof of worthiness since that all happened after the ASG. He was still having a good season but that kinda just further proves my point that he was riding LeBron's coattails. Pippen without Jordan was still a damn good player. Mo Williams without LeBron, while above average, is really nothing special in the grand scheme of things.

Anonymous JJ said...
To be fair, I think not having a top 10~15 guy as a sidekick is pretty significant disadvantage to overcome. That's basically what separates the teams like Lakers/Celtics from numerous teams like Magic who perform great only in the regular season. It can be done, but it's very tough, and having a dynasty is pretty much out of the question.

LeBron obviously had an above-average supporting cast. However, they were obviously not championship-caliber. I don't know if LeBron should or shouldn't have left (though winning a championship in Cleveland would have made a nice story). But, I think Mo Williams is kidding himself if supporting cast issue had nothing to do with him leaving.

Cavs should have gone for a blockbuster deal instead of keep trading for bunch of almost-All-Stars. Maybe they still wouldn't win a championship, but I bet at least they wouldn't have lost him.

Anonymous DKH said...
Haha, well now I'll have to actually look up and read about the 8-year-old incident a little more.

Anyway, I've been posting on this site for probably 4 years, consistently, under the name DKH, and I think I've pretty consistently defended Cleveland and the Cavs when I think it's worthwhile. Most of the time I don't bother defending what I think is valid criticism. Outside of watching a game, I generally don't engage in homerism of the Heinsohn (check your spelling) flavor. I also haven't moved to Cleveland. In fact, I've moved away from Cleveland, and didn't go back when I had the opportunity. You probably haven't seen me criticize LeBron's decision to leave, only how he did it. Anyway, I'm fully willing to accept that there are justified criticisms of Cleveland fans' lack of class. That's why I didn't comment on the Browns/Jags game, and raised the Ten Cent Beer Night example.

Now, as to Derek Anderson, his relationship with the fans was a multi-year drama. One season he was successful; most other seasons, he was an interception machine with attitude problems and various other issues, including getting in the way of Brady Quinn's development or whatever the story of the season/week/day was. So yea, it's not just a matter of booing an injury, just like any boos for Wade or LeBron won't just be booing the opposing star player. There's more to the story. I guess the situations aren't that different (I shouldn't have said that in the last post). What I really mean, is that booing Derek Anderson isn't an indication of a widespread lack of class.

Anonymous DKH said...
And finally, now that I've looked into the situation a little more, it appears that the accusations of "tackling" were raised by the mother of the 8-year-old (in a letter to the editor of The Plain Dealer) after the boy and his father returned home. There seems to be no police report of the situation, the mother seems to have been in opposition to the boy's attendance. So the only evidence that the kid was tackled is the accusation of his mom, who wasn't present. There seem to be some reports from Browns fans that it's more likely that a drunk fan tripped and hit the boy on the way down. This seems consistent with the behavior of everyone present, and the lack of a police report (despite 16 cops supposedly stationed in the parking lot). So yea, potentially no particular lack of class here, just an idiot that was overly drunk and fell. No other fan base has those, right?

Sources (warning: some of these might be from a Cleveland writer, or include Cleveland points of view):

This may be a double post. Blogspot acted oddly when I tried to post.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
They messed up the 2004 draft by drafting kris humphries....that is all

Anonymous Shrugz said...
SORRY I meant luke jackson yeesh terrible memory I have

Blogger LotharBot said...
I'm surprised Carmelo didn't get a WoTN mention. He did, after all, get his two technicals on back-to-back plays complaining about no-calls.

Another WoTN mention should go to the refs who presided over said no-calls, while giving Bad Porn and John Salmons those calls at the other end, and even giving those calls to JR Smith later in the game. It seemed like they had a personal issue with Carmelo. The second tech was especially ridiculous -- Melo had complained about a no-call pretty expressively, got a tech, and then was chatting with the same ref during a dead ball / TV timeout after an identical play the next trip down. As he walked away, one of the other refs walked over and started giving him crap, then T'd him up as he walked to the bench.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers
28th Off Rtg (101.6)
16th Def Rtg (107.4)
27th eFG% (.475)
24th Opp. eFG% (.511)

That's like comparing the 1987-88 Boston Celtics with the 1988-89 Celtics. The former won 57 games and made it to the conference finals. The latter -- sans Larry Bird who played only six games due to double Achilles surgery -- struggled to eke out 42 wins, barely made the playoffs and got brutally swept in the first round.

Huh. I guess McHale, Parish and Dennis Johnson weren't nearly as good as everybody thinks.

LeBron was the linchpin, and I never said differently. But the Cavaliers, as a team, were pretty damn good the last couple years. If you think that was all LeBron, you don't understand how basketball works.

About Mo's splits in his All-Star season, not sure you can use his March stats as proof of worthiness since that all happened after the ASG.

My point was: He was playing at an All-Star level much of the season. Those are All-Star numbers.

He was still having a good season but that kinda just further proves my point that he was riding LeBron's coattails. Pippen without Jordan was still a damn good player. Mo Williams without LeBron, while above average, is really nothing special in the grand scheme of things.

And my point is: Teams are the sum of parts. If guys are playing at a high level, even if their game is being lifted by a superstar, they still have to knock down shots, pull down rebounds, etc. You seem to believe the Cavs were a bunch of bums. Hey, LeBron didn't score 100 PPG. He didn't defend all five positions simultaneously. He's a lousy three-point shooter, so all those guys drilling treys and making the Cavs a top three-point shooting team was a credit to their ability to hit shots when they had the opportunity.

So, again, it's a myth to say that LeBron had no supporting cast. He actually had a very good supporting cast. He just never had a Robin for his Batman. Don't disparage the rest of his team for that.

To be fair, I think not having a top 10~15 guy as a sidekick is pretty significant disadvantage to overcome.

I never said otherwise. My point was that LeBron was surrounded by solid, very capable basketball players. It's incorrect to dis his supporting cast.

Blogger Cortez said...
Mo' Williams: Regular Role Player

LeBron James: Upscale Role Player

So what?

Like my senile old grandpa used to say, "The fastest turtle in a turtle race is still ust a slow fucking turtle."

Pass the word.

Anonymous Jackie Boyd said...
Two things about Blake Griffin:

He almost perfectly resembles an NBA 2K10 My Player PF with a 100 skill point vertical. Watching him sky in for dunks looks as physically unreal as that game.

But his decision making? Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOvLL4ghD44

Why not take a more conservative shot? He's already filled the top ten with his own plays. I like Griffin's game and freak-of-nature ability but it'll be a pretty big waste if he injures himself again attempting a meaningless thunder jam.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
2009-10 LeBron James - with Crappy Supporting Cast:

29.7 PPG
8.6 APG
7.3 RPG
50.3% shooting
31.1 PER
54.5 eFG%
121 Off Rating

2010-11 LeBron James - with Upgraded Supporting Cast:

23.4 PPG
7.5 APG
5.7 RPG
44.8% shooting
23.1 PER
47.5 eFG%
107 Off Rating

Yep. The Cavaliers were just riding this guy's coattails...

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's unfair to say Cleveland did a poor job of finding Lebron James quality teammates. Not only are top 15 players rarely on the trading block but top 15 players who can create their own shot, knock down open jumpers and don't mind standing around and watching Lebron handle the ball for 75% of the game are even rarer still. The one time Cleveland tried to get Lebron a guy who could also create consistently it was a disaster. Yes, we know that Larry Hughes was terrible and everyone knew it was a bad signing the second it was announced but it doesn't change the fact that playing with James made him considerably worse precisely because he also needed the ball in his hands in order to be effective.

What sort of players should they have gone after instead? They came close to signing Ginobili away from the Spurs, but does anyone think he would have been averaging 21-4-5 while only touching the ball 25% of the time? His numbers would have dropped across the board as he would have become essentially a catch-and-shoot guy. They came close to trading for Amar'''e but he would not have fit in defensively and he tends to bitch when he doesn't get enough touches. Boozer? He would still be a garbage man if he had never left the Cavs.

As historically impressive as Lebron can be he is still a ball dominant wing who refuses to play off the ball, probably because he can't catch-and-shoot or post up. There's a reason Cleveland said "fuck it" and just went after shooters. It's the only way they could conceive of winning in that give-the-ball-to-Lebron-and-get-out-of-the-way offense. Blame Mike Brown for that all you want (I certainly used to) but Lebron has not shown any inclination toward even being willing to try another style of play.

Obviously Cleveland wasn't a championship team because they never won the championship but I'm not sure what constitutes a Top-15 guy and their importance. Mr. Bawful mentioned Tony Parker, but would we be refering to him as a Top-15 guy if he had played for any other team? Put him in Jersey and he's Devin Harris. Did anyone refer to Pau Gasol as a Top-15 guy when he played for Memphis? He was a soft, good-stats-on-bad-teams guy. Would we consider the almost washed up Drexler a top-15 player that season if he played for a team other than Houston? Doubtful. You can even argue that KG wasn't a Top-15 player the season he got his championship with Boston and Ray Allen certainly wasn't. Good teams find players that fit into their system and then try to use them in ways that maximize their abilities while minimizing their weaknesses. Boston, San Antonio and Utah do this to a T. I argue that, due in no small part to Lebron's complete stranglehold on the ball in Cleveland, the Cavs were never able to install a genuine offensive system and so were unable to do this.

Anonymous DKH said...
I agree with what Bawful is saying about Cleveland's supporting cast. The players were productive in previous years being asked to support a superstar that dominated the ball. Now some of them are in new roles, with a new coach, and aren't as productive, e.g. Jamario Moon who is averaging career lows in 3PT%, FG%, rebounding percentage, and a high in turnover percentage. Even if the players are capable in the role they played with LeBron, they might not necessarily be good in the new system.

That said, upgrading from Mo Williams and J.J. Hickson to Wade and Bosh couldn't have been demotivating. That may have blinded him to weaknesses at other positions. But also, the Heat maybe should have picked up Dampier sooner, and they have perhaps been unlucky with injuries to Miller and Haslem. But that's what happens with a thin team. Cleveland had a deep team, but as noted above, no top talent to pair with LeBron.

I think LeBron partially created that situation for Cleveland by signing the short-term contract. It can't be motivating for other stars or near-stars to come to Cleveland if they see LeBron's lack of commitment. Jamison (although he came by trade) was very grumpy to start this current season. Probably other players imagined that position and didn't want to be in it.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Yep. The Cavaliers were just riding this guy's coattails..."

Basketball gets really easy when you have a power forward who wants to nothing more than kill himself getting rebounds and garbage baskets at the rim at a efficent rate. Add to that one other guy who can create a basket and a group of guys who can catch and shoot (and hit!) open shots.

This may not guarantee a championship but you're centainly in the running.

...if your lead guy knows how to get it done.

Cleveland's main problem was that they were being "led" by an Upscale Role Player (copyright pending). So instead of being in the championship round, they went as far as an Upscale Role Player could take them.

Same thing happened with Scottie Pippen. Only difference is that Pippen knew what he was.

Anonymous JJ said...

You bring up good points. Maybe Cavs' real problem was that they were LeBron + supporting casts, instead of being a true team. And if you're right about the major cause for Cav's failure being LeBron's ball-dominating style, then Heat should also never win a championship (because LeBron said he isn't changing his style to become "just a role player"). Hmm...

Blogger DC said...
The McHale, Parish, and DJ comparison was a poor one IMO. In McHale's case, he was never the same after the 1987 playoff foot injury. In Parish and DJ's case, they were both aging players - DJ was gone after the 1990 season, although Parish continued to remain ageless.

In any case, none of those 3 players were in their primes in the 1989 season.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...

Lebron James + supporting cast is a very good way of putting it, actually. In my eyes, that's exactly how the Cavs have behaved since they drafted him, in part because of his talent and in part because of how terrified they were that they'd lose him to free agency.

I hope Miami doesn't win the title but they will certainly be capable of it over the next couple of years. I don't think they can win it, however, unless Lebron, Wade or both alter their playing styles or one of the two magically becomes a good, dependable catch-and-shoot type. There's no reason on paper why they can't coexist, but one (or both) have to make an effort to play to the other guy's strengths. Right now they're just stepping on each other's toes and playing their best when the other dude is on the bench. If by next season neither guy alters their game, we will have found out a lot about who they are as players and just how important winning is to them.

Anonymous KHayes666 said...
Another difference in the 1988 Celtics and the 1989 Celtics were the role players. In 88 they still had a semblence of a bench with Jim Paxson, Artis Gilmore and Fred Roberts.

Midway through 89 Ainge was traded for Villanova hero Ed Pinckney and Joe Kleine. Kevin Gamble became the shooter and he was nowhere near the quality of Ainge the first 2 years in Boston.

So yes, combine Ainge and Bird being gone and replaced by role players with the fact DJ was a year older and more slower, Paxson a year older and slower and McHale never recovering from a fractured foot...the 89 Celtics were a team in distress.

Although there were 2 good things to come out of the 89 season. The rise of Reggie Lewis and the simple fact OTIS BIRDSONG suited up for 13 games.