sad wiz bench plus sam
Sad Bench + Sam Cassell Sighting = WIN

The Denver Nuggets: Without Carmelo Anthony (inflammation in his right knee) and the Birdman (fractured bone in his lower back), the Nuggets quickly found themselves down 19 points to the Celtics in Boston. Some hot second quarter shooting by reserves Ty Lawson (team-high 24 points) and J.R. Smith (16 points) got Denver back into the game. But defense -- as in the complete and total absence of anything resembling it -- was their Walton's Foot: The Celts shot 68 percent in the first quarter, 64 percent during the first half, and 56 percent for the game.

Although, to be fair, when Ray Allen is heating up, all you can do is pray.

This was what I call a "fly swatter" game. That is, Boston put a casual smackdown on the Nuggets. To put things into perspective, Semih Erden played the entire fourth quarter. That pretty much says it all.

Random stat: On the season, Denver is 1-6 when scoring under 100 points. All six losses were on the road.

The Cleveland Cavaliers: Allow me to quote myself from By The Horns:

It almost happened. The Bulls were this close to falling into the trap.

The Cavaliers entered last night's game having lost five in a row by an average of 22.2 points per defeat. In each of those five losses, the Cavs had given up more than 100 points.

Finally, Cleveland coach Byron Scott pulled out the defibrillator and tried to shock his team’s pride back to life. He did that by calling his team out to the press.

Said Scott: "Everybody has to do some soul-searching. It's not an Xs and Os thing. We have to take pride in what we are doing. People drive right down the middle of the defense, and no one gets upset about it. Guys have to take more of an onus on guarding their man."

Cavs forward Antawn Jamison replied: "Are we going to fight or make excuses? We have to leave it on the line. These next few games are going to define the rest of the season."

Sure enough, Cleveland came out and played defense like it matters. Which it does. They blocked five shots, forced 16 turnovers and harrassed the Bulls into 44.9 percent shooting while holding them to 12 points below their season average. The Cavaliers entered the fourth quarter with a 68-60 lead.

So what saved the Bulls?

They say bad teams find ways to lose games. Well, Cleveland is ranked 29th in Offensive Rating for a reason, folks. Throughout the final 12 minutes, the Cavs chucked up some of the worst shots known to man. Their go-to shot of the fourth quarter was the contested three-pointer with plenty of time left on the clock.

In fact, Boobie Gibson's shot selection was so bad down the stretch that Bulls broadcaster Stacey King half-jokingly suggested naming Gibson Chicago's player of the game. The only clutch-time three the Cavs managed to convert was one that Mo Williams unintentionally banked in.

Seriously, Tom Thibodeau should send the Cavaliers a thank you note.
For fun, here's a recap of Cleveland's fourth quarter "offense" against the Bulls:

Boobie Gibson missed running 4-footer; Gibson turnover; Manny Harris missed three-pointer, Jawad Williams missed 17-footer; J. Williams missed three-pointer; Anthony Parker offensive rebound and put back; Ryan Hollins turnover (offensive foul); Parker made three-pointer; Antawn Jamison missed jumper; Jamison made shot and one; Mo Williams missed jumper; Gibson missed three-pointer; Gibson missed three-pointer; Jamison missed hook shot; Mo Williams made three-pointer (unintentionally banked in); Williams missed three-pointer; Jamison 1-for-2 at the line; Jamison missed three-pointer; Anderson Varejao turnover; M. Williams turnover; Gibson missed three-pointer; Varejao made layup; Varejao 1-for-2 at the line; M. Williams missed 16-footer; Gibson missed 15-footer; Jamison turnover; Gibson missed 33-footer.

Boobie Gibson, Worst Player of the Night: The numbers -- 4-for-16 from the field and 2-for-7 from downtown -- don't do his game the injustice it deserves. Note the two bold-faced threes from my recap of Cleveland's fourth quarter of doom. Boobie jacked up back-to-back triples with so little conscious that I think local police need to search his back yard for bodies.

And here was the worst part. With eight seconds left, Gibson managed to nab Mo Williams' missed shot and had a chance to tie the game with an open jumper. Only he rushed an off-balance shot while kicking out his legs to try and initiate some contact that might result in a foul call.

Had Gibson just taken a normal shot, he might have knotted the score. As it was, Noah rebounded Gibson's miss and Anderson Varejao was forced to foul him. Jo drilled both freebies (clutch!) to give the Bulls a four-point lead. As if the game wasn't already iced, Jamison threw a bad pass that was intercepted by Ronnie Brewer.

Game over.

Gibson played hard. No doubt about it. But he played stupid too.

The Detroit Pistons: Sigh. Sad face. Sad trombone. Sad everything. It's official: The Pistons have become The Clippers East.

Last night, Detroit scored only 74 points on 37 percent shooting and fell behind by as many as 25 points before losing by 19. They managed to score 20 points in only one of the three quarters. And it's kind of ironic, too, since their top players are of the "offense only" variety.

Said Detroit coach John "It's just about time to start looking for a new job" Kuester: "We couldn't score. Our guys were trying hard. When the ball is not going in the hole, it puts you in a bind and you have to put so much pressure on your defense."

Yeah. Especially when your defense sucks.

Tracy McGrady watch: The line: 1-for-4, 0-for-2 on threes, 2 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, a turnover and a foul. And the Pistons were outscored by 15 points during his 19 minutes of playing time.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Despite playing at home, building a 40-22 first quarter lead, and getting another Animal-Style double-double from Kevin Love (22 points, 21 rebounds), the Timberwolves couldn't do anything to stop Kevin Durant (30 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists), Russell Westbrook (25 points, 8 assists) or the Thunder (52 percent shooting, 50 points in the paint, 21 fast break points).

Oklahoma City outscored Minny by 26 points over the final three quarters as the Timberwolves went colder and colder. But what can a team do when their top two scorers combine to go 18-for-49 -- including 3-for-18 in the fourth quarter -- and couldn't find the guys they're supposed to be guarding even if they were locked in a closet with them?

I should point out that the forest puppies were missing Darko Milicic and Anthony Tolliver. That, uhm, might've meant something. I guess.

Minnesota is now 1-8 in games decided by eight points or less.

Said Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis: "We really still don't have a leader on the team, a go-to guy, that calming force that takes control of a situation. We don't have that yet. That's Durant for them. He calms it down."

The Washington Wizards Generals: Believe it or not, the Kings -- and not the Clippers -- began Wednesday with the worst record in the league. Eight-game losing streaks will do that to a team. Fortunately for the Purple Paupers, John Wall sat out of the game with a sore foot despite being announced as a starter during the pre-game intros.

Still, even that doesn't quite explain why the Generals lost so badly. I mean, the Kings jacked their asses up big time. The Sactowners shot 54 percent from the field, won the rebounding battle 48-36, and built a 32-point lead before cruising in for a 116-91 victory.

Pimp-slapped by the NBA's worst team? For shame, Generals. For shame.

Washington has now lost three straight and seven of their last eight overall. And they're now 0-12 on the road. And here's a little lemon juice in the wound...

Update! JaVale McGee An anonymous commenter demanded I include this:


Said Gilbert Arenas: It's frustrating that we are two different teams -- a great team at home and a terrible team on the road. We just have to find a happy medium."

The Phoenix Suns: Ugh. Here's what the AP recap had to say:

Zach Randolph just loves playing the Phoenix Suns.

Randolph scored a season-high 34 points, Rudy Gay had 22 and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied to beat Phoenix 104-98 in overtime Wednesday night.

Randolph made 15 of 19 shots from the field and also had 17 rebounds. The 6-foot-9 burly forward is averaging 23 points and 17 rebounds in three games against Phoenix this year, and 22.3 points and 14.4 boards in his last seven games against the Suns overall.
I'm gonna try not to think about their 10 missed free throws or how they went 7-for-30 from downtown or how they wasted a furious fourth quarter comeback. All I can think is: You have to be able to stop Zach Randolph.

The Phoenix defense is really like a Christmas ornament: Empty inside.

Rudy Gay, quote machine: "Zach was vintage Zach tonight."

Really? I thought this was vintage Zach:


The Golden State Warriors: The surprising Spurs ran their record to 18-3, setting a new franchise record for the best start in a season through 21 games, and they did it against the Gol_en State Warriors. San Antonio has now won 25 straight home games against the Warriors.

Surprise, surprise.

In all fairness to the Warriors, they did lose Stephen Curry in the second quarter due to a sprained right ankle. But while that probably affected their offense (94 points on 45 percent shooting), I doubt it had much of an effect on their defense (111 points on 51 percent shooting).

Said Gol_en State coach Keith Smart: Any time you lose a talent, you drop down three or four levels. Not having him on the floor was definitely difficult because I had to move a lot of players around to positions to bring some of the younger guys off the bench to play. You have very little room for error against a team like this."

And if the Warriors need anything, it's plenty of room for error.

Bonus stat: According to the AP game notes, the Spurs' 25 straight home wins against the Warriors is the longest active streak of its kind for any NBA team against a single opponent.

The Utah Jazz: Thanks, Jazz. You totally blew everybody's "The Heat can't beat good teams" theory all to hell. Thanks for that.

LeBron (33 points, 12-for-20) and D-Wade (28 points, 9-for-14) went off, obviously, but the real key was Zydrunas Ilgauskas drilling jumpers en route to a 7-for-10 shooting night. I'm pretty sure nobody saw that coming.

But the secret key to this game -- other than Utah going 1-for-7 from downtown -- was the Heat outrebounding the Jazz 42-28 and being, simply put, the tougher team.

Said Jerry Sloan: "I thought Miami was more physical than we were. It looked at times like we were intimidated [by James] and Wade. I wish we would have got up and after [James] like they were getting after us."

Oh, if only Kyrylo Fesenko hadn't missed the game with a sprained ankle!

The Toronto Craptors: This game was like a 25-letter alphabet: No D.

Andrea Bargnani scored a career-high 41 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Raymond Felton scored 20 of his 28 points in the first half and added 11 assists. Amar''''''e Stoudemire grabbed 14 rebounds (including 7 offensive boards) and exploded for 18 of his team-high 34 points in the fourth quarter. In the end, Felton decided the game with a crap shot that proved, if nothing else, the Craptors are who we thought they were:


And you know what that means...


Mike D'Antoni, quote machine: "I challenge anybody to guard Amare. And Bargnani's 7-feet, puts it on the floor and he shoots ... what are you going to do? Comes down to maybe missing one shot out of five and that's what happened. Amare just didn't miss. Just awesome." On that subject...

Update! Jose Calderon, defensive demon: Drake sent in this link:


Drake went on to say:

Granted, he's suddenly matched up with Amar'''''e. But after getting, err, okay defensive position despite the matchup, he goes on to play the rest of the defensive possession with his eyes closed. It's as if he were begging Amar'''''e to just get it all over with.

Bonus: this video was really meant to capture Ronny Turiaf's reaction to Amar'''''e's dunk. He dances like a white man/woman raving to guitar music, according to Dave Chappelle.
Andrea Bargnani, quote machine: On Felton's game-winner: "It was good defense by Calderon and what can you say about that shot? There is nothing to say about that shot."

The Indiana Pacers: Apparently, despite recent evidence to the contrary, they are who we thought they were:


The Los Angeles Clippers: And of course the Clippers are who we thought they were. Always. They were a mere three seconds worth of defense away from upsetting the Lakers when, well, you know...


Update! Ron Artest, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Solieyu:

Artest is just lulz central this season. Donating half his salary next year to charity, talking about playing pro football after retiring, and now his comments on Blake Griffin:

"I haven't had a chance to study his game, but his highlights are sick," Artest said, spitting out the last word with a grin that made it clear he was just warming up to the subject.

"I wish he dunks on me, puts his shoulders on my face," Artest continued. "Crazy. His highlights are stupid."

If it happened, would Artest buy that poster?

"I'll buy it and tell him to sign it," Artest said.

Dude is comedy gold. But Griffin is a beast. That slam/foul all over Odom's back was ridiculous.
In related news, Lamar Odom will be cleaning Griffin's junk sweat off the back of his head for the next couple days...


Chris's lacktion report:

Bulls-Cavs: Ryan Hollins had himself a board in 10:35, but also had a foul and giveaway for a 2:1 Voskuhl.

Raptors-Knicks: Ronny Turiaf turned the ball over once and fouled four times, despite two boards and a free throw in 8:23, to earn a 5:3 Voskuhl. Fellow Knickerbocker Shawne Williams bricked once and fouled once in 11:17 for a +2 suck differential.

Pacers-Bucks: Indiana's Jeff Foster presided over three boards in 10:40, and also looked after a trio of fouls and a turnover for a 4:3 Voskuhl.

For the deer, Brian Skinner instinctively gathered 1.4 trillion (1:25) in banknotes!

Thunder-Wolves: Kosta Koufos crunched some numbers and found himself earning exactly 2.7 trillion (2:42)!

Warriors-Spurs: Dan Gadzuric managed one assist and one steal in 5:32, but fouled once for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl. Fellow Warrior Jeff Adrien sold some valuable Bay Area real estate worth 1.9 trillion (1:53).

Heat-Jazz: Joel Anthony celebrated the first time the Heat have beaten a good team this year by going on a 13-second Duck Hunt, ending up with a Mario.

For Utah, Francisco Elson feigned productivity with a board in 10:49, only to brick twice, foul twice, and lose the rock once for a 3:1 Voskuhl. Ronnie Price purchased some lacktivity in on a 4:26 appearance by the procurement of a brick from the ZCMI store and two fouls for a +3.

Generals-Kings: GASP! PURPLE PAUPERS WIN!? Celebrating tonight was Carl Landry, who did go 100% from the field (on one shot attempt) but had 1/3rd as many points as fellow pauper Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson in nearly the same amount of playing time (14:30). Four fouls and two turnovers led Landry into the land of Voskuhl ratios, in this case a 6:3!

Labels:

68 Comments:
Blogger Adam said...
Another chance for me to respond to an opponent's attempts to win a game with "Go Fish".

Holy Jebus it must have been an ugly game though, with a final score like that. I wish I was able to see the game, if anything to see more Griffin. The guy is damn fun to watch.

I have to kind of confess to not being *too* bummed that Utah lost because it helps my team in its own conference.

Hey Bawful, there's no question that the Spurs are legit, but what is your guess for how they'll perform down the stretch? Is their quicker than usual start something that will carry them through or will fatigue set in with some of their older players and make them cool off a bit? Because right now they're downright scary.

Blogger Will said...
When are the Nuggets gonna trade Billups and start Lawson? Is his contract too onerous? Even if Ty's D isn't good (I haven't seen them play that much so I don't know) he looked so much better than Chauncy on offense.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
No Antoine Walker watch?

http://www.nba.com/dleague/games/20101208/DAKIDA/gameinfo.html#nbaGIboxscore

13 pts 5-11 shooting 0-3 on 3's 6 rebs 3 assists. Not bad but I'd expect even an overweight Walker much less a slim one to average 50 ppg on 60 shots over in the D-League

Blogger SanguineTeddy said...
As a proud (for now, anyway) Knicks fan, it's Shawne Williams, not Shelden

(the extra E makes it all the sweeter)

Blogger Caveman said...
Yup, great defense on Felton there by Jose, Andrea. *facepalm*

Anonymous Kyle said...
Why can't I stop laughing every time I watch the Randolph clip. I've seriously seen it at least 20 times, and it never gets old

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Billy Hunter's latest ideas.

Double MLE? Hello 2010-11 NBA Champions Miami Heat.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
How about the "defence" by Bargs on STAT late in the game?

1. Stand like statue with arms straight up.
2. Watch while STAT goes around you like a pylon for a dunk.
3. Make sad face.

Ummm.. Hey, it's great that the guy scored 41 points, but he cannot cannot cannot guard Amar''''e Stoudamire.

Blogger Will said...
AnacondaHL- my favorite part was the independent review for all suspensions and fines. I'm sure Stern had a good chuckle over that.

Blogger chris said...
SanguineTeddy: Thanks. So many S. Williams lacktators out there! Gonna correct the entry now.

BTW, it's always a good morning when Raptors Fail comes up again. :D

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You gotta include this in the Wizards section:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOB04HvFewA

Blogger Wormboy said...
"From Elias: Kevin Love scored 22 points and grabbed 21 rebounds for the Timberwolves in their 111-103 loss to the Thunder. Love has surpassed both 20 points and 20 rebounds in five games this season while all other NBA players have combined to do that only once (Andris Biedrins on Nov. 26). No NBA player had more than two such games in 2009-10 and the last player with as many as five in one season was Dwight Howard, who did it six times in 2008-09."

Good golly! Do we need to start calling him "Animal Love?"

Blogger Eugene said...
Hey, The Other Chris,

That description of how bad Bargnani defended Amare was slightly exaggerated.

And a lot of the time, Amare got switched onto Calderon, so how is Bargnani supposed to defend that, huh, smart guy? Lets face it, if Calderon had done a better job of defending Amare Stoudamire, the Raptors might have won that game.

Anonymous JJ said...
Wormboy, Kevin Love is a ridiculous rebounding machine. But, I was a bit disappointed after recently looking up his field goal%. I think it was like 44%? Way too low for 6'10" guy. I hope he can improve offensively, especially around the post (don't like his ugly 3's) and become an Allstar.

Anonymous Stockton said...
http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=28xq7n9

...

would YOU do it?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Wormboy, Kevin Love is a ridiculous rebounding machine. But, I was a bit disappointed after recently looking up his field goal%. I think it was like 44%? Way too low for 6'10" guy. I hope he can improve offensively, especially around the post (don't like his ugly 3's) and become an Allstar.

Even stranger about the low FG% is that Love is shooting 40 on threes adn 90 on the line.

The problem is, he's hitting only 52.8% of his shots at the rim, 42% inside 10 feet, 28 percent from 10-15 feet and 35 from 16-23 feet. In all, Love attempts 12.3 of his 15.3 FGAs per game from those low percentage ranges. If only he could finish better around the rim, and stopped taking shots from 10-15 feet...

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
"Lets face it, if Calderon had done a better job of defending Amare Stoudamire"

Must.. not.. make.. sarcastic.. remarks.. head.. going.. to.. explode..

Do you get all butthurt when people point out that Bargs isn't a very good rebounder, either? Reality offends you? The guy is a great player on offence but defensively someone else should be guarding STAT, or the team should be using a difference scheme which doesn't hang him out to dry, or... something!!

But clearly it is the PG's fault, most PG's in this league are expected to successfully defend elite power forwards one-on-one...

Blogger Josh said...
As a native of California, I wouldn't expect to have too many Spurs articles drop on my plate but I'm curious - have there been any "The Spurs are a 73-9 team!" stories yet? We all know about the Miami ballwashing that's been going on since summer and I saw a couple articles regarding the Lakers before their 4 game skid, but none for San Antonio. I've heard/seen stories about how well they're playing, being contendors, re-energized and so on, but none about the record.

And FOR the record, I say they won't beat 72-10, but I find it curious there's been little talk about it being a possibility.

wv: nourite - "Man, that Lakers game last was just butt fugly." "I nourite?!"

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Love the announcer on the McGee video:

"And that's what happens when you hot-dog. That will land him in the not-so-top 10 plays of the week."

Blogger Drake said...
Speaking of Calderon's good defense, what about this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jn87CTrJUU

Granted, he's suddenly matched up with Amar'''''e. But after getting, err, okay defensive position despite the matchup, he goes on to play the rest of the defensive possession with his eyes closed. It's as if he were begging Amar'''''e to just get it all over with.

Bonus: this video was really meant to capture Ronny Turiaf's reaction to Amar'''''e's dunk. He dances like a white man/woman raving to guitar music, according to Dave Chappelle.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
PS. Bawful readers the play in question can be viewed at the 1.37 mark of the highlight video:

http://www.nba.com/video/games/knicks/2010/12/08/0021000318_tor_nyk_recap.nba/index.html

The Landry Fields dunk at 0.40 is gross. And a master course in "how not to box out" courteosy of the Dinos.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
PPS.. Whoops, my bad, it was Calderon with the statue defence.. but what the hell is Bargnani doing leaving him defending Amare one-on-one two feet from the rim? Yeah that'll end well.

It's hard to tell our European poor defending white dudes apart sometimes.

Blogger SanguineTeddy said...
@ Eugene

but the reason Calderon was left guarding STAT was because Bargs likes to switch out to defend perimeter players - which is probably a waste of 7 feet

Anonymous AK Dave said...
As 'Bawful noted, Love is shooting the 3-ball and hitting free throws at 90%. The result of this is a higher points/FGA ratio. For the season, Love has 443 pts on 337FGA, or 1.31 points per FGA. In other words, he may not *shoot 50% from the field, but when you factor in fouls and 3-pt accuracy, he is not an ineffective player on offense.

In fact, if a player NEVER shot a free throw or a 3-pointer, and hit 50% of his FG's, he would score 1.0 pts/FGA. (E.G. 5/10 = 10 points = 1point/FGA). So Love actually scores BETTER than a player who shoots 50% from the field in a vacuum. (for whatever that is worth, but moving on...)

In fact, he compares pretty well with his peers in this category.

Could he get better? Yeah. But for comparison, here is what other players at his position did in the last season: (stats from basketballreference.com)

Andray Blatche .478fgp; 1143pts on 999 FGA = 1.145 pts/FGA
Amar''''e .557fgp; 1896pts on 1264 FGA = 1.5 pts/FGA
David Lee .545fgp; 1640pts on 1268 FGA = 1.29 pts/FGA
Lamar Odom .463 fgp; 882pts on 739 FGA = 1.19 pts/FGA
Kevin Love: 842pts on 646 FGA = 1.30 pts/FGA

I would draw your attention to David Lee, who, while shooting a "good" .545% from the field, actually scores slightly FEWER points than Love per FGA.

Think about that.

Anyway, that's my case for Love. He might get his shot blocked, but he gets fouled in the process. He might miss 15 footers, but his 3-pointer is ONLY getting better. He might have a low FGP, but he compares pretty well with other players at his size and position when you look at the big picture and see how many points he scores compared to his shot volume. Just look at last night, where he hit only 7 of 22 shots, (.333fgp), but scored 22 points anyway (1.0pts/fga). The guy is getting it done on offense even when he misses shots.

Bottom line: he is good. And this doesn't even account for his RETARDED rebounding.

Science: it works, bitches.

(/silently waits for a searing retort from AnacondaHL)

Anonymous Czernobog said...
I thought that on balance Bargnani did OK on isolation plays against STATue. It was the P&R defence with him and Cal_eron that got Amar'''e the dunks, and he was getting those against others as well. Just bad P&R defence from everyone involved.

And as much maligned as Bargnani's defence justifiably is, the game would never have been that close if any of our wings could do anything against Gallo or our pg's against Felton.

Anonymous phrizzo said...
i can't tell if your fesenko comment was a joke or not but he played the entire fourth quarter and overtime in the jazz's first win over miami. he's a good interior defensive presence and the big two were practically walking to the rim on every possession. i think a lot of people underrate what he does for a team that starts al jefferson at center.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AK Dave -- Note also that Beastley, Love's teammate and supposedly the better offensive player, is averaging 1.17 points per field goal attempt.

Note also that Beastly's O-Rating is 102 to Love's 117. And Mikey's D-Rating (112) is lower than Kevin's (108). For what it's worth, Love wins the battle in PER (23.5 to 17.1) and Win Shares (2.8 to 0.7) as well.

As always, just sayin'.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
i can't tell if your fesenko comment was a joke or not but he played the entire fourth quarter and overtime in the jazz's first win over miami. he's a good interior defensive presence and the big two were practically walking to the rim on every possession. i think a lot of people underrate what he does for a team that starts al jefferson at center.

I was both kidding and being serious.

Blogger Japes said...
Just wanted to bring up some potential bawful for Indiana. There's a poll up on ESPN right now with the question

"What's your opinion of Ron Artest"

The following are the options:

"Like him"
"Don't like him"
"No strong opinion"

According to the map, 52% of Indiana voted "Like him" and the other 48% were split between the last two options. What gives? Didn't this man single-handedly set the Pacers back a few years out of contention? Maybe people are liking their team this year and have forgotten about the brawl? I was expecting like a 90% "Don't like him" vote.

Blogger Passives Abseits said...
here is what I don't get (well, I'm just a stupid German who should konw anything bout b-ball so maybe you can help). Calderon is one of the worst defenders in the league... like alle time... in basketball, you can go with offensive-defensive substitutions in the final stages of a game. There's a 90% chance that there was a timeout taken by the Knicks. So: WHY IS HE EVEN IN THE GAME???? it's not the first time something like that comes to my attention, I've already seen a buzzer beater over Steve Nash... WHY???
Oh and since I'm at it: getting beaten by a Fisher 3 pointer can happen... but my D-Fish driving to the basket?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
As a native of California, I wouldn't expect to have too many Spurs articles drop on my plate but I'm curious - have there been any "The Spurs are a 73-9 team!" stories yet? We all know about the Miami ballwashing that's been going on since summer and I saw a couple articles regarding the Lakers before their 4 game skid, but none for San Antonio. I've heard/seen stories about how well they're playing, being contendors, re-energized and so on, but none about the record.

And FOR the record, I say they won't beat 72-10, but I find it curious there's been little talk about it being a possibility.


I think their are a few reasons for this.

First and foremost, the Spurs just have never generated the kind of attention and following of the Lakers and (now) Heat. They don't capture the imagination.

Secondly, they didn't really make many significant changes over the summer. They added Tiago Splitter, but he hasn't made much of a splash, and they re-signed Richard Jefferson, who's actually playing pretty well but isn't highly regarded anymore.

By contract, the Lakers are the defending champs and made significant additions (Blake, Barnes and Ratliff), while the Heat paired two of the league's best players and Ringo, er, Chris Bosh.

Furthermore, Tim Duncan's raw stats are in sharp decline (13.7 PPG on 48% shooting) although his PER is still relatively strong (21.8). I don't think people really believe the Spurs can contend unless TD is playing at superstar level.

Everything I read is about SA's fast START. People just can't believe the Spurs are going to keep it up. I mean, are Matt Bonner, Gary Neal and Jefferson going to be lighting it up from downtown all season? Can Manu keep playing at a near superstar level? Can Tony Parker continue to be a one-man fast break? You know? Those are the questions people are asking...

Blogger b r christensen said...
props to Chris for the ZCMI joke.

Stockton: tough call, rather have AK than Prince. Rip would certainly be nice but is he that much better than Bell? Worth giving up a 7 footer who can knock down 3s? If I'm the Jazz GM I pass.

Blogger b r christensen said...
@Stockton http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2v83rw4

Anonymous Business TIme said...
Re: Love's FG%

He had 5 of his shots blocked last night, probably all of them by Ibaka who had 8 for the night. Sadly, although Yahoo tracks "blocks against" in individual game box scores, I don't see it tracked on their player profiles or on basketball-reference, so I'm not sure if this is a season long trend.

Anonymous Stockton said...
christensen

Gee, that trade would cost the Jazz a high playoff seed AND would give Sloan at least 2 heart attacks per month...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Re: Love's FG%

He had 5 of his shots blocked last night, probably all of them by Ibaka who had 8 for the night. Sadly, although Yahoo tracks "blocks against" in individual game box scores, I don't see it tracked on their player profiles or on basketball-reference, so I'm not sure if this is a season long trend.


According to 82games.com, 10% of Love's shots are getting blocked. Additionally, 11 percent of his inside shots are getting stuffed, and 14 percent of his "close" shots are being swatted.

Anonymous Stockton said...
# b r christensen

Rip is awesome without ball, and would fit perfectly in the jazz system. And yes, Bell would back him up, since CJ is more of a 3 than a SG.
Prince is a good defender, and can make shots. Yes, he's playing like s##t, but who isn't in the Pistons?
As for Okur, he is a scorer AND a rebounder (let's not forget), but that ankle...

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
AK Dave - I Hate the "points on shots" stat. It is stupid and meaningless IMHO, especially when there are other strictly better ways to capture scoring and/or efficiency. Like, "oh great, Magette scored 10 pts on 0-1 shooting and 10-15 FTs for a pt/fga of 10!!!!!". Stupid stat.

And Kevin Love dominates rebound related stats, news at 11.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Also, use proper judgement when reading blocked shots and shot locations on 82games, as I was informed from "someone in the know" that those stats are scraped from NBA.com's play by play, which are notoriously inaccurate.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Adam - That Lakers/Clippers game was ugly. I mean, really ugly. Blake Griffin didn't even do much because he had some foul trouble at first, and then Ron Artest guarded him (and did a great job). The Clippers looked like their usual terrible selves, but the Lakers looked even worse. Don't let the score fool you into thinking it was a defensive battle, it was just two teams playing some of the worst offense you'll ever see.

The Lakers were super lucky to win this one, even aside from Fisher's game winning layup. Late in the 3rd quarter the Clippers were up 12 before Shannon Brown suddenly caught fire and hit 4 straight shots, 3 of them from three-point land, and the last one at the 3rd quarter buzzer from well beyond half court (it swished!). If not for that miracle shot the Lakers would have been down 9 entering the 4th quarter instead of being only down 6, and as you saw with that last play, every point counted in this one.

Josh - In addition to what Mr. Bawful had to say about the Spurs, I think people also feel like Greg Popovich makes a huge point of not caring about the regular season, so much so that nobody really could see them trying for 73 wins. I did ask around here a week or two ago if people thought that Pop was trying to push San Antonio to capture the league's best record though, and I'm still curious about that. The last number of years Pop has been adamant about resting his team during the regular season just so they're healthy come playoff time, but I wondered if last year's sweep by the Suns shook him up on that.

I'm wondering if he thinks the Spurs really will need home court advantage against teams like the Lakers or whomever comes out of the East if San Antonio's gonna have a legit shot at winning it all this year. Given the way that Manu and Duncan tend to wear down in the second half of the year though, I'm not sure how realistic a goal the league's best record is for the Spurs. Time will tell.

Blogger Wormboy said...
Not to be nitpicky, but you responded to a Love comment I made a couple of weeks ago, not today's Love comment. I must be lovin' on the Love too much, and it's confusing you. :)



Aside: Wasn't Griffin over the back on that dunk? Odom's feet are actually outside of the arc before the putback!

PS I like the Lakers grinning after that.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Holy shit, has anyone else seen LeBron James' Ego on Twitter? The latest tweet is comedy gold: BOUGHT A $9 MILL HOUSE & PRESS WANT TO ASK BOUT MY TEAM. I GOT 8 BATHROOMS! I DIDN'T PEE IN THE SAME PLACE TWICE YESTERDAY! NOW THAT'S NEWS.

Anonymous Fafnir said...
How about points per possession AHL?

(using .44*FTA to estimate the number of possessions a single free throw is)

Beasley: .91 PPP
Blatche: .86 PPP
Love: .98 PPP
Amar'e: 1.02 PPP

I believe League average is around .95? It might be slightly higher for PF/Cs....

Anyways I don't think Love is a bad offensive player, his defense is his only problem. Beasly on the other hand sucks as a SF.

Now my quick calculations ignores assists, but none of these guys have an assist rate worth talking about so I think its a valid comparison.

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
Contrary to Anaconda... I love "points per shot" as a stat. At the very least its far more telling than FG%, and its a quick way to see how efficient a player is on offense.

However, I've always thought that free throws should be included as a "shot" in the stat, since free throws are the use of a possession just as much as a field goal is.

Blogger Dooj said...
@wild yams

I want to see an NBA resident/bathroom ratio statistic.

I wonder who would lead that one?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Also, use proper judgement when reading blocked shots and shot locations on 82games, as I was informed from "someone in the know" that those stats are scraped from NBA.com's play by play, which are notoriously inaccurate.

Currently, there's no super reliable method of keeping track of blocks against. Even the ones listed in the Yahoo! box scores tend to have spotty accuracy. It's just not an area that gets a lot of attention. We use what we've got.

I Hate the "points on shots" stat. It is stupid and meaningless IMHO, especially when there are other strictly better ways to capture scoring and/or efficiency. Like, "oh great, Magette scored 10 pts on 0-1 shooting and 10-15 FTs for a pt/fga of 10!!!!!". Stupid stat.

On the subject of "people in the know," people I know in the know know people in the know who think this stat is actually pretty meaningful. For what it's worth. But, fuck, everybody seems to change their tune about what's important based on their argument, so here's me and my grains of salt.

In addition to what Mr. Bawful had to say about the Spurs, I think people also feel like Greg Popovich makes a huge point of not caring about the regular season, so much so that nobody really could see them trying for 73 wins.

The thing is, part of Pop's standard OP for not caring about the regular season is keeping his guys' minuted down. And he's DOING that. TP leads the team at 33 MPG. Manu's next at 32 MPG. Duncan's at about 28 MPG. So the real story is the production SA's getting out of Blair, Bonner, Hill and Neal. Their bench is playing a lot of minutes and producing. Plus, somebody reanimated Jefferson...

As for the best record in the league, I'm guessing Pop would say, "It'd be nice, but I don't care either way."

Blogger Solieyu said...
So the Timberpups seem to be far more competitive than they have been in recent years. What pieces do they need to get into the middle tier of teams? A true center? A point? I truly dominant wing player? The triangle doesn't need a traditional point guard right (So why don't more teams run it? Looking at you Heat).

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Caleb Smith - Good work buddy, you essentially just described TS%. See now why points/FGA is stupid?

Blogger chris said...
Solieyu:
So the Timberpups seem to be far more competitive than they have been in recent years.

Man, I miss when the Purple Paupers were like that...last season.

Sigh.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
Regarding FTs and FGs
is there a stat on points per posession? maybe they should build a stat model on that per player

wish they distinguished between And 1s and regular FTs

a Person that goes 5-10 FG and 1-10 Fts on pure And 1s should be more valueable than 5-10 FG and 3-10 on pure regular Free throws since And 1s are Extra points you wouldn't otherwise have had

Anonymous Anonymous said...
To rip off someone else's words (probably Bill Simmons since I read his book again recently). The triangle has yet to be proven to work without Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan operating it. So in a snarky-yet-probably-completely-accurate way, I would say that the Timberwolves just need to find the 3rd greatest SG to ever live to play for them, then they'd be right there. Even though Darko is a whipping boy around these (and all) parts, you can do just fine with a guy like him at center. Mana from heaven is a perfectly adequate defensive center and if Kevin Love keeps going animal style on us, you can get by fine with Darko only half contributing on offense.


Also, just want to corroborate what Wild Yams said about last night's Lakers/Clippers game. For 2.75 quarters it was easily the most bawful game of the season. For reference, in the 3rd quarter, the Clippers blew dunks on 3 consecutive possessions, something I can't say I've ever seen in 20+ years of NBA watching. The Lakers (other than Kobe and Shannon) essentially no showed this game until they saw that they were about to lose, and the Clippers were the Clippers.


The Spurs will likely fight for the best record in the West simply by default. The Lakers are the walking definition of "disinterested" this year and we haven't even gotten to their February/March stretch of games where they could easily go 6-15 because all their hard road games bunch up together. Because the Lakers will probably end the season at 52-55 wins, the #1 seed in the west is completely and totally wide open. Why not the Spurs?

Anonymous AK Dave said...
@AnacondaHL: I'm dissapointed. I had hoped for a real smackdown, and not just an "IMHO" comment. Where is the fire? :D

Anyway, simply saying "Stupid Stat" (extra points for alliteration- swish!) doesn't really explain why it sucks, but I think I can see why you don't like the pts/FGA stat here: it contraverts your position that Love has a major flaw on offense, namely his FGP.

My position is that FG% is not a tell-all stat, and that pts/FGA is a more reliable indicator of offensive effectiveness.

Take this example for instance: 0/10 shooting, but 10/10 ft for 10 points or 1.0ppfga. I don't see that as a bad stat line. If you are getting fouled on shot attempts, and hitting free throws at a good rate, you are contributing offensively just as much as if you are hitting field goals and not getting fouled. Is it any better if you go 5/10 with no FTA's? Either way, your team gets the same number of points. Mathematically, there is no difference.

Also, my previous comment above shows quite clearly that even a player with a high FG% (David Lee) doesn't translate to a more efficient offensive player. At the end of the day, Lee scores fewer points than Love for every shot he takes, even though his FG% is .100 higher.

Furthermore, hitting free throws means that the other team is fouling, which puts their players in trouble of being thrown out and can change the way they play defense. It is also a sign that you are playing aggressively and not settling for outside shots, which is generally desirable.

Similarly, hitting 3 pointers at a solid rate can stretch the defense and make life easier for your slashers. 3 Pointers are a great case-in-point for the pts/FGA stat: there is literally no difference between a player who goes 4/12 from 3 and a player who goes 6/12 from 2. Nevertheless, the player shooting the 3's will have a lower FG%. This is relevant because Love has been shooting lots of 3's this season, which brings his overall FGP down. David Lee, Amar'''e, and most other 4's not named "Dirk" don't shoot a lot of 3's, which accounts in part for their higher FG%.

I'm not saying that FG% is a useless stat, but I don't think that in Love's case it gives you the whole picture. It's easy to point to his low FG% and decry him as "inefficient". That simply is not true. He could certainly be more efficient, but as outlined previously, he compares pretty well with a random sample of his peers.

---

RE: Blocked shots generally: if you block a shot, but foul the player in the process, does the block still get counted? I ask because the blocks against stat is less meaningful if it includes situations where a player has his shot blocked, but is fouled in the process, then shoots two (or three) free throws and gets points out of the deal. Does anyone know how this works?

Anonymous Barry said...
You'd think the Raptors mascot fail gets boring after 1000 views.

It does not.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Shrugz - ORtg.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
And they've shown the value of all types of FTs and it is already all wrapped up in the coefficient people use, typically 0.44. Not perfect, but proven as good enough for now, mathematically, with the prior data we have.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yams,

you'll like this. Guess which fanbase is on a nostalgic streak about missing the good old days of players being able to police themselves by sending messages with fouls?

http://www.blazersedge.com/2010/12/9/1866444/andre-miller-is-right

I seem to remember an entirely different stance from Blazer fans regarding a certain Trevor Ariza.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
No, the point is both FG% and pts/FGA are stupid.

And no, there's no simultaneous block and foul, as one has a FGA with a miss, and one has either a make or nothing.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'm obviously biased as hell, but I don't think the Lakers problem right now is disinterest, but it really is due to a lack of frontcourt depth (i.e. Bynum being out). Gasol's never struck me as the kind of guy to get bored with basketball, or to mail it in, and I chalk up his dropoff in production to just way too many minutes he's been asked to play. I think the load has simply been too much for him, and Kobe has been trying to help out by shouldering a lot of it, and of course, that's not working. Fisher, Odom and Artest are all very up and down players so you never really know what to expect from them, and the bench is the bench and they're not expected to deliver consistently (no bench is, that's why it's the bench).

But with Gasol not being able to contribute as much, it's fallen to Kobe to do too much, and that's always a bad recipe for the Lakers if they want to win. Additionally, Phil Jackson has had to play a lot of small ball this year with either Barnes or Artest at the 4, and that's something he's really loathe to do, but he's had no other choice this year. He simply does not want to go small, and that's why you've almost never seen Odom at center, and that's why Gasol has hardly come out of any games.

When Bynum comes back the Lakers will suddenly have frontcourt depth and Gasol and Odom won't have to play 40 minutes a game anymore. Artest and Barnes can go back to just being small forwards, and Kobe can go back to just being a shooting guard. Bynum's return should mean that Theo Ratliff and Derrick Caracter's absences mean nothing (at least one of them wouldn't be on the active roster anyway, even if both were healthy). Bynum's return will mean no more small ball, everyone gets enough rest, and hopefully Kobe will go back to doing less offensively. I think this will mean more post play on offense, the ball running through Gasol more often (and him being rested enough to actually produce when it does), and the Lakers' winning percentage will probably go way up. I think that's why LA looked so good to start (8-0) and why they've looked so bad since: just that Gasol was fresh at that beginning of the year, but hasn't been able to keep doing that with all the minutes he's had to play.

But hey, at least Bynum got to go to the World Cup last summer.

Blogger Adam said...
Yams: Yeah, looking at the writeups after I made my first post, I'm almost happy I *didn't* catch the game. The Lakers are having a real focus problem lately. They're not playing with the same rhythm they were early on and I'm inclined to go along with the consensus that a lot of it is fatigue from the extra minutes being played by the starters in Bynum's and Ratliff's (and now maybe Caracter's?) absence. Things will smooth out, but it's a matter of how long it takes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I was at the Suns-Grizzzzlies game and let me tell ya it was truly bawful. The starters were out when the Suns finally made a run from 16 down to tie the game. Turk hits a trey to take the lead by 1 with 6 seconds left. After an exchange of free throws with Channing Frye missing 1 of his that sets it up for Rudy to tie the game at the buzzer and send it into overtime. After that US Airways emptied because everyone knew that the Suns would give up the goat in OT. BTW J-Rich was just awful out there a true horror to watch. Zach, well Zach was a beast since it was like he was playing against kids (which did play on the court at halftime) at times in the Suns inferior interior D. Oh and it was my first Suns game since I moved here to AZ from Ohio. Cry for me...

Blogger Josh said...
Just throwing this out there out of curiosity:

If the Lakers still want an extra big man after losing Ratliff (and possibly losing Character too for a while, though how much of a 'loss' you want to call that is debateable), what could their options be come trading time? Who could they afford to give up and who might be a good fit to add to the depth? Or would this even be necessary since Character was already a 3rd to 4th option.

Blogger Wormboy said...
I suppose Yams sums it up. As much as I boost Gasol in the Gasol v. Kobe wars (as in, it's a crime that Gasol doesn't have a Finals MVP trophy), the guy is not a workhorse team carrier that can do so for months on end. It's just not in his DNA. That's why he's the near perfect complement for Kobe. I think the Lakers are MUCH more threatening for the title if Gasol has a relatively quiet season. Perhaps Phil is channeling Coach Pop in the "late spurt" philosophy? But yeah, very concerned about Gasol's gas. Wow, THAT sounded bad. :D


Speaking of Pop, he must be worried about his record. I mean, his formula has always been a late peak, and he's done it better than any NCAA coach. But he's got his guys peaking early. Who really thinks RJ will continue this through the playoffs? And to be honest, even 28 minutes is too many for Timmy. Here's one of the smartest guys to ever play the game: give him 22-24 minutes a game through the season and have him on the exercise bike. You telling me he won't rip it up come playoff time?

Or maybe RJ has turned over a new leaf. Somebody has been whispering Boston-esque "Big 4" stuff into his ear.... I certainly thought he had great up side his early days in NJ, but I think that organization crushed his spirit.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Josh - If Bynum, Gasol and Odom are all healthy, the Lakers don't need any additional depth in the frontcourt because those three will get all of the available minutes. With Gasol able to play both the 4 and the 5, the rotation the last two years has basically been Bynum and Gasol start, then at some point Bynum sits and Odom comes in, sliding Gasol over to center. Then eventually Gasol goes out and Bynum comes back in, then Odom will sit so Gasol can come back in. Rinse, repeat. Fully healthy, the Lakers don't need anyone else.

However, when Bynum is hurt (as he often is), then in the past the Lakers have gone to a 4 man rotation using DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell (or Theo Ratliff & Derrick Caracter this year). But with Ratliff out with a knee injury and Caracter leaving the game last night with an ankle sprain (supposedly it's not serious and he may play tomorrow), that really just left Gasol as the only guy who can play center and he and Odom as the only ones who can legitimately play PF. LA's using Barnes and Artest at the 4 as well, but those guys are really undersized to be doing that.

My guess is that if Bynum gets hurt again, the Lakers will definitely make some kind of move, even if it's just signing a D-Leaguer. But who knows, if that happens, maybe Ratliff will be healthy by then?

Anon - re: Ariza/Fernandez and BlazersEdge wanting more physical play, that definitely is pretty hypocritical. To this day I still feel like Ariza was making a play on the ball, but both he and Fernandez were going so fast that any contact was bound to end in a bad crash. Ariza did get the ball, he just got some of Rudy's head too. The Clipper announcers last night were talking about how players like Blake Griffin tend to have a lot of nasty looking falls just from being so explosive. You go up with a lot of force and get hit and you may fall really hard. Just the way it goes when you play that way.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I suppose Yams sums it up. As much as I boost Gasol in the Gasol v. Kobe wars (as in, it's a crime that Gasol doesn't have a Finals MVP trophy), the guy is not a workhorse team carrier that can do so for months on end. It's just not in his DNA.

I want to point a couple things out. First, Pau's playing 39 minutes per game. Kobe's playing 33. This matters.

And it matters more than just pure minutes, because being a frontcourt player is much more physically grueling than playing on the perimeter. It just is. If you've been a "big man" in pickup ball -- a true big man -- you'll know what I'm talking about. Try getting pushed and hit for an hour. It's exhausting. That's why so many big men, as their careers wear on, start to drift further and further away from the basket. Because they get tired of absorbing a beating night after night.

Consequently, this is one of the reason's I have vehemently disagreed that Karl Malone "robbed" Michael Jordan of the 1997 MVP award. Not only was Malone superior in most statistical categories, he had to be his team's leading scorer, primary rebounder, and top frontcourt enforcer/defender. He had to wear more "hats" than MJ did that season, because P-Jax did such a great job of parsing out responsibilities as Jordan got older. Which is why guys like Ron Harper were dispatched to guard, say, a Reggie Miller while Jordan guarded the statue-like Chris Mullin when the Bulls were playing the Pacers.

At any rate, Gasols dip in performance isn't a problem with his heart. He's just hasn't had to play this hard for this many minutes in years. The only season he averaged more MPG was 2005-06, when he was 25. Now he's 30 and playing those minutes at that position with no real relief has him lagging.

I'm just sayin'.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - You make some really good points here. People should also consider that technically Gasol is playing out of position at center. While he can play center, he's definitely too light and lanky to be trying to shove back and forth with guys who are almost always bulkier than he is all game long, game in and game out. Like I've said with regard to when the Lakers play the Celtics and whether they do so with or without Bynum, it's the difference between Gasol having to push and get pushed around by Kendrick Perkins or having to just stand near the equally lanky Kevin Garnett. It makes a big difference. Gasol just isn't built to be this much of a workhorse at the center position. He just isn't. And back to back nights of 40+ minutes like he had against Washington and the Clippers definitely takes its toll.

Bynum's return to the Lakers is going to be huge, and not because Bynum is suddenly gonna go off or something (though he might, you never know). It's just gonna settle the whole Laker rotation and actually give Gasol and Odom a chance to rest finally. Once that happens all that's gonna have to happen is for Kobe to realize he can now back off offensively and go back to what he was doing at the beginning of the year and let the offense run through Gasol again. Kobe being Kobe there's no guarantee that'll happen (hell, it might even be a longshot that it does), but if Kobe plays smart and Gasol is rested, that'll make all the difference in the world for the Lakers.

Blogger Rich Muhlach said...
The Lakers have spoken to free agents Erick Dampier and Jake Voskuhl about possibly signing as a replacement for Theo Ratliff, who is expected to be out at least a month after he had knee surgery Monday.

Blogger Jonny said...
I was hoping that the clippers blowing 3 straight dunk attempts (!!!) would have made it on the front page, but i guess it's a little too late to add that in now

that was really, really bawful

Anonymous Anonymous said...
oy vey we're clippers west! that's awful!

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