sad lakers bench
Am I the only person who feels irrationally happy at seeing this picture?

The Los Angeles Lakers: Maybe it was the fact that they were playing their fourth road game in five nights, but the Lakers were so gassed that the application of hands to faces was beyond them. Forget the 89 points on 43 percent shooting or the 3-for-19 brick-a-palooza from beyond the arc. L.A.' defense was apparently working on West Coast time, because the Lakers made the Bobcraps look like the model of offensive efficiency.

Mind you, Charlotte averages an Offensive Rating of 103.4, which is "good" for 25th in the league. Their eFG% of 48.2 ranks 24th. Against the Lakers, the Bobcraps finished with an eFG% of 56.1 and an Offensive Rating of 127.0. And that was with Stephen Jackson and D.J. Augustin combining to shoot 6-for-17.

Said L.A. coach Phil Jackson: I just have this to say: I'm very disappointed in our performance tonight. I'm embarrassed about what we did, and that's it." And that really was it. Press conference over. It's more than Kobe (8-for-20, 5 turnovers) said. According to the AP recap, Mamba "sneaked out of the locker room before addressing the press at all."

But, hey, he had aches and chills. And nobody can play through that...right?

The Lakers, however, are pretty much always sick against the Bobcraps for whatever reason. L.A. has lost eight of their last 10 games against Charlotte and are 5-8 all-time against them. The only other team with a winning record against the Lakers? The Boston Celtics (153-121). That's right, Lakers fans. Feel the knife twist.

Anyway, the last two games -- back-to-back blowouts -- continues a season-long trend for the Lakers: A series of strong games that make them look like a lock to repeat as champs followed by a cluster of head-scratching losses that make them look like a first round upset in the waiting.

Bonus stat that will probably piss off Lakers fans: According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Lakers are now 12-12 when Kobe takes at least 20 shots. They're 26-6 when he takes fewer than 20 shots.


Andrew Bynum, quote machine: "We can lose to anybody the way we're playing defense right now."

Derek Fisher, rationalization machine: Everything we do is obviously going to be compared to what we've done the last two seasons. But this is an entirely different team. Half of our roster is new, so there are still things we're learning about ourselves."

Paul Silas, dramatic overstatement machine: "This is probably the biggest, monumental win for the Bobcats and probably the biggest loss for them. It was huge."

The Detroit Pistons: If this was the mid-2000s, having Tracy McGrady lead your team in scoring would have been a good thing, unless it was a first round playoff game. But it's 2011, and Knee-Mac taking scoring honors is more like the dark omen of a lopsided loss.

Sure enough, the Pistons got clobberated at home by the Hawks. And it happened despite the fact that Detroit drilled its first six threes and built a 15-point lead. But, predictably, the Pistons iced over, as illustrated by their quarter-by-quarter scoring: 27, 24, 17, 11.

After leading by as many as 15, Detroit trailed by as many as 17 and lost 94-79. The Pistons shot 38 percent while the Dirty Birds converted a hands-in-their-faces-free 56.5 percent of their field goals. According to the AP recap, the home team got booed by the small crowd of 11,844 as they left the court.

Said Charlie V.: "I would have booed too. We were really good early on, but every team in the NBA makes a run, but we didn't have an answer when they did. We seemed like we got comfortable when we had the lead."

How does a team that's 16 games below .500 ever get comfortable?

John Kuester, master of simple math: "We had 14 assists at halftime and only ended with 20. That's a dramatic difference."

The Los Angeles Clippers: Whispers of "they are who we thought they were" are echoing through The Other L.A. Team's locker room. They snapped the Cleveland Cadavers' record-busting 26-game losing streak. They got slapped around by the Toronto Craptors. And now they've lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.

And what a loss.

The Bucks are a depressing mess on the offensive end of the floor. They rank 30th in eFG% (46.0) and the only team they're ahead of in Offensive Rating (101.2) are the Cadavers (101.1). And note that the margin of difference is only 0.1.

Yet, against the Clips, the Bucks looked like the next coming of Showtime. (Well, okay, that's a major exaggeration considering they finished with 2 fast break points, but bear with me.) Milwaukee compiled an eFG% of 59.6 and an O-Rating of 120.7. Carlos Delfino nailed a career-high seven three-pointers and the Bucks went on a 14-1 fourth quarter run while outscoring the Clippers 31-13 for the period.

Did I meantion that the Bucks were without Corey Maggette (back) and Drew Gooden (left foot)? Or that Ersan Ilyasova (right eye) went down early in the first quarter?

The Other L.A. Team is now 1-6 on their 11-game road trip.

Vinny Del Negro, coach of the year candidate: "When the game gets a little tight we don't execute as well. There is no miracle pill for it. There is no quick answer. It's just staying together."

I dunno, Vinny. There may be a miracle pill out there...

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love eked out a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) to extend his streak to 41 in a row. And that was pretty much the sum total of what went right for the Timberwolves last night. Beyond that, they were outworked and outplayed in pretty much every category that matters, falling arrears by as many as 17 points before losing 95-81.

If you're looking for culprits in this crime against the sport of basketball, look no further than starters Jonny Flynn, Corey Brewer and Wesley Johnson. After all, those three guys combined for one point, zero rebounds, zero assists and 6 turnovers. Man...starters aren't supposed to lacktate...are they?

No wonder the Minnesota fans were as excited as fresh corpses.

Said Martell Webster: "It would be really nice to hear these great fans be a little bit louder out there because we feed off their energy as well. It's kind of tough when you come in here and all you hear is echoes from the basketball hitting the floor," Webster said. "They might be waiting for us to make something happen. We want them to be loud, I'll tell you that."

And they want you to win, I'll tell you that. So I guess everybody gets to go home disappointed, Martell.

Brandon Roy: This season, the Frail Blazers are 10-13 with him in the lineup...and 21-11 without him. In related news, Portland is 31-24 without Greg Oden.

Update! Kevin Love's face versus a basketball: From Basketbawful reader Joseph:

I can't stop giggling. I'm so immature.

The New Jersey Nyets: The Nyets set the bawful bar so unreasonable low last season that a 102-85 home loss to the Spurs this season barely registers on my radar. A quick statistical rundown: New Jersey shot 34.8 percent while getting outrebounded 50-39. However, they did outscore the Spurs 11-10 in fast break points. Moral victory!

Part of the problem may have been that Sasha Vujacic, who can score 20 or 30 points any time he wants, finished with only 8 points on 2-for-9 shooting. I guess he didn’t want.


And if there's anything the Nyets are good at, it's beating themselves.

The _enver Nuggets: The Rockets scored 121 points and finished with an Offensive Rating of 128.1. They scored 39, 30 and 33 points over the final three quarters. They hit 14 three-pointers. They matched their season-high with 31 assists. They hit their highest point total highest point total since dropping 129 points in Minnesota on January 24.

And comparing _enver's _efense to Minny's seems pretty fair right about now.

Their offense had it's share of problems in the third quarter, during which the Nuggets scored 14 points and had more TOs (6) than FGs (4). And 'Melo -- fresh off his "I think it takes a strong-willed person, a strong-minded person, to deal with the stuff that I deal with and still go out there and go to work every day and perform on a nightly basis" speech -- managed only 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting and sat out the fourth quarter after a collision with Luis "Apparently Made of Stone" Scola.

Said Anthony: "I think they said I've got a deep bruise, a shoulder contusion or something like that."

I can understand his confusion. That's a lot of information to keep track of.

Carmelo Anthony, quote machine, Part 1: "We were up 12 or more than that in that first half, and you blink and then the Rockets were up 12. So it was one of those crazy games."

Carmelo Anthony, quote machine, Part 2: "As far as [being traded to the Rockets] or anything like that, I don't control that. Y'all got to talk to my management about that."

ESPNBoston: Basketbawful reader Alexandru B. brought this to my attention: ESPNBoston's "Editor's Picks" features an article about who's the better point guard, Rajon Rondo or...Jalen Rose. Like Alexandru, I'm gonna have to go with Rondo on this one.

rondo rose

Random goodness: Steve Nash Valentine's Day E-Card.

nash valentine

Also, a Valentine's Day message for Captain Canada from back in 2007.

Also, Steve's V-Day Tweet: "Happy Valentines Day to All the mothers and daughters out there. You make the world what it is."

Chris's Valentine's Day lovely lacktion report:

Lakers-Bobcats: Sherron Collins celebrated a win over the defending Association titleholders with two bricks from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and a turnover in 3:40 for a +3!

Spurs-Nyets: Matt Bonner rocketed into the report tonight by reconsidering his two assista and three points in 1:51 with four fouls for a 4:3 Voskuhl.

Hawks-Pistons: Atlanta's Jeff Teague trotted out a piece of masonry in 87 seconds, along with a turnover and rejection, for a +3.

Chris Wilcox patrolled Oakland County for two rebounding opportunities in 13:40, only to lose the rock twice and foul once for a 3:2 Voskuhl.

Clippers-Bucks: Rasual Butler served up a brick for Donald Sterling to earn a +1 in 1:51. Meanwhile, Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova forged a foul in that same exact duration of time for a +1! (Chris: Ilyasova's lacktion canceled out due to injury)

Frail Blazers-Wolves: Joel Pryzbilla procured four boards and a free throw in 20:04, yet also pilfered four fouls and two turnovers for a 6:4 Voskuhl. Luke Babbitt targeted the Duck Hunt dog in just 12 seconds for a celebratory Mario!

For the pathetic pups, it's telling when the hometown paper's recrap of your game notes how much two starters lacked it up!

In tonight's case, Corey Brewer and Jonny Flynn made Minnesotans melt down in frustration. Brewer missed twice in 13:21, lost the rock thricely, and gathered up a foul for a +6, while Flynn bricked three times himself (twice from the Mary Tyler Moore statue) and turned over the ball twice in 12:48 for a +5!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...
A miracle pill is only good for an offense that's mostly dead.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...

- Heat fan

Blogger Joseph said...
I think the Lamarcus Aldridge ball tap into Kevin Love's face sums up the game nicely:

Anonymous Arlen said...
ah this jibjab thing is too much fun

I already posted the Shaq one in the last thread, here's the "Kobe and Bieber Valentine Special"

Blogger chris said...
but the Lakers were so gassed that the application of hands to faces was beyond them

Well, judging by the photo that starts the article, applications of palms to their OWN faces happened.


Blogger Basketbawful said...
I was just checking out Strength of Schedule at Basketball-Reference. Check this out.

Top 10 SOS:

1. Cadavers
2. Warriors
3. Generals
4. Rockets
5. Timberpoops
6. Mavericks
7. Clippers
8. Craptors
9. Hornets
10. Pistons

Bottom 10 SOS:

21. Grizzlies
22. Sixers
23. Frail Blazers
24. Magic
25. Lakers
26. Spurs
27. Celtics
28. Bulls
29. Heat
30. Hawks

Not exactly a smoking gun or anything, but it's still pretty darn interesting that some of the league's worst teams have had the hardest schedules, while the winningest teams (sans the Mavs) have had the weakest schedules.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
At this point in the season there's a bit of a chicken and egg deal going on with the whole sos thing.

You're constantly playing teams that are better than you, because everyone's better than you.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: This begs the question...

How much of schedule strength is retrospective, rather than predictive? (as in, the reason the records of the teams that the "weak-schedule" folks play are so bad is because...the strong teams are causing those records to be so bad?)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Perhaps our leading mathematologist, AnacondaHL, has an opinion about what SOS "really" means?

Blogger KHayes666 said...
If a team could possibly play another team in the playoffs and beats them by 20, it really doesn't make a difference if they play a crap team the next night and lose.

So if someone wants to say the Lakers suck after beating the Celtics then losing to the Bobcats, keep in mind last week the Celtics beat the Magic then lost to the Bobcats too.

I wonder if Charlotte plays San Antonio the night after the Spurs play the Mavs or LA.

Anonymous Flud said...
In the case of the like of the Cavs, I'd say it meant Save Our Season. Or Stop Our Suck. I'm wearing guy-focal scepitcals about the whole S.O.S. thing. Unless the Mavs nose-dive inwhich case it will sort of make sense.

Anonymous JJ said...
Watching that Kevin Love's face vs Basketball video in real speed didn't make me laugh, but the slo-mo, replayed smacks to Love's face they showed afterwards cracked me up. I guess I'm immature too.

Blogger winnetou said...
Not quite as awesome as the Kevin Love video, but in the Rockets-Nuggets game, Jordan Hill's dunk hit Chris Andersen in the back of the head.

Anonymous katonk said...
Classic Crazy Pills interview from last night.

"Want to try some Unbreakable?"

Anonymous William said...

Can't say for sure, but I think the way Hollinger does it is to take, for 'Team A' the combined record for 'Team A's opponents IN GAMES NOT INVOLVING 'Team A'. It looks like Basketball Reference is not making the same adjustment, so the Cav's have a high SOS from BasRef because they're crappy and lose often.

Hollinger's results are a bit different:

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Sorry I'm late, 3 hour meeting.

Czernobog and chris are correct. Raw SOS tends that way because the opponents you beat more get more losses...because you beat them. It is completely retrospective.

There are other methods, such as SRS, or ESPN's RPI, that incorporate Opponent's opponent schedule in some weighting most importantely, to show a true strength of schedule, in addition to things like Margin of Victory, Home Court Advantage, etc. to get a better scale of who got the scheduling shaft.

Anonymous DKH said...
It's not clear to me what method basketball-reference is using to calculate strength of schedule, but it seems like it should be a measure of the quality of the league, other than yourself (because you don't play yourself). So the "league" that the Cavs play against is harder than the "league" the Celtics play against. I think that will probably explain some of the trend that we see.

Also, it's amazing to me that the Hawks' opponents' winning percentage is .459. How is that far from .500 this late in the season? Everyone else is within .021 of .500.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
DKH - Like I said, SOS on basketball-reference I believe factors Home Court Advantage, such that adding the MOV and SOS columns together give you SRS.

The raw SOS I believe are these in this hard to find website on ESPN, so Atlanta's opponents are .473

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Worst of the Night goes to Mankind, who just got dominated by IBM's Watson in Game Two of Jeopardy's IBM challenge. Watching this was sadder than watching the Heat dominate the Cavs. What a smug bastard computer, betting only $947 in Final Jeopardy on a guess of "Toronto?????" in the category "U.S. Cities". Pretty sure it was busy counting cash and watching the mascot double fail video instead of paying attention to the game at the end.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
SOS has also a lot to do with the division/conference. A good example, Lakers have relatively low ranked SOS. Who do they play in the division? Clippers, Warriors, Suns, Kings. Another interesting one, 8 of 10 bot SOS teams are from East. Just saying...

Blogger stephanie g said...
Miami with the classic "we're mad we can't beat good teams so let's beat up these poor suckers" game. The first quarter has pretty much been a real time highlight reel. 41 points in one quarter? FML

Anonymous DKH said...
Haha AHL, that end to the Jeopardy! game was great. Round 2 tomorrow.

It just wasn't clear to me that SOS on the b-ball-ref site was what you were saying, since their description of it is "a rating of strength of schedule. The rating is denominated in points above/below average, where zero is average." And that's not very descriptive as far as what effects it's factoring out.

Even on the hidden ESPN list (and I don't understand why it's different from Hollinger's list, but whatever), Atlanta is still almost twice as far from .500 as the next closest team. It's not indicative of anything (that I can tell), just the outlier.

Blogger Wormboy said...
I've never doubted that Jordan was sick in that game 5 against Utah: if he wasn't, that was a far better acting job than most big name Hollywood actors can pull off. So I seriously doubt it was a fake.

That said, there was NO way that it was the flu. Influenza is WAY over-used in common discussions. So, for that matter, is "flu-like symptoms," though thanks to Basketbawful, the blog, we know what that is a euphemism for. Jordan almost certainly had a cold or some similar virus. Playing through it that was an all-time great event. Let's just leave it at that, and avoid the "flu" hyperbole. People with the flu often can't walk, and to play at all would have been medically impossible. The flu rate isn't that high, and most unimmunized Americans only get the flue every few years. Not surprisingly, NBA players get flu shots. Odds of ANY player getting the flu in any given year: fairly low. In June? Ahem. Bullshinski. On the other hand, there's no immunization for colds and cold-like viruses, and most people get a few a year.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Pretty sure Jordan had food poisoning. An actual flu will knock you out for a week or two. Food poisoning will make you feel terrible for 1-2 days then you're good, maybe a little weak but still. Everyone having the flu applies to real life too though. When anyone is sick they "just got over the flu."

This game is awesome in so many ways. Psycho T and McBob have that street hunger. LeBron can't back Granger's stick-like body into the paint. Crowd is into it. Wade gonna go for 70 if this stays close.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The crazy full court Wade2LeBron alley-oop already on Youtube.

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