dirk and nick

The Oklahoma City Thunder: Try to sedate your brain and consider the following: The Thunder finished last night's game with an Offensive Rebound Rate of 30.6, an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 52.1, a Free Throw Rate of 59.7 and an Offensive Efficiency of 120.4...and they lost the game.

Or maybe it's more accurate to say the Mavericks won it. And they sure didn't do it by stopping Oklahoma City. Dallas scored with the kind of efficiency that must have had John Hollinger biting his lip and silently caressing his calculator.

The Mavs shot 53.3 percent from the field -- including 9-for-23 from downtown -- and converted 34 of their 36 free throw attempts (94.5 percent). That gave them an eFG% of 59.6 and allowed them to score 130.1 points per 100 possessions.

With all due respect to Jason Terry (24 points, 8-for-16), J.J. Barea (21 points, 8-for-12) and Jason Kidd (11 assists), this one was all about Dirk Nowitzki.

From ESPN Stats and Information:

Dirk Nowitzki scored 48 points, his sixth career 40-point playoff game, finishing two points shy of his playoff career-high.

Among active players, only Shaquille O'Neal (12), Kobe Bryant (11) and LeBron James (nine) have more career 40-point playoff games.

Nowitzki set an NBA record by going 24-for-24 from the free throw line, the most free throws made in a single game without a miss -- regular season or postseason.

He drew fouls from seven different Thunder defenders, including all five of Serge Ibaka's. Dirk went 7-for-9 when guarded by Ibaka, including 6-for-8 on post-up plays.

Combining field goal attempts and free throw attempts, the ball left Dirk Nowitzki's hand 39 times tonight; 36 of those times, it went in the hoop.

Nowitzki attempted just 15 shots, the second-fewest field goal attempts in a 40-point playoff game in NBA history.

Only Terry Porter, back in 1992 for the Portland Trail Blazers, needed fewer attempts (41 points on 14 attempts) to reach the 40-point plateau. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his field-goal percentage of 80.0 is tied for the highest ever in a Conference finals game (minimum 15 FGA).
I think Luc Richard Mbah a Moute needs to rewrite his scouting report to read simply: HIDE YOUR WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND ALL YOUR VALUABLES. YOU CANNOT STOP DIRK NOWITZKI.

Seriously, Mbah a Moute said: "Dirk is a shooter, that's what he does. That's his game. So when you have a guy who shoots, you can contest his shots, you can body him up and you can take him out of his shots making it tough for him to get in a rhythm. ... You want a player like Dirk to drive all night. You want to give him the drive and make sure the help comes or try to take a charge."

Well, the Thunder took that advice to heart, and they made Dirk drive. The end result was that record-setting night at the foul line. When he wasn't doing stuff like this that is:

SCOUTING REPORT FAIL.

Said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks: "I thought we defended him as close as we can -- obviously, too close."

Obviously. Think about this: Nowitzki scored 48 points on 15 shots.

According to Dirk, he spent the nine-day break between sweeping the Fakers and starting the Western Conference Finals engaging in late-night shooting sessions. I'm sure he wanted to add something like "and the voodoo rites necessary to make it so I never miss another shot ever again." What? Nowitzki only went 12-for-15 from the field, you say? I'm sure he realized he'd have to miss a few shots now and then just so people wouldn't realize dark magic was involved. Probably decided that while he was washing the pig's blood off his ceremonial wizard's robe.

Said Nowitzki: "I was really looking to shoot early and was able to get my rhythm after the first couple of shots. I kept attacking and my teammates kept feeding me and feeding me and I was able to take advantage over some smaller players."

Kevin Durant -- whose 40-point, 8-rebound, 4-assist, 2-block night was completely overshadowed by what Dirk did -- said: "We can't get discouraged. He's going to make shots. He's going to make off-balanced shots with a hand in his face."

Added Ibaka: "He was hot. It's tough. You can't get frustrated. I'll watch film and we'll come back the next game."

I'm not sure Ibaka really wants to review that film. It would be like watching a home video of your own violent murder. Then Ibaka will realize he was a ghost the whole time, Sixth Sense-style. Actually, you know, that would explain a lot about his defense last night.

Memo to the Thunder: Smacking Dirk around the way you did to Zach Randolph might not work in this series. Not when he shoots free throws like this:


Said Durant: "After playing a physical series with Memphis, I think we were a little too physical with him. We have to make adjustments, be smarter. It's a learning experience, just feeling it out and seeing how we're going to play."

Russell Westbrook: Westbrook was aggressive looking for his shot and getting to the free throw line. The good news is that he went 14-for-18 at the charity stripe. The bad news is that he went missed 10 of his first 11 field goal attempts and ultimately ended up 3-for-15. And, as the AP recap pointed out, "Despite his poor aim, he had taken more shots than Durant at one point late in the third quarter, fueling the critics who say he's too much of a scorer and not enough of a distributor."

What? Because he attempted 15 shots and 18 free throws while finishing with more turnovers (4) than assists (3) despite playing with one of the league's most prolific scoring machines, who was on his way to scoring 40 points on 10-for-18 from the field and 18-for-19 at the line? Are those critics really suggesting he should have been feeding Durant instead of looking to score?

Said Brooks: "He was attacking the basket. That's what we want Russell to do."

I bet. Especially when he shoots 1-for-6 from 3-9 feet, 0-for-1 from 10-15 feet and 0-for-3 from 16-23 feet. At least he didn't jack up any threes.

Kendrick Perkins: Okay. It's official. I'm sick of Perk's tough guy act. Exactly one minute and 11 seconds into the game, he grabbed Tyson Chandler's arm while they were jockeying for position under the hoop, and then he got in Chandler's face after Durant knocked down a 15-footer. For some bizarre reason, the official called a double technical even though, as far as I could tell, Chandler didn't do anything other than stand there looking sour.

Exactly two minutes later, again while they were establishing position under the basket, Perkins basically brought his elbow through Chandler's head. It wasn't a swing so much as a push, but the refs caught this one and Perk was whistled for his second personal and had to go to the bench.

Kendrick didn't commit another foul, but he ended up logging only 28 minutes, during which the Thunder were outscored by 14 points. And yes, in case you were wondering, Perk did in fact have the worst plus-minus score of the game.

Peja Stojakovic: Peja is a shooter. He's there to shoot. Which he did, squeezing off eight shots in 21 minutes, six of which were three-point attempts. He hit exactly one of those shots. Man, it feels like 2002 all over again, doesn't it?

The Dallas D: Do you realize that, if you subtract Westbrook's 3-for-15 brick-a-palooza, the Thunder shot 54 percent from the field? The other starters were on fire: Durant (10-for-18), Ibaka (7-for-11), Perkins (3-for-4), Sefolosha (2-for-2). Oklahoma City went to the line 43 times and shot 43.8 percent from beyond the arc. Oh, and they had 22 fast break points.

If Dirk hadn't been so legendary, this game really might have swung the other way.

Dirk Nowitzki, poster boy: It wasn't all violins and roses for Dirk.


Kevin Durant's post-game fashion statement: Was he on his way to his sixth grade yearbook photo shoot or something?

durant

Magic Johnson, quote machine: This one was submitted by Will R. of Two Middles Up. Here's Magic on Dirk's performance: "He might have three legs tonight the way he was shootin'!"

No, really. Here's video:


The Human Heat-ipede: My buddy Gauvin is a surgery nurse and recently watched The Human Centipede out of professional curiosity. His curiosity quickly turned to horror and the nearly unstoppable urge to barf. Which, of course, translated into the need to tell all his friends about the movie in exacting detail. In case you don't know about it -- and I'm not sure how any regular Internet users could have at this point -- here's a one-sentence summary: A mad doctor kidnaps three people and sews them together ass-to-mouth to create a human centipede.

This Deadspin link was provided by reader inkybreath at my By The Horns blog. Apparently, some guys made the following poster for Game 1 of the Heat-Bulls series. Security didn't let them into the United Center, unfortunately, but no amount of security could keep it off the Internet.

human heat-ipede

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Let the conspiracy theories begin:

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had the worst history of any team in the NBA Draft Lottery.

Despite finishing in the lottery in 14 of their 22 seasons, the Minnesota Timberwolves have never had the No. 1 draft pick.

In fact, after losing out on the first pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, this will be the first time they've even had the No. 2 pick

The Wolves have had zero luck. In the 14 years they've been in the lottery, they have never moved up and 8 times they've moved down.

In 1992, they had the league's worst record and ended up at No. 3. Picks One and Two were Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning

GM David Kahn said what everyone was thinking after Cavs owner Dan Gilbert sent his 14-year-old son (who has a rare nerve disorder) to represent Cleveland.

"This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines," said Kahn. "As soon as the 14-year-old kid joined us, we were toast."

We assume he's only (half) joking? Though more than a few NBA fans are still convinced that the Knicks didn't win the very first Lottery (and Patrick Ewing) on an entirely fair draw.
The Los Angeles Clippers: But wait. There's more:

The worst part is that the Cavs, who were stabbed in the heart by LeBron James last summer, didn't even win with their own pick. (As the second worst team, they had has a 19% chance of nabbing No. 1 overall.) They won with a Clippers pick that they got in a trade ... that had a 2.8% chance of winning. Cleveland now has two of the top 4 picks.
Ah, the Clippers. No matter what happens, no matter the circumstances, they are and always will be who we thought they were. On the bright side, they got Mo Williams and Jamario Moon in the trade that sent that pick to Cleveland...

Chris' Playoff Lacktion Ledger: Nate Robinson obeyed his thirst for lacktivity by bricking thricely in 5:41 (twice from the JPMorgan Chase Tower) and taking a rejection for a +4!

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39 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
What if a LA team moved back to Minnesota (and that were the Clippers, obviously)? I mean, the Timberclippers (or Clipperwolves, it doesn't matter) could trade for all lottery picks and didn't grab the 1st pick overall.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, personally, I think Perkins is an idiot. That said, Chandler hit him in the head with his elbow before the rare double T, and it looked to be one of those accidental-but-not-really, totally-on-purpose things.

So.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Laste night's free throw absurdity makes it a great opportunity to bring up the TS% stat, which OKC shot 61.6% and the Mavs shot 68.1% led by Sirk's fucking ridiculous 93.9%. 48 points. Dirk ist Der Herr.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Last night's free throw absurdity makes it a great opportunity to bring up the TS% stat, which OKC shot 61.6% and the Mavs shot 68.1% led by Sirk's fucking ridiculous 93.9%. 48 points. Dirk ist Der Herr.

I've given Dirk hell over the years, but last night's performance was so money I almost drew a heart around his name in my Trapper Keeper.

Okay. I did draw a heart around his name.

Blogger Dooj said...
OKC shouldn't be focusing on stopping Dirk, they need to focus on stopping Jason Terry and Barea. When the Spurs played in the '10 playoffs Dirk went off like he did tonight and the Mavs won. The Spurs ended up winning the series because Dirk couldn't repeat that performance and the rest of the team stunk up the joint

Initially, I thought the Mavs would win this series, now I'm not so sure.

Anonymous Cetti said...
Jeff van Gundy demanded a holiday for us Germans. Funny thing is, in Germany...nobody cares. Dirk is mentioned here and there, but nobody really recognizes the magnitude of his performance last night.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Dirk was completely on fire last night and he (probably) isn't going to shoot nearly that well again during this series. Now that we got that out of the way, he presents a unique matchup problem for the Thunder because they don't really have any way of matching up with him. He used to struggle against smaller, quicker defenders who played him close but that is not the case any longer. They can't even try double teaming him much because he is so good at finding the open man.

I see the Thunder trying to get more physical with him (most of the fouls last night were soft ticky tacky touch fouls), trying to push him out so he catches the ball farther away from the rim and throwing the occasional double so he doesn't get too comfortable. Dirk will still get his though.

What Mavs fans should worry about is the fact Dallas is a jump shooting team and their defense really slipped last game. They gave up a ton of offensive rebounds out of sheer laziness and allowed a lot of points at the rim when Chandler sat down.

Blogger chris said...
Trapper Keeper.

Man, I miss 1990.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Jeff van Gundy demanded a holiday for us Germans. Funny thing is, in Germany...nobody cares. Dirk is mentioned here and there, but nobody really recognizes the magnitude of his performance last night."

Why? Because he is overseas, or because soccer is the sport people really care about, or ?

Anonymous Niko said...
I don't know if any of you remember this, but when clips traded that pick they had this to say: "It shows what we think of this draft"....really? You didn't think you'd win it, but how does it feel trading the first overall pick for mo fucking williams? They would've had the ultimate trio to build around: Irving-Gordon-Griffin....ideally, although rarely the case for the clips, they could've assembled a killer team that would dominate the west for years.

Of course that won't happen, and after Dwight Howard's situation is resolved on we move to Griffin's future. Gut feeling tells me he isn't humble like Durant and will bolt, hope I'm wrong.

Blogger Murcy said...
that mbah a moute article was an interesting read actually, at least for me. and holy shit, dirk is awesome. and the playoffs this year are really balanced, I have zero idea about who will win this thing right now. but great games to watch. and I can still churn out more clichés!

and comparatively low number of bawfulities on a personal level so far. at least I think

Blogger TransINSANO said...
Dirk's a choker, one more field goal and he'd have gotten 50! But, because of another crunch time boner he couldn't do it. Look at the 4th quarter play by play: 5:20 Dirk Nowitzki misses 10-foot jumper. Ah-ha! 10 footer, Dirk? Pfff, that's like a layup for you. But, with fifty in his grasp, Dirk blows it in the clutch again. Sure, after that he'd try to make up for it by hitting 4 more free throws and 16 and 18 foot jumpers, but it wasn't enough to prevent yet another 4th quarter meltdown. Sorry Dirk, I just can't respec... HOLY SHIT, 48 POINTS ON 15 SHOTS!?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't know why you mention clippers traded away 1st overall?
what they ACTUALLY traded away was a mystery box that had a slim chance of being 1st overall.

Blogger LotharBot said...
Has anyone actually compiled a list of different teams' draft lotto luck?

I gotta think the Nuggets are among the worst luck. Even late picks where there's a coin flip tiebreaker, they tend to move down (2005, in a 3 way tie for 18, they ended up with 20.) Their highest pick ever was #3, despite having the worst record in the league three times (including a tie for worst in the LeBron draft.)

And then they draft guys like Raef LaFrentz and Nikolas Tskitishvili. So they don't have much draft skill either.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
I don't know why you mention clippers traded away 1st overall?
what they ACTUALLY traded away was a mystery box that had a slim chance of being 1st overall.


Exactly. And let's be honest. It's the fucking Clippers. If they'd kept the pick, it would have ended up last. I don't mean in the lottery, I mean in the entire draft. 60th overall. That's impossible, you say? Pfffftttt. It's the FUCKING CLIPPERS!! They can warp the laws of the universe with pure suck and bad luck!!

And as Anon points out, as we all learned from watching UHF, never EVER take what's in the mystery box.

Blogger tonious35 said...
No matter if the NBA draft lottery is rigged or not, which it probably is, the team that gets the high pick better take advantage of its luck with great management. You might get a #1 pick, but are you really going to choose the right guy? Even if you choose the most dominating player, will you build and coach around him properly?

The Spurs got Duncan and they built that team properly and professionally. They did not just get Tim Duncan and said "ho hum..we'll go to the Finals for 10 years in a row even if we surround the (post-D.Robinson) Duncan era with crappy coaching and scrub players". They scouted and scouted deep in drafts for Ginobili, Parker, and properly invested their free agent money on Bruce Bowen, and Robert Horry. They took advantage of luck RESPONSIBLY.

For Cleveland and Lebron, Cleveland management screwed the pooch. Let's say Boozer was already going to Utah despite whatever treachery, they destroyed Lebron's chance to make the Finals multiple times with the Larry Hughes signing, and other bad signings with Damon Jones, and Donyell Marshall.

You can win a $30 Million lottery, but if you don't manage the money properly, you'll end up losing it all and be the biggest retard on earth.

Blogger Cortez said...
"It's official. I'm sick of Perk's tough guy act."

Key word...

"act".


Modern gigantic blue chip athletes are rarely "tough". When would they have had the opportunity to fight?

Anonymous Pistoletti said...
@Anon:

Soccer season just about ended last weekend. Except for the Champions League final anyways. And Dirk is a bigger deal, especially after last night, in the german media than any german or european basketball team. It has nothing to do with him being in the US.

Basketball just doesn't matter here. Unfortunately.

I recognized Dirk went 23 of 24 from the freethrow line. You know, since bottom-of-the-net is all that counts for him.

wv: embroe
as in: M. Cuban is gonna embroe Dirk all night.

Anonymous Tree said...
@Niko: I don't think humility would have anything to do with Griffin's situation. Be honest: if you worked at a company largely regarded as among the worst in its field, the owner was a crazy unabashed racist that would ogle you while in the bathroom with his lady friends, and another, well-run company came along and offered you equal or more money to join them, what would you do? Generally speaking, I agree with you ... but it's the Clippers - as long as Sterling is involved, I don't begrudge anyone wanting out.

@The Other Chris: I think the Clippers would have won if they kept that pick, but immediately after signing their first overall pick, the pen used to sign the contract would slip out of his hands and somehow manage to tear both his ACLs and MCLs.

Blogger TransINSANO said...
A joke comment isn't fair tribute to Dirk's awesome night, so I threw this together:

http://www.skullknight.net/griffith/dirkanewhope.jpg

Plenty more to be done with it too depending on how the playoffs shape up, but regardless I think JJ Barea will make a fine R2 unit when I have the time.

For Cleveland and Lebron, Cleveland management screwed the pooch. Let's say Boozer was already going to Utah despite whatever treachery, they destroyed Lebron's chance to make the Finals multiple times with the Larry Hughes signing, and other bad signings with Damon Jones, and Donyell Marshall.

You don't even have to go back that far, just imagine if they'd traded for Shaq in '09 or AMARE''''E FREAKIN'''' STOUDEMIRE last year instead of doing nothing and then, worse, trading for Antawn Jamison. Two years in a row they could have made a major trade and didn't, as if they wanted it so LeBron HAD to win it by himself. Good thing they held on to JJ Hickson though, right? I'm just glad I'll never know what sort of damage Amare and LeBron could have done together on that team... but yeah, the point is the Cavs are a bunch of idiots.

BTW, isn't this draft more about the Cavs bad luck than the Clips? Clippers still have Griffin and some talent, while the Cavs have the #1 pick in possibly the worst draft ever (of COURSE they get the #1 pick THIS year). I don't know if that counts as redemption or another slap in the face after losing LeBron. It's like they lose even when they win.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
@tonious:

Agreed on all counts when it comes to the fact that drafting skill > draft position. Some teams just tend to draft well wherever they land, others tend to screw up the lottery year after year.

I have to disagree with your idea that Cleveland screwed up Lebron's chances though. I'm a Lebron hater (I don't deny his talent but I can't stand the guy), so take this for what it's worth, but I think the single biggest issue Cleveland had, and the reason for all those crappy signings, was Lebron's steadfast refusal to change his game. He bitched and moaned in public about how his game is what had gotten him this far and he wasn't changing it for anyone whenever the subject came up. He never learned to play off the ball even though he would have been a devastating slasher and finisher, he never learned to play in the post even though he has a size and strength advantage over anyone else who plays his potition, as great as his court vision is he never learned to truly move the ball opting instead to pretty much just pass when he had a guaranteed chance at an assist (somebody with an open 3 or under the hoop. His game consisted of (and still consists of) 1 on 1 forays into the paint where he pounds the ball for 15 seconds looking for an immediate shot either for himself or a teammate.

The Larry Hughes signing is indefensible and everyone knew it was a terrible idea even at the moment (it may have been Cleveland's idiotic attempt to get another creator/facilitator to take the ball out of Lebron's hands once in a while but that makes it even worse since it was Larry fuckín' Hughes) but the rest of the guys you mentioned were folks who were tailor made to play in that system: either catch-and-shoot players, strong defenders or guys who simply wouldn't complain that one person was holding the ball 90% of the time. It's pretty much the same thing Philadelphia did with Iverson, culminating in that 2001 team, and for the same reason.

Even today Miami is using mostly the your turn - my turn offense with Labron and Wade taking turns operating off the dribble instead of creating opportunities for each other. It makes me wonder how great Miami's offense could be if they found a way to play a genuine 2-man game in the half court.

Blogger draftaraujo said...
I was hoping the raps scored a top 3 pick last night, but i should of know better, below is a video i found today pretty much sums up last night and the raps franchise as a whole, then again the draft is pretty weak, hopefully we will be even worse next year so we can draft out of next years draft which looks pretty good

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bhqKZcDLlk

Anonymous Jim W said...
I'm prefacing this by saying i'm a Mavericks fan, so I'm glad Dallas won, but .....

As I watched this game, one name kept coming into my head ..... Tim Donaghy.

I remember Donaghy talking about impactig the game by just calling a few more fouls, not necessarily just for one team, but overall.

I can't remember a game where so many slight and dubious calls were made for both sides. It gave an eerie feel to the game for me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't know why you mention clippers traded away 1st overall?
what they ACTUALLY traded away was a mystery box that had a slim chance of being 1st overall.


Because if the Clippers were run like an actual professional franchise they would have protected the pick in some way. It's standard operating procedure to either lottery-protect (wasn't going to happen) or top 3/top 1 protect the pick. This is how you get situations like the 2003 Lottery (or whatever year was the Lebron/Wade/Bosh/Darko/Melo lottery) where Jerry West was sitting up there looking like he just crapped himself because if Memphis got the #1 they would have got Lebron, but if they didn't the pick was going to Detroit.

The real reason people are laughing at the Clippers is because if they would have just made Cleveland agree to a top pick protection (which they almost certainly would have) they would have the #1 pick. Instead they get nothing. The Clippers franchise in action.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Hellshocked

Your hate is blinding you. They surrounded LeBron with the WORST SUPPORTING CAST EVER. Seriously, just look at how terrible that team is without him. That's the team their management built around him.

LeBron always dominated the ball because he had to. What should he have moved around without the ball and waited for Mo Williams to do something?

LeBron is a douche, the way he left the city was even douchier but Cleveland definitely could've kept him had they had at least 1 legit all star to pair him up with along with a half decent coach.

Anonymous DJ Leon Smith said...
The Clippers weren't allowed to protect the pick - explained here.

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?STORY_ID=19826

Anonymous Business Time said...
Ignoring salary, who would turn down a Westbrook for CP3 deal? New Orleans doesn't want to lose CP3 for nothing in free agency. OKC gets rid of shot-happy Westbrook, and they already love CP3 from the Katrina stint. Durant gets a PG who actually understands how to get him the ball. CP3 gets to be on a contender and playing with one of the best scorers in the league. Westbrook gets to be the undisputed alpha dog which he seems to so desperately want.

Make it happen!

Anonymous Jacob said...
Hahaha in that Dirk free-throw video, his teammates become less and less interested in trying to get position for an offensive rebound. They knew he wasn't gonna miss.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Jim W: Amen.

That was a FT shooting contest punctuated by brief spurts of basketball. IMO the NBA would increase in popularity if they didn't have so many stoppages of play like last night. Who enjoys that?

79 FTs and the two top players are jumpshooters...ugh. Dirk had a crazy amount of phantom fouls, especially that sequence when Durant got 2 straight. I know the NBA tried to make defense illegal, but there was even that one where the defender didn't even put his hands on him, just trying to hold his ground and TWEET!

OKC actually shot more, 43 to 36. But it would be funny if Dirk stole Wade's whistle from here on out.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
@Anonymous:

Once more, I refer you to the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers. Everyone says that team got to the finals in spite of a terrible supporting cast because Iverson was so good when it was actually the other way around. Management decided, hell, Iverson is gonna shoot it every time anyways so lets just surround him with killer defensive players, great offensive rebounders, good outside shooters and guys who will kill themselves without complaining about the little guy massaging the ball 905 of the time. In essence it was a team built specifically to be the best it could possibly be with Iverson playing the only way he ever cared to. Lebron is a far, far, far, far more effective player than Iverson ever was but he is just as petulant, ball dominant and 1 on 1nish. I maintain that Cleveland followed the Philadelphia model and saying that a finals appearance, a ton of playoff appearances and being favored to come out of the East for 3-4 years in a row is the result of Lebron James and Lebron James alone is ridiculous. Of course the team sucked without him, it was built specifically around him to maximize his pluses and minimize his minuses while letting him be the sole figure in charge of everything.

I freely admit my anti-Lebron bias. I don't like the guy. That doesn't keep me from considering him one of the most dominant players in the league today. Can you imagine how much better he would be, though, with a post game? If he actually moved around without the ball? If he tried to finish plays others created for him instead of just the ones he creates himself? You say he "had" to do all those things because of how crappy Cleveland's supporting cast is, but is he playing any differently in Miami with Wade and Rupaul? Watch him when Wade has the ball. He pretty much just stands at the 3 point line and doesn't budge an inch. Is anybody going to Wade is a great creator who draws a lot of defensive attention? Lebron should be getting the easiest shots of his career, but he is still not comfortable being on the receiving end of anything other than the occasional alley oop.

@Business Time:

Unless Paul outright tells New Orleans they have no chance whatsoever to sign him, no chance at all, there is no way they agree to that trade. They'd be trading a transcendent point guard for Dwayne Wade minus the basketball IQ or ability to finish. Westbrook has potential but as much as he has improved there are some flaws that have only become more marked as he's matured and I don't see them going away.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Hellshocked

You give Cleveland management far too much credit. Larry Brown knew that Iverson will be Iverson. So he had to surround him with all those role players. We all learned that even when AI got old, all he wants to do is get his and will NEVER settle for a lesser role. We already know from LeBron's decision to join Wade and Bosh that he doesn't think like AI. Far from it. All he wanted was help and he never got any. So he took fate into his own hands and joined Wade in Miami.

Tell me something, if you wanted to dominate the ball so much and refused to change the way you play, would you want to join forces with 2 other players who dominate the ball just as much as you do? Of course not.

"Of course the team sucked without him, it was built specifically around him to maximize his pluses and minimize his minuses while letting him be the sole figure in charge of everything." That's a copout argument. When Jordan retired for the first time, the Bulls almost made the finals without him because they had a fantastic team. There's really no excuse for LeBron's supporting cast being in last place without him. That's on Cleveland for building such a terrible team.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess your a Laker fan.

Blogger stephanie g said...
The '94 Bulls didn't almost make the Finals. They almost made the Eastern Finals. Seems to be a very common misconception for some reason.

Anonymous kono said...
Here comes Lebron's Elbow Part Deux. Brian Windhorst is now reporting that Lebron's been fighting a cold the past couple of days...

Anonymous Koggz said...
@Anon:

Illogical reasoning is illogical. Now, I'm not necessarily agreeing with all of Hellshock's argument, but conditions for both teams definitely were not the same. The Bulls of 94 without Jordan are definitely better than the Cavs of 11 without Lebron, but while Cavs management could have tried to surround Lebron with better players doesn't change the fact that Lebron plays the way he plays. He had a better argument for playing 1 on 1 ball in Cleveland, when he could fall back on the fact that his teammates were trash, but what about now? Granted, I didn't watch many Heat games during the regular season, but the portions I was able to see and in the post season, he still plays to dominate the ball. Just because he surrounded himself with guys who play the same way (1 on 1 ball domination) doesn't mean he doesn't need to dominate the ball. That's the illogical part of your argument. Who you play with doesn't define your play, it's how you actually play that defines it. If Kobe suddenly joined the "happy-to-share-the-ball-and-glory" Nuggets, you wouldn't start thinking it's because Kobe's style of play is all about the team, right? Besides, this topic has been beaten to death, but many other factors other than if his style of play would fit with their's could have played a part in his reasoning to join up with them.

Also, I hate when try to argue with someone's obviously counterclaims that he immediately labels them a [insert team here] fan. That's annoyingly insulting and turns you from thoughtful discusser to ignorant troll.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Also, I hate when try to argue with someone's obviously counterclaims that he immediately labels them a [insert team here] fan. That's annoyingly insulting and turns you from thoughtful discusser to ignorant troll"

LOL. The Laker fan question had nothing to do with counterclaiming his argument. I was merely speculating from the tone of his words that he is one, that's why I asked the question.

I could be wrong Koggz but I don't get the same sense from you. If Hellshocked is NOT a Laker fan, than call me a troll, but if I'm right, does that still make me a thoughtful discusser?

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I'm a Jazz fan. Guess you're a troll after all, mate.

Anonymous Adrià said...
In my view, Dirk got three superstar calls, from Ibaka, Sefolosha and Durant, I quitely agree with stephanie g and Jim W. That makes it an 18 FT game anyway... But I blame the OKC loss on Nate Robinson. He finally got some playing time and screwed all up getting sodomized by JJ Barea in every single play and collecting 3 bricks for his mansion.

I think his function in Boston was being that crazy guy that could be a game-changer, but if Scott Brooks wanted something similar he'd better take him out of the bench, ignoring Nate made him a player only prepared to play garbage time. It was Robinson who was on the court, right? But man, I don't know ANY player capable of giving the best of himself by not playing and then being put all of a sudden into the 4th quarter of the 1st game of the WCF, playing on the road and trailing by less than 10 points. It's just stupid.

Anonymous Koggz said...
@Anon:

Funny, I'm actually a Laker fan. But I guess the tone comes off differently because I don't grovel at Kobe's feet. I still appreciate and love his play though (at times..... other times it's very disagreeable)

Anonymous Koggz said...
@Anon:

Funny, I'm actually a Laker fan. But I guess the tone comes off differently because I don't grovel at Kobe's feet. I still appreciate and love his play though (at times..... other times it's very disagreeable)

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