gasol facepalm
Pau Gasol is sad...


The Los Angeles Lakers: I'll admit it. I wrote off the Mavericks before this series even started. Lots of people did. Including, it seems, the Lakers.

But here we are. Not on Planet Earth. I'll tell you that much. It's Bizarro World. The Nuggets are better off without Carmelo Anthony. Danny Ainge willingly busted up a potential championship contender midseason. The Bulls have the best record in the league but look like poop in the playoffs. The Pacers became tough guys. Zach Randolph became superclutch. The Grizzlies dominated the Spurs before sending them home early. And the Lakers are down 2-0 to the Dallas Mavericks.

Despite having homecourt advantage.

Said Dirk Nowitzki: "If you would have told me before that we were going to win both games, it would have been hard to believe."

No kidding.

The situation is both shocking and...not all that shocking. L.A. has been turning it on and off all season. On some nights, Kobe looks like Kobe. Other nights, it appears he's lost half a step. When the season started, Pau Gasol was playing like an MVP candidate. After a month and a half of 40+ minutes per game, he looked like The Old Guy in a pickup league, exhausted and barely getting by on experience and instinct. The bench started off so hot Kevin McHale started calling them "The Killer Bees" but their production dropped off dramatically.

And Ron Artest still looks absolutely lost in Phil Jackson's Triangle.

No, the problems didn't start today, and Andrew Bynum knows it.

Said Bynum: "It's deeply rooted at this point. It's obvious that we have trust issues, individually. All 13 of our guys have trust issues right now. I think it's quite obvious to anyone watching the game -- hesitation on passes, and defensively we're not being a good teammate because he wasn't there for you before -- little things. And unless we come out and discuss them, nothing is going to change."

Countered Kobe: "I think the trust that he's referring to is being able to help each other on the defensive end of the floor. You saw a lot of layups. He gets frustrated when he supports a guard coming off the screen-and-roll and nobody supports him."

The Lakers can talk about defense all they want, but it's not like the Mavericks were setting the world on fire. They went 12-for-21 at the rim, which is good, but not great. Nowitzki was fantastic (24 points, 9-for-16, 2-for-3 from downtown), but Jasons Kidd and Terry combined to shoot 6-for-22. And Peja Stojakovic was flashing back to 2002 with his 2-for-9 (and 0-for-5 on threes) night.

As a team, Dallas shot 42 percent, went 8-for-25 from beyond the arc and got outrebounded 44-39.

L.A.'s defense did a credible job. Their offense, on the other hand, did not. Talk about way off: The Lakers converted only 41 percent of their field goals, shot 2-for-20 on threes and bricked nine of their 20 free throws. Kobe had one of his classic 9-for-20 nights (including 1-for-5 on treys). Gasol (5-for-12), Artest (4-for-10) and Derek Fisher (2-for-7) couldn't have located the basket with a police dog. The bench went 6-for-23, and that was despite Shannon Brown's 3-for-4 performance.

If it wasn't for Bynum's 8-for-11 shooting and 7 offensive rebound, the Lakers might have lost by 20.

You know what it was? The Mavericks were the aggressors. They had no fear. They attacked the Lakers on offense and defense. They never got rattled. Never backed down. They displayed a toughness nobody outside of Dallas believed they had.

Now ESPN's J.A. Adande says the three-peat ain't happening:

The Lakers are done. I say this despite their championship pedigree, their coach's ability to guide teams through apparent calamity and a direct warning from a certain 6-foot-6 guard.

"Be careful what you write," Kobe Bryant said, knowing full well that I and the rest of the media pack walking through the Staples Center corridor were about to type the Lakers' death notice as soon as we returned to the Chick Hearn Press Room.

"Be careful what you write," Bryant repeated. He added an admonition for my colleague. "You too, Stein."

I told Bryant that the Lakers don't have the energy.

"True," he said.

And if you don't have energy, then the schemes or the intent or the pride don't matter.

"True," he said.

There's no way he was leaving it at that. I tried to draw more out of him.


"But," he replied with a smile. "But. Dot-dot-dot. "
Kobe's defiant. You expected that. But are any of the other Lakers feeling it?

Said Jackson: "It looked like Dallas had more energy out there on the floor than we did. That's a concern. ... We really got dispirited."

Now the Lakers have to be feeling the dreaded "D" word.

Said Kobe: "Desperate? That's a strong word. I think when you play desperate, you don't play your best basketball. What we need to do is relax, focus on what we're doing wrong and the mistakes that we're making, and we have plenty to review and lock in on that."

If you say so, Mamba.

Said Bynum: "If we go to the root of what's really hurting us and not candy-coat things and not talk around issues, then we'll be fine. If not, then we won't. I think we've addressed them before, but now is the time to really sit down and ask yourself the tough questions."

Good luck with that, Andy.

SS LA going down
Stephanie G: "The ship be sinking."

Ron Artest: L.A.'s "defensive stopper" was dispatched on Dirk Nowitzki. And it didn't matter. Dirk still got whatever he wanted. What did you expect? That Artest could really guard a seven-footer? Really?

Still, that's not why Ron is getting a WotN. No, it's because your 2011 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winner did this:

As Basketbawful reader Peter asked: "Tru Warrior or Ultimate Warrior?"

Now that's the Crazy Pills we've been waiting to see. Artest was ejected and will likely be suspended for Game 3. Although, the way he's been playing, that might actually be good news for the Lakers.

Shawn Marion: Rewatch that Artest video and notice how Marion reacts to his teammate getting clotheslined across the face.

Bonus video: Basetbawful reader Cetti writes: "I do not have words for that." And by "that," Cetti is talking about this:

The Atlanta Hawks: Spider-Man's balls! The Dirty Birds really laid an offensive egg last night. I could eat Vinny Del Negro's offensive playbook and crap out a better game plan than Atlanta had last night. You know it's bad when, during those Mic'd up segments, the coach is bitching out his team for taking stupid shots.

And he wasn't wrong.

The Bulls held the Hawks to 73 points on 33.8 percent shooting and forced them to miss 10 of their 13 three-point attempts. Atlanta finished with a miserable Effective Field Goal Percentage of 35.7 and an Offensive Efficiency of only 81.1. As in points per 100 possessions.

The Hawks missed 11 of their 23 field goal attempts at the rim and went a gag-reflex-testing 6-for-30 from 16-23 feet. They were as cold last night as they were hot in Game 1. Dr. Jekyll, meet Mr. Hyde.

Chicago's D did a number on Josh Smith (4-for-14), Al Horford (3-for-12 and zero free throw attempts), Jamal Crawford (2-for-10) and Marvin Williams (2-for-9). Moreover, the Bulls contained Joe Johnson, who finished with 16 points on 7-for-15 shooting and made only one trip to the foul line. And, outside of Crawford, the Atlanta bench managed only 2 points.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Atlanta had the lowest FGP of a Bulls playoff opponent since the Michael Jordan era...and the third-lowest since 1995-96.

Seriously, the Hawks couldn't have located the basket even if they'd had help from the CIA agents who tracked down Osama Bin Laden.

The Bulls also outrebounded the Hawks 58-39 and had an 18-10 advantage in second-chance points.

The only reason the Bulls didn't win this one by 30 is because their offense was almost as dreadful as Atlanta's. Derrick Rose had a case of the MVP yips: 10-for-27 from the field, 1-for-8 from downtown and 8 turnovers. Carlos Boozer kept shooting directly into the hands of Smith. Kyle Korver (1-for-9) led a Chicago bench attack that produced a combined 5-for-20 brick-a-palooza.

Noah was the hero of the night, scoring 19 points (6-for-8 from the field and 7-for-8 at the line) to go with 14 rebounds, including 7 big-time offensive boards. Jo also had three steals and countless hustle plays. There was no question he felt a sense of urgency. Still...Noah twice gave up three-point plays by swiping at an Atlanta player who was about to make an easy layup. The second time Noah did that -- fouling Smith with 4:56 remaining -- allowed the Hawks to pull to within six points (75-69).

That was the kind of night it was. It seemed that for every two positive players, somebody on the team made a negative one. Yes, the Bulls won by double-digits. No, it did not feel like a commanding victory even though it probably should have been.

The Bulls need to get their offensive act together. Pronto.

Carlos Boozer: Last night, Boozer went 3-for-8 at the rim, 0-for-1 from 3-9 feet, 0-for-1 from 10-15 feet and 1-for-2 from 16-23 feet. Four of his shots were blocked. Felt like twice that many.

And Booz got booed by the home crowd. Noah wants them to stop.

Said Noah: "Sometimes our home crowd is a tough game to play. We've got a lot of love for our crowd, but through tough times, we got to stick together. I've been in that position before, my rookie year, where I've been booed. It's tough to be booed in your home crowd. With Carlos, people have to understand he's playing through an injury, and he's giving us what he's got. He's somebody who has an unbelievable presence, and he opens up a lot of things for a lot of us. I think sometimes people are quick to bash one player. But this is a team, and we know we need Carlos to get to where we want to go."

Added Ronnie Brewer: "If you know how turf toe is, if you have any injury [like that], anything he can go out and give us is a plus. I think he did a phenomenal job on both ends of the floor."

Further added Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau: "Carlos is giving us everything he has. The rebounding is huge. His offense will come around."

The Bulls better hope so.

Said Boozer: "Obviously I want to make the shots that I missed, or the ones that got blocked. But for the most part, I'm just going to keep playing."

That's all he can do, really.

I just hope he doesn't keep playing the way he has been.

Chris' Playoff Lacktion Report:

Jason Collins fouled once in 3:16 for a +1 and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl...

...while fellow dirty birds Josh Powell, Hilton Armstrong, and Pape Sy went 55 seconds as MARIO TRIPLETS! (Armstrong checked a board in and avoided true lacktivity).

In 15 fewer seconds, steakhouse master Omer Asik matched Collins's not-so-big-man numbers to a tee.

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Anonymous King Kong said...
Are Dallas fans more afraid of choking away this 2-0 lead or making it to the Finals and choking against Miami?

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Was that Greg Ostertag I saw playing guitar in that terrible/awesome rendition of a Willie Nelson classic? I'm going to go with 'yes'.

Watching Kobe play now reminds me of Clyde Drexler when he went to the Rockets in '95. Still dangerous, but not the overwhelmingly dominant 1-man offense he was in his prime. Unfortunately for Kobe, Pau does not remind me of Hakeem in his prime.

Blogger Ragib said...
Should be Lakers went 2 for TWENTY, 20, on 3pters lol, not 2 for 10.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Such a happy day.

At least LA can look forward to getting more cheers in Dallas than at Staples. Jeez. They were giving Pau the Kwame treatment. Steve Blake got some of it too, and for good reason. He missed like every shot, made terrible passes that led to easy Dallas buckets, and got lit up on D. Cheryl Miller was towering over JJ Barea in the postgame interview. Can we call him the mongoose? Because they kill mambas.

And LA is like a nunnery or something, there was zero penetration. Kobe is just launching from the perimeter and looked almost disinterested at parts, Fisher is cemented to the floor, and all their bench wings had their talent stolen. Maybe Blake is still recovering from the pox, but what about Barnes? He was good in Orlando I thought. Shannon didn't even have his perfunctory one awesome dunk per game.

Atlanta is the same as always, just a bunch of brainless chuckers. If their garbage goes in they're awesome, if not they look like a lottery team. Also in the post series interview when SVG said they're a big front running team that's pretty true. Remember two years ago and that weird Miami series? They either won or lost every game by 20 pts.

Anonymous S to O said...
Hi Bawful,

Curious about who you would root for if a Bulls/Celts series were to happen.

Sorry I was kind of lame in the fantasy league, I Josh Howarded my way into forgetting about the draft and really, never looked back. At least I had STAT!!!!

Stockon to Ostertag

Anonymous kazam92 said...
I couldn't agree with Stephanie G more. That 08-09 Hawks-Heat in particular was the WORST 7 game series of all time. Every game was a blowout.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Are Dallas fans more afraid of choking away this 2-0 lead or making it to the Finals and choking against Miami?

Lol. Awesome.

Such a happy day.

A glorious, wonderful, magical day. To quote a recent internet meme: I don't always stay up late on school nights, but when I do, it's to watch the Lakers get destroyed in their own gym by 6 foot Puerto Ricans.

As others have noted, the Lakers looked.. just completely out of it. Gassed, apathetic, lethargic, disinterested. As someone smarter than me wrote before the playoffs, their lack of depth is killing them. Blake looked awful, Barnes didn't see the floor when I was watching, Shannon Brown was pretty invisible..

They couldn't throw it in the ocean, and when they did miss they couldn't make up for their brickery with offensive rebounding as they normally are able to do. I'm not sure why this is - tired legs? - but Dallas seemed to win the battle for every loose ball. They were hella rebounding and hella playing tough on the inside. Yes.. the Dallas Mavericks.

Correction: Lakers were building a brick house when they weren't busy just plain turning the ball over.

I was resigned to another Lakers title and the endless gloating from Laker nation. Hope springs eternal!!

Anonymous Karc said...
@Stephanie g - Once LA went 0-9 from three, Mavs clogged the paint. They knew the Lakers (specifically that god-awful bench) weren't going to hit a three (the two they did hit were essentially in garbage time).

Yeah, on Pau getting booed, stay classy Laker fans. You know, I'm actually rather happy that LA sports fans are getting what's been coming to them for a while. Their arrogance/thuggery has come back to bite them. MLB took the Dodgers away, Lakers are going to lose this series, and the hockey teams were thrown out in the first round. Maybe now they won't put fans of rival teams in comas, get into fistfights trying to take a commemorative hockey stick away from a little girl, or show up an hour late to a playoff game and sit on their hands for three hours while gawking at short people in the first three rows who are paid lots of money to fester TVs.

I realize that last part could also describe the Heat, but LeBron already suffered. At least he's winning.

Blogger Will said...
"But," he replied with a smile. "But. Dot-dot-dot."
You didn't get the full quote here, Bawful. The full quote is "Dot, dot, dot. Dash, dash, dash. Dot, dot, dot."

Blogger Dick Sullivan said...
My unique position demands I address that video. I am from Arizona and live in Dallas and can attest, there are no freaking saguaro cacti in the entire state of Texas. The Rev knows it -

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The best part of the Artest video is that he kneed Odom in the man region while he was at it.

He was just an angry man and wanted to take someone out on his way down, he didn't care what color their shirt was.

Blogger Marmatard said...
How could you not post this:

JJ Barea is such a teddy bear.

Anonymous Blizzard said...
Speaking of penetration, Marv had an awesome quote last night. It was a triple-whammy, something like "Barea hit from behind while taking it hard, he's so good at penetration". Did anyone else catch that? Wish I had written it down.

Blogger DDC said...
I figured Mr. Citzenship would self destruct sooner or later, I just expected to happen a lot soon. What a doucher. Moving on, I also knew that Nowitzki would get the better of Gasol this series, but he's turning this into an evisceration. I hope this kills any argument of Gasol being better than Dirk as well.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I forgot to mention that Dick Stockton referred to D-Rose as "David" Rose right after the MVP trophy was handed to him by Stern.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Watching the "hella screens" interview led me to this little JJ Barea gem

In case you didn't know- now you know.

Anonymous Patrick said...
@ Will:

Will: the full quote was "dot, dot,, dot, dash, dash dot dash dot dash dot dash dot dot dash dash dash dot dash dot dot dot dash dot dot dot".

That is Morse code for, "Suck it, Mavs". I'm completely serious.

Blogger winnetou said...
Apparently everyone except me saw the Citizen Ron freak-out coming :o I thought he looked very composed throughout the game, right until that moment. And I don't remember the first technical to be an obvious call, rather Steve Kerr arguing that it wasn't worth a technical, so we'll have to see whether that will result in a suspension.

Anyway, the Lakers not only shot their 3-pointers miserably, they also missed the first 15. Kobe made the first one late in the 4th.

Regarding the series... at least noone can say "the last time the Mavs lead a series 2-0 was in the 2006 finals" this time. But they are still the Mavs, so it's better not to think ahead too far.
(awesome comment by King Kong btw)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
ron artest didn't even hit him hard, it was just a warning shot. he'll be watching out for that clothesline every time now. then you start faking the clothesline to stop his penetration and he'll put his head down or hesitate and stop looking for teammates. and then when he stops falling for it, you get one of your useless lakers to clothesline him really hard and get ejected, then JJ barea's useless for the rest of the series.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Mavericks have the best social media marketing in all of professional sports.

Anonymous Mark Cuban said...
The Lakers had no answer for our Micro Jordan last night. I also really enjoyed having a courtside seat to watch the Steve Blake Mega Meltdown. And if Ron Ron wants to meet me in the parking lot of the AAC for a throwdown after game 3, (or I guess game 4, since he won't be around for #3) then I'm ready to rumble.

Blogger Unknown said...
I personally like this anti-Laker video from the Mavs better:

Anonymous Baby Blue said...
I keep thinking Cuban is this healthy, relatively fit guy and then he surprises me by looking so doughy

Blogger Passives Abseits said...
"Seriously, the Hawks couldn't have located the basket even if they'd had help from the CIA agents who tracked down Osama Bin Laden." Seriously? That guy lived in a big mansion!!! Like the biggest in all of Pakistan... worth 1 million US Dollars... If I'd be a basketball pro and ask the CIA for guidance towards the basket, I'd better play the Timberwolves... "ehhh... it'S right there..."

Blogger lordhenry said...
I'm tired of the Lakers are old excuse. The Mavs are technically an older team than LA. This is about one team trying, and the other is not. Also, it is about Andrew Bynum being the best player and not touching the ball much. It is about whatever voodoo doll Marc Gasol used on his brother that stole his skills away.
It is about how you can't just show up and win. You actually have to play.
The Mavericks have played great, they deserve a lot of credit.
The Lakers have played terrible. SO far, they deserve to lose.

Anonymous Luke said...
How come Mr. Citizenship's picture is not present on the Basketbawful banner? What an outrage!

Anonymous spinetingler said...
I am loath to defend a Laker, much less Artest, but that doesn't look like a flagrant 2 to me - at least not an intentional one. He loses balance and directional control when colliding with Lamardashian, and then his reaction to hitting the guy is subdued (note the gentle hand on the back, not a throat grasp).

Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
Wow, are people going out of their way to try and stat curse the Mavs with all this premature celebration?

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
BTW, Lakers lovers and haters go check today's BS Report: Celtics & Lakers Panic Button edition.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm not making this up.

The hot rumor floating around the Laker blogs about Pau Gasol. The reason that he's not showing up to playoff games.


Sigh. Why Gasol why!

Blogger stephanie g said...
Anyone else been following the fake Bill Walton?!/TheBillWalton


Dirk Nowitzki is doing things tonight I once heard about from a sagely sherpa while hiking the voluminous Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan.

This is the greatest day in the history of Memphis since the innovative Clarence Saunders opened his first Piggly Wiggly store in 1916!

Dwyane Wade epitomizes the Norse god Heimdallr as he rides on his golden-maned horse blowing his Gjallarhorn to announce his dominance!

Anonymous Mark Cuban said...
Also, I am a total douchebag.

Anonymous Rich Muhlach said...
Prediction time!

Lakers will start playing with more intensity and win series 4-2 over Dallas.

Shaq clobbers Wade and therefore slow down cHeat. Celtics win in a decisive Game 7.

blah blah round 3 blah blah

Rematch of last year's Finals.

Anonymous Graphics Design said...
Dirk is one of the most underrated players in NBA history. The Mavs change up their roster so much but he is the one constant, and they win ~ 50 games every year. I’d love to see him get a ring this year, it would really help change the way a lot of NBA followers see him (primarily colored by European stereotypes).

Blogger Ryan said...
Marion was like...okie dokie

Blogger tonious35 said...
@ Ryan

Marion was like...(*cue Dark Knight Joker Theme*) "It was all part of the plan".....

Blogger winnetou said...
Official confirmation: Lakers' Artest suspended for Game 3.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

see what Jason Kidd is doing in the bench....lessons learned from Amare and Diaw...


Anonymous TransINSANO said...

They're really taking this, "What, me worry?" all the way. My joke that the Lakers will still be talking about getting serious "next time" after being eliminated might really come true.

Also, in the aforementioned Lakers/Celtics BS Report, Simmons makes a good point about how bad that Lakers crowd was in that they were booing and leaving early during Phil Jackson's potential final game at Staples. Ouch, another reason not to boo your championship team when they're struggling. Lakers might really be better off on the road and without Artest.

Blogger Sturla said...
@anonymous see what Jason Kidd is doing in the bench....lessons learned from Amare and Diaw...

Aren't you talking about Brian Cardinal? He's the one pulling Chandler to the bench.

Anonymous lechuck said...
hey, what's wrong with marion's reaction? it's the perfect thing to do. he surely didnt want to get suspended just by reacting to artest's cheap shot on barea with his team leading 2-0 and heading back to dallas.

Blogger JimmySlattery said...
I think Trix was just surprised as hell and wanted to get out fo range of the Crazy person. Gp check Artest's interview from practice yesterday - he's essentially employing the well-remembered "there is no monster in the closet, there is no monster in the closet" approach

Q: Are you sorry you did that

"JUst have to move forward. Big game coming

Q: But you won't be in it ...

"Got to move forward. Big game, big game. Game three is all that matters."

Q: Are you taking your meds everyday?

"BIg game, game three, move forward.

and so on until the reporters tire of it

PS - for some reason your email never has the pics or video in it in my mailbox, only mail that does this. Any idea why? Gmail/new iMac

Anonymous Karc said...
When Phil Jackson is stealing plays from Jameer Nelson and Devon Harris, it's time to bun the car flags...,0,5200439,full.story

Yep, Phil Jackson "predicting" that the Lakers will be back on Tuesday for Game 5.

“We’ll be back Tuesday.”

Ok. it's not as bad as the other two, but this is just for reference when the Mavs sweep them on Sunday

Blogger winnetou said...
The Mavs' passive behaviour during the foul made me think it wasn't as bad as it looks initially, but damn it... ever since Anon's mention of it, I can't watch it again to review the foul, I just have to focus on the knee to Odom's man region. ;)
According to yesterday's TBJ show, the Mavs players were warned that something provocative might happen and that they should stay calm.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
I think the non-reaction to the foul is a testament to their maddening veteran professionalism, which is what's killing the Lakers as much as anything. They just can't handle it, the Lakers solution is they "need to relax more". REALLY!? Plus, Rick Carlisle is even outcoaching Phil when it comes to non-basketball plays on the court.

Blogger stephanie g said...
On Pau's GF troubles...

This is utter tabloid gutter trash so it might be totally bogus, but:

Money quote:

The snitch told, "Pau thinks that [TEAMMATES] wife was behind it. Sylvia didn't have many friends and he's convinced that [wife] either is behind it, or could have talked Sylvia out of it." And word is that when Pau's TEAMMATE [the husband] tried to talk to Pau about it, the two got into an ARGUMENT - with each saying some very RECKLESS THINGS about each others LADIES.

So now Pau and THIS teammate are no longer speaking to each other.

Somewhere, Yams has a sad.

Anonymous bing said...
Jesus, these tabloid rumours bother me more than LA's shitty D.
Kinda glad I have to work today and can't watch game 3 live.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
stephanie g - Where is Yams, anyway? Did the Pro-Celtics/Anti-Lakers divide around here finally become too great to bridge after the Perkins trade?