fan-tastic
NBA action: It's FAN-tastic.

The Chicago Bulls: A few Bulls fans got pissy with me for something I wrote in a recent ESPN 5-on-5.

The question:

"On a scale from 0 to 100, what are the Hawks' chances?"

My partial answer:

"My gut says 50 because the Hawks are such a 50-50 team: with so much potential but so enigmatic."

On my By The Horns blog, one commenter said: "There is no way you should write for the Bulls if you say the hawks have a 50 percent chance of winning this series wtf."

Look, I wasn't trying to rag on the Bulls or anything, but the Hawks are one of those trick-or-treat teams. Some nights, they look like the champions in warmups. Other nights, they look like the Clippers. That's how it is with streaky jump shooting teams. If they get hot, they can beat anybody...

...and they were hot last night.

The 120 Million Dollar Man left third degree burns all over anybody who dared guard him. Joe Cool finished with 34 points on 12-for-18 shooting, going 5-for-5 from downtown and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Former Bull Jamal Crawford added 22 points on 8-for-16 from the field, 2-for-4 from beyond he arc and 4-for-4 from the foul line.

As a team, the Hawks went 14-for-21 at the rim (66 percent). They went 7-for-13 from three-point range (54 percent) and converted 26 of their 57 jumpers overall (46 percent). Atlanta finished with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 55.8 percent and an Offensive Efficiency of 115.7.

That's funny. I'd heard rumors that the Bulls are the league's best defensive team.

Outside of the defense, Chicago's most significant advantage over Atlanta -- offensive rebounding -- was negated as the teams finished almost dead even in Offensive Rebound Percentage and second-chance points: Bulls 25.6 percent and 12, Hawks 25.0 percent and 11.

And, despite the presence of Derrick Rose, Atlanta finished with a higher Free Throw Rate (25.6) than Chicago (19.3).

Or maybe I should say because of Rose. If your stomach is at all queasy, I suggest not reviewing the Great Poohdini's shooting stats: 11-for-27 from the field, 2-for-7 from downtown, 0-for-0 from the free throw line.

He began the game 0-for-7. Clink. Clank. Clunk.

Rose -- who, according to a source, will be named MVP today -- had an otherwise strong game (24 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot). But his ankle is gimpier than the guy locked up in Zed's basement. Derrick couldn't explode into defenders to draw the contact necessary to earn a whistle. And, to make matters worse, he further tweaked the ankle stepping on Crawford's foot with only six seconds left and the game already decided.

Way too many jumpers. Not nearly enough drives.

Said Rose: "I don't know why I didn't keep attacking the basket."

It could have been, and probably was, the ankle. Of course, Atlanta had a nice game plan, too. They -- as so many teams before them -- clogged the paint and dared the Bulls to make outside shots. Chicago was decent from beyond the arc (8-for-18) but went a miserable 4-for-18 (22.3 percent) from 16-23 feet. Almost as bad was the fact that the Bulls missed 15 of their 30 attempts at the rim. Rose missed five of his nine bunnies.

Chicago's most critical failure was in intensity, especially on defense. During the regular season, this team challenged every single shot. Last night, the Hawks got pretty much any shot they wanted. During the regular season, Chicago's defense got stronger as the game went along. Last night, Atlanta scored 31 points in the fourth quarter.

Said Bulls coach and NBA Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau: "The intensity wasn't right. The start of the game was poor in terms of ball direction, in terms of challenging shots, in terms of showing help. There wasn't one aspect of the defense that was good. They're too good of a team to play like that."

It was a stunning performance. Or non-performance, depending on your outlook. In the opening round, the Bulls were clearly caught off guard by the intensity and tenacity displayed by the Pacers. Through the first four games anyway. By Game 5, though, the team was finally ready for it. The players had taken it...now they were ready to dish it out. Which, I thought at the time, seemed like a pretty good sign for round two.

Apparently, I was way off in that assessment. In the first quarter, the Bulls played far too relaxed, like they were waiting for the game to come to them. Meanwhile, the Hawks were trying to take the game by the throat. They began the game with a 9-0 run and led 28-18 after 12 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, when Atlanta built a solid (but not insurmountable) lead, players started hanging their heads and looking beaten.

Okay, maybe it was more frustration than defeat, but it sure wasn't the "never say die" team that won 62 games during the regular season. And the fact that Rose couldn't dominate the action late in the game seemed to take the wind out of his teammates sails.

Said Joakim Noah: "It's tough when your best player is limping off the court with an injury that you know he's had before. It's tough, but right now, we have a game on Wednesday in less than 48 hours."

That's right, Jo, you guys do have a game in less than 48 hours. And you need to get your stuff together. Of course, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a young team that hasn't been tested in the playoffs yet. No amount of film study or preparation in practice can substitute for experience. The Hawks aren't as good as the Bulls...but they've been through this together.

The Bulls haven't.

And if they don't get their shit together, their playoff experience is gonna end really soon.

Update! The dickery of the Atlanta Hawks: Basketbawful reader The Other Chris:

I think this post needs a mention of Atlanta leaving tickets for Jameer Nelson, in an absolutely classic "FU" move.

I felt like crap last night and went to bed just after the start of the 3rd quarter between Chicago and Atlanta, assuming that with a 56-51 lead and all the momentum, Chicago would put the hammer down and cruise to an easy victory.

Whoops.

And the Lakers lost.

And Canada elected a Stephen Harper majority government.

A lot of crazy shit happens while you're sleeping, sometimes.
sad kobe

The Los Angeles Lakers: Man, the way the first half ended was so Dallas Mavericks-y that I was absolutely certain the Mavs' annual playoff meltdown was underway.

With 2:31 left in the second quarter, Jason Terry drilled a 21-footer to give Dallas a 42-39 lead. The Lakers proceeded to go on a 14-2 run that was capped off in true Mavericks fashion. First, Jason Terry fouled Lamar Odom on a half-court heave with less than a second to go.

Yes, it was a pretty bogus call, all things considered. But you know what? Let Odom chuck it from 50+ feet. Challenge but don't get in his grill. Terry got to close and the call was made. The officials reviewed the play to make sure the foul happened before time expired...and the look on Terry's face during that review was priceless. I wish I had a screen capture of it.

So Odom got three foul shots and he hit 'em all. That should have been the end of it. But, of course, it wasn't. As Dirk Nowitzki tried to block out Ron Artest, Mr. Citizenship drove his ass into Dirk's lower body, forcing him under the basket. That's a foul, by the way, because you're not allowed to push someone with inside position out of the way. No foul was called, however, and Nowitzki retaliated by swinging an elbow into Artest's back.

Tweet!

Technical foul. Kobe calmly knocked down the freebie and the half ended Lakers 53, Mavericks 44.

I genuinely thought that was the game. Forget the fact that there were 24 minutes left. This was going t be yet another example of Dallas players losing their cool and blowing a winnable game.

Only they didn't blow the game. They stole it.

After falling behind by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, the Mavs came back to life. By the end of the quarter, L.A.'s lead was down to seven. And then Dallas really turned it on in the fourth, shooting 10-for-19 from the field and outscoring the Lakers 25-16.

Oh, and Herr Dirk took a huge, steaming dump all over the "anti-clutch" tag that people (myself included) have stuck on him over the years. Nowitzki scored 11 points in the final 12 minutes and hit the go-ahead free throws with 19.5 seconds left. You wanna know how Dirk earned those free throws? Pau Gasol badly overplayed him on an inbounds pass and fouled him in a very obvious way.


Nowitzki's thespian skills helped. But still.

Gasol wasn't done effing up. On the ensuing possession, with his team down by a single point, Pau was trying to hand a pass off to Kobe Bryant when Bryant tripped over his own feet and bumped the ball on his way to the hardwood. For a second, it looked like Gasol would retain possession, but the ball squirted loose, Jason Kidd came up with it, and Gasol was forced to foul.


Kidd went only 1-for-2 at the line, giving the Lakers a chance to tie or win with a three. Kobe got wide open for a three, thank to wonderful moving pick by Andrew Bynum, but he missed.

And the Mavericks won.

Said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle: "You've got to mke plays, and you've got to dodge some bullets. We did both."

Added L.A. coach Phil Jackson: "We felt like we gave the game away. I'm not so sure Dallas didn't outplay us, but the players felt like we gave it away. ... The game was won in the third quarter when we got the lead and stopped playing defense and stopped playing offense. It took a lot of energy out of us and gave a lot of energy to them."

Countered Shawn Marion: "We did well, but I think we can do better. Is there anybody that knows we play good D?"

I guess we all know now. The Lakers shot only 42 percent and went 5-for-19 from downtown. And they scored only 16 points in the decisive fourth quarter. At home.

Of course, their offensive woes might have been because of their game plan as much as it was because of the Dallas D. According to ESPN Stats and Information:

In the first half of Game 1, the Lakers attempted 25 of their 42 field goals within 10 feet of the basket. In the second half, the Lakers stopped going inside as often, attempting 15 of their 42 field goals within 10 feet. The Lakers shot 50.0 percent within 10 feet on the game.

Andrew Bynum shot 70.4 percent (19-of-27) against the Mavericks in the regular season, but the Lakers shied away from him in Game 1. Bynum was on the floor for 59 of the Lakers' 101 possessions (58.4 pct) and had a touch on just 18 of those possessions (30.5 pct). Bynum was utilized much less frequently than his big counterpart Pau Gasol, who played 74.3 percent of the Lakers possessions and got a touch on 52.0 percent of them.
This is where I point out (once again it seems) that Kobe attempted 29 shots while the rest of the L.A. starters combined for 32. I also need to remind everybody that the Lakers didn't turn their series with the Hornets around until they started utilizing their biggest advantages. Namely, size and inside scoring.

For your reading pleasure, here's L.A.'s crunch time (final five minutes) offensive possessions.

Kobe missed three-pointer; Ron Artest offensive rebound and missed tip shot; Kobe missed jumper (blocked by Tyson Chandler); Kobe made 17-footer; Kobe missed 19-footer; Derek Fisher missed three-pointer; Lamar Odom offensive rebound; Gasol missed jumper (blocked by Chandler); Kobe made 11-footer; Kobe turnover; Gasol turnover; Kobe missed three-pointer.

29 shot attempts. 3 turnovers. 0 assists. 2-for-6 with a TO in the final five minutes. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Chris' Playoff Lacktion Report:

Hawks-Bulls: Kurt Thomas fouled once for a +1 in 1:58 and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.

Mavs-Lakers: Brendan Haywood hung 100% on the field goals from one attempt) in 13:11, only to foul four times for a 4:2 Voskuhl.

Labels: , , ,

45 Comments:
Anonymous Cloud King said...
Well, either the Bulls, defined in the regular season as fierce competitors, just can't muster up the energy for the second round of the playoffs, or maybe they're just not as good as their record?

SAS won 60+ games too...

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
I think this post needs a mention of Atlanta leaving tickets for Jameer Nelson, in an absolutely classic "FU" move.

I felt like crap last night and went to bed just after the start of the 3rd quarter between Chicago and Atlanta, assuming that with a 56-51 lead and all the momentum, Chicago would put the hammer down and cruise to an easy victory.

Whoops.

And the Lakers lost.

And Canada elected a Stephen Harper majority government.

A lot of crazy shit happens while you're sleeping, sometimes.

Anonymous Flud said...
Dr Kevorkian in the shades at the metal detector.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Well, I think it is clear. Memphis-Atlanta final.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Kobe gonna Kob.

Blogger The Nightbringer said...
Very strange night indeed. In fact, all of the 2nd round first games have been like it so far. None of the teams I expected to come out with an easy victory.. did just that.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
The one area that Dallas has a true edge over LA is the bench. Peja, Barea, and Haywood have been playing good ball so far this postseason. Last night, the only starter for Dallas that had a positive +/- was Dirk (+6), and it was their bench that carried them.

Granted, DeShawn Stevenson is a SINO, and Terry is really a starter like Manu was a few years back, but even without Terry, Dallas' bench has been dynamite so far in the postseason.

Lakers bench, OTOH, has been totally MIA most of the season, and hasn't appeared in a postseason game yet. (I don't include Odom in that comment, just as I don't include Terry in the discussion of Dallas' "bench")

For all of LA's "size" and "length" and "height," they're a pretty shallow team, which could be their ultimate undoing.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Actually I would characterize it less as dickery and more as pure awesome. ;-)

Blogger Ash said...
Um, no, it's not a foul to walk someone under the basket when boxing out for rebounds. In fact, it's one of the best things to do if you don't have good position. Ask any great rebounder.

Anonymous Karc said...
Yeah, Jameer Nelson was the douche for immediately assuming that Orlando was just going to roll over the Hawks. I can't relate to this on a NBA-level, but plenty of people I've worked with get incredibly fired up when someone tells them that have no business being at the top. Few things boil the blood more than, "You don't belong here."

Apparently, Phil Jackson was so pissed at Kobe that he walked out of the presser. Credit to the Mavs, they outsmarted Kobe Byrant and let him take jump shots. In fact, according to Hoopsdata, none of Kobe's 29 FGA were even at the rim, and only one was a 10 foot shot. 29 jumpers and 0 layup attempts. Even in the losses to Phoenix and the Celtics, he was at least going to the rim. Maybe it was the Finals against Detroit where he stunk that bad, I don't know. But if that's going to be his offense for the series...

As for Pau's late game foul on Dirk, all I could think was, "Trevor Ariza would have stolen that ball..."

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Um, no, it's not a foul to walk someone under the basket when boxing out for rebounds. In fact, it's one of the best things to do if you don't have good position. Ask any great rebounder.

I have a pet peeve when somebody says something like "um, no" regarding a rule without actually citing, you know, a rule.

So here I shall cite one, from the official NBA rulebook:

B. Personal Foul
Section I—Types

a. A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an opponent by
extending a hand, forearm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a position that is not normal.
Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called
immediately.


I would say that Artest bending over and shoving his ass into Dirk's lower body, effectively shoving him under the basket, constitutes "bending the body into a position that is not normal" and resulted in "re-routing" Dirk.

Besides which, Sir Charles said it was a foul. Checkmate.

Anonymous VBS said...
Some folk try to get round fouls like that with the old "Dirk needs to be tougher there, he's bigger than Artest" argument. Now granted, Dirk is prone to occasional bouts of vertigo, but extending that logic you'd need to change the law to allow smaller people to murder bigger people on the basis that the bigger people should be able to defend themselves.

Anonymous JJ said...
It's funny that even after all these misses, Kobe will always be known as a "clutch" player.

Anonymous William said...
Leaving two nosebleed tickets at the will-call window: dick move.

Leaving two floor tickets at the will-call window for the Make a Wish foundation in Nelson's name: classier dick move.

Could have even said: "Jameer isn't here to see Derrick Rose in the second round, but this deserving youngster is!"

Also, I don't think it's entirely fair to say the Bulls are a young team that needs to figure it out in the playoffs. The core (save Boozer) did have 12 playoff games against the Celtics last two years. And Boozer obviously has way more than that for his career. Calling it like I see it: the Bulls have choked away (or nearly choked away) several games already in these playoffs. No excuses.

Anonymous M Bison said...
I find it ridiculous that the storyline for the Bulls has changed from "they only have one gear, they totally buy into the system, Thibs made them believe, Rose will do anything to win" to "ehhh they didn't match the energy, they came out slow, they didn't really care"

Don't forget that this is the first time this Bulls team has been in the second round, they have no excuses

Anonymous Karc said...
@JJ - Yep, Kobe is "clutch."

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/28467/another-late-miss-for-lakers-bryant

Loss, Bailed out by Lee's miss, saved by Pau's putback, airball saved by Artest, Loss.

Just saying...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I find it ridiculous that the storyline for the Bulls has changed from "they only have one gear, they totally buy into the system, Thibs made them believe, Rose will do anything to win" to "ehhh they didn't match the energy, they came out slow, they didn't really care"

Don't forget that this is the first time this Bulls team has been in the second round, they have no excuses.


I never said they don't care. They do. They just don't seem to fully grasp the idea of playoff-level intensity, especially against teams with nothing to lose.

Blogger stephanie g said...
This site has some cute little bball comics:
http://www.bouncex3.com/

Like these:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5cixD-_-v4Y/Tbw7oAG77nI/AAAAAAAAACw/wVK9fnlRsoI/s1600/memphisboys.jpg

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Nb3X-b1VXo8/TYP7MU1c2qI/AAAAAAAAACU/p1fmNmZONo0/s1600/betterballer.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Yi6f1XhYpeM/TaG_DivgDtI/AAAAAAAAACg/Lq68PHDzC-A/s1600/pacers45flat.jpg

Blogger Knockitdownagain said...
Kobe Bryant, you took MORE SHOTS than Odom, Gasol, and Bynum COMBINED (didn't score more points than they did), didn't even get an assist by accident in 35 minutes, got a Laker Call from the Ref on Bynum's moving screen, and still bricked the wide-open three. Whoever said that being "locked in" means shooting UNDER 50% should be shot. Why does Jerry Buss pay 40 million a year for the best front line in basketball and let his 2-guard neglect it? I hate this shit, people are starting to compare Kobe to Kevin McHale in the black hole days, the only problem was that McHale shot 60% and Kobe shoots 44%. He needs to use his front line, they are more than expensive rebounding machines and placeholders.

Blogger BJ said...
Bryant: "I am a sharp-shooting, assasinating master of disaster! I am *the* Captain Clutch! My sweet sweet jumpers inspire fear and awe-- what was that horn noise? Why isn't Cheryl talking to me? Why aren't the cameras pointed at me?!? Where's everybody going?!?!? TURN THAT CLOCK BACK ON!!! TURN THAT CLOCK BACK ON!!!!!"

Anonymous Arouet said...
Uh, Basketbawful, you do realize that Dirk has had a ton of clutch performances over the years, as in, like, well, well before recently. Game 7 2003 against Portland and Sacramento. Game 7 against San Antonio in 2006- 37 and 15, sent game into overtime with a three point play in closing seconds. That wasn't hugely clutch? 50 points in game 5 2006 against Phoenix?

I mean, you have every right to question Dirk's mental toughness after 2007. If you want to claim he needs to show that you can't punk him anymore, ok, sure. But saying that he's never been clutch (which you HAVE said repeatedly, don't deny it or I will quote you), or that he's now defying a trend of never coming through, in other words, the stuff you've been saying for years? It's world class bullshit. Just thought you should know.

Blogger BJ said...
Numbers to back it:

http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4677538/in-clutch-dirks-a-better-bet-than-kobe

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Citing TrueHoop to talk about Kobe's "Clutchness" is like citing Fox News when talking about Muslims. Henry Abott is a HUGE Portland Homer and Lebron stan, so his views on Kobe and the Lakers are null and void.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I gotta be honest, I was tired and started doing other things as the Mavs game closed out. Suddenly I turned back to the TV and saw Dirk getting interviewed, like, wait, does that imply Dallas won? Had to rewind nearly all 30 minutes of DVR queue to catch how it went down, and feasted upon the spillt tears of Lakers faithful, like the shot of disappointed Jack. Mark Cuban nearly hyperventilating towards passing out was additional gravy. All in all, a great end.

Anonymous his miltness said...
Fun fact: Dirk has an offensive rating of 143.72 in the clutch in this years playoffs. Prior to last nights game he also had a True-shooting-% of 101.4% in the clutch. Thats not a typo, his true-shooting-% was above 100%.

Meanwhile the Bean has an off-rating of 65 on 23% true shooting in this the clutch in this year PO's.

Anonymous Tree said...
@The Other Chris: your night sounds somewhat like mine. My son was sick, so I spent the night at Sick Kids ... Turning on the news at 3am, I first went to sports highlights to ease my mind - then I noticed that all the 'dogs in the NBA and NHL won (and of course that was the night I didn't play pro line). Then, thinking I must be too tired to process info correctly, I turned on the news to see we elected an extreme right majority with an extreme left opposition. WTF happened last night? I'm not entirely sure that today is real ...

... then I read Kobe's quotes from last night, and knew not everything had gone crazy:

"I'm gonna do what I do. I think the second unit and that crew has to make a concerted effort to get the ball into Pau, get the ball into Andrew. It had nothing to do with me. I've had games where I shot the ball 10 times, and Pau and Andrew didn't contribute that much. I've had times where I shot the ball 30 times and they had big games. ... It had nothing to do with my shots."

Blogger BJ said...
Awkward Kodak Moment Of The Night -- http://media.star-telegram.com/smedia/2011/05/03/00/mavs-lakers_kidd3.embedded.prod_affiliate.58.jpg

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
@Tree: That quote is outSTANDING. Love it.

Anonymous Batmanu said...
For the record, I don't consider Dirk forcing OT against my Spurs in Game 7 of the 2006 playoffs as "clutch." It was a VERY bad foul by Manu Ginobili. He doesn't foul Dirk, and in all likelihood, the Mavs lose.

And Diop was the clutch one. Shut Timmy down in OT.

Anonymous tabman said...
@batmanu - uh, you can't be serious? dirk made the layup, despite being fouled. and hit the FT to force OT in game 7 on the road. no arguments, that is clutch. or are you too much of a homer to be able to see that?

Anonymous EuroGuy said...
@Tree:

I guess Phil Jackson sometimes wishes he was an X's and O's guy ;)

Anonymous another jj said...
lol as somebody before said, i also think a lot of people are wrong about dirk.

some players just have some stamp on them, dirk has "not clutch", kobe has "best closer in the game"

both is comlete BS

Anonymous another jj said...
also add a load of dirk game-winners during the regular season..

Anonymous AK Dave said...
@Batmanu:

Respectfully disagree. VERY bad foul or not, Dirk put the ball in the bucket, and hit the FT. = Clutch

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
Whew, Lakers barely pulled out the L in another must-lose Game 1!

Batmanu - I'm not revising history and giving Kobe's clutch resume to Dirk here either, he got bailed out by the always interesting combination Phil & Pau and still botched the first freebie. Until Dirk gets a ring I'll never forget those missed free throws in the '06 Finals. I remember Wade's last ones too, what's the opposite of not putting an exclamation point on something, an ellipsis?

As for Kobe's final shot clutchness or lack thereof; granted, I don't exactly expect him to make those awful hero shots since I've seen him miss more of them than probably anybody here since '04, but clutchness has always been about resume to me, not efficiency ratings. Speaking of which, ESPN stats inc neglects to mention that Kobe had like 7 game winners between the '09 and '10 playoffs. I know, regular season, but again, stats: context doesn't matter.

Anonymous tabman said...
@transINSANO - "clutchness has always been about resume to me, not efficiency ratings."

and it would be, as a kobe/lakers fan. quite a self-serving statement (for such fan) in my opinion.

"still botched the first freebie."

uh, no he didn't. dirk made them both. got quite the friendly shooter's bounce on the first one. but that's in large part because he's a great shooter. kidd was the one who missed his first FT at the end of the game.

"Until Dirk gets a ring I'll never forget those missed free throws in the '06 Finals."

as for your critique about stats and context not mattering, you obliterate any and all context with this line of thinking. for in essence, you are saying a ring erases all of your basketball failures, and a lack of a ring erases all of your other accomplishments. what about context? b/c dirk has no ring he can never overcome simple/incorrect "unclutch" labels? (maybe in the masses' eyes, but i thought commenters here were a bit more intelligent). you just threw context, the baby, the bathwater, all of it out the window.

Blogger Wormboy said...
"Citing TrueHoop to talk about Kobe's "Clutchness" is like citing Fox News when talking about Muslims. Henry Abott is a HUGE Portland Homer and Lebron stan, so his views on Kobe and the Lakers are null and void."

Posting this comment anonymously makes it null and void.


Re: Dirk. The problem has always been the rest of his team. Josh Howard was stoned and stupid enough to talk about. Jason Terry has always been streaky. Dampier.... Ugh. Now Butler is hurt (and is still Caron Butler), Kidd is ancient (but doing impressively well), Jason Terry is still streaky, etc etc. Dirk is one of the most clutch guys in the league, and one of the sweetest shooters. He is virtually undefensible, and rarely throws up really inefficient nights.

Blogger Ragib said...
B. Personal Foul
Section I—Types
a. A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an opponent by
extending a hand, forearm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a position that is not normal.
Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called
immediately.

I would say that Artest bending over and shoving his ass into Dirk's lower body, effectively shoving him under the basket, constitutes "bending the body into a position that is not normal" and resulted in "re-routing" Dirk.
-----------------------
Isn't bending your ass into their lower body to reroute them essentially what people do to box out?

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
Tabman - I'll be the first to admit Kobe's a mixed bag, but you can tell that just by watching the games. To me concepts like clutch or the hot hand are anecdotal, and that's why I hate it when statheads try to debunk, redefine or claim it in some absolute terms that are even more arbitrary than good old fashioned variable reality. Also, to that point, I was being sarcastic when I said context doesn't matter.

Anyway, I do know that for all the times Kobe hasn't come through he also HAS come through before on the biggest stage, which, to borrow a phrase, shouldn't be tossed out with the bathwater (or the misses). I also don't think it's unfair to note that at the biggest moment of Dirk's career to date, when he had the team around him to get it done, when he stood alone at the precipice and all that separated this 90% free throw shooter from that precious ring was a free throw... he missed it (and I was rooting for him to beat the Heat in self-serving fashion too). It happens, Wade did the same thing at the end of the series, and I've seen Kobe miss big free throws too, but I've also seen him hit many more shots on his way to five rings, and that counts too. I'd count it the same for Dirk, and I certainly wouldn't take away from it after the fact.

Anonymous bing said...
Something that's annoying me more and more, Ron Artest 1-8 from the field. Can we please have Bynum, Gasol, Odom in the last 3 mins instead.

Anonymous tabman said...
@transINSANO - yo, i know you were being sarcastic about context not mattering, that's why i referred to that as your "critique" of stats. i was just saying i thought it was ironic for you to say that, and in the very same post say that you will never forget dirk's missed free throws unless he wins a ring. you're simply ignoring his entire career's work (i.e., all context) when in reality every single player, no matter how great, has missed clutch free throws on big stages. some of them have made them too (as dirk has many times. as previous commenters have noted, he's been going on a tear in the clutch in these very playoffs). if dallas wins that series, no one cares (just as no one cares about wade boinking both of his free throws at the end of game 6, leaving jason terry to almost tie the game with his in-and-out 3) about dirk's miss. i don't think winning or not winning a ring should obliterate any and all other failures or accomplishments, respectively. your argument suggests it should, i.e., dirk's misses will never be forgotten until he wins a ring. let's face it, no one one earth thinks the mavs are a frontrunner to win a ring any time soon, other TEAMS are simply better. that shouldn't detract from dirk's phenomenal (and yes, clutch) individual play.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
tabman - Well, I can't help it, I'm an elitist championship or bust kind of guy when it comes to Basketball. It's just been my fan experience, whereas some people like, or need, stats to appreciate how good their favorite players/teams are. Personally, I think context I don't care as much about great playoff numbers when they come while getting bounced in the first or second rounds (same with moments, like Fisher's 0.4 shot or Kobe's double winners against the Suns, all in vain), and in Dirk's case since he and his teams famously underperformed when they had the chance as the clear favorites. To me this is bigger than Dirk or Kobe but how we look at sports and when stats started superseding competition for some.

Speaking of Dirk and Kobe though, puff pieces from Mark Stein and J.A. Adande about Dirk and Kobe sucking each other off:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2011/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=kobedirk-110504
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2011/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=kobedirk-110504
If you want to discuss frustration over false-narratives, look at Adande's particularly gross revisionist history. The '08 Lakers were better than '06 and '07 all because Kobe learned to be a better team player from Dirk. Uhh, it didn't even have anything to do with Kobe (as a matter of fact, he was worse), let alone Dirk. I don't know how one can compare those seasons without even mentioning the Pau Gasol trade. This must be how pure stat guys feel when talking heads continue to call Kobe surest thing at the end of games.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
Fucked up and posted Adande's piece twice, and once was probably too many, here's Stein's where Dirk lies and says he thinks Kobe is the greatest even though his response after the 81 point game was, "How many assists did he have?" which I always appreciated:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2011/columns/story?columnist=stein_marc&page=DirkKobe-110504

Also, should have better emphasized my position about context with regards to early playoff numbers not meaning as much if they don't actually lead anywhere; analogous to a player putting up good stats on a bad team, it doesn't actually tell you how they how they translate in a "winning" situation, whether that means on a contending team, in the Finals, or both.

Anonymous Logo Design said...
The pressure to win increases with each round a team advances. the hawks are sick and tired of losing in second round, so the bulls have to match their intensity and play harder,, I highly doubt the bulls are going to lie down after this wakeup call… it’s a seven game series.

Blogger Ragib said...
It sounds like you are blaming Chiacgo's less than stellar play on the Hawks being more desperate than them because the Hawks are sick of losing in the second round. Are the Bull's bored of playing in the second round of the playoffs already or something? You can't always write off every bad performance on being bored or lazy. Why do people do this?... Especially Lakers fans.

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