The Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Dallas Mavericks last night. That, in and of itself, wasn't very surprising; Dallas is the best team in the league and riding a 13-game winning streak. What was surprising -- in that nauseous, "I'm about to projectile vomit" sort of way -- is that the Wolves only scored 65 points on 24-for-81 from the field, a brick-a-palooza that was "good" for a franchise-worst 29.6 percent shooting night. And this happened in Minnesota. Jesus, guys...the Dallas defense is good, but it's not that good...is it?!
I'd like to focus on the "franchise-worst" part for a second. I know some of you probably aren't aware of this, but the Timberwolves actually existed before Kevin Garnett (5-for-16 last night) was drafted into the league. And while the team hasn't ever been all that good with him (the 2003-04 season notwithstanding), they were even worse without him. The Pre-Garnett Era lasted six seasons, during which the team strung together win totals of 22, 29, 15, 19, 20, and 21 games. That 15-win team* featured a starting lineup of Tony Campbell, Pooh Richardson, Tyrone Corbin, Doug West, and Thurl Baily. Yup, that was their five best players.
My point? Despite the team's historical suckosity, this year's squad set an all-time franchise record for shooting ineptitude. Did I mention Kevin Garnett is widely hailed as a certain Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest players of all time? He had only two assists last night, by the way. See, it's stuff like this that always makes me question how great K.G. really is. He has two other proven 20-point scorers on the team (Ricky Davis and Mike James). And yeah, those guys are overrated, but still, shouldn't someone of Garnett's stature be able to make those guys better instead of worse? Isn't that what the great players are supposed to do?
*During the 1991-92 season, the Timberwolves went 15-27. That was easily the worst record in the league, but the Lottery Gods chose to smite the Wolves, who recieved the third pick (behind Orlando and Charlotte) in the 1992 Draft. Thus, instead of Shaq or Alonzo Mourning, the Wolves got Christian Laettner. And that, my friends, is how the lottery can change the course of NBA history. Because you have to assume that if Minnesota had, say, drafted Shaq, their fortunes would have been drastically altered (even if Shaq still bolted for L.A. in free agency years later). It's not a stretch to say that, had that happened, K.G. never would have been drafted by Minnesota in 1995 (no way they would have been a lottery team with a young Shaq). And if he had gone elsewhere...who knows?
Runner up: "The Cancer" continues to consume the Indiana Pacers from the inside-out. Last night, they lost 103-91 to the Phoenix Suns. But Phoenix is the second-best team in the league, so there's no shame there, right? Wrong. The Pacers built an 18-point lead with five minutes to go in the third quarter, and then got outscored 44-15 the rest of the way (including 30-13 in the fourth quarter). This happened in Indianapolis. I'd like to blame all these crazy rumors about Reggie Miller possibly coming out of retirement to join the Mavericks (it'll never happen), but I'm afraid the Pacers just
suck ass aren't that good.
I LOVE LEBRON IN EVERY SINCE [sic] OF THE WORD. ME AND MY MAN CAN'T GET MARRIED BECAUSE OF MY DEDICATION TO LEBRON. THAT MAN IS MY EVERYTHING AND IT KILLS ME TO SEE HATERS ALL OVER HIM BUT HE IS SO STRONG AND THAT'S WHAT INSPIRES ME. I LOVE U AND FORGET THE OTHERS IN THIS GAME! I CAN'T WAIT TIL U COME TO MEMPHIS ON THE 14. SEE U SOON,HOPEFULLY AND STAY SAFE.I don't know what's more unbelieveable: the fact that she won't marry her boyfriend because of a famous athlete she's never going to meet, or the fact that she has a man at all. Good luck to you, lady passion.
Labels: Lebron James
Scoop Jackson: "Let's get to a real situation: li'l Timmy is 14 now. How do you handle it if he comes home from school or, better yet, you get a call from a hospital that says that he's been beaten by a group of gay kids in reaction to what you said about them?"Uhm...what?! I forgot to renew my subscription to the Homosexual Times, so I don't really keep up on gay news anymore. But I'm pretty sure I would have heard about roving gangs of homosexual teenagers who beat up the children of the straight people who hate them. If that actually happened, the southern half of the country would be a war zone. A tasteful, rainbow-colored, dance-themed war zone...but a war zone nonetheless. How could Scoop Jackson possibly call that a "real situation" and keep a straight face? I'm telling you, he was trying to bait Tim Hardaway into saying something else stupid. And in that case, shame on you Scoop Jackson. There are better ways to get your Pulizter Prize.
Tim Hardaway: "That's wrong."
Over the past few months, I've read dozens of articles proclaiming who the NBA MVP should be, which is kind of ridiculous considering that the season isn't even over yet. Right now, most "experts" are leaning toward Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, but other potentials include Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and even Gilbert Arenas. I wouldn't be surprised if guys like Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan got a little buzz before it's all said and done.
Since the MVP is a highly arbitrary award -- what does "most valuable" really mean, anyway? -- there's always a lot of whining and crying from 1) the fans of the players who don't win it, and 2) the anti-fans who, for whatever reason, love to hate the player who did win it. The NBA has never adequately defined the specifics of most valuability, and so the MVP is determined by a voting process that includes both 125 members of the local and national media (radio and television announcers, newspaper reporters, and hopefully Borat).
The final result seems to piss almost everybody off. Take last year, for instance. When Steve Nash was named MVP, a river of silicone-laced tears flooded out of the greater Los Angeles area. Many people defiantly believed that Kobe Bryant deserved the MVP, and others just thought Steve Nash didn't deserve it...especially since he'd won it the year before (when a lot of people thought Shaq should have gotten it). And so the debate rages anew: what is truly valuable? Is the the ability to score 81 points in a game, or the capacity to score 20 points and dish 20 assists? Should the MVP be a scorer or a facilitator? And how does winning factor into it?
Well Sherman, let's hop into the WABAC Machine and look at the actual history of the MVP award. The NBA has handed out 51 trophies to 25 different recipients. Of those 51 awards, the MVP went to a player on one of the top two or three teams in the league (based on won-loss record) 46 times. The five notable exceptions include:
1. Bob Petit in 1956: This was the inaugural year of the NBA MVP award. Bob's team was 33-39, which was "good" for third place in their division and seventh place in the league. Did I mention there were only eight teams in the NBA at that time? Yeah. This was clearly a case of the "best player" (statistically speaking) winning the award: Petit averaged 25.7 PPG and 16.2 RPG that season).
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976: This was Kareem's first year in Los Angeles, and, with Magic Johnson still in high school, the Lakers went 40-42. The team finished fourth in their division and didn't even qualify for the playoffs. But Kareem's impressive stat line -- 27.7 PPG, 16.9 RPG, 5.0 APG -- swayed the voters.
3. Moses Malone in 1979: Malone's Houston Rockets compiled a 47-35 record, which gave them a second-place finish in their division and seventh in the league. They had homecourt advantage in a first round playoff mini-series, but they were swept 2-0 by the Atlanta Hawks.
4. Moses Malone in 1982: The Rockets finished with a record of 46-36, third-best in their division and ninth overall. They made it into the playoffs, but they were promptly dispatched by the Seattle Supersonics in a first round miniseries.
5. Michael Jordan in 1988: I refer to this one as Michael's "pity MVP." The Bulls notched a respectable 50-32 record, but they were still third in their division and eighth in the league. The award probably should have gone to either Larry Bird or Magic Johnson, but the media was starting to get a little tired of heaping praise and awards on those guys. Plus, the press wanted to reward Michael for his statistical brilliance since the consensus opinion at that time was that he would probably never win a championship. Seriously.
And that's it. Five out of 51 times the MVP went to the best statistical player. The rest of the time, the award was given to the best player on one of the best two or three teams in the league. So, in the absence of any specific qualifiers, there is -- at the very least -- an historical precedent. And based on that, we can eliminate most of the supposed MVP candidates:
The Not MVPs
Gilbert Arenas: I love this guy. He represents everything I love about professional basketball: he genuinely enjoys his job, goes out of his way to give back to the fans, and he puts up great numbers. But...his team's slightly above average record (30-21), his recent spat with coach Eddie Jordan, and his wagging tongue (guaranteeing a 50-point game against the Blazers then only scoring 9 in a blowout loss) have doomed Agent Zero's MVP bid.
Chauncy Billups: He's the heart and soul of the best team in the Eastern Conference. But if you noticed the words "Eastern Conference" at the end of that last sentence, you already know why he doesn't have a doughnut's chance at a cop convention of being the MVP.
Kobe Bryant: He was a legitimate candidate back in December, when the Lakers played 15 of their first 20 games at home. But after starting out 15-6, the Fakers have gone 15-19. They've lost six straight overall and five straight at home, and three of those home losses were agaisnt sub-.500 teams. You can blame injuries and long road trips all you want, but the bottom line is this: his team isn't winning enough to justify including him in the MVP discussion.
Tim Duncan: The Spurs currently have the third best record in the league, so Tim has a legitimate shot at the MVP. But the Spurs have been on cruise control for most of the season, and everybody knows it. That'll count against him when the votes are cast. "Hunger" is one of those intangibles that means something to the media. Not that Duncan cares; he's already won back-to-back MVP awards. He's more concerned about being ready for the playoffs.
Lebron James: The King just hasn't been himself this season. The numbers are there, but neither he nor the team has really improved from last season. In fact, they've gotten worse. And James, for his part, has become more of a scorer than a facilitator, and his teammates are suffering for it. He just doesn't have "it" this year.
Tracy McGrady: The Rockets have very quietly compiled the league's fifth best record, and it's all because of McGrady. Ever since Yao Ming went down with a broken leg, T-Mac has raised his game and done a good job of transforming a pretty below-average group of guys into a cohesive, winning team. The problem is, there's very little chance of the Rockets actually claiming one of the top three spots, their slow-down/grind-it-out style is painful to watch, and McGrady hasn't really taken over the league at any point. I can't see him pulling off the upset.
Dwyane Wade: The Heat are 26-27 right now (and they'll probably be 26-28 after playing Dallas tonight). Sure, he's held the team together in the absence of Shaq and coach Pat Riley, but his team still has a losing record, and now it looks like he'll miss six weeks of action due to a dislocated shoulder. No amount of freethrow attempts will make him the MVP this season.
It's a two-man race between Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash right now. Dirk has the advantage because 1) his team has the best record in the league, and 2) Nash has already won the last two MVPs and the press will probably want to give it to someone new. Unless Dirk gets injured and/or the Mavericks go on a disastrous losing streak, der Mann aus Deutschland will be the NBA's next MVP.
"Christie did not report to the Clippers for their practice Monday andAs news events go, this one isn't particularly shocking. We already knew that the Christie's were only a few fat ladies and a parasitic twin short of a freakshow. What we don't know yet is why he just up and disappeared. My guess is that there were actual women with actual woman-parts in the Staples Center crowd, which is a blatant violation of the "I never get to see boobs again" wedding pact he signed with the Dark Lord all those many years ago. Therefore his wife was probably forced to claw out what was left of his manhood and feast upon it in the soothing comfort of her own leathery wings.
did not play Tuesday, which would have been the final day of his second 10-day contract. He voided the contract, and the Clippers took the formal step of putting him on the team's suspended list Tuesday. Christie, 36, is in his 15th NBA season. With that experience, a 10-day contract is worth approximately $70,000. By missing two days, he forfeited $14,000 of pay."
''At the end of the day, you're remembered for what you did at the end. Dirk says they gave us the championship last year, but he's the reason they lost the championship, because he wasn't the leader that he's supposed to be in the closing moments. That's because of great defense by us, but also he wasn't assertive enough as a leader's supposed to be.''Dallas fans and the Wader-haters like to point with wagging fingers at the extraordinary number of freethrows Wade shot in the Finals (a whopping 16 a game...and 18 per in the Heat's four wins). And while there's certainly a grain of truth in the notion that the refs were extremely kind to the Heat in general and Wade in particular, it's also true that Wade was very aggressive throughout the series and continuously took what the officials were willing the give him. That's basketball. And strangely enough, no one in Dallas said anything about how Nowitzki shot 24 free throws in a 104-103 win against the Spurs in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. You think that might have made a difference in the game, not to mention the series? (For the record, the Mavs -- who were playing at home -- got 50 free throws that game, 18 more than the Spurs.) Dirk also had a game-high 15 FTAs in the Mavs' 123-118 overtime win in Game 4, not to mention 16 FTAs in their 119-110 overtime win in Game 7 (including the "and 1" that sent the game into overtime).
"Say what ? Is this the DWade of some of the lamest , boring commercials known to man ? Commercials that are singlehandedly responsible for selling more commercial skipping Tivos than anything else on TV?"Maybe I picked the wrong week to stop drinking cough syrup, or maybe I just needed to run this through the Dork-to-English Translator, but I have no idea what the quality of Wade's commercials (which are actually pretty funny) have to do with anything. Maybe Cuban is suffering from Commercial Envy. Speaking of boring commercials...
"Dwayne I don't blame you for not looking at tapes of the finals. You obviously didn't. You would have seen your unbelievable skills and some other unbelievable elements that if I could discuss honestly here I would get fined for."That Mark Cuban...he truly is the crafty master of subtlety! Gosh, whatever could he be talking about?? I do think it's kind of creepy that he has such absolute knowledge of Wade's TV watching habits. And hey, when did Mark become afraid of getting fined? Oh, that's right; when he transformed into a huge, flopping vagina.
"I know Shaq appreciates your leadership as well. He called out your team a few weeks ago saying it was 'embarassing'. Great leadership Wade. Your coach sat players for being fat. I guess you couldnt lead them away from the buffet."This would be a really snappy comeback if Shaq didn't consistently go out of his way to praise Wade's various abilities (leadership included). As for the "embarassing" quote, well, I thought the Nowitzki/Dampier mini-feud was pretty lame and embarassing, but I'm sure Mark would say that's all in the past.
"You are an amazing player Dwayne. I love watching you shoot free throws. What you know about Dirk's leadership skills is non existent. You don't have a clue. Your ability to evaluate leadership skills....well you obviously have an overinflated value of your own. Did you take business classes at Marquette ?"I would like to point out that the guy who's questioning Wade's ability to evaluate leadership skills is the very same guy who didn't think Steve Nash was worth a few more million dollars per year. And Nash "only" went on to win two consecutive MVPs and is playing well enough to win it again this year. Oh, and let's not forget how he popped up on The Late Show with David Letterman and predicted the Mavs had the championship in the bag because they had a 2-0 series lead. So, you know, maybe you need to attend a few more business classes, Mark.
"And Im pissed for one more reason. Im going to have to miss our next game against the Heat on Feb 22. A previous engagement. I guess its just a missed opportunity to bring a local business class to the game and try to let them interview you about your leadership skills."This is like telling the school bully that you'd totally show up to fight him after school, but your mom expects you home by 3 o'clock. Previous engagement? Whatever. I'm guessing a guy with a billion dollars in the bank and a few weeks notice could rearrange his schedule if it was that important to him. Maybe he's just afraid of watching Wade show up his team again.
"I'm just going to go out there, get my check and call it a day. I'm just into the free money. That's it. I'll just do whatever when I get out there."Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson was quick to lay the smack down on his employee, fining Thomas and issuing a rebuke stating that the comments were "a poor reflection on Tyrus individually and a poor reflection on the Bulls organization."
"I truly feel honored to be invited to participate in this year's slam dunk contest during next week's NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas. The opportunity to represent the Bulls and the city of Chicago on a global stage is a privilege that I do not take lightly. I regret the extent to which my comments indicate otherwise."Quite the change of heart. You'd need one of those cheap plastic swords they sell at Halloween to cut through the immense sincerity of it. Now, do you think Thomas could just eat the fine, apologize to the world, and let it all go? Of course not. He had to pull out the I Was Misquoted Card:
"It was just a little misinterpreting of what I said. It kind of makes me upset. I guess I wasn't so enthused when I was talking to that [the reporter] took it as if I didn't want to do it. I just have to be more careful of what I say. I just have to be more precise about what I'm saying. It was totally misinterpreted."This was as predictable as Bill Simmons picking against the Colts. Every time an athlete says something that earns him a seat at the front of the short bus, he has to let us know that it wasn't his fault. He was just misquoted, or misinterpreted, or the press is ignorant. But here's the thing: they never explain how, exactly, they were misinterpreted. What possible alternative meaning could there be behind the words "I'm just into the free money"? That, by the way, isn't an interpretation...it's a direct quote. Does Thomas even know the definition of "misinterpretation"? I understand he's only 20 years old -- which, by the amazing standards set by professional athletes, probably means he's reading at a 1st grade level -- but this should never happen to a person who actually pays someone to do all his talking for him. His agent really dropped the ball by not prepping Thomas on "how not to act like a retard in front of the press."
Up for bids is a game worn Kobe Bryant Purple sweatband given to me after a Lakers game. I asked Kobe for his band at halftime and he said "I gotcha." I have selling [sic] off my whole entire game worn memorabilia collection from the Lakers, Warriors, Celtics, and more..... Here is your chance to receive a rare piece of game used memorabilia. Wristband is not washed and smells of sweat. Good Luck and thanks for bidding. Please message me with any questions! The winner of this auction may message me to let you know which game it was used in. THANKS!"Wristband is not washed and smells of sweat"? Awesome! I like how the seller won't divulge the game in which it was used until after you win the auction. Is there any good reason for withholding this information, other than because you're covering for the fact that you totally made this up and probably used your own nasty sweat to give this thing the authentic aroma of body odor.