Labels: Austin Croshere, beatdowns, Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets, homecourt advantage, Isiah Thomas, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, statistics, Yao Ming
Labels: Carlos Boozer, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Jermaine O'Neal, Kyle Korver, Matt Bonner, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, readers, Seattle Supersonics, Worst of the Night
Labels: Chicago Bulls, Kevin Durant, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, officiating, Ray Allen
Labels: assists, ball movement, clutch, Dallas Mavericks, Devin Harris, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash
Washington Wizards: I knew Gilbert Arenas the Wizards' best and most important player, but I didn’t know he was their lynchpin on defense. The Wiz gave up 123 and 124 points in back-to-back losses to the Warriors and Grizzlies. The Warriors shot 51 percent and the Grizzlies shot 52 percent. The Wizards were never good on defense, but they weren't that bad were they? From this point forward, I shall refer to them as the Washington Wizars: No "d."
Fun fact: Against the Grizzlies, Antawn Jamison scored 41 points (18-22). But he had zero assists. On the weekend, he took 41 shots and dished one lonely assist.
Jason Richardson: The Bobcats came within 4.7 seconds of beating the Celtics on Saturday, but Richardson couldn't do something as simple as inbounding the ball. Eddie House knocked away Richardson's errant pass and Ray Allen -- who had missed 11 of his last 14 shots -- hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to add another chapter to the Bobcats' misery. After the game, Richardson had this to say: "We handed them the game. Stupid turnover on my behalf. I lost this game for my teammates." Pretty much, yeah.
Mike Dunleavy: In the Clippers' Friday night game against the Suns, Sam Cassell single-handedly kept his team in the game by scoring 26 points (9-16) through three quarters. Then Dunleavy took Cassell out and never put him back in. As a sidenote, the Suns won going away, 113-94. Said Dunleavy: "[Cassell] played great, but when they jumped out on us, we play tomorrow night in back-to-back games, I just felt like I didn't want to take any more of his legs." So you "saved" Cassell's legs for a 10-point (3-10), 5 turnover performance in a 98-89 loss to the Hornets? Good call, coach.
Fun fact: The Golden State Warriors are 4-3 on the road...and 1-4 at home. Hey, weren't they supposed to have that wicked-awesome homecourt advantage? In other news, the Hornets are 7-2 on the road but only 3-3 at home, the Nets are 4-2 on the road but only 3-5 at home, and the Raptors are 4-3 on the road but only 3-4 at home. What is this, roadcourt advantage?
Pat Riley: Riles got his coaching ass politely handed to him by Stan Van Gundy, the man he stabbed in the back, as the Magic blasted the Heat 120-99. The season standings? Orlando is 12-3, the Heat are 3-10.
Marcus Banks: Remember a couple years ago when the Suns signed Marcus Banks to a five-year, $21 million contract? Man, they were excited about that. David Griffin, the Suns' vice president of basketball operations, said, "Every facet of his game is improved, and at 24 years of age, we feel like he's just starting to scratch the surface of what he can do in terms of his talent level, and his fit with our system is just spectacular." Uh huh. Banks is playing 11 MPG and averaging just over 4 PPG. His stat line for the weekend: 4 minutes, 2 personal fouls.
Kevin Durant: Friday night, he scored 12 points on 4-12 shooting. Sunday night, he had what might have been his best game of the season -- 25 points (11-17), 6 rebounds, and 4 assists -- but the Sonics still got blown out by the Spurs. Sometimes you can't win for losing, or can't lose for winning. Or whatever.
Fun fact: Seattle is 2-6 on the road. And 0-6 at home.
Kobe Bryant: While some people will look at his final line (31 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists) and insist that he had a good game against the Nets, he really didn't. He started out 3-16 from before finishing 7-21, didn't score a basket in the second and third quarters, and missed a clutch freethrow with six seconds left in the game. In the end, the Lakers coughed up a 102-100 home loss to the Nets. But it wasn't all Kobe's fault. You can also blame...
Vladimir Radmanovic: How bad was Vlad the Impaler against the Nets? Try 0-10 from the field, including 0-7 from beyond the arc. He also missed one of his two freethrows and committed three turnovers.
Fun fact: Jason Kidd is averaging 8.5 RPG. That’s more than Lebron James (8.1), Chris Bosh (8.0), LaMarcus Aldridge (7.9), Ben Wallace (7.6), Brad Miller (7.6), and Shaq (7.5).
Labels: Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Jason Richardson, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Pat Riley, Washington Wizards, Worst of the Weekend
Labels: Golden State Warriors, NBA mascots, Thunder
Bobby Simmons: Back in August of 2005, fresh off a breakout season in which he was honored as the NBA's Most Improved Player, Simmons signed a five-year, $47 million dollar contract with Milwaukee, and everybody in the Bucks organization was flipping their lids. General Manager Larry Harris said, "Bobby is an extremely versatile player and adds depth to our roster at a number of positions. He can score from anywhere on the court, he's a very tough defender and he wants to win. He had a great year last season and we're excited to add him to our team." Then-coach Terry Stotts said, "We're pleased to add a player of Bobby's quality and character to our team. I’m very impressed with how he has continued to improve so far throughout his career. It speaks to his dedication to the game." Little did the Bucks know, Simmons' improvement as a professional basketball player had ended before the ink on his new contract had even dried. Two years later, Simmons is still the Bucks second-highest paid player, but by the numbers -- 6.7 PPG (on 42 percent shooting), 2.3 RPG, and 0.9 APG in about 19 minutes per game -- he's only their seventh best player. So even though the Bucks scored their first road win of the season last night, a 111-107 victory over the Cavaliers, Simmons was barely part of it: 2 points (1-6), 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 21 minutes of action.
Fun fact: Lebron James was 1-7 from three-point range last night.
Jermaine O'Neal: Remember how last summer Larry Bird tried to demand both Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum from the Lakers in exchange for O'Neal? The Lakers said, "Uh, thanks, but no thanks," and that's one decision that Jim Buss won't be taking heat for anytime soon. O'Neal hasn't been playing like an All-Star this season -- 13.2 PPG (on 38 percent shooting), 7.1 RPG, and 3.1 APG -- and last night was no exception. In what was supposed to be his audition for a potential trade to the Lakers, O'Neal shot 4-13, grabbed 3 rebounds, and blocked zero shots while the Lakers were obliterating the Pacers 134-114. Bynum, on the other hand, scored 17 points on 6-6 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots. Odom chipped in 10 points (2-4), 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Fun fact: In the 1978 NBA Draft, the Pacers selected Rick Robey with the third overall pick -- despite the fact that he was the best college player in the country and an Indiana native -- because they weren't willing to wait a year for Larry Bird to graduate from college. So in a way, bad personnel decisions are like a Pacers' legacy.
Wizards / Sixers: How badly did Philly get beaten down last night? Well, they had to outscore the Wizards 33-18 in the fourth quarter just to get the final deficit down to 15. The only reason to watch this game last night would have been to see Gilbert Arenas being Gilbert Arenas. Unfortunately, Agent Zero didn't play. Oh well. At least Andray Blatche hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the second quarter, and the G-Man did some cool dunks.
Fun fact: The Sixers are 3-7 after 10 games. Last year, with Allen Iverson in the lineup, they were 4-6 after 10 games. So you can see how much they miss him.
Solomon Jones: There wasn't much to get excited about in the Spurs' 95-83 win over the Hawks, unless of course you have Tony Parker (31 points, 13-20, 2 rebounds, 9 assists) on your fantasy team. However, according to the box score, Jones notched what may be the season's first one trillion: In other words, he played one minute without without recording any other statistic (so his stat line is a one followed by a bunch of zeroes). Congratulations, Solomon!
Fun fact: Did you know that Dr. J once played for the Atlanta Hawks? Seriously.
New York Knicks: The Knicks lost their seventh game in a row, and they did it in pathetic fashion, losing 108-82 at home to the Golden State Warriors. The MSG boo birds were out in full force, railing against their awful team, and -- amazingly -- Isiah Thomas agreed with them: "When you're watching a game like we played tonight, the venom that comes out, you deserve it. The booing, 'Get rid of this guy, get rid of me, get rid of him,' that's how the fans react. It comes with the territory we have and the place that we live in. That's how it is, that's how it goes." That may well be the closest Isiah has ever come to accepting some blame for the mess he's made in New York. Anyway, the Knicks stunk last night. They shot 39 percent and committed 27 turnovers. Nate Robinson was 0-5. Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry combined for 2 assists, 10 turnovers, and no blocked shots. Oh, and guard Quentin Richardson outrebounded Eddy Curry 10-3.
Fun facts: The Knicks average 17.7 assists per game...and 17.5 turnovers per game.
Chicago Bulls: Okay, this is getting painful. It's not the slow start; we've seen that before: 0-9 to begin the 2004-05 season, 3-9 last year. It's the fact that the Bulls seems content to just roll over and die any time they're challenged. They might have started off slowly last season, but at least they showed flashes. Nobody's playing well right now (although Joakim Noah looked great last night). Offensively, they're the third worst team in the league, ahead of only the Miami Heat and the New Jersey Nets. Defensively, they're smack dab in the middle of the pack -- sandwiched between the Washington Wizards and Milwuakee Bucks -- after having been the fifth best overall defensive team in the league last season. And the scary thing is, we haven't seen a single sign that things are going to get any better any time soon. Disturbing. Also, who's Thomas Gardner, and why'd he lead the Bulls with 16 shot attempts last night?
Fun fact: At this time last season, Kirk Hinrich was shooting 47 percent, Ben Gordon was shooting 43 percent, Luol Deng was shooting 55 percent, and Ben Wallace was averaging 10.2 RPG and 2.5 BPG. This season, the players' respective averages are 34 percent, 37 percent, 45 percent, and 7.2 RPG and 1.4 BPG.
Phoenix Suns: In the NBA, any road win is big, but the Suns won ugly last night. Their "defense" allowed a lousy Kings team to rally from an 17-point deficit and tie the game at 94-all with three minutes to go. Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire did their best to give the game away, missing two freethrows apiece in the final minute. But as a Suns fan, the most disturbing aspect of the game was the team's complete lack of ball movement. Sure, Steve Nash had his typical 12 assists, but Marion, Stoudemire, Leandro Barbosa, and Grant Hill combined for one lonely assist. To put that in perspective, Eric Piatkowski out-assisted all four of those guys with two. That's sad.
Fun fact: Ron Artest is very quietly having himself an All-Star-type season: 23.5 PPG -- on 55 percent shooting, including 58 percent from three-point range -- 6.5 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.3 SPG. And we haven't heard a peep out of him. Of course, he's only actually played four games so far, which means there's plenty of time left for him to start sucking and/or do something crazy.
Special Extra -- Hilarious Headlines: The always charming LooseChange brought this to my attention yesterday. Check out the last headline:
Labels: Bobby Simmons, Chicago Bulls, Jermaine O'Neal, New York Knicks, one trillion, Phoenix Suns, Worst of the Night
Portland Trailblazers: After two impressive homecourt wins against Dallas and Detroit, I wrote "I'm really excited about this Portland team." I must have stat cursed them or something, because the Blazers immediately lost their next four games by an average of 12 PPG, including last night's 101-92 loss to the Bobcats. Would Greg Oden have helped against the 'Cats? Well, let's put it this way: The Blazers got outrebounded 39-34 and their two big men -- LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla -- combined for two rebounds and one blocked shot. Portland is now 0-7 on the road. Fortunately, they're about to start a four-game homestand that includes contests against the Nets, Kings, and Pacers.
Fun fact: The Knicks, Bucks, Hawks, Blazers, and Kings are a combined 0-25 on the road. If you're an NBA player and one of these teams comes to your town, you should be happy.
Kevin Durant: I know it seems like I'm giving this kid a hard time, but honestly, he's not playing very well. Last night he scored 11 points (on 2-8 shooting) to go along with 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 turnovers. Through 12 games, Durant's averages are 19.0 PPG (37% FG, 28% 3PT), 4.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, and five games in which he scored 20 or more points. I couldn't help but compare those stats to Adam Morrison's numbers through 12 games last season: 16.2 PPG (39% FG, 38% 3PT), 3.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, and four games in which he scored 20 or more points. Durant's team, by the way, is 2-10 and Morrison's team was 3-9. My point? There's not a very wide statistical gulf between how the two of these guys performed during their first month in the NBA, yet the perception is totally different. By this point last season, Morrison was already being viciously criticized for his misguided shooting and inadequate rebounding. Yet Durant isn't taking nearly the heat Morrison did, probably because his scoring average is closer to the all-important 20-point gold standard and, frankly, the things he does look spectacular, even when he's doing them poorly. I dunno, just feels a little double standardy to me.
Fun fact: Eddy Curry has 5 assists and 19 turnovers this season.
New Orleans Hornets: As recently as yesterday, the Hornets had the best record in the Western Conference. Yes, you read that correctly. But after a 95-88 loss to the Magic, they dropped to fifth. Actually, the Hornets probably would have won this game if not for injuries: Chris Paul, their leading scorer and assist man, didn't play due to a sprained right ankle, and Tyson Chandler, their leading rebounder, left the game early due to a hyperextended knee. So if you think about it, the Hornets probably did well to keep the game as close as it was. Then why am I criticizing them? I guess because Jannero Pargo, who filled in for Paul, led the team with 21 shot attempts. That just seems wrong to me for some reason. I mean, if you're coaching the Hornets, do you ever want Jannero Pargo taking 21 shots?
Fun fact: Tyson Chandler's middle name is "Cleotis."
New Jersey Nets: Jason Kidd wasn't happy going into this game, and you can be pretty sure he was even less happy afterward: He shot 1-9, committed 6 turnovers, and his team shot 35 percent en route to being routed by the Jazz, 102-75. The Nets are now 4-7, although, to be fair, they're playing without Vince Carter, who's "out indefinitely" with a sprained right ankle. Oh, who am I kidding? Vince Carter stopped caring about 1 second after he signed his contract extension. Actually, I doubt it even took that long. What's the smallest unit of time? An attosecond (one billionth of one billionth of a second) maybe? Or is it Planck time? Whatever, it doesn't matter. Kidd is pissed, Carter is apathetic, and the Nets' season will be ultimately meaningless.
Fun fact: Jason Kidd currently ranks 37th in field goal percentage (34.2 percent) among NBA point guards.
Labels: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Kevin Durant, luol deng, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Portland Trailblazers, Rashard Lewis, Utah Jazz
Labels: Freudian slips, Los Angeles Clippers, Phil Jackson, sex
Labels: Andrea Bargnani, Emeka Okafor, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Lebron James Larry Hughes, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Stephon Marbury, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter
Kevin Durant: Hey, have we mentioned this kid is long yet? Well, he is. Like, really long. Unfortunately, "impressive length" does not necessarily equate to "good shooting percentage." Or even "mediocre shooting percentage." Or hell, even "bad but improving shooting percentage." Durant had the worst game of his rookie season last night, scoring 10 points (4-13), grabbing a single, lonely rebound, dishing out zero assists, and committing 4 turnovers. Through eight games, he's shooting an Adam Morrison-like 38 percent from the field. That's your 2007-08 Rookie of the Year, folks! Rashard Lewis was obviously inspired by his matchup with the hotshot rookie who replaced him, scoring 22 points on 9-15 shooting -- including 4-8 from downtown -- and almost matching his season high by grabbing 6 rebounds.
Jamaal Tinsley: By the numbers, Tinsley had an above average game -- 14 points (5-12), 4 rebounds, and 8 assists. But late in the second quarter, with the game tied at 38, Tinsley jammed a stick into the hornets nest by committing a hard foul on Paul Pierce. The Truth then dropped 13 points on the Pacers in about three minutes, en route to a 31 point, 11 rebound, 6 assist performance. Needless to say, the Celtics won in another blowout, 101-86.
Doc Rivers: The Celtics average margin of victory this season is 16 points. They've only played in one game that wasn't a blowout. Yet Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen are all playing around 40 minutes a game. What?! The same thing happened in last night's blowout of the Pacers: Pierce played 41, Allen played 40, and Garnett played 39. This is not a good thing for the Celtics, and if it continues, it's going to haunt them in the playoffs. More on this to come.
The Miami Heat: Just when you think they've finally hit rock bottom, the Heat find new and inventive ways to suck. Last night, they got blown out by the Bobcats, 91-76 -- and Miami had to outscore Charlotte 29-20 in the fourth quarter just to get that close. Did these guys really win the 2006 NBA title? There were plenty of culprits: Penny Hardaway scored zero points in 19 minutes of action, Ricky Davis and Jason Williams combined to shoot 5-21, and Smush Parker was just there. Shaq, on the other hand, had one of his best games of the season: 17 points (7-14), 6 rebounds, zero assists. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Edit: How bad have things gotten for the Heat? Pat Riley not only thinks he could do better than most of his players, he's saying it out loud. To the press. "I guarantee you I should suit up," Riley said. "I'd play better than some of them right now. I guarantee it. I swear to God. With an old hip and 62 years old and I can't see, I'll play better than some of my guys tonight. Come on, they were pretty bad."
Rick Adelman: The Houston Rockets suffered a tough 105-99 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Yao Ming scored 22 points on 7-12 shooting. Mike James scored 10 points on 4-12 shooting. Yao is shooting 55 percent on the season. James is shooting 34 percent. So why in the name of Lincoln's Wart is Mike James getting as many shots as Yao Ming? Shame on you, Rick Adelman.
Tim Duncan: Earlier this week, I gave a friend what I thought was solid fantasy league advice: Do not trade Tim Duncan for Tracy McGrady. So of course McGrady immediately goes off for 41 points (16-28), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover, and 2 steals on the same night Duncan was sucking his way to 5 points (2-13), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 turnovers, and 3 blocks. Thanks for making me look like an idiot, Tim. On the bright side, the Spurs blew out the Lakers 107-92 despite Duncan's crappy night, and Kobe was held to 18 points on 9-19 shooting. I might have screwed over a friend, but the Lakers lost and looked bad doing it. So, you know, everything worked out for the best. Random Tony Parker Note: TP had a season-high 9 assists last night. He averaged 5.5 APG last season -- which was "good" for 13th in the league behind Earl Watson -- and he had only five games in which he dished out 10 or more assists. Look, maybe I'm just nitpicking here, because Tony's a two-time All-Star and last season's (gak) Finals MVP, but his mediocre playmaking skills just bug me.
Dallas / Philidelphia: It's games like this that serve as Exhibit A in the case of "The NBA season is too damn long and includes too many meaningless games."
Starbury / Isiah / Knicks: Stephon Marbury bailed on his team right before a big road game against the Suns, supposedly because Isiah Thomas was going to yank him from the starting lineup in favor of second-year gaurd Mardy Collins. Starbury blew up on the team plane and reportedly said, "Isiah has to start me. I've got so much (stuff) on Isiah and he knows it. He thinks he can (get) me. But I'll (get) him first. You have no idea what I know." Thomas of course shed absolutely no light on the subject by saying, "That is an in-house matter and we will continue to keep it in-house. Make no mistake about it - we do want him as a member of this basketball team. He is welcomed back." In the midst of all this dysfunction, the Knicks lost to the Suns 113-102 despite the fact that Steve Nash scored a season-low 5 points on 2-6 shooting. How does Isiah still have a job with the Knicks? No, seriously, how?
Detroit Pistons: Somebody forgot to show the Trailblazers that memo explaining that their season was over before it began because of the Greg Oden injury. Portland's offense took a huge, steaming dump all over Detroit's defense (if you could even call it that): The Blazers shot 55 percent as a team, thanks to scorching performances from LaMarcus Aldridge (9-16), Brandon Roy (9-16), Jarret Jack (7-10), and our boy Joel Przybilla (3-3). Look, kudos to the Blazers. They played great, and I am very excited about this team. But talented, veteran teams like the Pistons should never let an opposing team shoot 55 percent against them. That's the kind of loss of focus that got them booted out of the playoffs the last couple years.
Labels: Detroit Pistons, Isiah Thomas, Jamaal Tinsley, Kevin Durant, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Rick Adelman, Stephon Marbury, Tim Duncan, Worst of the Night
Labels: Bill Walton, celebrity endorsements, Nike, Reeboke, Shaq, shoe commercials
Labels: Blowout, Chicago Bulls, Prius, Toronto Raptors
revenge game (ri-venj' gam) noun. A game in which a particular player or team has the opportunity to seek retribution for an injustice -- whether real or imagined -- that was committed against them by another player or team.
Usage example: The Dallas Mavericks won their revenge game against the Golden State Warriors last night.
Word trivia: The NBA season lasts a long time, and most players have a hard time maintaining their competitive fire over the course of the 82-game grind. That's why revenge games are so important: They can get a player's juices flowing like nothing else. The player's sought-after revenge can be in response to any number of things. Maybe the other team won the last regular season meeting or knocked his team out of the playoffs the previous year. Maybe that team traded the player or tried to lowball him in salary negotiations, which prompted him to sign with another team. Or maybe an opposing player or coach just badmouthed him to the press. Here are some of the most commen revenge game themes:
1. The "See what you lost" game: Whenever someone leaves a team -- whether by trade or through free agency -- that player can't wait to get a shot at his former team. Putting up big numbers and/or coming away with a win serves as proof that the team was wrong, even foolish, to let him go. When the Lakers traded Shaq to the Heat, Shaq had two straight "See what you lost" seasons, the second of which culminated in a championship, and the Lakers are still trying to recover. 'Nuff said.
2. The "See what you left behind" game: Every team wants to believe they were right to trade a player or let him walk. So they want to shut that guy down and/or beat his team to prove that point. When Horace Grant left the Bulls in '94, he really wanted to stick it to his former team. Sure enough, Grant's Orlando Magic won the regular season series against the Bulls 3-1 and then defeated Chicago in the Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-2. Of course, the Bulls swept the Magic out of the playoffs the next season, then Shaq bolted for L.A., and Grant and Penny Hardaway were beset by injuries...but for that one season, Grant got a little payback.
3. The "Playoff payback" game: No team wants to be eliminated from the playoffs, so it becomes very important to come back the next season and beat the team that knocked you out as often as possible. And if by some miracle of fate you get matched up against them in the playoffs the next year, well, turning the tables on them would be Nirvana.
4. The "I hate you, you hate me, let's do this" game: Some players and/or teams just hate each other, and that hatred bubbles over whenever they meet. The Celtics and 76ers despised each other in the early to mid-80s, and that hatred led to fights between Larry Bird and Marc Iavaroni and later Bird and Dr. J. The 80s Celtics and Lakers didn't get along very well either; just ask Kurt Rambis, who got clotheslined by Kevin McHale, or Michael Cooper, who got hipchecked into the crowd by Bird, or Cedric Maxwell, who got slammed into a basket support by James Worthy, etc. Ditto with the 80s Celtics and Pistons: Bill Laimbeer clotheslined Bird to the ground, Bird threw a ball at Laimbeer's face, and Robert Parish once beat Laimbeer to the ground. Man, when you look back on the things that happened, the 80s Celtics sure look like a bunch of dicks.
Sadly, David Stern has managed to neuter most of today's players -- leading to ridiculous occurences such as players getting suspended for standing up off their bench -- so we aren't treated to wonderful canned hatred of yesteryear. But as long as we have the Ron Artests and Stephen Jacksons of the world, there's a good chance you'll get to see the random scuffle break out every now and then.
5. The "Don't tug on Superman's cape" game: Never embarrass a superstar. They don't like that. On March 20, 1993, the Washington Bullets' LaBradford Smith scored 37 points against a strangely defenseless Michael Jordan. Jordan was furious (even though the Bulls won) and vows to score 37 in the first half the next time he's matched up against Smith (which, as fate would have it, was the very next night). Jordan came close: He scored 36 in the first half -- and 47 in the game -- as the Bulls blew out the Bullets.
That's a great story, but I like this one better. It's from Jack McCallum's book Unfinished Business. Prior to a February 15, 1991 game against the Boston Celtics, the Lakers' Vlade Divac called L.A.'s previous game against Boston an "exhibition" and further suggested that the Celtics couldn't compete with the Lakers. When informed of Divac's less-than-favorable opinions, Robert Parish simply said, "Well, fuck Vlade Divac." Then, as McCallum put it, the Chief went out and did just that, scoring 21 points in the first quarter and sending Divac straight to the bench. Parish finished with 29 points (13-16), 10 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots in a 98-85 Celtics win.
6. The "You dirty rotten bastard" game: Every once in a while, a player or team screws another player or team over so badly that they can never, ever be forgiven. Like when Vince Carter was sandbagging so the Raptors would trade him, then transformed back into an All-Star literally overnight after he became a Net. The Heat/Lakers games had the "You dirty rotten bastard" vibe after we all found out that Kobe Bryant told police that Shaq paid off his mistresses. Sadly, Shaq and Kobe buried the hatchet last season and are all buddy-buddy again.
Classic revenge games: There are too many revenge games to list them individually. But here are some classic revenge matchups (otherwise known as rivalries) that have driven the NBA over the years: Celtics vs. 76ers (60s, 80s), Celtics vs. Lakers (60s, 80s), Celtics vs. Bucks (70s, 80s), Celtics vs. Pistons (80s), Lakers vs. Knicks (70s), Lakers vs. Pistons (80s), Lakers vs. Kings (00s), Bulls vs. Pistons (80s, 90s), Bulls vs. Knicks (90s), Bulls vs. Pacers (90s), Pacers vs. Knicks (90s), Knicks vs. Heat (90s), Heat vs. Lakers (00s), Suns vs. Lakers (00s).
Other revenge-oriented reading: Refer to Bill Simmons' Vengeance Scale.
Labels: revenge, Word of the Day
Labels: Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Lebron James, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, recaps, Shaq, Utah Jazz
Labels: bloopers, Michael Jordan, missed dunks
This story comes from a friend of mine who currently lives in Toronto and is a huge basketball fan. He would prefer to remain anonymous on the site, so I will refer to him as "Toronto Jones" or "TJ." Anyway, some members of the Boston Celtics were gettin' jiggy with it the night before they played the Raptors, and one particular Celtic got a little too jiggy. Here's what went down:
Last Saturday night, Toronto Jones went to Club Inside with some buddies. It's a really swank nightclub right in the middle of the main club district in Toronto. Vince Carter is still a part-owner, so a lot of professional basketball players party there when they're in town.
The Celtics were having a private party in one section, and at some point TJ's group spotted a bunch of the players leaving. They were ready to go anyway, so TJ and one of his friends went out the front door and walked around to the back entrance of the club (they were parked near there). When they got to the back door, they saw Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and several other tall black men standing there. TJ didn't recognize anyone else (no Ray Allen), so he thinks the other guys might have been bench players or just posse. KG had a hood on and was kind of trying to stay out of sight. Pierce on the other hand was dancing around all hyper and talking out loud to no one in particular.
TJ was pretty drunk (but not smashed), so when Pierce walked by he said, "Hey Paul, I predict you guys finish second or third in the East." Pierce immediately spun around and just lost it. He was cussing and yelling things like "Yo, how you gonna diss me to my face like that?" and "Who the f**k this kid anway, that's some bullshit man," and so on. TJ doesn't remember everything he said, but he was really going off.
At one point Pierce gestured to the guy next to him and said, "My man right here is gonna kick your ass." The guy just shrugged and laughed, and he gave TJ one of those "just ignore him" looks. TJ and his buddy thought the whole thing was pretty funny, but they could tell it was time to go. As they turned to walk away, Pierce ran up and did some kind of step-punch-fake thing. Most of the guys in Pierce's group started laughing at him, but KG grabbed Pierce, pulled him back, and said, "Naw, can't be doing that shit dawg" in a really calm voice. TJ and his buddy started walking to the car and Pierce was still yelling chirps at them from behind as they left.
TJ swears this is a true story, and I believe them. He said he wishes he could remember more of Pierce's quotes, but that it was "a typical flow of semi-coherent hip-hop disses." Anyway, it appears that the possibility of the Celtics not winning the East is a sensitive topic to Pierce.
Note: This isn't exactly a new thing for Pierce. Everyone knows about how he was attacked outside a Boston nightclub back in 2000. Then the team specifically asked him to tone down his partying a couple year's back. Pierce's response to the team's request was rather acerbic: "Hey, this is where I work. I'm not a drug addict. I'm not out every night until 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning. I'm in control of my life. What I give them between the lines is their concern, and I don't think they have any complaints about that. The rest is my business."
Labels: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, nightclubs, Paul Pierce, true stories