Ray Allen: Yahoo Sports lists Allen as Boston's top performer in the Celtics' 109-104 overtime loss to the Cavaliers. Sure, Allen scored 29 points, but he shot 10-25 from the field to get there. He also let Sasha Pavlovic hit a three-pointer over him to tie the game at 92-92 (and ultimately force overtime). Then he drew a foul but missed both freethrows, either one of which would have won the game. This is where I point out that Allen is a career 89 percent foul shooter who was hitting 92 percent of his freethrows going into the game. Actually, if you check out his game log, you'll notice that Allen's field goal shooting has been getting progressivly worse over the last couple weeks, with several games in the 20s and 30s. Are you listening, Doc Rivers? You're playing Ray Allen too many minutes! You're killing his legs. Please stop.

Special mention: Rajon Rondo, who is sometimes singled out as the Celtics' weak link, tried to play down to that title last night by scoring 3 points on 1-9 shooting, including a terrible 18-foot clunker and a missed layup in overtime. However, he did lead the team in assists (6) and, surprisingly enough, rebounds (7).

Fun fact: Rondo is shooting 43.5 percent from the freethrow line this season. Among guards, only Von Wafer (33.3 percent) and Sergio Rodriguez (20.0 percent) are shooting worse than Rondo. Even Shaq (52.1 percent) is shooting better.

New Jersey Nets: Vince Carter scored 32 points, Richard Jefferson added 27, and Jason Kidd had his 91st career triple double (12/15/12) and the Nets still lost at home to the Grizzlies (5-9). But I guess that's what happens when you let your opponent score 110 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field (38-76) and three-point range (11-22). Jefferson could have tied the score late in the game, but he missed a relatively open three-pointer. Badly. Said Jefferson: "That hurt. That hurt. That hurt bad. All my shots were short. Anytime I made one I was surprised they went in." That's some confidence, folks.

Fun fact: Jason Collins is the Eric Snow of NBA starting centers. He's averaging 0.9 PPG and 2.3 RPG. He has more total fouls (45) than rebounds (35). He has more turnovers (15) than field goals (6). Last night, he had a season-high six points after going scoreless in 11 of the last 14 games. He's had two zero-rebound games and three 1-rebound games. He only has one blocked shot on the season. And despite that, he's making $6,100,000 this season, and he'll earn $6,200,000 next season.

The Miami Heat's offseason: During last night's obliteration of the Hornets, Anfernee Hardaway and Smush Parker -- Pat Riley's only two significant offseason acquisitions -- combined for 2 points (1-3), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 DNP-CD. That's $3,419,590 well spent!

Fun fact: When he was in high school, Parker modeled for Nautica apparel. He also owns a Cadillac Escalade that he calls the "Smushcalade." Seriously.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks were the feel good team of the week, thanks to a five-game winning streak that included a road win against the Cavaliers and back-to-back home wins against the Lakers and Mavericks. So of course they went and killed the buzz by letting the lowly 76ers (4-9) blow them out 114-99 for their first home loss of the season. On the bright side, the Bucks' next two games are against the Hawks and Knicks, so expect the good times to resume for at least two games.

Fun fact: Remember last week when I mentioned what a huge disappointment Bobby Simmons has been for the Bucks? Well, he missed last night's game for "personal reasons" (the team chose not to elaborate). I suspect "personal reasons" is the new euphemism for "sucks."

Chicago Bulls: You might be wondering why I'm including the Bulls, since they finally broke their losing streak with a 90-78 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Well excuse me for not jumping for joy when a team that many people expected to reach the NBA Finals this season slogs their way to an ugly home win over a 5-8 team. The Bulls won, thanks primarily to a big game from Luol Deng (22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists) and a 36-point third quarter, but there were still plenty red flags throughout the game. They shot 39 percent as a team. They scored only 13 points in the first quarter. Kirk Hinrich not only played miserably -- 4 points (2-7), zero rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers -- he got benched in the second quarter for throwing the ball away on a simple fast break play. Said coach Scott Skiles: "I don't know if I've ever seen that kind of play since I've been 5 years old. I don't know what to say about it." You know, Scott once played for an 18-win team. I'm guessing he's seen a play or two that was at least that bad.

Fun fact: Remember when the Hawks started out 2-2, with big wins over Dallas and Phoenix and a near miss against Detroit? And everybody thought that maybe, just maybe, the Hawks were going to be better than anybody expected? Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?

Benny Adams, Jack Nies, Matt Boland: The Pacers got a huge road victory last night, winning 112-110 in Denver. But the officials almost stole the game from them by awarding J.R. Smith three freethrows for swinging out his leg and kicking Mike Dunleavy Jr. on a last-second, desperation shot. Seriously, go watch it. That awful call gave Smith a chance to tie the game, but the Nuggets were doomed by a little thing we like to call cheater's proof: Smith hit the first two freethrows, then missed the last one. Said Dunleavy: "What was going through my mind was, 'I'm a Christian, I go to church and God may not be a Pacer fan, but he gives us fairness and he was going to come through. The basketball never lies. I knew he was going to miss one of those, but it should have never got to that point." God could not be reached for comment.

Fun fact: In their last four games, the Pacers have beaten the Hornets (10-6), Mavericks (9-5), and Nuggets (9-6), all without Jermaine O'Neal. The Pacers' record without their "best player" this season is 5-1. I'm telling you, this team is better without O'Neal. Memo to Larry Bird: Trade him. Give him away. Let Danny Granger, Jamaal Tinsley, and Mike Dunleavy Jr. lead you to the Promised Land. The sad thing is, I'm being completely serious.

Kevin Durant: He had his second consecutive strong game, scoring 25 points on 10-19 shooting. But he had only two rebounds. Two. This kid's 6'9", athletic, and has the arms of someone twice his height. So why was he outrebounded by the 6'1" Earl Watson (6 rebounds) and the 6'1" Derek Fisher (4 rebounds)?!

Fun fact: Durant is averaging 4.2 RPG. Even though he's has the height of a forward, he plays guard. Well, he ranks 38th among guards in rebounding, right behind Keith Bogans. There are five point guards who average more rebounds per game: Jason Kidd (8.9), Baron Davis (5.5), Jameer Nelson (4.6), Andre Miller (4.6), and Jamaal Tinsley (4.5). And Chris Paul (4.1) is right there.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sorry bro, I'm going to disagree with you on the Dunleavy call. I thought Dunleavy got into the space under the shooter, which is a definite no-no.

Call it on a desperation shot at the end of the game? Mmm, maybe, maybe not. but I do think it was a foul.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
As a Pacers fan from way back, I could recognize the Reggie Miller Maneuver in my sleep: Smith kicked his leg out sideways toward Dunleavy in order to draw the foul. It had nothing to do with the shooting motion. And even though Miller is a God unto men and scored 30 to 40 perecent of his points using that move, I'm strictly against it unless it benefits my favorite teams and/or players.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Jermaine O'Neal is indeed mega-over-rated. Dude never passes, and is not a fluid part of an offense, despite the numbers.

I think teams see that, though, which explains why he's still a Pacer.

well good thing smith didn't do that against the Mavs otherwise we'd have to hear about a protest from Cuban on that call.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I agree with you about Ray Allen playing too many minutes and such, but out of his 25 shot attempts, 12 of them were 3 attempts, of which he made 5. Factor in the 5 extra points from the 3s and his effective field goal percentage for the night was 50%.

Field goal percentage should have been looked at totally different when the 3 line came into the NBA. It's been years and few in the major media seem to realize this outside of John Hollinger and a few other geeks.

About Durant's rebounding - you would think he could get more with those long arms, but you have to remember he finished 78th out of the 80 guys tested at the athletic combines for the draft. It wasn't just because of the bench press, he was also below average in agility, sprinting and vertical leap.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
If I'm not mistaken, Eric Snow and Damon Jones notched a trillion a piece in that game against the Celtics.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
spike -- Well, that and Larry Bird was demanding way too much for him over the summer. The Lakers would have given the Pacers Lamar Odom and maybe Vlad the Impaler, but Bird was demanding Odom and Bynum. Mistake. The team would probably be better if Bird had made that deal.

hoopstar -- Seriously. And Sports Center would have shown Cuban bounding out of his seat and freaking out over the call...

bubba -- Yeah, I get that, but doesn't that mean that Ray hit only five of 13 twos? That's kind of sad for such a sweet shooter. Anyway, like I said, check out his game log. His 10-25 was an improvement over some of his recent shooting percentages, which have been in the 30s and 20s. I think the minutes are sapping the strength in his legs late in games. Those two freethrows he missed were flat.

And yes, Durant may not be the strongest of men in the NBA, but you know...take a look at Larry Bird's last season. Not only was the guy naturally slower than most NBAers, and he couldn't jump over a nickle, but his body was falling apart. He couldn't lift his toes or even feel his legs many nights. Sometimes he had to go into traction between games. Yet he averaged 9.6 RPG. So how'd he do it? Because he boxed out, because he watched the ball, because he was determined to get to the boards.

I just don't think Durant is committed to crashing the boards.

anonymous -- You're right! Although it was Dwayne Jones, not Damon Jones. The Yahoo box score had them listed with zero minutes, but I checked the ESPN box scores and, yep, they both had trillions.