Crap on TNT

Miami Heat: How best to sum up Miami's latest loss (which dropped them 10 games below .500)? Well, for starters, Chris Quinn (??) was their leading scorer with a career-high 22 points. Shaq was limited to 26 minutes due first to foul trouble and then to plain old ineffectiveness as the Heat played better using a small lineup (i.e., without him). The newly crowned MDE (Most Decrepit Ever) finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and three turnovers. Dwyane Wade continues to prove that he isn't back to 100 percent after returning from shoulder and knee injuries. And worse, he's trying too hard to do too much, as evidenced by his season-high 8 turnovers. It's the ninth time in the 15 games he's played this season that Wade has had at least 5 turnovers. And let's not overlook Jason Williams, who contributed zero points (0-3), 1 rebound, and 2 assists in 14 Eric Snow-like minutes. Have we mentioned the Heat's embarrassing lack of depth? Daequan Cook came off the bench to play 10 mintues and all he could manage was zero points (0-1) and 2 personal fouls. Seriously, it's getting to the point where reading through a Miami Heat box score is like perusing the obituaries. Actually, I have more fun reading obituaries, but maybe that's just me. Speaking of grave, the Heat are now 2-7 at home, the second worst road record (to the Timberwolves) in the league. Have we mentioned these guys are just a couple seasons removed from an NBA championship?

Fun fact: Wade's career-high in turnovers is 12. It happened on February 1, 2007, in a 92-89 win over the Cavaliers. Of course, at least he scored 41 points (thanks in part to his 25 FTAs) and led the Heat to a victory in that game.

Dominic McGuire: As bad as the Heat were -- and they were very, very bad -- I still noticed that Washington's rookie guard notched a one trillion last night. Congratulations, Dominic! But I suppose we shouldn't expect that much from a second-round draft pick with a career-high of 2 points. And hey, he scored as many points as Jason Williams and Daequan Cook, and those guys actually got some PT.

Shaq: Okay, I can't let this go. I've brought this up several times over the last couple years, but the Big Washed Up once promised us that he would retire if he was ever "only as good as David Robinson." Well, I'd absolutely and without question take the end-of-his-career David Robinson over today's Shaq. At least The Admiral was still a sturdy rebounder and (more importantly) a defensive presence. And he could stay on the floor more than 20 minutes a game. Moreover, Robinson was able to understand that his skills were declining and accepted a lesser role for the betterment of his team. Shaq, on the other hand, thinks the Heat's problems would be solved if he was getting 20 shots a game. Yet when you watch the Heat consistently make runs with a smaller, faster, more defensively-oriented lineup, it becomes clear that's just not true. In fact, the question doesn't even seem to be whether Shaq should be getting more shots, but whether he should be starting or backing up Alonzo Mourning. The Diesel has officially entered into the "Washington Wizards Michael Jordan" phase of his career; he's no longer even close to what he once was, but he can't accept it, and yet for some strange reason nobody feels completely comfortable in writing him or his team off. Speaking of which...

Fun fact: Tomorrow is the five-year anniversary of the night Michael Jordan matched his career-low with 2 points (1-9) in Washington's 95-82 win over a terrible, Vince Carter-less Raptors team.

Tony Parker: Sprained ankle? Sprained ankle?! Yeah, I kinda don't think so.

Los Angeles Lakers: Their game log for this season will forever show a win against the world champs, which will look impressive to the untrained eye. But what I saw last night was a Lakers squad that struggled mightily at home to finish off a Spurs team that was missing its two best players (Tim Duncan and Tony Parker) and suffering through an off night for its third best player: Manu Ginobili shot 5-17, including 1-7 from three-point range, and committed a season-high 7 turnovers. Of course, that was in part because the officials let the Lakers grab his arms and push him around. But whatever. The fact is, LA almost let Bruce Bowen's offense -- yes, his offense -- beat them. Suffice to say, I'm not impressed. I predict a classic revenge game for the Warriors when the Lakers travel to Golden State tonight.

Andrew Bynum: Bynum earned himself double technicals and an ejection for popping Fabricio Oberto in the face with an elbow. And it didn't happen in the heat of action; it happened during a dead ball situation while Oberto was making his way downcourt. What made the situation even more pathetic was how Bynum raised his hands after the fact to make it look like he didn't actually intend to hit Oberto, then actually complained about getting teched up (which earned him a second technical). And of course Kobe had to stick his nose into it, running downcourt to argue with the the ref. And of course Phil Jackson, ever the smug one, commented to the sideline reporter between the third and fourth quarters that the officials had evened things out between the two teams (since Duncan and Parker were out) by kicking Bynum out of the game. See, these are perfect examples of why it's so easy to hate the Lakers.

Matt Bonner: He followed up a 25-point, 17-rebound game with zero points (0-2) and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes against the Lakers. I guess he's back to being a poor man's Brian Scalabrine.

Ruban Patterson: The man once known as "The Kobe Stopper" (by himself at least) was waived yesterday. By the Clippers (8-13). Patterson, who was coming off a "career year" (14.7 PPG and 5.4 RPG), was the Clippers' big free agent acquisition last summer, and the Clips were freaking excited about it. Vice President of Basketball Operations Elgin Balyor said: "We are thrilled to add Ruben to our team. Ruben plays hard every single night. He is an aggressive defensive player and has a real enthusiasm for the game. He gives 100 percent every game." The gushing continued when head coach Mike Dunleavy said: "I am really excited by our signing of Ruben Patterson. He is a great competitor. I have always admired the intensity he brings from game to game. His versatility will help improve our team." Apparently, all of that changed in the brief span of 21 games. So...what? Patterson wasn't giving 100 percent every game? He doesn't play aggressive defense anymore? He's no longer intense and enthusiastic? How about this: He was statistically unproductive in the 16 minutes per night that Dunleavy felt safe giving him. The fact is, Patterson is the prototypical Intangible Man. If the Clippers had a healthy Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston, a quality role player like Patterson would be a perfect fit. But right now the Clippers are searching for answers...and a guy who can contribute in the kind of ways you can actually see on a stat sheet.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Lakers were miserable last night, agreed. But there were lots of reasons that this was an atypical night: they'd played one game since last Friday (Warriors last Sunday) and lost the momentum of their last few games which were great.

Further, the Spurs without their superstars lulled the Lakers, themselves, and everyone watching, with an even more boring game plan than usual. Their best lineup was when they put out Horry, Finley, Bowen and Barry together! Could that have been the most unathletic/oldest lineup ever in NBA history? They should trade for Shaq and fill it out.

The game started basketbawful, but in a way turned oddly fascinating, I must say.

The Warriors are a scary team, but Kobe and Phil PWN them, and as a Laker fan I'm not worried tonight (beat Golden State 9x in a row).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
likkyboomboomdown -- Actually, I'd argue that lineup would be best filled out with one Antoine Walker, but only because Gary Payton retired before the season started. Then again, maybe we should just give them Eric Snow?

Also, this isn't your first comment, so I'm assuming you read this site. And if that's the case, don't you know about the dreaded stat curse? The whole "nine games in a row" thing is not going to help the Lakers; it's going to work against them. That and the fact that the Warriors were pissed about that last loss in LA (and, probably, the Lakers' 38-22 freethrow advantage). I expect the Warriors to come out headhunting tonight. And the Lakers toughness, as a team, is much reduced on the road, where the officials don't let them play quite as physical.

One last note: I will say that watching the old guys dissect the Lakers defense with hard cuts and ball movement was indeed oddly fascinating. It just goes to show that good basketball is always effective.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Nothing about the Heat waiving their big veteran post-season signing "Penny" Hardaway? He went from starter to "get the fuck out" in just a couple months.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
When, then, does the stat curse take affect? Is 9 wins the threshold? It didn't affect the Lakers last weekend with 8 wins in a row!

The Lakers are coming off a flat game after a long break; I trust they'll snap back with energy tonight. Also, they're the deepest team in the league, so they can withstand a high energy Warriors attack, unlike say the Heat a few weeks ago who collapsed badly in the 4th quarter.

I'm not worried. Phil can out-voodoo Don Nelson any day, you'll see.

I love how Phil dropped in the press after Sunday how he always beats the Warriors. Then McMillan in Portland said he used a similar plan in beating them a few days later. Ingenious move on Phil's part to tell the rest of the league how to beat the team he's in direct competition with in the standings. :)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
al -- Yeah, I considered it. But the thing is, Penny was pretty much expected to fail from the get go. In fact, most people figured he'd be cut during the preseason. The fact that he even played 15 games or whatever was kind of a victory for him. And his execution from the roster is the least of the Heat's problems. The funny thing is, it's not like he was playing any worse than five or six of their other players...

likky -- The stat curse is activated when the media and/or fans start talking about it, and it gains power the more it's discussed. At this point, I'd bet the Lakers are going to lose by double-digits, easy.

Wait...the Lakers are the deepest team in the league? Seriously? What about the Spurs? They almost beat the Lakers with their scrubs. I mean, take Kobe and Odom off that team, and how do you think they do against the Spurs at full strength in San Antonio? Or, you know, anybody?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Lakers w/o Kobe & Odom would probably look eerily like the Knicks, except with more of a Zen approach to harrassment.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Speaking of terrible things, I checked out's All Star game first return poll and Erick Dampier (4.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 17.9 mpg) is !2ND! in Western Centers with the most votes (behind Yao Ming, but in front of Marcus Camby, Pau Gasol, Tyson Chandler, and Mehmet Okur). Ahem, WTF?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Deep" doesn't mean "full of starters." It means that their bench is better than other teams benches.

Granted, things have changed a little since Bynum moved up to start. But before that, Bynum, Farmar, Vlad, Walton, Sasha--that group is going to beat your team's backups with a good regularity. Maybe not every night, but often enough. That's my point. You can laugh it off if you want, but it's true. Some of the bench are one-dimensional (like all of the Spurs subs are), and will never start a game ever. But they work as a 2nd unit, and a really good one.

Would you like stats? Last night, TNT said the Lakers have the 2nd highest scoring bench behind the Spurs, whose numbers are jacked up by Ginobili being a sub.

I don't know exactly what happened with last night's game, why they were so out of it, but I know it was the first in a bit that the Lakers played miserably. This season's been going pretty strongly for them, and the bench is definitely a solid reason why. It's certainly not because of Odom.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
al -- Wait, what, oh my god, are you kidding me?? Okay, I...have to check that out. And if it's true, I might actually have to make my first ever weekend post...

likky -- Maybe. I dunno, nobody on the Lakers bench really scares me. And most of them can be shut down by a focused team putting forth steady effort...assuming they don't derail themselves (guys like Sasha and Vlad are notorious self-destructers).

I kind of feel, too, like the Lakers have gotten some breaks this season, key injuries to opposing players (like when Paul and Chandler were out for the Hornets game, Duncan and Parker last night, Boozer and Okur didn't play for the Jazz even though the Lakers lost that game, etc.) and they've caught some teams on the second night of back-to-back games, so forth. I'm just saying, I'm not thoroughly impressed by this team, even though they've performed better than expected. The bench is contributing points, but that's always been a staple of the Triangle Offense (or, as Jordan put it, "the Equal Opportunity offense"). But hey, it's a long season. Many things can be proven, disproved, proven again, and so forth.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Basketbawful, you have several times mentioned that the Heat are a few years removed from a championship and evrey time I read it, I want to hit my head with a hammer. What the Heat should do is take a page out of the Spurs book and sit Shaq and Wade for the rest of the year. Have the team tank the season so they can get the #1 pick next year. Hey, it worked before. I wouldnt be surprised if SterNBA wouldnt pull some strings for his beloved Heat team and do this for them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Lakers have the deepest bench? Lol. The Laker's bench is probably the most craptastic group of "talent" in the league. If you get a buch of shooters off the bench like Vlad and Sasha they'll get hot if you slack off them like any team would. And with Phil Jackson coaching them, you know they'll get plenty of open looks, and he'll create an illusion of them actually being good. Never ever is enough credit given to coaches these days. The Lakers are nothing but Phil, Kobe, and a bunch of scrubs who can't even play defense.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Basketbawful - I retract my statement from a couple posts back, you've been 100% correct about the Mavs so far. I'm not sure what to do with them. We need a reverse stat curse.

True story from yesterday, I was driving home at rush hour in the rain, and the traffic report comes on the radio with a guy in a giddy voice saying how there's no accidents at all reported(Austin). I immediately thought "Holy shit! He just stat cursed the entire town!" Sure enough, 10 minutes later there were 6 wrecks reported, including a fender bender a few cars up from me not long after.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
manic -- The only problem with that theory is that Shaq is aging at something like six or seven times the rate of a normal person. If they wait until next year to make their move, all that's going to be left of him is two size 21 shoes filled with dust.

anonymous -- People forget that guys like Jason Caffey and Jud Buechler looked like strong bench players within the Triangle. The only problem is, the Lakers aren't the 90s Bulls.

chris -- I want to point out that being right gives me no joy (okay, it gives me a little joy). I mean, I like the Mavs. I like Dirk. Hell, I'd even like to see Eddie Jones get a little glory. I could probably do without seeing Dampier get his, but still. Anyway, I just get upset because the team is so good but (much like the Suns, and the 90s Jazz teams) has certain fundamental flaws that might keep them from ever winning it all. It just irks me, because the teams I like never win. I'm a living, breathing stat curse. At any've learned the fearsome truth. The stat curse goes beyond basketball, or even sports. The stat curse can cause car accidents and even kill grandparents. Never, ever invoke stat curses lightly. Doing so is like meddling in forces you can't possibly hope to understand.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
When is tnt going to give up on teams like the lakers and the heat for major national broadcasts and start showing some teams that are actually fun to watch

Blogger eljpeman said...
Hey, this is the worst turnover I've seen so far this season. Watch Eddie Jones make a boo boo!