WotN - yeargh

Miami Heat: I suppose it would be fair to give the Heat a mulligan on this one. After all, they were without Shaq (old), Dwyane Wade (flu-like symptoms), and Udonis Haslem (sprained left ankle), and they were playing the second game of back-to-backs on the road against the third-best team in the East. So, you know, this game probably had "L" stamped on it from the onset. That said, their latest blowout loss combined with a Minnesota win (more on that in a minute) dropped the Heat into a virtual tie with the Timberwolves for the worst record in the league -- the Floridians are 9-35, while the T-Wolves are 9-36. Through hard work and what I can only assume was a blood pact with some dark power, Miami actually kept the game close most of the way -- the score was 83-80 with 11 minutes to go in the fourth -- but the Magic turned the dial up to 11 and, thanks to an 18-1 run, won going away 107-91.

When asked about the "tougher than anyone expected" play of the Heat, Hedo Turkoglu said, "We all knew that it was going to be tough because those guys...they've got nothing to lose." And other than the 38 games left on their schedule -- most of which I'm sure they will lose -- he's right. This team has fallen about as far as possible considering they won the 2006 title. It's not even February and people are suggesting that the Heat should just shut it down for the year. That's about as hopeless as it gets.

Washington Wizards: The Wiz were pretty stoked after Tuesday night's win over the Raptors, particularly since the two teams are fighting for the fifth playoff spot in the East. Unfortunately for them, cruel reality punched them square in the nuts on Wednesday night, since they had to fly into the frozen North and face an angry Raptors team on the road. As you can probably guess, it didn't end well. Washington shot 36 percent, missed seven freethrows, and had more turnovers (16) than assists (13). Meanwhile, Toronto shot 56 percent, had 30 assists (to 7 turnovers) and went on a 122 to 83 run to win 122-83.

Milwaukee Bucks: When a team is 18-28, they don't have any misconceptions about their place in the NBA pecking order. They're bad, they know they're bad, and they probably expect to lose when they go up against better teams. But when they get a crack at another 18-win team, they're probably thinking, "You know, maybe...." Maybe nothing. The Bucks lost, and they lost bad. It was absurd. The 76ers shouldn't beat anybody by 43 points, not even the Timberwolves. But it happened. Dear lord, it happened. The Bucks shot 38 percent, committed 19 turnovers, and set the sport back 10,000 years when "basketball" was just two cavemen beating each other over the head with rocks.

Royal Ivey: Yahoo has Ivey listed as the Bucks "Top Performer" because he led the team with 17 points and 6 rebounds, both of which were team highs. But upon closer scrutiny, you'll notice that his +/- score was -39. For those of you who don't understand that stat -- and honestly, I'm probably one of you -- that's supposed to mean his team got outscored by 39 points while he was on the floor. You'll have to contact John Hollinger to get a needlessly complex and impossible to understand explanation on whether that actually means anything significant, but it sure looks bad.

Bulls versus Timberwolves: I know that I'm guilty of hyperbole pretty much any time I say anything. But I am being 100 percent honest when I say this game was the worst thing I've ever seen, and that includes the time I walked in on my step-dad asleep on the couch with his dork in one hand and a wad of Kleenex in the other. (Seriously, who falls asleep while masturbating in the living room? Honestly?) But enough of my painful past; let's focus on the horror of the present. These teams started the game by combining to miss their first 18 shots, which included Al Jefferson missing a wide open dunk. With 5:25 left in the first quarter, the score was 3-2. THREE TO TWO!! During this stretch, some heckler supposedly said "First team to 21 wins." Bravo to you, oh mysterious stranger from afar. Anyway, as crazy as this sounds, the Timberwolves only scored 8 points (3-for-21) in the first 12 minutes of this horror show on their way to 83 points on 36 percent shooting...and they won by 16 points! That's how truly horrific the Bulls were. But according to interim head coach Jim Boylan, it wasn't just the 33 percent shooting and the 22 turnovers, it was the fact that his team was acting like a bunch of two-year-olds: "They went into their own little worlds and were acting kind of childish at times instead of doing what we know we need to do against a team like this." Uh, Jim, maybe you've already taken Motivational Speaking 101, but if you're trying to reach your team, that's not the way to do it. Anyway, this game was the basketball equivalent of a piano falling 10 stories onto a crate full of live babies. After watching this dreck, I can honestly say I will never smile again.

Jannero Pargo: He scored 11 points on 15 shots. And that's proof positive why you should never let Jannero Pargo shoot the ball 15 times.

Kenyon Martin: He was 3-for-11 last night, and his performance was a subtle reminder that K-Mart should not be taking any shots that are not named "the dunk."

Juan Carlos Navarro: The man whose name sounds like he should be out somewhere picking full-flavored coffee beans shot 2-for-12 against Denver's fierce defense. Oh, and he missed all eight of this three-point attempts. Which begs the question: How many consecutive three-pointers do you have to miss before the coach tells you to stop taking them? My guess is eight.

Eddy Curry and Quentin Richardson: They both left the game early due to the ever-popular flu-like symptoms excuse. Personally, I think they just wanted to get a jump start on the Salt Lake City night life.

Larry Hughes: Now that's the Larry Hughes I know and love (to make fun of). After a couple of decent games, "Larry Lethargic" returned to shoot 2-for-11 and earn the worst +/- score on the team (-18). For those of you keeping track of this crap, he's now shooting 34 percent on the season.

Joel Przybilla: The Vanilla Gorilla actually had a pretty good game against the Cavs: 9 points (3-for-3), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 blocked shots. Here's where the "but" comes in. Two of those blocks came against Lebron James in the fourth quarter. They made Lebron angry. And the Blazers did not like him when he was angry. King James erupted for 17 points in the fourth and hit a reverse layup with less than a second on the clock to beat the Blazers 84-83. It's really hard to fault Przybilla for doing exactly what he's expected to do, namely clog the lane and play defense. But really, you should never tug on Superman's cape. It does not lead to good things.

Jarrett Jack and Sergio Rodriguez: These guys came off the bench with the impact of a fist full of rolled-up quarters upside the Blazers' collective head. Unfortunatley, it so happens they play for the Blazers, not against them. The line: 3 points on 0-for-12 shooting between the two of them. (And if you toss Channing Frye and James Jones in there, that's 3-for-25 shooting off the Portland bench.)

Update -- Magic Johnson: The man who gave us harmonism and fundamativity has now offered up the following insane bold prediction: The New York Knicks (14-31) are going to make the playoffs. In fact, Johnson said, "I think that they’re going to be a tough eight or seven seed, too." Why would Magic think something so, you know, stupid? "Because you can see that they’ve turned the corner. Now everybody knows their roles, their minutes. I watch every game." Well, there you have it. Magic watches every Knicks game. No wonder he's lost his damn mind.

More Magic madness: "Crawford has been one of my favorite players." Wait. He is talking about Jamal Crawford, right? So Magic Johnson...one of the greatest passers of all time...his favorite player is a dude who chucks the ball without conscience or care (41 percent shooting) and wouldn't pass his baby out of a burning building unless you crowbarred that baby out of his hands? I'm speechless. [Hat tip: TrueHoop]

Important: Hey, you've been goofing off this long. Now go on over to Deadspin and hail to the King.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
This has nothing to do with anything, but I just read blogmaverick and thought you'd find it interesting that, by association, Mark Cuban doesn't like you.


Blogger Basketbawful said...
chris: Yeah, I saw that. Actually, when I accepted the Deadspin gig I told Will that I was very excited to be working for the Inside Edition of sports. Will's response was something like, "Ha ha, yeah right." It's hard to read tone through an email, but I got the feeling he took some umbrage with Cuban's opinion of his site.

But what could he, or anyone else, expect? Cuban does a great job of trying to come off as logical and reasonable. But in the end, he will always, absolutely blast anybody who doesn't paint him (or his team, or his business ventures, or his hairstyle and clothing choices, etc.) in a positive light 100 percent of the time.

I've always liked Mark, even his crazy antics during Mavs games (although the purist in me says he goes too far). I think he's been good for the sport of basketball, and I would be freaking thrilled if he bought my hometown Cubbies. But he seriously needs to drop the martyr complex. The dude's 50 and rich beyond any human's wildest dreams, yet he acts like an angry, spoiled child any time something doesn't go his way. I dunno. Maybe I'd act the same way if I was a billionaire.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
For the +/- thing, it's actually not that complex. Royal Ivey played over 43 minutes. Which is almost like a whole game minus about 5 minutes or so. So given that the 76ers weren't showing the Bucks any mercy (35 points in the 4th quarter), his -39 is not surprisingly close to the team's +/- of -43.

And the reason why nobody else on the Bucks cracked -30? Nobody else played for more than 30 minutes.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
anonymous: Well, yeah, I mean...I've read all about +/-, so I know how it works. What I don't get, or maybe what I don't agree with, is what it's supposed to tell us about a player. Since Ivey had a -39, then he must be the worst player on the floor, right? However, as you rightly point out, he just happened to get the most PT on a team that lost by 40-some points. It was a total team loss, but that score is kind of incriminating. Needlessly so, in my opinion. I don't think the +/- score tells us anything meaningful about Ivey in this case. There are too many other factors that went into that drubbing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
it tells you nothing they trying to copy hockey
it's a better indicator in hockey imo because it doesn't vary so much from game to game
and there's really no garbage time in hockey so it's not skewed there

it's a good stat if you compare to your own team for the whole year
but you'd have to not include garbage time....too many variables in the NBA

Blogger hellsfrozenover said...
Glad to see you on Deadspin! Basketbawful is a daily read for me ever since I stumbled upon it. When my Blazers lose, I am unhappy. But even as I stick pins into my new Lebron James voodoo doll (wish I'd had it last nite), I can still come here and get a laugh.

BTW, Magic and Isaiah have been sharin' the man-love since the 80's. Love is blind.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I used to like Mark Cuban as an owner.. he was genuninely passionate about the team and was easily one of the more involved owners in the league. He has alot of faults though, loyalty issues (good and bad), an overwhelming ego, etc. The final straw was hiring that clippers fan to root at mavericks games. Why in the hell do I want to go to the AA (American Airlines) center to watch a very likely annoying "yell leader" who is paid by the team, and that everyone knows is really someone else's fan? He's not always the brightest, but I suppose he does better than Kevin McHale.

And yeah, +/- is ridiculous. It really doesn't tell you anything about anyone. Kevin Garnett as a timberwolf probably had a pretty significant negitive +/- score; point in case.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
shrugz: But that begs the point...why copy hockey? Like, 12 people follow that sport. Copy football, shorten the season to twelve games and let the players hit each other. With baseball bats. Hey, it's a three-sport amalgam!

chris: I agree with you on Cuban. I think he did bring a lot of innovations to ownership, and that's affected the game in a mostly positive way. But yeah, trying to hire another team's "mega fan"? What's next? Outsourcing other team's mascots?