WotN - Dmarsh
Admit it. This gave you a little wood, didn't it?

Kobe Bryant: SeƱor Black Mamba scored 39 points (a team high) and grabbed 10 boards (another team high). Brilliant game, right? Sure, if you overlook his severe case of fumbleitis. For much of the game, Kobe handled the rock like somebody had replaced his hands with two honeybaked hams. He coughed up the ball a career-high 11 times -- 7 of which came in the first half -- on his way to his first career triple bumble. He also unleashed some of his trademark "subtle" criticism of his teammates: ""What are you going to do when guys are open? If I catch the ball, what am I going to do, go one on three? We made the right play, we just didn't complete it." I ran this one through the Kobe-to-English translator in my Batcomputer, and apparently that comment means, "Hey, not my fault. Go talk to Lamar. He airballed the final shot." But this also begs the question: When has Kobe ever shied away from going one-on-three?

The Kobe-aires: Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom, and Sasha Vujacic all shot 1-for-5. Vlad the Rad hit 2-for-6, and Jordan Farmar was 2-for-5. Don't bother pulling out your calculator, I'll just go ahead and tell you that adds up to 7-for-26 shooting (26 percent) from the Lakers not-so-supportive cast.

Rasheed Wallace's shooting eye: He shot 3-for-13 even though the Lakers don't really have anybody who can guard him. Yo, 'Sheed, you need to stop practicing those trick shots and focus on the fundamentals: Position your feet side-by-side about shoulder width apart, focus on the rim, keep your knees bent and your elbows in, and always follow through. Now go out there and practice, big guy!

Eddie Jones: He is old, and he is lame. Last night's line: 2 points (1-for-5), 2 rebounds, and 2 fouls in 23 minutes. Seriously, shouldn't he be playing for the Spurs?

DeSegana Diop: He played 1 minute and 55 seconds, contributing naught but a single turnover. To put this into perspective, Juwan Howard got almost twice as much PT, and I bet you didn't even know he was still in the league! (Also, at least Howard grabbed a rebound.)

Dirk Nowitzki: He was the star for Dallas last night, going for 31, 11, and 6. But Rajon Rondo -- who's approximately 50 percent Dirk's size -- tore a rebound out of Nowitzki's hands and then went under him for a reverse layup with 42 seconds that put the Celtics ahead for good. Said Rondo: "He didn't block me out, so I went up under and got the ball." When you're seven feet of gangly manbeef, how do you not block out a pint-sized point guard like Rondo? It's also worth noting that the last two Maverick possessions were "Jason Terry missed jump shot" and "Jason Terry turnover." Der Herr may be the league's reigning MVP, but the ball never seems to be in his hands at the end of close games.

Brian Scalabrine: He went scoreless in 16 minutes of graceless action. In the absence of Kevin Garnett, Secaucus Red has started three games and has three total points. Hey, one point per start! That's...not...that bad...right?

Cleveland Cavaliers minus Lebron James: Damn, those guys are helpless without Lebron. I'm sure everybody figured Cleveland could still beat a miserable, 10-win team without their leader, who was nursing a sprained ankle. Well, "everybody" needs to take a second look at the Cavs' roster. First off, Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao are out. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who supposedly got snubbed off the All-Star team, shot 3-for-13. (Although the rest of Z's game was in order: 11-for-11 from the line, 9 boards, 5 assists, 3 blocks.) Drew Gooden continued to suck, shooting 3-for-8 and grabbing only 3 rebounds (4 fewer than Dwayne Jones). I could go on, but hey, just trust me on this: Cleveland sans Lebron is a very bad team.

Donyell Marshall: Marshall amused his teammates and horrified fans in attendance late in the first quarter when he took off both his warm-up shirt and jersey while subbing into the game. Good times. Now watch Lebron go absolutely bonkers over it. I mean, sweet breakdancing Jesus, he was laughing so hard you'd think that Marshall had just gotten a pie in the face and then slipped comically on a banana peel.

Seattle Supersonics: Sure, they beat the "Cavaliers," but without Lebron (and the other missing starters), they might as well have been playing the Bakersfield Jam. The Sonics wasted 56 percent shooting and a 20-point halftime bulge and barely held on to win this ugly dogfight. Said Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo: "The next time we have a 20-point lead, we'll close out better." That's a safe enough promise, since I don't see this team building that kind of lead again any time soon. And by "soon" I mean "this season."

San Antonio versus Phoenix: Okay, David Stern needs to pass some kind of legislation prohibiting these teams from playing each other ever again. The Spurs always manage to drag the Suns down to their level, transforming what should be a titanic clash of two great teams into something so ugly, so foul, that I honest-to-god almost chose to watch The Santa Claus 3 on cable instead. Both teams shot 38 percent and combined to commit 32 turnovers. The final score -- 84-81 -- might remind you of the old Knicks/Heat games from the late 90s, and the game would have too, assuming you had a strong enough stomach to sit through that crapfest. The most entertaining part of this game was when Craig Sager interviewed Gregg Popovich, and Pop stole Sagar's hanky and wiped his oily nose on it. And, even though it cracked my shit up, a Gregg Popovich interview should never be the highlight of a game between these two teams.

Francisco Elson: This guy has all but disappeared from Gregg Popovich's rotation, and last night's three trillion sort of explains why.

Matt Bonner: The line: 2 minutes, 3 fouls, zero everything else.

Manu Ginobili: There are certain rules of life that men are expected to uphold. One of those is that, unless you are being threatened with imminent and inescapable bodily harm, you do not hit, nudge, poke, slap, or otherwise abuse another man's nuts. You. Just. Don't. Do. It. Unless you're Manu Ginobili. (Thanks to Basketbawful reader sonofjorel for the link to the video, and props to Reggie Miller for coining the term "Man Region," a future Word of the Day.)

Leandro Barbosa: This dude should have been the X-Factor against the Spurs, because, without Tony Parker, nobody on San Antonio's roster has a prayer of staying with him. Yet he scored only 5 points on 2-for-10 shooting. And let me break this down for you: He was 0-for-5 on jumpers, and only 2-for-5 on layups. That's right. Three missed layups.

Amare Stoudemire: He couldn't keep Tim Duncan off the glass (TD had 17 rebounds). But even worse, he missed four freethrows in the fourth quarter, the last of which would have tied the game with 15.6 seconds left. Instead, the Suns were forced to foul and that was pretty much Game Over. Look, Amare, everybody knows you want to be The Man in Phoenix. Well, part of that is hitting your foul shots. I mean, vicious dunks are nice, high-percentage shots, and they'll get you on SportsCenter, but blocking out and hitting clutch freethrows wins games.

If you love giant robots...go check out my NBA Closer column at Deadspin. Actually, check it out even if you don't like giant robots.

WotN - LT
Hey, nice sweater, LT. For me to poop on!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Man I know you hate Kobe, but atleast put Odom up there first. That guy played 39 minutes and went 1-5! He handled the boards decently but that last play was ridiculous. He had a decent lane to drive in. I know he doesnt like to go right, but seriously, your in the nba right?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Did anyone catch the vicious Manu Ginobli dickpunch in the third quarter of that suns/spurs game? WTF was that? He just reaches out and punches Raja Bell in the balls. Manu "Dickpuncher" Ginobli, what a guy.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
reuben: Check out the "Kobe-aires" part. I lumped Odom in with the rest of the Lakers roleplayers, almost all of which sucked. A few notes on Lamar. He needs touches to be effective. This has always been the case. He is never, ever going to do anything taking five shots a game.

So, why is it that sometimes he only gets five shots? Because he's an isolation scorer. He needs to get the ball and handle it for at least 4 or 5 seconds (or more) before making his move. He's also not a good spot-up shooter.

These are reasons why Lamar will never be Kobe's Scottie Pippen. Sure, he handled the rock sometimes, and was sometimes the team's primary playmaker. BUT...a lot of Scottie's points came on transition and off hard cuts and moves out of the Triangle Offense. Lamar can't do that because he he's not a great finisher and he lack's Pippen's speed, athleticism, and instincts/ability within the Triangle.

He just doesn't really fit the system. He might not be an out-and-out square peg, but he's definitely squarish.

sonofjorel: Dude, I totally missed that! Time to make a YouTube trip...


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yeah your right. Which is hard to say as a laker fan, cause I like Odom. In the nice-guy index that guy, JF, RT, and DF are the reasons people can watch that team.

Oh and jocking on Kobe...

Blogger starang said...
Definatley an intentional hard weenis smack, square to the manhood of Raja. Uncalled for.

You know who needed to get a punch in the mangina, Reggie Miller. That guy is the worst color ever.

I also thought it was interesting to see the no call late in the 4th, where Amare dunked over Timmy while Timmy was hip checking Amare, and they decided not to call Timmy for his 5th (maybe even 6th) personal foul. Way to go officials. Good job.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
reuben: I like Lamar too. I really appreciate his skills (even if he can't go right). I just think that he, like many players, needs to be in the right system. That's one thing people don't get. Some players never get the chance to maximize their potential because they never find the right system, or they leave it too soon, or get traded.

I mean, take Damon Jones. One season playing with (the still dominant) Shaq and he was the best shooter in the game. All he needed was open looks and a system that funnled the ball his way when double-teams happened. But he's been a bust in Cleveland. It's not like he forgot to how to shoot. He just isn't a good fit.

Honestly, I was hoping the Pacers would trade O'Neal for Odom and Brown, Odom for the all-around play and Brown for the expiring contract. Alas, it was not to be.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Man, that Spurs/Suns game was horrible. It was hard to watch at times, but it did manage to make me laugh on at least 2 occasions. Manu "The Flop" Ginobili is one funny man. I mean I could go on for days as to how ugly this man is and how ugly his game is, and how ugly this man is, but seriously, this ugly man has some wicked acting abilities. One time, he got tapped in the face by Diaw, drew the foul, then took the Tony Parker approach and decided to crumble to the ground in a heap of steamy poo. He was laying there a good minute or two, acting like he got ran over by a bulldozer. The second one was when he got tripped up near midcourt, drew the foul, took 4 more steps in order to make another collapse to the ground look like he was shot with a gun. Even Reggie, Marv, and the Czar were clowning on him to stop acting.

All in all, an ugly game. You made a solid point about Amare needing to hit his foul shots at the end. In my eyes, he lost the game for them, and thats not what superstars are suppose to do. They always say that the Suns will learn from this loss, but thats what they seem to say everytime they lose to the Spurs. So really, when will they learn??

Anonymous Anonymous said...
hey, i'm glad to see the eddie jones and juwan howard comments there. i'm from around dallas and moved to boston a couple years ago, and was at the game last night. i've started gradually hating the mavs over the last few years after avery started gradually trying to make them into the spurs. i was looking at the team there, thinking "man, they really are trying to be the spurs. look at all these crappy "veteran" signings who aren't doing anything for the team. jones, howard, dampier, george, hassell, and they're probably pissed that they couldn't get stoudamire. then there's all the jason kidd mumbo-jumbo.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
manic: Let me tell you what I think about the flop, and these fake "OH GOD! OH GOD, I'M HURT!" acts.

Go watch Game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals. You know, the one where Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis. Not that I'm condoning an in-game clothesline -- although Kurt totally had it coming -- but if you watch the play you'll notice that Rambis jumps right the fuck up. I mean, the way he fell, with that kind of force, you would have thought he'd broken his neck. But he got right back up on his feet and tried to go after McHale. Again, not that I'm condoning it, but when a guy clotheslines you like that, he totally deserves an ass-kicking.

But my point is this: It used to be men were men. Especially when those men were pro athletes. Athletes are supposed to be tough, you know? Now? Well, they'll start a brawl if you try to score a couple extra points so your fans can have free tacos after the game, but a gentle nudge with an elbow will send them flying across the floor, screaming and writhing in "pain." It's pathetic, and sickening, and, honestly, it's an insult to the guys who genuinely do get hurt during the course of a game.

mike: You've got it, brother. They're trying to emulate the Spurs. And in a way, you can't blame them. But it's a completely different system, particularly since they don't have a Tim Duncan in the middle constantly drawing double teams that free up the old guys for open shot.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
starang: Hey, all superstars get 12 fouls per game, didn't you know? The six public fouls and six secret ones. Sssshhh. Don't tell.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Link to Ginobli Dickpunch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-y-VxTl6_o

Blogger stephanie g said...
About halfway through the 4th quarter of the Boston/Dallas game Rajon Rondo performed one of the most blatant no-call traveling violations I've ever seen. Right before there should've been a whistle he made what looked like a behind the back pass but -- surprise! It was a fake! And then he ran 3-4 more steps before missing the layup. The crowd oohed and awed and the announcers said nothing during the replay of him, you know, essentially carrying the ball from the top of the key to right next to the basket.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
sonofjorel: Dude, thanks. The post has been updated, and you have been credited for your assistance.

stephanie g: Oh, yeah, that's the old Pistol Pete move! Of couse, the Maravich could do it without traveling...

...but, sadly, these days the refs (and announcers, and "experts") will overlook rules violations in the interest of showmanship.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What the hell was Finley doing to Nash in that clip?