Author's note: I received many great nominations and contributions over the holidays, but I was taking a few much-needed days off, so I didn't have time to sort through them all. Sorry 'bout that. But I still love you more than anyone else will ever love you. Know that.

The Chicago Bulls: It was a rather painful day-after-Christmas trip to Miami for the Bullies, who scored 77 points (their second-lowest scoring output of the season), shot 37 percent (their third-worst shooting effort of the season), had more turnovers (15) than assists (11) and managed only 13 points in the fourth quarter. It was their 13th loss in 16 road games. Oh, and according to the Yahoo! box score, Aaron Gray (12 points, 11 rebounds) was their top performer. And, uh, you're not going to get very far as a team when Aaron Gray is your top performer. I'm just sayin'.

Derrick Rose: The Great Poohdini scored 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting and finished with 5 turnovers to only 3 assists. Meanwhile, he got outplayed by his former college rival Mario Chalmers (16 points, 6-for-9, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) and current ROY rival Michael Beasley (who scored 8 of his 14 points in the decisive fourth quarter).

Meaningless "controversies": Miami was up 13 with 30.9 seconds left when Heat coach Eric took a 20-second timeout to pull Dwyane wade, Udonis Haslem and Mari Chalmers. And the Bulls were pissed about it. Said Andres Nocioni: "There was nothing good about calling that timeout. I feel it was out of place. That is something only done to disrespect the opponent." Added Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro: "I don't know what they were doing. There's 30 seconds to go in the game. They're up 15 or 13 or whatever. But, whatever, we'll play them again."

Spoelstra, of course, tried to deflect the criticism. "That is a common practice in the NBA. I wanted to get our guys out, just in case something crazy would happen, and it allowed them to get their subs in, too. I don't know why they're all fired up. If they want to make a big deal about it, whatever." Two coaching quotes, two whatevers. So, you know, whatever. (For the record, video showed that the Bulls weren't trying to sub anybody in. Sorry Eric. Why not just admit you wanted your guys to get an ovation? It's okay. Basketball is entertainment and you were entertaining your fans. So what?)

The New York Knicks: The Minnesota Timberwolves got a late Christmas gift from the Knicks, who let the Wolves snap their 13-game losing streak and gave Kevin McHale his first coaching win of the season. In New York. It was the fifth straight defeat for the Knicks, who gave up 120 points and 51 percent shooting (54 from downtown). Minnesota had seven -- yes, seven -- players in double figures. Three of 'Wolves eclipsed the 20-point plateau and another almost did (Randy Foye had 19 points). And Mike D'Antoni made another point guard look like Steve Nash. Only this time, instead of Chris Duhon, it was Sebastian Telfair, who finished with a season-high 20 points and 8 assists for McHale's Navy. When asked what the Wolves did to catch fire, D'Antoni said: "Nothing really. They just stood there and took wide-open shots. We just were really bad defensively."

Kevin McHale, relief machine: Suffice it to say, McFail was pretty relieved to get that first win and break the losing skid. "The guys have been playing hard and we really needed this one. At the end of the game I said, 'Thank God,' and I meant it. Anything worth having in life takes some faith. And when that faith happens, it's a beautiful thing. And they've got to have faith that when they go out and play hard, good things are going to happen for them." Like you getting fired at the end of the season maybe...?

Sebastian Telfair, grammar machine: Regarding the status of his cousin, Stephon Marbury, Telfair said: "We all want our ending stories to be a certain way. I mean, he’s still healthy. I think this is a chapter in his book and hopefully he smartens up and creates his own ending and don't let nobody else create it for him." Yes. We could all use some smartening up, couldn't we, Sebastian?

The New Jersey Nets: The Bobcats got that elusive third road win of the season, and it's not surprising that it happened in New Jersey...where the Nets are now a sad-as-a-drowning-kitten 5-11 at the Izod Center. The Nets also fell a game below .500 with the loss and are now 3-7 since Devin Harris said: "We knew we were going to be a playoff team."

The Indiana Pacers: They lost yet another close game, this time to the Grizzlies after building a 17-point lead. It didn't help matters that Danny Granger -- who had 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting -- missed the final 10 minutes after getting a concussion...from colliding with teammate Jarrett Jack with 10:08 to play. "I tried [to return to the game], but they wouldn't let me come back. I got hit so hard, it was kind of black. I just stayed down. When I got up, I felt dizzy." Isn't that just so Pacery? If I had been asked before this game to vote on which team was most likely to lose their best player to concussion caused by teammates running into each other, it would have been the Pacers fo' sho'. Oh, and the D'Antoni like "efense" might be a problem: The Pacers are now 2-17 when opponents score 100 points or more.

The Detroit Pistons: It took an off-balance runner by Allen Iverson with 0.2 seconds left for the Pistons to notch a home victory against the 3-win Thunder. 'Nuff said.

The Houston Rockets: Their 79-point effort was highlighted by 15-point fourth quarter in which they shot 2-of-14 and didn't hit a field goal in the last eight minutes and 47 seconds. And it it was possible to double-highlight something, this game would have been double-highlighted by the combined 3-for-21 shooting of starting guards Rafer Alson and Tracy McGrady. Said McGrady: "I think we left [our offense] back in Houston."

The New Orleans Hornets: One day after losing to the Magic 88-68, they beat the Rockets 88-79. Ugh. And if you peruse their schedule, you'll notice a lot of similar scores. I kind of hate that this young, running team that should be lighting up the scoreboard is developing that icky "mid-1990's New York Knicks" feel.

The Philadelphia 76ers: They were up by 17 points midway through the third quarter of their game against the Nuggets in Denver...then fell apart down the stretch. They were outscored 37-22 in the fourth quarter. After giving up a go-ahead dunk to Kenyon Martin with 9 seconds left, Andre Iguodala got called for travelling. The Sixers were forced to foul to get the ball back but still would have been within 3 points with 2.9 seconds left -- assuming Chucky Atkins made both free throws, which he did -- but Andre Miller got T'd up and thus gave the Nuggets another free point that put the game out of reach. Miller admitted he was trying to delay Atkins free throws when the technical was called but then added: "I didn't do nothing or say nothing." And I think that double-negative pretty much says it all for you, Andre.

Nuggets coach George Karl provided the best postscript to the game when he said: "The thought that comes to my mind is, bad teams lose games they're supposed to win, and good teams win games they're supposed to lose." And nobody knows more about bad teams losing games they're supposed to win than coach Karl.

The Dallas Mavericks: The Jazz were missing their top three scorers and rebounders -- Carlos Boozer (quad), Paul Millsap (knee) and Mehmet Okur (back) -- and beat the Mavericks anyway, thanks to career-high scoring "outbursts" from Kosta Koufos (18 points, 8-for-11) and Kyrylo Fesenko (8 points, 4-for-5).

Dirk Nowitzki: The Fouling Dutchman got bounced with 9:48 to go after he kinda accidentally-on-purpose flailed one of his chicken wings into Matt Harpring's face after some jostling under the basket. As Fesenko put it: "I get the rebound. I maybe push [Dirk] in the back a little. Then probably Matt pushed him a little. I don't think it was something really brutal. It happens all the time." Here's a nice little breakdown of the action:

Boy, Dirk really seems to hate the Utah Jazz. Anyway, not only was Nowitzki bounced from this game, he also earned a one-game suspension.

Update! Andrei Kirilenko: Okay. In all fairness to Dirk, I should add, in the first half, AK47 dropped like he got shot by an AK47. Which is pretty shameful. Ivan Drago does not approve.

The Sacramento Kings: They fell victim to Jermaine The Drain (36 points, 15-for-19) and dropped their fifth straight game. The Kings are now a Nets-like 5-10 at home. Oh, and they've not lost all 19 games this season in which they've led after three quarters. Seriously.

Jack Armstrong, unintentionally dirty quote machine: From Shayan of Time Intact: "I'm watching the Raptors-Kings match, and Jermaine O'Neal is having a hell of a game. Raptors tv analyst Jack Armstrong, talking about O'Nean's inside presence, says 'look at where he's doing it...DEEP! All those inside shots, talk about goin' to town!' Then within a minute, Raptors coach subs O'Neal to which Armstrong states 'Triano's giving O'Neal a blow.'" You just can't get that kind of stuff on nationally broadcast games. Unless Reggie Miller is announcing.

The Boston Celtics: One day after their Christmas day showdown with the Lakers, they built a 14-point lead against the Warriors before melting down in the second half and eventually losing 98-89. The C's were outscored 35-17 in the fourth quarter and looked like they were playing immediately after their fifth helping of Christmas turkey. (Which Big Baby Davis probably was.) Said Doc Rivers: "I was worried at halftime when I saw we were shooting 56 (percent) and they were shooting 39 and it was a 12-point game. I was completely concerned about it. ...Once they start making shots, it's tough to turn them off, and we couldn't make anything." From 19-0 to 0-2. That's the NBA for you...

Friday lacktion report: From Chris:

Bulls-Heat: Yakhouba Diawara apparently is the Miami human victory cigar, racking +1 (a bricked three) in 4:28 of on-floor lacktivity.

Bobcats-Nets: Charlotte's Sean Singletary fouled twice, turning a near 3 trillion into a +2 in 2:59. Trenton Hassell put up a truly unimpressive performance as a starter for the Nets, only to avoid a massive payday of 19 trillion via one rebound and an assist (as well as one foul); his sleep-inducing stat line no doubt was one of the big factors in the Bobcats pulling out a victory.

Wolves-Knicks: Non-defensive basktball has been the name of the game for those dwelling in Mike 'antoni's Madison Square Garden, as witnessed by Anthony Roberson's +1 in a little over 1:25 - his bricked three attempt helping him to end up with a -3.

Thunder-Pistons: Kwame Brown did avoid an official lacktivity score, though it wasn't for lack of trying - one rebound helped him miss out on a potential 3 trillion fortune, in a game where Klahma almost generated enough offense to beat the Pistons (outscoring Detroit by a point in the final quarter, only to lose by two). Hey, wasn't Kwame a #1 overall pick once? Lacktion statistics and #1 overall picks usually don't mix, but in this very special case, we nearly got to see them combine in one gravity-defying black hole of fail.

Pacers-Grizzlies: Quinton Ross's team may have won, but the Grizzlies' conquest of the Pacers had very little to do with him - a full 11 minutes of lacktion generated +3 through a couple of bricks from downtown, and a personal foul.

Jazz-Mavericks: One night after the Mavs took over late in the 4th against the Blazers, Mark Cuban's personal basketball playset seemed to run out of energy, and two spectacularly bland performances from the bench were not positive factors: DeSagna Diop giving Dallas a 4 and a half trillion, and teammate Shawne Williams bricking a three for +1 in over a minute of lacktion.

Celtics-Warriors: In Boston's two-game holiday skid, the bench has not been particularly effective. Brian Scalabrine avoided a +1 in 4:07 through a rebound, but next to him on the pine, two Mario Brothers developed: 15 seconds each for Patrick O'Bryant and Gabe Pruitt.

Vince Carter, quote machine: After the Nets' 114-103 overtime win in Charlotte, Vinsanity said: "It's kind of an 'us against the world' mentality. Coming into somebody else's building and wanting to get some's good for us. Winning games like this, I don't care who the team is, will help." The Nets are now 10-4 on the road...and 5-11 at home. So methinks it's high time to focus on getting some homekill, Vince.

The Chicago Bulls: The good: They shot 54.4 percent from the field and matched their season-high in scoring with 117 points. The bad: They also allowed season-highs in points (129), field-goal percentage (56), field goals made (49) and assists (33). Said Andres Nocioni: "It's personal, you know? Everybody needs to take the challenge. If we don't play 'D,' we will be out of the playoffs for sure. Today was terrible, terrible defense. We need to stop the ball one-on-one. Then nobody helps or crowds guys or takes a charge. So everybody can drive the basket or get offensive rebounds. It's energy. It's attitude. And that's it." The Bulls were outscored 56-38 in the paint. It's the 10th time this season that Chicago has allowed an opposing team to score 50 points in the painted rectangle.

Larry Hughes: You'll notice you can't spell "team" using any combination of the letters in "Larry Hughes." And with good reason. Hughes was aghast at not starting against the Hawks on Saturday (in place of the injured Luol Deng). Forget the fact that the guy who did start, Thabo Sefolosha, scored 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. That's not the point. Me, me, me is the point for Hughes. And he let people know about it after the game. ""I don't accept it, but I deal with it. I've said what I needed to say (to GM John Paxson and coach Vinny Del Negro]. Hopefully, it gets better moving forward. If it's justified, it's justified. But you can look at whatever you need to look at as far as production. I think it's in my favor. I'm not a spot-minute guy. I don't play well in that situation. If you want me to produce, I have to be out there. I can make a difference at both ends if I play." Yeah, well, thanks for that, Larry.

The Thunder versus the Wizards: From the AP game recap: "The Thunder entered with an NBA-worst 3-27 record, with the Wizards at 4-23. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there had never been an NBA game matching teams with individually lower winning percentages-.100 for Oklahoma City and .148 for Washington—and each squad having played at least 25 games." So it truly was the worst game ever. NBA action. It's FAN-tastic. As an aside, the Wizards got their fifth win of the season while the Thunder remained stuck on three wins. Said Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks: "It's no fun having three wins, but it's important we stay together and we continue to compete for one another. Not one guy in this locker room is a loser." I beg to disagree on that point, Scott.

Al Jefferson, quote machine: Regarding his team's 118-94 loss to the Magic, Big Al said: "I'm not going to say we lost focus. I just feel like we gave up. I think we felt a little fatigued and we just gave up on it." Telling the media you're team quit. That's Leadership 101, people. Look it up.

The Bucks' shooting: Brrr! It was a winter wasteland in Milwaukee, where the home team shot 30 percent from the field (24-for-79) and only 8 percent from downtown (1-for-12). Andy Bogut was 6-for-15, Michael Redd hit only 2-for-11 and Tyron Lue missed all seven of his shot attempts. It got so bad that Bucks coach Scott Skiles put in a lineup of Malik Allen, Joe Alexander, Tyronn Lue, Dan Gadzuric and Ridnour with 3:40 left in the third quarter...and left most of the starters on the bench the rest of the way. Said Skiles: "Because I'm putting the other guys in doesn't mean I'm giving up on the game. I still intend to win the game. It can be very confusing on certain nights of why certain guys just don't have it, but it does happen in the NBA." It's true. He wasn't giving up on the game. But he WAS sending a message to his starters. Play better or you won't play at all. And you know, that type of “motivation” works SO very well with pro ballers...

The Houston Rockets: For the second straight game, the Jazz were without their top three scorers and rebounders -- Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Paul Millsap -- and yet it still took two overtimes for the Rockets to prevail. At home. Sure, they were without McGrady and all, but that only meant they probably shot a higher percentage from the field.

The San Antonio Spurs: I'll let the headline from the AP game recap tell the tale for me: "Spurs need 2 overtimes to beat Grizzlies." And the game took place in San Antonio. Oddly, it was the third double-overtime game the Spurs have had this season. They've won them all.

Saturday lacktion report: More from Chris:

Thunder-Wizards: Robert Swift was in a giving mood today, producing a 5 trillion -- not generous enough to give back Klahma's O's in a loss, but enough that Clay Bennett would be rather pleased with this determined acquisition of dubious earnings.

Bulls-Hawks: Joakim Noah and Cedric Simmons became the latest captains of industry, each giving Chicago quite a bit of wealth (Noah with 5.5 trillion and Simmons with 4 trillion). Lindsey Hunter's bricked three gave him a +1 in 5:16, creating a trio of lacktivity for the Windy City. On the other side of the court, THE Mario West avoided his namesake by actually making a field goal in 38 seconds of floor time, while Solomon Jones averted his own Mario through one steal in 50 seconds (negated by a turnover, but still).

Grizzlies-Spurs: Memphis's Greg Buckner earned a +3 in a full 11:54 of lacktion (brick, rejection, foul) -- and in a game decided by 3 points in double-overtime (with Popovich's squad gaining the upper hand), Buckner's on-court mediocrity probably wasn't what the Griz needed to pull off the upset.

Raptors-Blazers: Jake Voskuhl for the dinos had only 18 seconds of lacktion and a +1 (foul) midway through the game - and lo and behold, it would stay that way all night. Just when it seemed he'd be the only one for Toronto mentioned in this here segment, Kris Humphries stepped onto the hardwood in some final-stanza garbage time, contributing a 35 second Mario to the mix.

The New York Knicks: They followed up getting torched by the Timberwolves by getting lit up by the Nuggets: Denver shot 57 percent and scored 117 points. Carmelo Anthony came out of his offensive coma to score 32 points on 13-for-19 shooting...which, obviously, is much easier to do when you're wide open all night. It was only 'Melo's third 30-point game of the season. And, get this, after the game, Mike D'Anonti was talking about -- are you ready for it? -- defense. "We've got to play defense. There's no doubt about it. I know I joke around a lot about it, but the only way we're going to win is to get better at it. I've always felt like we're going to score no matter what. I don't care who's on the floor, we're going to score. So now we've just got to find a way how to stop people." Sounds like a broken record to me. Sounds like a broken record to me. Sounds like a broken record to me...

The Los Angeles Clippers: Facing the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavs at home...the Clippers lost by 22. They are who we thought they were. Mind you, the Clips were without Zach Randolph (bruised knee), Chris Kaman (left arch) and Ricky Davis (bwahahahaha!). And they want you to know that's what was up. Said Baron Davis: "We need our team to be 100 percent healthy to play at our highest level." Added coach Mike Dunleavy: "This really shows the absence of our low post game, with Chris Kaman and Zach Randolph both out. Many of our shots were forced, and that may have been due to the lack of conditioning from the time off." So it's not anybody's fault. Just so you know.

The Indiana Pacers: If you follow this blog, you've probably noticed an ongoing theme in which the Pacers lead most of the game only to lose it at the end. Well, I hate to shock the hell out of you, but it happened again against Hornets. Indy were up by as many as 12 points early in the third quarter before choking up the lead. Still, Danny Granger (34 points, 12-for-23) tied the game by hitting a couple free throws with 27.8 seconds left. But then David West hit a 17-foot fadeaway jumper with 2.5 seconds to doom the Pacers to yet another come-from-ahead loss.

The Yao Watch: Oh! We might be making a comeback! Czernobog caught what I missed: Dr. Yao had five of his shots blocked by the Jazz! And let's not forget about this block by LeBron that happened while I was "getting a blow":

The Sacramento Kings: Okay. So we know the Celtics were angry about losing two in a row, including that Christmas day loss to the hated Lakers. But they beat the Kings by 45...IN SACRAMENTO. "Ouch" doesn't begin to cover it. More like, "OH GOD! OH GOD! IT HURTS! KILL ME...PLEASE!" The Kings shot 28 percent for the game and hit only 19 field goals. That's the fewest shots made by the Kings in the shot-clock era and the second fewest allowed by the Celtics. The 45-point margin of victory matched the sixth biggest by the Celtics, who also pounded the Knicks by the same margin last season. The last time the C's spanked somebody worse than that was a 153-107 smackdown of the Baltimore Bullets on November 27, 1970. It was Sactown's sixth straight loss and 16th of 18 overall. Said Bobby Jackson: "This is frustrating going through things like this. We can't keep making excuses. That's just it. I'm embarrassed. I hope everybody else is embarrassed, too. That was just ridiculous the way we came out and competed tonight. I wouldn't even say competed. We didn't even show up."

The Golden State Warriors: After their inspired effort against a drained Boston team, the Warriors let the Lakers score 130 points on 51 percent shooting. Way to build on success, Warriors. Said Stehpen Jackson: "Our defense wasn't even close to what we had against Boston and it definitely showed. We didn't approach the game the same way we did the Boston game. We had more intensity, were up for that game and we weren't today." How bad was it? Sun Yue played more than six minutes. Oh yes.

Kobe Bryant: After the game in the Lakers' locker room, Mamba turned away from Lamar Odom to address Luke Walton. Said Mamba, gesturing to Odom. "He doesn't like you." Luke tried to apologize, but Mamba went on: "I don't like you either. You'd better watch yourself. I have the death sentence on 12 systems." Luke replied: "I'll be careful." To which Mamba said "YOU'LL BE DEAD!" and slapped him. Then Luke cried.

Sunday lacktion report: Still more from Chris:

Mavs-Clippers: Dallas's Antoine Wright dominated garbage time lacktion in negative statistics through a +6 (three bricks, one shot blocked, and two personal fouls) in a whole 10:14; for the home team, Steve Novak shows up again with nearly 1.5 trillion.

Celtics-Kings: Now that I'm back in Sactown after Christmas, I got a chance to peruse the local broadcast of what turned out to be some severe bawful. Kenny Thomas accrued a 21 second Mario for the home team. (Donte Greene had a +2 in 1:21 but then got three more minutes of playing time late in the 3rd, making a shot, ultimately ending up with 7.) As the failfest at Arco continued during the 3rd quarter (where Suckrament was outscored 25-14), the commentators on Comcast Sports California had enough:

"You think it can't get any worse...but it's worse"

"We've been doing this for a long time, I don't recall the Kings ever being down 40 at their home floor."

"The Celtics are a good team, but STILL, they shouldn't be up by 40."

Radio guy Gary Gerould and the TV commentators now telling prattle tales about Michael Phelps showing up as the celebrity guest de jour.

Now early in the 4th -- with a full 10 minutes left -- Brian Scalabrine is already in as the world champs celebrate yet another easy victory (which is a huge relief after two straight tough losses). He would end the night having played out the rest of the period, actually racking up 3 rebounds and a steal.

Cameraman now focuses on Phelps not even paying attention to the snoozefest. That's the best thing they can show us? Hell, he's dominating the "images of the game" segment. Wow.

Game over at 108-63, a 45 point loss; the Kings just set a record for futility with only NINETEEN made field goals for the night, with John Salmons' 11 points (only 2 of 9 on field goal attempts) serving as the team lead, nobody else in double digits. Not just that, Suckrament managed a high of a mere 17 points in both the first and second quarter, following that up with not-so-high-powered numbers of 14 and 15 points each in the final half.
Earl Boykins: Basketbawful reader Your Favorite Sun left this in a comment, from the Eurobasket news:

"It wasn't without consequence Christmas game for Virtus Bologna. Earl Boykins (168-G-76, college: E.Michigan) was scoreless in 17' with only a field goal attempted. The pointguard, in the past days, asked to come back home for 4 days to have some Holydays, but the team denied his request. So, his bad performance, was seen like a kind of strike. Boykins - started likewise to the Usa after the game - and Virtus Bologna will part away in the next days. When agents and team staff will find a deal."

Take your pick -- awful because of:

(a) Earl's lackluster performance,

(b) It may have been intentional retaliation for not being allowed to go home for Xmas, or

(c) The Babel Fish translation?
Hey, YFS, you forgot (d) All of the above. And my answer is most definitely "d."

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Blogger BJ said...
Dirk's Flagrant-Two; Hey, you don't get to hang that on Dirk's doorknob and not mention Andrei Kirilenko's flop in the first half. Seriously, has he been taking lessons? Academy Awards have been won with performances like that.

Blogger chris said...
Mike 'antoni trying to tell his team to play defense - pardon the cliche, but isn't that like The Answer suggesting that his team needs practice?

Blogger C said...
Is there a word for the needlessly enthusiastic cheer that erupts every time a player like Sun Yue or Brian Scalabrine scores? It's less celebrating that player's effort and more mocking the opposing team for being "that" awful.

Maybe Sun Yu-phoria?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
David West hit the jumper with 2.7 seconds left to doom the Pacers, although Chris Paul got the assist by running circles around the entire Pacers team. Otherwise, great work.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Come on Mr. Bawful, you gotta say something about that Xmas Day Lakers-Celtics game. I know you needed a few days off and all, but let's hear your thoughts. You think it's a bad sign for the Celtics or just a fluke?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- Okay. Since you asked. Well, first off, the game was close and the Lakers pulled it out at the end and they were at home and obviously much more fired up and had more to prove than the C's did. It was a nice win for them, but honestly...teams playing on the road on Christmas day are always at a disadvantage. Unless it's the Spurs playing the Suns, whom they own. (Although, honestly, why they left a three-point shooter wide open with the game on the line mystifies me.)

Anyway, I also thought the officiating was a little dubious. The refs were letting both teams play, but still, Boston had only 1 FTA late in the first half. And Gasol got a couple "touch" fouls that sure weren't getting called the other way. Plus there was that horrible call when Pau lowered his shoulder into Rondo then flew backwards like Rajon was a pipe bomb that just went off. Embarrassing. Oh, but the Lakers are TOUGH now...

Am I bitter? Yeah. But in the big scheme, it's not a huge deal. I promise things will be different when the Lakers come to Boston. However, I do think it's critical for both teams, if they intend to win it all, to finish with the better record and get home court. Of course, the Lakers have no challengers in the West and the Celtics are gonna have to face Cleveland. Which bodes well for whichever team makes it out of the East.

Sorry. Kind of a jumble. Back to work for the first time in a couple weeks.

Blogger chris said...
Hey Bawful, just noticed you updated the classic One Trillion WOTD with the historic references and the season-by-season trillionaire champions of the past few years. Isn't it absolutely mind-blowing that the 2002-03 trillionaire of the year, John Salmons, was Suckrament's leading scorer in last night's terrible performance against the C's? Wow.

Blogger Victor said...
"Although, honestly, why they left a three-point shooter wide open with the game on the line mystifies me."

Probably because Jason Richardson learned how to play defense at Golden State.

So who else laughed out loud at the Kirilenko flop?

Blogger chris said...
CP3's big weekend inspiration comes from a fan's catcalls:

Blogger chris said...
Looks like ESPN has written an obituary on the exciting, all-offense era in Phoenix:

Blogger David Landon said...
Suns-Spurs: At first I was elated when Grant Hill converted on the layup to put Suns up with 4 seconds left. Then I realized that the Suns needed to play effective defense for four seconds to actually win the game, and I knew right away that they were going to lose. Roger Mason hit a great shot, but these Suns couldn't stop Greg Ostertag if he was playing in full scuba gear.

I have a theory that Phoenix Suns defense actually makes their opponents more likely to put the ball in the hole, especially if the opponents in question are the San Antonio Spurs.

Blogger Trev said...
I was lucky/unlucky enough to get tickets to the Nets/Bobcats game at the Izod center. What makes that loss even sadder for the Nets was the crowd was pretty big for a Net's game. I'm guessing this had something to do with the Net's basically giving away the tickets. Seriously my wife and I paid only the ticktmaster fees (about 5 bucks for 2 tickets) and had floor seats behind the basket about 10 rows up, I could have easily pegged Vince Carter with a beer every time he jacked up an ill advised three if beers weren't $7.75 a piece and if it wouldn't cause Vince to fall on the floor and writhe around in pain like he had just been shot.

Any way I amused myself by watching Mr. Dime himself Emeka Okafor the whole game waiting for that one moment when everything aligns perfectly and he delivers that elusive and rare gift of an assist, I mean the game was in the house that Yinka built for gods sake! It almost came early in the 1st quarter when Stockton Jr. got the ball in the low post and hit a cutting Gerald Wallace for a beautiful well placed pass, ok he more or less just shoved the ball into the passing Wallace's gut by accident alas Wallace blew the easy lay up costing the Big O his first assist of the night. Luckily we didn't have to wait much longer as as the 2nd quarter was winding down the Big O found Boris Diaw for a 20 footer to get his 1 assist for the night. I contemplated jumping up and informing everyone seated around me about what wonderful goodness we had just witnessed by alas they where all to busy playing with their freshly passed out thunder sticks to be bothered. But I will always have that Izod memory to cherish.

Also while waiting for Okafor's monumental assist I couldn't help but see him get his shit sent back by whatever Lopez Brother plays for the Nets and then a little while later had the further shame of having said Lopez throw down on his noggin. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that having a Lopez brother reject you and then dunk on your head in about a 5 minute span is what we would call not good.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
How could you mention some of the Christmas games, but no mention of the Suns's loss? The stats alone make me sick:

45.3% vs 41.8% FG.
50 vs 43 REB advantage.
19-24(70.4%) vs 9-14(64.3%) FT home-cookin'.
And 20 vs 13 PF, with a tech on Le mari de Eva Longoria.

Looks locked up for the Suns, right? Of course not.
14 to 6 TOs
only 75 vs 91 FGA
and a wide open 3-pointer.

A special Bawful fail to Pops, implementing Haq-a-Shaq only to see The Big July-2010-can't-come-fast-enough go 5-6 on the line. A very tired Bawful shoutout to Shaq: why can't you just shoot like that normally?

Blogger Juan Estevez said...
El Mes pasado creaba el "Rating De Pasador" con la intencion de conocer quien pasaba mejor el balon, ahora le toca el turno a los tiradores:

La explicacion >>>

El Programa >>>   (Pesa tan solo 21KB y se descarga en 2 segundos)


PD: Si no entienden alguna parte de la formula pregunten que explico, porque quizas es un poco dificil de entender.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: I think Shaq secretly enjoys having a lakctive tactic named after him, and while he can absolutely be better at free throws on a more regular basis, what's the fun in that?


Interesting line here in a piece on Greg Oden's increasing isolation from the rest of his team:

John Cazano of the Oregonian wrote:

"And that issue is the one revolving around the franchise's decision to baby its No. 1 pick, wrap him in protective bubble-wrap"

Well isn't that bubble-wrap supposed to protect him from the inevitable osteoporosis? Starting an NBA career at such an advanced age can be quite much for that fragile skeleton.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What, no mention of the five blocked shots on Dr. Yao against the Jazz?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Posting with your Clark Kent identity today, Mr. Bawful? :)

Come on, complaining about the officiating in that Lakers-Celtics game? Really? The Lakers had only 7 more free throw attempts but won by 9, and nobody played short minutes due to foul trouble. Plus, that small FTA discrepancy happened at the very start of the game - in the last 30 minutes of the game the free throw attempts were Boston 8, Lakers 6, so I find it dubious to blame the loss on the refs. BTW, that Gasol-Rondo call was the right one, since Rondo was moving; and it must have been a hard hit since they said Rondo needed a timeout cause he had the wind knocked out of him, so that wasn't a flop. Overall I thought the officiating was pretty good, I liked that they let em play. 23 combined free throws attempted is my kind of game, so I don't like to see it criticized when they call it like that. Kobe didn't shoot any free throws either, you know.

It was just one game, and it was a home game for LA, but there were a couple worrisome things there for the Celtics, IMO. The most worrisome thing I think was that Kendrick Perkins re-injured that same shoulder on a play where it wasn't even hit. I'm glad he's back and it wasn't that serious, but that's got to be a cause for concern. Second, the Celtics have got to pick up another big off the bench or they really will have trouble with the Lakers if they play them again in the Finals. The 2nd unit frontcourt LA uses with Bynum/Gasol & Odom is too big for Glen Davis and Leon Powe. Third, while Bynum wasn't exactly a game changer, his presence at the end meant that KG had to leave Gasol when he went to double Kobe, rather than leave Odom the way he did last year. Gasol may be "The Spanish Marshallow" but unlike Odom, he'll actually make you pay if you leave him alone; and Perkins wasn't able to help much cause he had to stay put on Bynum. Fourth and final concern was Pierce's offensive aggressiveness, or lack thereof. I don't know if that was due to Bynum's defensive presence or what, but Pierce only attempted one shot in the last 15 minutes of the game, and that was a desperation three (that Gasol partially blocked) with under a minute left and Boston already down 7. Pierce won the Finals MVP because of the way he carried Boston down the stretch in games last year with his aggressive drives to the hole and the foul shots he got from contact on those drives. Was he scared to go into the paint with Gasol and Bynum back there, was Ariza's defense bothering him, or was he just out of it for some reason?

We'll see if these same concerns are there in February for the rematch, but I did think there were some real issues the Celtics need to address. They aren't issues that are gonna matter against any other team they play, but I think they will factor in when they play the Lakers. The Lakers have their own issues to address as well (KG abused them like a red headed stepchild), but this matchup no longer strongly favors the Celtics the way it did a year ago.

Blogger Thom said...
To be fair to the Pistons, they had built a 14 point lead when Klahoma magically got their offense back. They made like 12 of 13 shots towards the end (8 straight at one point), most of which were of the well defended, hand-in-the-face variety. In fact, they deserve worst for being unable to win off that fluke run. They still folded in the end.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That Scalabrine pic is pure awesome. Looks like some sort of crazy seizure. Best are the facial expressions from the Warriors' bench.

Poor Dirk. That really was a pathetic flop by Kirilenko. Methinks a couple of years of frustration came out there.

Blogger chris said...
Man, incredible - my friend Dan linked me to a classic WOTD...

And that sentence you conjured about the Pacers - from two and a half years ago mind you - still applies today, just replace "Pistons" with "Lakers" and "Hawks"/"Knicks" with "Grizzlies" and "Clippers." They're an almost team alright - almost successful at winning.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
BJ -- Fixed.

chris -- Indeed. I mean, we're talkin' 'bout DEFENSE, man. How's that gonna make the Knicks BETTER?

C -- Hm. I kinda like that one...

Anonymous #1 -- You're right. Fixed.

chris -- Yes, I did indeed update the one trillion Word of the Day post. After spending way to much time thinking about and researching it, I decided the full story needed to be known. And I'm very seriously trying to get an interview with the true inventor of the trillion...

Victor -- Admittedly, the first time I watched it, I was unsurprised. I think all the years of player flopping had desensitized me. Once I actually watched it for what it was, I laughed, both inwardly and outwardly...then inwardly again.

Future Guy -- Damn. You made me laugh. If I'd have covered that game, I'd totally add that to the post.

Trev -- I'm a little disappointed in you, that you didn't inform everyone around you what they'd just seen. It's like not telling your buddy who has his back turned to the dance floor that two chicks just started making out. You know, borderline superdickery.

AnacondaHL -- Seriously, I knew it was going to happen. I actually tried not to watch it. I turned the game off midway through the third to avoid what I assumed would be a painful ending. Then I turned on the TV to see if the Celtics-Lakers game was on...JUST AS THE FINAL PLAY UNFOLDED. Damn my eyes.

Iron Fist -- Uhm. Not sure what you're saying, so can I just assume you were telling me how great I am?

chris -- I'm officially out of love with Oden. Happened a couple weeks ago. Darn it all.

Czernobog -- My total bad. Fixed.

Wild Yams -- Now come on, Yams. You can't ask me for my feelings on a game you know I'm going to be fired up about and then complain when I share them. Especially since I find a bit of your reasoning to be somewhat spurious. First off, you say the Lakers "had only 7 more free throw attempts," which is correct, but then, it's all relative isn't it? That "only 7" gave them almost twice as many FTAs as the Celtics, which is a major advantage in a close game wouldn't you say? And on that subject, the game was closer than that final nine-point margin indicates, since Boston's offense degenerated at the end and they started taking bad threes (including one by Ray Allen that was blocked and one by KG) to make up the deficit. (And, indeed, the Celtics were down only 2 with about a minute and a half left). In particular I found Pau Gasol's three-point play with 1:29 to be pretty week, considering all the contact was being allowed. And that was a very critical late-game call. Furthermore, stating pure numbers don't indicate how WHEN the calls are made effects the flow of the game. Don't you agree? And I felt like some calls and non-calls went L.A.'s way during crucial points of the game. You can disagree with that if you like, but not the concept.

Also, I'm not "blaming" the loss on the refs. I shared something I wasn't happy about.

By the way, as Hubie Brown would be quick to tell you, a defensive player can be moving and still draw a charge IF THE OFFENSIVE PLAYER LOWERS HIS SHOULDER and initiates the contact. Which is what Pau did. Watch the tape. That's what happened. And please don't tell me that wasn't a flop. Rondo got some wind knocked out of him, but he didn't go sprawling to the court...whereas the guy who outweighs him by ALMOST 100 POUNDS (260-171) went sailing away like a cotton ball caught in the wind. That defies the laws of physics and logic.

Yes. I did notice that Kobe attempted no FTs. However, if you check the shot chart, you'll notice that 18 of his 23 FGAs were jumpers. He didn't make a lot of strong moves to the basket because the C's closed off the paint and gave him jumpers.

As for the rest, Perkins' shoulder is a MAJOR concern. Remember, he hurt it in the Finals and was limited. It seems to get injured rather easily, and they have no PJ Brown to replace him in a pinch. Which means you're dead on about their lack of big bodies off the bench. They should have made a bigger push to try and convince McDyess to come to Boston. Hell, at this point they should call Greg Oster...just kidding.

You're right about Pierce, although that was Ray Allen who's shot was partially blocked by Pau (though Truth missed a three on the C's very next possession, and that was his only FGA in the fourth). I don't think that Pierce was afraid to go into the paint. It was just one of those games in which the Celtics weren't going to him. Mind, I watched them all last season and that happened a lot. His Game 7 against the Cavs and his Finals performance against the Lakers made people forget he didn't have a single 40-point game during the regular season and had many games where his numbers were way down. That and he's been in a shooting slump all season...for reasons nobody can quite figure out. Overconfident? Nervous about repeating? Tired from a summer of celebrating?

I also feel the need to point out that the Finals weren't as lopsided as everybody seems to be remembering. Yeah, the C's knocked the Lakers out in Game 6. But L.A. won two out of three at home and the C's had to make one of the greatest comebacks ever to win Game 4. And L.A. almost came back on them in Game 2 in Boston. To me, this was just another close game in a battle between two evenly matched teams.

Thom -- Seemed like the Pistons let up a little, playing down to their competition and all that. And so I refuse to give Klahma back an "O."

Wormboy -- A couple years at least.

Blogger chris said...
If you do get that interview with Mr. Hastings, I will be loooing forward to every word. You gotta ask his eyes is the trillionare champion the one who has the most useless minutes total in a season, or the one who has the most appearances of lacktion? (I'm not sure what the 2006 NBA media guide's official scoring for the trillionaire championship was, but SOMEBODY in the league at the time must have been paid to compile a decade's worth of unproductivity - seriously, that is the best Clark Kent job ever.)

Blogger Trev said...
"You know, borderline superdickery."

I don't know they seemed pretty infatuated with those thunder sticks, If I said anything about the actual game going on 20 feet in front of us I may have been beaten to death with them if they ever managed to figure out how to actually inflate the things.

Blogger BJ said...
To be fair, AK-47 did a really masterful job. From straight-on, you'd swear that was a windup to a Mortal Kombat Fatality.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'll just repeat that I like it when the refs "let em play" and don't call a bunch of fouls. The C's held a lead with a few minutes to go and finished by letting the Lakers end on a 13-2 run. That's why they lost, the refs had nothing to do with it. The reffing is what it is, and that was hardly an example of "home cooking" IMO. As for the Rondo-Gasol play, I think you need to watch the replay again (I watched it a number of times). Rondo did in fact hit the floor, and the C's had to call a timeout to give him a chance to recover. The announcers even went so far as to talk about how he hated to get hit when he played football in HS after that hit. And the call was correct. Rondo ran over to help double, but he happened to do that right when Gasol was driving to the spot Rondo was running forward to get to. A player doesn't have to be set to pick up a charge call, but you're never going to see a player get a charge call when they run at the guy with the ball and run into him. That's always gonna be a block, even if you run right at the ball handler and get him to hit you right in the chest. You can only pick up the charge call when you're moving if you're moving away from the ball handler. If you run into his path you have to be set when he hits you. In any event, it was clear Rondo wasn't looking to pick up a charge call, he was coming over to double and just got caught by surprise when Gasol chose to drive right before he made his move.

Perkins has had two surgeries on that same shoulder now, and with him re-injuring it so soon, and this time with no actual contact to it, I have to wonder about his long-term durability in the NBA. His game is predicated on banging in the post, and you can't do that if your shoulder's gonna pop out each time someone swipes at the ball. Even if he was fully healthy though, Boston needs another big man; but with Perk's health in question, they badly need one. McDyess would have been a godsend for them. I see a lot of Celtics fans hoping for PJ to come back or for Deke, but considering the age of those two players (and that they're supposedly "retired") I think the C's should see what else is out there.

If you go back and watch, you'll see that not only does Ray Allen get his shot completely blocked by Gasol (which turned into that Ariza wide-open dunk), but on the next trip down Pierce's shot was also partially blocked by Gasol, which is why he airballed it. ESPN's play by play writes it up as: "0:57 - Pau Gasol blocks Paul Pierce's 23-foot three point jumper". You're probably right that Pierce didn't take a shot just because Boston wasn't going to him, but that's pretty poor recognition on the part of the Celtics. He was their bread and butter against LA last year and they should have made sure he had the ball in his hands a lot down the stretch. Doc should have drawn up a play to get it to him or something.

Blogger lordhenry said...
Bawful, I agree, L.A. had everything to lose and they played that way. But, I don't really think the officiating was that lopsided due to homecooking, other than the fact that rondo picked up up two quick reach-in fouls early on. If they were in boston, those probably would've been steals and not fouls, which is a factor. However, the thing NOBODY is talking about is the # of turnovers the C's had, 22. That will affect the game in a big way, and three of them, were caused by rondo being out of position. Ray Allen even went over and had a word with him(Rondo) and then Paul Pierce had to forcibly grab Ray and put in his spot on defense to get him away from Rajon. Methinks the chemistry between the champs isn't as good as advertised. The teams seem to be evenly matched now, let's see if it's still that close when L.A. comes to boston.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
If you're gonna say Pau flopped on that play you gotta mention that Rondo was squirming like a worm for about 5 minutes longer than he had to.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Where have you been? I've missed having your strong, meaty arms wrapped around me tenderly, whispering cynical NBA witticisms into my ear.....
Seriously, don't ever leave again.

With love and a increasing desire for your intimacy,
a muttonhead

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The FT difference are due to the lack of Celtics driving/post play. KG had plenty of dunks but besides his alleyoops mostly shot the ball. Pierce never drove the ball. Allen kept shooting and Rondo wasn't the slashing PG he usually is (mainly due to Bynum). Even so it was a close game and I think the Celtics would have won if at home. Not that it matters because the Cavs are going to the finals.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dear Bawful, could you please stop writing "they are who we thought they were" every time you mention the Clippers? Not that I'm defending them or anything - the phrase is just getting tedious and trite. Really tedious and really trite. Thanks!

Blogger chris said...
Anonymous: the Clippers ARE tedious and trite, so it's perfect!

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
I don't get your Hornets comment... the Hornets are a slower-paced team and this is nothing new. A lot of people seem to have this misperception that the Horents play run and gun ball, but the Hornets were one of the slowest-paced teams last year (26th in pace if I remember correctly) too so it shouldn't come as a shock. They are still really fun to watch.