White out!

Update! Robert Swift: Black finger nails, Rob? Really? In addition to the pic shown above, here's another view. Did you know Swift went straight from high school to the pros? I can hardly believe it myself.

The Klahma City Thunder: They followed up their elusive fifth win of the season (at home against the Knicks) with a 42-point road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ye-owch. The Thunder were only able to hold the Wolves below 30 points in one quarter, the third, when Minny scored 26. Other than that, it was 42, 30 and 31 points surrendered in the first, second and fourth quarters, respectively. All told, the Timberpups scored 129 points on 52 percent shooting while chokeslamming the Thunder on the boards 57-38. Oh, and the Klahma's scored only 87 points on 39 percent shooting themselves, thanks in part to the fact that Neil Paine stat cursed Kevin Durant into a miserable 3-for-13 shooting night in which he finished with a season-low 9 points. For the record, it was the first time this season that he's been held under 12 points. Said Durant: "Its tough. We played so hard (Tuesday) night and in games before. To come out and not even show up is tough."

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves are continuing their fascinating little pas de deux with the Celtics. While the C's have lost six of their last eight games -- more on that below -- the W's have WON six out of eight, including the last four in a row. And just as Boston's slump came after an historic 27-2 start, Minnesota's upswing follows a near-franchise-record 13-game skid (the Wolves had two other 16-game losing streaks in 1992 and 1994). You know how that has to make Kevin McHale feel right now?

But before McHale or anybody else gets to excited, it's probably worth noting that those six wins came against the Knicks, Grizzlies, Warriors, Bulls, Grizzlies (again) and the Thunder...teams that have a combined record of 54-123. So, you know, I'm just sayin'.

The Charlotte Bobcats: They followed up that ultra-impressive home win over the Celtics with a 30-point road loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anybody else noticing a pattern here? Speaking of patterns, in his book about the 1985-86 Celtics, The Last Banner, which I guess should be renamed to The Next To Last Banner now, Peter May had this to say about the Dallas Mavericks following up a win against the Celtics with a loss to the Sacaramento Kings:

"On any other night, a Mavericks loss to the Kings, then 29-36, would have been a mild upset. But beating the Celtics took a lot out of a team. Those fortunate enough to win generally got to enjoy it for one game; on only four occasions out of a possible 15 did the team that beat the 1985-86 Celtics go on to win its next game. The 76ers, one of just two teams to beat Boston twice (the Nets were the other) won both of their post-Celtics-victory games. Denver and the Knicks were the two others."
That passage got me thinking about what's happened this season to the eight teams who have beaten the Celtics. Here are the results:

1. The Indiana Pacers: Lost 113-103 at home to the Phoenix Suns.

2. The Denver Nuggets: Won 90-84 at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

3. The Los angeles Lakers: Won 130-113 at home against the Golden State Warriors.

4. The Golden State Warriors: Lost 130-113 on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers.

5. The Portland Trail Blazers: Lost 92-77 at home against the New Orleans Hornets.

6. The New York Knicks: Lost 107-99 on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

7. The Charlotte Bobcats: Lost 111-81 on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

8. The Houston Rockets: Haven't played another game yet.
So out of a possible seven games (so far), teams that have beaten the Celtics are 2-5 and those five losses were by a combined 100 points (10, 17, 15, 8 and 30 points, respectively). And the two wins have mitigating circumstances, since the Lakers and Warriors played each other immediately after beating the Celtics (and one of those teams HAD to win), and the Nuggets barely won at home against an awful Timberwolves team that was at the tail end of an eight-game losing streak (and Denver was in the midst of a streak that saw them win 12 out of 15).

The point is this: It would seem that teams are getting really, really up to beat the Celtics and then coming back down to earth in the very next game. So it's kind of like Doc Rivers said: His team has to play 82 Game 7s this year. Speaking of which...

The Boston Celtics: The Leprechauns lost for the sixth time in their last eight games. So, uhm, yeah. I guess they won't be winning 70 games this season, huh? I talked at length about this team's problems yesterday, and frankly I'm not sure what I have to add. You can tell just by watching that the journey just isn't any fun anymore for the Celtics. And it's evident by the looks on their faces, which have been vacillating between boredom and frustration. After the game, Rivers said: "In our last timeout, you could see it in our guys' eyes. Like, 'Shoot, we're going to lose this home game. It bothered them. You could see that. And I was thinking 'That's a good thing." I've heard of taking lemons and trying to make lemonade, but it seems like Doc's trying to make Dom PĂ©rignon out of toilet water.

Wild Yams had this to say in a comment: "With the way the Rockets have been slumping, for them to go to Boston and win w/o T-Mac and with Artest fouling out with 4 minutes to go shows the depths to which the Celtics have sunk (especially since two Houston starters, Scola and Alston, combined for only two points!). What in god's name is going on with them?! Did that loss to the Lakers on Xmas Day really shake them up something fierce or what? I guess what I'm asking is this: Are the Celtics' problems mental, or are they really just not that great after all?" The problems are both mental -- this season's pressure-filled journey is nothing like last year's quest for rebirth and redemption -- and the fact that, minus James Posey and P.J. Brown, their bench has gone from Charles Atlas to the 98-pound weakling getting sand kicked in his face on the beach. But the good news is the Celtics won't be paying James Posey $6 million for that extra season a couple years from now! Great move, Danny.

Paul Pierce and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck: Ron Artest fouled out of the game with just over three minutes remaning. The fans, obviously, got a hoot out of that, which is typical. What was less typical is this: Paul Pierce kindly pointed him to the sideline as Grousbeck, standing in front of his courtside throne, waved goodbye. That's more than "kind of" classless, guys. Next time, please leave the taunting and mockery to the fans. (Thanks to Georgi for the following picture.)

Hey, Paul. Maybe you should point that finger inward...

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen: The Celtics scored 11 points in the fourth quarter. They shot 22 percent in that final period and got outscored 15-6 in the final eight minutes. For the heck of it, here's a rundown of Boston's fourth quarter possessions: Eddie House missed 3-pt. Jump Shot; Leon Powe missed Jump Shot (Blocked by Carl Landry); Gabe Pruitt made 3-pt. Jump Shot (Assist Ray Allen); Eddie House missed Jump Shot; Gabe Pruitt made Jump Shot; Lost ball turnover on Gabe Pruitt (Stolen by Ron Artest); Eddie House missed 3-pt. Jump Shot; Leon Powe missed Hook Shot, Paul Pierce missed Jump Shot, Paul Pierce missed 3-pt. Jump Shot; Ray Allen missed Jump Shot; Kevin Garnett missed Turnaround Jump Shot; Ray Allen made two Free Throws; Kevin Garnett missed Jump Shot; Paul Pierce missed Layup; Paul Pierce made Jump Shot; Kevin Garnett missed Jump Shot; Rajon Rondo made Layup (Assist Kevin Garnett); Offensive foul on Paul Pierce; Paul Pierce missed Jump Shot; Ray Allen missed Layup.

So, to recap, the Celtics' three go-to guys combined for 4 points on 1-for-9 shooting (including two missed layups), two assists and a turnover in the decisive fourth quarter of a critical home game. Now, to me, this is a Big Fail for the Big Three, but based on the comments I received for drawing attention to Kobe's fourth quarter fail against the Hornets, I guess I have to reassess my way thinking, right?

Okay, it's time for a mini-rant here. The Mamba Apologists were out in force yesterday, and their defense of Kobe's 2-point, 1-for-6 disappearance during the Lakers' fourth-quarter come-from-ahead home loss to the Hornets boiled down to two basic points: The defense was keying on Kobe and his teammates missed shots. So, then, the expectation is that Kobe, the league's MVP and widely-acclaimed "greatest player" can be neutralized and that Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic and Trevor Ariza should come through in the clutch. Okay, fine. But then, what's the point in having a fourth quarter closer? And furthermore, is this really a new thing? Not just this year or in the Finals, but over Kobe's whole career? Or, for that matter, in the career of every great player in NBA history?

Look, every NBA defense tightens up in the fourth quarter. Every superstar receives the bulk of the defensive attention. It's called clutch time. That's when one (or more) of three things has to happen: The player must find a way to score, create shots for his teammates, or force his way to the basket to draw fouls. Yes, Kobe passed to teammates for open shots they didn't hit, but he himself was blanked, scoring only two points. And as for driving to the rim, he attempted one layup (which he hit) and five jumpers (which he missed). Frankly, since he and his teammates weren't hitting from the outside, he should have gone hard to the hole and forced the refs to make a call. That's what Jordan used to do, and, more often than not, it's what Dwyane Wade does now.

See, here's the thing: Great players, MVPs, they have to step it up when their teammates cannot. When go-to guys can't be gone to, that's a problem. And those of you who want to accuse me of being unfair to Kobe and "drinking Haterade" really need to review my body of work. I've written hundreds of WotN posts, and I have consistently criticized great players who fall short in the end game, including guys by the name of Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Shaq, Steve Nash, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, so on and so forth. I've always done it and I will always do it, because it is my steadfast belief that money time is the province of money players. It would be great if Eddie House or Sasha Vujacic or whoever could hit a few shots. But scoring 2 points on 1-for-6 without getting to the line (as Kobe did) or combining to shoot 1-for-9 while getting to the line only once (as the Big Three did) is, in my mind, a failure.

In the final analysis, you can always find reasons for why a player or players didn't perform well or hit shots. I'm sure you could justify the performance of each Laker and each Celtic in every loss each team suffers. But the great players across every sport always bear the burden of responsibility for how a team executes down the stretch. This isn't a new thing, is it? And, in the interest of the "intellectual honesty" that some commenters like to espouse, how is it that my critiques of other players' fourth-quarter breakdowns aren't similarly dissected? I mean, I've tagged players for having a single turnover or missed shot at a critical juncture in a tight loss. And take the case of Shaq. Several people have correctly noticed this season that Shaq tends to perform well early and then quiet down significantly in the later stages of a game. True enough. But it is also true that teams begin aggressively double-teaming him in the fourth quarter, which forces him to pass the ball back out and become a spectator as the Suns look elsewhere for offense. Is this Shaq's fault? Because, like Kobe, he's only doing what he's supposed to do: Pass away from swarming defenses. Likewise Kevin Garnett has taken a beating FOR YEARS for doing the exact same thing. Yet Kobe should be exempt?. No. No, I don't think so.

I want to make clear that I still want everybody to speak their minds. But next time, before you try to call me out for "infairly" criticizing Kobe, ask yourself why the rules that you have probably applied to the Shaqs and Dirks and the KGs and T-Macs of the world do not apply to Kobe.

Update! Von Wafer: Ugh. I was so disheartened by the Celtics' loss that I forgot about Wafer's at-the-rim rejection. But Ace didn't: "How can you not include this gem of Von Wafer getting stuffed by the rim? To add insult to injury, the NBA named it the block of the night." Indeed they did:

So does the rim get credit for the stuff? Or does it count as a team block?

The Washington Wizards: They lost at home to a Raptors team that had only nine players available -- Jermaine O'Neal (right knee), Jose Calderon (right hamstring), Jamario Moon (wife gave birth to a baby) and Hassan Adams (traded to the Clippers and then immediately released) were all gone buy-bye -- to maintain their stranglehold on the worst record in the Eastern Conference (7-27). And that makes them, by the way, only two wins up on the Thunder. Yeah. It's that bad. It's a good thing they fired Eddie Jordan though! Speaking of coaches, Wizards placeholder Ed Tapscott said: "We met the opposition, and it was us. We took a step back, defensively and offensively tonight. Compared to the last few games that we've played, clearly I'm not happy." Awh. I hate it when he's not happy. Speaking of unhappy, here's what Antawn Jamison, who had a season-high 32 points, had to say: "It's a step back, not because of who wasn't on the court for them, but just the way we played. We didn't play good basketball at all. We didn't get effort. We got outrebounded by one of the worst teams in the NBA. We thought the outcome should have been different." I'm not sure somebody on a 7-win team has the right to call a 15-squad "one of the worst teams in the NBA." You know?

Mike Bibby: Whoops. Bibs bonked a breakaway layup that would have cut the Magic's lead to only 2 points with just under a buck and a half left in the game. Check it out, starting around the 1:56 mark:

Hey, it's like my buddy Mr. P says, the layup is the hardest shot in the game. But still. Like Basketbawful reader Dan B. said: "You know you have failed miserably when even John Hollinger calls you out (and NOT to rag on your crappy PER!)." Hollinger correctly states that Bibby blew it by not using the backboard. Mike, for his part, was disinclined to take blame for the miss, or the loss: "I missed an easy layup, but it happens. We need to start from the first quarter and play the whole game." Translation: Hey, not my fault.

The New Orleans Hornets: Remember what I was saying about what happens to teams after they beat the Celtics? Yeah, that probably goes for teams that defeat the Lakers, too. It sure did last night, when a clearly gassed-out Hornets squad got leg-dropped 116-90 by the Jazz. As Jerry Sloan put it: "Obviously it's a long trip for them to have to come up here, but that's the way it works out." That's life in the NBA. There really is a story behind every win and every loss.

Carlos Boozer: So...Paul Millsap extended his NBA-leading streak of double-doubles to 19 games with 27 points and 14 rebounds last night against the Hornets. And the still-injured Boozer is probably going to opt out and ask the Jazz to pay him close to $100 million in a long-term, guaranteed contract this summer? Yeah. Good luck with that, Carlos.

The Phoenix Suns: Somebody asked me recently whom I root for when two of my favorite teams face off. My answer: Whichever team has the better chance to make and/or progress through the playoffs. After all, every game can be crucial when deciding playoff positioning come springtime. So, naturally, I was forced to root against my Pacers last night in favor of the Suns. And...that didn't work out too well for me (or the Suns). Phoenix once again fell victim to a near-career-high scoring night by an opponent, as Danny Granger blew up for 37 points, three of which came on a buzzer-beater to win the game.

I would like to point out that there were only 0.9 seconds left on the clock when Mike Dunleavy inbounded the ball to Granger. That means Phoenix only had to defend for less than a second to force overtime. And they couldn't do it. Good thing Terry Porter has been stressing defense this season.

Steve Nash: According to the Yahoo! box score, Captain Canada was the Suns' best player last night with 16 points and 12 assists. But watch the video. It was Nash who got dotted by Granger on that game-winning buzzer beater. Congrats on making it into yet another player's poster/highlight film, Steve. Maybe you shouldn't be swimming with those sharks after all. Oh, you also lose points for that fruity chest-bumb with Leandro Barbosa.

Nash and Barbosa
"Wonder Douch Powers, activate!
Form of...a leaping dork!"

The Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade scored 31 points and Shawn Marion added 25, but the Heat still lost by double-digits to the Carmelo Anthony-less Nuggets in Denver. That makes them 1-3 in their last four games.

Dwyane Wade, unintentional dis machine: Regarding the lack of 'Melo in Denver's lineup: "You could see they didn't need him. The guys off the bench stepped up. They have plenty of players that can score." They didn't need their All-Star Olympian, huh? Does that say something about Anthony, something about the Heat, or something about both?

The Detroit Pistons: They shot the ball well (50 percent), they won the rebounding battle (40-28) and they had a lead with under 10 seconds to go. Then they lost when Travis Outlaw hit a crazy fadeaway J over a double-team with 8.9 seconds left. That hurts. Watch it for yourself (starting at 1:53).

Allen Iverson (6-for-19), who blew a layup with 22.9 seconds left and missed a jumper with 3.9 ticks that could have won the game, said: "The things that we needed to go right at the end of the game went all wrong." Yeah, that's one way to put it.

The Golden State Warriors: They suffered one of those bitterly painful come-from-ahead home losses when the Lakers outscored them 37-26 in the fourth quarter. And their interior defense was an insult to any and all human words that could be used to describe it. Pau Gasol scored 33 points and had a career-high 18 rebounds...14 and 8 of which came in the decisive fourth quarter. Memo to Don Nelson: It takes more than hope and happy thoughts looks from you and your players to keep opponents out of the paint. Thanks.

Kobe Bryant: He forced his teammates to listen to several annoying knock-knock jokes on the plane ride back to L.A., including: "Knock Knock. Who's there? Smell Mop. Smell Mop Who...?"

Meaningless trades: The Raptors traded Hassan Adams to the Clippers for a conditional second-round draft pick and cash considerations. The Clippers then waived Adams. Heat traded Shaun Livingston to Memphis for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2012. The Grizzlies then waived Livingston.

Lactivity report: The mighty Chris continues his mission:

Bobcats-Cavs: Juwan Howard gave Charlotte a +2 SD in 3:38 (via one turnover and one foul), while the Cavs' Lorenzen Wright eschewed a potential 4 trillion treasure through one rebound.

Rockets-Celtics: Luis Scola avoided giving Houston a +9 via two rebounds, but Brian Scalabrine, for the second night in a row, has become the go-to guy for representing the essence of the Boston bench (inept and unimpressive) in this slump, getting +1 (foul) in 3:07.

Grizzlies-Nets: Chris Douglas-Roberts went 7:22 of floor time with a missed shot for a +1.

Hornets-Jazz: Utah's Jarron Collins racked up a 3.7 trillion!

Pistons-Blazers: One brick gave Channing Frye of Portland a +1 in 3:58.
Richard Batista: This doctor from Garden City, New York, donated a kidney to his wife in 2001. Now, however, they're getting a divorce, and Batista wants the kidney -- or it's equivalent value -- back in the settlement. I am not making this up. Oddly enough, this is what he recently had to say about the donation: "There is no greater feeling on this planet. As God is my witness, I felt as if I could put my arm around Jesus Christ. It was an unbelievable; I was walking on a cloud. To this day I would still do it again." But he wants the kidney back. Jesus does NOT approve, Richard.

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Blogger CASABLANCAS said...
Swift was almost in tears because Madsen was pressing on his balls.

Blogger Matt Grady said...
On Jamison's comment: I believe he was referring specifically to rebounding, and not to the Raptors as a whole, with his "We got outrebounded by one of the worst teams in the NBA" comment; the Raptors are indeed one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. At least, I'd hope that was what he meant.

Blogger Ace said...
how can you not include this gem of von wafer getting stuffed by the rim?
to add insult to injury, the NBA named it the block of the night


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Lackers Fans: Worst fans in the NBA.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Please don't ever stop writing this blog. Seriously.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Get over yourself. You may be more obsessed with Kobe than Lakers fans are. You're like a psycho ex-boyfriend. Shut up already.

Kobe was 1-6 in the fourth quarter but in the entire second half he was 9-15 (including 6-7 from three). Chris Paul was 1-4 in the fourth quarter. Not exactly clutch either. But you can't mention that cuz it's all about Kobe. Wah wahhh.

Kobe passed the ball in the fourth quarter to break the double teams and other Lakers failed to knock down shots. Every Lakers basket in the last 9 minutes of the game was assisted by Kobe. Clutch playmaking doesn't always have to be shooting. Pau played much worse, not scoring in the fourth quarter and getting torched by David West. Kobe single-handedly kept the Lakers in the game. If you watched the game, he was double-teamed behind the 3 point line every time he touched the ball in the fourth quarter. So he passed the ball and teammates missed WIDE OPEN shots that they had been making all game. They were all wide open. Kobe does not "bear that responsibility of how his teammates shoot down the stretch." If he can get them wide open shots, they should make them. How is that his fault?

Kobe kept shooting jumpers in the fourth because he was making jumpers all game. He was 8-9 in the third quarter. That usually give you the confidence to keep shooting jumpers. Yeah, he missed some in the fourth. Jordan missed some too. I usually agree with you on this site, but stop crying about Kobe. It's embarrassing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Pacers beat the Suns in Phoenix, 113-110.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
^^^ This. QFT, Anonymous.

However, it sounds like it's time for...

CLUTCH STATS FROM 82games.com!

As much as I hate to defend Kobe, there's nothing THAT bad about his clutch-time stats this season. One thing to note is his low FTA compared to the other top guys, and if you look at his personal page he's 81% jump shots in the clutch. But he's shooting 53.8% which isn't that bad.

As for the two other players mentioned here, Garnett and McGrady, you'll have to scroll down the list a while to see them. Now THOSE are some pathetic clutch time numbers.

Also note the only player averaging a triple-double 48 min clutch, King Crab with a ridonkulous man-monster-type 67/20/10. Also note Wade's almost near a clutch dirty triple (quadruple?) with 54/6/8/9.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
CASABLANCAS -- That's just how Madsen rolls, man. Speaking of which, can anybody believe that Mark's still in the league??

Matt Grady -- Yeah, I thought about that, and you're probably right. But for the sake of this post, I'm going to take 'Tawn at his word.

Ace -- Whoops. Added.

John -- Well, it depends on what you think of as fandom. Yeah, they tend to lose touch with reality on an alarmingly regular basis, but their support is kind of unwavery. Well, for Kobe, anyway.

Anonymous #1 -- As long as I have one or two chewed up fingers left to type with, I will comply with your wishes.

Yi Sucks -- Yeah. I'm going to shut up on my own blog. Tell you what, YS, when you're running a blog and I'm "crying about Kobe" over there, feel free to tell me to shut up all you want. Until then, you'll understand if I ignore your request with extreme prejudice.

Regarding Paul, I don't really need to mention him because he did what was necessary to help his team win: i.e., get the ball to David West and watch him work. Seriously, dude, this is Basketbawful. I rip on players every day. It's my raison d'ĂȘtre. Yet when I call out Kobe, you wacky wallcrawlers accuse me of picking on him or being "like a psycho ex-boyfriend."

What's more aggravating is that in your extreme and illogical haste to defend your boy, you entirely missed the point of today's rant. The rant wasn't about Kobe, it was about Kobe fanboys who will kick the crap out of Dirk or T-Mac or KG or whoever for failing in the fourth quarter while you make every imaginable excuse in the world for Kobe, all of which are always some variation of "The defense was all over him" or "his teammates let him down." That's how it is. It's never Kobe's fault. It's always the other team's fault, or the fault of his teammates.

Me pointing out that MVPs and superstars are expected to produce in the clutch, you say that's embarrassing? Suuuure. I'd rather be "embarrassed" in that way than suffer such a severe disconnect with reality that I become incapable of seeing any fault with my favorite players. Which, for the record, include guys like KG and Steve Nash...both of whom got a boot in the butt in today's post.

So, long story short: Whatever.

Anonymous #2 -- Yes, yes they did. Sigh.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- Note that I wasn't criticizing Kobe's regular clutch play. Only his clutch play in the Hornets game.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Granger didn't have a career high last night. He's had back to back 40 something games this season already.

As far as Kobe bashing, I'm all for it, but it's OK to admit it's a little one sided in terms of other stars. I didn't see you noting that Wade had a pretty craptacular fourth quarter himself last night. Then again, delusional Miami fans aren't saying he's the GOAT, so meh.

Also, Vitale doing an NBA game? I hope that never happens again. "This place is so quiet! In college it's much different." Do you think they drove all that way to watch a basketball game played between millionaires? They just want a rolled up t-shirt blasted into their chest from an air cannon, hopefully directed by a moderately creepy mascot. Or, you know, fat dancing.

Blogger Unknown said...
Is Swift rocking nail polish?

Not to beat a decaying horse, but while i disagree with you putting him on the WOTN. I think the KB fans can defenitly be more rabid than most.

I wont berate you on hating on Kobe, cause you do call out everyone in equal measure.

Maybe no one defends Dirk and company's WOTN appearances because they dont have as many core (read:psycho) fans.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is it just me, or does it look like Robert Swift has his nails painted black in the picture you have to open your post?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
hi bawful, i am a huge laker/kobe fan and i have no problem with you pointing out his sometimes McGimpyesqe antics during a game. As a fan you must be able to see a player for who they really are and for all the clutch, sometimes unbelievable things kobe does,there are times where he comes up short. So he does not deserved any special treatment, especially on this blog. keep up the great work!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow that was quite an update for DECEMBER 7th! :) Check the typo

And where are the pictures of the folks dressed in crab suits?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kobe probably would have eventually gotten some free throws if he forced the issue, but generally he was missing around the rim due to uncalled fouls.

I agree to the extent that I'd rather watch a fearless player like the old Wade for a single game, but maybe avoiding injury in a regular season game is okay, too.

You likely didn't watch the entire game. Kobe was unusually great throughout.

You get more comments in response to ripping Kobe because more people watch Kobe. Maybe Los Angeles has a lower average I.Q., or maybe you're just hearing from the retards and fanatics.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Theres all these comments about players not being clutch, then it always comes down to a comparisons to Jordan. Jordan no doubt, was cltuch for his era, but he never had to face the zone defense in the NBA during the Bulls championship era, so the comparisons between him and every player playing today need to stop. This ain't the 1990s NBA league. I could go on for days talking about how much things have changed in the game in a decade. So go ahead, rip on all these guys all you want, just stop the Jordan comparisons already. BTW this is the best basketball blog site ever.

Blogger Drake said...
"Anonymous said...

Theres all these comments about players not being clutch, then it always comes down to a comparisons to Jordan. Jordan no doubt, was cltuch for his era, but he never had to face the zone defense in the NBA during the Bulls championship era, so the comparisons between him and every player playing today need to stop. This ain't the 1990s NBA league. I could go on for days talking about how much things have changed in the game in a decade. So go ahead, rip on all these guys all you want, just stop the Jordan comparisons already. BTW this is the best basketball blog site ever.

1/08/2009 2:02 PM"

True there were no 'legal' zone defenses back in the 90's. But teams did use quasi-zones and other zone-like tactics back then that didn't violate the illegal defense rules. I remember reading that these 'quasi-zones' gave the Bull's triangle offense the most trouble out of any defense.

And yes, the league has definitely changed since the 90's. Some were for the better, but I would argue mostly for the worse. How so?

- The 90's NBA seemed to be chock full of hombres, on virtually every team. There are too many pussies nowadays: I blame flopping.
- No 'legal' zone was allowed in the 90's. Fair enough.
- But then again, no hand checking is allowed on defense today.
- Don't believe that hand-checking is really that effective?

Ever play pickup ball? Try this: for a few possessions on D, put your hand on the shoulder of the player you're guarding. Then for a few possessions, guard the player without hand-checking him.

Provided the player is a good-enough player, which way of defending is it easier to keep in front of the player?
- Speaking of defense, the 90's NBA was a lot more liberal in terms of what defensive players could get away with. So defenses were a lot more roughshod on offensive players back then, i.e. the 90's New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers.

So you're right, there really is no comparison: defenses nowadays are just weak compared with defenses back in the 90's. The 07-08 Celtics back then would have simply been another solid defensive team.

In addition, players back then actually trained for the defense back then, naturally. Although he wasn't a 90's player, Adrian Dantley basic training over the summer was playing pickup ball with a bunch of friends where they basically fouled him as much and as hard as they wanted to, and he encourage it. Too many players today are looking to the refs for a call when they're being fouled.

Blogger Trev said...
"This ain't the 1990s NBA league. I could go on for days talking about how much things have changed in the game in a decade."

Your right with the crack down on hand checking in today's game Jordan would be averaging around 40 a game.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, you really are going a little crazy here, on two points: making excuses for the Celtics and looking for anything possible with which to criticize Kobe. I think you're getting a bit carried away with the whole "every game is a Game 7" thing for Boston, and trying to say all these losses are Pyrrhic victories for the other teams because it takes so much out of them or whatever. The Bobcats got blown out by the Crabaliers in Cleveland because the Crabs are 18-0 at home, have the best record in the league, and oh yeah, the Cats suck. Can you say the Thunder got blown out by the Pups cause they left a part of themselves on the court in beating the Knicks, or is just cause Klahma City is a horrible team? I'm going with the latter.

I think you're on the right track with criticizing Ainge for not re-signing Posey though (PJ Brown was out of his hands, he's retired). When your team is the defending champs and are a somewhat aged squad, you don't weaken your team due to salary concerns 3 years from now. Unless Ainge is planning on trading one of The Big Three at some point this year or next year, that made no sense at all. More and more I think the Celtics aren't gonna win this year's title just because their bench is so thin. That combined with Rondo and Perk being inconsistent means it's all on The Big Three, and that really wasn't the case last year. If Boston finishes with the 2nd or 3rd seed in the East and has to play Orlando then go on the road to Cleveland to get to the Finals, then it might be a Pyrrhic victory for them and they might not have enough left in the tank to beat LA this year, especially when I expect the Lakers to cruise to the Finals even easier than they did last year.

Speaking of the Lakers, hopefully you don't think of me as someone who defends Kobe, no matter what, because believe me I look at much of what he does, especially when his team is losing, and think "what an idiot". I also know you don't like it when people ask you "did you watch the game" but I really have to wonder how much of that Lakers-Hornets game you did watch, simply because you drew a very odd conclusion from the game if you did in fact watch it. If a team sends more than one defender to cover a player out beyond the three-point arc, there really is only so much that player can do. IMO the best thing to do is to pass it to an open guy, and most likely that person will then swing it again to someone who should be wide open due to the super aggressive double team that started the whole thing. Then you just have to hope the wide open player hits the shot.

For a player to even try to dribble out of a double team is usually not a good idea (Kobe attempts this far too often, and gets stripped of the ball a lot as a result); and of course trying to shoot a three with two defenders on you is just plain stupid, no matter how good a shooter you are (Kobe also attempts to do this more than he should). When a team does this, they're saying "YOU are not going to beat us. Everyone else on your team might, but it won't be you." Other players in the league don't really see this kind of defense, not the way Kobe does, and it's really because Kobe is generally the only player who is either stupid enough or ballsy enough to start taking tightly contested 3-pt shots every trip down the floor.

It's the same thing Kobe did when he scored 81 points against Toronto (he scored 55 of those points in the 2nd half), and it's the same kind of thing he's done a lot, actually, but 9 times out of 10 it backfires miserably and he ends up shooting the Lakers out of the game. However, on the rare occasion that he actually hits those shots, it forces the other team to suddenly divert ALL of their defensive attention to him, and it's not something I've ever seen done to any other player. In the case of Kobe's 81 point game, the Raptors had poor perimeter defenders like ancient Jalen Rose to put on him in the 4th quarter, and so it resulted in a lot of fouls. In New Orleans case, they had an excellent defender in James Posey to use, and it was far more effective. The other difference is that in that 81 point game, Kobe kept going 1 on 5, whereas in the Hornets game he decided to defer.

I would say that Kobe's attempt to take the whole offensive load on himself in the 3rd by hoisting all those shots was a bad move, except he did it out of desperation because the Hornets were beginning to pull away, so if he hadn't done that then IMO the Hornets would have blown it open in the 3rd quarter, rather than the 4th. The blame for that Laker loss should either be on the Laker defense for not shutting down West and Paul, or I think it really just was one of those cases where the other team was rolling and there wasn't much the Lakers could do to stop it. David West was doing the same thing Kobe was: just hitting one contested long range jumper after another. He just had Chris Paul as a threat on his own to keep setting him up while Kobe didn't have someone like that. Trust me, I'll rip Kobe apart just like anyone when he plays truly bawful, but that just wasn't the case the other night. I'm not being an apologist, I'm just being honest.

Blogger Clifton said...
I should have posted this last night, but I didn't get done with work until 2:00ish and was completely beat, plus somewhat drained of emotion after the Suns clawed back from a God-awful start than somehow, as you mentioned, failed to defend Granger for :00.9 seconds.

It was a weird hour or so leading up to the game. Early on they said Nash was "likely out" with THE flu (they didn't say flu-like symptoms... wink), then as tip-off grew closer it became "game-time decision", then "well, he's in uniform", then pretty much as they announced the starting line-ups they said, "well, he's apparently starting." And also, with Shaq's back, no one would give an official word as to what was going on. Al McCoy was careful to note that all they'd heard was technically rumors about Shaq's back, but that "it seems like everyone has heard the same rumor, although there has been no confirmation." Terry Porter was apparently channeling his inner Bill Belichick leading up to this one.

But seriously, as I've now moved on from my Dragic fetish to focus on Lopez... why do they even bother starting him in games which Shaq misses? Pretty sure Amundson gets the next start. Lopez started; I listened to the opening tip in my truck, hopped out for two minutes to check my backing-up job to a trailer, hopped back in, and... Amundson was already in??? I texted The Filthy Logician, who was watching the game, and asked if I missed a sprained ankle or something. No, I was told, they just lifted him after a few series.

Lopez's line: started, played 5 minutes total, NO shot attempts, 2-4 FT's, NO rebounds, a block and FOUR fouls... in five minutes. Amundson played 25 minutes and was very impressive tonight (9 points, 9 offensive boards/14 total, only 2 fouls)-- but Amundson went 1 for 7 from the free-throw stripe. Al McCoy and Tim Kempton have been like Amundson's mini fan club every time he's gotten in the game these past few weeks (so full of hustle! look how he moves! brings such a spark to the team! ... Kempton calls him "Sweet Lou!"... enngh), but after watching him get significant minutes in the last three games, last night they begrudgingly began to admit that Lou is making Shaq look like Mark Price at the line. These last three games he's played 18, 20, and 25 minutes, respectively, with each one being a new 'real' season high if you don't count that bizarro Chicago game earlier in the year, and he's gone 2-of-5, 1-of-6, and 1-of-7 from the stripe. That's right, do the math: the Suns lost this one by three, and Amundson yakked up 6 potential points by himself on the night on only 7 attempts.

The guy seems like he has plenty of potential, and certainly played well last night whenever it didn't involve him standing at the free-throw line, but we've already got one big man that struggles to hit free throws, and besides, "Hack-a-Lou" sounds too much like "Turkoglu".

Oh, and he was blocked twice in 9 shot attempts. That'll happen when you're a 6'9" center (and although I've never seen him in person, it looks on TV like they're measuring him with Charles Barkley's old tape measure).

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
Nobody can blame Bawful for wishing it was Birdmas all over again. Dec 7 should come at least once a week.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
anyone notice shawn marion had a really good game? 25 and 12. where the hell was this?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
"And furthermore, is this really a new thing? Not just this year or in the Finals, but over Kobe's whole career?"

That doesn't really sound like criticism of just the Hornets game.

Anyways, my point was, generally Kobe's clutch play (since 2002 atleast) has been ~70-80% jumper, and low-ish FTA, and high-ish 3PTA, meaning your point that "he should have gone hard to the hole and forced the refs to make a call" is probably valid, but he hasn't been that type of clutch player often enough. So although his clutch %'s are high, it will lead to inconsistent nights such as a 1-6 4th quarter. If you want, compare his regular season clutch stats to his playoffs clutch stats. In most years I've browsed, the numbers generally drop. Last season: 44.8%, 74% jumper, 23.3 FTA48. In the postseason, his numbers were slightly better/same, but had a lower Drawn Foul rate, was assisted less and blocked more, so take from that what you will.

I don't see why both Bawful and the Kobe fans got so riled up by this, pointing out a strange statistical night like this is perfectly valid for a WotN and is why this site is called BasketBawful, and the fact that it is something statistically different should imply that Kobe is a great clutch performer anyways.

As for the Jordan comparisons, I think it is completely unfair. Zone defences and softy plush hand defence of today compares nothing like the rough-n'-tough defence of the 90s that almost sank the NBA. If Jordan had to play today against the oh-so-scary-occasionally-used zone, he'd probably have a career average of 40 pts.

(fake edit: I seriously was typing this before I saw Trev's post. Amazing, we both chose the number 40.)

(fake edit 2: Yams, Kobe looked pretty tired at the end of his 81 night. I don't really blame him in that case for slowing down a tad.)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Stephanie G -- While they weren't back-to-back, Danny did indeed have two 40-point games withing four games of each other. I quoted the career-high thing from the official game recap. I'm guessing that the AP used the career-high mentioned in his NBA.com bio, which is still 37 (from teh 2007-08 season). But still, my bad for not remembering Granger's 40-point games. And I call myself a Pacers fan. :(

reuben -- That might be part of it. But then again, part of it has to do with rep, I guess. Like, it's so ingrained in the communcal consciousness of NBA fans that Dirk/T-Mac/KG/whoever wilts in the bright lights of clutch time that people are ever-ready to agree with such "common knowledge." Similarly, Kobe seems to have a rep that says he never fails individually, his team fails him.

AlexK -- Congratulations! I was wondering who would notice that first. Yup, he's all emo in that pic.

Anonymous #1 -- Thanks, man. (Or woman, if that's the case.)

Alexis_RS -- UGH. Wow. See, that's what happens when you start this stuff at four in the morning...as for the crab suits, you know, I saw it live but I didn't find any pictures when I was poking around. I might have to do something about that.

Anonymous #2 -- Oh, I watched the game. If you refer to the original post, I recapped Kobe's great first three quarters.

Anonymous #3 -- Jordan was the first player who popped to mind, but I feel it's relevant regarding Kobe because he's the player that Bryant patterned himself after. But fine. I also mentioned Wade, and I could also mention LeBron, who, as AnacondaHL showed above, is the NBA's premier clutch stud. Interestingly enough, Kobe is currently ranked 5th in clutch scoring but only 44th in clutch FTAs...way behind teammates Derek Fisher (ranked 8th) and Pau Gasol (ranked 11th). I would guess that's because Kobe tends to take jumpers in the clutch rather than take it to the cup. Funny that Fisher is rated so much higher...maybe 'cause he's L.A.'s designated FT shooter in the clutch?

Drake -- Agreed. Today's fans always talk about zones. Well, as you say, teams regularly got away with zones back in the day. They just had to be subtle about it and hope the refs turned a blind eye (which they often did). And the effect of handchecking is often understated by people who either have never played or don't apply their playing knowledge to the current game. Slight hand checks can wreak havok on shooters. And by and large, today's perimeter players don't have to deal with that.

Trev -- Ditto.

Wild Yams -- You know, it's funny. I spent an inordinate amount of time yesterday breaking down the many, many things I think are wrong with the Celtics. I then spent one small paragraph criticizing Kobe. The ratio of criticism doled out was disproportionately weighted towards the Celtics. Tell me, then, what got the strongest, most negative reaction. And now you tell me that I'm "making excuses for the Celtics and looking for anything possible with which to criticize Kobe." Really, Yams? Really? I'm particularly surprised to get that from you, especially since, in addition to knowing you read yesterday's post, I sent you a personal email detailing Boston's issues. I'm hardly making excuses for them. And I'm also hardly "looking for anything possible" to dis Kobe. He didn't come through in the clutch. I make the same criticism of every MVP and superstar-level player in the league. Period. End of story. Just because I explicated my vision (and expectations) of such players doesn't mean I'm scrambling around LOOKING for reasons to slam Mamba. Honestly, I think that the Kobe fans are doing that very thing in criticizing me for criticizing him. Haven't you recently gone after Shaq for disappearing late in games, even though his reasons are similar to the reasons you stated for Kobe?

Boston's limited bench is, indeed, their biggest problem. Rondo and Perkins are fine players, but they're limited. Rondo can't shoot, which causes a myriad of problems, and Perkins is slow, has bad hands, isn't a great finisher and has that recurring shoulder issue. (Oh, and he has no post game.) There's no relief off the bench, nor any real versatility.

Swarming double-teams have happened to players throughout the years. And there are various ways to deal with it. Players can still have major impact on the offensive end without scoring. Take Larry Bird. Go back and watch some of those old Celtics games from the 80s. Those teams didn't have the spacing of today's teams because Boston had three players who spent most of their time in and around the paint (Bird, McHale, Parish) and had one guard who couldn't shoot (Dennis Johnson). Plus, most refs didn't strictly enforce the illegal defense rules. So at times, Bird struggled to even get the ball, let alone find any space to work in. So he relentlessly moved, set screens, crashed the offensive board, and used a series of moves to act as a decoy and draw defenses away from teammates, etc. In the Hornets-Lakers game -- and yes, I watched it -- I didn't see a lot of that from Mamba. I saw him catching the ball and scrambling around to get an opening, forcing some shots and, yes, passing away from the defense. I didn't see all the little subtle things that I used to see from Bird (or a host of other players I could use as examples) from Kobe. And I rarely have.

Now, you could say, I guess, that's not the Lakers system. Whatever. We could go round and round. We're obviously not going to agree on this, and that's fine.

Clifton -- Yep. Yep. Yep. I agree with everything. I groaned in pain and disgust when the Suns chose Lopez. I saw this coming from a mile away. And as for Amundson's FTs, well, what can I say? They killed the Suns last night. And the thing is, with missed freethrows, they have value beyond just adding them to the final score and saying "What if?" A few extra points would have radically effected the Pacers' strategy in the end. But, ah well, what can you do? Hope that Shaq plays more games and Lou takes Lopey's backup minutes.

AnacondaHL -- My point is making the "whole career" comment is that defenses always key on Kobe and all superstars. It's common practice. But that doesn't mean the star can't still have impact on the game.

kazam92 -- I did notice that. Sadly, these days, that's more of an abberation than the rule.

Lord Kerrance -- Amen, brother.

Blogger Jim in KFalls said...
There's been some great man love pics on the Oregonian's Blazer Page today:

There is this one that I would title Spanish Grab Ass...

And then this one, that I would title: "Oh Yeah, I Like That!"

Blogger chris said...
An update on Darius Miles's trillionating stint with Memphis, which has Paul Allen and the Portland ownership group a lot more nervous than originally thought:


Blogger Wild Yams said...
I think me saying you were making excuses for the Celtics was actually poor phrasing, and I should have said you're going over the top in trying to reassure yourself that these losses aren't a big deal.

I really don't want to be lumped in with Kobe apologists who think he's the GOAT (or even the best in the game today), cause I don't think any of that. I have a lot of disdain for a lot of what he does and think he flat out costs his team wins with his stupid attempts at heroics. My only reason for disagreeing with you yesterday is because I thought that wasn't one of the instances where he did that. I don't think Kobe had a good clutch performance the other night, it's more that I just don't really think there was much else he could have done, and furthermore if he had really tried to do it all himself it wouldn't have worked either. The Hornets just played great and the Lakers didn't, that's it.

I think it's a little unfair to keep comparing Kobe to Jordan, and then to repeatedly call him a failure for not performing at that level or above that level. Yes, some Kobe fans are idiots who think he's always playing the best ball ever, but they're idiots and you don't need to over-scrutinize his flaws just because they over-hype his positives. I think the people who think Kobe is better than Jordan was, think that way because Kobe maybe pushes the envelope more and gives better glimpses of what he can truly do on a basketball court, even if it's detrimental to his team or his chance of winning to do so. Jordan dazzled, no doubt, but never at the expense of his team. But the Kobe fans just see that Kobe did something incredible without stopping to think about whether it was smart for him to even attempt it. He's like Tin Cup McAvoy in that way.

If you do want to just straight up compare Kobe in the clutch to Jordan in the clutch though, I think you have to take into account not only the defensive rule changes since then, but just the overall approach to defense in the NBA. Yes, hand-checking is technically illegal now, but how often do you see it called? Ever? Defenses today are far superior to what defenses used to be, if for no other reason than because coaches have adopted an across the board pragmatism where they play the odds in every facet of the game. Detroit and the Knicks trailblazed this during Jordan's era, and Phil Jackson expanded on it a lot too; but the sea change didn't happen till after Jordan retired.

I have to say, I think comparing Kobe to Bird is even weirder than your insistence on comparing him to Jordan. If you didn't have such a fetish for Bird, I would wonder where the hell it was coming from. Bird didn't initiate the offense or bring the ball up the court for the Celtics, he didn't play in an offense even remotely like the one Kobe plays in, and he played in an era where defense was not really practiced by anyone, and games regularly finished with teams scoring upwards of 130 points in regulation. Bird had to run off screens and had other Hall of Fame players on the floor to distribute the ball to. I daresay you never saw Bird get aggressively double teamed 35 feet from the basket. Jordan never even saw that! You don't see LeBron James get that kind of treatment either because nobody respects his shot enough from there, and they also pay him the compliment of not thinking he's shit nuts enough to start launching shot after shot from there.

Kobe gets that kind of D thrown at him sometimes because he plays like a fool, like it's a video game or something, only he has enough talent to pull it off every once in awhile. Most of the time when he does that it just leads to a lot of really poor shot attempts that rim out and lead to buckets the other way, effectively killing any shot of the Lakers winning the game (go watch their loss to Sacramento earlier this year for a prime example of this). The other night Kobe actually showed some spark of intelligence and DIDN'T do this in the 4th quarter, and instead tried to pass the ball, and nobody else stepped up. I just am confused as to what you thought Kobe should have done, I guess. Bird and Jordan never had to deal with being double teamed all the time, even if they didn't have the ball. It makes a difference, don't you think?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What about the fact that, even though the Jazz are riddled with injuries right now, Jerry Sloan still sent Kyrylo Fesenko to in the D-League for his 2nd consecutive season while keeping the rookie Koufos on the active roster? You know your coach hates you when...

Blogger Erich said...
maybe the oklahoma thunder shoudl be called the klahma thuner.
Notice the O's and D's are missing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You *have* to devote an extra special section on Doc Rivers.

I browse the sports sites to get my daily dose of nbaiinformation and on 2 of them (sportsillustrated and foxsports) i find articles describing how Doc Rivers had seen this slump coming all along.

Seriously, has any other coach ever pulled of such a pathetic attempt to ammend himself of any responsibility? And the really stupid thing is that he should have done something to change things had he seen this all along.

i remember readin Rosen (or Simmons) saying how Doc Rivers benefits from by cultivating good relations with media people, but come on, this is as pathetic as it gets.

I cant' think of one instance in which Phil Jackson, Popovich or anyother good coach* trying to find such a ridicilous excuse for himself.

* Pat Riley is excluded since he is in fact the devil and thus could have actually predicted a slump with his evil genius powers.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The funny thing is that I'm not a Laker fan. I'm just a regular reader that disagreed with your comments. Putting Kobe on the WotN seemed like a stretch this time (usually not, but this time for sure) and figured it was the 'haterade' speaking. You can criticize Kobe a lot, there's certainly a lot there worth criticizing. This one just seemed a little misplaced.

Anyway, I read pretty much every day. Keep it up.

Blogger XKrNxBallarX said...
i think its just incredible that Robert Swift didnt purposely injure himself to keep from playing basketball..
bawful I think we should make a tribute to robert swift playing in over 10 games this season!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I like Swift. Seems like he has a unique sense of style.

Blogger lordhenry said...
Wow. I'm not sure I want to get into the whole Kobe thing. I think both bawful and yams have made great points. I think its a lose/lose situation for Kobe. If Kobe hadn't passed to the open man, it would've been a WOTN for being a ball-hogging ass, whereas if he did what he did, he's a loser for not taking the game over. I don't think KObe could've done anything right in that situation. There's no winning this argument.
I'm gonna just say that I KNOW bawful loves him some celtics, and there is no team more criticized on these pages than them. Do I think he's being selective in when he chooses to dish out criticism? Maybe, but he does tend to critique almost everyone, big name or not for failure. I'll take my one paragraph of (unjustified?) Kobe rant right along with my half-page of the celtics problems.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
aw, shame on you bawful for citing granger's 37-pt game against the suns was a career high. how can you forget that he had 41 and 42 pt games just last month?

i was about to nominate AP for the WOTN for this error, but you (as a pacer fan, of all things) forced me to nominate you for the WOTN ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
MR Bawful i just wanna add that the chinese character tattoo on Swift's leg in the yahoo picture means "coffin man", or more appropriately a man who sells coffins. So does his family run a funeral home or sthg?

Blogger Trey said...
I'm not a laker fan, just a basketball fan who happens to live in LA. I was at the Laker-Hornets game. There were multiple times in the fourth where Kobe was fouled, yet nothing was called. The refs were letting them play. I do believe that up until the 6 minute mark things were going well for the Lakers. At that point shots started going in and out, and David West started hitting 20 ft fall away jumpers. One player, such as Kobe, can only get his teammates the open shots, he can't shoot the shots for them.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Is anyone reading this anymore? Of course not (except for Mr. Bawful, who will have to approve this comment, of course). One incident in the not too distant past occurred to me that cast some doubt about how Mr. Bawful is supposedly as devoted to fairness as Harvey Dent when it comes to calling out the Celtics along with everyone else: the Xmas Day game. In that game Pierce only attempted one shot over the final 15 minutes of play, as Boston's "closer" and Finals MVP apparently choked miserably and let his team lose in front of the largest Xmas Day audience in years. Did Mr. Bawful similarly take him to task for it though? No, instead he blamed Pierce's teammates for not passing him the ball. I guess if Pierce was more like Larry Bird or Michael Jordan he'd have found a way to get the job done though, right? :)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Wild Yams -- Now you're officially baiting me. I won't take that bait, though. So far this season, I've devoted much more time and blog space to ragging on the C's, including Garnett and Pierce, than the Lakers. By far. It's not even close. I calls 'em hows I see 'em. I didn't even cover the Christmas Day games, and I certainly don't remember saying anything about the C's not passing him the ball. What I said is that they (the team) weren't going to him. He wasn't getting a lot of touches, and Rivers wasn't calling the plays he usually calls to get Paul shots. Which has been a recurring issue, even last season. Pierce's 41-point game against the Cavs was his first 40-pointer of the season. They rarely emphasize any one player in their offense, and I think that's a problem, because then nobody really gets into a rhythm. I think this season has shown that Ainge and Rivers didn't suddenly become geniuses last year. They had a lot of luck going their way.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Wild Yams -- Now you're officially baiting me. I won't take that bait, though. So far this season, I've devoted much more time and blog space to ragging on the C's, including Garnett and Pierce, than the Lakers. By far. It's not even close. I calls 'em hows I see 'em. I didn't even cover the Christmas Day games, and I certainly don't remember saying anything about the C's not passing him the ball. What I said is that they (the team) weren't going to him. He wasn't getting a lot of touches, and Rivers wasn't calling the plays he usually calls to get Paul shots. Which has been a recurring issue, even last season. Pierce's 41-point game against the Cavs was his first 40-pointer of the season. They rarely emphasize any one player in their offense, and I think that's a problem, because then nobody really gets into a rhythm. I think this season has shown that Ainge and Rivers didn't suddenly become geniuses last year. They had a lot of luck going their way.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Isn't it a valid point though? Pierce came up way, way small in the clutch in that game, and you said it was because his team didn't help him out enough; yet when a couple people said that Kobe's team didn't help him out enough in that Hornets game you said that Jordan or Bird would have figured out a way to overcome it. Just pointing that out is all.