kickball fever

The Detroit Pistons: I'll get to their "amazing comeback" in a minute. The Pistons are in way over their heads against the Crabs. The series is a joke. Nobody's giving them a chance. All anybody can talk about is how far this squad has fallen from what they were. Their defense is average at best, and the offensive execution that has been their hallmark for the last several years just isn't there anymore. (Turns out it's in Denver...inside Chauncey Billups.) "Total disarray" doesn't begin to touch upon the disappointment that is the Pistons. For a team that isn't suffering from any major injuries or any serious internal dissent (that we know of), this collapse is just depressing. Basically, it took the Cavs collectively hitting the snooze button for them to finish within a dozen points.

Iverson's cap-munching contract comes off the books this summer. So they're gonna have cap space. Joe Dumars can still turn this thing back around. But if he doesn't, he could go down in Detroit history as the second-coming of Matt Millen...which is crazy.

The Cleveland Cavaliers: Way to fall asleep in the fourth quarter, guys. The Crabs were up by 29 points in the fourth quarter when LeBron and, apparently, everybody else checked out of the game. Detroit then went on an improbable 27-5 run, pulling to within 7 points with 3:51 left. King Crab and the rest of the Cleveland starters were forced back into service to pull out the win. Memo to the Craboliers: Despite your stunning dominance, David Stern still requires you to play a full 48 minutes per game. Thank you. Said Mo Williams: "We're getting out of here with a sour taste in our mouths." Yeah, that's called vomit, Mo.

The Cavs' bench: Cleveland's pine jockeys combined for exactly one field goal. Not in the fourth quarter...FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. The reserves went 1-for-11 in 61 minutes of truly craptastic lacktion.

On the subject of the Crabs, Jamali Jack sent in a link to this video, via Slam Online: "Remember how serious the Celtics were during the Playoffs? That sort of concentration could drive a player to insanity! Well, the Cavs found a way to alleviate the pressure that comes with having the League’s best record. Although it’s not a closet full of cold ones, this isn't a bad remedy either."

Ron Artest: With Greg Oden and the Vanilla Godzilla dropping a steel net over Yao Ming (11 points, 4 fouls), Ron-Ron stepped in to pick up the chucking it up without conscience. Artest went 8-for-20 from the field yet somehow attempted only two free throws. That's probably because 18 of his 20 attempts were jump shots. That included a 1-for-8 effort from beyond the arc.

But it doesn't stop there. Brandon Roy went supernova, blowing up for 42 points (15-for-27 from the field, 10-for-12 from the line) and committing zero turnovers against the combined defense of Artest and Shane Battier. Roy also drilled a late-game three right in Ron's mug to push Portland's lead to 7 with 2:27 left. Not exactly a proud performance for a former Defensive Player of the Year. Maybe next time Artest can just pants Roy and then sing him a jaunty tune...

Still, despite the win, Wild Yams doesn't sound sold on the Blazers: "If I was Portland, I'd be most scared of the fact that their main advantage supposedly is their home court edge, and yet at home they got blown out in one game and barely won a second game in which their two stars had monster games while the opposing team's star hardly did anything. Portland's gonna get hammered in Houston."

Greg Oden: From AnacondaHL: "Just wanted to make sure you didn't miss Greg Oden's outstanding 24.75 PF/48min performance last night (his season average was 8.7 (link says FT per 36, but it's PF per 48). Obviously we're going to have to invent the Oden metric of bawful." Sounds like a challenge...get on it, people!

The End of Mount Mutumbo: Major, major sad face here, people:

Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo said his lengthy career is finished after a knee injury knocked him out of the Rockets' playoff game Tuesday night against the Trail Blazers.

"For me, basketball is over," he said.

Mutombo, an 18-year NBA veteran, appeared to get tangled with Portland center Greg Oden and came down hard on his left leg late in the first quarter of Game 2 and did not return.

He stayed prone on the court under the Blazers’ basket for several moments before he was taken away by stretcher. A preliminary examination revealed a knee strain.

Afterward in Houston's locker room, the 7-foot-2 veteran was on crutches and fighting back tears.

"Nobody ever thought they'd be carrying the big guy out like a wounded soldier," he said.

Mutombo, the league's oldest player at 42, will be examined by doctors in Houston on Wednesday.

"Dikembe is one of the statesmen of this league," teammate Shane Battier said. "There's not a better guy. To see him in pain is tough to see. He cares so much about this game that he doesn’t want to end his career like that. That's the tragedy of it, too."
Goddamn it, Greg Oden! It's bad enough you can't keep your own body from breaking down, did you really have to destroy Dikembe, too? I guess Greg just wanted to officially become the oldest player in the NBA, and only Mutumbo was in his way. Anyway, since I'm way too bummed to write a proper tribute, here's one of my all-time favorite Mutumbo commercials:

The Utah Jazz: What can I say? The Jazz gave it there all and still came up woefully short. As Radical Rex put it: "Letting Shannon Brown, yes the Shannon Brown who has this for his profile picture, score 12 points on you in the playoffs = fail. Fail! Fail! Fail! Also don't forget Jarron Collins the anti-Midas, everything he touches turns to sh*t. He was back to his old ways last night. As usual he showed a marked preference for fouling (4) over rebounding (2). Why Coach Jerry Sloan chose to start Collins over a lukewarm pail of dishwater is beyond me."

Frankly, I'm less concerned about Collins than I am about Utah's defense. L.A. shot 60 percent from the field (45-for-75) and 55 percent from beyond the arc (11-for-20). Deron Williams scored a playoff career-high 35 points, Carlos Boozer had a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) and the Jazz forced 21 turnovers...yet none of that mattered. They looked overwhelmed and overmatched against a well-balanced Lakers team that had seven players in double figures. But keep in mind, Utah is a terrible road team and a pretty good home team. So I want to see how they play in Game 3 before I officially write them off. (I'm kidding. I've already written them off.)

Fox News: Utah's injury problems have gotten so out of hand that players who aren't even on the team are listed in their injury report. Thanks to DL for the screen capture:

Gooden on the Jazz

Lacktion report: Chris is serving up some yummy playoff lacktion.

Pistons-Cavs: Another double-digit loss in the toughest home aquarium in the Association provides the scene for a routine night of basketball lacktivity. Michael Curry spiced up the bench through the appearance of Mr. #1 Overall himself, Kwame Brown, whose three rebounds in 18:38 were negated by three bricks, two giveaways, one rejection and five fouls for a massive Voskuhl of 7:3! Ouch.

Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson continues to pinch out pointlessness with a three-brick and two-foul stint in 6:20 - two of those three missed shots at the charity stripe! - resulting in a nice suck differential of +5, the top mark so far this postseason in his second straight showing of somnambulence.

Jazz-Lakers: Ronnie Price spent two minutes flat working on a one-brick appearance from the Santa Ana Freeway, resulting in a +1.
Ericka Dampier: Most of you already know that Ms. Dampier is envoking "Parker Rules" for Game 3 of the Mavs-Spurs series, but here's what Basketbawful reader Sturla had to say about it: "So Erick Dampier was a little pissed that Mr. Longoria used the last game as a layup drill and has promised to 'put him on his back' the first time he drives to the basket in their next game. Ok, I'm all good with that, growing up watching the Knicks beating the shit out of everybody in their way (and sometimes going out of their way to do so), so that’s my kind of basketball. But after watching this video, my question to Dampier is: How the hell are you going to do that when you haven't even crossed the !"#$%@ middle when he's finishing his layup?!?" That's a reasonable question, I'd say.

Hulk Hogan: This is a few days late. I meant to include it in Worst of the Weekend, but here it is: Hogan, otherwise known as the creator of Hulkamania, one of mankind's most pervasive and influential social movements, currently is going through a turbulent and bitter divorce. So bitter, in fact, that the Hulk recently said he...gets why O.J. Simpson slaughtered his ex-wife?! Oh yes he did: "I could've turned everything into a crime scene, like O.J., cutting everybody's throat. You see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, sleeping in your bed, with your wife. I mean, I totally understand O.J." This statement, naturally, prompted the expected backlash, after which his wife, Linda, said through her rep that she's taking Hulk's "homocidal comments seriously." Of course, Hogan's rep let everybody know that his client "in no way condones the O.J. situation." Hulk himself said his comments were taken out of context, and his daughter, Brook, agrees.

What a mess. Know who I blame? Hulk's evil alter ego, "Hollywood Hogan." If Hulk spray paints a fake beard on his face, we'll know for sure what's going on.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome: In case you haven't brushed up on little-known autoimmune diseases lately, GBS is a rare condition that occurs when immune system cells mistakenly attack nerve cells that support the muscles...and it has hospitalized William "The Refrigerator" Perry. The Fridge currently is in serious condition at a South Carolina hospital. On the bright side, Perry's agent has said that he'll be okay.

That's a relief, but it's still rather jarring to imagine the Fridge -- one of NFL history's truly indomitable figures -- laying prone and nearly helpless in a hospital bed. If you grew up in or around the Chicagoland area, then the legend of Perry and the 1985 Chicago Bears are probably forever burned into your subconscious. Those players were immortals, and still are around these parts. And the Fridge was probably the second-most loved of them, after (of course) the great, great Walter Payton. Let's hope he feels better very soon.

Crazy freaking strippers: Basketbawful reader James wrote: "I know how we have these stories some times like the Scranton chicken wings lady...well this one is from King James' town and involves a fight to the death (almost) between two 50-year-old strippers." Yes, this warrants reprinting the entire story:

A 52-year-old woman who took a job as an exotic dancer to help make ends meet was attacked on her first day by a jealous co-worker armed with a stiletto shoe, police said.

The altercation occurred Friday night at Club 1245 at 1245 E. Tallmadge Ave., according to Akron police.

The victim received multiple cuts to her face that were treated at a local hospital with seven staples, police said. She has refused to discuss the incident with detectives.

Police said the victim needed extra money and got the job with the help of a friend. Friday was her first day, and as she walked into the basement dressing room, she was attacked by a co-worker armed with the shoe, police said.

"The other girls were upset she was there and said, 'We don't need any more dancers around here,'" Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards said.

A dancer then took her high-heeled shoe and began striking the rookie stripper in the face, police said. The victim was taken to Akron General Medical Center, where nurses contacted police.

The victim left the emergency room before police arrived. Edwards said the dancer did not want to make a report. However, hospital officials are obligated under Ohio law to report the assault.

The suspect is described only as a black female in her late 40s.
I want this to serve as an object lesson, guys. Strippers are insane. I'm talking pure, dagnasty crazy. If you frequent strip clubs, or even go just on the random occasion, chances are you may actually get hit on by a stripper. Trust me, it happens more than you'd think. It's happened to me. It's happened to my friends. And it NEVER ends well. Don't be fooled. Just hand over your money and walk away. Don't be tricked into thinking "I'm the freaking man! This stripper totally wants to go out with me!" Just remember the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar. I'll leave it at that.

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Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I implore everyone to click on the link and read the comments at the bottom of the article.

Also, this is completely late news, but where's the outrage on Washington stealing your Klahma City schtick with the "Natinals"? They've gotten an absurd amount of press coverage from it, I'm beginning to think it was a brilliant PR move. Atleast it's not as bad as the Virgina shirts.

Anonymous Al James said...
Whoa whoa whoa... Dumars is NOT Millen. This is the Pistons worst season under Dumars and they still made the playoffs. Under Millen, the Lions never made the playoffs EVER and had the first 0-16 season in the history of the NFL. So until Dumars misses the playoffs for a decade straight and caps it off with an 0-82 season, he is still better than Millen. That being said the Pistons are missing a key player of sorts, the player that could be getting paid with the money that is in Iverson's contract. And it's not like Detroit will be a team superstar free agents in the '09 and '10 offseason won't want to join. They have several quality young role players in Will Bynum, Aaron Afflalo, and Jason Maxiell (and don't forget #1 draft pick Kwame Brown! Ok, you can forget) and Rodney Stuckey who can develop into an All-Star or at least a very good role player. After the bucket of bolts that are Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson are off the books this season the Pistons will be in good position to get some quality players to get them back to being a good team. Going from one era to the next always is messy.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Sweet! Shannon Brown is KUNG FU FIGHTING!!


Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Double the fun: Regarding your By The Bulls upside down bulls logo - don't forget about the (almost) mirror image Microsoft Zune.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Some Blazer fans over on TrueHoop are saying that without Mutombo the Rockets don't stand a chance. Someone should point out to them that Mutombo played less than 100 minutes this season. As long as the Rockets can get the ball out of Ron Artest's hands (no easy task), Houston should be fine at home.

I don't know what to make of the Lakers right now. On one hand they have looked insanely dominant in both games, yet on the other hand after building big leads behind said dominance they have clearly flipped on the cruise control and played with a lack of passion you rarely see on a championship team. One thing I noted while watching the game last night, was that Phil Jackson was orchestrating his player rotations like it was a relatively meaningless regular season game against an opponent the Lakers had no respect for. You would think in a playoff game that the Lakers would be settled into a solid 8 man rotation, but clearly that is not the case yet, as only Kobe and Gasol got more than 32 minutes last night, and those two only got 38 and 36, respectively. When your team is displaying some malaise and is having trouble putting the opponent away, maybe playing the subs so much is not the right way to go about things. In any event, the best way to rest your players in the playoffs is by sweeping a series, not by limiting their minutes in games that could go either way.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Al James-

You are right. I don't think that the Pistons are anywhere NEAR the level of failure that the Lions have attained. And Dumars has done nothing but keep his team in the playoffs and in the hunt for as long as I can remember. His idea was to get rid of Chauncey for top value, get rid of Iverson for top value after this season, and find a new core of young players to rebuild. The only problem is that Iverson is throwing a wrench into the gears with his little "If I can't start, then I won't play" tantrum he is throwing. Teams are NOT going to be as interested in him now as they might have been had he accepted his role and showed that he can be a team player. Obviously he can't, and at his age, he needs to learn, because his back is too old and creaky to carry an entire NBA franchise. I could care less about Iverson, but I'm bummed for the Pistons because he is screwing them over with his antics and egotism. Obviously this is not the way Dumars imagined things turning out. Who the hell is going to take the Not-Answer now, after he proved that he makes teams worse and only cares about himself?


Next time NBA TV ruins your day, go to - they literally play EVERY professional sporting event, from football to soccer and in-between, for free, online. The picture isn't HD, but you can watch anywhere you have internet and it's free.

Also re: your comment on yesterday's post, you are totally correct; Houston's coaching doesn't play to Yao's strength and it cost them last night. Still, I think Portland can still win if Yao moves to the high post and they dare him to take "jumpers" from 18ft and out. This also keeps him off the offensive glass. As long as he's not getting deep post position one-on-one, Portland doesn't need to worry about him too much.

Anonymous My Mother disapproves said...
How about some man-love?

Anonymous AK Dave said...

I hear what you're saying, but did you ever really get the sense that the Lake show was in trouble, even 3pts down with 1:15 to go? I didn't. It seemed like Utah only got what LA was willing to give them. Deron Williams disappeared in the last 2min- I'm not sure why. I wouldn't say that Utah was playing hard last night either. It honestly looked like both teams mailed it in, except for Williams and Gasol (who shot a ridiculous 9-11). I expect Phil will tighten down the rotation in Utah as they go for the sweep. It's really too bad for Utah that Okur can't play. There goes their best 3-point shooter, best big man, and the guy who can pull Bynum/Odom out of the lane to free up space for the guards.

Blogger Andrei said...
Yams, clearly Mount Mutombo's knee eruption is going to have no bearing on the series. However, I still can't figure out how it's going to turn out. If you look at their records, they're virtually identical and the two teams had the same road records. All this talk of the Blazers being a crappy road team is a little exaggerated considering that only the Lakers and Spurs had significantly better road records than them.

Also, let's not forget that Houston has managed to bumble away playoff series after taking the first two in Dallas and having a 3-2 lead over the Jazz. The Rockets haven't exactly been playoff juggernauts in the last decade. Furthermore, even if Yao figures out a way to overcome being fronted, how long do you think Brooks and Count von Wafer are going to be on fire? Both teams will make adjustments, Ron Ron will continue to fire ill-advised shots, Oden will continue to foul and this series will a few more twists and turns.

Anonymous La Dolce Vita said...
Speaking of Hulk, 'bawful have you seen "The Wrestler" yet? It's a really great film and a must see for wrestling fans from the 80's.

Anonymous Al James said...
AK Dave -
Well in the long run Iverson only screwed himself. He won't be the Pistons' problem next season and no team with championship aspirations will take him. AI is a superstar built to turn bad teams into "exciting" teams that are still pretty bad but look better doing it.

Anonymous Al James said...
Meanwhile, while all this doom and gloom in Detroit basketball is going on, the Detroit Red Wings couldn't look any better in this postseason. So, you know, it really isn't bad for me. I have something else to watch.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Al James-

Donnie Nelson heard that. He's on the phone with Iverson's agent as we speak!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AK Dave- I really didn't think the Lakers were in trouble last night, and I don't really think they're in trouble in this series; but at some point the Lakers do need to shift things into a higher gear if they expect to beat Cleveland. I do think Phil Jackson is gonna shorten the rotation (he said as much after the game last night), and that will probably help, but the Lakers need to step up their game, especially on defense.

Andrei - Here's the thing: so much was made of how great Portland is at home, and how the fact that they had HCA was what was going to get them past a Houston team they didn't generally match up with so well; and yet nobody seemed to notice that Houston lost only one more game at home all year than Portland did. That's right, the Rockets are virtually just as good at home as the Blazers are, and that's what you need to look at. You shouldn't get hung up on how the Blazers were a bad road team, or even how Houston wasn't a good road team either. But you do need to realize that a mediocre road team like the Rockets creamed the great home-playing Blazers in one game, and had a chance of beating them in the second game. That doesn't in any way suddenly mean that Houston will fall off at home or that Portland suddenly will be as good on the road as they are at home, it just means that the odds are quite good that Portland's gonna be going back home down 3 games to 1.

Also, trying to say that the Rockets always lose in the first round is not really a legit argument for Portland winning this series, since Portland has no experience whatsoever. You gain experience through adversity, you don't just magically acquire it out of nowhere. For all you think the Blazers might now have learned in these last two games, consider that they still have never played in a playoff game on the road. If you don't think that's looming awfully large right now, then you're really deluding yourself.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
AK Dave: I owe you some man love for providing me with that link. Not seeing the Houston game last night really put a damper on things since I'd been looking forward to it all day. With my Jazz completely overmatched, Blazers/Rockets is the series I'm most interested in.

I agree 100% that Yao taking jumpers from the freethrow line (he's not nearly the dead-eye shooter the media has made him out to be) is playing into the hands of Portland in ways, but its prefferable to him only getting 6 field goal attempts to Ron Artest's 20. I think that with a more fundamentally sound point guard or some more pass-friendly players he could be a very good pick-and-roll weapon. He can stick that jumper on occasion and roll to the hoop to score, draw fouls and get plus ones. Even if he gets his shot blocked a few times playing like this he'd put tremendous pressure on the opposing team's bigs. His passing ability from up there would also be maximized if Houston had more cutters (in case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm totally a Yao apologist).

The weirdest thing to me about the Rockets is that, as good as they have been, they have never come close to fully meshing. They're like two and a half teams teams in one: Aaron Brooks, Von Wafer and the young athletes are a running team, Yao, Scola and co. form a half court team and then there's Ron Artest, a team unto himself who could potentially be effective under both schemes but tends to do whatever the hell he wants instead, running when he should stop, stopping when he should run and gunning from afar with reckless abandon.

Mr. Bawful: I have no idea who Millen is, but seeing his stats I too find the comparison more than a tad unfair. The Pistons are trying to do one of the hardest things in professional sports by rebuilding while staying competitive. After giving them 2 seasons, Dumars decided (rightly) that Detroit's core had peaked and would only taper off slowly from here on out. I think if he had waited much longer he would have been stuck with a bunch of contracts for old players nobody wants. With Iverson and Rasheed Wallace's deals expiring this summer, he has a ton of cap room that he can spend this summer or the next. Even if, through some cruel twist of fare, he is spurned by major free agents the team still has a lot of young pieces that could be used as trade bait. It is a gamble, to be sure, but a well thought out gamble that, in my eyes, was the right move.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- More Bawful theft. I read someone on ESPN refer to the Wizards as the Generals a week or so back. I guess everybody reads us.

Al James -- Obviously I was making a dramatic overstatement. But in terms of one-year wrecking balls, Dumars kind of outdid Millan. At least Millan only kept a crappy team crappy. Dumars turned over the Etch-A-Sketch on a championship-caliber team. Usually with those, you add the final piece...not trade away one of the existing, critical pieces.

AK Dave -- He sure is. But he's not cool enough to warrant a SF II reference.

AnacondaHL -- AWEsome.

Wild Yams -- Honestly, it feels like Phil is doing some of his classic experimentation. He doesn't usually do that during the PLAYOFFS, mind, but that might be a sign of how superior he feels the Lakers are to the Jazz. In L.A. anyway.

AK Dave -- No kidding?? I've never even heard of

My Mother disapproves -- Ha! I had literally just clicked "publish" on the current post right before this comment popped up in my moderation box.

Andrei -- Yeah, it's true. The Rockets are a huge question mark, even though they very well could have flown out of Portland leading the series 2-0. I won't have any confidence in a Yao-led squad until it gets out of the first round.

La Dolce Vita -- NO! I haven't, but I really, really want to. I kept meaning to go see it when it was in the theaters, but didn't. The split second it comes out on video, I'm just buying it.

I did, however, watch Wrestlemania III on DVD with my buddy Statbuster this weekend. I still squee like a 10-year-old girl when I watch that. Sad.

Al James -- The Wings are rockin'. How big is hockey there in Detroit?

Wild Yams -- All the arguments you just made, man, there are so many wild cards in the Rockets-Blazers series. I have to admit I'm enjoying the drama.

hellshocked -- Like I said, I was dramatically overstating things. And Dumars will look like a genuis is he's able to use the added cap space to rebuild the team on the quick. But if he can't, and if it turns out (as it kinda sorta seems now) that Stuckey isn't the long-term answer to Detroit's PG situation, then, well, yeah. Uh oh.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
dayum... first Zo and now Mt. Mutumbo? A sad day for Georgetown.

Blogger Andrei said...
Yams, I choose to look at the regular season records differently simply because I'm a Blazers fan and believing that my team has no chance would kind of take the fun out of watching the games. I saw that Houston with its mediocre road record came in and crushed the Blazers in game one despite Portland's great home record. That makes me wonder why couldn't that happen the other way? Why can't Portland take its mediocre road record and pull off a win in Houston? You can disagree and call me delusional, but the precedent for a mediocre road team beating a great home team has already been set.

I think the real thing that we learned from this though is that the regular season means nothing at this point and it's all about match-ups. Houston has an advantage with Yao since no one can really defend him and the Blazers can't take it to the hoop as effectively with Yao in the game. Yao also takes away offensive rebounding opportunities that were the bread and butter of the Blazers' offensive attack when the jump shot stops falling. As long as Yao is on the floor the Rockets' chances of winning are pretty good. The only thing that keeps my hopes afloat is that Yao is still prone to getting in foul trouble and might yet spend a good chunk of the series on the pine.

Lastly, the whole "learning how to win" thing is bullshit in my opinion. You either have a better team or you don't. When the Pistons had to take their beatings from Boston before they made it to the finals or when the Bulls lost to the Pistons before getting to the finals, it wasn't a question of "learning how to win", those teams simply weren't as good at the time. Boston last year proved you don't need playoff experience, or finals experience to win a ring, you simply need a better team. Even if you don't agree with me on this point, Houston doesn't really have any "winning" experience either having never left the first round. In fact I'd say they have negative experience that might lead to chocking the longer the series goes and all those choketastic memories are awakened in their minds.

I simply believe that the series will hinge on Yao's ability to stay on the floor and Portland's ability to hit open jump shots. Unfortunately, those are typically not a recipe for winning playoff series with any regularity.

Anonymous La Dolce Vita said...
It's out ' just came out this Tuesday.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Andrei - I can't disagree with you more on a lot of what you wrote. The Rockets being a mediocre road team and a great home team coming into Portland and beating them doesn't suddenly mean that just cause Houston did it you should expect Portland to do it. I think what it really showed is that Portland definitely wasn't ready for the playoffs in that first game and got smacked around. They adjusted better for Game 2, but the playoffs is not just about matchups, it's about adjustments, and usually a team learns more from a loss than a win. What you see in one game is not what you should expect to see in the next game.

That said, a place that is traditionally a tough place to win at is even more true in the playoffs than it is in the regular season. Houston was a damn good home team, and you should expect that to continue to be the case now. Portland, meanwhile, was not a good road team all year, and considering they've never played a road game in the playoffs you should expect they're going to falter a lot in Game 3, maybe even as much as they did in Game 1. They might rebound for Game 4 (you learn more from a loss than you do from a win), but in Game 4 they're still gonna be in front of a hostile crowd that is going to rattle them.

This is why you most definitely do learn how to win in the playoffs, and it really is not just about which team is better on paper. Some of the greatest "on paper" teams I've ever seen have failed miserably in the playoffs when faced with a team that just knows how to win. The examples you bring up are really great examples against what you're arguing. In 1987 the Celtics were pretty decimated by injuries, yet were still barely able to overcome a Pistons team that remained relatively unchanged two years later when they won it all. Same thing for the Bulls in 1990 when they lost to the Pistons in 7 games, versus the almost identical roster that swept Detroit a year later. The difference was the experience that they gained and what they learned from losing.

You never see a team come out of nowhere and suddenly blaze through the playoffs - every team has to take their lumps. The Celtics last year may be the lone exception, but each of their Big 3 had been there before with their own teams, and knew what they were going to have to do to win, and they knew it from day 1. The point is this: the Rockets, while not being the most experienced team with playoff success, have still been there before and know what to expect. Portland does not. This is a learning experience for the Blazers, but the odds are good it's gonna be Houston in 6.

Blogger Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger DDC said...
How shitty is your life when your a 50 year old stripper? I don't want to imagine how disgusting they look. At that age you HAVE to be someone's grandmother.

Anonymous AK Dave said...

It's, not ADTHE

I just checked and you can watch Philly vs. Orlando today on that site. Like I said, the picture isn't HD quality, and you can't skip the commercials, but if you're jonesing for the game and don't have it- this website is pretty awesome.

Lots of premier league for you futbol hooligans out there, too.

Blogger Bcstein said...

As far as teams having to take their lumps. How about the Jazz in 07? Their two top guys, Boozer and D-Will had never made it to the playoffs before and then they proceeded to beat the Rockets in a road game 7(ironically), and make it to the conference finals. Memo and Fish were the only guys in the rotation with any kind of meaningful playoff experience. You might be able to make an argument for the Warriors of that year, too, but Captain Jack and Baron had a fair amount of playoff experience

Or the Clips the year before that, who made it to the second round and nearly took down one of the better D'Antoni Suns teams despite Cassell being their only guy with any playoff experience.

Then the Suns the year before that (first SSOL year) and the 05 Sonics before that (only Ray Ray had any playoff experience there) and the 04 Heat (Wade's coming out party). That's at least 6 times from the last decade alone, and I'm sure there are more, but I'm too lazy to look at the earlier three years.

This idea that teams "have to take their lumps" is what Mavs and Rockets fans tell themselves to make them feel better about Yao, T-Mac, and Dirk. Experience obviously helps, but you see teams come out of nowhere all the time to win a series or two.

Anonymous Axel Foley said...
Yeah, The Wrestler was a good movie. Im going to let you know right now that it is a very sad movie, Bawful, you may be in danger of crying. Anyway, who the hell bones the Hulksters wife? What a dick. I would definetly be willing to deliver a beating on Hogans behalf.

Anonymous Sun Devil said...
Yams, Andrei, everyone-

Lord Bawful put it best when he said there are way too many wild cards. Right now it is simply too early to have a solid idea of who is going to pull out of this series. The Blazers are of newbies to the playoffs and the Rockets are a team whose offense lives and dies through Yao and two newbies (Brooks and Vonilla Wafer). I think we'll have a better idea of this series after the upcoming game. Right now, there are just too many variables to see clearly. I mean the Blazers had Greg Oden and the Vanilla Godzilla on the floor at the same time! at this point, it easily go either way.

Side note: I agree that loss of Dikembe will be irrelevant to the series.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"You see a 19 year old boy driving your Escalade, sleeping in your bed, with your wife."

wow. time for hulk to go into incredible-hulk-mode.

Blogger Henchman #2 said...
Any "Oden" statistic regarding fouls per 48 must be cross-checked with Mikki Moore's statistics to make sure the naming is most appropriate. According to, Oden beat Moore this season in fouls per 36 minutes, 6.5 to 6.2. However, while Oden also averaged 14.8 pts and 11.6 reb per 36, Moore only average 8.3 pts and 7.7 reb. He averaged almost as many fouls per game as points AND rebounds!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
ron artest is such a dumb ass