Save me baby

The Orlando Magic: Well...that blew big, steaming chunks. I felt like I was visited by the ghost of the 1994-95 Orlando Magic last night. Faceplanting this hard in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it's like designing a talking Elmo doll with over 20 minutes of testicles-related dialogue (such as "Do balls go on your head?", "Do balls have frosting?" and "Elmo loves balls!").

The Magicians shot a shockingly horrific 29 percent (23-for-77) from the field. Okay, have you absorbed that little smidgen of bawfulness yet? Well, have fun trying to absorb this one: That stinky feat makes Orlando the first team to shoot less than 30 percent in Game 1 of the NBA Finals since the Knicks did it in 1951. That was pre-shot clock, by the way. Seriously. And you know what that means, don't you?

Historic fail

How bad was it? Well, let me put it this way: Orlando hit six more free throws and scored 15 more points off three-pointers...and still lost by 25. And while the Magic were getting outscored 60-34 during the second and third quarters, their entire team had fewer field goals (10) than Kobe Bryant did by himself (11). To be fair, it wasn't just terrible shooting that doomed Orlando. Rebounding killed 'em too. They got hammered on the boards 55-41. The Magic just...well, hell, looking at the box score is like peeping under the bloody sheet covering a body on an autopsy table right after the predictably creepy undertaker says, "You DO NOT want to look under there." So perhaps this stunning loss is best summed up by a little snippet from Ben Q. Rock of the Third Quarter Collapse:

"Individual matchups are also a concern -- what isn't a concern on defense for Orlando right now? -- as Lee could not stop Luke Walton from scoring inside. With Lee and Pietrus on the floor at the same time, at shooting guard and small forward, respectively, the Magic used Pietrus to defend Bryant and Lee to defend Walton. Perhaps on paper, this matchup skews heavily in Lee's favor. However, that paper may not account for Walton's 3-inch, 35-pound size advantage on Lee, which is how he simply muscled through him for 3 baskets during that span. Overall, Walton shot 4-of-5 for 9 points. Yes, Luke Walton hit four times as many field goals as Dwight Howard did. It's no wonder why Orlando lost by 25."
Ugh x 1,000,000. Oh, and hey, speaking of Dwight Howard...

Dwight Howard: I guess someone jammed a brick of Kryptonite up his ass before the game, because Dwight was decidedly un-super last night: 12 points (on 1-for-6 shooting), 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks. It's a pretty bad sign when a franchise player has more turnovers (2), fouls (3) and missed free throws (6) than field goals (1) in his NBA Finals debut, right? And even those "meh" numbers don't really tell you how ineffective Dwight was. He was totally neutralized.

Another game or two like this, and I might have to suggest a new theme song for Howard. However, there's plenty of evidence to prove the old adage "sh*t rolls downhill"...

Orlando's starting backcourt: Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee combined to shoot 5-for-19 (including 1-for-8 from downtown) and finished with more blocks against (2) and fouls (4) than assists (1). That's right: The Magic's starting guards out-assisted me by one. Then, too, as noted above, Lee got the handiwipe treatment from the Son of Walton. Of course, there were also problems with...

Orlando's backcourt reserves: Mickael Pietrus was his team's leading scorer (14 points on 5-for-13 shooting), but Kobe Bryant made him look silly. I'm talking "dressing me and my cat up in aluminum foil hats" silly. And Jameer Nelson -- who started off pretty strong in his return -- eventually looked just as rusty and fatigued as you'd expect from a guy who hasn't played professional basketball in months and was suddenly thrust onto the biggest stage in professional basketball. These two men finished the game with a plus-minus score of -42. Which sounds pretty bad until you take a look at these guys...

Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis: They produced 21 combined points on 5-for-21 shooting and had a joint plus-minus score of -46. To add a splash of vomit to that poop sundae, they barely had more rebounds and assists (11) than fouls and turnovers (10). Add this mess to Howard's slop, and that's a pretty ginormous no-show from your big guns.

Stan Van Gundy: Before the game, somebody asked Van Gundy if he was intimidated by Phil Jackson. Stan's reply was to laugh and say: "I guess if one of the NBA players threatened to kick my butt, I'd be intimidated. Phil sitting down there on his chair doesn't intimidate me." I wonder if he'd like to reassess that answer now? And I bet his brother Jeff hasn't been this disappointed since Miley Cyrus canceled that show in Arkansas.

Update! Kobe Bryant: Mamba had his best-ever scoring game in the NBA Finals with 40 points. But Wild Yams has an observation regarding that final tally: "Kobe Bryant should probably get a mention for going back in there in the 4th quarter with the Lakers already up 25 or so and just firing away in an attempt to get those last 4 points to get him to 40 for the game." The great and powerful Cortez added: "Included in that mention should be the fact that his 4th quarter nonsense/misses came while being guarded by J.J. Reddick(!!!) and he looked the trailer(s) off, at least twice, in that stretch by forcing up some highly contested shots." As always, we aren't hatin', we're just sayin'.

Update! Kobe and LeBron babysittin': Basketbawful reader QUIKJO sent a link to this puppetastic parody:

Labels: , , ,

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Wow, what a mess that game was. Do you think that was just jitters on the part of the Magic, was it either great planning by the Lakers/poor planning by Orlando that can be corrected by Sunday, or do the Lakers really just have serious matchup advantages in this series? I have to say, I'm really flabbergasted at how ineffective Dwight Howard looked last night. He almost was outplayed by Andrew Bynum for the times that they two players were on the floor together.

I really don't know what to make of this game. I would be tempted to say that the Magic are a team that lives by the three, and so if they aren't falling then they're going to die by it, except that they actually shot a respectable 35% from three. In any event, they shot so much worse from 2-pt range, that it's tough to pin it on long range shooting. The Magic actually had a lot of things go their way in this game, and they still got drilled. They had a 29-18 FTA advantage and Dwight Howard was not really in foul trouble at all in this game (he picked up his second near the end of the 1st quarter, but he probably would have come out for a breather around then anyway, and then he only picked up one more foul for the rest of the game). Meanwhile, Bynum was in foul trouble for a lot of the game, Trevor Ariza only had 3 points, the Lakers got almost nothing out of Farmar, Vujacic and Brown off the bench, the Lakers only hit 3 three pointers, and Kobe fired up what is usually a team-killing insane number of shots (34). Speaking of that...

Kobe Bryant should probably get a mention for going back in there in the 4th quarter with the Lakers already up 25 or so and just firing away in an attempt to get those last 4 points to get him to 40 for the game.

Blogger Rogue said...
Well, with Dwight Howard's 1.5 moves in the post not a lot can be expected out of him and this is coming from his fan. Thats why all the comparisons of Shaq and Dwight are moot point.

All there should a WOT mention for ESPN Crew who were outside the Staple Center after the game because they got all the stats wrong. Kept saying that Koba shot 16 for 29 and only two Lakers scored in Double digits Kobe and Lamar and totally forgot about Pau.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Kobe Bryant should probably get a mention for going back in there in the 4th quarter..."

Included in that mention should be the fact that his 4th quarter nonsense/misses came while being guarded by J.J. Reddick(!!!) and he looked the trailer(s) off, at least twice, in that stretch by forcing up some highly contested shot.

At least he went to the basket more this game.

Speaking of Reddick, for some odd reason I really want him to find a niche and have a successful career.

Something about a guy who can flat out shoot the ball makes me like him.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams and Cortez -- Updated.

Anonymous Gengar said...
I think Kobe will do a lot of stat-padding in this series to mothaf****n' ensure he gets the Finals MVP. In fairness, though, the bulk of his points came from good shots when the game was still ... "respectably close", if that status ever really existed last night.

Blogger Will said...
It looks like The Goods and The Polish Hammer are in love. Could this be the star of a "Romeo and Juliet" -style romance?

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Kobe is default Finals MVP. The only other option would be Gasol, but he really isn't going to have the oppurtunity to dominate in this series (probably). The Magic struggled, but I wouldn't say that they're out of it. If the threes fall, the game is totally different, because 3/4 were completely uncovered. The Cavs could have won if the Magic would have missed all those shots in game one, etc.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...

It was hilarious hearing Evil Ted try to understand the bucket of paint analogy.

Logic Fail Ted.

Blogger Silly Bitch said...
i got your puppet parody...

Blogger dunkfu said...
"I think Kobe will do a lot of stat-padding in this series to mothaf****n' ensure he gets the Finals MVP."

I disagree, if Lakers win he's guaranteed the MVP unless he has a really horrible series or gets injured and doesn't play, no stat padding needed.

If anything he was shooting for the 40pts or just trying to break Orlando's spirit more. Either way there was really no need for him to be in the game.

I'm surprised you didn't give Courtney Lee or as I like to call him "The guy that stole Richard Hamilton's look" (not to be confused with Dwight "The guy that stole Shaq's nickname) his own Bawful section, he got flat out destroyed last night, how is he even a starter?

Blogger Mr. Shrimp said...
The Magic got a lot of good shots in the second quarter that they just bricked. I don't expect them to shoot 29% again, even with the Lakers playing great defense (as they did in the 2nd half). I doubt we'll see another blow-out like this.

Kobe was ridiculous in the 4th quarter - dumb to do that and potentially piss off your teammates that you need for the rest of the series. However, I think the way he completely destroyed Orlando in the second and third quarter was unbelievable, and they could do nothing. Up until then, the Magic were outplaying the Lakers. So I think Kobe gets a pass for 4th quarter stupidity.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Make no mistake, Kobe was truly phenomenal in the first three quarters when the game was still in doubt. It's just that in the last quarter when it was already in the fridge, he really went into uber-selfish mode, jacking up a shot every time he touched it; and really why was he out there at all at that point? Maybe Phil was having flashbacks to the Utah series and all those huge blown leads the Lakers had and didn't want a repeat performance in the first game of The Finals; but otherwise he probably could have emptied his bench sooner than the last 2 minutes with a lead of that size.

I do think overall the Lakers did a much better job of contesting the Magic's three point shooting than Cleveland ever did in their series, but that's not to say that Orlando can't start pouring them in at any point. Dwight Howard has to show up more than he did for Orlando to have even a slim chance though. One field goal is really, really awful for someone like him. Credit the Lakers' defense for denying him so well, and fouling him when they had to, but if Dwight can't fight through that D better than he did last night, then Orlando's in real trouble.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
"To add a splash of vomit to that poop sundae..."

Ahahahaha Bawful you just recently got tricked into watching a certain Internet viral shock video, didn't you

Blogger Cortez said...
"The Magic got a lot of good shots in the second quarter that they just bricked. I don't expect them to shoot 29% again"

I do.

"Make no mistake, Kobe was truly phenomenal in the first three quarters when the game was still in doubt."


"and really why was he out there at all at that point?"

I had no problem with him being out there just crush any hope or any change of getting any "moral victories" but his actual play was fucking dumb and well beyond what he should have been out there for, which was to draw attention and free up his teammates for easy buckets.

Stop trying to draw fouls or hit wild off balance turn-around post shots in a blow out victory and take the easy lay-in from the trailer during a 3 on 1 fast break.

...before someone *accidentally* breaks your ankle.

Blogger Joe said...
I really don't understand the Magic's decision regarding Nelson.

He hasn't played in months, he is still probably somewhat injured.

I understand the feeling of wanting to get your all-star point guard in the game, but do you really want to mess with that chemistry?

Why not play game 1 with your lineup that got you to the finals. If it goes horribly you work Jameer in and see if it affects anything.

Any mention of Jordan Farmar looking like a scared little kitty out there for the whole game?

Also, did anyone see the ridiculously hilarious play between Mbenga and Shannon Brown in the garbage time? Shannon Brown pass to Mbenga...oops fumble, recovery by Mbenga for a looooong two..airball..

I love Mbenga but this was hilarious, and reminded me of me and my friends best bet last year.

We had a bet on whether Mbenga would score a point in the game. 1 point. It came down to the garbage time, and Mbenga missed a few good looks. Then he got fouled, and had to shoot 2 free throws. Missed the first one, made the second one! It was the most nail-biting exciting bet I've ever made.

Thank you Mbenga, thank you.

Blogger Preveen said...
Anyone hear Jeff Van Gundy say "JJ Redick is a Kobe Stopper!" after Kobe missed a shot with JJ defending him?

Also, I think it was just nerves. There were plenty of open looks on both sides, but while the Lakers were making them, the Magic were not. Remains to be seen if they can shake the nerves. Or win even if they do.

Blogger DocZeus said...
And the Orlando Magic we all know and loved returned in full fold tonight...

The Magic couldn't have crapped the bed one game early against the Cavaliers like they were due? Seriously, Universe? I hate God.

If the Lakers lose more than one game this series, they should be forced to forfeit the trophy over to Lebron James (AND ONLY LEBRON JAMES).

Anonymous Wormboy said...
I think Orlando had an idiot game plan, and I blame Van Gundy. Feeding Howard in the post is a bad idea if he's guarded by a strong defender who can muscle Howard out of his comfort zone. Howard is a beast from 5 feet inwards, and is fairly ineffective much further out (due to the aforementioned paucity of post moves.) We saw Kendrick Perkins screw Howard up repeatedly, and we could see early last night, even before they lost their lead, that Bynum was doing the same to Howard.

Instead, they need to run plays and feed Howard off of assists and putbacks. THAT is where he is dominant.

Oh, and many magicians totally had stage fright. coughrashardlewiscough.

Blogger Mintz... said...
@ Preveen:

Jeff Van Gundy's comment was clearly a joke because Kobe just threw up a crazy shot while Reddick was guarding him. Please don't take it seriously.

Blogger Clifton said...
An ultra-not-WotN to ESPN for recognizing that we all love Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay, but having them call the Finals would have led to mass narcolepsy all over the country. Tirico and Hubie! SUPER thumbs up! But Dr. Jack was there, too, in a limited role. The broadcast team was billed as "Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, and Dr. Jack Ramsay," and it didn't sound like Dr. Jack relished his backseat role. He'd chime in during timeouts and at the half, but he was largely silent throughout the game.

Anyhow, on to the main focus of my post. With about a minute to go, Hubie Brown mentioned the brewing free taco excitement in the Staples Center!!

After Pietrus made his first free throw with about a minute left, the following exchange took place (as usual, not verbatim, but close enough):

Tirico: "Pietrus makes the 1st... Most of the L.A. crowd is freeway-bound here, trying to beat the traffic--" (clank) "--as Pietrus misses the 2nd free throw. Powell with the rebound, and as we go under one minute to play--" (crowd noise swells noticeably) "--the Laker faithful rise to their feet in appreciation of their team's outstanding effort here tonight!"

Hubie (somewhat sarcastically): "Actually, I think if the Lakers get to 100 points, they all get a free Chalupa or something."

Sure enough, despite Hubie's almost-stat curse, the crowd went absolutely gah-NUTS when Powell sank the totally unnecessary 3-pointer at the buzzer, guaranteeing all of them a free Chalupa (or something).

So, yeah, not only did the Magic get completely jackstomped, they got taco'd -- by a 3-ball!! -- with one second left on the clock. Oh well. Hopefully the Magic players and staff all also got a complimentary Chalupa (or something) to assuage their pain.

Blogger Bakes said...

Powell's shot wasn't unnecessary. The shot clock and game clock were off by around one second, maybe less if I remember right, and you never just turn the ball over like that at the end of any game regardless if you're the winner, the loser, up by 50 or down by 50. Powell always shoots mid-range jumpers, I have never seen him even jokingly toss up a three. I was pretty stunned when he made it, to be honest. I doubt he wanted to get the crowd free tacos, I assume he just figured "I have the ball, I have to take the shot, what the hell?" *splash*

Kind of sums up Game 1 for the Magic, though.

Blogger Unknown said...
Why does everyone keep bringing up the Lakers 55-41 rebounding edge like it mattered, when it is so clearly the result of sub 30% shooting by the Magic. When you shoot that bad, you're probably gonna get beat on the boards. The stat is just evidence of the overall beatdown, and doesn't reflect any root cause for defeat. A more meaningful stat is the 15-10 edge in offensive boards for the Lakers. Meager at best, but more so given that at least 3 of LA's offensive boards occurred during garbage time. No, rebounding was not the problem for the Magic in Game 1.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Matthew -- I'm afraid I have to disagree. While I admit that a miserably low shooting percentage puts that team at a disadvantage on the boards, teams that shoot as poorly as the Magic did in Game 1 typically try to offset their bawful shooting by crashing the offensive glass. For instance, take Game 4 of the 1998 NBA Finals. The Bulls shot terribly from the field (36 percent) but offset that disadvantage by grabbing 17 offensive boards. They won by 4. Similarly, in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals, the Bulls shot only 38 percent outcrashed Utah on the offensive glass 15-5 and won by 4.

In Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals, the Celtics shot 38 percent to almost 50 percent for the Lakers...yet Boston won thanks to a 20-9 edge on the offensive glass.

So my assertion that rebounding was a problem stands. Teams can (and have) overcome poor shooting by hitting the boards.

Anonymous Ak dave said...
"Damn, Kobe! Stop lookin' at my DICK!"


That's so awesome! Thank you for that!

Anonymous Arlen said...
If Howard keeps it up, they'll change the ad campaign to say "Dwight gets his vitamins... from our competitors"