Welcome to a Shaqtastic Edition of Worst of the Night! Yes, that's right, the Shaq that's been collecting the "best" "Your Mom" jokes from his 2.5 million Twitter followers for the past month. The Shaq who's been employed by all four teams that played tonight on TNT in the past 5 years. And the Shaq who has finally come to the point that ESPN announcers openly admit to his decline and attribute his departure to greater team success. (This happened the night before during the Suns's beatdown of the Hornets, subsequently getting Byron Scott fired.) So then, Sir Shaq shall lord over today's Worst of the Night.
This game was OK.
NBA twitter: ShaBron. Seriously. ShaBron. This is the NBA era that we live in.
Anderson Varejao's feelings: The battle between King Crab and Wade was fierce, further emphasized by this sequence of missed dunk and dunk in the first quarter:
Wow. When you get posterized so badly that you prompt a standing ovation from the usually lifeless South Beach crowd, that's something. (Honestly, it took them almost all of the 3rd quarter to get back from the halftime break. Did they stop by the beach mid-game, or were the lines to the toilet just that bad?)
Anyways, while scanning the crowd for reactions, the cameras happen to find Michael Jordan in the crowd. That cues up cameras cutting back to him like four times, and one shot of Wade's new shoes in 4.7 seconds.
A few plays later, things got testy as Varejao and Wade start jawing after a rebound and steal attempt. Reggie Miller used his maternal instincts to correctly assess that Varejao's feelings were hurt, as Varejao continues to talk after double technicals are thrown. I guess that's one way to double your air time on ESPN.
Pat Riley's subtlety: Speaking of MJ, he was chillin' next to Pat Riley for the game, not a mere day after LeBron proclaimed he didn't want to talk about free agency anymore. With Scottie Pippin also in the house. You know, nothing big, just maybe a reminder of one of the great Shooting Guard and Forward duos of all time. Cough. Just let that simmer on medium heat. Later, Riley slipped LeBron a statistics sheet, showing the 1,000,000% increase of hot bikini clad girls if one were to move from Ohio to Florida.
LeBron James: Speaking of which, during Craig Sager's postgame interview, LeBron revealed that he would be changing his number next year from 23 to 6 out of respect for Michael Jordan. Of course Sager had to ask which team the 6 would be playing for, and LeBron gave his best forced media smile. Later, King Crab made another shocking moral decision, declaring all future games of tag would be played with no tag backs.
Also, with 6:07 left in the third, for some reason the jump ball was taking longer than expected. LeBron and Quentin Richardson were engaged in a fiercy battle of footsies, causing an official to come over and point out where to correctly stand. Jump ball fail.
NBA announcing: ...which has now become legendary, after hearing Marv Albert's "hug it out" play by play between Shaq and Wade pregame meeting, followed by Reggie's analysis that would describe the hug as "frosty". This is the NBA era that we live in.
The frosty hug it out.
Ice bags: (channeling inner Jerry Seinfeld) What is the deal with the ice bags? It seems the latest fashion for the 2009-10 NBA season is sporting the ice bag on the bench during the game. Knees, chest, feet, ice bags everywhere. May as well hire personal massage therapists, even professional poker players get those during tournaments.
Sammy Sosa: The night started out with an often seen picture comparing Sarah Palin to Tina Fey. But then they showed a comparison of old and new Sammy Sosa. Oh boy, did the night begin. Charles calling out Sammy Sosa for "going white to get into the Hall of Fame". Amazing. If anyone has a full list of foods mentioned at halftime by Charles, wondering if he was allowed to have them while white, I will need them reported to me with references. And because there's no way the NBA or TNT would republish these pictures, here's some screengrabs:
You complete me.
Update! Reggie Miller, unintentionally dirty quote machine: From RyeNO: "In case you missed it...Reggie Miller during tonight's Heat-Crabs game: 'It was hard going up and soft coming down' -- during a play when Jamario Moon apparently blocked a shot by Michael Beasley that somehow still went in."
Wow, this sucks huh.
The Phoenix Suns: Let me quickly rattle off the biased homer excuses. 2nd game of a back to back on the road, 4th game in 5 nights, 7th game in 10 nights. A 37 year old is our leading rebounder. Robin Lopez out. Blah blah. Most Suns fans knew this was a throwaway game, but come on, at least make the Lakers work for it so they'd lose in Denver the next night. The Suns kept it sorta close for a while, but it's kinda hard to get the W when no starter other than Nash gets to double figure scoring. One starter in particular...
Amar'''''''''e Stoudemire: In the Suns's hot 8-1 start, one thing stuck out in their only loss to Orlando. It's the only game Goggles played this season with over 20 FGA, finishing 10-21 from the field. So why not bang it inside for Stoudemire against Bynum, Artest and Odom? Amare went a paltry 2-11 in the 1st quarter.
By the way, the Suns are 33-36 in games where Stoudamire attempts at least 20 shots. Thankfully he stopped tonight at 2-15. But bang it on the inside you say? Prior to this game this season, 42% of Stat's shots were jumpers, at 42.9% eFG%. Finally:
2NDQ, 3:12 PHO - A. Stoudemire misses a slam dunk
Of course, this was trumped later by Dragic's dead ball open lane missed dunk.
Sasha Vujacic: THE MACHINE apparently mistook Kobe for his new girlfriend, (Tangent: The jealousy burns deep in this author's heart. Okay, back to the bawful.) and rushed to protect him when things got testy with Jason Richardson. This is all too easy, that even Reggie picked up immediately on an emasculation joke. If you see a replay, be sure to check out Jared Dudley's face, which expresses a perfect "wow, this was the worst fight prevent ever".
Free Throw shooting: Only fitting for such economic problems in these two states that both teams would squander so many free points. Ughh. 18-29 (62.1%) for the Suns, 7-18 (38.9%) for the Lakers.
Officials: #29 S. Javie, #12 V. Palmer, #38 M. Smith. I'm just sayin'. Even Nash had to bust out the hand goggles at Violet Palmer's bawful.
If you have a higher res version of this picture, please for the love of all things bawful post it.
Update! Here's the video. Apparently the gesure is a Junior Birdman thing, which was totally new to me. But it opened up a new world of understanding. Remember that scene in the 1989 Batman flick when Batman/Michael Keaton had just blown up the Joker's/Jack Nicholson's chemical factory, only Joker was hovering overhead in a helicoptor? Joker taunted Bats by singing, "Up in the air Junior Birdman! Missed me!" Well, "Up in the air Junior Birdman" are song lyrics. Who knew? Not me. Anyway, onto the video. -Basketbawful
Lou Amundson: A basketbawsome shout out to benchman Lou, destroyer of the free tacos. Down 116-98 with about a minute to go, Amundson steps upto the line, sinks the first, but misses the second! The suckface Hollywood crowd starts rumbling electricity in the building with the "WE WANT TACOS! WE WANT TACOS!" chant. With the ball back and 35 seconds, Lou puts up the layup...and misses! But he gathers the offensive rebound (his 6th on the night), goes for the putback, YES! AND ONE! I spilled a bit of my Guinness cheering. That was the most exciting stretch of Suns offense tonight.
Lacktion report: Only 2 games? Lacktion can't be defeated that easily. chris never fails to non-deliver the un-suck.
Crabs-Heat: Danny Green and Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson each put on the plumbers' overalls for Mike Brown - but while Green's spent 31 seconds thwacking the POW box in Mario Bros., Jackson took only eight seconds to eat a mushroom and transform into Super Mario!
By the way, that Sammy Sosa thing completely overshadowed any other bawful last night. How are you supposed to top those screengrabs???
I'm glad you and Dan B. can't do this regularly...or I might become obsolete.
drbearclaw: Q didn't know the right place to stand for a jump ball. That is all I need to say. The rest is the bittersweet smirk on my face, the face any Suns fan would give you if you described his performance last night.
Bawful: if you print it out, be sure to replace the YouTube link with "Varagina still tasting ink in his mouth the next day because of how hard he was posterized"
And a final shout out again for Barkley's halftime list of foods that he was asking permission to eat while white. Every single one of them is being added to my list of things I want to eat before I die.
I think that was a bawful move by the Hornets' brass.
Buck Nasty -- The CoY award is jinxed. Much like the Defense Against The Dark Arts post at Hogwarts. Yeah, that was a Harry Potter reference. Bite me.
Jacob: Jason Richardson was also T'd up during that "altercation"... apparently as a penalty for letting The Machine touch him without the requisite show of indignity.
yah, bout that... maybe we should retire magic's and Bird's too?
hell, i understand that jordan effectively globalized nba in the world,but ... just what? why? what for?
oh, and i know that bron is a super talented megaman on the court, but "Now, if I’m not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it." just made me cry a lil bit inside. another reason, after the travel elimination of washington and crabgate, to hate him.
You know, as far as I'm concerned, Phoenix fans should put all of those excuses away, especially considering the Lakers were playing without their second best player, and none of the Suns played more than 25 minutes last night (after none of them other than Grant Hill & Channing Frye played more than 27 minutes the night before). Also, I'm not sure how accurate saying "the Suns kept it sorta close" is. They were down 27 at one point after all and were down by about 20 for the entire fourth quarter.
There was a lot that was bawful about the Suns in that game last night. Only 12 total assists for the team for the game (that's lower than what Steve Nash had been averaging per game by himself), and only five last night for Nash (though other than Goran Dragic, he was the only Suns player to have more than one assist). Only 102 points on a whopping 104 shots while shooting only 36% from the field. Allowing the Lakers to shoot 57% from the field, including a rather jaw-dropping 78 points in the paint. Phoenix looked like they were playing a combination of Terry Porter's offense and Mike D'Antoni's defense out there last night.
Every Laker played and none finished with fewer than 3 points. This included Adam Morrison, who finished with as many points (5) as the Suns' second leading scorer this season, Jason Richardson. Richardson and Amar'''''''''e have been the Suns' top two scorers this year, but last night they combined for only four field goals (on 24 combined shots) and 13 points, meaning they were outscored by Josh Powell. I guess they had no energy left for offense after being totally dominated on the other end of the floor by Kobe and Bynum (who scored a combined 55 points). Speaking of Bynum, not only did he crush Stoudemire, but you could make the case that by himself he outplayed Phoenix's entire starting frontcourt. Compare their numbers:
Bynum - 26 points (13-18 shooting), 15 boards, 3 blocks, 1 assist, 3 turnovers
Stoudemire, Hill & Frye combined - 24 points (9-30 shooting), 17 boards, 0 blocks, 1 assist, 5 turnovers
That was a truly, truly bawful display out there last night by the Phoenix Suns.
How about a (minimum) 2 million dollar a year salary and a damn near lifetime membership in the exclusive coaching fraternity where you are deemed qualified for a job you've already failed at multiple times?
I seriously doubt that Byron Scott gives a rat's ass about being "fired" especially while still collecting his salary in full.
Hell, where do I sign up? you could blame me for every loss and all future losses!
and that was possibly the best 1st quarter I've ever seen in a regular season game.
That said, the key (and valid) excuse for the Suns' bawful performance is this: "2nd game of a back to back on the road, 4th game in 5 nights, 7th game in 10 nights."
AnacondaHL and I argued about this right after I predicted the Suns' blowout loss in Orlando. While the Suns might not be an "old" team per se, they absolutely rely on a 35-year-old man with a bad back (Nash) and a 37-year-old man who is their leading rebounder and a key offensive cog (Hill).
Any team is going to struggle in a a road game against a superior foe at the end of a 10-day stretch like the Suns had, and they will struggle mightily when two of their top four players (and, realistically, their best player) are old and somewhat creaky (again, Nash has a chronic back condition that, if Kobe or LeBron played through so consistently well the media would be humping their own legs to gush about it). And while it could be argued that Nash and Hill didn't play particularly poorly, they also didn't play with the impact that they normally provide.
By the way, don't bother looking at minutes played to gauge fatigue. The real fatigue in these situations come from the travel and lack of sleep related to traveling versus the body's ability to recover from it.
So I'm not saying that some bed rest would have changed the outcome, but it sure as hell changed the quality of the Suns' peformance. Trust me on that. I've seen this sort of thing happen to many teams for many years. Just as I argued before that Suns-Magic game.
Sasha Vujacic is probably balls deep in Maria Sharapova. There is No Good.
Firstly, I think the foul on Nash was legit, he hit fishers hand clearly in front the ref.
Secondly, I think a special mention is need for Grant Hill's off the bench performance after Amundson destroyed the chance of tacos.
TNT showed it after the game when Amundson put back his rebound. Hill stood up and screamed "YEAH, NO FREE TACOS!" -funniest moment of the night
Correct me if I'm wrong but hasn't Avery Johnson been mentioned by official sources for coaching jobs since his dismissal?
Anyhow, I assure you, Avery Johnson will be blessing us with his *ahem* "coaching" yet again in the future.
So yeah, the being tired thing is valid, but I really don't think it ultimately means anything when it comes to whether the Suns could beat LA. Like I said last night, Phoenix is gonna be a good team this year, but they're gonna get manhandled by teams with good post play, specifically on offense. I think that's the real reason the Suns got roughed up by Orlando and LA, not because they were on the second night of a back to back. I guess we'll see what happens in the playoffs though, when there are no back to backs. My prediction is that Phoenix will be fine as long as they don't have to play the Lakers, Blazers or Spurs (and possibly Denver).
Speaking of Denver, we'll see how the Lakers do there tonight, now that they're in the same position Phoenix was in 24 hours ago (second night of a back to back on the road), except this time at altitude and still without Pau Gasol.
dano - Good to see the Suns players have their priorities in order.
oooo Doctor Zaius
(Doctor Zaius Doctor Zaius)
Justtryingnottoimagineuugh... too late. You really got it DocZeus.
Anyway, after reading the 20-10-50 post, I thought about a possible supercombo with Z-Bo and Amar''e''e''e'wtf in the same team, collecting a world record 100 losses, even more than games they can play in one season. Their stats powers break maths limitations and that causes the Staples collapse in a Grizzlies-Clippers game at the same time Deshawn Stevenson and Allen Iverson where buying popcorn to meet at Starbury's house in a "crazy tattooes night".
And this was the END for a while, until bawfulness reordered itself for the sake of the universe, and kept being bawful.
I must go now. It's my time to play basketbawful without earning money for it, mwahahahahahaa!
chris: Painful admission. I have absolutely no idea what Charles was saying. The only words I caught were 'chicken' and 'chili', but the rest of the culinary items were as foreign to me as I'm sure Korean food is to most Americans. But if Sir Charles approves, I want it.
The Hornets should bring in Sydney Lowe.
All things being equal, a rested Suns team can potentially keep the game close and might even steal one in multiple tries. That was my point...not that the Lakers wouldn't manhandle them in the paint.
But like I said last night, I don't think last night's game really illustrated that Phoenix is not as good as any rational person might have previously thought, nor did it say that the Lakers are super incredible or anything like that. That's just a very, very favorable matchup for the Lakers, being that they can punish the Suns in the paint with their size advantage. I also think that the Lakers (and Phil Jackson) are just very adept at knowing how to prepare for the SSOL type of ball that Phoenix likes to play, and the Lakers just are really good at defending it.
It's been pretty rare over the years to see the Suns out running and gunning against LA because of this, and it's the reason the Lakers almost upset the Suns in the playoffs back in 2006, despite starting Luke Walton, Smush Parker and Kwame Brown. The only difference now is that the Lakers actually have the personnel to match that game plan, and that's why they've tended to beat Phoenix the last few seasons (and by some huge margins at times). The Lakers know how to push Nash away from his comfort zones, and they know how to disrupt their pick and rolls, and their size almost totally neutralizes Amare Stoudemire, now that he's alone in the post. BTW, the impressive thing to me about last night's game, and the most telling, was the way Bynum was showing and recovering on the pick and roll defensively. That along with all the steals when Phoenix was trying to push it in transition were what really killed the Suns aggression.
My guess is that if the Lakers and Phoenix met in the playoffs the Lakers would either sweep or maybe give one away like they occasionally will do, but there would be at least one or two blowouts in there. If the teams do meet in the playoffs, we'll see if I'm right about that.
I mean, with Jackie Robinson, his number retired across MLB represents something waaaay bigger than the game, bringing racial equality to sports is actually something worth remembering. But this hero worship is on another level of silly. And sorry, Prince James, but every time a mic's in front of you this season, free agency will be the only topic.
Even better, I have Jason Thompson on my fantasy team...
Back in the real world (vice some bizarre parallel universe where five teams have lost to the Kings already this season) my Hawks finally got that win in Boston. This is huge. Atlanta is a top five team in the association. Wait and see.
Special bawful shout out to former one-game Hawk Rasheed Wallace and Paul Pierce for chucking up a combined 1-9 performance from three land. Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby stop being defensive liabilities when you fail to knock down open J's.
"Speaking of Denver, we'll see how the Lakers do there tonight, now that they're in the same position Phoenix was in 24 hours ago (second night of a back to back on the road), except this time at altitude and still without Pau Gasol."
personally, i think LA looked worse.
and as far as Gasol goes, i'd exchange a couple years off of Phx's average age if it meant we had to be without richardson or amare. also, technically, we were without barbosa against LA. yes he played, but he's still trying to come back from a wrist injury. oh yeah, and amare is still getting to 100% too after not being allowed to stand for a month.
oh, and the lakers were down by 23 with kobe on the floor.
and no one was embarrassed this badly :)
if it's any consolation, i thought of you during the slaughter :) i guess everyone has bad nights.
Ty Lawson's posterizing of DJ Mbenga NEEDS to be on Worst of the Weekend. Stat.
Lakers getting blown out by the Nuggets as the back half of a back-to-back on the road = ?
As Bawful usually says, I'm just sayin'.
I don't think the Lakers-Suns game was an accurate depiction of ANYTHING -- "lack of Suns' inside game", "Lakers knowing how to shut down the New SSoL", et cetera. Seeing headlines like "Reality Dawns on Suns" on ESPN.com rankled me for this very reason. Tonight's recaps devote ample time to explaining away tonight's flat showing by the Lakers as the back-to-back phenomenon, playing at altitude, and minus Gasol.
Let us break bread together, and we'll agree that we won't cite examples from either of these two crapfests as examples of either team's respective shortcomings.
Besides, when Lopez gets healthy, that's going to solve our big-man problems. ;-)
Someone pls make sure Ricky Rubio stays in Spain!
Granted, the competition hasn't been fierce without Martin (Utah, OKC, Golden State, and Houston) but the Kings usually struggle against, well, everyone.
And please, no Pau Gasol excuse. As others have noted, the Suns were without Lopez and Barbosa was gimpy, so the Suns had their own personnel problems.
I point out year after year that scheduling has a greater impact on game results than most people realize or are willing to admit. For the past few years, the Lakers have been fortunate to have a schedule front-loaded with home games. The Bulls, because of various United Center obligations, end up playing a ton of road games to begin the season and lots of back-to-backs...which means they always start out slow and build steam at the end of the season when all their home games come up.
I'm just sayin'...the NBA is not a video game. Teams don't get to turn off fatigue. I understand people hate excuses and all that -- I certainly do -- but if you watch basketball long enough and keep track of these things, you'll notice certain trends. And the back-to-back thing is one of them.
Four different Spurs players got swatted twice. Seven of those blocks came from Krstic, Green, and Collison, who are all career sub-1 block guys. First Jeff Green blocks his layup, then Nenad Krstic blocks his 3 point shot. Man it was not a good day for Ginobili en route to 0/8 shooting. His day sucked so badly he even got rejected by his own hamstring, and had to sit out of the 4th quarter.
David West has not been doing well ever since Chris Paul went down. In the previous Portland game, he produced all of 2 boards and 1/2 from the FT line (fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound) in 9 post-Paul minutes. On Saturday night, he was 1/7 from outside and 3/10 from 5 feet in, netting 8 token points. He was shooting 48% from the field prior to CP3's injury. Think he might miss the guy a little?
Brian Cardinal was a rebounding machine on Saturday, snagging only one fewer rebound in 18 minutes than rebounding machine DeJuan Blair. Unfortunately for Cardinal, he picked a night where Blair grabbed one rebound. Among big men, he is now second in rebounding, by which I mean second worst in rebounds per 48 minutes. Doing you proud Bawful?
Josh McRoberts picked up 1 point, 1 rebound, and 1 foul in 5 minutes. Doesn't seem particularly bawful enough to be singled out. However, back during his rookie season, I remember NBA Live 08 gave Greg Oden a 79 overall rating, and gave McRoberts an 89 overall ranking, making Portland's draft perhaps one of the greatest ever. It's great to see him still in the league, with a chance to prove EA and Kevin Pritchard right.