And this is the guy who committed the foul...The Cleveland Craboliers:
The Crabs -- who were 40-2 in Cleveland last season -- have already lost two home games in four tries this
season, despite a) having the reigning MVP and Coach of the Year, and b) adding a former MVP, four-time NBA champion and self-proclaimed Most Dominant Ever. They are, according to The Experts, "the most talented team in the league." And yet...their latest home loss came against the Bulls, a team that hasn't even shot as high as 42 percent as a team in a single game this season. That's not supposed to happen, right?
Cleveland's offense is a mess, even by coach Mike Brown's pooptastically low standards. What's more, Chicago's best defender might have been Shaq, who clogged the paint and effectively cut off several of LeBron's driving opportunities. Shades of Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor on that late 1960s, early 1970s Los Angeles Lakers team. You know, the one that went on a 33-game winning streak and captured an NBA title only after one of those guys left the team (in this case Baylor, who was nudged gently into retirement).
Last year, the Crabs won 66 games because of LeBron and the fact that their team chemistry was off the charts. This year? They still have King Crab, but that chemistry is nowhere to be seen. Nobody's grinning, laughing, or dancing on the bench. Just watch them sometime They don't look like they're having much fun at all. Which is what losing will do to a team.Mike Brown:
Each game that goes by makes his Coach of the Year award look increasingly ridiculous. At one point, he stuck with a lineup that featured both Shaq and Big Z in the frontcourt. Why not just play two statues on defense, Mike? When Brad Miller -- whose speed should be measured by a calendar instead of a stopwatch -- is coasting to the hoop at will, you know there's a problem. Unless, of course, you're 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown.
Note also that, in the final 1:02 of the game, with the Crabs trailing 86-85, Mo West got two shots (a shanked three and a missed 10-footer) and LeBron got one (the final missed layup). If you're Cleveland, is Williams the guy you want taking the crunch-time shots? Absolutely not. If you're the Bulls? Absolutely. Speaking of which...Cleveland's final play:
End-of-game fail? Yes. It was kind of amazing, though, if you think about it. LeBron was getting his usual superstar calls throughout the game, including one where he busted open Kirk Hinrich's chin and another in which he got an "And one!" despite taking 17 steps after the whistle. (That play had Mike Fratello practically spitting up on himself.) So, with about three seconds left and a one-point Cleveland deficit, I figured King Crab was going to drive, get the call, and sink two foul shots for the win.
Well, he drove all right. He used his massive shoulder to body-block Luol Deng out of his way, but Joakim Noah cut him off. There was some minor contact, after which LeBron flailed his arms like a couple of wet noodles and lost the ball out of bounds. Only...no whistle. Ooooooh, yeah. And, of course, LeBron wasn't happy: "It's a call you think you may get. I felt a push from Deng and some contact over the top from Noah. Enough to put me on the free throw line? Yes. But that’s a judgment call for the officials."
Countered Noah: "I didn't feel like it was even close to being a foul. I wasn't worried because there was no contact at all." While that's not entirely true in the sense of "truth" being actual, provable facts, it was heartening to see the officials swallow their whistles considering how much of that contact was initiated by James.
More from John Krolik of Cavs: the Blog
: "As for the last play, there were 4 seconds left, and [LeBron] went to his highest-percentage play: damn the torpedoes and make a hard, decisive drive. The real issue was that Noah was there waiting for him because we'd parked 320 pounds of a guy who can't shoot or screen directly under the rim, and Hinrich made a nice rotation down to cut off that pass. Shaq shouldn't be out there in those scenarios. Period. And no, there was no foul on that play -- Noah was in perfect position, and LeBron tried to crash into him out of desperation."David Stern:
The NFL takes quick and decisive action when its players have run-ins with the law. And yet Delonte West -- who got arrested for packing enough firepower to take on a zombie apocalypse and win
-- is still on the court. Explain that to me, Mr. Commissioner.Zydrunas Ilgauskas:
Is coming off the bench killing Big Z's game? Last night's 0-for-9 performance should pretty much answer that question.The Cleveland bench:
If you take away Boobie Gibson's 8 points and 3-for-4 shooting, the Crabs' reserves (Big Z, West and J.J. Hickson) scored 4 points on 1-for-18 shooting. That's not a typo, by the way: 1-for-18.Cleveland Junk Grabbers:
From Basketbawful reader Adrian: "For your perusal, here's a pair of floor-seat-dwelling white guys taking a rare opportunity at what looks like grabbing King Crab's junk as he dived to keep the ball in play just before half-time in the Crabs-Bulls game." No wonder Cleveland fans are so worried about LeBron bolting out of town next summer...these opportunities would be lost forever...The San Antonio Spurs:
Hey, wait, what's going on? Like the Crabs, the Spurs began this season as one of the league's supposed most-talented teams. Yet, here they are, 2-2 and not looking particularly good. Last night, they looked terrible against a team that's been
terrible so far this season.
Not only were the Spurs throwing up bricks (43 percent shooting), their defense was decidedly un-Spurs-like (the Jazz hit 53 percent of their shots despite going 1-for-7 from downtown). Mind you, the Jazz hit 22 layups in the game and scored an incredible 64 points in the paint (compared to 46 for the Spurs). Utah also outscored San Antonio on the break 16-8 and outrebounded them 41-36. Basically, they got outplayed in pretty much every possible category. TOTAL FAIL.
By the way, it was Utah's first win over the Spurs since April of 2008.Greg Popovich:
I love the interviews he gives TNT between quarters. Love 'em
. Last night, when asked what his team could do to keep the Jazz out of the paint, Pop deadpanned; "Try harder." I wish I had video of every one of these interviews he's ever given.All the teams that didn't draft DeJuan Blair:
The only San Antonio player to shine last night was Blair, who finished with 14 points (7-for-10), 9 rebounds, and a better plus-minus score (+5) than any Spurs starter. Now how did he fall all the way to the second round again...?Lacktion report:
Chris, our self-styled Master of Lacktion, strikes again:
Spurs-Jazz: With Bruce Bowen out to pasture, Gregg Popovich attempted to find a stopgap good luck charm in Keith Bogans tonight. Despite a non-victorious result, Bogans did his best to bumble his way through the evening, fouling twice and losing the rock once for a +3 suck differential in 10:42.Donald Sterling: The Clippers owner is who we thought he was
Jerry Sloan's ongoing efforts to avoid being Coach of the Year via smart strategy paid off tonight, buoyed by the first lacktive appearance of Kyrylo Fesenko this year, a single-brick +1 in 2:42. Kosta Koufos continued his impressive start of sub-importance via the coinage of 1.8 trillion.
. (Hat tip: Chris.)The Sacramento Kings:
Could things possibly get any worse for this awful team? Abso-friggin-lutely
. (Hat tip: Also Chris.)Marcus Jordan:
He insisted on wearing daddy's Air Jordan shoes in a game despite his school's contract with Adidas. And now Adidas has announced it will not renew its contract with the school
. Way to be all "team first" there, Marcus.
Labels: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Donald Sterling, Lebron James, Mike Brown, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Shaq, Utah Jazz
Not only is Mike Brown winning a Coach of the Year award a downright sham, but I feel offended whenever I see anything referring to Brown actually doing anything resembling coaching. In fact, I imagine the final Mike Brown-led timeout of a close game resembles that one scene from The Waterboy...
"We are one family with one dream. There are five of you on this team, not just one. LeBron can't do this by himself. Now get out there and make something happen! All right, sacrifice your bodies. Go, go, go!"
(Team leaves timeout huddle except for LeBron)
"...Thank you. LeBron. You're gonna have to do this by yourself, because there is nobody on this team that's any good."
The Celtics, Spurs, and Magic are all obviously, ridiculously more talented and deeper than the Cavs. Probably you can throw the Lakers in that group.
If I was a bazillionaire, I'd have both of them cloned so we'd never have to see the day when at least one of them wasn't giving interview gold between quarters. I'd pay good money to just watch those two guys watch a game.
And in defense of Marcus Jordan, the shoes didn't even have a highly visible Nike logo on them, and Nike is almost certainly going to swoop in with a better contract deal for UCF. Pretty juvenile by Adidas to not take better advantage of this situation, a Streisand effect variant will likely follow.
A black allstar with the shotgun?
Also the Kevin Martin injury is just more proof that God hates the Me and the Kings.
Dan B: I dunno if that's a Duncan face. I thought it was supposed to be the mask of pure shock he wears when he's whistled for a foul.
As for COY, I'm telling you this is a curse. If you receive the COY you're not long for this world. Jerry Sloan has only coached as long as he has because he never got it.
09 - Mike Brown (will be fired, dismembered by Cleveland faithful after LeBron leaves)
08 - Byron Scott (probably will be fired)
07 - Sam Mitchell (fired at the start of the following year)
06 - Avery Johnson (biggest upset in NBA history, player revolt, fired)
05 - Mike D'Antoni (owned by management, the Spurs, and a player that went against his entire system, fired and replaced by a rookie coach)
04 - Hubie Brown (he left the start of the following season for "unexpected health problems" and player discontent, according to Wiki)
03 - Gregg Popovich (yay!)
02 - Rick Carisle (fired at the start of the following season, replaced by the coach he beat in the playoffs)
01 - Larry Brown (gone in 2 years, Bronze)
00 - Doc Rivers (fired in 3 years)
99 - Mike Dunleavy (fired 2 years later, exiled to the Clippers as penance)
Usage: "I didn't think he could go all night. Good thing I had a bottle of erectol."
We already knew Sterling was cheap, and we already knew he didn't care about his reputation, so yeah. I'd be careful about painting him as some sort of klansman when occam's razor reminds us that the self-evident portrait of Sterling as a cheap, dim witted asshole suffices.
I hope this will become this year's "...since Devin Harris said, 'Of course we knew we were going to be a playoff team.'" The local afternoon sports yakkers here were shocked -- SHOCKED!! -- when the Suns passed on Blair in favor of Earl Clark.
You've got to hope this kid bottles that chip-on-a-shoulder, I'ma-show-'em mentality he's playing with now and can draw on it throughout his career.
Clifton -- As long as Blair continues to rock it, then it very well could become this year's DH quote.
Or more likely he's listed as 2 inches taller and the Suns were ready to pick up Enzyte just to get more size on the team.
Rick Pitino -> Steve Nash
.....GAK!cough, cough, snort.(strangled laughter)
Thanks a lot, AnacondaHL, I just shot coca-cola out my nose, do you have any freaking idea how bad that hurts?
Damn you, snakeman.
Anywho, I saw two different Shaq post moves, and both were utterly clumsy, banging off the outside of the rim. These used to be money for him, but his timing is terrible and his touch is totally obliterated. It looked like he was shot-putting a bowling ball.
I hereby call this experiment over. Shaq is done, and he's going to wreck the Cavs. Mark my words. He was playing better than this in LSU.
Plus, I don't think they had stuff like enzyte back then, unless you count selling your soul to Satan or having ancient wizards cast spells on you. (Istari?)
Or.......Wilt was just naturally awesome, both on the court and with the chicks. Of course, being able to walk up to a girl and say "Hi, I'm Wilt Chamberlain," may have had something to do with his ability to get girls.
The Knicks just got outscored 17-2 in the last few minutes to go down to the Crabs 40-21. In the FIRST QUARTER.
Anaconda, I'm still not sure if you live here in Phoenix or not? Just curious. I was going to bring up the awful afternoon sports-yakkers here on the ESPN Radio affiliate that make me switch to my XM. Gambo was the one in particular who was ranting and raving about taking the "inconsistent", "raw" Earl Clark instead of Blair, and warned that it would come back to bite the Suns in the ass down the road. My thinking is, at least we actually GOT a player... we could have been like Milwaukee and blown a pick on the faint dream of Ricky Rubio.
But see, Blair would have been the "sexy" pic. And if there's anyone who I put my trust in the most, it's Phoenix doctors. I'm sure they had some say on Blair and why Clark would be better. Screw the radio guys, if Earl Clark has the attitude, he'll be a much better player to grow in the system. Besides, we needed someone inconsistent and raw to fill Marion's void anyways. *facepalm*
And I think you're referring to Minnesota and the 4 PG draft.
Sigh. Yes. Just got it crossed up between my brain and my fingers... they're both way up north and start with "Mi". :-)
What a game tonight, though, eh? As per usual, when I've got The Condo to myself and am watching a game, had the TV muted and ws listening to Al McCoy on a boombox. Gooooood times.
In non-bawful news, we may need to keep a close eye on Kobe this season as he seems like it's possible he's finally figured out how to be an efficient scorer. I know it's early in the season so the sample size is very small, but Kobe's averaging less three point shots per game than he has in any season since 2001-2002, and he's averaging less by a considerable margin (last year he averaged over 4 attempts per game, the previous year he averaged over 5 attempts per game, but this year he's only averaging 2 attempts per game). Also, Kobe's field goal percentage right now is higher than it's ever been in his career at .481 (his previous career high was also in 2001-2002 at .469).
I probably wouldn't even have bothered to look any of this up except that just watching Kobe it's looking like something in his thinking has changed. He's always been accused of trying to imitate Jordan, and this season he seems to be doing a damn good impression of late career Jordan and that patented fallaway. But it's not like he's just mixing a few of those in these days, but instead it suddenly seems to be his bread and butter, when it was really rarely seen before now (Kobe instead preferring to take contested threes or split a double team for a tricky drive in traffic, neither of which are smart plays). Kobe is now backing players down almost every time he gets the ball, and is setting up with his back to the basket a huge percentage of the time.
There's been some press about how Kobe studied this summer under Hakeem Olajuwon in an attempt to learn his "Dream Shake" post moves, and while there is some of that evident, it's really just looking like Kobe is trying to play more efficient basketball. There's been a lot of talk early in the year that Carmelo Anthony is the runaway MVP leader right now, but Kobe's got to get some serious consideration after the way he's been playing. Then again, he is Kobe after all, so it's more likely than not that this is just a passing fad and he'll go back to trying to make his shots far more difficult than they need to be.
Also, Clifton isn't just being weird when he refers to his place of residence as "The Condo." It's pretty much got it's own name and everything. People know it. It smells of rich mahagony.
Indeed. And if you give me your name and the kinda exact quote, I will further honor you be updating the post to give you credit.