Bloody Kirk
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. 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.

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.
Donald Sterling: The Clippers owner is who we thought he was. (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.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
So, Blair is averaging 9.8pts and 8.5reb in a shade under 21 minutes a game. As a piston fan, I look at Jonas Jerabako and Chris Wilcox sitting on our bench and cry man tears deep down inside. Why did we pass on him? I think this kid may have set the draft day record for fans screaming at the TV to draft him.


Blogger Dan B. said...
As I mentioned in reply to your game post on By the Horns, this picture is a pretty good summary of the Bulls/Crabs game. Horrible.

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."

Blogger Unknown said...
Most talented team in the league? Who the f would ever say that? Any team that was counting on the likes of Jamario Moon, Delonte "Crazy" West and Leon Powe to be major contributors.. yeah, no.

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.

Anonymous JustinS said...
Is there anything better than watching Sloan and Pop interviews? The "try harder" bit was classic. And I love how the only time either one smiles in an interview is when they're gushing over a player on the other team.

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.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The pointspread for the Cleveland game was -12. I'm just sayin'.

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.

Blogger chris said...
So Bawful, does this mean that in 30 years, Shaq will be the GM of the Clippers?

Blogger Dan B. said...
Spotted in today's Daily Dime, a phenomenal example of Duncan Face.

Blogger Will said...
I think we all can agree that if your name is Mike Brown, you shouldn't have anything to do with sports. We have the Cavaliers coach who made a traveshamockery of the CotY award, the owner of the Bengals who is too stubborn to admit that he doesn't know what he's doing and hire a GM, and the former safety for the Bears (who is with the Chiefs) who has blown out his knees about 40,000 times.

Blogger JMizz said...
Bawful - I just called Stern's office to make a complaint about Sterling. Suprisingly its very easy to be connected to his assistant, who was actually really helpful. All I said was "I have some concerns about an owner who has been involved in some troubling off-court issues/lawsuits." She supposedly is going to help me speak to right person...right person of course would be David Stern. I wonder if I harass enough will I ever get to speak to him.

Anonymous FarmerTome said...
Just as you defend yourself from a typo complaint, you make one almost immediately. I'll give you a little hint: It's about the Spurs and their amaing performance in the paint.

Anonymous FarmerTome said...
Ironically, I myself made a typo in my comment. Shame on me.

Anonymous abrakadabra said...
Who is this awesome guy named Mo West mentioned in the Mike Brown section?
A black allstar with the shotgun?

Anonymous Matt said...
FarmerTome shows us the true meaning of irony.

Blogger 49er16 said...
Create a Caption: "No one makes me bleed my own blood!"

Also the Kevin Martin injury is just more proof that God hates the Me and the Kings.

Blogger chris said...
Will: Well, there IS the mixed martial artist who is the World Extreme Cagefighting champ...but yeah, the odds are against most Mike Browns for sure.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
It's not ironic, it was just Muphry's law claiming another victim. Gratz, FarmerTome, you are uninterestingly normal.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Blair fell so low because he doesn't have ACLs in his knees. It's true. Look it up. I thought this was semi-common knowledge. Popular wisdom is that his career won't last long before his knees explode. Which means, of course, he will play until he's 45.

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)

captcha: erectol
Usage: "I didn't think he could go all night. Good thing I had a bottle of erectol."

Blogger Roger Williams said...
In some (probably undeserved) fairness to Donald Sterling, the penalty he paid to dismiss these suits is an actual fraction of the costs (to say nothing of the personal time required) of fighting them for years, maybe even decades, in court, which could have easily cost more than 10 times what he paid to get rid of it.

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.

Blogger Will said...
chris- I would have included him as a counterpoint, but I don't follow MMA so I hadn't heard of him.

Blogger Basketbawful said...

Blogger stephanie g said...
Shows how much I followed the site during the off season. :O I'm not worthy.

Blogger Dan B. said...
stephanie G -- You're right that it's not standard definitive Duncan Face (no foul in ths situaton), but he looks pretty damn shocked to me. And actually, upon further inspection, he looks like he's afraid Boozer's going to try to poke his eyes out. Considering the recent epidemic of eye gouging in sports, I don't blame him for being scared.

Blogger Clifton said...
"All the teams that didn't draft DeJuan Blair:"

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.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
stephanie g -- I forgive you, but you have been missed.

Clifton -- As long as Blair continues to rock it, then it very well could become this year's DH quote.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Well I, for one, approved of the Earl Clark choice for the Suns. We didn't need a forward who could score a bit. (cough). We needed a scrappy bench guy to play some defense, maybe shoot a 3, and have versatility to guard multiple positions while growing towards a 16/10/6 guy.

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.

Blogger Dan B. said...
I watched Earl Clark play for Louisville just long enough to not like him. The word that always came to my mind when someone mentioned his name was "inconsistent." We'll see how that plays out in the pros. Then again, watching Rajon Rondo play for Kentucky, I was never all that impressed, but it turned out to be a mixture of immaturity, and being chained down by a notoriously slow, methodical Tubby Smith offense that put Rondo decidedly out of his element. There's always a distinct possibility that I'm wrong yet again.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Dan B: A mini flowchart:

Rick Pitino -> Steve Nash


Blogger Dan B. said...
AnacondaHL - I bow before your flowcharting abilities.

Blogger lordhenry said...
"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."

.....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.

Blogger chris said...
lordhenry/AHL: Thus, the secret as to why Wilt Chamberlain was so dominant, right?

Anonymous Wormboy said...
To illustrate how uninterested I was in the Cavs-Bulls game last night, I was watching "On any given Sunday," and only flipping to the hoops game during commercials {aside: BIG mistake. That movie is butt-awful, and cements in my mind Cameron Diaz as one of the worst actors in Hollywood.}

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.

Blogger lordhenry said...
Chris--Well, 10,000 women can't be wrong right?

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.

Anonymous alley dawson said...
First picture -> is Kirk Hinrich frothing at the mouth?

Blogger chris said...

The Knicks just got outscored 17-2 in the last few minutes to go down to the Crabs 40-21. In the FIRST QUARTER.

Blogger Clifton said...
I'm not saying Clark does/will suck, and I'm certainly not going to pass judgment on him after six games of his NBA career. People said the Suns were nuts for taking a flyer on Amar'e, too, for what it's worth.

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.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I don't live in AZ anymore.

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.

Blogger Clifton said...
"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.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
you basically used my comment over from the truehoop liveblogging sesson. im honored.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
The Greg Oden Watch continues. Another 5 foul game again tonight, making that now five of the six games he's played in this season in which he's committed 5 fouls (he had 4 in one game, for 29 total fouls in six games this season).

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.

Clifton, were you also naked, candles lit, awaiting a McCoy "Shazam!!!" ....well, I won't go there.

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.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"you basically used my comment over from the truehoop liveblogging sesson. im honored."

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.