white chicks and gang signs
The first thing I thought when I saw this picture was
"White Chicks & Gang Signs." But maybe that's just me.

My Ghostbusters costume won me tickets to the Bucks-Bulls game last night, so I spent my evening drinking at the World Famous Billy Goat Tavern & Grill and then at the United Center watching...gak. As Patches O'Houlihan would have put it, sitting through Bucks-Bulls was like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob out there.

Anyway, live game-related activities kept me away from the TV and my computer, so today's WotN will be short and sour.

The Philadelphia 76ers: They really couldn't have asked for a better situation: a home game against the Celtics in which a) Kevin Garnett went 1-for-7 and finished with more turnovers (5) than points (3) and b) Ray Allen scored only 5 points on 2-for-8 shooting. So why, then, did the Sixers lose by 31 points?! Probably because they went broke on offense (36 percent shooting as a team, 1-for-16 on threes) and defense (Boston shot 57 percent from the field and a blistering 14-for-20 on threes). Uh, hand in the face, anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I suppose there's no shame in coming up short -- make that way short -- against a superior force. However, I can't help but think back to last season when the acquisition of Elton Brand (6 points, 2-for-6, 4 rebounds) was supposed to transform Philly into a contender. If there's anybody who thought the return of a healthy Brand this season was going to fulfill the promise of those failed expectations had better rethink their misguided optimism.

Elton Brand: See above. Worth $80 million? Eh...not so much. Again, I can't help but feel like the Clippers really dodged a bullet when he left L.A.

Bucks-Bulls: Remember what I said about the doorknob up there? Well, that pretty much sums it up. The Bulls played like ass in the first half and fell behind by 18 points midway through the third quarter. For the game, the Windy City Stags shot 39 percent, bricked nine free throws (including six in the fourth quarter), and gave up 23 points off 19 turnovers. And they won. Milwuakee simply would not be out-sucked.

Even when Joakim Noah blew a chance to ice the game by bricking two free throws with 13 seconds left, the Bucks were determined to make their fans throw up in their own mouths. I'll let Joe describe Milwaukee's final possession: "Anyone watch the Bulls-Bucks game? Last two Milaukee possessions feature a Brandon Jennings no jump fadeaway blocked by Derrick Rose and an airball three-pointer by Ersan Ilyasova. If thats not Bawful, what is? Shout out to NBA Broadbrand preview so I could watch that but not Celts-Sixers or Lakers-Thunder."

The Chicago Bulls' inside game: The Bulls sure would be a lot better if they could hit a few layups. The Bulls were 5-for-16 (31 percent) on layup attempts against the Bucks. That makes them 37-for-85 (43 percent) for the season.

The Chicago Bulls' in-game entertainment: I've posted before about some of my Bawful experiences at the United Center. Well, last night wasn't quite that bad, but it was close. I got to watch the Swingin' Seniors gyrate for the crowd's displeasure. I got to listen to a fat guy sing "My Girl" for a Big Mac. And I got to watch two guys play Tic Tac Toe, which was actually hilarious, because the X guy was so intent on winning that he left an opening for the O guy to win, only the O guy was to intent on blocking the X guy that he missed a chance to complete his three Os in a row. And after he boned it -- realizing it only after the crowd moaned -- he stood there, staring at his mistake, than spasmed toward his last O as if to move it, only to be waved off by the people running the game. The game finished without a winner...just 15,000-plus losers.

The worst part of the game was the halftime show, an act called "Quick Change." Despite the act's incredible lameness, here's a glowing review from Slate:
The No. 1 [NBA halftime] act, however, is David & Dania, a married couple who put on a spectacle that's one part magic show, one part ballroom-dancing exhibition. Popularly known as "Quick Change," the performance features nearly a dozen costume changes in the span of a few minutes, as Dania sheds one dress for another quicker than the average human can remove a single sock. It's an astounding example of precision artistry, and one that the NBA's game-operations directors have voted the league's most requested halftime attraction.
Really?! People desperately want to see...this?

I don't know. Maybe it's just me. I'm not sure this act would even win a high school talent competition, but people apparently love it. Admittedly, it was kinda interesting for the first minute. But it ran for 10 minutes. And, not to spoil anything for you, but Dania doesn't get naked at the end, which might have been the tipping point for me.

Tyrus Thomas: As I put it on By The Horns:

I had just settled into my seat at the United Center when Chicago's starting lineup was announced. And starting at power forward was…Taj Gibson? Whaaaaaa…?! It took a few minutes of furious texting to discover that Tyrus Thomas was out with -- you guessed it! -- flu-like symptoms.

The timing of Ty’s outbreak is a more than a little dubious, considering it happened the day after he failed to reach a before-the-deadline contract extension agreement with the Bulls. Given Thomas' history, it’s understandable that some people are calling shenanigans.
The Miami Heat: They were almost single-handedly destroyed by Steve Nash (30 points, 11-for-15, 8 assists). I say "almost" because the Suns also hit the Heat with a zone defense that rendered their offense less than usesless. Miami shot 35 percent in the second half, 23 percent in the fourth quarter. Phoenix missed fewer shots (15) in the entire second half than the Heat did (18) in the final quarter.

Random aside: Steve Nash! The dude is averaging 21.5 PPG, 12.5 APG and shooting 54 percent from the field and 55 from three. And the Suns -- sans Shaq -- are undefeated. I'm not going to say the Suns wont' come back down to earth, because they will. They simply don't have a lot of talent. But Nash is amazing. And people who claimed that Mike D'Antoni made Nash need to think again. Those people like to point at Nash's reduced numbers last season as proof, but check his splits. The month after Terry Porter was fired, Nash averaged 20.7 PPG and 9.3 APG while shooting 53 from the floor and 44 in threes. The following month, he averaged 16.4/10.3 while shooting 60 percent from the field and 58 percent from downtown. Let's just admit that Nash is a great player and be done with it, okay? The whole "D'Antoni's system made Nash" myth is a big, heaping pile.

Sour grapes: After letting the Suns' zone make them look silly, Quentin Richardson complained: "I thought the zone was for college, personally. I thought that was the difference between the NBA and college." You know, Quentin, admitting your team got pwned by a college tactic doesn't really make you guys look any better.

The Orlando Magic: The Pistons beat the previously unbeaten Magic despite missing Tayshaun Prince (back) and Rip Hamilton (ankle). As Basketbawful reader Jarron put it: "I know you will trash Orlando, but you need to mention the fact that they lost to a team starting a guy named Jerebko. I just thought that was funny."

Dwight Howard: Superman was outplayed by Old Man (Ben Wallace). No, really. Howard, who fouled out in only 17 minutes of playing time, finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Big Ben scored only 2 points, but he also had 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocked shots...and only 2 personal fouls.

Here's an extra tidbit from Basketbawful reader Mladen: "And also, please DO check out the NBA.com video recap of the Magic's failure against the Pistons for this juicy sound bite: "So, D. Howard: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 6 fouls against a frontcourt featuring Ben Wallace, Charlie Villanueva and Jonas Jerebko!? This does not make sense...." (All this is followed by the other commentetors chuckling.) FAIL."

Kerry Eggers, sportswriter: From Gert-Jan: "From the NBA.com recap of the Atlanta-Portland game, written by Kerry Eggers: 'In Portland's other two losses, Denver's Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points and Houston's Trevor Arizona had 33.' Trevor Arizona. That's bad, if you're a NBA writer you shoulnd't get this stuff wrong, don't you think?"

Utah Jazz: From AnacondaHL: "After holding the Mavs to three sub-18 point quarters, the Jazz decided that winning wasn't on the meeting agenda, allowing Dirk to go off for 29 of Dallas's 44 4th quarter points, only scoring 18 of their own en route to an 11-point loss. Special bawful mention to Carlos Boozer, for obtaining a +/- of -27 in just 24 minutes."

Mehmet Okur: Guess who was guarding Dirk during that fourth-quarter romp?

Poor Mehmet ended up in so many Dirk Nowitzki posters last night that if you ever see him anywhere else at any time, it probably isn't him. In fact, I'm hereby changing Mehmet's nickname from "The Turkish Assassin" to "The Prop."

Lacktion report: Brilliance from Chris, as always.

Nuggets-Pacers: Renaldo Balkman panned a payout of 4.05 trillion!

Wizards-Crabs: Dominic McGuire is having a stupendously sucktacular start for the ages, giving Washington continued coinage with a 1.7 trillion!!!!! Matching him in mediocrity was Cleveland's crustacean cleanup crew, however. Jawad Williams fouled once in 1:38 for a +1 suck differential, while Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson took home some serious dough with a 1.35 trillion.

Magic-Pistons: Detroit's Chucky Atkins believes in a diet high in precious metals and low in carbohydrates, as demonstrated by his 2.1 trillion, a paycheck no doubt helping him truly feel at home in Oakland County.

Suns-Heat: Joel Anthony's saving his pennies for someday, as he avoided wealth in 6:15 via four fouls, one rejection, one brick and a giveaway -- an effort resulting in the spectacular sucktitude score of +7!!!!! Meanwhile, Phoenix's Alando Tucker unmasked Samus Aran in a mere 35 seconds for a celebratory Mario.

Bucks-Bulls: Milwaukee's Roko Ukic capitalized on a 6:12 stint with +4 via foul and three bricks, the latter coming twice from inside the Chicago Loop.

Lakers-Thunder: DJ Mbenga scratched out a foul for a +1 in 1:42, also counting as a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl. For Oklahoma City, Nick Collison crashed out of lacktivity by boarding thricely despite one brick, only to foul twice and contribute three turnovers for a 5:3 Voskuhl in 16:11.

Jazz-Mavs: For Utah, Kosta Koufos collected plenty of gold coins and somehow accrued a steal in a 3-second Super Mario!!!! Dallas's Quinton Ross started tonight's game but earned a +3 in only 7:27 of playing time, via brick, rejection, and foul.

Hawks-Blazers: Maurice Evans seems to have taken Mario West's old spot as Atlanta's primary lacktator, flying into two fouls for a +2 in 5:48.

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Blogger Henchman #2 said...
Re Ben Wallace - Don't you mean Old Man-Man? http://dresdencodak.com/2005/12/07/oldman-man-returns/

Also, Trevor Arizona might just be an Autocorrect Fail.

Anonymous Sun Devil said...
Has anyone noticed that Amar'e doesn't take shots anymore? Even Channing Frye has taken more shots! What gives?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That's great and all. Now go out and get tix for March 9th.

Yup. I'm bitter. While I wasn't texting for you, I was enjoying a nice night of having my baby crap out of diaper three times, dishes, laundry, and an eight-year old boy whose mouth is going to land him as Herbert's new lawn boy.

Blogger Jerry Vinokurov said...
No mention of the Jazz being mauled by Dirk in the 4th?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Magic couldn't buy a basket but on the other hand they got jobbed by some good country home-cookin' as well.

Pistons shot 20 more free throws, Dwight Howard AND Marcin Gortat fouled out, only two guys on the Pistons had 3+ fouls versus six on the Magic.


Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Later, Q complained that Suns players kept throwing Paper in Rock-Paper-Scissors. "I thought this game was Rock-Scissors-SharperScissors at the professional level."

Utah Jazz: After holding the Mavs to three sub-18 point quarters, the Jazz decided that winning wasn't on the meeting agenda, allowing Dirk to go off for 29 of Dallas's 44 4th quarter points, only scoring 18 of their own to an 11 point loss. Special bawful mention to Carlos Boozer, for obtaining a +/- of -27 in just 24 minutes.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Quick Change is awesome. That and Red Panda Acrobat are the best NBA halftime shows. That said, even when those acts perform, I still leave my seat and walk around the arena to scope girls.

Blogger Alex said...
I'd like to give Chris a special shout-out for his classic Nintendo mentions every time he highlights a Mario.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Anyone want to explain to me why an aging 36 year old point guard with a degenerative back disease and little-to-no natural athleticism manages to be more effective than guys in their mid-20s and totally healthy?

Because the guy spends hours upon hours perfected that jump shot and his court vision is world-class. Jump shots don't age. That's why my 48-year-old Dad still kicks my ass when we play HORSE in the driveway.

Blogger Jesse said...
This Sun's team reminds me of the 05-06 team when Amare was out and Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson were traded.

Nash took a bunch of scrubs to the Western Conference Finals. (Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, Tim Thomas). They benefited from some lucky match ups in the playoffs that year to make it to the third round, but it was a really exciting year.

I'm not saying they'll make it that far again. I'm just saying it's nice to have the "fun to watch" Suns back.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No (un)love for the Jazz allowing Dirk to dismantle their team in the 4th? That was as bawful as I have ever seen.

Blogger chris said...
The Clippers may have dodged a bullet, but when you're still tied to the train tracks...

Bafwul: Yep, there was a stupid X and O tic tac toe game at Arco as well on Monday, though not as turrible as the one you described.

A: Hey, I'm making up for a childhood in which I only had a Game Boy. :p Probably played Super Mario Land 2 quite often, followed by F1 Race. Later, Qix.

Blogger Jerry Vinokurov said...
Maybe I'll succeed in making Bawful jealous by mentioning that I just bought a ticket to the Suns v. Celtics game this Friday. Should be exciting.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Jesse: It's more like the 04-05 Suns, now with less fixed officiating!

Blogger Alex said...
A: Well, as a former old-school Nintendo junkie, I say keep it up!

Blogger Jesse said...
AHL: I don't know. 05-06 seemed more ensemble style where as 04-05 was very heavy Nash/Amare (And sometimes Marion).

The 04-05 team basically had a five and a half man rotation.

This year Amare hasn't been overly dominant or the "go to guy", and it's worked out okay. We're only 4 games in though.

According to the AZ Republic, last years Suns didn't win 4 games in a row ever.

Blogger chris said...
Jerry: Is it me or is this "Bawful readers attending basketball games" week!?

As bad as the Kings have been, I'm not sure yet there is going to be a matchup so bad at Arco this year as to match that of Nets-Bobcats from this week.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"Anyone want to explain to me why an aging 36 year old point guard with a degenerative back disease and little-to-no natural athleticism manages to be more effective than guys in their mid-20s and totally healthy? Because the guy spends hours upon hours perfected that jump shot and his court vision is world-class. Jump shots don't age. That's why my 48-year-old Dad still kicks my ass when we play HORSE in the driveway."


One thing that always seems to get overlooked in the rush to discredit Nash's MVPs or prove that Mike D'Antoni's system "made" Nash is the fact that all Nash cares about is winning. To that end, he will play whatever role is asked of him without complaint.

One of the Steve Nash myths is that, during his Dallas years, he wasn't capable of being great. Whatever. His job at that time was to bring the ball up court, pass it to Dirk or Michael Finley, and then spot up. Nellie has always favored isolations and mismatches over running an actual offense. And Nash did what he was told.

He did the same thing in Phoenix and won two MVPs. When he started to "decline" last season under Terry Porter, he was playing the way the coach wanted him to play. When Alvin Gentry took over, it was the same deal.

We know Nash can score 30 points, or dish 20 assists, or whatever. But he doesn't care about stats. He cares about winning.

And while I'll readily admit that he's a bad defender, so was Magic, but somehow that hasn't damned the memory of his career. So was/is Allen Iverson, but nobody has suggested revoking his MVP because of it. So's Tony Parker, he's just lucky enough to have Tim Duncan standing behind him.

Eh, sorry. The Nash subject always gets me fired up. Please nobody bring up Karl Malone's "stolen" MVP. My blood pressure won't be able to take it.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Anonymous -- I didn't have time to review the Jazz game. I'll try to update.

Jerry -- Yes, you totally succeeded. Thank. >:(

Blogger Basketbawful said...
By the way, for all my Suns love, I'm calling it now: Phoenix will get blown out in Orlando tonight. A classic "old guys on the road on the second night of back-to-backs versus a young team at home" scenario.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Anyone want to explain to me why an aging 36 year old point guard with a degenerative back disease and little-to-no natural athleticism manages to be more effective than guys in their mid-20s and totally healthy? Because the guy spends hours upon hours perfected that jump shot and his court vision is world-class. Jump shots don't age. That's why my 48-year-old Dad still kicks my ass when we play HORSE in the driveway."

I reject the notion that Nash lacks "athleticism", or ever has lacked "athleticism".

Speed and quickness + hand-eye coordination + balance and body control = athleticism last time I checked, and while he has lost a half-step at 35, when he was younger, he could blast by anyone who guarded him and regularly did. He is amazingly athletic. Maybe the word you're looking for is "black". He definitely lacks "blackness", but certainly not athleticism.

Anonymous Karc said...
So "The Machine" is dating Maria Sharapova. Maybe that explains the fact that he's scored only six points in four games. And isn't this a contract year...?

So now the Lakers have the reality TV version of the Wyerd Sisters and a tennis player who wanted to carry the Russian flag for the Olympics despite living in Florida and California since she was seven. I actually miss the Shaq-Kobe days when Rick Fox was married to Vanessa Williams. Now that lady has some class.


Blogger chris said...
Karc: Does this mean that DJ Mbenga will soon be finding the B-list celebrity of his dreams, in accordance with his Lakers teammates?!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Steve Nash is almost as overrated as Karl Malone was :) (Sorry Mr. Bawful, I couldn't resist)

I asked this yesterday, but it bears repeating: how much trouble are the Jazz in? They seem to be going out of their way almost to out embarrass themselves with each successive loss. They need to trade Boozer pronto. 12 pts & 2 boards out of the former All Star is really just pathetic.

How good is Denver gonna be once JR Smith comes back from his suspension? They're killing people right now without him.

The officiating on paper (I didn't see the game) in that Detroit-Orlando game last night looks very suspicious at best. Not only did the home team Pistons have a 38-16 FT advantage, but Orlando had almost twice as many fouls as the Pistons had (30-17). Even in a lot of lopsided free throw games, the foul discrepancy itself isn't usually anywhere near that bad. Even still, Jameer Nelson's gotta come up with more than 7 points, 6 assists and 5 turnovers. He should be embarrassed about being outplayed by backcourt mate and rap star JJ Redick.

We may need to implement a Greg Oden watch. Five games into the season and there's only been one game so far this year where he hasn't had five fouls (Sunday against the Thunder, when he had four instead). Last night his 5 fouls and 16 minutes of PT were right near his averages of the season (4.8 fouls and 23 minutes of PT). Also his fouls and turnovers combined are higher than his points and assists combined. Oden's play is just one reason why the Blazers, who were picked by many preseason to be one of the top teams in the league, are now 2-3, with two of those losses coming at home.

The Lakers' bench is awful. 6 bench points last night from the Lakers. Six. That's it. Presumably things will improve once Gasol's back and Odom is coming off the pine again, but man, there's a whole lot of nothing on that LA bench right now. You can tell Phil Jackson has zero confidence in his bench when he plays Derek Fisher 35 minutes in a road game on the first night of a back to back.

Speaking of the Laker bench (and to answer Karc) - It's not a contract year for The Machine, his contract runs through the summer of 2011, so maybe that explains it?

Blogger DC said...
I recall seeing "Quick Change" once. It was during a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs game - that's AAA baseball. And yes, I was also disappointed that the girl didn't strip down more.

So what's a minor league-quality act doing at an NBA game? Well, let's not forget that the Bobcats are letting a bunch of kids play during halftime in hopes that their parents will buy tickets to see them - ie. the NBA is poor nowadays and looking to save money wherever possible. That said, the halftime acts from past years weren't much better, if better at all.

Blogger DC said...
BTW, I would say that Dwight Howard played like Supergirl last night, but that's a huge insult to Supergirl. So let's just say he Aquaman, only he wasn't rescued by his teammates.

Anonymous your favourite sun said...
I call some home cookin' in the United Center last night. The Bulls missed more free throws in the fourth quarter than the Bucks got in the entire second half. And it can't be blamed on the Bucks not trying, because without Michael Redd they knew they weren't a jumpshooting team(hence the ugliness of their last couple of possessions), so much of the offense went through Bogut--14 shots, one free throw--and Hakim Warrick--15 shots, two free throws--in the low post. To be fair, the refs let a lot of contact go throughout much of the game for both teams, but how does a team of jumpshooters like the Bulls get a 31-10 free throw attempts advantage?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- Replies:

1. The Jazz are in a LOT of trouble. Not trading Boozer in the offseason was a huge mistake, and they're paying for it. And now he looks like damaged goods to potential suitors.

2. I actually figured Denver would regress. They haven't so far, mostly because Carmelo has stayed out of trouble and actually improved his game.

3. Yeah, I smelled some home cookin' in the Magic-Pistons game, but I didn't get the chance to watch any of it at all, so I didn't want to speak out of turn.

4. Agreed. Hey, AnacondaHL, tracking Greg's fouls-per-performance sounds like it's right up your alley. Weekly post, perhaps?

5. Until Gasol gets back, the Lakers' rotation is going to be effed up. So for now, I'll take their lack of bench production with a grain of salt. The bigger worry would be keeping Gasol and Kobe healthy. The Lakers can't repeat without both of those guys at 100 percent.

Btw, Gasol led the Lakers in win shares last season. Interesting, no?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
your favorite sun -- I dunno, man. I was at the game, and I didn't see any home cookin' in the fourth. Here's a summary of Milwaukee's fourth-quarter possessions:

Carlos Delfino missed 10-footer (blocked); Brandon Jennings made 21-footer; Brandon Jennings missed 11-footer; Carlos Delfino made 25-footer; Brandon Jennings 1-for-2 from the line; Roko Ukik missed three-pointer; Luc Richard Mbah a Moute missed three-pointer; Andy Bogut made 7-foot hook shot; Roko Ukik missed three-pointer; Hakim Warrick missed 20-footer; Hakim Warrick missed layup; Andy Bogut missed hook shot; Hakim Warrick offensive rebound and missed tip shot; Andy Bogut missed hook shot (blocked); Charlie Bell missed three-pointer; Brandon Jennings missed three-pointer; Hakim Warrick offensive rebound; Brandon Jennings made 9-footer; Hakim Warrick made 21-footer; Hakim Warrick missed 10-footer (blocked); Hakim Warrick offensive rebound; Charlie Bell made three-pointer; Charlie Bell missed three-pointer; Andy Bogut made hook shot; Brandon Jennings made layup; Brandon Jennings made 9-footer; Brandon Jennings missed 12-footer (blocked); Ersan Ilyasova missed 27-footer.

As you can see, it was mostly jumpers for the Bucks in the fourth. For the most part, the Bulls defense kept them out of the paint and on the perimeter.

And by the way, the Bulls were 5-for-16 on layups last night...so, trust me, there was uncalled contact both ways.

Blogger chris said...
Drake: At least it's not as bad as last year's halftime debacle in Klahma...

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Steve Nash is amazing. He torched my team. At 35 it is still incredible how well he shoots, passes, and well not look at all old

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Now it sounds like Gasol might be back Friday, so we'll soon see if you're right. I don't know if moving Odom back to the bench will suddenly unite the bench guys and make them play better or anything, but I think instead you'll just see those guys ending up with fewer minutes. You'll see Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga barely get in the games as LA goes back to the Bynum, Gasol, Odom three man frontcourt rotation they used last year. After that you've got Artest and Kobe, two guys who want to play big minutes (say 37+), meaning there's just not gonna be a whole lot of bench minutes outside of Odom available, except in blowouts.

It's not surprising to me that Gasol would lead the Lakers in win shares. He's absolutely the glue that held that championship team together last year, and his contributions were always much greater than what you would see in the box score. This is especially true since he rarely got close to as many shots as he should have, considering his incredible offensive efficiency; and I'm sure with Bynum now averaging 21 ppg and with the addition of Artest, you're not going to see Gasol's shot attempts go up this year from what they were last year. In any event, Bynum's averaging 58% shooting from the field to go with 78% shooting from the line, so adding Gasol in there will give the Lakers two highly efficient options in the post. Now it'll just be up to Kobe and Artest to limit their own inefficient shot selections and dump it down low (I'm not holding my breath on that, btw).

Anonymous your favourite sun said...
I know there was uncalled stuff both ways(I said so in my first post), because Brad Miller and Bogut were practically mugging each other on every possession. However, only one fouled out while the other got called for three fouls in thirty minutes. I actually think the home cookin' was more in the third while the Bulls were making their comeback...but I'll defer to you, since I'm horribly biased being one of the few Bucks fans remaining.

Blogger Will said...
Basketbawful- was that recap of the Bucks' fourth quarter possessions based on a possession chart of some sort or your superhero-esque memory?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Bawful: Now you've stepped into my territory.

Disclaimer: I have drunk the 09-10 Suns Kool-Aid.

But I'm saddened to see you've blindly followed the misinformed media hype that the Suns are an aging team. Seriously, this isn't even hard, just goto basketball-reference and click on Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic.
Grant Hill 37
Steve Nash 35
Jarron Collins who the heck cares, but 31
Jason Richardson 29
ELSE 27 or younger.

Anthony Johnson 35
Jason Williams 34
Vince Carter's sprained ankle 33
Matt Barnes (revenge game?) 29
ELSE 27 or younger.

So who the crap is the aging team? Which set of veterans would you rather have? My prediction is a Dwight Howard 30/20/5blk, but a Suns victory. This may be one game where the zone might not help. Let Howard go wild on the inside, especially with RLo out, and prevent the three while raining your own. Simple gameplan.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Grant Hill and Steve Nash are both starters and out on the court during the fourth quarter (averaging 35 minutes each a game). I doubt that Johnson, Williams, and Barnes will get 10 minutes total playing time once Pietrus and Lewis come back to the line-up. The Suns' best players are old (hence they are "aging"). The Magic's best players are young (hence they are a "young" team).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- I'm more interested to see how Bynum will feel about sharing shots once Pau comes back. Like you, I think the Lakers should be an inside-out team. If you can get 50-60 percent shooting over 40-45 percent shooting, well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out the best options. But shots will have to be distributed. Of course, Phil Jackson is the master of doing that...

Still, point taken. The Lakers don't have great depth. I suppose that could be their Walton's Foot, if they have one.

your favorite sun -- You might have a point about the third. It's hard to say...I had my head in my hands much of that quarter. But from what I remember, the Bucks basically jump-shot their way out of the game.

Will -- I used the ESPN play-by-play.

AnacondaHL -- In this case, I was talking about the key players for each team. That is, Nash/Hill versus Howard/Nelson. Which is pretty much what Anonymous said.

So it's not really a case of me being misinformed. Take the 1990-91 Celtics. They "got young" by developing Reggie Lewis, Brian Shaw, Kevin Gamble, and Dee Brown. But they still struggled in back-to-back situations or on long road trips when Bird, McHale and Parish struggled with fatigue or injury. It's always the age of the key players that concerns me, not the roleplayers.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Gasol should be careful. The Lakers medical staff told Karl he was fine too, and look how that turned out...

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Not that I mind how underestimated the Suns are this year (Frye especially), but these cherry picked players to compare are laughable. Hill and Nelson included in a top 2 comparison of key players on each team? Is this some bad troll?

In minutes per game, it's Nash, Stat, JRich, then Hill versus REDICK, Howard, Pietrus, then Nelson. Based on PER, it's Nash, Frye, Barbosa, JRich, then Hill. For Orlando, Howard, Carter, Williams, Redick, Johnson, Ryan Anderson, then Nelson.

So why not admit it? Just be straight and ask specifically if Nash and Hill are okay with 0 days rest. No prob. Those splits are available on Yahoo. Last year, Nash saw a slight performance dip, in addition to playing a few minutes less. Hill is the same, but actually did better/nochange in some defensive stats.

So what does this mean? More focus on the bench, which for the Suns hasn't been this deep in years. Why the hell would you ignore bench performance in back to backs?

Also, the 91-92 Celts didn't have doctors from Phoenix. Another underestimated part of not just the team, but the entire city. They can literally reanimate corpses, I can personally assure you, growing up walking around Scottsdale.

Anyways, nothing here should be suggesting some disastrous blowout due to being old. Again I repeat, Howard goes 30/20, Suns bench keeps defense on Redick/Carter/Nelson/Anderson 3s, use Frye to stretch Howard out of the paint, and rain 3s.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
BadDave - Normally I'd agree with you, but this is from the article I linked to above:

"The Lakers sent the information from Gasol's latest medical test to his personal physician and also his parents, who are in the medical field in Spain. (His mother is a doctor and his father is a hospital administrator.)

The Lakers declined to reveal the results of the MRI exam, citing the need for confirmation from Gasol's chosen recipients, but his strained right hamstring doesn't appear to be bad enough to keep him out much longer."

Sounds like they're doing their homework on this one.

Mr. Bawful - Bynum's not really much of a ballhog really, as he tends to get most of his points on lobs, in transition or when he gets really deep position (or a bad mismatch in his favor). Bynum's had between 13-15 shots in every game this year. It's really Kobe who will need to start sacrificing his shots more than anyone. Gasol only averaged just under 13 shots per game last year though, while Kobe averaged just under 21. I expect that Kobe's shots will go down a bit, as will Bynum's.

I would also guess that even though Bynum is gonna start, he'll probably get most of his minutes with the second unit (or whatever's gonna constitute the second unit for the Lakers). Artest is showing an understanding that when he's in with the starters he rarely touches the ball or shoots on offense, but he really begins to dominate the ball a lot more when he's in with the subs (which is a good thing, as that's when they need him for scoring). I wouldn't be surprised to see Bynum, Odom and Artest getting a lot of minutes together with Farmar/Vujacic/Shannon Brown in there, so that Gasol and Odom can get more minutes alongside Kobe, Artest and Fisher. That's just a guess on my part though.

Also, the Lakers' lack of depth will probably hurt them more in the regular season than in the playoffs. They've got enough top-heavy firepower to cover for an injury here or there (like they are with Gasol out), but they may get a bit weary as the season goes on with their main guys playing a lot of minutes if that's what's gonna happen. Also, as with any team, they'll struggle if they have a lot of injury problems. But assuming they're healthy for the playoffs, I don't think a lack of real depth beyond the top 6 guys will matter that much since as I stated above, I don't think there's gonna be many bench minutes available anyway given who the starters are. 8-12 minutes from Walton, Vujacic, Farmar or Brown (and probably only 2-3 of those guys in any one game) shouldn't give them enough time to expose how thin the bench is. This is especially true if the Lakers have such highly efficient pivots as Bynum or Gasol on the floor at all times.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Quick update: looks like DHoward's shoulder isn't 100%, so I'm expecting 24/14/2blk. And Barbosa's out, so the key to the game now lays with Dragic's defense and ball handling.

...Oh God did I actually just write that last sentence... Mmm this Kool-Aid is Suns-a-licious...

Blogger Steve said...
Steve Nash to me is not unathletic. He's not a high flier but there's more to athleticism than that, like fluidity, body control, footwork, balance, hand eye coordination, quickness if not straight ahead speed, etc... If Nash was so unathletic, how does he manage to break down guys off the dribble and finish at the rim? He certainly looked quick last night when he broke down Chalmers off the dribble and finished for a three point play to seal their win. Or when he broke down Baron Davis, whose athleticism no one questions, off the dribble for the game winner, which he called an old man at the ymca move. He didn't do anything fancy both times: he just went left, got a step on his man, maintained that step and finished.

Nash is not some stiff. He's a world class athlete whom the soccer players he's trained with thinks could have been a professional soccer player if he had so chosen.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: to paraphrase Gwen Stefani...welcome to the Dragic Kingdom!??!?!

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Dragic is improving.

I wish there were more games on TV. All you guys going to games and analyzing is making me jealous.

Also: Chris, really? "Tied to the train tracks." Damn you. Damn you to hell. I can only pray that Griffin comes back and demolishes everyone that you've ever loved. Will it happen? Unlikely. Could it happen? Anything could happen baby.


Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- This is an area in which you and I differ. You seem to believe that all answers can be found in the numbers. Maybe you're right, but I don't think so. PER is only a condensed box score that provides an indication of a player's statistical contribution. It cannot measure leadership, how the presence of a particular player spreads the defense, hustle plays, Gretzky assists, etc.

To that end, telling me that Vince Carter is more important to the magic than Jameer Nelson -- the team's point guard and floor leader -- simply because his PER is higher shows a lack of insight and judgement.

Furthermore, looking at a player's stats in back-to-back situations doesn't tell you what kind of impact they had on the game. There are, after all, meaningful numbers and meaningless numbers. Nash's splits don't describe how the games unfolded, what his impact was, whether the Suns won or lost, so on and so forth. To you, seeing only a slight dip in his numbers means he is not affected by back-to-backs. I say the data is uncomplete and does not tell the whole story.

Now, I'm not presuming to know the whole story without going back and researching the games, which would require me to check box scores, read recaps, pour over the play-by-plays, and even that would be insufficient. When you watch games, you can tell when players don't have their legs, even if they're still scoring, dishing assists, or whatever. You can see them not getting back on defense on this or that play. You can see them struggling to keep their man in front of them, maybe moreso than normal.

It's the little things, really. And even though we are trained to look for a smoking gun that explains why a team wins or loses, there are many subtle layers to a team's performance in any given game on any given night. I have personally witnessed a sag in player performance in back-to-backs even when it is not reflected in the numbers. You may disagree, and that's fine. But I've seen it, and I believe in it.

Yams -- The depth problem isn't an issue in the playoffs, I agree. However, it matters in the regular season for perennial teams. Why? Because forcing starters to log big minutes and carry huge burdens for 82 games year after year causes injuries that can derail championship runs. Just ask the 2008-09 Boston Celtics.

Blogger Clifton said...
Anaconda: R U ORNG?

Condo member Keith has season tickets this year, and he got his "I AM ORNG" T-shirt at the season opener.

Firstly, I pointed out that it should be "I M ORNG", but whatever. Moreover, the Condo has reached a consensus that we all hate this slogan/marketing thrust/et cetera. Turrble! I get the White-Out and the Black-Out... but an Orange-Out? I mean, yeah, orange is one of our colors, but... I dunno. And the supertrendy txt-msg, half-assedly 1337 spelling of the slogan makes me puke just a little.

Not that I'll be cancelling my Suns fandom anytime soon or anything. :-) Just, y'know, I ≠ ORNG, is all.

Blogger chris said...
Buck Nasty: Or is it more possible that Blake Griffin will eventually be traded to a contender in 7 or 8 years, winning a title as an eighth man? As a Clips fan, don't tell me you're not familiar with THAT scenario... :D

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
So being a PG makes Nelson suddenly the second best/important part of the Magic? Even last year I could argue Lewis or Hedo over him. And who knows, this year Vince and Redick might be more important.

And you spent waaay too many words on PER. Simply "using PER after just 4 games is kinda stupid" would have worked. I was trying to be facetious as possible. I just decided not to mention obvious stuff, like PPG. Seriously, any metric ever to explain why the Suns are destined to be blown out tonight, I'm all ears. You've still not said anything to justify this other than poor straw man tangents.

In Nelson's defence, the injury did make things awkward.

As for back to back data, it's not impossible but all those defensive things you mentioned could be calculated, it's just not easily organized like on Yahoo. But that's the beauty of averages, expectations, and standard deviations. A snapshot of 16 games last year prepare me for 1 less point, 1 less assist in 3 less minutes of Nash.

Also, for fun I looked at Dwight's splits last year. Same minutes, 1 less point, 1 less rebound, .5 less blocks, but .5 less TOs. Lower Fg% and steals too. So therefore Howard is old and losing his legs and can't defend his man well in back to backs, just as we assume of Hill and Nash.

It is amazing how you've still not mentioned the importance of the bench in back to backs and instead focused on worrying about aging starters. Even the numbers and basketball sense agree that the game will be more in their hands.

Oh, I thought of a metric that makes comparing Nelson/Howard to Nash/Hill actually make sense Team top assist and rebounds guys. So yea, there you go, the Suns are old and will get blown out tonight because of that.

Blogger Utahraptor said...
Aww. No mention of our senile HOF coach, Jerry "longevity" Sloan?

When a guy torches one of your players, the guy's supposed to make adjustments, right? Maybe using AK to guard Dirk instead of the slow footed Memo would help? And he doesn't seem to know when to call timeouts... or maybe he's forgotten how to make one...

Terrible coaching job... and this guy is HOF caliber?

“Obviously, there wasn’t anything we were able to do with Nowitzki,” Sloan said. “He was sensational. He made every basket and got to the free throw line, but the most important thing he did was he was able to take the ball to the basket.”

Terrible. Just terrible.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Am I wrong for being so dismissive of the Suns despite their hot start? I don't care, I still don't see that team going anywhere. As a Laker fan I'd love to see them get the 8th seed with LA in the #1 spot just for a little payback from a few years ago, but really I don't see them climbing into the top half of the West bracket by season's end. A strong start against mediocre opponents doesn't clear up the lingering issues Phoenix seems to always have (no defense, no post play). Time will tell. Maybe Kerr will pull off another trade and I'll change my mind? Dunno.

Mr. Bawful - I agree completely. I will say I don't expect Phil Jackson to burn out his key players with big minutes during the regular season though, cause that's not typically his track record. For instance, last year only two guys on the Lakers averaged more than 30 minutes per game (Kobe & Gasol, who averaged 36 & 37, respectively). I think the Bynum-Gasol-Odom rotation will keep the minutes for all three of those guys reasonable (96 min for the PF/C positions divided by 3 guys is 32 min per). If Artest & Kobe get in the 35-37 mpg range, they should be able to handle that, and Fisher's got two "capable" backups. If the lack of depth hurts LA during the regular season it'll be more because Phil will keep playing guys who represent an enormous drop-off in talent from the starters they're replacing, and that'll let leads shrink, etc.

Age played a part in Boston's troubles last year, and these Lakers are still on average maybe 2-3 years behind where Boston's squad was last season (among the key players). Pierce, KG & Ray are 32, 33 & 34 respectively, while Rondo is 23; but Odom, Gasol and Artest are 29 and Kobe is 31, while Bynum is 22.

Blogger chris said...
Utahraptor: What boggles my mind is that the Jazz DID play decent D the first three quarters. What could've changed between the first 36 minutes and the last 12 to allow Dirk to rack up the field goals?!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Yams: It's only you... And every sportswriter and reporter minus some Suns fans. It's okay, it's quite fun rooting for such an underrated team.

Fun fact: Last year's Suns team won four straight games...never.

Blogger Hilary said...
Thanks to everyone here for making me even more excited that, like Jerry, I have a Suns/Celtics ticket for Friday!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AnacondaHL - I know exactly what you mean. It's always nice when the team you root for exceeds expectations. A season where not much is expected of your team and they actually go out and are decent or good can in a way be more enjoyable from a fan's standpoint than when your team is just considered to be the best in the league. When that's the case, only a championship will meet those expectations (and it'll only meet them, but not exceed them), and any loss is considered a sign that they might not be as good as previously thought. Also, I gotta say that even as a Laker fan, it's hard not to like Steve Nash. The Suns are much more palatable to me now that Raja Bell and Shaq are gone.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
1) Whenever the Clips dodge a bullet, they jump in front of another one. It's some sort of anti-Ninja thing.

2) Question: Do NBA players get flu-like shots? You'd think that might prevent flu-like illnesses. Of course, I have yet to hear of an immunization against alcohol poisoning....

3) Amen on Nashie

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Hm. Nash and Hill were ineffective and the Suns got blown out. I'm just sayin'...it never pays to question my Spider Sense.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I have no defence for that amount of fail. Thanks for following my game plan, Suns. (Orlando 12/23 on 3s)

Also, I believe your witchcraft, have mercy on the Suns =(

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- Make no mistake, I'm rooting for the Suns as much as anybody. You know my man crush on Steve Nash.

Blogger HoopBlah said...
SWAC Attack: Bobby Brown loves shooting up bricks as much as he...well, loves shooting up bricks.

Blogger Utahraptor said...
@chris - decent D is unacceptable when your coach preaches toughness and grit. Having a soft frontcourt doesn't help that cause. I miss Malone's elbows.

Games decided on the 4th quarter; smells like tankin' to me. Two top-10 picks are better than one!

Yup, same team as last year's. Talk about improvement.

Blogger Rich Muhlach said...
Funny thing in today's post-game interviews, the use of the word "hung" in three separate games

First was the Phoenix - Orlando game:

"The dreams of an undefeated season are now done," said Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry. "We hung in, but we had no answer, size-wise, for Dwight Howard. "He creates problems and we have to double-team him, which frees up the shooters."


Then there was the Boston - Minnesota game:

"It was just our experience," said Boston coach Doc Rivers, whose veteran club improved to 6-0. "It's nice, on a night when we didn't play well at all, to call upon that experience. Nobody panicked. We just hung in there."


And finally, my beloved LA Lakers against the Houston Rockets:

"That was experience [at] winning games," said Lamar Odom when asked to explain how the Lakers managed to pull out the win. "That was just toughing it out. We hung in there and hung in there. Everyone hung in there."


unintentionally dirty word - hung... hahahaha


Anonymous Anonymous said...
i've got nothing clever to say, i just wanted to tell bawful i enjoy reading the blog and the comments, thanks and keep doing the good job

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
It was either last year or the year before, the Clippers went 5-0 to start the season. I think we all know how that turned out.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Blast, I got here too late. Why do all the big threads occur on Wednesdays when I'm not here? :(

AnacondaHL - Other than Barnes, nobody on that Magic oldies list would have likely played big minutes in the Suns-Magic game (Williams gets big burn in easy games, whereas in close games he's low teens). By contrast, Nash-Hill-Richardson probably average, what, 100 minutes combined? How can you compare the age of a dying/dead Anthony Johnson to a responsible-for-Suns'-offense-because-he's-that-good Nash?