Now that he's back for the playoffs, I get to remind you that Shaq is a never-ending source of amusement
(Via Andy Gray's SI Vault)

Okay, you all should be familiar with most of the storylines heading into the playoffs. We gave you a full first round preview yesterday. And of course, these will be the opening games, so we won't really have anything new to report on that front. So in lieu of giving previews for this weekend's games, I'll just post the schedules for your reference at the bottom of this entry. But first, let's go over some of the news items you may have missed:

The salary cap is going to stay higher than we expected
Okay, yes, the cap IS being cut after this season, but it's only being trimmed a little. You know what this means, right? Yep. More mediocre players will receive undeservedly large contracts. Oh how I love you, incompetent NBA teams. Oh, and the Heat will probably get to hold on to D-Wade now. That's kind of big news.

The Nyets like to party hard
Shocking! Scandalous! The Nyets players like to "down tequila shots with a bevy of hot blondes in the early hours" the night before a game! Of course, when you've only got a dozen wins the entire season and have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs since two days after opening night, does it really freaking matter? It actually makes perfect sense to me. Wouldn't they want to get drunk to forget about the fact that they play for a dreadfully bawful team and have to live and play in New Jersey? Okay, maybe they're not even technically in Jersey a lot of the time, but close enough. (Speaking of New Jersey, read this article.)

Besides, they're just following the life lessons of Andrew WK. How can you argue against that? Party hard, my friends.

Shaq has gone off the deep end

All this video needs is some Vaseline and we're approaching Starbury territory. (Thanks Basketbawful reader Preveen for the link)

Injuries suck.
Lurch AK47 tweaked his calf yesterday and will be out for three weeks. Ouch. Meanwhile, Brandon Roy is not immune to the Frail Blazers curse. Poor Portland. They lose half of their team to injuries throughout the season, but still manage to make the playoffs... only to lose one of their best players to knee surgery. It just seems so appropriate, but it's still sad. At least he can go hang out with Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla while he heals.

Kim Hughes fired
After an 8-25 performance as interim head coach of the LA Clippers, Kim Hughes has been kicked to the curb. No replacement has been named.

In all fairness, it's perhaps unrealistic to expect any coach to magically improve the Clippers. They are, after all, who we thought they were. No coach could have take B-Dizzle, Chris Kaveman, Blake Griffin's Destroyed Knees, and Steve Novak out of the Western Conference basement this season. However, is it that hard to make yourself look good after replacing Mike Dumbleavy?

If you are Kim Hughes, apparently that answer is "yes, it IS hard!"

After seeing the following quote, it makes a little more sense: "I was surprised,'' Hughes said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon with "It's not that I have my head in the sand. It's just that I'd hoped, maybe wished, I'd get the summer to come up with a game plan and come back for training camp." Ah, foolish blind faith, you never let us down!

And besides, aren't the Clippers doing Kim Hughes a favor by letting him leave their organization so soon?

Eddie Jordan fired
In a move that should surprise absolutely nobody (other than Kim Hughes, perhaps) Eddie Jordan has been canned by the Philadelphia Seventy Suxorz. As a result, next year will see the eighth coach in ten seasons. With that kind of track record, we pretty much knew that the Sixers would let Eddie Jordan go like Sully in Commando.

Be sure you check out the link to the ESPN story on the Eddie Jordan firing. It has a great sidebar detailing Eddie Jordan's sub-43-percent coaching record, showing his wins and losses each season. However, again in the interest of fairness, the teams he coached before his latest gig were the Purple Paupers and Bullets. Ouch.

Lionel Hollins gets to keep his job
The Grizzlies finished under .500 at 40-42 and missed the playoffs, but that was a 16-win improvement over last season. They were even in playoff contention until they folded like a lawn chair late in the season. Considering how woeful the team was prior to Z-Bo's resurgence (which was probably just an abberation), I suppose this is more than enough to avoid having to start walking around in the NBA's never-ending game of coaching musical chairs.

LeBron runs his mouth, Shaq continues to be ridiculous
Once again, a story that is mostly about LeBron proclaiming something. (Basically he says Joakim Noah is good, but he's going to get crushed in the playoffs. While most likely true, this is still a classic overly-cocky LeBron quote) However, the one thing that makes this article worth reading? This fantastic description by Shaq:
O'Neal said he will not be limited by his injury and that his thumb will be protected by a "fake thingy, jammy, thingy."
So eloquent.

Bosh gets the hell out of basketball purgatory Toronto
Again, in a move that should surprise absolutely nobody, Chris Bosh and his broken face are leaving town. Bosh says he doesn't know where he will go. He also noted: "It's kind of a confusing feeling. It's disappointing. It takes a lot of energy out of you. I just don't know what to do." Jeez. With the way he's talking, you'd think he sheepishly sent Bryan Colangelo a text message like a 15 year old breaking up with his girlfriend to let him know he was gone.

Knee-Mac doesn't want to admit he's washed up
Remember all those columnists and talking heads that practically fellated Tracy McGrady after his vintage 26 point performance comeback game earlier this season? Kinda funny how they all just ignored Knee-Mac by the end of the season as he finished the season averaging just 8.2 points per game. Look, it's hard for a baller to accept that his body just can't perform like it once did. (Do you really want to look at yourself in the mirror and realize you're softer than a marshmallow resting on a pillow?) But Knee-Mac is very obviously at that point. You can only keep rubber band ligaments and papier-mâché bones going for so long. And it sounds like he might be close to understanding that. He claims that if he can't get into shape and regain his form by the end of summer, he'll retire. For some reason, I just don't see him following through with that promise. Or he'll just really lower the bar for what he considers having good basketball skills and a healthy body.

Phil Jackson runs his mouth, the NBA protects its scoring leader, the sun rises in the East, water is wet
After giving the NBA refs and Kevin Durant a piece of his mind, The Zen Master is getting slapped with another fine. His wallet will be $35,000 lighter after complaining about Kevin Durant getting superstar calls. Of course, he doesn't have anything to say about Kobe setting up a cot, mini-fridge, and TV at the free throw line in the '02 Western Conference Finals when the refs allowed him to temporarily live there.

Saturday Games: (All times Eastern)
Bulls at Crabs - ABC, 3:00pm
Bucks at Hawks - ESPN, 5:30pm
Heat at Celtics - ESPN, 8:00pm
Jazz at Nuggets - ESPN, 10:30pm

Sunday Games:
Thunder at Lakers - ABC, 3:00pm
Bobcats at Magic - TNT, 5:30pm
Spurs at Mavericks - TNT, 8:00pm
Frail Blazers at Suns - TNT, 10:30pm

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Blogger Unknown said...
Why did refer to LeBron as "Cleveland Cavaliers guard" in the page header?

Maybe it's a reverse psychology jammy thingy. "We'll pretend Chicago doesn't know anything about this LoBran guy, thus taking away his power."

Blogger Dan B. said...
Adrian -- Nice catch. And an even better theory.

Anonymous laddder said...

What's wrong with that?

"He's the coach. He's the coach and he's the point guard, he's the two forwards, the center, and he's the other guard. he's the entire organization."

-sturdy wings lady and lebron james

Anyways ever since Lionel Hollins knocked that ball headin to k-mart's way I've been a fan. Good for him.

Blogger Ash said...
Never 'eard of 'im!

Blogger stephanie g said...
SHAZAM! The playoffs are finally here! I thought the regular season would never, ever end.

Portland should fire their entire medical staff. Seriously. Are they the most injured team in the history of the NBA that would have otherwise been pretty damned good?

When Bosh leaves will Toronto mercilessly boo him like they do Vince? That would be exciting.

The Pacers could relocate, but that's OK. No one cares. And I think we could spend that much money a little bit more productively. And hey, I know of one city that wants a team...

Blogger 80's NBA said...
Yeah...the shaqman is always great source of amusement. I don't know if you've written about this before, but it seems that he was trying to... well, words can do it no justice... just take a look at this...

Shaq Vs.

Blogger Unknown said...
Hey, check out this Yahoo sports fail in the playoff matchups section...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
McHale, just gathered that you considered Howard to be the MVP over LeChosenOne on Truehoop. I get that he isn't a favorite over here at Bawful, but surely you can't really argue with his combination of team and individual success, right? While I understand (and dislike) the constant media-orgy over LeBron, I thought that his season this year was one of the most impressive I have seen in my 21 years. Am I wrong?

Blogger Unknown said...
Eddie - I can't see Atlanta making it out of the second round if they have to play Cleveland AND Milwaukee. Joe Johnson might be out for a max contract but shit, two series at once is a lot of mileage when every other team is only playing one.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Wait, LeBron trash-talking Chicago through the press? A 1 seed trashing teh 8 seed. How incredibly lame. Bravo, LeBron! {dumbass}

I don't remember Jordan saying stupid shit like LeBron does. Am I wrong? I remember Jordan letting his game do his talking.

Another way in which LeBron is not Jordan.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Okay boys and girls, playoffs in 8 minutes. Wilbon and Magic just went all chalk, picking the Cavs in the end.

Blogger Unknown said...
I'm sure ESPN's frontpage image choice is pretty much illustrates how the series is gonna go for Chicago: Plenty of forceful manlove.

Blogger beep said...

mhahaha Pheonix beat Cavs in the Finals for me.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
beep: My first run through that, I had PHX vs Orlando, with the Magic winning.

My prediction of Cavs in 6 is looking kinda stupid now. I suspected Noah to be better, as he was really ramping up fast at the end of the season post-injury. Rose was a bit TO happy too.

But it won't be a sweep, that's for sure. Too much money for it to be a sweep (yes, the officials were p bad).

ATL-MIL is already looking like a blowout. I feel bad for Bogut =(, but the Hawks are likable enough, and I loved Josh Smith's What I Do campaign, so I'll root for them to beat the Magic.

Blogger mg said...
KG = Class

Anonymous kazam92 said...
I nominate KG for King Douche. I hate that fucking asshat washed up piece of stool

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Many thanks to Dan B.

Quotes like this:

"Of course, he doesn't have anything to say about Kobe setting up a cot, mini-fridge, and TV at the free throw line in the '02 Western Conference Finals when the refs allowed him to temporarily live there."

are the reason I have this site bookmarked. I got a good laugh out of this.

Anonymous Karc said...

If I had the money, I'd put a 100K bounty on the player that makes a poster of King Crab in those shoes.

An extra 100k if said player gets the video up on Youtube before the Nike gestapo confiscates it.

Reason number 18 to root against the Cavaliers.

And no offense, but a white nerd in glasses and a week old beard explaining the science behind a shoe? Really? Like anyone watching the playoffs right now gives a hoot about rubber support. LeBron wins a title, wears those shoes in the clincher, sales skyrocket. He chokes, it bombs. Simple as that.

Blogger beep said...
it makes me puke when I see empty lane and Chicago player stopping to take jump shot he misses, and even if he made it, it would be awful play ... my eyes were bleeding :facepalm:
Sweep I see, unless Cavs need more training before taking on serious opponent.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Anonymous -- Thanks for the kind words. Glad to hear you enjoy our work. :)

Anonymous Karc said...
The blood has begun to ooze from my ears. I was rooting for the Suns and the Jazz. So what happens? Jazz lose Okur for the rest of the season to a torn Achilles' tendon and the Suns were the only home team this weekend to lose (to the Frail Blazers no less). FML.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I don't wanna talk about it.

Don't even wanna talk about it.

Phoenix 1-7 from 3 in the last 1:21.

Jamie Foxx, to JT: "I love Phoenix, there's just too many vegetarians"

Blogger Unknown said...
Anaconda, I'm sorry for your pain.
As a Blazer fan, however, I'm over the moon.
On the other hand, this game really wasn't that surprising, and I think the Blazers have been dramatically underestimated in the lead up to this series.

Anonymous Mladen said...
1. Go Blazers!!! I'm not a fan, but these guys are awesome. It's like somebody took a machine gun and mowed down half of their team (the good half), and they're still in the playoffs, and winning. Now, that's amazing...
2. I see some LeBron haters again. What can I say - the dude's the best in the game, and all you guys are doing is nitpicking. "Oooh, I cannot believe he actually said his team will beat an inferior, delusional team that barely got into the playoffs! He's a jerk!" Get over it.
3. On that note, I'm rooting for the Thunder. I think they played a much better game against the Lakers, as opposed to the Bulls and Crabs, and they will not be swept. Although, predicting that they will upset the Lakers would be kind of a stretch... A man can only dream.
4. Oh, and even though I'm a sort of a certified Kobe-hater, I must give him props for what is probably one of the most awesome defensive plays I've ever seen. Fuck the Pumaman blocking Raymond freaking Felton - Kobe outran KD, then launched himself into the air and blocked that shot with authority! I'm impressed.