sad spurs bench
Sad Bench Part I...

sad thunder bench
...and Sad Bench Part II.

The Miami Heat: Big shock. Dwyane Wade and his Titos would have -- and probably should have -- gotten swept if not for a crazy shooting outburst from Wade's hand. Apparently, that hand stayed in Miami. After going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter of Game 4, Pookie's hand was a dismal 2-for-7 from distance in Game 5, including 0-for-3 in the final 12 minutes. Pookie's hand wasn't alone in it's shooting misery. It got plenty of company from Quentin Richardson (2-for-8, 0-for-3 from downtown), Michael Beasley (0-for-3), Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal (3-for-10), Udonis Haslem (2-for-9) and Dorell Wright (1-for-5).

As a team, the Heat shot 39 percent, missed 15 of their 20 three-point attempts, and gave up 21 points off 20 turnovers. On the bright side, they scored 2 fast break points, so they have that going for them...which is nice.

Talk about a rough scoring / shooting series. Miami managed only 79.7 PPG while shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from The Land of Three. The Heat also averaged 18.3 turnovers per game. Like I said, they really should have been swept.

Fair point: The Heat did at least trim a 21-point third quarter deficit to only three (73-70) with just over 10 minutes left in the game. And, as I like to say, the patient almost lived. Miami's cause would have benefited from a hand or two in the face of Ray Allen, who nailed five treys in the second half.

Here's some more Heat misery from Basketbawful reader Mike F.:

I am not sure if you remember me. I am the unlucky soul who covered news out in Lynchburg, VA for three years. Well, I finally moved out of the seventh layer of hell to Greensboro, NC. I guess you could call it a promotion since it is not WGN yet. Anyway, I finally got situated with cable and all, it only took me a month and a half. However, I wont complain especially since I was able to watch my first basketball game in quite sometime. Unfortunately, I may never watch again after the performance of the Miami Heat not named Dwyane Wade or Mario Chalmers. The other four starters (Arroyo, O'Neal, Richardson, Beasley) combined 21 Points (9-25), 10 Boards, 6 Assists, 5 Steals in 96 Minutes. Mario Chalmers off the bench nearly outscored those four scrubs. Not to diss Wade he showed up, but he did have 7 turnovers.
See, Mike? Cable is the Devil. By the way, Mike was kind enough to include a link to this story about the capture of an escaped circus elephant in Lynchburg. And I thought Kokomo sucked.

Jermaine O'Neal: From kazam92:

Please rank The Drain's failure as a human being paid to play basketball on a scale of 1-10. He shot 30% today and that was nearly DOUBLE his shooting percentage this series. Let that sink in...
On a scale of 1-10, I rank it this:

No. No, on second thought, I rank it this:

More from Greg:

It's pretty sad when shooting 3-10 actually RAISES your field goal percentage. What's even sadder is that The Drain is Miami's second best player. Think about that for a second...
And now, here are the Drain's series numbers: 5 games, 117 minutes, 21 total points (4.2 PPG), 9-for-44 from the field (20.5 percent), 3-for-7 from the line (42.9 percent), 28 total rebounds (5.6 RPG), 7 turnovers, 13 fouls, an Offensive Rating of 57 points per 100 possessions and a PER of 2.5. And did I mention he made over $23 million this season?

The Boston bench: Last summer, Danny Ainge re-signed Big Baby, and he signed Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, and Shelden Williams. Then he acquired both Nate Robinson and Michael Finley. On paper, this is Boston's deepest team in decades. But the Celtic reserves were outscored 34-13 by Miami's pine riders. And the Heat are not a deep team. Oh, and Daniels, Williams and Robinson are received DNP-CDs.

Money well spent, Danny.

Dwyane Wade, delusions of hope machine: "This will be my last first-round exit for a while, I can tell you that. I'm looking forward to continuing to build, and being with some great players next year, continuing to beef up our roster. I think I put myself in a great situation three years ago, to sign this deal, to make sure my team stayed competitive. We've got some work to do, the front office has [work] to do. You just have to see things being done, being accomplished. If we see that, we'll be talking again."

The Chicago Bulls: Okay, seriously, when I just wrote "The Chicago Bulls," what I actually meant was "The officiating in the Bulls-Cavs game." Of course, David Stern won't let me comment on the officiating, so I'll just point out that the Bulls were hanging tough in the fourth quarter when Shaq drew four fouls in about a minute: Two from Brad Miller in a five-second span, one from Taj Gibson, and one from Joakim Noah right before Shaq spun Noah around for a dunk. And every foul was the same: The Big Geritol blasting his defender in the chest with his off arm and shoving his way toward the basket. Each time, the defender was just trying to remain in a standing position, which apparently is a violation in the NBA.

However, the most critical home cookin' moment came with 7:35 left in the game. With his Bulls trailing 80-79, Derrick Rose hit a tough leaning banker while being fouled by Shaq. However, after a short confab, the refs decided to take away the continuation. Of course, the Crabs weren't in the penalty, so the foul did them no harm whatsoever. Chicago got the ball back and after a mad scramble, Deng got fouled (but no call) by Andy Varejao just as the shot clock was about to expire. This threw Deng off, causing him to drive to the hoop even though time was running out. Shot clock violation, Cleveland ball. On the other end, King Crab drove in for a layup and a foul. Naturally, LeBron got the continuation.

That six-point swing was beyond huge.

Taj Gibson: The rookie was impressive on the boards, grabbing a game-high 11 of them, and coming through in the fourth. Unfortunately, Taj hit only three of his six free throw attempts in the final 12 minutes. How big were those misses? In a two-point loss? Are you kidding me? Kirk Hinrich also bricked a freebie in the fourth.

Vinny Del Negro: With his job on the line and his Bullies down 95-92 with 17 seconds left, Vinny called timeout and wrote up a play that ended with an ugly, off-balance jumper from Rose. After a forced foul and a 1-for-2 performance at the line from LeBron -- something was wrong with King Crab's right elbow, so he shot the second foul shot lefty -- Chicago was down 96-92 with seven seconds left. After a timeout, the Bulls ran a play in which Luol Deng held the ball in the post for about four seconds before passing to Flip Murray, who shanked a three. Deng snared the offensive rebound and layed the ball in at the buzzer.

But, seriously, those were the best plays Del Negro could come up with? Really?

sad vinny
I didn't know Vinny had a play called "Fire me."

LeBron James: This is a few days late, but I have to bust on LeBron for degrading a poor ballboy. Fuck you, King Crab. Thanks to Dooj for the link.

Update! Reggie Miller: Almost forgot this awesome Reggie-ism from last night's Bulls-Crabs game. At some point, Miller said Antawn Jamison was brought in to be the "Robinson" to LeBron's Batman. Man, I love Reggie.

The San Antonio Spurs: This game should be considered Exhibit A in the Case Against Putting Too Much Importance on the Previous Game in the Series. Everybody started writing off the Mavericks after they lost two close games in San Antonio, falling behind 3-1 in their first round series with the Spurs in the process. It's understandable, since some ridiculously small number of teams have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit. But, really, the Mavs aren't bad enough to get haplessly punked at home in an elimination game. And let's be honest, the Spurs probably aren't good enough to do it to them.

Pride is a pretty good motivator.

Against the backdrop, Dallas held San Antonio to 35 percent shooting while forcing them to give up 24 points off 18 turnovers. The Mavs outrebounded the Spurs 52-41 (including 14-9 on the offensive glass) while outscoring them 23-8 on the break and 42-30 in the paint. And get this: Caron Butler (35 points, 12-for-24) almost outscored San Antonio’s starting unit (36 points, 14-for-34) all by himself.

Said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "Mostly it was the case of they came with the mental and physical toughness, and our starting group wasn't very good in either category."

Speaking of which...

Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan: Considering Bat Manu's near fatal run-in with Dirk Nowitzki's killer elbow in Game 3, you can kind of understand his poor showing (7 points, 2-for-7, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers). As for Duncan -- 11 points, 3-for-9, 6 rebounds -- it kind of looks like the wheels are falling off. After coming on strong in Game 1-3 (25.7 PPG, 59.6 percent shooting, 10.0 RPG), TD has struggled a lot in Games 4-5 (7.5 PPG, 22.2 percent shooting, 8.5 RPG). Remember when Duncan made spectacular nights seem so routine?

Eduardo Najera, tough guy: From the AP recap:

Dampier turned out to be Dallas' only player not to play. Najera wound up as the backup, but he won't be much longer if he keeps playing rough.

After getting ejected from Game 4 because of a flagrant-two foul on Ginobili, he was hit with a flagrant-one for a whack on Parker. With three flagrant "points" this postseason, his next will draw an automatic one-game suspension. His performance already has won over the fans, earning cries of "Ed-die! Ed-die!" in the second half.

"I'm not trying to hurt anybody out there," Najera said. "I'm just trying to prove a point that we can do the same things they are doing."
Really, Eduardo? Really? And since I failed to post this when it happened...

I can't help but notice Najera is going after smaller guys like Manu and TP. Nothing I like more than a wanna-be frontcourt enforcer going after guards. Man, I wish Charles Oakly was still around to lay some wood on Eduardo.

Erick Dampier: In the previous entry, did you notice that "Dampier turned out to be Dallas' only player not to play" part? A DNP-CD for a guy making over $12 million this season. Oh, and I have to mention yet again the when Mark Cuban decided not to re-sign Steve Nash prior to Nash's back-to-back MVP seasons, Cuban spent the money he refused to spend on Nash on Dampier.

I never get tried of pointing that out.

DeJuan Blair, foul machine: Blair somehow managed to pick up his fourth foul with 9:26 left in the second quarter. Which was nearly as bad as...

Matt Bonner, foul machine: Early in the third quarter, Bonner fouled Nowitzki while Brendan Haywood was making a free throw. That gave Dirk an extra freebie, and of course he hit it. It was just that kind of game for the Spurs.

The Oklahoma City Thunder: This game should be considered Exhibit B in the Case Against Putting Too Much Importance on the Previous Game in the Series. Everybody started writing the Lakers off after they lost back-to-back games in Oklahoma City, particularly after they got their butts whupped in Game 4. During the Bulls game last night, I was chatting on ESPN's Daily Dime Live, and people kept telling me the Thunder were going to upset the Lakers in L.A. in Game 5. My response: "My take: This is going to be one of those classic examples of a veteran ball club showing an unproven team how it's done in the playoffs."

And since I love saying I told them so...I told them so.

The Lakers held the Thunder to 36 percent shooting while shooting almost 54 percent themselves. L.A. outscored OKC 58-26 in the paint and coaxed 21 points out of 17 Thunder turnovers. Pau Gasol (25 points, 10-for-16, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) and Andrew Bynum (21 points, 8-for-10, 11 rebounds) dominated inside, Kobe Bryant (13 points, 7 assists) showed surprising restraint after a big loss that caused journalists and bloggers to start pronouncing him "finished." Mamba put the clamps on Russell Westbrook (4-for-13, 8 turnovers) while Ron Artest (14 points, 6-for-11) was putting it to Kevin Durant (17 points, 5-for-14, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers).

The Lakers played a nearly perfect game...and the Thunder looked shell-shocked. Said the Durantula: "I wish I could say why, but they kicked our butts from the beginning. They had some dunks early on and got the fans excited, and they just kind of cruised from there. It was tough to come back."

Kobe Bryant, orchestra conductor: C'mon, admit it: You expected Kobe to take, like, 25-30 shots last night, didn't you? Well, Bryant shocked us all by attempting only 9 shots and repeatedly deferring to or setting up his teammates. Maturity from the Mamba? Who knew?

Said Kobe: "It's like conducting an orchestra. You have guys that you can use and go to in certain situations."

Note the subtle way that Mamba was still sort of taking credit for everything. I'm just sayin'.

Bango, the Bucks' mascot: As AnacondaHL correctly said: FEAR THE DEER.

Lacktion report: And now chris provides a scrappy Tuesday night lactivity update:

Heat-Celtics: Michael Finley collected cash in celebration for Doc Rivers and the Anything Is Possible gang: 4.55 (4:34) trillion to be exact!

Bulls-Crabs: Brad Miller scrapped up a 6:3 Voskuhl ratio in 9:32 by negating a field goal and board with a rejection and foulout!!!

For the crustacean nation, JJ Hickson scratched off a winning ticket worth 3.55 (3:34) trillion!

Spurs-Mavs: DeShawn Stevenson bricked thricely from the Winspear Opera House in 6:09 and added two fouls for a +5 suck differential!

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Blogger Leland said...
I had a feeling the OKC v LA would be decided early, like in the first 5 minutes. The one thing OKC could not do in order to have a chance was to let LA get rolling with easy buckets. Of course, this is exactly what OKC ended up doing thus sealing their fate.

Young team in a pivotal road game 5. I can see this game going 7 with LA winning @ home, but not in a blowout fashion such as game 5.

Is it just me or does it really seem like the refs are "managing" (read that heavily influencing/favoring the home team) the games in this series??

David "Don't question the questionable" Stern clearly is out to make as much money from these playoffs as possible. After all, the league is bleeding money, and the farther series are extended the more money for the league which raises the cap and allows for the King/Redeemer and some other big name FA to sign in NYC.

Subtle conspiracy at its finest

Anonymous Anonymous said...
To be fair, it was abundantly clear that sideshow bob fouled Deng, it just came about half a second after the shot clock expired. Anyhoo, it should be fun watching Fat Baby Davis deliver a killshot on BronBron's elbow next round.

Blogger Cortez said...
"This is a few days late, but I have to bust on LeBron for degrading a poor ballboy"

Hey, he's a winner and a competitor. What do you expect?

"And since I love saying I told them so..."

Me too, my man, me too.

Maybe I should see someone about that!

Anonymous The Jorge said...
Bawful--I know that you have shown admiration of Sloan in the past and wanted to share a great read from ( )
about Sloan's defensive philosophy. I point this out here on this blog as it is a great observation into why Sloan has even kept Fes, the Jazz's whipping boy and preeminent lacktator for the last couple of years, around and even held out hope for his development while the fans only kept him around because he is funny (seriously, a bag of laughs).
Also, it is another supporting argument that Sloan should have a mantle full of COY awards as since the outside shooting big Okur has gone down, the whole defensive scheme which was built with him as a part of it has had to change but the change has been seamless. Sloan knows how to plug in personnel and work for each of their strengths.
I'm looking forward to a great game tonight, hopefully an elimination in Denver.

Anonymous Jai said...
Wow, Fear the Deer is awesome. I wish the Knicks could have some kind of awesome mascot that kicks other fans butts. But... "Fear the men's or boys' baggy knee trousers" just doesn't have the same ring to it...

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I think Duncan's problems are not just due to the fact his athleticism is diminished but also because he is playing at a lighter weight than he typically has throughout his career. This means he can't jump or drive past guys but he also can't back many of them down either so if they don't bite on his fakes he either forces an awkward shot that has a low chance of going in or gets it blocked. He might want to consider putting on 20-25 pounds again for next season and playing exclusively at center.

Najera is one of the league's few non fake tough guys. He's never been a headhunter so I'm not sure if his coach asked him to rough up the guards or what but it isn't something he has ever been known for. Keep in mind that at a (generously) listed 6'8 and (even more generously listed) 235 he is not exactly a big dude.

On the toughness scale he is certainly nowhere near Oakley but much, much higher than Kenyon Martin, Kevin Garnett and co.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Cortez - he certainly is a winner and a competitor.

He also looks to be high in the running for this year's "Biggest Douche in the Universe," and his competitive spirit seems quite strong for that one.

Blogger tonious35 said...
Mr. Bawful,

As peeved as I was the officiating of this game, I was mostly pissed of with the choice of the play-by-play announcer on TNT. You know who it is right? The one and only Fred McLeod for FSN Ohio. This was a blatant message of supreme homerism for King Crab. At least hearing a color analyst like Reggie Miller struggling with the English language is better than Austin Carr's announcing like a Louisiana Gumbo tune with a harmonica missing.

Blogger Factfinder said...
I can vouch for Mike F. Lynchburg, VA totally sucks. I put 42,000 miles on my car in one year because I NEVER stayed home on weekends. :-)

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I still say Kobe would have shot that much if the Thunder hadn't just rolled over and died. Well benches win home games and stars win away, so I still expect nothing less of Kobe.

With all the horrid officiating in game 5s, I'm really concerned that the Suns are on the beneficial side of it this time. Ugh how awful.

Blogger Unknown said...
Phil Jackson's "The Last Season" has a good take on home-cookin' officiating. In short, he basically says that officials are human and are prone to being intimidated/influenced by fan reactions, especially when the fans are right on top of them, as they are in the NBA.

I'm not sure about an ref conspiracy though. Unlike the East where seven wins seperates the 3 and 6 seeds, seven wins seperates #1 and #8 in the West, so most of these series should go six or longer. Plus, in the West, all the teams are evenly matched with similar personnel built for playoff basketball (two bigs, one scoring swingman, one three-shooting PG, one exterior defender, three-point shooting out of your 2/3 positions, etc.).

And you know refs are NOT rigging things, because then the Boston-Miami series would have gone seven games. Of the East games, it was the only series that had high TV ratings potential. Of course, maybe the refs couldn't mask the Heat's bawfulness.

Anonymous CaptainHomeless said...
Bawful --

A few nitpicks with the Cleveland wrapup:

"Rose hit a tough leaning banker while being fouled by Shaq. However, after a short confab, the refs decided to take away the continuation."

I actually agreed with this call. Rose took two steps after the hit before putting the ball up. Now, granted, if it were LBJ they would've called the continuation, but that would be the wrong call.

"Chicago got the ball back and after a mad scramble, Deng got fouled (but no call) by Andy Varejao just as the shot clock was about to expire. This threw Deng off, causing him to drive to the hoop even though time was running out."

Strongly disagree with this. The Varejao foul came way after the shot clock violation. The initial contact was not enough to call a foul, and anyway Deng was already putting the ball on the floor when it happened. It wasn't the contact that caused him to run out of time, it was his mismanagement.

That said, the reffing was atrocious in this game and the fouls they were giving to Shaq (especially during the four foul stretch you mentioned) were absurd. I was rooting for Cleveland and I was still screaming at the TV over those. Neither of the two Brad Miller "fouls" were fouls, and the Noah one absolutely wasn't either.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Please explain how the deranged Tom Heinsohn has a job? Last night he went over the border into absolute insanity. He's supposed to be the colour commentator, not some demented old Bob Cousy fan ranting and raving about every call that goes against the Celts from his battered old Lazee Boy. I mean, this guy's a travesty. Don't his employers realize this is beyond a joke?

Blogger Dick Sullivan said...
I should have pointed this out earlier, but every time Del Negro showed up on screen this season, my brother--mind you, we were usually in a bar--would start singing the theme to "Charles in Charge." I'm guilty of neglect, seeing as it's unlikely you'll be able to make a "Charles in charge of the Bulls..." joke next season.

And you're not going to comment on Manu's sudden cadaver pose? Really?

Blogger Kevin said...
I don't know where you were watching from, tonious35, but in most places (including NE Ohio), TNT viewers DID see Reggie Miller and Ian Eagle, who was filling in for a sick Marv.

Blogger chris said...
Anonymous: Isn't he just trying to be THA NEXT JORDAN!? And judging from Jordan's HOF speech, the model is "talk down to everyone to make yourself feel like a winner, enabling you to be a winner."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Love the Fear the Deer video. You know, the one with the music with lyrics including "...the boys from the South...."

Jorge - Thank you!

Blogger Ryan said...
tonious35 - it would have been tough for Homer McCloud to be announcing for TNT since Fox Sports Ohio was doing the telecast as well. They do a simulcast on TNT games when the Cavs play at home. Just for round 1 so this was the last telecast of the year for them.

Must have been watching the FSN telecast at some point.

As for the Bulls/Cavs writeup the officiating was terrible in every game but the 4th when they seemed to let the teams play it out. Expected better of Bawful today especially after bailing on doing a writeup from Sundays game. Oh well.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
The NBA TV guys were opening ridiculing Tommy Heinsohn during the breaks. There was one play where he freaked out because KG was whistled for a loose ball foul... where on the replay he was very, very clearly holding Michael Beasley down with his off arm.

There are some questionable calls in every NBA game but it's not a conspiracy against the Celtics.. Heinsohn would make a great 9/11 truther, you can practically feel the spittle-fueled outrage through the television.

Blogger Drew said...
Best part of the Fear The Deer commercial was the fact that everyone was wearing (what I presume to be) the same Horford jersey. Dude getting punched over he bridge was pretty money as well.

Blogger Bakes said...
@ CaptainHomeless

I actually agreed with this call. Rose took two steps after the hit before putting the ball up. Now, granted, if it were LBJ they would've called the continuation, but that would be the wrong call.

As far as I know, that was continuation and the bucket absolutely should have counted. Unless I'm incorrect (and I couldn't find a clear definition of continuation anywhere so I'm more than willing to be proven wrong) as long as you don't put the ball on the floor or take too many steps, effectively traveling, after getting fouled, the shot counts. In this case, Rose would get the and-1. Even Reggie Miller (yeah I know, Miller *scoff*) and Almost-Marv-Albert were saying it should have counted. The fact that it didn't effectively ended the game, and the post season, for Chicago. If Rose made the free throw, they'd have been up by two with momentum. Afterward, Deng wasted too much time on the clock before shooting. To me, it looked as if Sideshow Bob fouled him on the floor (that would have easily been a foul in Lebron or Kobe's favor, but we're talking about Deng and the BULLS here), Deng wasted more time, then was fouled overtly but after the violation.

Rose doesn't get a big call that puts his team at an advantage over the league's golden boy and then what happens on the other end? Another "Lebron got breathed on" tweet. This was home cooking at its finest. The NBA, where inconsistency happens.

That 6 point turnaround was able to knock just enough wind out of Chicago's sails to sink their confidence below the "we can do this" level. Don't get me wrong, It still realistically would have been Cleveland in 6, but Chicago was robbed of a possible win here, the play was that important. Chicago's not-up-to-snuff performance to end the game wasn't all due to officiating thievery, but it sure played a pretty big role.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
>>it should be fun watching Fat Baby Davis deliver a killshot on BronBron's elbow next round.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is LeBron a dick or RACIST?
I'm not saying....

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How about we call Jamison "Robinson" from now on as a nod to Reggie...