The Miami Heat: I'll give the Heat this much: They keep finding new and interesting ways to give games away. They choked away a double-digit second-half lead in Game 1, got absolutely pounded in Game 2 despite the absence of Kevin Garnett, and as for Game 3...

...the Heat failed to get back in transition (giving up 21 fast break points), couldn't hold onto the ball (surrendering 24 points off 18 turnovers) and suffered a demoralizing last-second loss despite shooting 50+ percent from the field.

Dwyane Wade: Pookie scored a game-high 34 points to go along with a co-game-high 8 assists (plus a co-game-worst 5 turnovers). So yes, he put the Heat in a position to win this game. But with 13 seconds left and the game tied at 98-98, he chucked up a shameless trey and then crumpled to the floor with...a leg cramp. That cramp kept him out of the game's final play, in which Paul Pierce nailed the game-winner.

Does the Half-Truth knock that down over Wade (assuming Wade got the defensive assignment)? Who knows?

Now, far be it from me to question Wade's toughness. I'm sure leg cramps are serious business, although I've never gotten one that was bad enough I had to get carried away like a gunshot victim by friends or teammates. But if NBA historians are going to continue to bring up Wilt's knee injury in Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals or Scottie Pippen's migraine in Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, then Wade's leg cramp deserves a little stink eye...right?

At any rate, we'll apparently have to change his nickname from D-Wade to D-Hydration:

"I'm better than I was last night. I'm a little sore," he said of his condition yesterday. "It was cramping most of the game, so trying to keep it away. And then, at the end, it felt more like a cramp-charley horse combination. So, when you think of cramp, you think of something small, but it locked in on me. So it's just cramps.

"I just got to continue to get the treatment and therapy on it and hopefully it'll feel looser tomorrow," said Wade. "The main thing is to calm that muscle down for it to feel looser tomorrow and try to go out there and play and see how it feels. I can't not play my game, so hopefully it goes away. The biggest thing is make sure I stay hydrated for the next 24 hours."
Done in by cramps, huh? [Insert your very own vagina joke here.]

Jermaine O'Neal: After Game 3 -- 2 points, 1-for-7, 4 rebounds -- here are The Drain's stats for the series: 4.0 PPG, 5-for-31 from the field (16 percent), 2-for-3 from the line, 6.0 RPG, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, 8 blocks (4 in one game against Big Baby) and 9 fouls. His PER is ZERO.

Did I mention O'Neal's making over $23 million this season? As kazam92 said: "The Drain is a waste of air."

Erik Spoelstra: Look, Spoelestra should have instructed his players to foul. We all know that. So...are you ready for the longest-ever explanation of why he didn't do something he so very obviously should have done? Here you go:

"Yeah, you know, that's on me. It hasn't been our philosophy over the years to foul. It hasn't been our philosophy the last two years, unless there's two circumstances that we work on all the time: That if you feel compromised on a drive, wrap somebody up. Or if they have their back to you at an inopportune time, to take a foul.

"If I were to do it over, it's always easy to say one way or another. We knew we had a foul to give.

"Here's the thinking on it. I understand a lot of the second-guessing and it always is easy to say one way or another. Either you foul right away, when it's not a threat, and that doesn't make a difference because you foul at eight seconds or seven seconds. They still get the ball and now you don't have a free foul, OK?

"The idea is to try to give it around three or four seconds, when the guy's on the move. But Pierce was doing what? He was lining Dorell up and he kept the ball in front of him and I don't know if there's a more dangerous player in the league, that as soon as you put your hand in there to try to wrap him up, he was going.

"And if you heard Pierce's comments after the game, he said he was waiting for that exact opportunity. He was just waiting to draw that flail and that flop. He didn't turn his back. He's experienced. He knows how to deal with those situations. So it is easier said than done."

"It hasn't been our philosophy for the last two years in that situation or when you're up by three, for the most part, to foul. The only thing I can say about that is we’ve been burned now.

"It might force us to rethink it. But it's on me. It's on my philosophy and it's certainly not from Dorell having to make that decision on the fly. He knew what we wanted."
Seriously, couldn't Erik just say, "Yep, I boned that one, we'll probably foul next time..."?

Ray Allen, poster boy: Oh, Ray...

Dirk Nowitzki's elbow: First poor Carl Landry and now this:

I find it pretty funny that Dirk's elbow keeps drawing fouls while doing serious bodily harm to the person supposedly committing the foul. I'd say more, but David Stern wants me to shut up about the officiating.

Tim Duncan, quote machine: "I had no doubt that [Ginobili] was going to return. He has a strong nose on him."

The Dallas starters not named "Dirk": What a collective no-show from Ericka Dampier (27 minutes zero points, 4 rebounds, 5 fouls), Shawn Marion (17 minutes, 7 points, 3-for-9, 3 boards, 2 turnovers) and Caron Butler (15 minutes, 2 points, 1-for-3, 2 rebounds, 3 turnovers, benched for the entire second half). Hell, even Jason Kidd (7 points, 1-for-6, 5 assists) was surprisingly inactive in his game-high 45 minutes.

It was pretty surprising that the Mavs even managed to build that 68-59 lead in the third quarter. But, of course, it didn't last.

Said Jason Terry: "The only thing I can look at now is missed opportunities. You've got a nine-point lead in the latter stages of the game. A good team, a championship team, holds that lead and walks away with it."

That man speaks truth.

Some extra numbers: The Mavericks were outscored 56-38 in the paint and gave up 21 points off 16 turnovers. Meanwhile, according to ESPN Stats & Information: "San Antonio became just the fourth team since 2000 to win a playoff game without making a 3-pointer." The Spurs were 0-for-7 from downtown.

Rick Carlisle, unintentional dirty quote machine: From Basketbawful reader cdonham9, regarding the potential need to double-team Duncan after the first quarter: "If we need to come on him we will."

The Denver Nuggets: Other than Carmelo Anthony (25 points, 7 rebounds) and Chauncey Billups (25 points, 7-for-14 from the field, 9-for-11 at the line), none of the Nuggets could find the basket. Kenyon Martin went 1-for-7. Nene got outscored by Kyrylo Fesenko. J.R. Smith shot 3-for-9 and finished with a plus-minus score of -17 in 17 minutes. Even 'Melo and Mr. Big Shot both finished with a co-game-high 4 turnovers. It truly was a full, 12-man collapse.

Said Anthony: "What I'm most disappointed at is that we failed to compete tonight as a team."

Of course, 'Melo was quick to point out that no one player is slowing him down. "I think the Utah Jazz have done a good job making some adjustments defending me. When I get the ball I see two guys, three triple-teaming me. It's not just one guy on me."

Uh huh.

Maybe Denver should start making some adjustments on Paul Milsap, who went off for career playoff-highs of 22 points and 19 rebounds. Milsap was 9-for-9 in the first half and almost single-handedly brought Utah out of an early hole.

It might also help if the Nuggets could slow down Deron Williams (24 points, 10 assists, 3 steals), who (again according to ESPN Stats & Information) "fell one point shy of joining Michael Jordan (first round, 1989 playoffs) as the only players in NBA history to have 25 points and 10 assists in each of the first three games of a playoff series."

Jerry Sloan, boring quote machine: "We didn't turn the ball over and we played as a team." They also breathed, spoke using human words and continued to experience furious movement on a cellular level.

Lacktion report: Today, chris proved once again that lacktion don't lie.

Celtics-Heat: Ball don't lie, and neither does the lacktion ledger, as Rasheed Wallace countered a shocking perfect shooting percentage (on one shot) as well as a board in 10:39 with four fouls for a 4:3 Voskuhl.

Mavs-Spurs: Erick Dampier really lives up to his contract as Mark Cuban's starting big man, doesn't he? In 26:58, he negated four rebounds with a brick, a giveaway, and five fouls for a 6:4 Voskuhl.

For Gregg Popovich's aged avengers, Roger Mason collected 1.15 (1:10) trillion worth of pennies in a glass container!

Nuggets-Jazz: In 2:39, Johan Petro smurfed away a block with a foul for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.

Meanwhile, for Utah, Jerry Sloan savored yet another playoff win with FOUR lacktion artists!!! The first bebopper to be a human victory cigar was Ronnie Price, who bricked thricely (once from Pioneer Park) and fouled once in 9:08 for a +4 suck differential. Next up was contributory one-hit wonder Sundiata Gaines, who took a foul and brick for a +2 in 2:18 - the same time and score that Kosta Koufos earned, via brick and rejection. Finally, Othyus Jeffers joined the fray in 1:50 with a +1 via giveaway.

The Atlanta Hawks: And see, this is why I don't believe in the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks -- who looked sadly overmatched in Games 1 and 2 -- jumped out to a 36-19 lead by the end of the first quarter. Other than a brief Hawks run in the third quarter, Milwaukee never looked back.

Can a team lose the game in the first quarter? Joe Johnson thinks so.

Said Joe Cool: "For us to come out, the way we played in the first quarter, that's unacceptable."

Atlanta was bawful. Just bawful. The Hawks shot 39 percent for the game and only finished within 20 points because of their 20 offensive rebounds. And they had absolutely no idea what to do about John Salmons (22 points, 9-for-11, 7 assists).

The Charlotte Bobcats: Well, the 'Cats got what they wanted: Dwight Howard (13 points, 8 rebounds, 7 blocked shots, 3 assists) fouled out after only 26 minutes. In fact, Pumaman's sixth foul helped put Charlotte up 80-79 after Raymond Felton hit a free throw to complete his And-1. And from that point on, the Bobcats were outscored 11-6.

Homecourt fail.

And did I mention that Rashard Lewis and Vag Carter combined to go 8-for-22 from the field? Or that Larry Hughes (14 points) matched the output of the entire Orlando bench? In the final analysis, the 'Cats simply could not stop Jameer Nelson, who had a game-high 32 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and zero turnovers in 38 minutes. Of course, it didn't help that Charlotte was shooting blanks from downtown (5-for-23).

Dwight Howard: Did you know that Pumaman is averaging 6.0 blockes shots a game in these playoffs? That's twice as many as LeBron James, who ranks second with 3.0 per. What makes that even more impressive is that Dwight has appeared in only 83 of 144 minutes in the series because of constant foul trouble.

You've gotta stay on the floor, big man!

Said Howard: "It's tough not to get frustrated. I don't think you guys understand how it feels to get beat up every night. I just try to keep my composure."

Okay, does Howard get roughed up on a nightly basis? Abso-freaking-lutely. No question about it. That's the sad fate of big men, and, really, an underappreciated aspect of what they contribute. I'm a "big man" in my pickup leagues, and let me tell you, it's a helluva lot harder than playing on the perimeter.

That said, the beating Dwight takes has nothing to do with his foul trouble. To put it bluntly, Howard spends too much time selling out for blocked shots. His final foul of Game 3 was the perfect example. There was no reason to take a swipe at the ball. The angle was terrible. But Dwight makes a lot of bad decisions like that, which is why he commits so many fouls. Honestly, he needs to go watch some film of Hakeem Olajuwon, or maybe David Robinson. It is possible to protect the interior without hacking everybody who walks by.

David Stern, quote machine: After getting his pockets emptied by the league office, Stan Van Gundy has decided to cease his comments on officiating. David Stern approves:

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy vowed to stop talking about the officials. The declaration left NBA commissioner David Stern with a smile.

The give-and-take between the two continued before Game 3 of the Magic's first-round playoff series at Charlotte on Saturday. Stern was in attendance two days after the league fined Van Gundy $35,000 for criticizing the referees about the number of fouls called on Magic center Dwight Howard.

"I've been fined for saying how good they were this year, and I've been fined for criticizing them," Van Gundy said. "So nobody understands more that we're just not to talk about them at all."

Told Van Gundy's comments about an hour later, Stern immediately smiled.

"I'm glad to hear that," he said. "Isn't that new?"


Stern wasn't finished, though. He later took Van Gundy to task for his complaining about how the first-round playoff series are spread out for television purposes. Stern recalled how coaches used to complain about back-to-back games on weekends.

"So then you can imagine my feeling when I see Stan Van Gundy, the league administrator, lecturing on how we should schedule games," Stern said. "Thank you very much -- as we try to nurture $800 million a year of TV money so we can distribute it to the teams so they can pay their salary."

"So when you tell me he's going to be quiet for a while, that's the best news I've had today."
Stern really enjoys being an untouchable dick, doesn't he?

The Los Angeles Lakers: Talk about complete and total ass-kickery. L.A. didn't win a single quarter until the fourth, when they outscored the Thunder 25-24. It's too bad the game had already been decided.

It's crazy.

The Lakers spent the second half of the season sleepwalking through games, and they're still doing it. They haven't played up to their potential in so long I'm not even sure what their potential is anymore. Are they the best team in the league? Are they even in the top five? You're guess is as good as mine at this point.

The OKC defense shut them down. Hell, it may have even intimidated them. The Lakers shot 41 percent from the field, missed 18 of their 22 three-point attempts, bricked 11 free throws, and got outscored 24-2 on the fast break. What's more, despite all their frontcourt size, L.A. was outrebounded 50-43 and gave up 13 offensive boards.

Of course, it's also worth notin the Thunder had a nearly inconceivable 48-28 advantage in free throw attempts. In their two home games, the Thunder have 42 more foul shots than the Lakers. Huh.

Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant -- who is apparently dying the slow death of the competitor (H/T Karc) -- had one of those weird games in which he was reluctant to shoot, instead repeatedly passing to his teammates regardless of whether he was open. In fact, Mamba didn't even attempt a field goal until 15 minutes into the game.

Said Bryant: "I was managing the game exactly how I wanted to. Unfortunately, it got away from us. By them getting out in transition and getting those buckets, I wasn't able to do what I normally do at the end of the game and close games out."

No. No, you weren't, Kobe.

Ron Artest: Waaaaaay back in December, I debated whether Ron-Ron was fitting in with the Lakers. Although he was certainly guilty of some serious shot-jackery in his first season with the Rockets, I honestly believed that Trevor Ariza fit in much better than Artest.

Although he had 82 games to learn and adjust, Crazy Pill never looked comfortable with the Triangle. Amazingly, he looks even less comfortable now. Here are Ron's 2010 playoff numbers this far: 4 games, 28 total points, 13 total rebounds, 12-for-40 from the field (30 percent), 3-for-23 from downtown (13 percent), only two free throw attempts. His PER is 4.6. He's scoring 81 points while giving up 108 points per 100 possessions.

Early this season, Artest said it would be his fault if the Lakers don't repeat. And he's doing his worst to live down to that prediction.

Scott Brooks, quote machine: The well-deserved Coach of the Year recipient had this to say of his Thunder's blowout of the defending champs: "The only thing that did cross my mind was, 'Wow! We're up on the Lakers by 29,' and a big part of me thought that. You don't expect that."

The Phoenix Suns: The Suns were apparently expecting to blow out the Brandon Roy-less yet again. Only one problem: The Blazers were no longer Roy-less. The return of Roy -- who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus a little over a week ago -- lit a fire under the home team, and the Suns were not ready to match that level of intensity.

Said Steve Nash: "I'd certainly say it gave them a lift. More than anything it just gave everyone a boost in their spirit and attitude. That was good for the crowd and good for his teammates to have him out there."

Added LaMarcus Aldridge: "As soon as he checked into the game, I got my first open shot with nobody guarding me, so I was thinking thank God he's back."

No kidding. Aldridge scored a career playoff-high 31 points on 11-for-19 shooting. Aldridge also earned a game-best 12 free throw attempts and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. I won't bother to obsess over that possession with about 6:40 left when Roy took about four steps through a double-team and passed to Aldridge for the 19-footer that put the Blazers ahead for good. Or the layup Stoudemire Amar''''''e Stoudemire "missed" (he received a double-forearm shiver on his way up) that resulted in a shot clock violation. Because David Stern doesn't want me talking about officiating.

Grant Hill went 3-for-10, Jason Richardson went 6-for-16, Nash committed almost as many turnovers (6) as the entire Blazers team (7). And if the Suns live and die by the three, their inaccuracy from downtown (6-for-23) pretty much murdered them. And now the players and coaches have to rue the one that got away.

Said Stoudemire: "We didn't bring it, we just didn't bring it. We realized how important the game was. We didn't bring the effort, we didn't bring the energy, we didn't rebound, we didn't attack. We had a chance to go up 3-1, which would have been great. Now we've got to go back to a must-win situation."

For the record, Amar''''''e had 3 defensive boards. In 39 minutes.

Added Alvin Gentry: "For us, the difference in the game was that we didn't play with the energy that we needed to in order to beat this team. And if you don't, you struggle. I thought we had the pace of the game where we needed to have it at the start, but we ended up with 37 in the second half. You won't be able to beat this team doing that."

Saturday lacktion report: Lacktivity + chris equals:

Magic-Bobcats: Brandon Bass slapped out a 1.7 trillion (1:42) for Stan Van Gundy.

For His Airness and Larry Brown, Theo Ratliff expired once again as starting center by countering a 100% shooting percentage (in one shot) in 8:47 with a trio of fouls for a 3:2 Voskuhl. Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler cooked up a stunning +7 suck differential in 12:20 via five fouls and two giveaways, also earning an overwhelming 7:0 Voskuhl!!!!

Bucks-Hawks: Charlie Bell rang up a celebratory line in the ledger, fouling and bricking once each in 5:30 for a +2.

Lakers-Thunder: Kevin Ollie tossed one brick in 5:27 for a +1.

The Chicago Bulls: The Cavaliers woke up. End of story.

The Boston Celtics: Okay, on the one hand, the Celtics fell victim to a semi-epic going off by Dwyane Wade, who set Miami franchise records for points in a playoff game (46) and points in a half (30). After falling behind by 17 points in the first quarter, Boston slowly turned up the defensive pressure and went into the fourth quarter with a 77-71 lead. Considering how badly the Heat have struggled to score against the Celtics down the stretch in Games 1, 2 and 3, a sweep looked like a pretty sure thing.

Then Pookie went supernova.

Wade outscored the Celtics 19-15 in that fourth quarter. He went 5-for-6 from the field, 5-for-7 from the line and a ridiculous 4-for-4 from three-point range. The dude was so on fire he must have been marinated in rocket fuel before the game. I mean, dude's a 30 percent three-point shooter. Talk to the hand, Dwyane. TALK TO THE HAND.

(By the way, Ray Allen's "foul" on a Wade three-point attempt was about as bogus as they come. Let's just say I've made more contact with Gwen Stefani than Allen made with Dwyane on that play. But hey, the power of the flail, right?)

Still, Boston still might have won this one if not for some clutch-time wretching by "The Big Four." With 2:35 left and the Celtics trailing 96-91, Ray Allen -- one of the greatest free throw shooters of all time -- shanked the second of two foul shots. After Wade turned the ball over on the other end, Rajon Rondo got open for one of his little running, one-handed bank shots, but he missed it. With 1:50 left and his team still down only 96-92, Allen got another trip to the line...and bricked both free throws. The dude shot 91 percent from the line this season!

Okay, so after a Michael Beasely put back -- okay, shouldn't somebody have boxed that dude out? -- Boston was down 98-92. With 1:10 remaining, Michael Finley missed a three but Kevin Garnett snared the offensive board and got fouled. Then KG missed two in a row at the line. The Celtics forced Beasely into a couple misses -- they still had a chance!! -- but Paul Pierce rumbled down in transition and chucked up an awful three that (surprise, surprise) missed. After that, it was all forced fouling and desperation threes. Final score: Miami 101, Boston 92.

Kevin Garnett, poster boy: What's worse: Challenging a shot and getting dunked on or shrinking away like a wilting flower and getting dunked on? I'll let you make the call.

Jermaine O'Neal versus Kendrick Perkins: What a titanic offensive battle between these two starting centers. The Drain finished with 2 points on 1-for-3 shooting in 18 minutes while The Beast scored zero points (0-for-1 from the field, 0-for-2 from the line) in 29 minutes. Sizzlin'!

The Dallas Mavericks: By the end of the regular season, the Mavericks had become the popular pick for the Western Conference team that might be able to upset the Lakers and make it to the NBA Finals. Hell, they even emerged from the pack to earn the West's second seed. Now, seemingly all of a sudden, they're staring down the loaded barrel of a 3-1 series deficit.

The Mavs had their chances in this one. Tim Duncan (1-for-9) and Manu Ginobili (4-for-16) combined for as many fouls as field goals, and Tony Parker (10 points, 4-for-9, 5 turnovers) wasn't much better. But George Hill -- yes, George Hill -- decided it was time to nut up or shut up. Hill scored a game-high 29 points while going 11-for-16 from the field and 5-for-6 on threes. Dude almost outscored Dirk Nowitzki (17 points, 4-for-10) and Caron Butler (17 points, 7-for-18) all by his lonesome.

And according to the AP recap: "The 23-year-old guard became the first player other than Duncan, Ginobili or Tony Parker to lead the Spurs in scoring in a playoff game since the first round in 2007. That's a span of 41 playoff games. Put in even more remarkable context, one of the Big Three has been the top scorer for San Antonio in all but two postseason games since the Spurs won their second championship in 2003."

Said Nowitzki: "If you tell me before the game we hold the Big Three to those numbers, we figure we win the game." Best not to trust your ability to figure, Dirk.

More from Dirk: "It's tough. I'm not going to sit here and lie. In Game 2 we should have had it at home and we feel we should have had one here. We didn't and it's frustrating, but we have to keep fighting until it's over."

Have I mentioned how much I love when players say they should have won a game?

The Mavericks are now teetering on the edge of their third first round exit in the last four years. As for Dirk, well, here's a good question from stephanie g.: "Also jumping the gun here, but could Dirk become the only MVP to lose in the first round as both a 1st and 2nd seed? I know he's the only player you can hand check above the FT line, he's averaging like 35/8 or whatever, his team mates fucked the dog in game 3, and the Spurs are only a 7 seed because the West is so crazy and they had injuries and stuff but...just sayin'."

The Denver Nuggets: Long before the Mavericks became The Team To Beat The Lakers, the Nuggets were that team. And, like the Mavs, Denver is down 3-1 and might not make it out of the first round.

Against the Jazz, the Nuggets have looked like the _enver squads of old. In Game 4, the Jazz continued their high-scoring ways, finishing with 117 points on 53+ percent shooting. You expect big games out of Carlos Boozer (31 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists) and Deron Williams (24 points, 10-for-12 from the line, 13 assists), but even C.J. Miles (21 points, 8-for-15) and Wesley Matthews (18 points, 7-for-11) looked unstoppable.

Frankly, the Nuggets looked dazed and confused against the Utah offense, in which passes are dished out to anybody who's open and the players pretty much only take good shots. It's enough to give J.R. Smith (3-for-11) a brain spasm.

Denver fans might want to point out that their team whittled a 19-point fourth quarter deficit to only seven points a few times, to which I must reply: Yeah, and the patient almost lived. The Nuggets need to put together a full game if they're going to survive against a team that's currently missing two fairly critical starters. But I can't remember the last time I saw them put together a full, all-game effort...and now they've lost six of their last eight playoff games.

Said Carmelo Anthony: "The energy and intensity is not there at times. We start out the game well and then for some odd reason, we turn around and we are down 10 or 11 points."

Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: After scoring 39 points (13-for-26 from the field, 4-for-4 from downtown, 9-for-9 from the line), 'Melo said: "I'm trying to do everything I can in my power to beat the Jazz, but at the end of the day I need some help. I'm not sitting here pointing fingers at anybody, but as a unit we've got to do it together."

It's a good thing he's not pointing any fingers, or else his teammates might have to point right back because of Anthony's career playoff record 9 turnovers versus only 1 assist. As always, I'm just sayin'.

Chauncey Billups: Another ugly game for Mr. Big Shot, who went 6-for-14 and finished the game on the pine with more fouls (6) than assists (4).

Sunday lacktion report: And now, one final lacktivity update:

Crabs-Bulls: Jawad Williams pinched out a +2 suck differential via foul and a brick tossed from the Sears Tower in 2:15.

Mavs-Spurs: Erick Dampier continued to dampen Dallas's hopes with the negation of a four-board stint in 19:03 with two bricks, two turnovers, and five fouls for a 7:5 Voskuhl.

RODRIGUE BEAUBOIS went into the stratosphere tonight with a 0.1 second SUPER MARIO GALAXY to close out yet another Mavs playoff loss!!!! Also in the video game universe tonight for the Mavs was Eduardo Najera, who had the "Eject" button pressed for him after a 47-second Mario after fouling Manu Ginobili for a +1!!!

For San Antonio, Matt Bonner provided two bricks from the Joske's flagship store and two fouls in 8:21 for a +4 and a 2:0 Voskuhl.

Nuggets-Jazz: Joey Graham crumbled at the sight of a piranha plant after only 20 seconds for a Mario, while Johan Petro bricked once for a +1 in 3:10.

Utah's Kosta Koufos snuck into GameStop right before closing time for a 58-second non-lacktive Mario (due to a board and a made field goal!).

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Anonymous The Other Chris said...
The difference between the Lakers and Cavs game 4 is telling. The Cavs lost a tight one, and responded like a #1 seed should - by crushing their overmatched opponent. The Lakers... may or may not give a shit? They better nut up for game 5, or it's gonna get tragic for them awful quick..

Blogger Dan B. said...
Picture caption fail. The caption on ESPN for this AP photo: "Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl, right, reacts to a foul call"

Huh. I didn't know George Karl had transformed into a younger black man!

Blogger Henchman #2 said...
I have a friend who does some Lakers blogging on RCS, and he thinks that the free throw disparity between the Thunder and Lakers is about 80% legit.

On a related note, Mamba got called for a 3-shot foul on Sefolosha Saturday that really, really tests the boundaries of "in the act of shooting". And it was barely a graze, to boot.

Blogger Mr. Shrimp said...
Can I just say the phrase "Then Pookie went supernova" made my morning?

The Lakers are getting pathetic. OK, Kobe is nowhere near 100%, but you'd think a team with Gasol, Bynum, Odom, and Artest would still be pretty formidable. But I guess with Artest having no idea what to do offensively, and Kobe off his game, the Lakers have no wing threat, and no speed at all.

However, I saw on ESPN yesterday somebody said something about "Biggest first round upset ever? Could it happen?" I think Golden State beating Dallas was more of an upset. The disparity in their regular season records was much larger than the disparity between the Lakers and Thunder.

Oh well - even as a Lakers fan, I have to like this Thunder team.

How come KG isn't talking trash to Wade but instead just raises his hand to acknowledge the foul?

Blogger Leland said...
Did anyone else watch the end of the Suns vs Blazers game? The officiating was horrible. They called a flagrant 1 foul on Frye, for what looked like a good, hard, playoff foul to prevent Batum from making the bucket. That wasn't the only awful call, but man, it sure seemed like the refs were intent on giving the blazers that game.

Also, as Bawful mentioned in the post, Roy's steps through the double team were so obvious. How the ref's missed that is beyond me.

I don't consider him a superstar, and that was a superduper-uper star non-call. His cadence was so awkward and the amount of distance he moved after picking up the dribble was impossible without stepping, even if you couldnt see his feet, you would have known he traveled.

Just plain bawful.

And then Stern doesn't want ref's being questioned or ridiculed for their calls. Please...sorry, but calls that are missed like that, and then shown on national reply need to be pointed out.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
The Lakers... may or may not give a shit? They better nut up for game 5, or it's gonna get tragic for them awful quick...

Doesn't this feel like one of those situations where Game 5 will be hard fought and the Lakers will win, then Game 6 will be a Thunder blowout followed by a Laker blowout in Game 7?

Picture caption fail.

Oh, that's rich. I'll have to add it to the post during lunch.

I have a friend who does some Lakers blogging on RCS, and he thinks that the free throw disparity between the Thunder and Lakers is about 80% legit.

I tend to agree. Watching the games, I wasn't even struck by the FTA disparity. I didn't notice, really, until I saw the box score. Right now, the Thunder are just the more aggressive team...although methinks there's still at least, you know, 20 percent home cookery.

However, I saw on ESPN yesterday somebody said something about "Biggest first round upset ever? Could it happen?" I think Golden State beating Dallas was more of an upset. The disparity in their regular season records was much larger than the disparity between the Lakers and Thunder.

I almost included that stupid assertion in Worst of the Weekend. First, there were only 7 games separating the Thunder and Lakers in the regular season. Second, the Lakers were very clearly slumping into the playoffs. I mean, nobody is really that surprised the Lakers could lose this series, right? Whereas the Mavs losing to the Warriors was shocking (and enjoyable) as hell.

How come KG isn't talking trash to Wade but instead just raises his hand to acknowledge the foul?

KG only picks on people way smaller and weaker than he is.

Did anyone else watch the end of the Suns vs Blazers game? The officiating was horrible.

Yeah, it was. But what can you do? This is feeling like a seven game series to me.

Blogger Unknown said...
While the eastern conference is pretty much living down to expectations, the western conference is really freaking me out.

I didn't expect sweeps by the Mavs or Nuggets, but for both of them to be dominated the way they've been by the lower seeds shows how much more competitive the conference is - and that's not even mentioning the Thunder. It's going to be really interesting down the stretch.

Blogger Unknown said...
Also, can I nominate an unintentionally dirty quote from Wade:

"In kid-friendly terms, I was telling him he was hot."

-- Miami's Dwyane Wade on what he was saying to his hand in the fourth quarter

Woah there, Wade. Calm down.

Blogger chris said...

Doesn't this feel like one of those situations where Game 5 will be hard fought and the Lakers will win, then Game 6 will be a Thunder blowout followed by a Laker blowout in Game 7?

In other words, like the better version of last year's painful Hawks-Heat series?

Yeah, it was. But what can you do? This is feeling like a seven game series to me.

"Seven game series" of course, having a different significance for Bavetta/Donaghy/Stern than for the rest of us (as aptly discovered by Larry Legend in '85).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is Bawful, so we don't do much for praise here, but seriously.

Jerry Sloan is the best. There isn't a coach in the league that could get his guys to do more with no depth to begin with and injuries playing even more. The Jazz are intense, fundamental, and playing their best ball all season.

Small-market owners should also take a look at the Jazz. Salt Lake City doesn't have the population, location or attractions to honestly support an NBA team. Except that it does, due to superior management; the fact there are no other pro sports there; and the fact that aforementioned superior management acquire players that don't cause problems and leave things that work alone. The Jazz may not have won championships, but they are ALWAYS good.

Blogger Will said...
That Sloan quote rates an 11 on the Dull-Negrometer

Blogger chris said...
Small-market owners should also take a look at the Jazz. Salt Lake City doesn't have the population, location or attractions to honestly support an NBA team. Except that it does, due to superior management; the fact there are no other pro sports there; and the fact that aforementioned superior management acquire players that don't cause problems and leave things that work alone.

Conversely, Los Angeles and the Bay Area are "obvious" markets, as is New York City...yet three of the most mismanaged teams in the Association reside there. (Technically, four, but "Jersey" doesn't count. :p )

Blogger Siddarth Sharma said...
Possible playoff stat curse? The team to beat the Lakers, first Denver then Dallas, both are now on the brink now.
I really hope Kobe reads this blog or somehow comes across that Death of competitor article. Perfect wake up call coupled with losing two straight to OKC. Watch Mamba go supernova next.

Blogger Dooj said...
We need a picture of Pop getting mad when Najera fouled Ginobili. That was gold!

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
"RODRIGUE BEAUBOIS went into the stratosphere tonight with a 0.1 second SUPER MARIO GALAXY to close out yet another Mavs playoff loss!!!"

Why the hell isn't Carlisle playing this guy? He's GOOD. He might, you know... help the Mavs win.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...

The Jazz have rebuilt like 3 times under Jerry Sloan and have had a sub-500 record what, once? The media keeps unfairly tagging him as an ornery, inflexible old man who runs the exact same system year in and year out but every season he adapts it to the players he has. This recent Jazz team runs a lot more than the Jazz of previous seasons and (unfortunately) relies less on physical, suffocating defense. They use isos for Deron Williams, set screens for their center to launch open threes, push the ball whenever they get the chance to. For sure they pass to the open man and pretty much only take good shots, but they are hardly a clone of Stockton-to-Malone-with-Hornaceck-camped-at-the-three-point-line.

They're a great organization period, in fact. They are a small market team in a city nobody wants to play in and they manage to remain competitive every season despite rarely having a lottery pick (because they always make the playoffs) and not being able to attract premiere free agents. They tend to draft very well, have a great eye for underused talent that will fit into their system and aren't ashamed to dump guys that just aren't working out. Their current roster has 10 players that either went undrafted or in the second round (not all picked by Utah). Including four of their current starters. That's crazy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hellshocked: Werd.

Blogger Will said...
Dan B- maybe he got a negroplasty.

Anonymous Karc said...
@chris - Actually, this Lakers series reminds me of last year's Houston-LA series. Except it was even more bizarre back then, because Houston had nobody (Yao and Knee-Mac were out), and LA had everybody but still needed seven games. We knew Westbrook would run around Fisher, and Durant would get his points. But if the Thunder win this series, Russell Westbrook dunking over Lamar Odom is the changer. The Thunder have been unstoppable since them.

The Golden State "upset" wasn't really that much of a shock. Don Nelson had been the coach of the Mavs for years before heading to "The City," and the Warriors beat Dallas in all three of the regular season meetings. It would the Lakers getting Charlotte in the Finals.

Blogger chris said...
Hellshocked/BadDave: Jerry Sloan got the most out of Ostertag. That speaks for itself!!!

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Read this on McSweeney's and it made me think of the Lakers/Nuggets:

You're all welcome.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
kobe bryant- with the new contract, most overpaid player in the league?

Anonymous kazam92 said...
What saddens me is that if The Drain had a pulse, I feel we could legitimately win this series. 14 & 7 would help a lot more than 2 & 4 on 15% shooting

Well I say the series ends on Tuesday. Hopefully Pookie dunks on Pierce to complete the trifecta of posters

Blogger Austen said...
Something I found interesting about the aftermath of last night's Nuggets/Jazz game were Dantley's comments in his post-game press conference. Not only did he blame Melo for not "doing more" when his own teammates weren't doing anything themselves, but he also complained about the Jazz "flopping". Should we take that as an indirect complaint about the officiating? Do we need to get Stern on this with his rubber stamp "suspension" penalty for complaining about the refs?

Of course, maybe he wouldn't have to worry about all the "flopping" if he just told his team the past 3 games to stop charging into the lane using elbows and shoulders to knock the defender out of the way. Just a thought.

Blogger The Weekly Gazelle said...
Wow, David Stern is actually a dick. What does he think he is, the high commander of the NKBA (North Korean Basketball Association). It probably doesn't mean anything, but in an age of calling for accountability in government and wall street, it seems slightly ironic. I still think that allowing the referees be interviewed after the game (like they do here in Holland for football) would help. Sure, they are usually boring, but the coaches might not have to bitch as much.
I am loving the West, but the 'possible Lakers upset stat curse' is killing me. The teams that are supposed to make me happy and beat the Lakers are looking suspect against injury-ridden teams. Please tell me that there Lakers will lose before the finals... Please... If they win, it will be like the Spanish "conquering" the Americas after disease did all the hard work.

Blogger Dylan said...
Carmelo after game 4: "I'm trying to do everything in my power to beat the Jazz, but at the end of the day I need some help. I'm not sitting here pointing fingers at anybody, but as a unit we've got to do it together."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds like he's point fingers at everybody. He might as well have just said, "you guys all suck, start earning your paychecks."

Blogger chris said...
Dylan Murphy: He's pointing thumbs, maybe?

CAPTCHA: "resses," i.e. "When's Oliver Miller doing a resses ad?"

Blogger chris said...
The Weekly Gazelle: If they win, it will be like the Spanish "conquering" the Americas after disease did all the hard work.

Sounds very much like how the Lakers won the title last year, too.

Anonymous Stockton said...
D-Will #1 PG in the league. Period!

I had some unposted comment last topic... did you use your stern button to delete it?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I had some unposted comment last topic... did you use your stern button to delete it?

If your comment got deleted, it was purely by accident / mistake.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Stockton -- The only comment I've rejected recently was a double-post someone had in this thread, (I approved one and rejected the second). So yeah, it was probably an accident/mistake, or just the Blogger system being weird.