"Weird shot of Chamberlain half-choking Russell as he goes to shake his hand"
(As described by Andy Gray in his SI Vault Twitter feed)

I'm on pins and needles, anxiously awaiting tonight's opening game of the Finals. And Bawful's fantastic recap of the Lakers-Celtics feud over the years has only made me even more giddy with anticipation.

Basketbawful reader Murcy shares this brilliant satirical look at the 2010 NBA free agents. In response, AnacondaHL shares "the original text, courtesy of Canada."

Hockey related, but totally badass: according to posts I've seen on Twitter the past few minutes (no other links yet, sorry), Ron MacLean jumped into the Delaware River to save a man who was trying to take his own life this afternoon.

Some quick basebawful before we get to the rest of the post: My buddy Corey and have tickets to the Cubs/Mariners series in Seattle in three weeks. I was hoping to finally see Ken Griffey, Jr. play in person. Alas, no such luck. Griffey announced his retirement yesterday (which was of course overshadowed by this, one of the pinnacles of basebawful. And you really should watch this West Virginia man's reaction to the blown call -- dude flips out while wearing short shorts and spitting chewing tobacco). The truly sad part of this, however, is that none of the players featured in the legendary Homer at the Bat episode of The Simpsons are still active players. Damn I'm getting old.

Worst of the last Conference Finals Weekend in Pictures:

Nash's teammates hate to say anything, but his Dr. Evil impression just plain sucks

Okay, this is just uncomfortable...

Tony Allen helping Paul Pierce up - It's almost like watching Pierce flop in reverse

Our final in-game shot of the playoffs of Stan Van Gundy is appropriately a quintessential SVG picture

"Superman" Dean Cain's two weaknesses are kryptonite, and sharting himself watching the Suns and Lakers play

Speaking of Superman, hey Kobe, you know you can't fly, right?

NBA Finals - Game 1:
Celtics at Lakers - ABC, 9:00pm
Series tied 0-0

The Zen Master is trying to convince his team to take more charges instead of always making a play on the ball. Drawing a charge is great, right? You get the ball, and the other team gets a foul against them. What's not to like about it? According to Ron Artest, everything:
"I don't even know how to take a charge. To get the charge you have to fall. I'd rather not fall. You call an offensive foul, possibly be a fight. That's just how we grew up playing basketball."
The subtle difference between playground pick-up hoops and the NBA flippin' Finals seems to have escaped Ron-Ron. Then again, does this surpise any of us? This is the same man who jacked up that absolutely indefensible three pointer against the Suns, but was later forgiven because he got the game-winning rebound and shot. And that's completely ignoring the Malice in the Palace, since I'd like to think he's a slightly different man in 2010 than 2004.

One last tidbit... There was a great article in this week's Sports Illustrated in which we learn about Kobe's shooting stroke getting changed this year by Chuck Person. First off, it's interesting to read about why his shooting percentage dropped after the broken finger aside from just, you know, having a broken finger. It was because Person had Kobe work on getting his arms up and into the shooting motion quicker, keeping his elbow more in line with the basket, and using the index finger just to balance the ball so he could create more backspin with his middle and ring fingers. Obviously it took awhile to adjust to this, but now (much to my chagrin) Kobe has put up insane shooting percentages in the playoffs because of the improved accuracy and more favorable bounces and rolls on the rim. And it's also just plain cool to hear Chuck Person's name again. The last time I heard that name I was draining 80 footers while on fire in NBA Jam.

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Anonymous Geert said...
I like how those old photos always look like they played in the dark back then. Makes it even more legendary and mysterious and shit.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Love the Imperfect Game flip-out (nice dolphin shorts, guy), although it brings up a random somewhat-bawful-related note: Are we as a species at the point where we film ourselves watching TV? What's going through your mind when you make that decision? "I don't want to record the actual event that caused me to react; I want to relive my reaction instead and then post it online!" Isn't this narcicism?

BTW: Does Ron Artest have a park named after him in New York? 30 Rock made a really random joke about it a few weeks ago.

Blogger Ash said...
Is Roger Clemens the pitcher in that Simpsons episode? I know pretty much nothing about baseball, but once he retired (he did, right?), I thought to myself "Griffey is the only player left before I know literally nothing about baseball."

Everything I know about baseball I learned from the Simpsons!

Blogger Marc said...
Not to take away from the finals (and bawlful's epic series about Boston/LA but I have something sort of bawlful I wanted to share...

Carlos Boozer went on a Miami radio station (basically to audition for a spot on the team) and the host ended up talking about how weird Mormons are and how much Utah sucks. Now I usually am pretty light-hearted about religion, (this blog's "Mormon Musician's description is great) and Utah isn't a very exciting place, I am grateful when any free-agent signs with the Jazz (and have nightmares about D-Will leaving)

ANYWAY I was having a rough day and emailed the station director about how its not cool to belittle any religion on air (I know, it's a bit douchey of me, but the response was even doucheir....(I hope, feel free to flame away at me...)


First, thank you for your email and input. I apologize if you were offended by Sid question to Carlos. Sid meant no malice and does not really think that Mormons are “crazy”. To say that Sid “belittled” Mormons is a huge stretch. The question was asked in tongue and cheek way and should not have been taken seriously. Secondly, Sid has made similar comments about Jews, but maybe because he is one, or maybe because most Jews have a sense of humor, we got no complaints. I’m guessing that if you had heard those Jew comments that I would not have received a complaint email from you. Sid has been reprimanded and this issue is closed. Thanks again for your input and Miami is actually market 12.


Orginal story: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700037254/Boozer-defends-Utah-in-interview.html

Blogger DC said...

I especially love that B&W shot of Michael Jordan from his high school days. The picture shows him in mid-jump on his way for a layup or dunk. But with the way the picture was taken and the B&W flash effect, he looks like he has jumped so high that he's hovering near the roof of the gym.

Too bad I can't find it right now.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Ash -- Clemens was hypnotized into clucking like a chicken in that Simpsons episode.

Blogger Will said...
Drake- is this it?

Anonymous Karc said...
Everyone is picking the Lakers in 6 or 7, just like they did in 2008. The backpedaling that will take place over the weekend after Boston wins Game 1 will be glorious.

Anonymous laddder said...
I am psyched!

Let phase 1 of celtic demise commence!

Blogger 49er16 said...
I don't like either team, but I can never root for the Lakers. Go Celtics.

PS, if Bavetta refs any of the games, bet money on the Lakers for the victory.

/bitter Kings fan
//Game 6 2002 Western Conference Finals

Blogger 80's NBA said...
I have been very critical of Kobe since Day 1 (when he was a pussy for not wanting to play for the Hornets when he was drafted), but Game 6 of the WCF was one of the greatest performances I've ever seen.

Those tough shots he hit with the defense right up in his mug late in the fourth quarter alone should be enough to get him into the Hall Of Fame.

The Lakers needed every one of those points too, with Los Losers making a charge.

Anyway, it should be an entertaining Finals.

Anonymous Heretic said...
HAH artest and pierce already bitch slapping each other.

Blogger 49er16 said...
Ron-Ron trying to dribble has always made me laugh. I can probably dribble better than him in the open court.

Blogger 49er16 said...
With all these fouls, I was hoping for an Adam Morrison appearance. He's in a suit thought tonight. A guy can dream right?

Blogger DC said...

Thanks for the picture, but that's not it. It's definitely from the same era though.

In both pictures, you can see the defined shadow of Jordan's arms on the ceiling from the camera flash. But in the picture that I'm talking about, Jordan's legs are in a "Jumpman"-like pose while his arms are in mid-layup pose. There's nothing except for Jordan, the ball, and the ceiling - with Jordan's shadow high on the ceiling, it looks like the photographer snapped the shot as MJ jumped from the top rafters.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Seriously, too many damn fouls and free throws in this game so far. I know Mr. Bawful has said a closely called game favors LA, but I don't care. Let the fucking players play. I hate seeing foul trouble and free throws playing a big factor in any NBA game.

Blogger DC said...

Okay, I found the picture. My picture is a bit fuzzy because I got some parts of it wrong. First, there is a basket in the picture, although the picture that I saw may have had the top part (with the basket) cropped off. And Jordan's legs aren't quite like in his "Jumpman" pose.

But otherwise, the effect is still the same - those B&W flash-induced shadows are just awesome.


Blogger Dan B. said...
Yams -- Honestly. This game has been almost unwatchable thanks to the consant whistles. Who the hell wants to watch the benches play each other in the Finals?

Blogger 49er16 said...
Just what I wanted to see for my halftime entertainment. Kobe Bryant breaking down how fat Oscar Robertson's ass was.

Blogger Will said...
Drake- that is a sweet pic. It almost looks like it was photoshopped what with the way Jordan looks against the background and how his shadow is looming like it is.
WV: excesspe- It can never be said Oliver Miller suffered from Excess P(hysical) E(ducation).

Blogger 49er16 said...
Can your hands be too big if you're an NBA player? Until I saw Rondo shoot FT's, I didn't think it was possible.

Anonymous Heretic said...

Right now Celtics have taken more free throws than the lakers.

I love the way kobe looks right at artest wide open at the three and just ignores him.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Sweet ass alley oop by fisher

Anonymous Heretic said...
damn, Gasol actually taking hits and charges. Must have been drinking that jesus juice.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Fuck this, I'm going to bed. I don't want to watch free throws all night if the Celtics are going to suck like this anyway.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Artest alone is manhandling the Celtics. But the whistles are a bit much, especially the ones where they wait to see if the shot goes in or not. Just fucking call it straight you pussies.

Blogger 49er16 said...
Other than getting out-rebounded, beaten in transition, bullied into foul trouble, and looking old enough to enter a retirement home, it was a good night for the Celtics.

Blogger 49er16 said...
Good grief. Nothing like two and a half hours of watching the referees blow their whistles. What a mind-numbingly boring basketball game.

Blogger Unknown said...
I just like how stunned the Celtics were that they were actually being called for the fouls they committed.

Artest may actually be right about a Lakers Finals win or loss being related to him - and right now he's helping their cause.

Bawful is right about a closely called game helping the Lakers. When the Celtics are actually called for fouls, their "defense" falls apart.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Karc - The backpedaling that will take place over the weekend after Boston wins Game 1 will be glorious.

Actually the backpedalling you do now that Boston has lost that first game is gonna be really entertaining, assuming you don't just skulk away and vanish, of course. Let the spinning begin!

Anonymous Heretic said...
Well, Lakers pretty much took a page out of the Celtics book and played roman legion defense. Everyone got involved and the defensive switching was fine for the most part. I don't understand why the Celtics broke their own rule and started doubling kobe, that's what the lakers wanted.

Refs were quick on the whistle but that actually helped the celtics with Paul Pierce camped at the charity stripe. Speaking of Pierce, Jesus Christ did Artest rip out his jugular and took a dump down his throat.

Blogger Jason D said...
So much for Gasol being soft, huh?

Overall,very solid game from the Lakers. Pau was great, Kobe did his thing and Ron Artest actually played well, who'da thunk it?

Boston took 36 free throws, LA took 31. Way too many FTs for a Finals game, gotta let the players play! Still, I'm very happy the Lakers have set the tone in this one.

Go LA!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Maybe I'm mistaken, but doesn't the team that is usually the more aggressive team and the one that has more points in the paint typically get rewarded with more free throw attempts? Just throwing that out there before all the pro-Boston/anti-Laker people get bitter and begin complaining about the refs.

The refs were bad in that they called the game so close, but they called it close both ways, and there was a lot of foul trouble for both teams, and ultimately the Celtics shot more free throws than LA did. So let's keep all the bitter whining about the refs to a minimum if possible. Yeah?

Anonymous Gabe said...
Artest played well, and Gasol played tough. Two things the Lakers won't be able to count on the rest of the series.

Boston played about as badly as you can imagine. The only concern I'd have for Boston is KG's knee. If he's hurt badly, Boston is done. Otherwise I could easily see Boston still winning this series. But winning game 2 is a must, obviously.

And it would be nice if they stopped blowing the whistles so much. However that favors Boston, and I don't think Stern would like that very much.

Blogger Clifton said...

Anonymous Heretic said...
I still can't believe that Gasol was playing more physical than KG. Its like watching a wolf getting mauled to death by a toddler, just fascinating.

Anonymous Karc said...
Refs took Ray Allen and Paul Pierce out of the game when they each got five fouls. Seriously, the call where Ray and Big Baby forced Kobe into an air ball was beyond ridiculous. With 2 of the big three absolutely paranoid to run into a Laker, it's not like they had a chance anyway. Ray Allen managed to stay in the game after getting his fifth, but was absolutely afraid to shoot or touch the ball.

Would Kobe keep driving if he got his fifth? Or Pau Gasol? Pierce only did because the game was out of reach by the fourth quarter, so it didn't matter.

Even if this is Celtics and the Lakers, this was a mind-numbingly boring game. Exactly the style of play that favors the Celtics. They will win Game 2, the NBA needs this to go at least 6.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Everyone seems to forget that Gasol played plenty tough against Dwight Howard in last year's Finals, not to mention he's played "tough" against the Celtics in the four regular season meetings between LA and Boston since the 2008 Finals.

And, sorry Gabe, I hate to break it to you but you should expect Artest to keep playing good defense in this series. Not only is it what he's known for, he's been doing it throughout these playoffs. Just ask Kevin Durant and Jason Richardson. Pierce may go off, but he's gonna have to work to do it.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
The refs were bad in that they called the game so close, but they called it close both ways, and there was a lot of foul trouble for both teams, and ultimately the Celtics shot more free throws than LA did. So let's keep all the bitter whining about the refs to a minimum if possible. Yeah?

Kinda feels like the whining has started with you...yeah? No offense, but, I mean, can you wait to start complaining about people complaining until they've actually started complaining?

Blogger Unknown said...
Yams: More than Pau being tougher, they did exactly what I hoped they'd do defensively: Keep Pierce and Allen off the three point line and force Rondo to be more of a shooter than facilitator.

Blogger Bakes said...

Boston played about as badly as you can imagine.

So apparently the Lakers didn't win, it was that Boston lost. This was all about Boston just playing so poorly and not that the Lakers nearly categorically dominated them (with exception to free throws). It had nothing to do with the Lakers pulling away every time Boston made a run, or that none of LA's players looked even remotely intimidated by the usual "dominating defense" (read as "fouling"), that every player on the Lakers had fire under their asses while some of the Celtics looked as if they were choking on their misplaced overconfidence. It's not as if the Lakers or Phil Jackson have learned anything at all from two years ago.

No no, clearly it was just a massive fail on Boston's part and nothing more at all. The Nets could have shown up and won, right? LA had absolutely nothing to do with the win. Besides, it's not like Gasol has anything to prove against the team that obliterated him two years ago, and it's not like Artest is known as even a remotely good defender or anything.

Yeah, keep trying there, buddy.

WV: awfac - When Kobe nailed the last deep 3 to get everyone tacos, Boston's bench could only watch and say "Aw fac".

Anonymous Gabe said...
Artest's defense is sorely overrated. He reaches and gambles too much, all you have to do is keep moving and run him off of screens, and he's exposed. However Pierce doesn't use screens very well, he's more of an iso-type player, so Artest will make Pierce work. Pierce needs to keep using the high pick-n-roll to get himself going this series.

But I was refering to Artest's offense. He's been atrocious and he actually shot well 2nite. That's what I mean the Lakers can't count on.

Gasol spent the whole WCF getting punked by the midget Suns. I just think this game was an aberration. He can't play tough for the whole series, that's not his nature.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Don't be obtuse. There's a difference between complaining that the officiating was too tight overall (meaning the aesthetic of the game was mangled with foul trouble and free throws for both teams), and claiming that the officiating was one-sided, or that the refs helped one team more than the other. 

My ideal game, regardless of who is playing, is a bare minimum of fouls called and free throws attempted, even if both teams just clobber each other. I just hate all the whining that goes on around here (and on the web in general) about the supposed conspiracy and the refs playing favorites. LA won cause they played with more intensity, more desire, and more purpose. The refs had nothing to do with this win. The refs didn't cause KG and Perk to collect only 7 total rebounds, and they didn't cause the Celtics to go 1-10 from three. 

Blogger Bakes said...

Regarding Artest's offense, you're right on the money. I cringe every time he catches a pass at the three point line and just hope he doesn't squat his butt down or I know it's most likely gonna be a turnover. But that's not what LA picked him up for. His defense might be trumped up a bit too much, but that doesn't mean it's not still effective. His reaches and gambles result in steals and deflections (and some dumb fouls sometimes, yeah) but I'll take that over just squatting and staring at the guy he's defending.

But yeah, his offense in no way can be counted on, like you said.

I seem to remember, as someone else also previously stated, that Gasol played fairly tough against Howard in the finals last year and against Boston in their regular season games this year. Is he suddenly immovable, solid rock? Not even close. But he's definitely better than he was against Boston two years ago and he's nothing if not consistent so, barring a game where he'll get crushed on every single play (I predict game 3 where Boston gets some home cooking to make up for going down 2-0 in LA) I wouldn't see him not playing that way for most of the series.

Blogger Tristan said...
Kobe should drop 55 or more on Sunday--in a W, of course--to stamp his and LA's will on the rest of the series. Wishful thinking, it's only Game 1 thus far, but one can hope.

Odom...on the court, he is what he is. Boston actually cut down LA's 20-pt lead to 13 in something like five minutes, with Odom in. Five fouls, missed or fumbled rebounds/loose balls, lost on defensive switches...amazing.

Blogger Unknown said...
Dear Mr. Bawful,

Just want to let you know that Garnett was turrible from the time where he missed a wide open dunk (then proceeded to play volleyball with himself) to the end of the game.

I don't know the detains but I remember he had 2 really silly fouls, and through a 40 foot pass out of bounds for no apparent reason.

That is all.

Also, Artezzy had a +26 in the game. YAYUH.

Blogger Preveen said...
Well, I'm disgusted. Spent half the game facepalming and saying "just put your arms up and rebound the freaking ball!" They allowed way too many offensive boards. No boxing out (partly coz the perimeter defenders required so much help) but some of them just sailed over multiple heads within reach without jumping just to land in Laker hands. Gah! Don't coaches preach "Shot goes up, hands go up" in the NBA?

Anonymous Sorbo said...
This will be different than 2008, Gasol knows the offense, Bynum can contribute, Ron-Ron can slow Pierce. And hopefully the Lakers figured out that their best line-up against the Celtics starters (Kobe/Vujachick/Bynum/Gasol/Ron) as we saw early in the game. Too much length with the two guards and Ron, and all three exterior defenders can switch on Allen/Rondo/Pierce when necessary (something else that Lakers couldn't do in 2008). Remember Radmonovich started the 2008 Finals, meaning Kobe basically had to guard Allen AND Pierce by himself.

I think this goes six, only because we've got two coming in Boston.

Anonymous Marylander said...
i expect the Lakers going full force on Kedrick Perkins on Sunday for a T and he will get it.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Something's wrong with KG's knee. He limps around like James Garner, right down to making his limp look like his normal walk. That and Rondo's back may swing this series.

The old photos are so cool! I wonder how was basketball back then when it is all black and white.

Anonymous Geert said...
I haven't seen the game, because of timezones (Netherlands) and stuff but the first thing I did when I woke up was checking the score on my phone. Not a great way to start my day, with Boston losing. Here's to hoping they win sundaynight because mondaymornings allready suck enough.

I would like the Lakers if it wasn't for Kobe, actually. I mean, he's an awesome player and all that but I just don't like the guy. The rest of the Lakers I don't have problem with if they win a championship. Gasol? I like to see Euros doing well. Odom? I like his allroundedness he sometimes shows. That, and the Candyman nickname. Artest? Crazy but kinda hilarious and he does a pretty good job in not melting down and punching people lately.

But I like the Celtics more. Maybe it's the European thing, not supporting one team for 100%? You know, maybe that would be a nice topic for a summerarticle, when people are fed up with the free agent bonanza for a while: a piece about the nba-experience from different parts of the world, with readerinput. Just thinking out loud.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
This rant isn't directed at anyone here, I just need to get it off my chest, feel free to ignore:

What's with all the fake "Boston fans" born and raised in Southern California? I mean, did so many jump on the bandwagon just from '08, because I doubt you were all rocking the green when the Celtics were losing from 3,000 miles away the previous 20 years. You do realize you're an embarrassment not only to yourselves, but to Los Angeles and Boston alike, right? I mean, if I was a real Boston fan, I wouldn't want some stereotypical fair weather frontrunner phonies, from Los Angeles no less, shamelessly jumping on my team after they won one. There's nothing worse than seeing some guy who was born and raised in LA, who's never even been within 1,000 miles of the East Coast, shamelessly wearing their exactly two year old Kevin Garnet #5, and it's not because their lucky Parish jersey was in the wash. I doubt this is a problem in Boston, and it's one of the things that gives LA fans a bad rep. Deservedly.

Whew, I feel better, now I won't need to strain any relationships.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i know it's nothing to do with this post, but has anyone seen Gilbert Arenas on wikipedia lately?

Gilbert "Handgun" Arenas?


Anonymous Heretic said...
Artest may gamble but his kind of defense works on pierce extremely well. Pierce is not one of those guys with a bevy of moves. He also doesn't have great ball handling skills and his maximum speed is a trot. Artest can and has smothered him when pierce has tried to go iso. That being said I think Boston will attempt a lot more pick and rolls with pierce involved because there is no way pierce can just do that jerky head thing to draw a foul each time Artest has him cornered.

Also Kobe on Rondo worked out pretty well for the lakers. In the opening minutes Kobe was a bit nervous that Gasol would turn into delicious goo against KG and so helped out too much, leaving Rondo open. But after they settled down Rondo was really ineffective as a guy that creates plays when kobe was on him.

As far as this being Boston just sucking, that's fucking hilarious. Boston may have gotten out of rhythm due to foul calls but fouls were being called both ways. The key was Lakers simply were more aggressive, they never gave Boston an inch unless they had to. When Odom started slacking off on D and taking terrible shots, Boston cut the lead to 13. This shows that Boston were executing their plays but they were running into a brick wall. So I don't think Boston just had an off night, I believe the Lakers put a pillow over their face and repeatedly shot them through it.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Joe Crawford actually tends to favor home teams and the Celtics, but yea.