fucking insane

The New York Knicks: All the talking heads said Knicks-Celtics could be the most intriguing series of the first round. The Knicks were surging! The Celtics were slumping! The situation was ripe for an upset. And after Games 1 and 2 were decided by Boston's clutch plays (or, conversely, New York's clutch fails), those same talking heads were saying the Knicks "should have won" one or both of those games.

If only 'Melo had shot better in Game 1.

If only Amar''''''e hadn't been gimpy in Game 2.

If only Mike 'Antoni had coached a little better.

So on and so forth.

Then the Celtics came out and just bitch-slapped the Knicks in Game 3 in New York. Paul Pierce dropped 38. Ray Allen scored 32. While those two guys were combining to shoot 14-for-19 from beyond the arc -- no that's not a typo -- Rajon Rondo was setting a new Celtics playoff record by dishing out 20 assists. Rondo also had 15 points and 11 rebounds, joining Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to record six career playoff triple doubles.

Dear Knicks defense: The Celtics thank you.

Anyway, New York fell behind by as many as 23 and lost 113-96, earning boos from the crowd as MSG.

Said 'Melo: "It's tough knowing that Amare's not 100 percent, Chauncey's not 100 percent and we're just trying to find our way on the fly right now. That's a tough situation but I think that would be making excuses if I sit here and say that they beat us because we're not at full strength. We've still got guys that have to go out there and play and that is going out there and playing, so I don't want to use that as an excuse."

Of course not. We all know 'Melo doesn't make excuses.

Meanwhile, Stoudemire scored only 7 points on 2-for-8 shooting, and he looked like he'd rather be pretty much anywhere other than on the court. Said STAT: “I was very ginger, didn't really want to draw any contact."

Didn't really want to draw any contact...the story of his career.

Anyway, Game 4 was more of the same. the Celtics went ahead by as many as 23, the Knicks tried to make a fourth quarter rally, and the combination of Boston's defense (the Knicks couldn't get a good shot if their lives depended on it) and New York's defenselessness (the Celtics literally got whatever shots they wanted) defined the final five minutes. The Final score: Boston 101, Knicks 89.

Said 'Melo: "Tonight was one of those games that we have to leave it all out on the court. Wasn't no need to take anything home with us, and we did that. So I'm pretty sure that we gained a lot of respect from a lot of people right now, but this is the first step of something great."

Reality check: New York finished with 89 points on 34.1 percent shooting and got outrebounded 53-42 at home in an elimination game. The only thing they left on the court was feces. Which the Celtics kindly swept away.

And so, despite being considered the most vulnerable team heading into this year's playoffs, the Celtics are now the first team to advance to the second round.

Some final numbers: Allen shot 57.4 percent from the field and an incredible 65.4 percent from beyond the arc (17-for-26) in this series. Pierce went 10-for-20 on threes. Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal shot 61.1 percent (11-for-18). Oh, and I almost forgot, Ray-Ray had an Offensive Rating of 144.

Again, Knicks defense, the Celtics thank you.

Mike D'Antoni, sour grapes machine: Sometime during the gap between watching Rondo deal out 20 dimes (and compile a triple-double) and then helping the Celtics finish of a sweep of the Knicks with 21 points and 12 assists, Mike said: "I'd like to see him play on Minnesota and see how he does."

The Chicago Bulls: I'm not going to sugarcoat this: The Bulls played like complete and total ass against the Pacers in Game 4. Actually, they played like ass in Games 1 through 3, too, but Game 4 was their assiest performance of the playoffs: 37.8 percent shooting, 3-for-20 on threes, 21 points given up off 14 turnovers, 18 second-chance points surrendered off Indy's 15 offensive rebounds, no fast break points and a deficit as large as 18 points.

And yet...the Bulls trailed by 16 points with under three minutes to go but got to within a point with 15 seconds left. Danny Granger knocked down two free throws off a forced foul, giving Chicago a chance to tie it with a three-pointer.

Enter a play straight out of Vinny Del Negro's playbook: The ball was inbounded to Joakim Noah, who held it for nearly 10 seconds before finally initiating some panicked passing, at the end of which the ball ended up in the hands of Carlos Boozer. For three.

Perspective time from ESPN Stats and Information: "In his 617 career NBA games, combining both regular season and playoffs, Boozer is now 1-10 in his career on 3-pointers. Boozer's only made 3-pointer in his career came on December 30, 2003 as a member of the Cavs... against the Pacers."

In other words, "Boozer for three!" is not the shot the Bulls wanted.

Said Noah: "I caught the ball at the elbow and I was supposed to set a backscreen for Luol. They played it well, they denied the dribble handoff. Really, it was a mental mistake. When you're in that position, you've got to call timeout, so we learn from it."

The failed comeback and Indy's crunch time choke job aside, the Pacers played harder and wanted this game more than the Bulls. They hustled more and came up with all the 50-50 loose balls. The Bulls never matched their intensity until the final few minutes. That's too little too late.

Said Granger: "The mentality is play it like it's the last game you ever play in your life. We played like that tonight."

Frank Vogel, quote machine: "I'm still upset that it's 1-3. We should be up in the series."

The Dallas Mavericks: Jason Kidd's hot shooting and Dirk Nowitzki's fourth quarter heroics in Games 1 and 2 made me feel like I had been sucked into some kind of dark alternate reality. Seriously, I had to do some quick Google Fu to make sure that, like, the Nazis didn't win World War 2 or something.

Well, Game 4 confirmed that I am still in the reality of my birth. Dallas led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter and went into the final 12 minutes with an 18-point lead. Game over? Ha! You saw the 2006 NBA Finals, right?

The Frail Blazers outscored the Mavericks 35-15 in the fourth quarter. Brandon Roy -- who scored 18 of those points -- redeemed himself for last week's jack-assery by hitting the go-ahead shot with 39.2 seconds left.

Said Roy: "I've been in some pretty good zones before, but nothing like tonight."

Added Gerald Wallace: "When people ask me what did I do in the fourth quarter, I'll tell them I stood in the corner and watched The Brandon Roy Show."

According to the AP recap, Portland became the third NBA team in the shot-clock era to win a playoff game when trailing by 18 points or more heading into the fourth quarter. Furthermore, according to ESPN Stats and Information, "The Blazers trailed by 18 after the 3rd quarter, and came back to win. The 18-point deficit is tied for the 2nd largest comeback (in terms of points trailed after 3 quarters) in playoff history." That they did it against the Mavs is, well, not at all surprising. I mean, if any team in these playoffs was going to have a near-historical choke, wouldn't you assume it was going to be the Mavericks?

Said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle: "Did we let up? I think we let up, yeah. There isn't any question."

Added Nowitzki: "You can always, after the fact, talk about what you could have done or should have done. You can go a million ways about it, and afterward you're a lot smarter, but that doesn't help anybody right now."

Brandon Roy, quote machine: "It still just doesn't feel real yet. It was just an unbelievable game and comeback. With everything I've been through this season, they just all came into that moment there on the court when guys were grabbing and cheering me on. It was real special."

The San Antonio Spurs: You know, earlier this season, I (somewhat jokingly) suggested that the 2010-11 Spurs had transformed themselves into the 2007-08 Suns: Potent offense, quasi-adequate defense, vulnerable to hard-nosed physical teams. Like, you know, the Grizzlies. Yes, the Grizzlies. I know. Mind blown.

When Zach Randolph clinched Game 3 with a three-pointer -- shades of Tim Duncan's now infamous (to Suns fans) trey from the '08 playoffs -- San Antonio's metamorphosis into Phoenix Lite is officially complete.

The Spurs might not make it past the Grizzlies. Holy shit.

Said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: "One would probably think that you'd like Zach to shoot the 3 rather than continue to lay it in against you, so it was a heck of a shot and part of the playoffs is about making shots."

Added Shane Battier: "I think there was a collective holding of the breath at the Forum when that shot was in the air, and it went through. It was one of those moments where it's like: 'No, no, no, no, no, yes. Yes.'"

Duncan, who was defending Randolph, said he didn't think Z-Bo would take that shot. I guess Timmy doesn't read Basketbawful. If he did, he'd have known better.

Said TD: "I leaned back and tried to make sure that there wasn't a quick big-to-big roll, but he hit a 3 from that range. It was a great shot."

Added Randolph: "It was 5 seconds on the shot clock. I had a little space to see it, so I just shot the shot. It went in, but that's the shot I work on and I practice every day shooting so it felt good when it left my hand."

Stat check: Zach went 8-for-43 on threes during the regular season.

Despite it all, the Spurs had a chance to tie the game up in the closing seconds, but Memphis threw a wet blanket on a brain-farting Manu Ginobili, who failed to shoot, pass or call a timeout. That's right: With the game -- and possibly the series -- on the line, San Antonio's Mr. Clutch let the clock expire without even getting a shot off.

Said Manu: "I thought we had a little more time. But no, there wasn't enough time. But now it's easier ... I wish we had called a timeout or done something different."

Now you know how the Suns felt all those years, Manu.

The Denver Nuggets: The dream is coming to an end. I won't rub it in to Nuggets fans that I predicted it. Not because I don't like this team -- I actually do -- but reality was going to punch them in the face eventually. Turns out "eventually" was Game 3.

Losing Games 1 and 2 in Oklahoma City was understandable. But if the Nuggets were going to make a stand in this series, it was going to have to start in Game 3. Only Denver shot 37.2 percent and went 6-for-23 from downtown. Still, despite it all, J.R. Smith had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer...

...but didn't. He may or may not have been fouled by James Harden. But that doesn't matter since no call was made. And now the Nuggets are staring down an 0-3 deficit.

Said Smith: "I thought it would have had a better chance of going in if I didn't get fouled. I guess they didn't call it because he's planted or whatever. If somebody hits your arm like that, I think you still have to call the foul."

Countered Harden: "J.R. had just hit two 3s in a row, we went small to switch everything. As soon as he caught the ball I tried to not give him any space where he could get an open shot."

Final shots aside, the Nuggets should look a little deeper at their own failings. Like letting Serge Ibaka tie his career-high with 22 points and set a new career-best by grabbing 16 rebounds. Ibaka also blocked 4 shots.

Even more damning was Denver's 15 missed foul shots. In a three-point loss.

That's not a one-game aberration, either. The Nuggets are shooting only 69 percent (79-for-115) for the series.

Said Denver coach George Karl: "The free throw line I think is a little nightmarish right now."

Added Smith: "Nobody wants to lose, let alone be embarrassed. That's what they're doing to us right now, they're embarrassing us. They're up 3-0. We're in a real tough position. We have to fight back."

Good luck with that, J.R.

The Miami cHeat: Thanks to a tip-in by Dwyane Wade, the cHeat went up 82-76 with 1:35 left. That lead should have been insurmountable, right? With Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, you'd think Miami would be able to close out the game, wouldn't you?

Only the Sixers went on a 10-0 run in that final minute and a half to win 86-82.

Said cHeat coach Erik Spoelstra: "We've proven all year long that we were able to close those types of games out. We were not able to tonight."

Really, Erik? According to ESPN Stats and Information:

With 3.8 seconds remaining, LeBron James had an opportunity to tie the game, but ended up being blocked by Elton Brand. This continued a trend in which James and Wade struggle in the closing seconds of a close game.

Just a reminder... Including LeBron's missed shot today, the Heat are now 1-19 from the field in the final 10 seconds when trailing by 3 or fewer (or tied) ... LeBron now 1-8 on the season... The Heat were by far the worst in these situations during the regular season.
The cHeat are going to close out this series in Game 5. I'm sure of it. But this game provided a reminder that they are not yet invincible.

Bonus stats: Miami shot 38.5 percent from the field and went 5-for-23 on threes. Philly's bench outscored the cHeat's reserves 36-16. Miami starters Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mike Bibby combined for one point on 0-for-9 shooting.

Final thought: The cHeat should put the ball in Wade's hands in these situations.

LeBron James, quote machine, Part 1: "Intimidation factor? We're not trying to intimidate anybody."

LeBron James, quote machine, part 2: "We're not going to hang our heads all the way to the ground about it."

The Orlando Magic: Game 3 was all like this...

...and all like this...

With Zaza and J-Rich sitting out Game 4, the Magicians shot 39.2 percent from the field and got outrebounded 44-42. Back to the shooting, Orlando went 2-for-23 from downtown. According to ESPN Stats and Information: "At 8.7 percent, it was the worst 3-point performance in a playoff game with at least 20 attempts in the last 20 years." Even worse than when the Kings went 2-for-20 against the Lakers back in 2002. Sorry. Had to work the Kings in here somewhere.

Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "They're playing good defense. I'm not taking anything away from them. But we're getting good enough looks. I don't know what to tell you about the shooting. I really don't."

Whatever the reason -- like, I dunno, Orlando's shooters aren't all that? -- the Magic are now down 3-1 in this series and on playoff life support. Yes, they had a chance to win both Games 3 and 4, but no, they did not.

The Hawks now have three chances to close things out.

Dwight Howard, trash talk machine: From the AP recap:

Howard, an Atlanta native, bantered with the crowd in his hometown, even coming over to the press table to exchange barbs with a couple of trash-talking fans in the third quarter.

"You're the biggest whiner in the league," one of them said.

"You wanna come out here and play me?" Howard responded. "I'm averaging 33 points a game. Just keep drinking your beer."

But the home fans had the last laugh.
Dwight had 29 points and 17 rebounds in Game 4. But you know how I said the Magic had a chance to win the game down the stretch? They weren't running any plays for Howard in the final minutes. Gilbert Arenas and Jameer Nelson were getting the clutch shots. I'm just sayin'.

The Los Angeles Lakers: For the upteenth time this season, the Lakers had a dominating performance in their 100-86 win in Game 3 that made everybody think: "Okay. They're finally back on track. Back in control." And for the upteenth time they followed up a dominating performance with one that was stunningly weak in Game 4.

Kobe Bryant sprained his ankle, but he was shooting poorly before that, finishing with 17 points on 5-for-18 from the field. But Kobe's shooting aside, the Lakers were simply outworked. As Karc pointed out: "Chris Paul had the same number of rebounds as Bynum and Gasol combined (13). And the Hornets were +16 in 2nd chance points. Pretty much says it all."

If that says it all, then Chris Paul's amazing triple-double (27 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds) should be a major footnote. Holy crap. Where was this CP3 all season?

From Elias Sports Bureau: "The last player with at least 25 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds in the playoffs was Oscar Robertson on March 29, 1964 against Philadelphia. He had 32 points, 18 assists, and 10 rebounds in that game. Entering Sunday, Oscar Robertson was the only player in NBA history to do this in the postseason. He did it twice."

Please joine me in saying: "Wow."

Said Bryant: "He's going to have games like this. I mean, the majority of the game, he's just a phenomenal player."

Added Trevor Ariza: "He's maybe 6 feet and he had 13 rebounds. He played unbelievable. He's made our team go all year. He's carried us when we were down."

Speaking of Ariza, he had quite the little revenge game against his old team: 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and great D on Kobe. According to ESPN Stats and Information: "Trevor Ariza has been the man tasked with guarding Kobe Bryant and the results seem to show him doing a much better job than the Hornets' other alternatives. In the 4th quarters of this series, Bryant is averaging just 0.59 points per play on 3-11 shooting. He has been nearly three times more effective when guarded by others, scoring 1.5 points per play on 3-7 FG."

And, just like that, the series is knotted at two games each.

Said Phil Jackson: "Well, it's a series now. We punked out there on the court tonight."

Chris' weekend lacktion ledger:

Celtics-Knicks: Nenad Krstic crushed a rebound in 7:50 with two turnovers and a foul for a 3:1 Voskuhl.

Lakers-Hornets: Joe Smith headed one brick in 46 seconds for a +1 and a Mario.

Mavs-Frail Blazers: Chris Johnson can now help Paul Allen with his investments after a 2.2 trillion (2:13).

Thunder-Nuggets: Kendrick Perkins spent 19:14 as Oklahoma City's starting big man, getting two boards and a field goal...only to foul four times and lose the rock twice for a 6:4 Voskuhl.

El (Oh El) Heat-Sixers: Juwan Howard (at 2.1 trillion/126 seconds) and Eddie House (at 2.8 trillion/169 seconds) have come up big in the mission to provide Miami with more cap space, while Zydrunas Ilgauskas spent 10:22 as starting big man negating a free throw and board with three fouls for a 3:2 Voskuhl!

Celtics-Knicks: Jared Jeffries jacked over a block in 5:59 with a brick, rejection, turnover, and foul, earning a 2:0 Voskuhl.

Magic-Hawks: Josh Powell provided a field goal and board in 10:54, only to foul thricely and lose the rock once for a 4:3 Voskuhl. Also garnering a Voskuhl ratio was Hilton Armstrong, checking in after 7:49 of unpacking two steals with three fouls for a 3:0 final number.

Lakers-Hornets: Jason Smith buzzed into the ledger tonight after he fouled twice and bricked once in 3:42 for a +3 that doubled as a 2:0 Voskuhl!

Labels: ,

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Does anybody else notice how much the refs like to touch each other and the players, when they are talking to each other? I call it ref love.
E.g. each time they do that little circle to discuss a call, they put their arms around each other like a loving couple. There's actually a picture of it right now on NBA.com, you can see them ref-loving in the background behind Paul Pierce.
They also like to do this with (to?) the players. Dick Bavetta does it most I think (he also kissed Charles Barkley on the mouth a few years back).
Anybody else been noticing this?
It's like man love, only with old people - and intentional.

Anonymous Batmanu said...
My Spurs better redeem themselves tonight. I'll take a LOUD road win to the tune for about 17 points, on the rocks please.

Thank you.

And Master Splitter would probably be okay to guard Zandolph instead of Bonner.

Blogger Wormboy said...
I like how Dr. Phil calls his players out a little bit: "We punked out there on the court tonight." Yup, that's right.

Pau Gasol, people are more impressed by your little brother than they are by you. Time to show up, your legacy is on the line. The title window is closing quickly: Kobe won't carry the team after this season. Besides, I've been defending your skills in this here forum while noting that your mojo has been missing since January. Dude, show up or have everybody think that those "maybe Pau should have one Finals MVP" urges were just gas.

Ugh, I can't believe I just urged a Laker to achieve. I feel like I've done something incredibly filthy.

Blogger chris said...
Your little mention of the Purple Paupers Who May Be Staying In Sactown Against The Desires of Two Fratboy Owners...

...makes me miss when they were last in the playoffs.

Since then, I've discovered some of my favorite relatives (and their friends) are LAKER fans, despite having spent less time in Los Angeles than I.

I kinda want the Paupers, once everything settles down, to make it back, just so I can actually have something to debate with those Laker types for once. Just so everything is right in the world again.

Maybe this is why Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson made such a big fuss in trying to prevent the Maloofs from getting their way.

Blogger Unknown said...
The knicks are AWFUL. I understand they had injuries and what not.. but the Boston Celtics made them look like a team with absolutely no direction. One game no one can stop Ray Allen, next game no one can stop Rajon Rondo, next game no one can stop Paul Pierce.. Toney Douglas played like a little girl out there.. he made some good shots.. but all in all.. Rondo made him look like he was a cemented pole.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
We give zack randolph too much shit. I think if you compare Z-Bo today to Z-Bo in Portland or NY or Clips, there's a huge difference. I mean, he got his big extension and he is still playing. He has yet to sucker punch a relatively obscure role player on the Spurs.

I think getting passed around like a whore at a frat party made him a more mature person.

Blogger Fasefax said...
First BRoy say "see what happens when you treat me better?!". Second I'm tire of everyone focusing on LeBron missing that last shot saying "Wade should be the closer." When fact is he WAS the closer with the Heat up six and choked on both ends with Bron not touching the ball until that last possession, and BOTH of the deciding buckets being shot IN HIS MUG. One he just admired like he himself had shot the ball, the other he closed out on too late when he should have been in the guys mug. http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoopmiamiheat/post/_/id/6557/how-the-heat-let-game-4-slip-away I get it, Lebron's a horrible person and therefore no one should like him as a player, but how about a little reality too? Wade the supposed "better closer", failed to close and is getting a HUGE pass. I expect that from Skip Bayless and John "doesn't even bother to watch the games" Barry, but not at here at Bawful.

Anonymous lechuck said...
regarding the nuggets, i sense a little bit of media's hypocrisy going on. now they're saying that the nuggets are losing because they dont have star power or something. well, they've been bounced out of 1st round for about 7 years with melo in the lineup (except for one instance in 2009 when billups joined the team). plus, melo is once again out of the 1st round in NY (even with the help of amare).

Blogger winnetou said...
Not having watched the game myself, I'll have to rely on your analysis and estimation: If the Magic tried to keep feeding Howard the ball late in the game, wouldn't the Hawks just send him to the foul line repeatedly?
Come to think of it, that might not be so bad an alternative to Arenas taking shots...

(And thanks for another great summary, way too many meaningful games to watch right now)

Anonymous Czernobog said...
I watched that J.R shot about three times (Denver, not Dallas) and I'm pretty sure that was a good no call. Harden just got up in his grill to force him to drive. That was just good D in that situation.

Blogger Will said...
Said STAT: “I was very ginger
Yeah, well I'm more of a Mary Ann man myself.
And like winntou, I think this a good WOTW. Lots of good quotes.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
First BRoy say "see what happens when you treat me better?!". Second I'm tire of everyone focusing on LeBron missing that last shot saying "Wade should be the closer." When fact is he WAS the closer with the Heat up six and choked on both ends with Bron not touching the ball until that last possession, and BOTH of the deciding buckets being shot IN HIS MUG. One he just admired like he himself had shot the ball, the other he closed out on too late when he should have been in the guys mug. http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoopmiamiheat/post/_/id/6557/how-the-heat-let-game-4-slip-away I get it, Lebron's a horrible person and therefore no one should like him as a player, but how about a little reality too? Wade the supposed "better closer", failed to close and is getting a HUGE pass. I expect that from Skip Bayless and John "doesn't even bother to watch the games" Barry, but not at here at Bawful.

I'm not saying LeBron is a horrible person. But the clutch offense seems to have become Cleveland Part 2: Give LeBron the Ball and Everybody Get Out of the Way.

Miami was Wade's team long before LeBron took his talents to South Beach. I'd like to see him controlling the action down the stretch...just to see what happens. Maybe the results would be the same. They sure have been shit so far this season. May as well try a different look, right?

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
WTF Amare said that. I remember at the start of the game the reporter said something that he said he "felt a lot better and was looking forward to contact."

I don't have a clip, but i'm sure other people remember it as well.

Anonymous Tree said...
@Michael Hsu: yeah, he said that, but I think that was the start of game 4 ... the ginger quote was after game 3 (at which point he also said he wouldn't play unless he was a lot better ... only to say after game 4 that he wouldn't miss the game for the world - in other words, I wouldn't put much stock in his quotes).

Blogger Fasefax said...
I'm not saying LeBron is a horrible person. But the clutch offense seems to have become Cleveland Part 2: Give LeBron the Ball and Everybody Get Out of the Way.

Miami was Wade's team long before LeBron took his talents to South Beach. I'd like to see him controlling the action down the stretch...just to see what happens. Maybe the results would be the same. They sure have been shit so far this season. May as well try a different look, right?

My point is in this particular 4th quarter you got exactly what you asked for, and, it didn't work to good. With the Heat up 6 with 1:30 or so left the team turned into last years Heat. The the last three offensive possessions had Wade with the ball in his hands, all ended in empty possessions. Sandwiched between those empty Wadeball possessions was Pookie admiring Jrue and Lou's 3 point strokes respectively.

It's not until that point that Bron took said last shot that Elton swatted. To suggest Wade wasn't The Closer in that game because Bron got to take the last shot? Um, yeah...

Anonymous Bing said...
Hey Otis Smith,
Who would you like for D-Howard? We have pieces, take your pick (pls pls take Pau).
Regards, The Lakers.

Anonymous milt_palacio said...
Somebody needs to upload the video where Kobe passes the ball into Pau's face. Loved how Pau wasn't expecting a pass at all, instead getting into position for a Kobe-Bryant-assist.

But to be fair noboby saw that (Kobe passing the ball) coming.

Blogger lordhenry said...
Deep under the original Boston Garden, The Celtic of War sits brooding on a throne made from the blood of his fallen enemies, with the head of David Stern adorning one armrest.
The Aforementioned head has turned out to be a fake, and as punishment for attempting to kill him, the real David Stern has taken over Danny Ainge's brain resulting in the trade of Kendrick Perkins, Garnett's right hand man and enforcer.
The Celtic of War smiles, as long as he, Ray Allen, and the venerable Paul Pierce remain, Stern will have to try much harder to stop his push for another title.
Looking ahead to the Heat, the CW knows one thing for certain: "There will be blood...."

Blogger lordhenry said...
Deep in the mountains of L.A. in the citadel of Minas Mamba, the Dark Lord Kobe "Bean" Bryant sits on a throne stolen from George Gervin, a throne of frozen tears, nursing his ankle and glaring at his #2, Pau Gasol.
"You know Darth Vega, you really ARE a #2...."
"What, my Lord?"
Kobe grimaces."Nevermind, my damn ankle is sore, I'm going to let the Emperor deal with this."

Heads turn as a tall figure wearing a cloak, soul-patch and championship rings on his fingers strides in.
The Zen Master's eyes glint balefully as he asks "Now who would like to explain to me why Chris Paul, a crippled Jedi Knight, out-rebounded our front line?"

as he waits for his answer, Phil's hands crackle with purple lightning...."anyone?.....Bueller?"

Blogger Wormboy said...
I think the point may be that Miami needs to execute an offense instead of relying on superstar isos. Because I'm really not convinced that they do on a consistent basis. And I've always thought that one recipe for playoff success is a team that can reliably execute a diverse offensive attack. Isos work great in the regular season, but in the playoffs teams get used to your game plan and can adjust. That's why you need great offensive execution in the playoffs, where with each play you run you open up a lot of options, as well as opening up high percentage plays. Because contrary to what many fans and the press seems to think, hitting lots of high degree of difficulty shots is not a sign of greatness, it is a sign of stupidity and/or ego. The great do their best to ensure that each possession ends with the best possible shot for their team. This is true in every sport, but lots of fans, and even lots of athletes, are too stupid to get it. Whatever you may think of him (and yes, he's a donkey's behind), KG said it in his interview after game 3. KG gets it. Apparently nobody pays any fucking attention when a future hall of famer mumbles a deep truth rather than a platitude in a post-game interview.

The same is true of defense, by the way. It's why teams with great team defense on top of great individual D usually win championships, or are at least contenders (witness the consecutive runs of the Pistons to the Eastern Finals without a real star). The exception is that teams with truly overwhelming offensive firepower can overcome that. Here I'm thinking of various Lakers teams, Particularly Shaq/Kobe in 01.

@Bing: You offer up Gasol, sure. His mojo is gone since January. However, you do owe him for two rings, remember. It's not like he's just a cog:

Gasol '09 playoffs: Win share 4.3, PER 21.9
Gasol '10 playoffs: Win share 4.3, PER 24.0

Bryant '09 playoffs: win share 4.7, PER 26.8
Bryant '10 playoffs: win share 3.6, PER 24.7

Not sure about you, dude, but I think your money's even for Gasol as '10 Finals MVP. Given Kobe's age, how about the Lakers give Kobe up for Howard? The only reason you wouldn't want to do that is that the Lakers are already flush with big men. Kobe's old and definitely going downhill. Me, I don't think he can take over enough games in this playoffs to win a title, nor can he fill up the stat sheet as of yore. He defensive hasn't been at the top level for years, and he disguises it by "floating."

Let's wait and see if Gasol gets his mojo back. Kobe threw up some stinkers in last years' run, and his teammates covered for him. If Gasol continues to stink it up, then I'll agree with you. But I AM shocked at how many Lakers fans are willing to throw Gasol under the Buss (LOL) when Kobe's not the world's best player anymore. If Kobe were the player of yore, you wouldn't need Gasol in top form, and you know it. The combined size of Gasol/Odom and Bynum would be sufficient, regardless of skill.

I guess that's why Lakers fans kind of piss me off. That is, aside from being the second biggest bandwagon team in sports (behind the Yankees and ahead of Duke, though the Patriots might be catching up here--it was the Cowboys in football when I was a kid, but I find it hard to give a shit about football anymore).

***Speaking of playoff stats, check out LeBron in '07 (PER 23.9 WS 3.7) and '09 (PER 37.4 WS 4.8). Holy shit! OK, who wants to bet it was after '09 that LeBron decided he was leaving Cleveland? He realized that he could put up numbers like that and not make it to the Finals. My God. Maybe I have sympathy for him. Hmm. Nah. He could still have left like any other free agent rather than being a flaming, veined, throbbing dick about it.

[/end of rant]

Anonymous Adri (accented a) said...
Oh lordhenry, how I missed your stories.

These playoffs are becoming more interesting than expected. I will save the oportunity NY had to put Boston in trouble for the next season. I seriously hope the chemistry between Billups, Melo and Amar''''e wont become crap.

And I'm not a Knicks fan or anything similar. I just want more competition for a title.

Blogger lordhenry said...
@wormboy: all good points, but Carl Landry owns Pau, becuz Pau has some silly idea he is TOO GOOD to play physical. I don't call him Darth Vega for no reason. When Pau tries he's great. I don't consider being out-boarded by Chris Paul's lil crippled ass trying.

@Adri (accented a) Lakers have been so up and down I feared making fun of them, And kinda the same for the Celts.

Anonymous bing said...
Thanks for the 350 word essay Wormboy, was a good read and I agree with much of what you said.

My post was only a throw-away one out of frustration with the Spanish marshmellow and the lakers in general.
I don't actually think LA would trade him. Altho Bill Simmons seems to think Howard is coming to LA somehow next year.

Blogger winnetou said...
Wormboy, but isn't Kobe the only player in the league with a no-trade clause?

Btw, I remember hearing praise about Rondo's ability as a defender, but kept seeing his man make open shots because Rondo was roaming around. We never complain about that either, but I guess he does provoke somewhat frequent steals with that strategy as well.