kobe barney

We are currently accepting nominations for the second annual edition of the NBA Worsties, a list that describes the best of the worst of the recently concluded season. And there's a lot of it.

We'll be publishing the Worsties some time next week, so act fast. All nominations should include:

1. A title (or titles) for the entry (or entries).

2. A pithy quote/description for the entry (or entries).

3. Your preferred name/alias and/or a Web site address that can be included in the entry. (I do try to credit my sources.)

You can also -- and this would be wicked helpful -- provide story and (if available) video links to support your nomination. Submissions can be left in the comments section of this post or sent to us directly in the form of e-mails (the address is provided on the main page), smoke signals, or psychic mind-rays.

Reference: Feel free to read the 2006-07 NBA Worsties for reference. Or because they are awesome.

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Anthony Bowie has a lot to be proud of. Despite being selected in the third round of the 1986 NBA Draft (a.k.a. "The Len Bias Draft") and spending the first several years of his "professional" career playing in the CBA and a handful of European minor leagues, he managed to eke out eight seasons worth of NBA employment. What's more, he actually became a valuable reserve for the Orlando Magic, particularly in 1991-92 when he averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 3.1 APG while shooting almost 50 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from distance. Why, he even had two nicknames ("A.B." and "Boo") and could rightly make the claim that he's one of the top 10 players to ever come out of Oklahoma! Laugh all you want, but I bet you can't say that.

However, on March 9, 1996, A.B. did something that he should not have been proud of...although he obviously was: His first (and only) career triple double. And it will live on in infamy as one of the worst cases of stat padding in league history.

Here's what happened: The Magic were leading the Detroit Pistons by 20 points when Bowie -- who was making his second start of the season in place of the injured Nick Anderson -- rebounded a Piston miss. That carom gave Bowie 20 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, so he quickly called timeout with 2.7 seconds left so he could go for the triple-double. Magic coach Brian Hill was so upset he handed Bowie his clipboard and stormed away. A.B. drew up a play that called for the ball to be inbounded to him and for him to throw a lob pass to David Vaughn.

Doug Collins, who was coaching the Pistons, angrily told his players to stand at the side of the court when play resumed and not contest Bowie's pass. (That'll show 'em, Doug.) They did what they were told; Vaughn dunked the ball home and Bowie got the assist and his cherished triple-double. The funny thing is, that one meek show of protest sort of epitomizes everything that was wrong with Collins as a coach...and David Stern fined him $5K for it. (Thank God he's not coming back to Chicago to coach next season.)

This is what Bowie said after the game: "I'll probably never have the opportunity to do it again. It was entirely me. Coach (Brian) Hill had nothing to do with the timeout. I knew when he gave me the board that it was up to me. You only get so many opportunities, and that's why I did it. Whether they’re going to move over or whatever they’re going to do, I'll take it. It's all the same. I ran over to tell Doug Collins the situation, that it was a great opportunity for me, but that I didn't want to make anybody mad. He didn't listen."

Imagine that.

Shaq, who was still with the Magic, supported his teammate's stat-mongery (naturally). This is what the Big Quotable had to say: "I'm glad he did it. I don't care who gets mad. Because of the talent on this team, Anthony Bowie doesn't get a chance to play a lot. He was in the CBA. A lot of people thought he couldn't make it. He got a chance. He came over here, and that's his first career triple-double. I'm glad for him and could care less if Doug Collins got mad." (It's sort of ironic that, just a couple years earlier, Shaq publically -- and very bitterly -- complained that David Robinson had padded his own stats to "steal" the 1994 league scoring title.)

Hill wasn't quite as forgiving as Shaq, and he issued an apology during his post-game interview. "I want to formally apologize to Coach Collins, his staff, the Pistons, organization and the Orlando fans for the timeout that was called. I thought it was totally uncalled for, and it's something I regret."

Of course, Hill was the guy who handed his clipboard over to Bowie and let it all happen. He could have benched him, or told his player not to do it...I mean, he was the coach, right?

Years later, Bowie remained unrepentant. When asked if embarrassing himself and his opponents was worth it, this is what he said: "To me, yes, it was worth it. You know, people can say what they want, and you know, think of me as a bad guy, but it was an opportunity for me. You know, I ended up playing the 48 minutes all the way out to the last second, that's all it was....you know, you always hear the coaches say play to the last second. And, you know, for me, it was an opportunity, you know -- who knows, I mean, I may have never got to start again, but the opportunity for me was there, and I took advantage of the opportunity.

"Would I do it again in the same situation? If I got to play the whole 48 minutes out, yes I would. I mean, people can say they wouldn't do it again, but when you're in that situation, you just never know what you're going to do. You know, we can pretend that we're going to do certain things at certain times, but when it comes down to reality, you know, we don't know what's going to happen. We really don't know what's going to happen. So I probably would do it again."

Dishonorable mentions: The Bowie story has served as a cautionary tale for future stat padders, but at least two players totally ignored it.

On March 16, 2003, Ricky Davis -- then a Cleveland Cavalier -- had accumulated 28 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds during a blowout of the Utah Jazz. But that wasn't enough for Davis, who caught an inbounds pass with six seconds left and was about to shoot at his own basket so that he could miss and get his 10th rebound. But DeShawn Stevenson wrapped him up and spoiled his plan. Naturally, Davis showed no remorse after the game, saying: "[The Jazz] should be mad. Any team that gets beat that bad shouldn't be happy. I'd probably be mad, too, losing by 20."

Stevenson, believe it or not, actually busted on Davis for not acting professionally. "There's too many people who have done too much for this sport to act like that. This is the NBA, and you've got to be professional, and that's not professional. Yes, I think it was disrespect to the game and disrespect to me. You've got little kids looking up to him and to see him do that isn't right." Uhm, what happened to that DeShawn Stevenson? Might be time to check his basement for body snatcher pods.

Of course, Davis never would have gotten his triple-double that way: Rule 5, Section 1 of the league's official rules states that: "It is a violation for a player to attempt a field goal at an opponent's basket. The opposing team will be awarded the ball at the free throw line extended." So he made himself look like a huge jackass for nothing. Awesome.

Just over a year later, on April 12, 2004, Bob Sura intentionally missed a shot right before the final buzzer and grabbed the board to "earn" a triple-double of 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. (At least he was actually shooting at the right basket.) Sura tried to cover for his superdickery joking that the shot "slipped" out of his hands. Ha. Ha.

David Stern found the situation so funny that he discounted the shot attempt on the grounds that a "slip" doesn't count as a shot since the rules clearly state that: "A field goal attempt is a player's attempt to shoot the ball into the basket for a field goal." In other words, if Sura wasn't trying to put the ball in the basket, there could be no shot attempt. And if there was no shot attempt, there could be no rebound. Gotcha, Bobby!

Unlike Bowie and Davis, at least Sura showed a little humility after getting slapped down by the league office. "I'm disappointed that my attempt to earn my third triple caused so much controversy. It was never my intention to make a mockery of our sport and to take any attention away from our huge win over the Nets. If anyone was offended by my actions, I sincerely apologize."

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Derrick Rose: This is a story of a non-pick. Everyone knows the Bulls don't need another guard and have plenty of need for an inside scorer. But the fact that Michael Beasley is the same height as Marcus Fizer and is a bit too flaky to fit Paxson's humble, hard-working, overachiever mold was enough to scare them off. The inevitable trade in the next months will determine how successful this pick was, but Rose will follow the long tradition of successful Chicago natives to play for the Bulls (see: Dave Corzine, Craig Hodges, Eddy Curry, AJ Guyton, Randy Brown). Bulls expect: Jason Kidd. Statbuster expects: A poor man's Gary Payton.

Michael Beasley: In one respect the Bulls had a legit beef with Beasley; he has the makings of a defensive liability in the pros. On top of being a shade too short for the 4, he's an average shot blocker for someone as athletic as he is. But that won't matter in Miami. Remember, Mark Blount starts for them. The Heat expect: Shawn Kemp. Statbuster expects: Antawn Jamison.

OJ Mayo: I'm beginning to wonder why the Wolves are stockpiling guards (they drafted Randy Foye, Rashad McCants and Corey Brewer the last three years). Are they preparing for a shooting guard famine of some sort? By mid-season, when Minnesota has 30 losses and OJ is backing up Marko Jaric, he will no longer deserve a cool nickname. OJ will be known here as Ovinton the Turnover-Prone Jump Shooter. (Edit: OJ drove his white Ford Bronco to Memphis for Kevin Love, but the Wolves also took on Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins. Apparently the Wolves are hoarding slow-moving stiffs with horrible contracts as well.) The Wolves Expect: Mitch Richmond. Statbuster expects: Harold Miner went to USC. I'm just sayin'.

Russell Westbrook: The fourth pick overall is too high for a 6'3" player with 12 ppg and shaky PG skills, regardless of whatever is in your shoes. If he proves to be a passable defender at SG, Kevin Durant will be able to move back to his natural position at SF, and Jeff Green can move back to his natural position at the end of the bench. The team formerly known as the Sonics expect: Monta Ellis. Statbuster expects: Juan Dixon.

Kevin Love: Kevin Love one-ups most other big men in the draft with his ability to pass and step out and hit the 3. And he is the master of the 94-foot chest pass. Love looks to be an All-Rookie First-Teamer if he can keep his chronic fatness under control. Which is no small task when you have a place like Corky's Ribs right down the street. (Edit: Kevin Love went to Minnesota for OJ Mayo and Antoine Walker. Expect them both to start next season. That should be awesome.) The Grizzlies Expect: Derrick Coleman. Statbuster expects: In true Grizzlies fashion, the rest of their roster will be culled to reduce payroll.

Danilo Gallinari: Judging by the way he was booed on draft night, Gallinari may be the most hated Italian since Benito Mussolini or Chef Boyardee. Or maybe the Isiah Era has taught Knicks fans to instinctively boo anything the team does. If he can find a way to shoot over 35%, he's a lock to steal Quentin Richardson's PT. The Knicks expect: Hedo Turkoglu. Statbuster expects: to get a lot of mileage out of that Big Cock nickname.

Eric Gordon: Eric Gordon worries me. First of all, he looks too much like Emmanuel Lewis. Plus he went to a Big Ten school, which also has implications. Not to mention he is an undersized SG that isn't much of a ball hander and only shot 43% from the field and had a 0.7 assist/turnover ratio. Some people point to the wrist injury he had late in the season, but that is just too much suckage to ignore. The Clippers expect: Hersey Hawkins. Statbuster expects: Fred Jones.

DJ Augustin: The Bobcats drafting another PG probably indicates the Raymond Felton experiment is coming to a close. DJ is a better shooter than Felton, but he suffers from short man's disease at 5'11". The list of PGs under 6'0" that made an impact in the pros is not as long as you think (Calvin Murphy, Terrell Brandon, Michael Adams, and, um..). They'll wish they took Brook Lopez when Nazr Mohammed is still clocking 30 minutes a night. The Bobcats expect: A low-budget Steve Nash. Statbuster expects: Travis Best.

Also worth mentioning...

Portland Tradeblazers 2K8: Turned the 13th into a top lottery pick (by trading Brandon Rush for Jerryd Bayless, who was projected top-five) and the 24th pick into a lottery pick (by trading for Darrell Arthur, a projected lottery guy, who they then traded to Houston) and then escaped the 2nd round with 4 future picks! Not to mention they unloaded Jarrett Jack in the process. Portland is overflowing with loot they've pillaged from inept GMs over the years. Kevin Pritchard is a genius, and I kind of hate him.

Darrell Arthur: The Kansas guys (the other being Mario Chalmers, who went in the 2nd round to Miami) will be the steals of the draft. Darrell Arthur eventually ended up in Houston, but he was in the green room for an painful length of time when a kidney ailment almost caused him to slip from the lottery to the second round. Teams were selecting Big Ten centers and 18 year old foreigners with no intent to play in the NBA while Arthur wept softly and filled out his NBDL application.

Brook and Robin Lopez: Twin 7-footers from Stanford sounds suspiciously familiar. Brook is a little better than that, but my bet is that Robin (the one with the Joakim Noah hair) will become Jarron.

Joe Alexander: Joe speaks fluent Chinese, so apparently he was drafted to help lift Yi Jianlian out of his hopeless depression. That is, until Yi was dealt to NJ for Richard Jefferson. Which means Joe will take Yi's spot on the team as the token Asian guy. Until people realize that Joe isn't Asian, which may take until mid-January. It is Milwaukee, after all.


WNBA cluster

Since Statbuster was covering the draft, I decided to turn my attention to the speed, athleticism and sheer beauty of the WNBA. It did not disappoint.

Katie Douglas: The former Boilermaker scored 18 points for her team. Unfortunately, it took her 20 shots to get there. A 5-for-20 shooting line isn't good. Even by WNBA standards. And her misdirected shooting -- she lead her team in shot attempts, by the way -- was largely responsible for the Fever's triple-overtime loss to the Liberty. But hey, look at the bright side: She had only the second-worst +/- score on the team (-10).

Alison Bales and Sherill Baker: These Indiana reserves showed why they should be lacquered to the bench. Bales' one lonely rebound saved her from a four trillion, and Baker earned a Mario for her 45 seconds of nothingness.

Connecticut Sun: New England's finest (female basketball players) started the game like a fire that had recently been extinguished, scoring only 7 points in the first quarter (which, sadly, was only their second-lowest single-quarter output of the season). They shot only 32 percent for the game as starters Lindsay Whalen, Barbara Turner and Amber Hold combined to shoot 2-for-16. Add to that the nine bricked freethrows and the 16 turnovers (to only 10 assists), and the team had good reason to weep (except big girls don't cry...or so I've heard).

Detroit's fourth quarter: The Shock scored 6 points in the fourth. Wait...6 points?! It's wrong for men to hit women, but I bet Bill Laimbeer sure felt like doing it. (Not that he really needs a reason to feel like hitting someone.)

Damned evil pie: Seimone Augustus ate some pie -- presumably not baked by her -- during a pregame meal...and it threw a barf party in her stomach. Augustus' tummy was aching so badly by halftime that the Minnesota training staff said she was doubtful for the second half. But it was "pie," not "die," so Augustus returned to score 12 of her team-high 23 points in the final two quarters to lead the Lynx over the Monarchs 80-76. But the experience has left a lasting scar that may never fully heal. "I'll never eat another piece of pie before I come to the game. There was no way I was going to stay out of the game. With a game like this and so much on the line as far as playoff position, I wasn't going to miss too many minutes." That's one tuff grrl, eh?

The San Antonio Stars' bench: The Stars lost 77-71 to the Houston Comets last night despite the fact that all five of their starters scored in double-figures. But that was because their bench barely added a figure. The reserves contributed 2 points (1-for-10), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, and 7 fouls in about 28 minutes of lack-tion. Of course, you probably can't blame the bench for the fact that San Antonio let Houston shoot 56 percent from the field...

Bizarre promotions: The Stars hosted "Hoops Hound Night" last night. I will now let the jokes for naturally of their own accord.

Hoop Hound

Crazy Eccentric fans: I really hope this isn't true...

Crazy Fan 1

I have only one word for this: Hot. That Becky is one, uh, lucky girl.

Crazy fan 2

Chicago Sky: The sky truly is the limit for the women of the Windy City. There literally is no upper limit to how much they can suck. Their next-to-last-in-the-league record - second only to Atlanta's 0-13 mark - fell to 3-9 after an 89-79 home loss to the Phoenix Mercury. The loss was made possible in part by 35 percent shooting (28-for-80), eight missed foul shots, and 17 turnovers. But I'll say this for the ladies: They sure did hit the boards. The Sky pulled down a franchise record 25 offensive rebounds.

Diana Taurasi, quote machine: The Phoenix forward finished with 16 points, 9 assists, and a healthy dose of incredulity regarding her team's meek surrender on the offensive glass. "They had 25 [offensive rebounds]? It felt like they had 105. You know what, we're used to getting people world records. But as long as we get the 'W' we don't mind." So by that reasoning if you let somebody eat a kitten or knock over an old lady but you still won, everything would be cool...is that what you're saying, Diana?!

The Cha Cha Slide: Uh. No. (And that's reason #373.)

Cha cha slide

Washington Mystics: The witches shot 37 percent from the field (and only 31 percent from two-point range). They missed 14 freethrows (13-for-27). They scored only 10 points in the second quarter. And they committed 17 turnovers. But here's the kicker: They won.

Los Angeles Sparks: These ladies had the dubious distinction of losing to the Mystics in overtime, thanks primarily to their three-point clankfest (3-for-12) and 21 turnovers (compared to 16 assists). Oh, and they scored zero points in the overtime session.

Michael Cooper: Can a coach dis his team and throw his starting PG under the bus in two sentences or less? Mr. Cooper thinks so. Said Coop: "It was a horrible game by us. We've got to get us a point guard, somebody who can handle pressure and do all the things that we need her to do." Way to give your girls confidence, coach.

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Even as Sam Presti prepares to select the fourth overall pick in tonight's NBA Draft, the battle wages on to determine whether the SuperSonics will be moving to Oklahoma City or staying put in Seattle. Anything can happen, but I personally think the Sonics are going to be seeing a lot less rain very shortly.

So I'd like to take a few minutes and harken back to everything the Seattle SuperSonics have given us over the years: Those back-to-back finals appearances, the 1979 league championship, that improbable run to the '87 Western Conference Finals, the most epic first round failure of all time (until the Mavericks trumped them last year), the follow-up failure, that NBA Finals appearance against the Bulls, the Shawn Kemp of elevator operators, and an unforgettable cast of characters: Dale Ellis, Dennis Johnson, Detlef Schrempf, Gary Payton, Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, Lenny Wilkens, Nate McMillan, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, Sam Perkins, Shawn Kemp, Spencer Haywood, Xavier McDaniel, and...

...Predrag Drobnjak?!

Yes, Predrag "the other Peja" Drobnjak. He was a Sonic for two largely forgettable seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03). And while his averages (about 8 PPG and 3 RPG) were nothing to write back to Montenegro about, he did make one lasting contribution to the franchise that may even surpass the extreme awesomeness of that '79 title: A series of commercials promoting the "Super Sonic Seat Sale."

Prepare for space bears, a cat named Jinkies, third-degree burns, a Brent Barry talking bobblehead, lines like "Don't probe my body," and the acting skillz of Jerome James. Originally posted at Fan IQ and With Leather (and maybe some other places I don't know about).

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Some days you just wake up and hit the jackpot. For me, today was one of those days. And in this case, the "jackpot" arrived in the form of the following e-mail from a reader named Martin.

"I recently completed a trip to China. The Chinese are famous for their use of unauthorized images of Western celebrities on billboards and other ads. I stumbled across this excellent example walking down the streets of Yonkan. It was a small billboard in front of a sex shop. An Angry looking Dwyane Wade will have a hard time to convince me to buy this sex pill. However, an angry Dwyane Wade who's on this pill, which is 'effective for man only,' might do the trick in a prison shower scene."

Wade sex pills

That look on Wade's face is pure pricelessness. It's the perfect (and somewhat bizarre) mixture of shock, rage and unsurpassed joy. It's like the pill just caused his penis to spontaneously grow ten feet and then explode. (My guess? That's the expression he made when the the Miami's 2007-08 season finally came to an end.)

Bad news for the erectionally-challenged: Based on my own experiments with Chinese penis supplements -- done solely for the sake of scientific curiosity of course - I can tell you that the "time delay" lasts roughly forever. So do yourself and your genitals a favor and buy your fake Viagra from Canada or Mexico like everybody else.

Update! Basketbawful reader DavidD had this to add: "That looks like the NBA Live 06 (?) cover shot of Wade. Or that could be his reaction to Star Jones naked...." Now, personally, I thought it was the latter. Turns out it was actually the former. That is, indeed, Wade's cover shot from the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06. And I'm guessing that the makers of the Sueper Sex time delay capsules did not get permission from D-Wade or EA Sports ("It's in the game!").

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I will never again be able to ride in an elevator with an old white lady without wondering whether she's secretly (and rather breathlessly) fantasizing about being a huge black man. Of course, if she was really the Shawn Kemp of elevator operators, she'd be bathing in Twinkie filling and sweating out a few dozen late child support payments.

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This clip wasn't included in the "You Got Ginobli'd" video, but it may very well be our favorite Ginobili Special: Manu flops not once but twice on the same possession. But the best part, without question, is the first flop...which is actually a double flopparoonie with Steve Nash, who comically splays his arms and legs out after he falls. This is much more rare than hot chicks with douchebags (which, as it turns out, isn't that rare at all).

Enjoy it. Supposedly this kind of stuff won't happen next season...

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Joe Arpaio -- known far and kind of wide as "America's Toughest Sheriff" -- has de-deputized The Big Law Enforcer for his use of profanity and (especially) the dreaded N-word during that freestylin' Shaq Rap Attack on Kobe Bryant.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the backstory: Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, presented Shaq with a special deputy badge in January 2006 after The Big Constable visited Maricopa County. The Big Flatfoot was then given a second badge when he was promoted to the rank of special-deputy colonel of his posse -- a volunteer organization of crime-fighting citizens -- after he and the Miami Heat won the NBA championship in 2006.

Said Arpaio: "I do believe in free speech, but I don't believe that in law enforcement to use this type of language is proper. We set an example, a moral, ethical example and I would like to think that basketball players and all athletes should be setting a positive attitude for our young people. He has some type of representation of this office. I just want my badges back. I don't want anybody to say that he has my badges and I condone this type of activity."

I guess Joe hadn't seen this old TNT interview before he deputized Shaq...

He must have also missed Shaq's "racially insensitive" comments on Yao Ming.

Of course, The Big Humorist explained to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that he was just funnin'. But Arpaio was forced to shenanigans...particularly since he had fired a cadet last April for using the N-word in the presence of other officers. "Is that an excuse? That you're joking? What's that got to do with it? You've still got to be held responsible for your actions. I can't have a double-standard. I can't fire one deputy for using a word and just let him get a pass when he's got my badges. You do the right thing, no matter who he is."

The right thing. Okay. I guess I can see that. Except I have a sneaking suspicion that, in the first place, Arpaio only deputized Shaq for the sake of publicity. And taking back the badges is also being done for publicity, and probably to "make a point" to his other deputies and deputy wannabes. But it seems a little hypocritical to me. I mean, Shaq filmed Kazaam and recorded Shaq-Fu [Da Return] long before he was awarded honorary cop powers in Maricopa County. If Arpaio disregarded those crimes against humanity, then surely he could have overlooked Shaq's silly little anti-Mamba rap.

Not everybody is ripping on the Big Improver for his extemporaneous limerick, though. Rappers Snoop Dogg, Nas and Cory Gunz have spoken up to let everybody know it's all cool. Snoop, who's a big Lakers fan, said: "I love it, because it only makes for a great game on the court. Both of them is rappers; they tried rapping before. They know ain't no rules when it comes to rapping. Shaq has all access and the right to do and say what he wants to say in fun, in the spirit of rap."

Nas sort of said the same thing in, uh, stronger terms. "I heard about it. Shaq is my man — f*** Kobe. Nas' wife Kelis, who was in the background talking to her friends, said "Big up to Shaq."

Gunz, who was celebrating his birthday with Shaq during the rap, said: "It's all in fun. People thought he was doing it just to take shots at Kobe. He's not even thinking about [Kobe] like that. As a matter of fact, it's no bitterness towards Kobe at all. It was all done in fun to get the crowd hype. That's what real MCs do: get the crowd involved."

There you have it. So all you cracker sheriffs out there can just calm the hell down. This is hip hop man, hip hop!

Fun fact: Arpaio got the moniker "America's Toughest Sheriff" because he banned smoking in the jail, feeds inmates bologna, makes non-English speakers learn English, runs chain gangs, and forces prisoners to wear pink underwear. To which I can't help but think: That makes him America's "toughest" sheriff? As far as I'm concerned, lunchmeat sandwiches and mildly feminine boxer shorts should be the least of an inmates worries. They should be eating broken glass and smashing rocks 28 hours a day. They're prisoners. I'm just sayin'.

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Shaqenfreude (shak'-uhn-froid'-uh) noun. The pleasure that one basketball player derives from pointing out and/or mocking the misfortune of another player or players. The target can be anyone, but in most cases, it is a bitter, long-time rival.

Usage example: Kareem's "An Open Letter to Wilt ChumperLame" was pure Shaqenfreude.

Word history: The term was coined by Eoin of Psychadelic Kimchi in response to the Big Scorner's recent freestyle Shaq Attack on former teammate and continuing antagonist Kobe Bryant. It is, of course, a parody of the term Shadenfreude, which is the enjoyment taken from another person's misfortune.

But don't think for a minute that The Big Creaky invented this phenomenon. Shaqenfreude isn't a new thing. Not by a long shot. For example, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- after a few decades worth of back-and-forth acrimony with Wilt Chamberlain -- included "An Open Letter To Wilt Chumperlame" in his 1989 self-titled autobiography. The rambling "correspondence" goes on for three long and bitter pages, and it includes lines like "Muhammad Ali, he set the record straight on your attributes, saying to me, 'Wilt can't talk, he's ugly and he can't move!' Which says it all. So when I dropped those fifty points on you at the Forum...I was just taking advantage of your weak defensive skills." and "People will remember that I worked with my teammates and helped us win. You will be remembered as a whining crybaby and a quitter, stats and all."

Classy stuff, huh?

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I wrote a playoff recap for Deadspin. It's basically a series of one-sentence summaries of all the zany shenanigans that took place from the first round through the Finals: From menacing hand gestures to payback hits on Zaza Pachulia to third-person self-referentiality to bitchslaps to improbable threes to crazy mom attacks...you name it, it's in there, with plenty of links to related stories, pictures and videos.

So don't just sit there: Go read it. It will make your mom love you again. I promise.

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Ah, that crazy Shaq. On Sunday night, the Big Geritol shoveled a huge scoop of dirt on the Lakers' playoff grave by taking a few not-even-remotely subtle shots at his favorite dart board: Kobe Bryant.

Shaq was freestyle rapping at a New York city club when he dropped some classic Hack-A-Mamba lines, including "Kobe couldn't do without me," "I'm a horse, Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting divorced," and the soon-to-be-really-famous "Kobe...tell me how my ass tastes" And for your viewing pleasure, here's the video (originally posted on the TMZ Web site):

Typically, Shaq is already downplaying the whole thing. As he told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith: "I was freestyling. That's all. It was all done in fun. Nothing serious whatsoever. That is what MC's do. They freestyle when called upon. I'm totally cool with Kobe. No issue at all."

Uh huh.

Look, I might be a quarter-aged cracker with no idea what the freestyle rapping world is all about, but I do know that many a truth is said in jest. And Shaq has perfected the art of playfully -- but seriously -- criticizing any and everybody he feels hasn't shown him the proper respect. And regardless of their supposed reconciliation, Kobe will forever headline the Big Revenger's list of top offenders.

So was he clowning? Yes. But does he honestly believe what he said? Probably also yes. And it's unfortunate that he has to have his fun by bringing all this stuff back up.

Kobe, for his part, has thus far remained silent. And I figure he'll stay silent until the next time the Lakers play the Suns, at which time he'll probably light Phoenix up for 40+ and ask Shaq how his ass tastes.

Update! As super pointed out, in busting on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during his freestylin', Shaq broke Ordinance 2257 of the Big Man Pecking Order Code: No big man under should talk about a big man above. Last time I checked, Kareem is the league's all-time leading scorer and has six MVPs and six titles. So, based on his own reasoning, Shaq should do to himself what he did to Greg Ostertag all those years ago.

Fun fact: The Shaq-Kobe feud has it's own Wikipedia page. Seriously.

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Calvin Murphy

Calvin Murphy (kal'-vin mur'fe) noun. Denotes those occasions when a player finishes with 14 points and either 9 rebounds or 9 assists.

Usage example: I had a Calvin Murphy in a church league game last night: 14 points and 9 boards.

Word history: The term was coined by Ryan of Loudvillain, who created it "in honor of Calvin Murphy, who is thought to have had 14 children with nine different women. Not to be confused with a 'Kemp Dozen.'" It has been officially inducted into the Basketbawful Hall of Statistical Anomalies, along with the one trillion, the Mario, and whatever else you wanna name...

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Proponents of Chronological Snobbery regularly (and loudly) make the case that today's NBA player is superior in every way to the NBA player of yesterday: Like the Six Million Dollar Man -- better, stronger, faster. And it is to those people I submit this picture of Glen "Big Baby Man Boob" Davis from the Celtic championship parade.

Big baby boobs

Now, here's what I want to know. Supposedly, Kevin Garnett's matchless intensity puts the whammy on his Celtic teammates, forcing them to emulate him in every way. If that is indeed the case, why wasn't it enough to make Davis put down the Twinkies? And why did Glen feel the need to take his shirt off? Going topless is kind of like wearing spandex: It's a privilege, not a right.

The list of Things Big Baby Should Not Do isn't limited to flashing his jiggly-wigglies to the people of Boston. It also includes giving the Larry O'Brien Trophy a champagne-and-tongue bath.

Baby lick

Yeah. "Gak" is exactly what I was thinking too. But hey, I guess I can kinda-sorta forgive him. I mean, you can'ta fake passion like this. However, it's usually better if you avoid having it caught on camera. And trust me, I speak from experience.

Baby love Trophy

Bionic bonus footage!! That random mention of the Six Million Dollar Man -- not to mention seeing Big Baby's beastly physique -- reminded me of the awesomest episode of any TV series ever: The one where Steve Austin fought Bigfoot. But before all you hippies start getting your panties in a bunch, don't worry. No actual Bigfoots were harmed in the making of this video. It was actually a robot Bigfoot created by space aliens to protect their secret mountain lair. And no, I'm not making that up. Bonus points if you can identify who played the Bigfoot.

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Maybe it's only because I check up on Boston sports regularly, but I've never seen more multi-sport promotional events than in the Boston area - specifically with the Red Sox. It doesn't really matter who's won what - or even IF they've won - if the Red Sox can come up with a cross-promotion marketing opportunity, they're gonna do it, and BIG. New England Patriots players have been to Fenway innumerable times, either to celebrate their own success, help celebrate the Red Sox success, or just have a little "embarrassment-of-Boston-sports-riches" sports theme...

Red Sox Baseball
Members of the New England Patriots visit Fenway two months ago to
commemorate...uhm...the most historic failure in NFL history?

So this past week it was the Boston Celtics' turn to have a Red Sox party, and the Red Sox didn't half-ass it - even THEY wore green. They also renamed the Green Monster the Really-Green-TD-Banknorth-Garden-Monster, and declared Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Josh Beckett "The-Other-Big-Three-Who-Don't-Deserve-To-Be-Called- The-Big-Three" for a day.

Paul Pierce declares himself "Safe!" at second. From tacky
promotions, however, Pierce declares self not safe whatsoever.

The Finals MVP also tossed out the first pitch with four Larry O'Brien Trophies standing in front of the mound. Notice the 'I'm street' cock-angled baseball cap. Wasn't it David Stern who implemented the strict dress code for NBA players? Well, you got one thing right, Commish.

Cardinals Red Sox Celtics Baseball
Moments later, Pierce tries to wrestle the glove from Red Sox second
baseman Dustin Pedroia and screaming "Can't you see I got game?!"

And finally, in honor of cross-sport bloopers, here's yet another messed up Yahoo sports page. Apparently, there are a lot of hockey players now playing in the NBA, as evidenced by Yahoo's "NBA Photo Gallery."


Here's to you Yahoo Sports - You can barely get things right during the season, so when the season's over, you really ease off the accuracy pedal. Oh, and here's a belated thanks for making me hasten out to a bar because I thought the Celtics-Pistons playoff game was a must-be-seen 32-32 tie with 6 minutes left in the third quarter (a near miraculously low-scoring game), when it was in fact 32-32 with 6 minutes left in the 2nd (a not quite so scramble-out-the-door-to-see-it amazing score). Yeah, I know I need to get cable TV so I can just turn on ESPN, but that doesn't make your sports pages suck any less.

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Lucky charms

You've probably already seen/read/heard about about how Kevin Garnett got down and kissed the Celtic logo after Boston clenched their 17th title by throttling the Lakers. But only Basketbawful reader AK Dave sent in a picture of it with the following message: "I think you can see what KG is doing to the Leprechaun. Apparently he's doing something right, judging by the wink-and-smile the 'receiver' is displaying."

Wow. I guess they really are always after his "lucky charms"...

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It's no secret that pro ballers have trouble keeping their Buster McThundersticks on safety and holstered. Just ask Calvin Murphy (14 children by nine different women), Shawn Kemp (one child fathered for every Twinkie eaten since 1999), and Karl Malone (impregnated a 13-year-old girl while he was a sophomore at Louisiana Tech). Heck, Magic Johnson contracted HIV while his wife Cookie was pregnant with their child (funny how that part got lost in the "Oh my God, Magic has AIDS!" national freakout).

Well, Japanese scientists may have solved the eternal can't-keep-it-in-his-pants problem. Sega -- the throbbing brains who tried to destroy the video game industry with abominations like the Sega Game Gear, Sega CD, Sega Saturn and Sega 32X -- have created a robot "girlfriend" that will make out with its owner on request. And no: I am not making this up. Seriously.

Sega's robo-whore is called the E.M.A., which is a cutsie acronym for Eternal Maiden Actualization. And if "Eternal Maiden Actualization" doesn't make you uncontrollably horny, then you'd better check on your penis. It may be gone.

E.M.A. runs on battery power and uses infrared sensors to sense nearby human heads. But instead of blasting them off with photon torpedos like any other self-respecting robot, she goes into what her designers call "love mode." Basically, this means she puckers up and leans up for a kiss. She even makes a realistic slurping sound when she does it! Awesome.

This is how Minako Sakanoue, a spokeswoman for Sega, described her company's new bionic prostitute: "Strong, tough and battle-ready are some of the words often associated with robots, but we wanted to break that stereotype and provide a robot that's sweet and interactive. She's very lovable and though she's not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend." In addition to tongue-wrestling, the E.M.A.'s other "real girlfriend" features include handing out business cards, singing, dancing and "walking like a lady." (So that's what the kids are calling it these days, eh?) No word yet on whether Sega plans to include a "Nag Mode" or provide blowjob attachments. We can only hope.

One potential problem: The E.M.A. is only 15 inches tall. Which is fine if you're into Microphilia, but it might make things a little uncomfortable when you bring your cyber-slut to Thanksgiving dinner. I mean, having to ask your parents to provide a high chair for your electronic girlfriend...that's just humiliating. (The up side: She doesn't eat and won't encourage your mom to tell embarrassing stories about your youth.)

Here's some video of the E.M.A. in "action."

The E.M.A. will go on sale in September for around $175, which I'm sure you'll agree is an absolute bargain for a concubine who always does what she's told, never talks back and fits in most shoe boxes.

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Stiff ones

What was the most impressive aspect of Boston's epic ass-kickery of the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals? It's not what you think. Or...is it? Said the Mamba: "I've seen some pretty stiff ones and this was right up there with them."

Um, no comment.

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Big Baby

Note: First, I'd like to thank Hersey for the photo of Big Baby posing with the Larry O'Brien Trophy. (Supahstah!!) Second, excuse me if this post is rambling and poorly written. I've been waiting 22 years for this. As a consequence: I can't brain today. I have the dumb.

The Los Angeles Lakers: Damn. I mean...damn. Game 6 was a massacre. It was a slaughter of epic, even Biblical proportions. And I'm talking real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years Forty-eight minutes of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...MASS HYSTERIA!

Okay. I think I've reached my quota of Waltonisms for the day.

But seriously, sitting -- and jumping, and dancing, and high-fiving -- through that carnage was the basketball-viewing equivalent of watching a kitten get skinned alive and dropped into a piranha tank. The Lakers lost by 39 points. I'm going to type that out again because I find it strangely erotic: L.A. lost by 39 freaking points. And yes, that is indeed an NBA Finals record for margin of victory in a championship clencher. The Celtics started the game intense, and that intensity seemed to grow and grow and kept on growing until the Laker spirit was broken like a little piece of something that is very breakable.

I have not witnessed a defeat so brutal -- so irrevocably and unquestionably final -- since this one time at Mardi Gras when an unnamed buddy dragged me back out to a bar at 4 a.m. so he could hook up with a skanky waitress who had clearly (to me at least) been flirting with him several hours previously for the express purpose of selling as many shots as possible. We found her crumpled against a wall and looking miserable. She had a tray with three shots left. My buddy went straight up to her and, with all the eagerness of a puppy humping a leg, asked when her shift ended. She said: "As soon as I sell these last three shots, I get to leave." He then asked what she was doing "later" (read that: can we have sex?). She groaned and replied: "I'm going home. I've been working for 12 hours straight. I'm so tired. And before I even came to work, my baby daddy grabbed me by the throat and slammed me against a wall. So it's been a long day." Then she kind of whimpered and added: "Please. I just wanna go home..."

My buddy pulled out a $20 bill and said: "I just want you to be happy." Then he wadded the cash into a ball, stuffed it back into his pocket, and walked away. That is pure and unfiltered superdickery, my friends. I think the poor girl would have burst into tears if she'd had any strength left. Either that or punk-slapped him. One or the other.

(For the record, he claims he does not remember doing this, and that he wouldn't have done it if he hadn't been almost-falling-down drunk. But he still laughs every time I retell the story, so I can't help but wonder...)

I have to admit: I had mixed feelings about the blowout. On the one hand, I loved it. I'm not going to pretend to be one of those fans who wants his team to win in thrilling, last-minute fashion. I like it when they secure the game early so I can wipe the sweat off my hands and just enjoy it. Plus, it eliminates any what-ifs. I mean, had the game been close, we might have had to listen all summer to Laker fans saying it could have gone either way.

On the other hand...it started to feel a little anti-climactic in the fourth quarter. Except for a spurt of aggression here or there, it felt like the Lakers were just playing out the clock. Or maybe it just felt that way. I don't know. It hasn't even been 24 hours and I feel like I'm losing a little perspective. So let me get into some individual insults...

Mark Jackson: This guy has been slobbing Kobe Bryant's knob since the playoffs started. Is he on the Lakers' payroll? Is he an official member of Mamba's posse? What's the deal? It reached the point where I made the conscious decision to smash my TV if I heard him call Kobe "the best player in the world" one more time. (Fortunately for me and my TV, I changed my mind.) During (I think) the second quarter last night, Jackson uttered the following brain-turd: "Paul Pierce realizes that Kobe Bryant is the better player, the best player in the world, but he says 'You know what, that doesn't mean I can't outplay him in a seven-game series.'" As Basketbawful reader Jin pointed out in an e-mail: "I'm not entirely sure, but doesn't outplaying someone in a seven-game series generally mean they aren't better than you, and that they aren't the best player in the world?" Generally, yes, that's exactly what it means.

Bottom line (and I've been saying this for years): Being the best scorer does not mean being the best player. Have we all finally learned this? Michael Jordan just so happened to be both the best scorer and the best player. Kobe is one but not the other. End of argument. (For now.) Speaking of Mamba...

Kobe Bryant: Kobe started out on fire in the first quarter -- 11 points, 4-for-5 shooting, a trio of triples -- just like in Game 5. And just like in Game 5, he cooled off in a big way. Actually, it was worse than a cooling off. It was a freaking Ice Age. Kobe scored 11 points and shot 3-for-15 over the final three quarters. He finished with 3 boards, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. And frankly, his performance didn't even feel that good. I haven't seen Mamba go down that meekly since that infamous Game 7 against the Suns in 2006.

Let it be known far and wide that, for this season at least, the Boston Celtics shut down Kobe Bryant. I mean, I honest-to-goodness stopped fearing him. Up until last night, I had been waiting for Kobe to have an Elgin Baylor game (so named for the time Elgin dropped 61 on the Celtics in the 1962 Finals). It didn't happen. And going into last night's game, I finally realized it wasn't going to happen. Not this year. Not against this team. Not against this defense.

Phil Jackson: The Lakers are young and, once Andrew Bynum gets back, they should be strong enough to contend for a title for the next three or four years (barring injury). So I guess he'll have another few cracks at surpassing Red Auerbach for most titles won by an NBA coach. But it didn't happen this year. Phil was outcoached by the combination of Doc Rivers (who knew exactly how to reach his players) and Tom Thibodeaux (whose defensive schemes, I'm convinced, could hold off an alien invasion). I love that this happened during the same season in which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The best part is, his little faux Zen mind tricks didn't work. And they just made him look like the big, slimy douche he's always been (it just looks better when you're winning). He openly questioned and mocked Paul Pierce after his Game 1 knee injury, which would be fine if he was simply a fan...but as an opposing coach, that was pretty low class. He whined about the officiating in Game 2. He made unsubstantiated claims that Kevin Garnett was talking trash to Kobe after the Celtic comeback in Game 4. And last night he looked simply disgusted with his team for most of the night. And yeah, maybe he had a right to be, but it's hard not to compare his "I can't believe my guys are shitting the bed" reaction to Doc Rivers' "Don't stop believing!" mantra when his team was down 24 in Game 4. Phil's behavior led to greater disintegration. Doc's led to the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history. 'Nuff said.

Pau Gasol: I have dubbed him the Spanish Marshmallow, but now I have to question that decision. I'm not sure he's even that tough. He is soft and week. I read somewhere this morning that he was "terrified" of the expectations put on him by the Lakers organization and fans. Well, I can believe it. Hey, maybe that Kwame Brown trade wasn't such a steal after all. (I'm kidding; it totally was.)

For the record, people should not lay this loss at the feet of Lamar Odom. Yes, he shot 2-for-8. But he went to the line 16 times and had a team-high 10 rebounds. I'm just sayin'...

The Lakers' rebounding: They got pounded on the boards 48-29 and had only 2 offensive rebounds (one each for Kobe and Sasha Voojychick) compared to 14 for the Celtics.

The Lakers' butterfingers: They turned the ball over 19 times. And 18 of those were Celtic steals, which constituted an NBA Finals record for a single game. The Lakers big guns (Kobe, Gasol, Odom) had 12 of those bumbles.

Certain Lakers fans: The Purple and Gold army didn't get to watch Game 6 on the big screen at the Staples Center because of what happened during a similar setup for Game 2: A Celtics jersey was attacked by a mob and struck with a chair. Ultimately, this was probably a good thing for them. But still...what a bunch of idiots. Who does that? Lakers fans, apparently. (And no, I'm not laying this tag on all L.A. fans.)

Certain Celtics fans: Hey guys. I'm happy for the Celtics, too. But don't desecrate Red's statue, mmmkay? There's a right way to celebrate and a wrong way. That's the wrong way.

Speaking of which, several idiots were arrested in Boston after the game for "tearing apart park benches, flipping over flower pots, trash barrels, and newspaper boxes, and trying to light fires with the garbage." What is it about winning that makes people start acting like rabies victims? Want to see some of the damned fools in action? Here you go:


Michelle Tafoya: She provided more proof -- as if we needed any -- that all sideline reporters (with the possible exception of Cheryl Miller) are inane and useless. Look, ABC (and anyone else who broadcasts live sporting events): If you want window dressing, just hire a Hooters girl and show her on air every 10 minutes or so. We don't need updates like "This is taking a lot longer than it should to wash out an eye." Nor do we want them. I didn't just arrive on this planet. I know it takes about two seconds to wash out an eye, okay?

Kevin Garnett: He's my boy and all, but post-game interview with Michelle was insane enough to earn him a lifetime's worth of Tommy Points. I'm not going to say anything else about it. Watch for yourself.

Update! Sam Cassell: Oops. I almost forgot Sam-I-Am. Last night he earned two things: A DNP-CD and an NBA title. His game of championship piggyback is now complete. (Thanks for the reminder, Rainbow Brite.)

Update! NBA.com: Basketbawful readers Austen and Mithat both noticed that NBA.com thought the Lakers won 92-131 last night. And Mithat even got me a screen capture...


Update! Brian Scalabrine: Best. Press conference. Ever. I never knew Brian had such a cutting wit. Or any wit at all. (Thanks, Danny.)

Update! Me: In today's NBA Closer column on Deadspin, I noted that Rajon Rondo had a great game in the face of the fact that everybody outside of the Boston locker room had given up on him. I had also said, more than once, that he should have been benched in favor of Eddie House or even The Human Gun (aka Sam Cassell). The Lakers has so disregarded his offense that Rondo looked afraid to shoot, especially in L.A. To his credit, he came out aggressive last night. And even though he wasn't hitting early, he kept jacking it up and finished with 21 points on a team-high 20 shots. Moreover, his aggressiveness spilled over onto the defensive end, where he had a game-high 6 steals (the entire Laker team, by contrast, had a total of 4 steals). My point: Doc knew what he was doing in sticking by the kid...and I was wrong.

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Green Party


Stuart Scott asks D. Wade what advice he has for Kobe Bryant. Wade says Kobe needs to distribute the ball and get his teammates involved (I’m half expecting him to say “Hope for a ton of phantom foul calls in your favor.” He doesn’t.)

I have a foreboding feeling about Game 6. Perkins won't be at full strength (but at least he'll play – frankly, I'd question his toughness if he didn't), and Ray Allen stayed back in L.A. for an extra day because of a sick kid. Oh yeah, and the Celtics plane was delayed 5 hours due to "mechanical problems" in L.A. Yeah, right. That Laker plane took off on time (maybe air traffic control in Boston should have made the yellow and purple circle Boston airspace for 5 hours).

Wilbon, Barry, Wade all calling for a Celtics victory...hate when my team gets a unanimous vote. Bad omen. Last unanimous commentator vote: Patriots to win the Superbowl, and by a landslide. Yeah, right.

Team introductions. Why do the Lakers get kick ass opening music? Why do they get any music at all? Shouldn't they at least get Star Wars "Evil Empire" music? (Note from Basketbawful: That's called The Imperial March, ET.)

Rondo is in the starting lineup...chills. Please play better at home, Rajon.

Bill Russell, Cedric Maxwell, Jo Jo White, M.L. Carr in the stands – which of these things is not like the others? I’ll give you one guess, M.L. Still, this is a far better brand of "stadium celebrity" than we saw in L.A.

1st Quarter

11:46, 1st – Phantom foul on Perkins. Stern wants 7 games?

11:00, 1st – Pierce blocking foul. Mediocre call. Or maybe these are just the officials' 1st quarter "we're gonna show the world there isn't home cooking" calls. Or maybe these are the "we're gonna keep this from being a 'physical home court' game" calls.

10:13, 1st – Rondo passes up another drive for an Allen 3.

9:00, 1st – Kobe hits second three. Yikes. Could be a long night.

Van Gundy mentions a broken windshield on the Celtics' family plane causing another delay. Apparently, airport employee Laker fans wanted the Celtic families to be tired for game 6 as well.

"Defense" chant for the Celts every time. Feels like a more "into it" crowd than in LA.

5:25, 1st – Kobe's third three. He'll cool off.

Bill Belichick and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler in the stands. Not quite Russell and Hondo, but still a better brand of celeb (Tyler's cool offsets Belicick's nerdiness).

Replay of Ray Allen's lay up shows Odom slapped him in the face - hard. No foul called. Officiating work continues it's sensational record of blindness.

Celtics' shooting has sucked, but it's tied at 14. Good sign for Celtics fans.

3:30, 1st – Walton hits 2 free throws. Wondering if Larry Bird's "Good Luck" phone call to Luke has added some sort of cosmic curse to the Green.

2:30, 1st – Rondo with third steal. Looking to prove detractors wrong.

1:38, 1st – Rondo alley oop to KG. 22-18 Celtics. You can almost hear Rondo saying "See? I do other stuff too!" Yes, but only at home, apparently.

:20, 1st – Kobe forces a three from five feet behind the three-point line. His opening flurry has ended. I expect him to force shots from this point forward.

2nd Quarter

10:35, 2nd – House hits a jumper. He's shooting the ball before he even gets it, this guy.

9:57, 2nd – Doc gets a technical for complaining. Joey Crawford calls it. There’s an official who conjures memories, eh Tim Duncan?

8:12, 2nd – Allen still in the locker room tending to an eye injury on a play that was not called a foul. I forgot he was gone. If the Celtics lose, I'll remember.

6:27, 2nd – Posey and House with rat-tat-tat threes. Celtics by 9. Feels good, but not good enough. No leads, not any of them, feel safe.

6:05, 2nd – Eye doctor into the locker room, Michele Tafoya says this is "taking a lot longer than it should to wash out an eye." On cue, Ray appears from the locker room. He probably realized he needed to stay out for much longer than Pierce did in Game 1 so nobody would make fun of him for having a "fake" injury.

5:25, 2nd – Kobe implodes, practically giving the ball to Pierce, who passes to Posey for a three. Celtics by 14. Don't get lazy, I think. Eliminate now. Don't let this go to game 7.

4:44, 2nd – Allen returns. Crowd goes nuts...well, cheers at least.

4:27, 2nd – Gasol hooks over Davis. Why are you still using him on Gasol, Doc?

3:48, 2nd – Radmanovic over Pierce, and called for over the back. Ticky-tick call – Rad got a little Ginobili’d by Pierce there.

2:38, 2nd – Rondo's fourth steal. Showing what he can contribute…

1:15, 2nd – Rondo sinks a little finger roll to make it an 18-point lead.

:47, 2nd – KG with the highlight of the game so far, knocking home a bank shot while being fouled by Odom. Follows it with a huge block.


Celtics 58-35. Pierce tells Michele Tafoya "We want it too bad to let up on the gas." Amen. Don't let up, Paul. Twenty point leads don't mean a lot in this series (though if the Celts D keeps it up, the lead will mean plenty. This lead, for some reason, feels safer than the Laker leads did. Home court advantage and the defense gives warm fuzzies about this lead.)

Lakers with ZERO offensive rebounds. No team wins that way. KG 8 for 12, getting in the paint as instructed. 2nd quarter shooting: Celtics: 56%, Lakers 23%. Kobe has taken 7 threes...keep taking those all day Kobe. Feels like the last live blog of the season. I hate that feeling, cause I don't trust my feelings. Big believer in the jinxing of one's self and one's team – even though it's a ridiculous belief. Or is it?

Stuart Scott and D Wade have already coronated the Celtics as the Champs. Hate that kind of certainty because that kind of certainty is not reality. Ever. Not with one half of basketball left to play.

3rd Quarter

11:30, 3rd – Rondo opens with a jumper. Like that as a start.

Breen reminds of the near historic collapse of the Celtics in Game 2 (24-point lead in the 4th to 2!). Seems like forever ago, but it brings home how NO lead is safe for either team.

9:52, 3rd – Fisher hits lay up with a three-point opportunity. Celts by 24. Must keep the foot on the gas. Any life will give the Lakers confidence.

9:10, 3rd – Pierce left handed drive makes it 67-41. There is a sense that there's no way he will let this game get away.

7:32, 3rd – Rondo Steal leads to an Allen corner three attempt. Ray stands there for a good two seconds waiting for Vujacic to play defense. Sinks three. Boston 73, LA 46.

Shot of John Havlicek watching the game. Mark Jackson: "Hondo lovin' what Rondo's doing." Dammit, I thought of that first, but Mark has a microphone.

Shot of Red Auerbach II – I mean Danny Ainge. He looks concerned despite the 77-48 score. He's played the Lakers before. He knows.

5:09, 3rd – KG earns a jump ball with a nasty five-finger ball smother chicken on Gasol.

4:38, 3rd – Rondo tips home a KG miss. The man is playing possessed.

4:03, 3rd – Pierce steal (the 13th Celts steal of the game!) leads to free throws. Celts 84, LA 53. Still doesn't feel safe, not with all the leads that have been lost in this series.

2:31, 3rd – Rondo picks Kobe's pocket (his 6th steal of the game). He is making the most solid case ever that he should start – in the Garden anyway.

1:47, 3rd – Celtics seem to be relaxing a bit. Hope it's an illusion.

1:00, 3rd – Lead down to 25. Back to 29 at the end of the third. So in theory, you could not even count the Celtics scoring in the fourth and they could still win. Things that go through a Celtics fan's mind at this point? They almost botched a 24-point lead in Game 2. It's not over.

4th Quarter

11:00, 4th – Missed free throw rebound (three Celtics miss it) goes to Vujacic, V hits a three. Lead down to 26. Here we go.

10:44, 4th – Farmar called for a flagrant on Rondo breakaway. Feels like he got a little Ginobili’d there for a flagrant. God, I like that term.

10:06, 4th – Ray Allen answers a Farmar three with his own. Again stands there all day for a perfect look. Vujacic defense shows up three days later.

9:07, 4th – Another Ray Allen three. Celtics 101-70. OK, feels like it's over. Hate writing those words. Never feel like there are certainties. Also, I think "If I feel it's over, will the Celtics feel it's over as well and stop playing hard?"

Stats show Rondo with 21 points (plus his 6 assists and 6 steals). In my head, I officially apologize to him.

8:39, 4th – Ray Allen with another three. Lead is 34. I am reminded of Kobe's flurry of opening quarter threes he has had in the last few games, and it makes me think of the critical difference between opening "flurries" and the consistent diet of sharpshooting that Allen provides.

5:19, 4th – Ray Allen hits his 7th three. Ray Allen, meet jugular vein. Jugular vein, meet Ray Allen. Guess that eye injury has healed nicely.

In Doc's O'Brien trophy photo shoot, he chose not to touch it. Says he wants to earn it, and only then wants to be able to "touch it as often I want." Insert dirty joke here.

Crowd singing "goodbye" song with 4:30 remaining? Now that's a blowout for you.

4:01, 4th – Allen, Pierce, Garnett taken out of the game. Hugs and kisses on the Celtics' bench.

2:33, 4th - Posey three makes it 123-85. Random thought: For those who like to compare Kobe to MJ, has a Jordan team ever been beaten this soundly in a Finals game, much less any playoff game? Don't have an answer, but I'm curious.

2:07, 4th – 39-point lead. Waiting for that inevitable Lakers run. That's just how fans think. OK, just kidding – I know it's over.

:48, 4th – Vujacic holds his nose after a three. Still looking for that flagrant, even down 40.

Doc gets Gatoraded. Never seen that on a basketball court before. Kinda hoping that doesn’t become a trend – you know how hard it is to clean Gatorade off hardwood? Neither do I. But who wants to find out?

Random celebration observations:

After an odd screaming fit, Garnett has some nice moments with Bill Russell. Random phrases I hear out of KG: "Hope I made you proud...Thanks for everything...You have to tell me where to go tonight [to celebrate]."

During the ceremony, when Stern says "Somewhere Red is lighting a cigar," Wyc Grousbeck, managing partner of the Celts, takes a cigar out of his lapel pocket...as Stern goes on another tangent, Wyc (what kind of name is that anyway?) puts the cigar away with a darn-it-I-can't-make-that-cutsie-comment-I-had-ready look on his face.

Stern booed as he presents MVP award. Rightfully so.

MVP to Paul Pierce. Rightfully so.

Ainge gets head rubs from Pierce and Garnett. Something tells me people will treat Danny like a grade school kid until he's 60.

Do I see Glen "Big Baby" Davis holding Pierce's Finals MVP award during the on-court photo? I imagine he's thinking "only time I'm gonna get my hands on one of these."

Phil Jackson calls "Powe" POW again in the postgame. George Bush Sr. used to intentionally mispronounce Saddam's name as a sign of disrespect. I wonder if Phil's doing it intentionally as well.

Scott Pollard looks awfully out of place dancing and singing in the locker room. I didn’t even know he was on the team.

KG postgame comments – "Except for my kid being born, this is the best day of my life..." waiting for him to hug Apollo Creed and follow with "Yo Adrian, I DID IT!" Refuses to accept Big Three as an appropriate term – makes me like him even more.

Congratulations to the World Champion 2008 Boston Celtics. It was fun to watch.

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Ginobili (gi-nob'-blee) verb. 1. To flop in response to minimal (or perhaps fictitious) contact in order to draw a foul. 2. To greatly overreact to little or no physical stimuli for personal gain.

Usage example: The guy I was guarding just toppled over and started writhing around. I barely touched him, but he got the foul call and his team won the game. I totally got Ginobili'd.

Word history: This word, inspired by Reebok's You got Rondo'd viral video campaign, is destined to become the standard term for describing athletes who needlessly dive, flail, flop, tumble, and/or thrash about for a foul call (and extrapolates to refer to any person who overreacts to minimal physical contact for personal gain). Sure, there are plenty of players who behave this way, but Manu is by far our favorite. Manu, you may not have won the title this year, but you'll always be first our heart -- our cynical, sarcastic heart, that is.

And now...prepare to be Ginobili'd (thanks to the great Basketbawful for his acting performance that, in my opinion, rivals even the standard-bearing Manu himself):

Phonetastic extra: Ever wonder how to pronounce Araujo, Garbajosa, Jasikevicius, Tsakalidis, or Vinicius? Then go check out The International NBA Players Pronunciation Guide.

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Last August, I did an interview with Basil Anastassiou, co-creator of an upcoming documentary called "Ballin' At The Graveyard: A story about life and pickup basketball at one American park." The documentary is still in the editing phase, but several preview clips are available at the official Web site.

The latest clip describes how race plays out at the Graveyard. Which, as Basil put it in an e-mail to me, can be described thusly: "The State of America in 2008: A Black man may finally become President, but white guys (like me) still have to fight for their rights on the court (No justice, No peace!)." Here's the clip.

These sentiments basically mirror what Dennis Rodman said in his 1997 autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be: "When you talk about race in basketball, the whole thing is simple: A black player knows he can go out on the court and kick a white player's ass." It just so happens I'm a white guy who's played a lot of pickup ball over the years. And yeah, that seems to be the prevailing attitude, from north to south, from coast to coast. [SHOCK ALERT!!] Black men see basketball as a black man's game. What's more, white men see it that way, too.

For instance, my pickup league is predominantly white (although we do have some black and Asian players). Every so often, a new black player will show up, and you can see a lot of the white guys immediately getting nervous. Not because they're afraid of them as a threat to their personal safety. It's because they automatically assume that the black player -- any black player -- is better than them, is going to dominate them, is going to upset the fragile balance of talent in the league...in short, that he is going to embarrass them.

Here's a true story involving Evil Ted. One week when our normal pickup league was on a break, we returned to another league we had frequented back in the day. This league was high on physical play but rather low on talent, so ET was anticipating a big night (read that: he was ready to score at will while resting liberally on defense). Right before play started, a couple athletic-looking black men showed up. ET groaned and said: "Great. And here I thought it was going to be an easy night."

The funny thing is, turns out neither of them were very good. They were aggressive and talked a lot of trash -- which intimidated some of the other players -- but they couldn't shoot and seemed disinclined to play defense. (Like I always say, in pickup ball defense is just waiting to get back on offense.) In short, they were on par with just about everybody else there, except that their skin was a little darker.

Still, ET expected them to be good. Better than good, actually. He expected them to shoot lights out and dunk. (Yes, many white guys naturally assume that all black men can dunk, despite a great deal of anecdotal evidence to the contrary.) He expected them to dominate. And you could tell they kind of expected it to.

I run into this all the time. Fortunately for me, I happen to be a white boy who can play (although, much like Larry Bird, I couldn't jump over two sheets of paper). My buddy Statbuster (who, as it happens, is black) has often referred to me as "a 6'3" Dirk Nowitzki," but personally I model myself after Matt Harpring (just being realistic here). Anyway, a few months back I was idly shooting around at my gym when a black teen, probably a senior in high school or maybe a freshman in college, showed up with his girlfriend. As they approached, I heard him kind of chuckle and say to her, "Watch me school this white guy."

I won't bore you with the details, but it didn't happen. Mostly because I play brutal defense (which is rare in pickup ball and even more rare in one-on-one) and because I was bigger, stronger and much more experienced than he was. After he lost the first game 11-2, he immediately challenged me to a rematch, promising "I'm gonna play you this time." (And it's true; he had played rather lackadaisically.) I won the next game 11-4 and now he was becoming visibly frustrated. After I beat him 11-2 again in the third game -- during which he was totally winded -- he just stared at me for few seconds and said, "Damn. You can really play!"

And while he didn't say it, I knew what he meant: He had assumed I couldn't. Because I was white.

Just like the players at the Graveyard like bustin' white guys, I like bustin' black guys. And as with them, it's more a matter of pride than anything else. That's the nature of the game: Someone is trying to take something from you, and you're trying to take something from them. But the sport of basketball is like an onion. There are many layers to it, games within the game. Not every victory -- nor every loss -- is created equal. We weigh or opponents based on size, strength, skill level, experience, and a million other variable that, yes, include race. And based on those unspoken (and maybe only semi-conscious) measurements, we are better able to measure ourselves and judge our approximate worth. Which is just one small part of how we understand the world around us and our place in it.

I'm not an anthropologist, and I don't have a degree in any social sciences, so I'm not trying to make some grand or profound statement on race and basketball. Just thinking in print.

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Pau Gasol may look like a mildly retarded hillbilly who should be featured in a deleted scene from Deliverance, but these NBA Finals have taught us that everybody loves themselves a little Spanish Marshmallow. To wit: Here are Pau and James Posey reenacting their favorite scene from Big Black Men, Broken White Boys Part 37. (Please note that both actors were at least 18 years of age at the time of filming. As far as you know. And no farm animals were harmed during production. Also as far as you know.)

Pau and Posey

In a later scene from that same movie, Pau recieves an "unhappy ending" from Paul Pierce, who was apparently wearing a latex glove coated in barbed wire, thumb tacks and little biting piranhas. And that can't feel good.

Pau and Paul

Then, in the film's gripping climax, Pau finds comfort where it had been waiting for him -- warm and wet -- all along: In the arms of his superstar teammate. Does Kobe finally "pass" Pau "the ball"? You'll have to watch and find out for yourself.

Pau and Kobe

And since no porn DVD is complete without bonus footage, here's a little mantastic extra between Dick Bavetta -- who has a history with hunky basketballers -- and Sasha Vujacic. Don't worry, Sasha. He may be old, but he's experienced. (Blllaaarrgghfff! Okay. I'm better now. Bllooooaaaarrrgghff! Okay. I guess I wasn't.)

Dick and Sasha

Today's man love casserole was served up fresh and hot by Basketbawful readers charles and karl.

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Kobe and kids

Note: Do little girls want to be dragged away from their My Little Pony playsets to be put on display at the NBA Finals? Based on this picture, the answer is "very no."

The Celtics in the first quarter: It was like a psychedelic flashback to Game 4, only without the singing pixies and dancing fruit (or was that just me?). Boston started the game out-of-synch both offensively and defensively (and that's putting it kindly). Kevin Garnett got in early foul trouble and had to sit. Kobe went kill-crazy (four three-pointers and 15 first-quarter points). Next thing you know, the Celtics were down by 19 points. The quarter ended Los Angeles 39, Boston 22.

Frankly, I place most of the blame on Doc Rivers. The Celtics optimum lineup right now is KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, James Posey and Eddie House. It's as clear as the nose on Michelle Kwan's face. (By the way, what was up with that potato sack she was wearing last night? You've got a figure skater's body, Michelle. Show it off.) But instead of succumbing to common sense -- like even the dumbest fantasy sports manager would have done -- and using what worked to perfection in Game 4, Doc started Rajon Rondo at the point and Leon Ka-Powe(for the injured Kendrick Perkins) at center.

It was a stupid move that had catastrophic results. By starting Rondo and Powe (who was quickly replaced by P.J. Brown), Doc played right into the Lakers hands. And those hands went straight around the Celtics' collective throat and started choking a bitch.

Like most coaches, Doc wants to stand by the guys who got him to the Finals. Which is fine...when it's working. When it's not, it's like watching somebody with a head wound try to read random words out of a medical text. In other words: Painful. And while a applaud Doc's loyalty, facts are facts: Rajon Rondo is killing the Celtics right now. The Lakers don't have to defend him, and Rondo knows it. He's completely lost confidence in his offensive game. In the first quarter, he drove to the hoop, had an uncontested layup, and then passed back out for a semi-contested three-ball. It was bad. Like, "it hurts when I pee" bad.

When Rondo's on the floor, he's "defended" by Kobe Bryant, who gets to roam around, double-team at will, and gamble for steals (and Mamba had 5 of them last night). And that disrupts everything Boston is trying to do on offense. End the charade, Doc. Bench Rondo. It has to happen. Maybe he'll spend the summer developing a laser-accurate jump shot. Which will be great...for next season. Right now, Rondo like a human bitchslap to his own team.

The Lakers in the second quarter: They had everything in their favor -- momentum, a huge lead, Jack Nicholson's man-boobs -- but it didn't matter. Let it be known that these Lakers are good enough to build a huge lead and then lose it lickety-split. Boston outscored L.A. 30-16 in the second stanza, with Paul Pierce (18 points on a jillion freethrows) playing the part of the One Man Gang. Pierce is good -- maybe better than any of us thought -- but the Lakers made him look positively legendary by playing matador defense, 7-11 defense, and every other kind of bad defense they could think of. And then they had a game on their hands.

Rajon Rondo: Shades of Sherman Douglas. (Yes, I said it.) Rondo played 14 and a half minutes last night, which is about 14 more minutes than he should have gotten. He bricked six of his seven field goal attempts, had two shots blocked, missed a freethrow, passed up an uncontested layup, and prevented his teammates from getting open looks because the Lakers can completely ignore his "offense." But the most crap-tastic sequence of Rondo's night happened in a 30-second span of the third quarter. First, he missed an open four-footer. Then he fouled Fisher on a jump shot, giving up an "unconventional three-point play" (as Mark Jackson put it). After that, he jumped in the air and threw the ball right to the Lakers, who ran it down court and turned it into a three-pointer by Vlaidimir Radmanovic. Disastrous is putting it lightly.

Kevin Garnett: KG had a double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds). He also grabbed 7 huge offensive boards. But he hurt the Celtic cause by getting into foul trouble in the first half. Sure, one of the fouls was of the ticky-tac variety, and there was no contact whatsoever on another. But he earned his third by foolishly slapping at a Pau Gasol shot. As much as I hate to agree with Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy at this point, KG shouldn't have tried to make that play under those circumstances.

Garnett also bonked two crucial freethrows when Boston was trailing 95-93 with 2:31 on the clock, and then he missed a kinda-sorta easy tip-in with 26 seconds left and the Celtics down four. Hey, if I can say Kobe didn't come through in Game 4 -- and he didn't -- then I have to call out KG for not coming through in Game 5. But I'll say this for Garnett; he didn't give any excuses or blame teammates. His personal assessment of his performance was spot-on: "It was trash. I played like garbage tonight. I can do better and I will." Let's hope the second half of that quote turns out to be as true as the first half.

Kobe Bryant, quarters two through four: After his fire-and-lightning first quarter -- 15 points, 5-for-8 shooting -- I figured Mamba was on his way to a 40-point night. But from that point forward, Kobe scored 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting and committed a game-high 6 turnovers. Still, with 41 seconds left and his team up by only two points, Kobe made the play of the game, knocking the ball away from Paul Pierce and then receiving a length-of-the-court pass from Lamar Odom for a gamebreaking dunk.

That said, it was was a dangerous, gambling play. And let's face it: There was a lot of arm and body on that "steal." Had he been anybody but Kobe Bryant, there probably would have been a whistle. And had he not "tipped the ball," Pierce would have been in great position to score or dish to an open teammate. So yeah, it worked and everything...but it was a bad play.

Pau Gasol: The Spanish Marshmallow had a fantastic game: 19 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, zero turnovers and a couple blocked shots. (And I'm telling you, it felt like he had three times that many rebounds.) But I have to say this: I am sick and bloody tired of Pau screaming and flailing after every shot he takes inside. At one point in the third or fourth quarter, KG slapped Pau's hand on a layup attempt, after which Pau wailed and flopped to the floor. Manu Ginobili would have been proud, but I just threw up a little.

The shooting of Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic: The two guards combined to miss 15 of 20 shots, which isn't exactly the kind of marksmanship that's going to spread the Boston defense and give Kobe room to work.

The incompetence of Luke Walton: As Basketbawful reader Jimmy pointed out, he had more fouls (5) than points (2) passed up on an easy alley-oop to Kobe in order to take a stop-and-popper. A couple of those fouls were committed at halfcourt. I can see that happening once, but twice?!

Ronny Turiaf and Trevor Ariza: They combined for 1 turnover and 2 fouls in just over two minutes of lack-tion.

Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson: Did the Lakers play great? No. Did they almost blow another game in which they jumped out to a ginormous lead? Yes. But this is the Finals, and whether you win by 1 or 100, it's still a W. But that didn't keep coach and mini-coach from freaking out on the Lakers after they had all but wrapped the game up. Said Van Gundy: "If you're the Lakers and want to win it all, you're disappointed in this game. Added Jackson: "You've got to close out games better. You're fortunate to go back to Boston." I guess they ran out of ways to fluff each other up.

Phil Jackson, quote machine: He's always good for a zinger or two. This time, it was aimed at his own team. Although, with him, I guess you never know whether it's supposed to zing or not. Anyway, regarding his team's chances of going on to win two straight in Boston, Phil said: "We're young enough and dumb enough to be able to do this." Young and dumb? Yes. Enough so to be able to break through twice in Boston? TBD.

The 2-3-2 format: As I pointed out last week, this format was instituted for the express purpose of increasing the chances that the Finals would last at least six games. Which is what happened. Because let's be honest: The Lakers would not have won this game in Boston. Somewhere out there, David Stern is being forced to deal with a 10-hour erection.

Larry Bird: As Evil Ted pointed out, it was mentioned on air last night that Larry Legend called Luke Walton to wish him luck in the Finals. Uh, Larry, I hate to point this out to you...but Luke Walton is a Laker. Larry wishing a Laker good luck is like Captain America giving Hitler advice on how to cook people. How far has Larry fallen when he's wishing Lakers players good luck? Don't bother answering that, I'll go ahead and tell you: Very, very far.

Doug Christie: The best thing to come out of the latest chapter of the Tim Donaghy scandal has to be Doug Christie crying about it on his blog (" am devastated to the point of feeling physically sick!"). Here's (to me) the money paragraph: "It's hard enough that you are facing the defending champs, hall of fame players and coaches, but you are also playing 5 on 8 (come on!). This is really disheartening. You work hard, play hard and it's all bull. But, it's what you see and the consumer believes it. Whoever 'they' say are the 'champs' are the 'champs' (deserving or not). 'They' are controlling the whole thing. What really makes me mad in the turn of events since then is the fact that these events have turned into what I consider a black balling of myself in the NBA!!" Huh. And here I thought his wife was the one who was black-balling him. Or maybe she's just blue-balling him...

And here's some bonus Christie, regarding why he's, you know, not playing. "Last season ('07/'08), I go in the gym with the Sonics and Trail Blazers (not to mention the GMs that I spoke to personally) and outplayed 90% of their guys. The only thing my agent told me they were interested in was my relationship with my wife, what happened before, or why did I leave the Clippers??? Truth be told, my family and I were dealing with the same old lies and workers starting trouble with us. I'm not willing to deal with that! I just want to go and play the game that I love. So, that makes me weird, huh?!? Maybe if I was fighting with my wife and flirting with people, I would still be playing or at least going out on my own terms!" I have no comment.

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