Dirk shows us a summary of the Mavericks' playoff appearance via interpretive

In a hurry today, guys. Gotta keep it short (like a Bobcats playoff appearance).

Need a bawful gift for a kid? Today only on kids.woot.com, you can pick one or more of these bad boys for cheap (like $10 cheaper than the nba.com store).
If only they were a little taller, you could recreate Shaq's body type on the Crabs Potato Head

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

Chin up, Brandon Roy! At least you weren't there for the five other consecutive first round losses.

Rowdy Roddy Piper says you're doing it wrong:

All The Friday Games:
Hawks at Bucks - ESPN, 7:00pm
Bucks lead series 3-2

Bad news, Bango. The old Sonics mascot already outdid your puny 16' ladder backflip dunk with a 20' ladder backflip dunk!

However, some good news if you're a Bucks fan. (And horrible news if you're a fan of fair, competitive basketball). Bill Simmons tweets: "Best sign if you're a Bucks fan: Bennett Salvatore is tonight's crew chief. An all-time "get swept up by the home crowd" ref."

Lakers at Thunder - ESPN, 9:30pm
Lakers lead series 3-2

An elimination game for the Thunder could be interesting. Only three of their players have ever been in the playoffs before this season. Seriously, I am looking forward to this one. Hopefully the Thunder don't get cockblocked by Luke Walton.

Nuggets at Jazz - ESPN2, 10:00pm
Jazz lead series 3-2

Okay, Denver did look pretty good the other night. However, Nene is out with a hyperextended knee. Also, Jerry Sloan has coaching experience dating back to the days of showing Grog and his caveman buddies how to throw a rock inside the hole in the cave wall. That has to be an advantage.

* * *

All The Saturday Games:
Celtics at Crabs - TNT, 8:00pm
Series tied 0-0

I am greatly enjoying following LeBron's Elbow on Twitter. However, I keep waiting for him to link to this:

* * *

All The Sunday Games:
Bucks at Hawks - ABC, 1:00pm
Series tied 3-3

Jazz at Lakers - ABC, 3:30pm
Series tied 0-0

Labels: , , ,

dirk whhhyyyyyyyy

The Dallas Mavericks: Another year, another crushing first round exit for the Mavericks...a team that some people were predicting would make the NBA Finals. And in the process, Dallas became the first number two seed to be beaten by a number seven seed since the NBA went to a seven-game series format for the first round.

What a kick in the balls for Mavs fans. On the one hand, the team has won at least 50 games for the past 10 years. On the other, they've been whupped in the first round in three of the last four seasons. That includes early exits as both the first and (now) second seed.

What can I say? Fail is in this team's DNA.

Of course, it's worth noting that Dallas went down fighting. After scoring a franchise playoff low 8 points in the first quarter -- yes, you read that correctly -- and falling behind by as many as 22 points in the first half, the Mavericks went on a furious run and actually took a one-point lead in the third quarter. But it's hard to maintain that kind of back-from-the-dead momentum, especially after falling into a hole that deep...

...and of course they couldn't.

Said Tim Duncan: "I think we took a lot of their energy, a lot of their effort getting back into it after being so far down. Hopefully we used that against them and closed the game out."

And now all Dallas can do is wait until next season...and hope Dirk Nowitzki doesn't decide to opt out of his contract.

Said Dirk: "Going into the playoffs as a No. 2 seed, it is all we could have wanted. We just happened to see a tough No. 7 seed that got rolling at the right time. ... I haven't really thought about my future. I guess I have some time now to think about my future and think about my options."


Added Jason Terry (2 points, 1-for-7): "To me, it's a failure, you don't win a championship, I mean we failed. That was our goal. Life's not over, you work hard on your game individually and come back next year hoping we can do it again. As of right now, it's a failure."

Countered Brendan Haywood (2 points and 3 fouls in 21 minutes): "The only reason (the Spurs) were the 7 seed is because they've been hurt all year. This could have been the Western Conference finals. The teams are that good. This isn't like a monumental upset or anything. You all are talking like this is the NCAA tournament and the 15 seed just beat the 2."

Whatever makes you feel better, Brendan.

Did you know: The Mavericks have the second-highest payroll in the league?

Mark Cuban, cryptic quote machine: "I'm not proud of the NBA. I'm not proud of my inability over the last 10 years to have an impact like I want to have. So I kind of feel like I owe fans an apology. But that's just the way this business goes."

Cuban then "declined to elaborate." Probably because David Stern won't let anybody talk about officiating anymore.

Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion: I already paid tribute to the crappy performances by Terry and Haywood. Now how 'bout Kidd, who played a game-high 43 minutes but finished with only 3 points on 1-for-6 shooting and had nearly as many fouls (5) as assists (6). How did the Spurs shut down Kidd's offense in this series? By guarding his jumpers. That's it. That was the secret.

As for The Matrix, his 6/4/0 performance was a solid reminder why the Suns didn't want to give him a max contract a couple years back. And Dallas signed him through 2013-14!! Is that better or worse than the fact that they're paying Ericka Dampier (zero points and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes) more than $13 million next season? I'll let you decide.

Reggie Miller, quote machine: Basketbawful reader Greg with another awesome Reggie-ism: "The Spurs have one of the best coaches in George Popovich." A couple lesser Reggie-isms from last night that I jotted down: "A grown man professional," "the early on stages," and "the jubilee of Tim Duncan." I know, the last one is kinda-sorta okay, but it sounds pretty fruity, doesn't it?

The Portland Trail Blazers: There sure is plenty of blame to spread around in this one. LaMarcus Aldridge blocked some shots (5) and worked the boards (9), but he forgot which way the rim was (5-for-17). Ditto for Andre Miller (2-for-10) and Brandon Roy (4-for-16, 1-for-8). And remember: After the Frail Blazers lost Game 5 in Phoenix, Roy blamed his sour performance on his role as a reserve. Well, things didn't really improve when he was promoted back to the starting lineup.

Said Roy: "I was happy I was able to play. I wasn't able to play as well as I liked. I didn't have quite the bounce that I needed but at least I can go into the summertime knowing that I'm healthy and I finished the season out with my guys."

I should also point out that Marcus Camby -- fresh off his big extension!! -- finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds, zero blocked shots and a game-worst plus-minus score of -18 in 21 minutes. The team's former starting center -- Zombie Juwan Howard -- had a single rebound and 2 fouls in 16 minutes.

I'd also like to point a finger at the man defending Jason Richardson (28 points, 10-for-16 from the field, 5-for-8 from downtown), but I'm not sure anybody was. And did I mention Portland was outrebounded 40-35, with the ancient Grant Hill grabbing a game-high 12 boards? Speaking of which, Hill advanced past the first round for the first time in his 14-year career...so yay for him.

The end result was the Blazers' sixth straight first round playoff exit...the longest active streak in the NBA.

Said Portland coach Nate McMillan: "Seemed like every time we were able to get close we'd make a mistake. Whether it was a turnover or a bad possession, they make you pay. Nash has had that MVP-type season. Richardson was big this series. Amare came with his 'A' Game tonight."

Ah well. The Blazers can look forward to being an up-and-coming team again next season...until the next round of crippling injuries hit them.

Alvin Gentry, quote machine: "At the end of the night, they shot 38 percent. To me, that's a credit to our defense. Nobody really talks about it, but we like it. In the locker room, we pat each other on the back."

Lacktion report: chris is proud to present Thursday's Nintendo Power playoff lacktion report:

Mavs-Spurs: Ian Mahinmi and Garrett Temple are getting a few more 1-ups after sharing the spotlight in savoring victory through 16 seconds as MARIO BROTHERS!

Suns-Frail Blazers: Earl Clark ate a bowl of Nintendo cereal in just 52 seconds to crunch out a Mario, while Juwan Howard has made it to the infirmary in 15:50 with a diagnosis of a 2:1 Voskuhl by negating a board with a pair of fouls and a piece of masonry.


Wait a second. I thought hawks could fly, but deer couldn't?

The next time Chris makes a Nintendo reference about a Mario, it'd be a good time to break out this bad boy: Super Mario Crossover. Ever wondered what it'd be like to play the Super Mario Brothers NES game, but play as another NES game character like Mega Man, Link, Simon from Castlevania, or that badass dude from Contra? Your questions have been answered. Have fun blowing shit up with guns and cracking Goombas with whips! (H/t to my buddy Jeff for sharing this)

Horrible news for 80s-style action movie fans (since I know we've got a few other than Bawful and myself that read this blog). David Ayer (known for writing and directing dark dramas) is going to remake Commando. He plans to "put his own real-world spin on this original premise," and "Ayer’s protagonist will be less brawny, but more skilled in covert tactics and weaponry." This sounds like a gigantic sack of shit compared to the original's perfection. It won't be campy and goofy and fun, so what's the point? If you want to make a serious movie, don't base it off something that never took itself seriously in the first place! (At least The Running Man hasn't been remade. Yet.)

A bit of local news for me. In the buildup to this weekend's Kentucky Derby, there are countless parties and bashes featuring celebrity appearances. This year, however, we are being treated to Dennis Rodman appearing as a DJ at the Derby Pretty event at the Frazier International History Museum in Louisville. I would go, but my compensation for writing for this blog ($0) falls a little short of the table reservations at this event ($750-$2000). Sorry, guys. I'm just as heartbroken as you are.

And this has nothing to do with anything, but must be shared: the Better Marriage Blanket.


According to Jimmy Traina from SI.com's Hot Clicks, this is real. He had to call their 1-800 number to verify it wasn't just a fake ad. Amazing.

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

After seeing George Lopez's godawful late night show, I hoped this fake fight would escalate to a whuppin'

Be careful to not piss off Jerry Sloan too much. He's got that crazy Old Man Strength.

All The Games:
Mavericks at Spurs - TNT, 8:00pm
Spurs lead series 3-2

If somebody finds Jason Kidd's youthful energy and talent, please return to the Mavericks' team office. Thanks in advance.

Suns at Frail Blazers - TNT, 10:30pm
Suns lead series 3-2

Tempo will be the key here. If the Suns can run, and perhaps more importantly get the Blazers to run with them, they should win. However, considering how easily the Blazers get hurt, it's hard to keep them running without tearing ACLs and blowing out kneecaps.

Labels: , ,

smear the dear
No, no, no. It's "Fear the Deer" not "Smear the Queer Deer."

The Atlanta Hawks: I was on my way home from my pickup league when BadDave called. I hadn't gotten a chance to watch any of the Bucks-Hawks game yet -- all hail the wonders of DVR! -- so I had no idea what was had happened. I correctly figured I was in for an update. BadDave said: "They are who we though they were."

I knew immediately Atlanta had lost.

All season, I've been (ahem) very vocal in my disbelief in the Hawks. I never denied the Dirty Birds were playing well in general or that -- by their relatively low standards -- they were having a standout year. But in the final analysis, the Hawks are made up of some good to very good players. None are great, several are average at best, and a few might struggle to make a roster outside of Atlanta (coughMarioWestcough). Good team, solid team, a team that earned the third-best record in a conference that -- let's be honest -- is kind of weak after the top two seeds.

And now here they are, teetering on the brink of elimination in the first round of the NBA playoffs against a team that is missing its best player (by the numbers). The only think that's keeping me from dancing a jig and singing "I toldja so, I toldja so, I toldja so!" is my belief that Atlanta can still come back and win this series...even if that only postpones their eventual elimination by one postseason round.

At any rate, how 'bout them Bucks? As AnacondaHL said, the Deer have been Feared.

This series in general and this game in particular are perfect examples of why you have to beware of any team coached by Scott Skiles...until his players turn on him anyway. When he was in the NBA, Skiles was scrappy tough, and that's how his teams play. They get after it on defense, they never lose confidence, and they don't give up. A Skiles team doesn't always play well -- truthfully, he's never gotten the opportunity to coach a really, really talented squad -- but they almost always play hard.

Playing hard wins a lot of games that maybe should be won.

skiles headpalm
Skiles headpalms even when he's winning.
That's how hard core the dude is.

Case in point, an 18-footer by Josh Smith put the Atlanteans ahead 82-73 with 4:09 left. Considering the talent disparity between the Hawks and the Bogut-less Bucks, that lead should have been more than enough, especially considering the Dirty Birds were playing at home.

Instead, the Bucks went on a 14-0 run.

During that stretch, the Hawks missed seven straight shots. Here's a summary of their offensive fail: Missed layup by Josh Smith; missed layup by Jamal Crawford; Surrendered an offensive board to Ersan Ilyasova after Brandon Jennings missed a foul shot, leading to two freebies for John Salmons; turnover / offensive foul by Joe Smith (his sixth foul); missed three-pointer by Smith; offensive rebound by Al Horford; missed 7-footer by Horford; missed 17-footer by Crawford; offensive rebound by Horford; missed 6-footer by Crawford (blocked by Salmons); missed 15-footer by Crawford.

Horford extended the drama by banking in a crap three-pointer with 10 seconds left, but it didn't change the outcome: A 91-87 home loss to a severely weakened team.

Said Crawford: "This is incredible. We had the game won. It just slipped away from us."

Added Johnson: "It was a terrible loss. It was embarrassing."

Joe Johnson: His line was bad enough by itself to earn him a WotN entry -- only 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting (0-for-3 on triples), one measely trip to the line, a co-game-worst 4 turnovers and his first foul out of the year. And let's talk about foul number six. The Hawks were still up 82-81 when Kurt Thomas -- only the oldest player in the game -- suckered Joe Cool into a charge. Maybe Atlanta still would have lost with Johnson on the floor...or maybe not. But spending the last two-plus minutes of "Winning Time" without your best player never helps.

Jamal Crawford: One day after winning the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award, Crawford came off the bench and submitted a performance that should have gotten him benched. It took Jamal 18 field goal attempts to score 11 points -- he missed 14 of those shots, including three of his four attempts from downtown -- and he finished with more combined fouls and turnovers (7) than rebounds and assists (4). The Hawks had several stinky performances, but Crawford's was the stinkiest. I mean, it smelled like Bigfoot's dick.

deron double face palm
Even the self-proclaimed best point guard in the
league needs to double-facepalm now and then.

The Utah Jazz: Whew! It looks like the Nuggets are one big, happy family again. And thanks to this newfound and completely platonic case of group man love, Denver managed to snap an eight-game losing streak when facing playoff elimination...which just so happened to be the longest such streak in NBA history.

Despite the loss of Nene -- with five minutes left in the first half, Carlos Boozer's left leg banged up against Nene's left knee -- the Nuggets had six players in double figures, including J.R. Smith (17 points, 4-for-5 from downtown) and Chris Anderson (10 points, 7 rebounds) off the bench.

Said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan: "They were a lot more alive, they went after the ball a little harder than we did. The players off the bench gave them a big lift. Their bench people killed us."

Denver managed to run away from Utah thanks to hot shooting from the field (50+ percent) and more importantly from beyond the arc (nearly 53 percent). Meanwhile, the Jazz didn't get nearly enough help from C.J. Miles (4-for-10, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls), Wesley Matthews (4-for-10, 1-for-5 from downtown), or Kyle Korver (zero points, 0-for-6 from the field, 0-for-2 on threes).

Deron Williams: From the AP recap:

[Deron Williams] declared after shootaround that he was the best point guard in the NBA right now.

The Nuggets won't disagree.

After watching him average 27.6 points and 12.0 assists over the first four games of the series, the Nuggets put Billups on Williams from the start instead of Afflalo.

Williams said nothing would change no matter who was guarding him, and he was right, getting 34 points and 10 assists before fouling out in the final minute. He became the first player in NBA history to register 20 or more points and double-digit assists in five games to begin a playoff series.

"We played good defense on him," Dantley insisted, "but he's just a great basketball player."
Did Deron really say that? Yes. Yes, he did:

"I feel I was the best point guard in the league for a while," said Williams, when asked by FanHouse during a media session after Wednesday's shootaround at the Pepsi Center if he's the NBA's top point guard. "I think I'm the best point guard in the league. No reason. I just think I'm the best."

Williams, who averaged 18.7 points and 10.5 assists during the regular season while making his first All-Star Game, has thought that for a while. He was asked who the second-best point guard is in the NBA.

"CP," said Williams, referring to New Orleans' Chris Paul, who was taken No. 4 in the 2005 draft while Williams went No. 3, with Paul getting off to a quicker NBA start. "Just like he probably thinks he's the best and I'm No. 2."

So who's the bronze medalist in this point-guard derby?

"Steve Nash," Williams said. "You got to argue him, what he's doing at this age (36) is crazy. I felt he's been the best point guard for the first probably three or four years that I was in the league."
While I'm not necessarily disagreeing with Williams, his proclamation couldn't help but remind me of similar words from Basketbawful Hall of Shame candidate Stephon Marbury circa 2005:

"Don't get me wrong -- I love Jason Kidd. He's a great point guard," Marbury said. "(But) how am I comparing myself to him when I think I'm the best point guard to play basketball? That doesn't make any sense. I mean, how can I sit here and compare myself to somebody if I already think I'm the best?

"I'm telling you what it is: I know I'm the best point guard in the NBA. I don't need anybody else to tell me that. When I go on the basketball court, if I think about what you're all saying, I'll lose my mind."
Of course, Starbury lost his mind anyway. But wait, here's some more:

"Me and Jason Kidd are two different players," Marbury said. "The way you see basketball, and the way I see it, it's not the same thing. You can't compare both of us. We don't play anything alike. We're totally different. You may feel he's better, there's another person that feels different."


But Kidd has played in 73 playoff games and seven All-Star Games. Marbury has appeared in 18 playoff games and two All-Star Games. And in current All-Star voting, Marbury is sixth among Eastern Conference guards with 151,749 votes as of yesterday. Kidd is fifth with 306,359.

"I don't care about (the voting)," Marbury said. "That stuff doesn't matter to me."

He admitted that when he was younger, playing in the All-Star Game was important to him. And he did say that "playing in the All-Star Game is always fun, because you're recognized as being one of the elite players." But he won't be disappointed if he's not among the All-Stars Feb. 20 in Denver.

"As long as I'm playing come April, (trying to) win the championship, that's the most important thing," he said.
You know where Steph was in April of 2005? Wrapping up his season on a 33-win Knicks team. And, uh, we all know how things went from there.

I'm just saying: Declaring openly that he's the best PG in the league is kind of like walking a mile in Starbury's shoes...and I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Carmelo Anthony: According to the AP recap: "The Nuggets had lost eight straight elimination games, six since Anthony joined the team in 2003." It's probably too early to tell, but could 'Melo be Tracy McGrady 2.0? Yes, I know he's gotten out of the first round of the playoffs, but...

Dwight Howard: Pumaman just can't keep his mouth shut. Case in point:

Even on a day off, Dwight Howard can antagonize officials enough to draw a penalty.

The Orlando Magic center was fined $35,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for criticizing officials on his blog, the second time this season he's been penalized for posting such comments.

Howard was in chronic foul trouble and constantly complaining about officiating in the Magic's series sweep over Charlotte. He fouled out in the last two games, played only 105 minutes and committed 22 fouls in four games.

"I'm not looking to say anything to get myself in trouble with the league, but I just don't see other star players getting called for fouls the way I get them," Howard posted on his blog. "No star player in the league is outta games the way I am."


Coach Stan Van Gundy and forward Matt Barnes were fined $35,000 each last week for criticizing officials and publicly questioning their calls on Howard. Orlando's All-Star center also was fined $15,000 in November for similar comments on his blog, although those were light compared to his latest post.

"I mean, it was almost comical at times how I was getting fouls called on me," Howard wrote. "There was nothing I could do [out] there and I felt like I couldn't even move without getting that whistle blown on me."
Seriously, Dwight, just shut up and play. Better yet...SHUT UP AND JAM!! GAIDEN!!

Lacktion report: And now, chris presents a very special lacktion report (pro tip: skip to the Jazz-Nuggets entry for the specialness).

Bucks-Hawks: As the deer celebrated a rare road win in Georgia's capital, Dan Gadzuric did his best to live up to the franchise's general mediocrity over the years, countering two field goals and a board in 11:01 with five fouls and a giveaway for a 6:5 Voskuhl.

Jazz-Nuggets: 56 seconds was all it took to get FOUR folks plugged into the NES tonight in a MARIO PARTY -- Sundiata Gaines, Othyus Jeffers, and Kosta Koufos for the Jazz, and Malik Allen the celebrant for Denver!!! Amazingly, Jeffers and Koufos went non-lacktive by managing to score boards in their mini-stints.

Labels: , ,

That pretty much sums it up
(Thanks to stephanie g for forwarding that to us)

Before we get into the basketball talk, a quick footbawful crossover... here's a scathing article from Clay Travis where he rips the NFL culture for shunning Myron Rolle. I was nodding in agreement the entire time I read this piece.

We all remember Joakim Noah's harsh words for Cleveland. Well, on second thought (and perhaps after viewing the beautiful hastily-made Cleveland tourism videos), he's changed his mind and is wowed by the culture and vitality of Cleveland. (If you don't immediately pick up the fact that this link is satire... I don't know what to say to you.)

And finally, as linked on Deadspin, a couple of San Diego Padres prospects with way too much time on their hands put together this awesome video of NERF Basketball action. Mesmerizing.

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

Super best friends!
(Thanks to JE Skeets for retweeting this gem)

D-Wade knows he is about to receive a wedgie, but is too late to do anything about it

"Hey, smell my finger!"

I half-expected Cardboard Sign Dirk to have a Cardboard Sign Flying Elbow


The Drain, everybody!

All The Games:
Bucks at Hawks - TNT, 8:00pm
Series tied 2-2

I know that we're supposed to Fear the Deer, but does that include road games? Based on what we've seen so far in this series, I'm guessing the answer is no. To have a shot at winning this series, they're going to have to steal a road game so well that you expect to see it end up for sale on the Homeboy Shopping Network.

Jazz at Nuggets - TNT, 10:30pm
Jazz lead series 3-1

The Nuggets claim they're back to being buddies and nobody will be thrown under the bus anymore. Bullcrap. I've seen better chemistry in a middle school science lab.

Labels: , , , ,

sad spurs bench
Sad Bench Part I...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jermaine O'Neal: From kazam92:

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

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

More from Greg:

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

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

Money well spent, Danny.

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

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

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

That six-point swing was beyond huge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pride is a pretty good motivator.

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

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

Speaking of which...

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

Eduardo Najera, tough guy: From the AP recap:

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

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

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

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

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

I never get tried of pointing that out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labels: , , , ,

Woah, take it down a notch, Andre!

The playoffs have resulted in us asking many questions. However, one question stands above the rest:

What the hell is going on with the plaid epidemic sweeping the NBA?

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

Basketbawful reader Adrian submitted the following gem:

Larry Hughes' facial expression is golden, but it's secondary to the unintentional humour in the provided photo caption.

Forward Vince Carter #15 of the Orlando Magic drives in the lane while Tyson Chandler #6 (L) of the Charlotte Bobcats defends him and Bobcats forward Larry Hughes (R) looks on during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 24, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Isn't that all Big-Shot Larry is good for these days anyway?
Not true. Big Shot Larry is also good at being the butt of many jokes!

"I'm not sure about this deodorant. What do you think?"

I had no idea you could cram so much wasted talent and so much bawful into one photo

All The Games:
Heat at Celtics - NBA TV, 7:00pm
Celtics lead series 3-1

How much longer can Dwyane Wade single-handedly will his team through the playoffs? What more can Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal do to murder his team? (Is someone watching kazam92 to make sure he doesn't snap and go on a rampage?)

Bulls at Crabs - TNT, 8:00pm
Crabs lead series 3-1

Kudos to the Bulls for not getting swept. They've shown some heart in this series. But I don't think it will matter much in the long run. And the long run might just end tonight.

Spurs at Mavericks - NBA TV, 9:30pm
Spurs lead series 3-1

I will not lie and tell you I foresaw George Hill being a serious force in this series. I will, however, enjoy every minute of it. You know, except for the "not being able to see this game without driving to a sports bar" part.

Thunder at Lakers - TNT, 10:30pm
Series tied 2-2

The Thunder are a good team, but they're young and about to play a road game with serious potential for a barrage of superstar calls to smack them down. I am very interested to see how they handle it. Not interested enough to stay up until almost 1am, but you can bet I'll watch some of the game.

Labels: , ,

sad bobcats bench
Sad swept bench photo!

The Charlotte Bobcats: Everybody who wondered why I've been so dismissive of the Bobcats as a first round dark horse...

...this is why.

Dwight Howard -- who re-nicknamed himself Foul-On-You -- was limited to 23 minutes and fouled out yet again. What's more, the Magic shot only 41 percent, bricked 12 free throws and scored only 16 points in the paint. It didn't matter. Over the second half of the season, I kept flatly stating that you really don't have to worry about a team whose number two guy is Stephen "I'm made for the playoffs and championships. That's what I play for. I'm Big Shot Jack." Jackson.

Sure enough, Big Shot Jack laid an rotten egg (2-for-11 and a game-worst 4 turnovers) and the Bobcats became the only team to get swept out of the playoffs. As always, I'm just sayin'.

MJ and Jack
"Some advice from a champion to a
non-champion? Hit some fucking shots.
And no, your Spurs title doesn't count."

Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: On Pumaman's constant foul trouble: "If you would have told me that he would have averaged well under 30 minutes for the series and we would sweep, I would have said you're crazy. I think it's a testament to our other guys." That's right. Credit for Orlando's first round sweep of the Bobcats officially goes to "Everybody not named Dwight Howard."

So, yeah, maybe I was wrong about that Dwight for MVP thing...

The agony of Michael Jordan: I know what you're thinking, MJ, but the answer is: No. NBA teams do not have a 90-day return policy.

MJ arms crossed

MJ vomit

MJ headpalm

Dwight Howard, quote machine: "We're going to be well rested. I'm going to be well rested." Ooooooh, I get it! All those stupid fouls -- 22 in four games, limiting you to about 26 minutes per game -- was strategy. It was all about staying rested. Look out, second round of the playoffs!

Larry Brown, rumor machine: Earlier this season Brown -- who is an NBA coaching gypsy -- was rumored to be considering a job with the Clippers. The latest rumor is that he might bolt for Philadelphia, where his wife and kids live. Brown always seems confused about why these rumors follow him. Well, that's what happens when you're a job jumper, Larry.

Said Brown: "I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte. Now am I going to go home and talk to my wife and kids? I'll be 70 years old with two young kids. Am I going to talk to them and find out what I need to do and am I going to talk to Michael? Yeah, absolutely."

See how he's giving himself some wiggle room? Classic Larry Brown.

The Atlanta Hawks: Everybody who wondered why I've been so dismissive of the Hawks as a championship contender...

...this is why.

Everybody got so excited about their season sweep of the Boston Celtics. Well, the Celtics were up and down all year, and the Hawks remain an inconsistent team that sucks on the road. I mean, Atlanta is easily more talented than the Andrew Bogut-less Bucks, right? And yet the series is now 2-2. What sense does that make?

Milwaukee scored 111 points on 55 percent shooting. The Bucks outscored the Hawks 44-26 in the paint despite not having a single inside scoring threat right now. The Atlanteans couldn't stay in front of or keep from hacking John Salmons (10-for-10 from the line), nor could they get a hand in the face of Brandon Jennings (23 points, 9-for-16) or Carlos Delfino (22 points, 6-for-8 from downtown).

Defensive fail. Toughness fail. Everything fail.

Said Joe Johnson: "It's very frustrating, man. We just don't have the toughness. They are getting all the loose balls, all the big rebounds. We can't get stops when we need to and it's killing us."

This is standard operating procedure for the Dirty Birds. Over their past three postseasons, the Hawks are 1-10 on the road, while averaging 80.8 PPG (on 38 percent shooting) and giving up 100.6 PPG (on 48 percent shooting). That's right. They average a 20-point blowout on the road in the playoffs. A sure sign of championship non-contender-ness.

Seriously, what is up with their crappy road play?

Said Jamal Crawford: "I wish I knew. I wish I could figure it out. We're two totally different teams. I think it's been like that in the past for this team. We play well at home, we feed off the crowd, but you can't play every game at home. We have to figure this out. That's what winners do, that's what champions do."

sad blazers bench 3
Another sad Blazers bench photo? Our third of the playoffs? Yep.

The Portland Trail Blazers: The Suns now lead this series 3-2, with all three wins being blowouts. The latest was a 107-88 pounding in which Phoenix scored 20 points off 15 Portland turnovers, won the rebounding battle (41-29, including 15-9 on the offensive boards), had a 17-6 edge in fast break points and outscored the Frail Blazers 40-28 in the paint.

Of course, you expect Amar''''''e Stoudemire (19 points, 7-for-11) and Steve Nash (14 points, 9-for-9 from the line, 10 assists) to do damage. What you might not expect is a combined 39 points from Channing Frye and Jared Dudley. The dynamic duo shot 13-for-21 from the field and 8-for-14 from downtown. Thanks to their explosion, the Suns bench outscored the starters 55-52.

Crazy, huh?

Said Nash: "When they get going like that, we're a really good team. I think it's great for their confidence because we have a lot of confidence in them."

As for the Frail Blazers, well, they got caught trying to play Seven Seconds or Less basketball. It worked early on, as Portland started out 7-for-7 and built a 23-9 lead. But going away from you do best while playing to the other team's strength is a dangerous thing...as the Blazers found out.

Said LaMarcus Aldridge: "Even when we were winning, we were playing their game. We were taking quick shots. They were going in so we felt good about it. But it really wasn't our style of play and I think the law of averages caught up. We don't really play that style of play. We should have slowed it down and played more of a halfcourt game."

Brandon Roy: His Game 5 line: 19 minutes, 5 points, 4 fouls, 1 turnover, no assists, 2-for-7 shooting.

Roy blames coming off the bench: "It's hard to get involved. I don't think the guys are quite used to me coming off the bench. It's hard for me to kind of get my touches and get into a rhythm."

Yeah. I'm sure that's it.

Update! Joey Crawford: David Stern won't let me talk about the officiating, so this entry is free of comment, except for thanking the anonymous commenter who posted the link to this video.

Channing Frye, quote machine: "To be honest, if I go 0 for 10, I could care less. It's not going to happen twice. That's how I feel every time I go out there, that it's only going to take one shot for me to get hot."

Steve Nash, quote machine: "They were making everything so it made it feel like we were running uphill, but I just felt like we had to think of this thing as long-term and think of it as the stock market. We're not day traders, we want to be very conservative and long-term in our investment in transition. You've got to stick with it from the start to finish."

J.R. Smith: Yet another reason the Nuggets probably won't make it out of the first round. After all, their X-Factor is also an X-Factor for the other team. For instance:

According to The Denver Post, Nuggets guard J.R. Smith posted a message on his Twitter page Sunday night that read, "You play selfish you lose selfish that's all I'm saying about the game!"

When asked about Smith's tweet, Nuggets interim head coach Adrian Dantley appeared uncomfortable. "What do you want me to say? That he shouldn't have made that comment? I don't know. He shouldn't have made that comment."

Nuggets team leader Chauncey Billups has this to say, "It's frustrating to lose, and people can say what they want, but at any rate, when we win, we win together. ... I don't think we've been specifically selfish."

Smith didn't speak with the media Monday, but did respond to the controversy on his Twitter page and wrote, "yo i got the twitter goons on my back!"
Crazy Kobe fans: This video speaks for itself. And speaks. And speaks. And speaks. Thanks to the anonymous commenter who posted the link.

Lacktion report: chris came through with a surprising amount of lacktion for only three games. Good to see playoff lacktion going strong.

Magic-Bobcats: Closing out this lackluster playoff series with celebration, Ryan Anderson pulled 4.3 (4:19) trillion out of a hat.

For Charlotte, Derrick Brown and Stephen Graham each cued up Fred Savage and Jenny Lewis, with Famicom wizardry: Derrick drilling for just one second at the free throw lane for a SUPER MARIO and Graham crumbling at the sight of a goomba in 55 seconds for a regular Mario! Theo Ratliff's postseason expired with a 5:2 Voskuhl in 7:55 via two boards countered by two bricks and five fouls - three Voskuhls in the four-game series!

Hawks-Bucks: As Atlanta's road woes continue, their traveling lair of lacktion continued to produce - Zaza Pachulia negated a field goal and two boards in 18:54 with four fouls and a turnover for a 5:4 Voskuhl. THE Mario West now has enough money for Virtual Boy repairs with a 1.35 trillion (1:22) and Jeff Teague lived up to his teammate's reputation by tossing a Koopa shell in just 5 seconds for a Super Mario!!!!

Meanwhile, Charlie Bell rang up 50 seconds worth of playing time on the Wii for a Mario that also garnered a +2 suck differential via foul and brick from the Third Ward.

Frail Blazers-Suns: Juwan Howard's crutches needed readjustment, with one made field goal in 8:37 avoiding a fully lacktive evening, only to counter those points with five fouls and a giveaway for a 6:2 Voskuhl.

Earl Clark crunched into the ledger with a two-turnover +2 in 5:39.

Labels: , , , ,

(h/t Jonah Keri for sharing the link in his Gmail status)

I will admit the first round of the playoffs has turned out to be a lot more interesting than I anticipated. And the even better news? It has given us a crapload of material these past few days! I love the playoffs.

A brief non-NBA-related piece as passed along on Twitter by Bill Simmons. This video is amazing.

Home team FAIL.

Worst of the Weekend in Pictures:

(via Basketbawful reader Clifton

"HOLY CRAP! We won a game!!"

The smugness just emanates from this picture...

Oh. My. God.

"Karate chop!!"

"I can't believe I paid money for these losers..."

Nothing gets me excited for a basketball game quite like lawn and garden equipment

oh, Luke Walton, you have no idea how entertaining you are

If selling a foul is an art form, Paul Pierce is friggin' Da Vinci

All The Games:
Magic at Bobcats - TNT, 8:00pm
Magic lead series 3-0
I wanted to write a preview for this game, but Dwight Howard blocked it. (And then shoved me and bludgeoned me with a flying elbow)

Hawks at Bucks - NBA TV, 8:30pm
Hawks lead series 2-1
Fear the Deer! But don't fear them quite enough to put them on ESPN or TNT or any channel I actually get.

Also, this. is. awesome. (via JE Skeets)

Frail Blazers at Suns - TNT, 10:30pm
Series tied 2-2
Sucker-punched by the surprise return of Brandon Roy, the Suns looked timid and slow against the Frail Blazers in Game 4. They put up enough bricks from downtown to build a hospital for all the injured Portland players.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That man speaks truth.

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

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

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

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

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

Uh huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homecourt fail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

It's crazy.

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

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

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

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

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

No. No, you weren't, Kobe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday lacktion report: Lacktivity + chris equals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then Pookie went supernova.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labels: ,