There was some serious home cooking going on in the NBA Playoffs yesterday. To wit:

Miami at Chicago: You typically expect the home team to get more freethrows than the road team...but six times as many?! Shaq once again got into foul trouble early, and the Heat only got five foul shots for the entire game (Dwayne Wade had four of them, Shaq just one). To put this into perspective, three Bulls players got at least as many attempts as the entire Miami team. Tyson Chandler [!!] got four freethrows, and he didn't even attempt a field goal! Mind you, I live in Chicago, and I'm actively rooting for the Bulls. While
Gary Payton is busy yelling at Wade, the Bulls are a picture of teamwork and courage. But a team -- any team -- getting only five freethrows in playoff game? That's insane. Especially when you consider that the Miami offense revolves around the most dominant lowpost player ever and another guy who drives and slashes about 75 percent of the time. The Bulls, on the other hand, rely mostly on jump shooting, and they got to the line 31 times. Wow.

Cleveland at Washington: Maybe the refs felt bad about letting Lebron James hop, skip, and jump his way to a game-winning shot on Friday night. Maybe
Gilbert Arenas' tights were cursed by gypsies. Whatever the case, the Wizards got 40 freethrows to 25 for the Cavaliers, with Arenas making 17 trips to the line to Lebron's seven. Don't get me wrong, the Cavs settled for a lot of jump shots in the second half, and Arenas was being very agressive, but still...I felt like I was watching an old Michael Jordan game from the late 90s. Gilbert was just throwing his body around and getting whatever call he wanted. And, most importantly, Lebron was only able to walk on water during the first half.

Phoenix at Los Angeles: Poor Steve Nash. He has to be the least respected MVP in the history of the league. It's bad enough the refs let Kobe posterize him on an obvious charge (Nash was set outside the "charge circle" before Kobe went up...and Bill Simmons agrees). It's even worse that he got only two foul shots yesterday while the Lakers doubled up on the Suns at the line (31 to 15). But the real kicker came at the end of the overtime session, when Luke Walton "tied up" Nash, the Lakers won the tip, and Kobe hit a game winner. People will interpret the event differently based on their own personal biases, but Nash was fouled while calling for timeout and he didn't get either call. The refs, the fans, and the creatures watching the game from the Fourth Dimension knew the Lakers had to foul in that situation, and Nash was bumped and hacked for two or three seconds before Walton got his hands on the ball. And if you disagree, ask yourself this question: if the situation had been reversed, and the ball had been inbounded to Kobe, would the foul have been called? You'd better believe it. And the salt in the wound was provided by Kobe celebrating like he'd just won something more important than a single first-round playoff game.


Kobehat
Kobe served up his own special brand of beef steak
yesterday, with the refs acting as the waiters.
15 Comments:
Anonymous Pendejo Joe said...
Nash was outside the circle, but he was perceivably leaning/shying away from the impact. Offensive player gets the call in that case.

Kings' homecookin' was ridiculous last night, by the way.

Anonymous Dave said...
Er, you did watch the miami/chicago game, right? I did, and the free-throw shooting was right - miami was settling for outside jumpers. It wasn't like there were only 3 fouls called in the game - miami was getting non-shooting calls, and generally wasn't playing close to the basket. The times they were, shaq either scored (and wasn't fouled), or committed an offensive foul.

As for the lakers/suns, I think the foul wouldn't have been called if it was kobe, either - lamar and walton tried for the trap first, then the foul, and happened to get a chance to play the ball. Nash wasn't trying to call a timeout, diaw was, he just didn't get it in time. And for the free-throw shooting, same situation - generally the suns didn't have a post game, where the lakers did. Nash didn't get to shoot many free-throws, because he didn't drive that much, and when he did he got uncontested layups.

But, hey, it makes for good controversy.

Anonymous Nels said...
Just when everyone starts thinking Kobe has turned a corner, he makes a complete ass of himself via celebration. It was cool that he hit two shots, but, yeah... we're still in the first round.

The more first round that happens, the more I think the whole thing is fixed.

And how come nobody ever says anything about Dallas, who is now the only team that can still sweep their first round opponent?

Word Verification: hebpqq

Blogger gfroese said...
Chicago/Miami: The reason they only got 5 free throws is because Dwayne Wade seemed to lose his confidence in getting to the hoop. All the Heat did was spot up for jump shots after Wade couldn't find his way to the rim and then dished it. The Bulls meanwhile were simply too fast for the Heat's guards and were constantly called for blocks or handchecks. 5 free throws in a game is unbelievable, but the Heat did it to themselves. And a bunch of the Bulls free throws were not from driving hard to the hoop, but in fact from being in the bonus.

Lakers/Suns: I'm not sure why it is so cool to hate the Lakers and Kobe, but it is what it is. As for Nash being fouled when they called the jump ball, put your own anti-Laker bias on hold when watching that clip and you'll see that he's just flailing around on his own and Walton just grabs the ball. He's not getting bumped and hacked. There is nothing I hate more than the refs calling a weak foul in a situation where teams are looking to foul or steal the ball, it weakens the game. Believe it or not, a ball can be stolen without fouling. Let's also not forget about Raja Bell's Academy Award winning flops drawing fouls the whole game. I'm also not sure why you play down the win for the Lakers. Obviously going up 3-1 instead of 2-2 is massive. The Suns have to win 3 in a row now to move on instead of 2 out of 3. I'd say that's worth celebrating if you are the Lakers.

Blogger gfroese said...
Not sure how celebrating a big win makes you an ass. At least he didn't grab Nash by the balls to celebrate. Go Evans!

Blogger Greg said...
I'm an unabashed Kobe-hater (adulterers and possible rapists are not nice guys in my book), so this may be a bit biased. There's a photograph that shows Walton's foot out of bounds as he's grabbing the ball and Salvatore standing right there, so that's something. And when the Suns were up 81-73 and George hit those two three-pointers, on the first one his foot is clearly on the line. The refs could easily miss something like that, but when they showed the replay, it's pretty obvious, and no commentator said anything. And Shawn Marion's last three fouls in about five minutes was pretty fishy, too, especially because Kobe picked up his fifth foul with about ten minutes left. The Suns didn't take advantage of it by going straigh at him, but if they had, no way does he foul out.

I don't think there's a big conspiracy, I just think it's true that Kobe is in that "special" category of players who can do what they like and rarely pay for it, and Nash isn't. Remember, Jordan pushed off on that last shot against the Jazz, and there was no way in hell they were going to call it. Nash hasn't "earned" that yet, although to say anyone deserves to get special treatment is crap.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Nash was outside the circle, but he was perceivably leaning/shying away from the impact. Offensive player gets the call in that case.

There are many, many cases where the offensive player doesn't get the call in that case. Just ask Shaq.

Nash didn't get to shoot many free-throws, because he didn't drive that much, and when he did he got uncontested layups.

I TiVo'ed that game two, and in a quick review I found three occasions in which Nash drove, missed, and arguably drew contact. In one such instance, the announcers even commented that it appeared that Nash drew contact.

Kings' homecookin' was ridiculous last night, by the way.

That's the only game I didn't watch or TiVo. But, in general, it usually goes without saying that there'll be home cookin' in Arco.

Er, you did watch the miami/chicago game, right?

Yup. Watched it, TiVo'ed it, watched it again. And I stand by my assertion that they deserved more than 5 free throws. Did they deserve 30+? Nope, 'cause as you said, they settled for a lot of outside shots. But after reviewing the game last night, I can honestly say that they probably deserved around 14 foul shots, nine more than they got. Now, there's no saying they would have hit those shots, but nine throws would have been pretty important in a five point game.

And how come nobody ever says anything about Dallas, who is now the only team that can still sweep their first round opponent?

I couldn't agree more. I love the Mavs, and I've actually commented a few times over the last few months about how overlooked they are. I still get this nervous feeling about them, though. I can't quite put my finger on it, but they just don't feel like a championship team. I keep thinking they must have an Achilles' heel that's going to be their undoing. Like their relative lack of ball movement. But they're playing excellent basketball right now.

And a bunch of the Bulls free throws were not from driving hard to the hoop, but in fact from being in the bonus.

I agree with much of what you said. I'm not arguing the Heat should have matched the Bulls' free throws. Chicago played with more energy and aggresiveness. But...there was some grabbing and handchecking that went uncalled, and I felt the Heat should have gotten more freethrows from the bonus, as the Bulls did.

As for Nash being fouled when they called the jump ball, put your own anti-Laker bias on hold when watching that clip and you'll see that he's just flailing around on his own and Walton just grabs the ball.

I, for one, believe I am setting my bias aside. Let me put it this way, if we sat down and reviewed every similar end-of-game situation that occurred this season (or any season) in which one team had to foul to get the ball back, the same amount of bumping and contact that happened on that play would result in a foul 80 percent of the time. Particularly in this season, when fouls have been called much more liberally than in recent seasons (which is undoubtedly why so many perimeter players are having career years in the scoring category).

I'm also not sure why you play down the win for the Lakers. Obviously going up 3-1 instead of 2-2 is massive. The Suns have to win 3 in a row now to move on instead of 2 out of 3. I'd say that's worth celebrating if you are the Lakers.

Celebrating is one thing. But the amount of celebration was excessive...particularly for a first round game that hasn't even clinched the series. I would expects hugs and high fives, and be fine with them, but there was too much crowing and sceaming and chest thumping for my tastes.

Not sure how celebrating a big win makes you an ass. At least he didn't grab Nash by the balls to celebrate. Go Evans!

See above. And some would argue that Kobe did grab Nash by the balls, figuratively speaking. Maybe someone should remind Evans of the difference between literal and figurative ball busting.

Blogger gfroese said...
There's a photograph that shows Walton's foot out of bounds as he's grabbing the ball and Salvatore standing right there

I hadn't seen that. Not sure what the rule is there either. Clearly Walton did not have possesion of the ball at that point, but he appears to be touching it while his foot is out of bounds.

the same amount of bumping and contact that happened on that play would result in a foul 80 percent of the time.

I agree completely. This was apparently one of the 20% where they don't call the foul.

On an unrelated note, remember a few years ago (Kings/Lakers maybe?) when someone was trying to foul Shaq very very blatently at the end of a game and the refs would not call it. That is a much clearer example of determining the outcome of a game.

And if Steve had simply put his brain in his head that morning and not dribbled into a double (easily could have been a triple team) at half court, most of this thread wouldn't be necessary.

Basketbawful: great site by the way. I appreciate people can have different opinions here without flame wars and name calling starting immediately.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I hadn't seen that. Not sure what the rule is there either. Clearly Walton did not have possesion of the ball at that point, but he appears to be touching it while his foot is out of bounds.

I also don't know the rule on that. I haven't seen the picture, either. Anybody have a link?

I agree completely. This was apparently one of the 20% where they don't call the foul.

Yup. Which is why I call it home cooking. I tend to think that Nash would have gotten the call in Phoenix. Calls tend to favor the home team. In a reverse situation, the same thing might have happened, except that Kobe is part of that select group of players who usually get the benefit of the doubt on calls.

On an unrelated note, remember a few years ago (Kings/Lakers maybe?) when someone was trying to foul Shaq very very blatently at the end of a game and the refs would not call it. That is a much clearer example of determining the outcome of a game.

I'm in the camp of people who feel Shaq tends to take more punishment than anyone else in the league. Seriously, why is it the hand-checking rules that now benefit the perimeter players don't apply in the post? Seriously, you can't even touch the Kobes, McGradys, and Lebrons of the world, but you can hug Shaq and cram your knee up his ass. And, to a lesser degree, other premier post players (and there are few of them left) get similar treatment. Imagine how interesting the game would become if low post players were allowed to be creative down there, without getting hacked and muscled all the time? Guys like Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett might actually start taking the ball to the basket instead of taking fade away jumpers all the time. Just a thought.

And if Steve had simply put his brain in his head that morning and not dribbled into a double (easily could have been a triple team) at half court, most of this thread wouldn't be necessary.

I think Nash's mistake was assuming the foul would be called quickly, as if often the case in those situations. I also think the Suns should have taken their last timeout to get a better setup.

Basketbawful: great site by the way. I appreciate people can have different opinions here without flame wars and name calling starting immediately.

Thanks. I don't mind people disagreeing with me. If you call me a fag or a dumbass, your comments probably won't be approved (unless I want to make fun of you). Otherwise, I invite intelligent debate, discussion, and the mockery of Greg Ostertag.

Anonymous Pendejo Joe said...
I'm a Spurs fan so the Lakers hate runs deep for me, but I think that this first round series warrants a celebration for Kobe because he is finally validating some of the comparisons to MJ. If you read the article in Newsweek around the time of his impending trial about how obsessive he is about being as good as MJ was, it'd be easy to understand what his celebrating really means. Looking at it objectively, he really is playing with MJ's style right now the way he's making everyone else better and then finishing off the games with his killer instinct. Did anyone notice how happy he seemed in the post-game interview? It wasn't just another game-winning shot for him.

Blogger Greg said...
The picture of Walton with his foot out of bounds was in the Arizona Republic today. They called it "Zapruder-like," which it is. I don't know where it is on-line, or if it is.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I'm a Spurs fan so the Lakers hate runs deep for me, but I think that this first round series warrants a celebration for Kobe because he is finally validating some of the comparisons to MJ.

I think that part of my resistance to Kobe as a player (and as a person) over the years is that so much of his on-court persona seems forced and contrived. He says he wants to "just be Kobe Bryant," but he has (seemingly) been chasing Michael's shadow since he came into the league. He's had so many ups and downs -- feuding with teammates and coaches, the rape allegations and the ensuing trial, running Shaq out of town, threatening (laughably so) Karl Malone for "hitting on" his wife, constantly alternating between alienating his teammates and pulling them closer -- that I don't know what to think of him. He just comes off as shady and fake. I can't shake that feeling, no matter how many points he scores. And this about-face from selfish gunner to team-first leader, which happened immediately after the playoffs started, only makes me more suspicious.

The picture of Walton with his foot out of bounds was in the Arizona Republic today. They called it "Zapruder-like," which it is. I don't know where it is on-line, or if it is.

I've been trying like mad to find this picture. If anyone has a link, or can scan it, please let me know.

Anonymous Craig said...
Several things to address:

Let's get all the Laker conspiracy theories out of the way:

1. Does anyone remember that Kobe missed all but 30 seconds of the second quarter because of foul trouble? (The worst call of the three early fouls was the hold foul on Kobe literally the next possession after Raja Bell had two hand pushing Kobe away from the post.)

Phoenix blew a great chance in the second quarter. The Lakers here having a hard time scoring and Phoenix never attacked. Instead a Kobe-less Laker squad held PHX to 15 points.

We hear about Kobe always getting the calls and the Lakers getting away with bloody murder, obviously our memory stops at 29 minutes of game time. (Kobe and Odom both were out in the first quarter in foul trouble.) The first half PHX had many chances to blow the game open and choked.

2. Nash made a rookie mistake by dribbling the ball across halfcourt along the sideline. The sideline becomes the third defender. If he crossed the court in the center, Nash could go left or right and break down the slower Laker players.

The MVP should know better than to make such a basic mistake. Plus, why not pass the ball off as soon as the defense came to foul? PHX led the league in free throw percentage not just because of Nash but because everyone else hits their ft's.

3. D'Antoni is getting thoroughly out coached by Jackson. For the last 6 minutes of regulation and throughout overtime, the Suns ran the same offensive play. (screen and roll from the left side with Nash) Smush Parker had trouble with the play the first 3 or 4 times it was run, but since PHX ran the EXACT same play every time, he anticipated the screen and stayed with Nash. Soon PHX was blowing chances to put the game away, especially since Kobe was a turnover machine on offense for most of the fourth quarter and the Lakers offense was stagnant.

4. Lastly, wether the refs gave the Lakers some leeway or not, Kobe still had to hit two incredible shots. Especially the one to tie the game! He was being "strongly" forced baseline and had to shoot it from under the basket. (and for the PHX conspiracy theorists, he was fouled on that shot by Diaw).

Kobe deserved to go nutzo is his celebration. I was at the game and it ranks up there with the great comebacks. The Lakers were dead in the water with seconds left in regulation, fans were leaving and crappy players like Fugazi Thomas were hitting clutch jumpers. It was over... suddenly out of nowhere the game was tied. It was literally that fast and the place rocked.

Finally, this will all be pointless as I just read that Kwame Brown is under investigation for sexual assault. And since he doesn't carry Kobe's ability to compartmentalize, he'll be worthless for Game 5 and PHX will win easily. With the Lakers scrambling for help down low for the last two games, this could change the whole series.

Suddenly the Clipper-Laker matchup doesn't look like much of a reality.

Blogger gfroese said...
Here is a picture of Walton with his foot out of bounds: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfroese/139725185/

It's a screencap from the video here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=H_oyh63nUqI

Blogger jdub808 said...
This is a clearer image. It's crazy... both refs just staring.

http://www.nba.com/suns/playoffs/tribune_notebook_060503.html

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