Poor Spanish Marshmallow
I never knew marshmallows could cry...

The Los Angeles Lakers: See if this sounds familiar -- one team comes roaring out to start the game, goes up by double figures, looks to have the other team on the ropes, only to have the other team come all the way back right before the half to turn it into a game. Then, in the second half, it's back and forth most of the way, with the team that had the early lead up for most of it, only to get outplayed down the stretch and lose by one basket.

If it sounds familiar it's because the same thing that happened in Game 1 repeated itself last night in Game 2, only the teams were reversed, as were the results. Last night the Lakers came out like they wanted to show people the team that everyone expected when the playoffs started was finally here and playing the way they were capable of...and that all the issues with a lack of effort or focus were firmly in their rearview mirror. [Edit: Warning! Assholes in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear! - Ace Ventura] But after taking a 14-point first-half lead, they seemed to quickly lose their effort and their focus -- AGAIN -- and suddenly their halftime lead was only one point. The Lakers started the second half with energy and intensity, but by that time it was too late, because the Nuggets had been brought to life like the Bride of Re-Animator...and yes, this analogy is an indirect reference to Kenyon Martin's horrific tattoos.

The mirror image similarities between Games 1 and 2 are almost eerie. Each team's stars had almost the same performance that the other had in the previous game, with Kobe outscoring Carmelo by one in Game 1 by shooting 13-for-28 while Carmelo shot 14-for-20; and then with Carmelo outscoring Kobe by two in Game 2 by shooting 12-for-29 while Kobe shot 10-for-20. In Game 1 the Lakers' starting center, Andrew Bynum had only 6 points, while in Game 2 Denver's starting center, Nene, had only 6 points. The assists, steals, blocks and fouls for both teams were almost the same as each other in each game, and from one game to the next. The Nuggets shot better from the field in Game 1 and lost, while the Lakers shot better from the field in Game 2 and lost. In Game 1 one thing the Nuggets could really point to to explain the loss was the dozen free throws they missed; and it was the same for the Lakers in Game 2, as they missed 5 free throws in the 4th period while Denver overcame some early FT misses to hit 17 straight (and 18 of their last 19). In Game 1 the Lakers won 105-103, in Game 2 the Nuggets won 106-103. Really, really odd how similar these two games were. And I mean odd kind of like how Jesus and Elvis were basically the same person.

The big difference in this game came down to rebounds. In Game 1 the Lakers held a 46-37 rebounding edge (17-7 offensive), but in Game 2 the Lakers only outrebounded Denver by one, 43-42, and were actually beaten on the offensive glass 14-13. Like Game 1, it was just a very hard-fought game by both teams that was won by an extremely narrow margin. But the Nuggets are now in control, having gotten the split they wanted when they came to L.A. to start this series, and with the way they've played at home in these playoffs, we could very well be looking at a 3-1 lead when the series rotates back to LA for Game 5 next week. [Edit: Somewhere AK Dave is laughing and dusting off his "2009 Nuggets = 2004 Pistons" theory. I have to say, after two games, that theory seems less crazy. Well, slightly. -Basketbawful]

Derek Fisher: After hitting the three-pointer in Game 1 that put the Lakers ahead for good, Fisher came out and stunk up the joint in Game 2, going 1-for-9 for 3 points to go along with 2 turnovers and 5 fouls. At the other end, he was part of the group of players that was guarding Chauncey Billups, as Mr. Big Shot went off for 24 points in the last 25 minutes of the game. He wasn't the Lakers' worst guard though...

Sasha Vujacic: Fresh off being publicly outed by his teammates as being "annoying", the Machine gave his team another reason to be irritated with him last night by going 0-for-4 in 6 minutes of playing time. How has this guy not yet figured out that he's ice-cold this year? [Edit: Does everyone realize that Sasha signed a new contract with L.A. last summer? I have three words for you: Contract Year Phenomenon. I'm just sayin'. -Basketbawful] It seems like no matter how many games go by in which he bricks everything imaginable, he still comes out firing away as soon as he's inserted into a game. I know a shooter is supposed to shoot through a slump, but this is getting ridiculous. Maybe the question is why is Phil Jackson even playing him at this point? Speaking of which...

Phil Jackson: Andrew Bynum looked to be having one of those moderately decent games he has every third or fourth game (9 points on 4-for-8 shooting in the first half), but apparently Phil decided to pull the plug on Big Bynum before he had a chance to regress by playing him for only four minutes in the second half. It should be pointed out that when Bynum went out with just under three minutes left in the second quarter the Lakers were up by 13...but then finished the half only up 1. Maybe it's just me, but it seems odd that Phil decided that Luke Walton should get more playing time last night than Bynum. Which reminds me...

Luke Walton: Good thing for Denver that Phil decided to go with Luke instead of Bynum in the second half, as the Son of Walton not only poured in 2 measly points to go with 2 turnovers and 2 fouls, but he also got lit up by Linas Kleiza, who scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds off Denver's bench. [Edit: For the record, I checked Kleiza's game log, and there were only six games during the season in which he had 8 or more rebounds. And he's only averaging 2.9 RPG in the playoffs this year. All of which makes the Lakers' inability to keep Linas off the glass a little more pathetic, don't you think? - Basketbawful]

Dahntay Jones: While he did double his scoring output from Game 1 (scoring two points this time instead of one), he deserves a mention here for picking up four personal fouls in the first quarter. [Edit: According to the play-by-play, he committed those four fouls in the first five minutes and 49 seconds of the game...during which time he also missed two layups. But it gets worse: Dahntay picked up his first foul with 7:46 left in the quarter, and his fourth foul came at the 6:11 mark. This means that he picked up all those fouls in a minute and 35 seconds. Uh...wow? -Basketbawful]

I don't think I've ever seen a player do that before. I mean, yes, players have fouled out super fast before (they mentioned last night that Travis Knight did it in 6 minutes once); but I can't say I've ever seen a player pick up that many fouls in the first quarter, if for no other reason than a coach will almost always take a player out after two fouls in the first quarter, let alone three. To Jones' credit, he didn't foul out, but in the process of avoiding his sixth foul he probably ended up on a Trevor Ariza poster.

Kobe Bryant: Basketbawful reader Justin B. sent the link to this video of Chauncey Billups inbounding the ball off Kobe's back for a layup. Inbounding off the Mamba seems to be the hot new trend.


Officiating: Let's face it...it wasn't so good. But Dick Bavetta was the lead ref, you know? That's like letting Charles Manson watch your human ear collection. It's not going to end well.

Jeff Van Gundy: Kobe Bryant is the greatest Laker of all time? Really?! Uh, Jeff, Bill Walton called. He said that was the worst attribution in the history of human civilization.

The plus-minus stat: From Buck Nasty: "Trevor Ariza had the worst plus-minus on his team (-11) while going 6-for-7 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line for 20 points in 33 minutes (though he did turn the ball over in some terrible situations). By comparison, Shannon Brown played 17 minutes, went 3-for-8 on FGs and 1-for-2 from the line, but still had a better plus-minus. Thanks for plus-minus, stat-geeks. It's clearly the best way to tell how well a player played. And yes I know it's net points or whatever, but....eh screw it, it's just dumb."

Val Kilmer: He was in L.A. for the game last night...

Val Kilmer is Meat Loaf

...and it appears his transformation into Meat Loaf is officially complete. To make things even worse for the former second-worst (to George Clooney) Batman of all time, his Top Gun co-star was also on hand and looking as good as ever. You know, if you like insane, midget pretty boys.

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63 Comments:
Anonymous poptarted said...
I think Kilmer was better than Bale. Script was just too campy, and I think an admirable job was done despite the armor nips.

Blogger Cortez said...
Please, someone explain to me how Billups manages to blow past his defender when isolated above the 3 point line and make something positive happen at the rim, yet Bryant, a.k.a. greatest closer in the game, ha!, somehow manages to pull a contested/long distance jumpshot out of his bag of tricks when involved in the same situations most of the time. I'm baffled.

"...[D. Jones]picking up four personal fouls in the first quarter."

He's a stopper, what do you expect?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
For the record, I wasn't the one who included the officiating in last night's "Worst Of", that was all Mr. Bawful; so I don't want to hear anyone saying I was complaining that the refs cost the Lakers the game or anything. Speaking of the refs though, JA Adande had an interesting observation about them last night, basically saying that Dick Bavetta (widely known as the best "home team" ref) seemed to have most of his questionable calls go Denver's way, while Steve Javie (generally thought of as the best "road team" ref) seemed to have most of his questionable calls go for the Lakers. It must have been Bizarro Day for the officials or something.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
I read that Jesus-Elvis thing. I think we had more statistical evidence in our comparison.

I love the pic of Gasol. As soon as I saw it in Getty Images I had to send it to you, even if I knew everyone (including yourself) had probably seen it about a million times.

The perfect photo of Laker Fail, of Marshmallow Fail.

The most spectacular parody of teams in the history of the game is taking place right now! In the history of the Western Conference Finals, could there be a greater match-up than the formerly Hopeless Nuggets (tm) and the All-Time Championship Lakers (tm)? /end Bill Walton/

Speaking of Bill Walton, he's the guy they're using for the Stuttering Foundation print adds in ESPN The Magazine. I had no idea stuttering needed a foundation.

I don't have the latest issue with me, but at one point they talk of Bill Walton's "authoritative voice."

Blogger Basketbawful said...
poptarted -- Actually, the Bat Nipples didn't appear, I think, until the Clooney version.

Cortez -- It is baffling, one of the most baffling aspects of Kobe's game, and one of the most marked contrasts to MJ...which I bring up only because so much time has been spent comparing Kobe to Jordan. Mike always got to the rim during crunch time. He's best known for a handful of clutch shots, but he was much better at earning FTAs in the fourth quarter than knocking down last-second shots.

Yams -- Yes, yes, I'm sorry, I should have noted that in the post. It was my edit, everybody, so feel free to dogpile on me if you disagree.

OpenID NarSARSsist said...
There was also the stat curse of a stat curse. After Kenyon Martin exploded for 10 points early on, either Mark Jackson or Jeff van Gundy commented "Martin has scored 10 points already, and he averages 10 points in the playoffs."

I thought to myself, "Oh boy, they just stat cursed him." He proceeded to go 1/3 with 3 fouls and 3 turnovers...until the final minutes. Just as I was ready to declare the stat curse complete, he made the shot to tie up the game at 95-95 and the shot that broke the Lakers' backs with that messy possession near the end that put the Nuggets up 103-101.

I stat cursed a stat curse... :-(

Blogger Will said...
Seriously, shouldn't Kobe be smart enough to know that you don't turn your back on the inbounder under the basket? I was yelling at Billups to do it already the second Kobe turned around.

Anonymous SMK said...
Iceman's looking like an old lesbian.

http://menwholooklikeoldlesbians.blogspot.com/

Blogger Evan said...
"The mirror image similarities between Games 1 and 2 are almost eerie. Each team's stars had almost the same performance that the other had in the previous game, with Kobe outscoring Carmelo by one in Game 1 by shooting 13-for-28 while Carmelo shot 14-for-20; and then with Carmelo outscoring Kobe by two in Game 2 by shooting 12-for-29 while Kobe shot 10-for-20. In Game 1 the Lakers' starting center, Andrew Bynum had only 6 points, while in Game 2 Denver's starting center, Nene, had only 6 points. The assists, steals, blocks and fouls for both teams were almost the same as each other in each game, and from one game to the next."

Don't forget that the Lakers had a secretary named Lincoln, while the Nuggets had a secretary named Kennedy...

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
I'm really surprised that nothing has come of the Rose/Rondo tussle remake that Pau and K-Mart performed last night. Perhaps because it may result in a punishment for Gasol and it'd make the job of the refs even harder when they finally '02 Western Conf Finals the Nuggets.

Anonymous will said...
Derek Fisher should retire and take full time care of his daughter. He's trash now.

Start Farmer and give big time minutes to Shannon Brown.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Cortez / Mr. Bawful - Kobe did get to the line a lot to end Game 1 (though in the comments after that game his end of game free throws were blown off); but I think that in Game 2 we saw the emergence of the thing that I said the Nuggets were missing in this series, namely someone who can guard Kobe, and it turns out it's Carmelo Anthony. I thought Melo did a fantastic job playing the kind of defense that Shane Battier did in the last round on Kobe, and if he can keep doing that without expending too much energy on defense that it takes away from his offense, then the Lakers are gonna be in real trouble in this series. It's looking now like the Lakers have no answer for Melo more than the Nuggets have no answer for Kobe.

I think the Lakers need to make a few changes if they're going to win this series. First, I think Derek Fisher needs to get fewer minutes, and Sasha Vujacic should probably not get any. Instead the Lakers should go with a Farmar/Brown combo on the floor together for stretches, with Kobe getting more minutes at SF when Ariza is out. I then think that Luke Walton's minutes should be drastically reduced, and that Bynum's should go up, cause it looked to me like the Nuggets really had trouble with the Gasol/Bynum and Odom/Bynum combos on the floor last night. Phil Jackson needs to get his rotations tighter and needs to stop going to guys like Walton, Vujacic and Fisher so much, just because they have produced in past years. Fisher should still be getting some minutes and should keep starting, but he shouldn't be playing as much as he is, and if he's having a shooting night like he was last night then he shouldn't be in there to finish the game (especially when the Lakers had a 9-0 run in the 4th quarter with Shannon Brown on the floor instead of Fisher).

Blogger Cortez said...
"...which I bring up only because so much time has been spent comparing Kobe to Jordan."

Which makes me want to vomit and should be obviously ridiculous to anyone that actually knows the game.

Basketball players?

...check.

Similar height?

...check

Plays the 2?

...check

End of comparison.

Blogger Cortez said...
"...Kobe did get to the line a lot to end Game 1"

He needs to get to the line more than that...and on a consistent basis.

"but I think that in Game 2 we saw the emergence of the thing that I said the Nuggets were missing in this series, namely someone who can guard Kobe, and it turns out it's Carmelo Anthony."

The idea that Anthony has all of a sudden because a elite two way player and guard Bryant is (or should be) laughable.

The reason it looks as if he's doing a good job is because Bryant settles for jumpshots way too much.

One of the first things a perimeter player is taught is that if a one on one defender is close enough to touch you while you are in triple threat you are to immediately ATTACK THE DEFENDER and not to settle for a jumpshot.

Barring any unknown injuries, an elite athlete, ballhander and shooter, such as Bryant, should have a (known) substandard defender, such as Anthony, begging his coach for a switch. Even if he isn't as bad as I have suggested he most certainly should be making him work more than just raising his hand on a 24 foot three pointer.

It's as if Bryant's has to prove to someone that he has been working on his jumpshot like a maniac and he can hit hit despite anyone in the immediate vicinity. Which he does at a high rate, well at a higher rate than most...which isn't that great to begin with.

Blogger Cortez said...
"First, I think Derek Fisher needs to get fewer minutes"

Yeah, zero.

His defensive stance is textbook.

...right until his assignment blows past him for the nth time!

"Sasha Vujacic should probably not get any."

Certainly not any where he isn't out there to catch and shoot.

...or conversely has the freedom to take any shot he wants at any time, which isn't going to happen in this 'verse.

"Instead the Lakers should go with a Farmar/Brown combo on the floor together for stretches,"

Preach, brother, preach.

I was watching the game, and they went into the celebrity montage. For a second, I was confused as to why they were showing George Karl at this particular time, until I read the name line and realized it was actually John Lithgow. My friend then pointed out to me that by virtue of being a Kennedy, Maria Shriver can't even go to a Lakers game without wearing a blazer.

Blogger Jacob said...
Just start Farmar and be done with it. Phil Jackson must be doing mental gymnastics to convince himself otherwise.

Is Chris Anderson the worse on ball defender in the NBA? The dude sure can block shots from the weakside, but yikes. Gasol should score on him every time he gets the ball. And why is he possibly giving Kobe the baseline?

Anonymous Wormboy said...
I was "anonymous" there talking about Kenny Smith's copycat killer quote. Sometimes the damn thing just doesn't register my name. You'll note I blame it on computers....

re Val Kilmer: this always gets me when stars look like crap. Look people, you have ONE THING to do to receive boatloads of money and have women throw themselves at you for life, and that's to work out a couple of hours a day to stay fit. Is it really that difficult? No. It's freakin pathetic. A guy like Kilmer becoming a tub of lard is an offense to nature unless he has the excuse of some weird health problem. Dude! You MADE IT! ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS HIT THE GYM! Lazy slob....

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Quote from memory from Sir Charles a long time ago: "The only thing Kobe and Jordan have in common is that they're both black."

<3

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Just cause this seems to be turning towards another "Kobe's not as good as Jordan was" type discussion (which I agree with, btw), I'd just like to point out that simply because Kobe is not as good as Jordan was, that does not make him a failure or a laughingstock or something. It's like what the announcers were saying last night about Kobe being the 2nd best player behind LeBron, and how there's no shame in that when you consider how good the other guy is. I understand where a lot of the desire to mock Kobe for not being better than Jordan comes from (mainly due to his insane supporters who blindly claim that to be the case), but essentially saying "Ha ha, he's not the best player ever!" is a little silly, don't you think?

Anonymous Karc said...
And the saga continues...

http://www.wwe.com/content/media/video/vms/raw/2009/may15-21/10296910?cid=2009EP-00

Now, just from the look of the whole set-up, it appeared more of self-promotion piece than an actual press conference. However, there were things of note.

There was a "quote" where Vince McMahon praises Stan Kroenke as an owner, to which he strongly denied giving such praise. And he wonders why Kronke has not said a word since this whole mess started...

He announced that Monday's Raw in LA would have McMahon vs. Kroenke (obviously a fake Kroenke, since he'll be at the Nuggets game). Not sure if it's in a steel cage. He also announced the five-on-five Lakers vs Nuggets parody. I just think that the whole thing has crossed the line over to stupidity at this point. I mean, he's trying to compete with Game 4 of the West Final which will have someone up 2-1. It's going to be a must-win game for one of the teams, as opposed to a show where he going to be taking cheap shots at a team. I'm calling the ratings right now. Raw - 3.2, Game 4 - 6.7.

And gotta give love to f4wonline.com for this catch.

"The story behind all this is the Staples Center is owned by Anschultz Entertainment Group, whose CEO is Tim Liewicke, who formerly ran the Nuggets. Liewicke was used by WWF in the 80s as their house show local promoter in Kansas City. He also ran the Nuggets in the 90s and the parting wasn't the best."

No wonder they got the Staples Center for two days on such short notice. I fully expect Denver to be up 3-1 by the end of the weekend just to stick to both of these guys.

I'm going with precedent here. The last time WWE proclaimed love to the Lakers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRC36bPx7zQ&feature=related at the 3:15 mark), they didn't even reach the West Final, and that was when they had Shaq!

Blogger Cortez said...
"Just cause this seems to be turning towards another "Kobe's not as good as Jordan was" type discussion"

That wasn't my intent at all. The fact that he isn't as good has Jordan is happenstance.

"I'd just like to point out that simply because Kobe is not as good as Jordan was, that does not make him a failure or a laughingstock or something."

For the record I like Bryant as a player, even more than James.

...regardless to that fact that son of a bitch needs to attack the basket more!

"but essentially saying "Ha ha, he's not the best player ever!" is a little silly, don't you think?"

Sure is. He's certainly in the top tier of all time greats.

Who gives a shit anyway? I'll bet dollars to donuts that none of these bastards can wipe his ass with a mountain lion and make unsubstantiated claims about other daring feats on the internets.

In fact, instead of talking/typing about millionaire basketball players I think I'll go play some.

Female basketball stars beware, I'm coming.

Good day gentlemen.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- My point wasn't to describe Jordan as better than Kobe...that should be self-evident...merely to point out that although the media at large has relentlessly compared these two men over the years and concluded that their games are nearly mirror images, there are in fact many blatant dissimilarities in how they actually play the game. In this case, I was pointing to how, in crunch time, Jordan tended to attack the basket and Kobe prefers shooting contested jumpers.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
"...[D. Jones]picking up four personal fouls in the first quarter."

He's a stopper, what do you expect?

...

In the words of (the real) Captain Kirk:

"Double dumb-ass on YOU!!" (and I say that with love)

2 of those fouls in the first 5:49 were legit, and "smart fouls", but two of them were total BS Dick(head) Bavetta fouls that occured as Dahntay was guarding Kobe on the block, before any move to the basket was even made. If you were watching, you have to have seen that and wondered what the hell the whistle was for. Dahntay clearly doesn't have the ideal matchup in this series like he did vs Paul or Terry; but apart from a weak start to the game, he did alright. I'm not ready to call for his firing just yet.

Does anyone know how JR Smiff's knee is doing? I mean he hyperextended it in game 1.... anyone here ever hyperextended a knee? Doesn't that, like, hurt a lot and fuck up your ability to play basketball?

Good thing LK pulled his head out of his ass or else Denver would be in a serious hole.

I'm loving this series so far!

Blogger John said...
poor poor val kilmer

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Wormboy: +1

Seriously. 10hrs of exercise isn't that much to ask when you get fame fortune and ladies clawing over themselves for a piece of the "Iceman" in return. I'll never be able to watch "Top Gun" again (or even "Willow" for that matter) now that I have that image of Kilmer's bloated bullfrog-face in my head.

What has been seen cannot be unseen!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Cortez & Mr. Bawful - I didn't really disagree with what either of you said, I just saw after that that this was beginning to take a turn in the direction I talked about above and wanted to nip it in the bud - especially since generally Kobe had a pretty good game last night. No argument here though about how he needs to attack the basket more, and not just in crunch time either. Melo's doing the whole faceguarding thing on the perimeter with Kobe, so Kobe needs to try to just get past him when that happens. If Denver is gonna use Melo to guard Kobe, then Kobe needs to make him work as hard as he can on the defensive end. It might go a long way to slowing Melo's offense down. I do think Kobe's done a great job in this series of posting up when he's got smaller guys guarding him though.

Blogger Cortez said...
"...I'm not ready to call for his firing just yet."

Karl & Anthony seem to differ.

Jones (as should be expected) was getting handily ass-raped by Bryant thereby facilitating the need for a known defensive sieve to step up to the task.

..who, by the way, was getting his eye dotted also while preventing the post baskets.

One of those "non-fouls" was actually a foul (two arms in the back above the lower defensive box). The other one with his hands in the air (while moving backwards at that) was garbage. However I hope that play wasn't an example of his finest defensive effort. If so, we can expect Anthony on Bryant the rest of the way out.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Cortez - It should be noted that Dahntay Jones repeated that same "defensive move" when he was posterized by Ariza (see the main entry for the link).

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
Other than Kobe constantly settling for jumpers, he's been playing almost perfectly.

Personally I hate him, but I fear for the Lakers' opponents' lives when the Lakers aren't down more than 3 with 24 seconds or less to go.

I think the way the Lakers have to win is for their non-Kobe players to all play their average game. That almost never happens however, as their bench has underperformed (that includes D-Fish, considering anyone but Phil would have benched him already).

Kobe is always going to play well in the playoffs, unless he turns it off in a blowout (game 5 of Houston series).

The problem has been when Pau and ScrOdum don't have 20-10 and 15-10 respectively (insert another player in place of scrOdum and it will work). This of course includes the entire team playing solid defense.

So basically the Lakers are like any other team, but have a great closer and only need three and a half player to do well (offensively) to win.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"Personally I hate him, but I fear for the Lakers' opponents' lives when the Lakers aren't down more than 3 with 24 seconds or less to go."

Me too. When Chauncey missed that free throw in the final 20 seconds or whatever it was, which limited the Nuggets' lead to three, I immediately thought, "Well, shit. I just know Kobe's gonna tie it up with a three."

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
Word Bawful.

Is it just me, or is the face guard thing not working? Battier and 'Melo have both been dotted about as much as anyone else on those rise-aboves (as I call them).

Another thought is that if I'm Kobe and 'Melo is a centimeter from my head, I just lean right into the hand and possibly draw a foul.

On several occasions 'Melo patted him on the head with no call, so why not try throwing your skull right into the hand? While you're at it Kobe, maybe running head first into Nene would be a good idea. No chance of injury or charge call.

I'm serious about the face guard though. It's kind of like bringing your arms through a defender's outstretched hand.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Buck -- The magic of a Shane Battier is that he knows he's not going to stop Kobe, because that's not the point of defending him. It's about making it hard for him to score. 'Melo's defense on Kobe has been most successful when Anthony is denying Kobe the ball.

A defender will get really frustrated if his goal is to stop an elite scorer, because it really can't be done. You simply have to limit his touches and then try to make him take shots that have a high degree of difficulty. Face guarding or keeping a hand in the guy's shot pocket...those things are done not to stop but to distract and hinder. They won't always work, but if doing that, say, causes Kobe to miss one or two extra shots or pass off a few times when he otherwise might have driven to the hoop, then it has succeeded.

And the face guarding thing is getting popular. Kobe was doing it to Billups in Game 1. I've seen LeBron and D-Wade do it, etc.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
LMFAO @ ScrOdom

"Personally I hate him, but I fear for the Lakers' opponents' lives when the Lakers aren't down more than 3 with 24 seconds or less to go."

Yeah. We all were thinking the same thing: Kobe for THREE!!!.....BANG!!!

I'll bet my left nut (since the right one is WAY too valuable) that Kobe takes the next big/potential game-tying/winning shot. No way that doesn't happen.

This is exactly why George Karl made that comment about wanting to "kill Chauncey" when he missed that free throw.

...


By the way, this should end all discussions about statistics on "clutch shooting". The fact that Kobe strikes fear into people says it all

Blogger DDC said...
I know he's just a bit player, but I have to pile on Sasha Fierec for a second. Mr. Vujacic has more missed shots(54) than total points(50) this post season. His offensive rating in points/100 poss is a mind-numbing 78. Yet he is still attempting 18.3 shots/48 minutes. Why is he still it the rotation again?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I think Buck Nasty really has a point. If faceguarding is going to become the popular way to guard against jump shots, then really the shooters should just jump forward when taking those shots, and they're guaranteed to get sent to the line. I think it's become so popular to use on Kobe because he's always doing either pull up fadeaways or turnaround fadeaways so that he can create space. He should call the defender's bluff and jump into his shot and just get that call. There's no way the refs won't blow the whistle if the shooter gets smacked in the face.

BTW, you have to love the zen genius of Phil Jackson last night to draw up that last second play for 1-8 (at the time, but ultimately 1-9) Derek Fisher. Way to get it to your hot hand there, Phil.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
DDC just gave the most telling Bawful stat of all time.

The Machine is putting up more FGs than he is scoring points.

What an ironic nickname, as he is becoming the most ineffecient machine of all time.

On McHale's post about Battier: I love that. That the beauty of Battier is that he isn't trying to truly stop Kobe. Send that to FreeDarko and have them write a poem about Battier.

Speaking of which, has anyone purchased their almanac? I keep saying, "I'll buy it, eventually," and then I never do.

Okay let me tell you guys something, I just typed ," she said into google. I got a thing about a lesbian site, and three-five slots down I got a quote talking about how someone always used condoms at the brothel. I had to tell someone, and the internet is that someone.

Blogger Andrei said...
Every time there's a Kobe vs LeBron discussion some analyst picks Kobe for being a cold blooded killer at the end of the game. But, is Kobe coasting on a rep of being a late game assassin? I know I get the same apprehension as everybody else when he pulls up with the game in his hands, but what are his actual percentages of hitting these shots?

According to this: http://82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm

it's not very good. The guy has attempted the most "game winners" since the 03-04 season so perhaps if you take that many you're bound to hit some and keep your rep as an assassin. However, the guy's percentage is worse than Jamal "I like to hoist ill advised 3s" Crawford. Kobe also has only 1 assist during those situations, the most turnovers and he is not blowing the competition away with free throw attempts.

The only thing more of a sham than Kobe's supposed late game prowess is that of Mr. Big Shot. Mr.Billups is shooting a putrid 16% on "game winners" while the league average is about 30%.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
Yams: Actually, if I recall a Truehoop post (which I totally don't agree with), then 'the hot hand' doesn't even mean anything.

The study actually showed that a player that just made a jump shot was more likely to MISS his next shot. It's probably just BS statistics, though.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
DDC -- "Why is he still it the rotation again?" Because I'm pretty sure Phil Jackson was replaced by an alien duplicate. I keep warning you people about this. When will somebody take me seriously?

Wild Yams -- Phil has been doing the whole decoy routine for years. When it works, he looks like a friggin' genius. When it doesn't...not so much. Though, isn't that true of most plays in the NBA? Kind of like how a "good shot" is any shot that goes in.

Buck Nasty -- Re: FreeDarko's Almanac. Yeah, I bought it. It's okay. Their writing, obviously, is sometimes tough to digest. Occasionally, they provide brilliant insight, while at other times they whiff so badly you have to wonder whether they're watching basketball in the same reality as the rest of us. I think that happens because they try so hard to be deep, because that is their thing. But you know, sometimes there is no depth to basketball. It's a sport people play, and sometimes the dudes doing it are just dudes doing their job. But maybe that's just me.

Andrei -- Not that I want to defend Kobe here, but I don't like the clutch shot stats at 82games. The reason is, why are shots taken in the last five minues of a close contest the only "clutch" shots in a game. What about shots that stop runs, or start runs, or sustain runs, or crush an opponent's will during the third quarter, etc.? I've said this before, and I'll stress it again: Basketball games aren't won and lost solely based on what happens at the end of a game. There are a multitude of mini-events in every game that lead to the end result.

Anonymous Chrystal K. said...
I only saw the end of the fourth quarter. I really wanted the Lakers to re-gain the lead, but unfortunately, that didn't happen. hopefully they can win the next three games and call it a day.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
McHale: I totally agree. Some of last year's stuff was so purposely contrived just for the purpose of being stylistic (speaking from their point of view) that it was barely understandable, and I don't mean that it went over my head.

If you've ever seen the episode of South Park where they move to San Francisco and everyone is smelling their own farts, then you know what I mean.

Blogger Andrei said...
Bawful, I agree with your idea that run-busting shots and playing well before the last few minutes are important. My reason for posting the link though was to address the few posts that suggested that Kobe inspires fear in fans and opponents when he has the ball late in the game with a chance to tie or win the game. Also, I think it also applies to all the criticism of Phil Jackson for not getting the ball to Kobe. If you give the ball to Kobe and he misses you as a coach dodge criticism. However, if you actually want to win the game, designing a play that goes to someone else other than Kobe is not a bad plan since (according to the stats) he's not hitting that many of those types of shots.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
I don't believe those percentages. I think I've seen Kobe hit enough important playoff game winners to know that he is more trustworthy than anyone else I've seen. Percentages be damned!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
DDC - That's why I included him in today's entry :)

Buck Nasty - I too got the FreeDarko book a while back and really did enjoy it, but you have to read all their writing with a grain of salt. They are so passionate that they sometimes don't care if they're factually correct. It's still a great read if you're a hoops junkie and you like their site though.

As for typing in things on Google and getting odd suggestions, nothing tops this.

Andrei - Looks like Mr. Bawful already covered this, but I think the point that AK Dave was trying to make is that those stats that you (and others) have quoted clearly don't tell the whole story, since you know that you get scared when Kobe has the ball and the game's on the line. It's the old argument of letting stats try to disprove what your eyes tell you to be the truth (aka John Hollinger Syndrome).

Mr. Bawful - Phil definitely needs to step it up if he wants to 1) retain his reputation as one of the game's smartest coaches, and 2) win that 10th ring.

Chrystal K. - I like your optimism, but unfortunately these games are being played in the real world, where if the Lakers are gonna win it's gonna take 6 or 7 to do so, and that's if they win :(

Blogger DDC said...
Bawful - I've noticed Phil's laissez faire approach this postseason. Dude looks like he would rather be in the Montana mountains getting smoked out. Just completely uninterested. He better get interested before Saturday night or they might be in trouble.

Buck Nasty - The Machine not only has more shots than points, he has more MISSED shots than points. Somebody unplug the Machine. STAT!

Blogger DDC said...
Yams - I knew you got to "The Artist Formerly Known as the Machine" in the WTON, but his play has been beyond atrocious. I mean he's not making open shots, he flat-out does not need to be getting any PT. The same goes for Derek Fisher, his supposed veteren savvy is a meaningless if he's going to continue chucking contested jumpers. And can someone please make Dick Bavetta retire. He has to be 124 years old. That's awesome that he can still run at age, but he needs to be sent to the pasture.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Andrei - "if you actually want to win the game, designing a play that goes to someone else other than Kobe is not a bad plan since (according to the stats) he's not hitting that many of those types of shots"You may want to check those stats again, and this time scroll down to the section that says Leading "Game Winning Shot" Players: PLAYOFFS and notice who is number one.

Also, I wish we had these stats for more than just the last two years so we could also see how guys who were notoriously "clutch" actually compared to the rest of the league. Were Jordan, Bird and Magic always way, way above everyone else in these stats? How bout Jerry West? IMO a stat has to pass the smell test before it can really be considered legit, and putting it to the test with guys who were legendarily clutch would tell us more definitively whether these stats have any meaning or not; cause I believe if you come up with some mathematical formula which tells you a statistical result which just seems to be wrong in every way, then odds are that your formula is flawed and the results shouldn't be trusted.

Blogger lordhenry said...
This is why a series is seven games, not to say that the Lakers might be in trouble, they are. But this is not the first time this post season they split the home series.

I'm more shocked by cleveland, I'm anxious to see how close game 2 is tonight.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
@Wild Yams strange word suggestion: !!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I hate to hate on the WotN but wild yams your posts here are more like the ones you see on espn, its basically a game recap without the humor.

Now I can only amuse myself with the wotns of the eastern conf.

mr bawful, i beg you please take time from your extremely busy schedule and do the ones for the western conf. (i know you do those little editorials, it just isn't the same)

btw no offense. if i wanted a game summary i can do espn. but im here to laugh

Anonymous DKH said...
WOTN nomination for Charles Barkley:

A section of conversation during halftime went something like

Barkley: The Magic should be happy; they're down by 12, but they missed 10 free throws.

Someone else: They were 12 of 20.

Barkley: Yea, they missed 10, 12 free throws. They could be right in this.

The other guy (under his breath): 8 free throws.

Someone else: That's the Auburn math there.

Barkley: You know, I didn't get a degree, but I have a lot of people reporting to me now.

Thanks for reminding us, Charles. All of us at home love to hear that.

======

Also, did anyone see the Magic halftime look-in? Could the team look any more disinterested?

======

AV flopping all over the place to start the third. Must be pissed that he got 3 fouls in the first half.

Anonymous Girugamesh said...
How did you guys miss Nene's creepy grin?

http://cdn1.sbnation.com/imported_assets/159650/1242975193869_medium.gif

It's the polar opposite to Duncanface: Neneface

PS: this post's Captcha is Conal.

Anonymous I've had several large glasses of wine said...
Wild Yams: "IMO a stat has to pass the smell test before it can really be considered legit, and putting it to the test with guys who were legendarily clutch would tell us more definitively whether these stats have any meaning or not; cause I believe if you come up with some mathematical formula which tells you a statistical result which just seems to be wrong in every way, then odds are that your formula is flawed and the results shouldn't be trusted."

If there's something wrong with the formula, then look carefully at the formula and what precisely it is saying. Don't discount it all as scary number mumbo-jumbo because it might not fit your pre-conceived notions about who is clutch and who isn't. Stats help us cut through the myths and reputations of players. "The smell test" is a cliché. It's okay to be analytical.

Regarding the non-Kobe attempt at the end of the game: if the superstar always took the game-winning shot, then no one would remember Robert Horry. Still though, I agree that Derek Fisher is poo-poo these days.

Anonymous Arlen said...
hah, that neneface gif is great. As well as the lakers cries as he is making love to the camera.
Its like the mona lisa - no matter where you move in the room, it seems like his eyes are right on you


And a big WOTN to nba.com - its been like 5 days since I've been able to access it, keep getting webserver '500' errors due to too much traffic or whatnot.

Blogger Iceberg said...
Ouch. The Warriors getting hammered on CNET: "The Golden State Warriors don't play defense--except, perhaps, when it comes to the indefensible."

Here is the article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10248462-71.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5

Blogger karl said...
http://espn.go.com/nba/photos?photoId=2236732&gameId=290523007

Gotta use that picture of Dahntay "Fleet-Foul" Jones for the game 3 write-up.

Anonymous DKH said...
WOTN nomination for the Magic-Cavs game 3 refs: For being so bad that even the analysts commented on it. That was probably the worst-officiated game since the Suns-Spurs game a couple years back. Guess the league really wants Kobe to get his fourth ring.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I just gotta ask this. When the fuck did Lebron turn into a flopper?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bawful, what happened to the white man jumping challenge posts? Have you added to your two inch vert gain? I have been fervently awaiting for the updates for that, so please validate my sorry pathetic life.

Anonymous Andy said...
Kobe's beaver face after he hit that 3 last night has to be one of the worst things I've ever seen (from him). It's hideous in so many ways.

I also loved his slip-n-slide move on the court near the end of the game (I have no video) where he got fouled and slid forward on his chest with his arms out in the swan dive position. Reminded me of crappy old Disney Pocahontas.

NBA.com sucks for titling all their Magic-Cavs articles "CAN THE MAGIC BOUNCE BACK AFTER LEBRON'S BIG SHOT?!??!!!??!!" Last time I checked, barely scraping one game out on your home court isn't impressive (as nice as the shot was) and their bullshit propping-up of the Cavs was pretty dumb, especially as well as Orlando has played them.

In such a situation, the players should still maintain there morel. In games, anything is possible.

A really helpful article - Thank you very much I wish you don't mind me writing about this post on my website I will also link back to this post Thanks

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