Scary Baby

Editor's note: Wild Yams is once again our special Rockets-Lakers correspondent. And Dan B. once again provided today's header photo.

The Boston Celtics (Game 3): The Orlando Magic are an inside-out team: They feed the ball to Dwight Howard down low and they drop three-bombs from on-high. That's who they are...it's what they do. If you're going to beat the Magic, or even stay within 20 points of them, then you probably have to take away at least one of those two options. But on Friday night, the Celtics did not; Howard (17 points, 7-for-8 14 rebounds, 5 blocks) owned the paint and the Magicians connected on 50 percent (9-for-18) of their three-point attempts. It was just that kind of night, as Boston's famed and fabulous D got roasted over a Magical fire. (Incendio!) Orlando shot nearly 60 percent for the game (39-for-66), a figure that included nine layups and nine dunks. Did the Celtics ever give up 18 layups/dunks when KG was playing? Just curious. Oh well. Whether you lose by one or 21 (as Boston did), it's still only one loss. Uh, right?

Ray Allen's jump shot (Game 3): Don't look now, but Ray-Ray's jumper has gone wayward again. After his Game 3 pants-crapper (3-for-13, 0-for-5 from downtown), Allen is 12-for-40 (30 percent) from the floor and 3-for-19 (15.7 percent) in threes for the series. I know everybody always turn all shocked and astounded when Ray occasionally goes broke in the playoffs, but that's what happens when you live and die by the jump shot.

Kendrick Perkins: Apparently, Perk decided to take a page out of Kobe Bryant's "Complete Guide To Self-Defense On The Basketball Court." Shortly after being abused by an uncalled shove from Howard, Kendrick decided that the best defense was a good offense...in the form of his elbow to Michael Pietrus' throat.


The foul was ruled a flagrant, but Perkins was neither ejected nor suspended afterward...despite the fact that this particular cheapie was clearly delivered above the notorious "above the shoulders" demarcation line. Maybe it was because their was no windup or follow through, maybe it was because Pietrus didn't do enough theatrical writhing, or maybe it was because David Stern is using a new method to decide on his final rulings. Like forcing a death row convict to fight his way through an underground arena of death. If the convict survives, he goes free and the play stands as called. If he dies a horrible death, the NBA apologizes and applies a postgame fine, foul upgrade and/or suspension. Oh, and by the way, the convict isn't really set free. Stern has him killed anyway. That's just how D-Stern rolls.

The Houston Rockets (Game 3): Houston definitely didn't back down in this game, but unfortunately for them they didn't play very well either. The Lakers didn't have a very good game themselves, but were still able to win rather handily on the road, making them now 3-0 in Houston this year, and 6-7 overall against the Rockets this season. The main reason that Houston lost this game is because their vaunted defense just was not able to slow the Lakers down enough to make them play the Rockets tempo like they were able to do in Game 1. In that game the Lakers were only able to score 92 points in a loss, but in the two games since LA has put up 111 and 108 points, both Laker wins. The fast pace helped the Lakers play their game, even if they didn't play very well, only shooting 43% from the field (though they did hit 11-20 three pointers). The Rockets didn't really get a good game from any of their players, and that's something of a large problem when you want to win a playoff game. One of the main culprits was...

Ron Artest (Game 3): In Games 1 and 2 Crazy Pills had really been playing some top quality ball on the offensive end, so it was probably just a matter of time before he came back down to earth a bit, and that's exactly what he did in Game 3. He still had 25 points, but it took him 23 shots to get there, including shooting only 2-8 from 3-pt range. As is sometimes the case with this Rockets team, Artest's poor offensive decisions can be one of the opponents' best weapons. Artest was pretty unstoppable when he took the ball inside, but he apparently prefers to shoot from distance, and that's not good for his team (if they want to win, that is). He ended his night by getting called for the weakest flagrant two foul I've ever seen (which probably should have just been a shooting foul, and nothing more), and getting ejected; but at least the league has since retroactively changed it to a flagrant one. Fortunately the foul came in the last minute of play after the Lakers had already blown it open, so this ejection really had no bearing on the outcome of the game (unlike Artest's ejection in Game 2).

Aaron Brooks (Game 3): With Derek Fisher out due to a suspension, and little-used Jordan Farmar in to take Fisher's place, Brooks responded by laying an egg to the tune of 7 points and 1 assist, with 3 turnovers and 5 fouls. Not really what a team needs from its starting point guard. Additionally he was pretty badly outplayed by the aforementioned Farmar, who finished with 12 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and only 1 turnover. Farmar played so well that 2nd string PG for the Lakers, Shannon Brown, who figured to play a big role in this game with Fisher out, only got off the bench for 15 minutes. Fortunately for the Rockets, with Fisher's suspension having been served, Farmar will no doubt return to his spot at the end of the bench, where his chances of terrorizing Houston will be much more limited.

Rick Adelman (Game 3): Yao Ming suffered some kind of injury in the 2nd quarter of the game, but continued to play on it. As the game went on Yao appeared to become more and more hobbled, and by the 4th quarter was pretty obviously laboring up and down the court, yet Adelman left Yao in there, despite the Lakers having a double-digit lead for most of the last 12 minutes. Yao refused to have his foot looked at or treated, and courageously (and probably stupidly) just played through it, but you can't fault a player for trying to play through pain. You can however fault the coach for letting his star player risk further injury by watching him limp up and down the court like that in a game that's probably decided, or you can at least tell him that if he won't let the trainers look at the injury then you're not gonna put him in the game. Adelman, however, sat idly by and let Yao continue to play, and now Yao is done for the season for suffering a hairline fracture in his left foot. Now, it's unfair to say conclusively that Adelman allowing Yao to play on an injury is what caused the fracture (because for all we know the fracture may have been the initial injury), but Rockets fans are certainly blaming him, and it's hard not to agree with them a little bit. If one of your players is limping around out there the way Yao was, you've got to force him to let the trainers look at him. Period. This is especially true when said player has a long history of foot and leg injuries.

Game 3 of the Mavericks-Nuggets series: My eyes...my eyes...THEY BURN. They did after watching this game, anyway, thanks to the fact that the teams combined for 61 personal fouls and 89 free throw attempts. If I'd known this game was going to devolve into Foul Fest '09, I would have flipped over to Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. Of course, you've gotta love the NBA, because the one foul that should have been called wasn't...

The non-call on 'Melo's game winner: The setup: Dallas was protecting a two-point lead with less than 10 seconds to go. Incredibly, despite the ridonkulous number of fouls called in this game, the Mavs still had one left to give. (And I'm sure that wasn't home cookin' or anything.) As Carmelo Anthony tried to dribble his way into a shot, Antoine Wright gave him two hard bumps that went uncalled right before 'Melo drilled the game-winning three with a second left. The Mavericks, rather than being upset that Wright didn't, I don't know, try to defend the play, were beside themselves that the foul wasn't called. And poor Mark Cuban looked like he had just found an uncooked snake head in his broccoli. Unfortunately for them, science has proven that angst can't alter the outcome of a game, no matter how painful the circumstances. (For more information, please see The Collected Words of the :07 Seconds or Less Phoenix Suns.)

Said Wright: "I was positive a whistle was coming, just like everybody else was positive the whistle was coming. I made a play on the ball like I was told in the huddle, and the call wasn't made. ... I'm upset like everyone else in this locker room, and I feel like we have a right to be upset." Yeah, well, here's some advice, Antoine: Next time you want to get an intentional foul call, you might have to do more than just bump the guy. WRAP HIM UP. This is the NBA, and sometimes fouls have to be MORE than obvious for the officials to call them.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who probably should have preached solid defense rather than intentional fouling, had something interesting to say about Mark Wunderlich, the ref who was responsible for not making the call: "I'm almost as disappointed for Mark as I am for us. ... It's a call he makes 100 percent of the time." 100 percent of the time? Really, Rick? Well, maybe you should read this then:

A day after Game 4 of the Western Conference finals last year, the NBA said a foul should have been called against Derek Fisher(notes) of the Los Angeles Lakers on the final possession. That could have given San Antonio a chance to win the game and get even in the series.

Fisher jumped and came down on Brent Barry(notes) in the final seconds of a two-point game. No foul was called and Barry missed badly on a 3-pointer as time expired.

Mark Wunderlich, one of the three officials for that game last year, was part of the crew for the Denver-Dallas game Saturday night and was the one closest to Wright and Anthony.
As always, I'm not sayin'...I'm just sayin'. But wait! There's more! The NBA, in its consistently inconsistent fashion, actually came out and admitted that the refs goofed. I know. Welcome to Armageddon, Population: Us. According to NBA president of league and basketball operations Joel Litvin: "At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s three-point basket."

What a boner! It's nice that the NBA actually owned up for a change, but Dirk Nowitzki wasn't exactly thrilled by the league's mea culpa was Dirk Nowitzki: "If I was the league, I wouldn't say that. I don't think it makes anybody feel better. We don't get the last seven seconds back to kind of play it over again. More than anything, I think it made it worse."

And no NBA officiating controversy would be complete without the Vegas angle. From Basketbawful reader Karc: "BTW, over/under for the game was 209.5/210. If the foul is called and Dallas holds on, it's 208. After the non-call, it's 211. Just sayin'..." Huh. What a crazy random happenstance!

Now, some final thoughts from Stephanie G:

A flood of thoughts wash over me thinking about this situation:

1. The Suns are the only other team something this weird could've happened to.

2. In what other sport would a team want to intentionally foul AKA break the rules so as to gain an advantage? Usually breaking the rules results in a non-desirable penalty. Basketball is just odd that way.

3. If 'Melo misses the shot it's the Denver players who are having kittens and the NBA is issuing an apology to them instead.

4. I'm under the impression that coaches and players tell the refs in these situations that they are going to foul so as to not leave any doubt. What happened here?

5. Wright's foul was weak but "wrapping him up" may have been a flagrant 2 or something given recent history (I'm only half joking).

6. If the score was tied and the same thing happened and the ref did call the foul then fans would be complaining that refs shouldn't call something that soft at the end of the game.

7. Dirk is averaging something like 30-11 on 50% in the first three games. Even though he was taking tough fadeaways down the stretch I don't want to hear anyone blaming him. Denver is just a better team.

8. Dallas was up 4 with 30 seconds left in the 4th. Some teams find ways to win, others...well...

9. 'Melo can't get any love from the refs unless he's absolutely hammered in the paint. He can't even draw intentional fouls! How awesome is that?

10. How much does this feed the "Stern hates Cuban" conspiracies?
The Atlanta Hawks (Game N/A): Yes, technically speaking, they're still in the playoffs. But they won't be for long. And even though I could care less about this series at this point, Basketbawful reader Gal D. did have at least one beef with Game 3: "In case you missed it, the Cavs had a 29-11 advantage in FTA. This can obviously be explained away as one team being more aggressive, so I checked the shot-chart. The Crabs had 47 attempts in the paint and 44 mid to long-range jump shots, while the Dirty Birds had 52 attempts in the paint and 42 J's. I didn't see the whole game, I'm just sayin'." Hey, Gal, didn't you know that in addition to being named MVP, LeBron traveled to South America and found an ancient Incan idol that has rendered he and the rest of the Crabs incapable of committing fouls? No, really. It happened. (Furthermore, if King Crab managed to survive a nuclear explosion by hiding in a refrigerator, nobody would even question it.)

Jaime Aron, Associated Press quote machine: Basketbawful reader mister d00bie said: "Just noticed this gem of a sentence in the AP recap of the Mavs/Nuggets game: 'The Mavericks were hoping to feed off their crowd, just like the Nuggets did in the first two games at their place, but all the fouls kept the fans from getting into the action. The game was so blah that the public-address announcer reminded everyone at halftime that the team needed them to get more involved.' It appears that in this 'global economic crisis,' that AP Sports writers have had to sell their thesauruses to survive."

The Los Angeles Lakers (Game 4): In the interest of being concise I'm tempted to say everything about them was bawful in this loss; but since that's not really in keeping with the spirit of this site, and because I definitely owe all the people I battled with last week over the Lakers & Rockets a take from the other side, allow me to expand upon the myriad ways that the Lakers were plain miserable in Game 4. For starters, don't let the 12 point margin of victory by the Rockets fool you, this thing was much, much more one-sided than that. No, the Lakers were only able to salvage the appearance of a relatively close game due to outscoring the Rockets 33-16 in the 4th quarter, which was other wise known as "garbage time", as the Lakers trailed by 29 after three quarters. As written above, Houston was without Yao Ming for this game (as they will be for the rest of the season), because he was sidelined with a broken foot; but that didn't stop the Rockets from pouncing all over the Lakers right from the start. Houston raced out to a 17-4 lead, then a 26-10 lead, and the Lakers never closed the gap to within single digits the rest of the game. I could give you reasons or excuses for why the Lakers played so poorly or why the Rockets played so well, but I won't. The Lakers just got their asses handed to them by a Rockets team that's now missing both T-Mac and Yao, and that means the Lakers will now have to make a return trip to Houston if they want to advance to the next round. All that's left to be said is to point out the individual performers who were the worst, and that brings us to...

Kobe Bryant (Game 4): Normally a guy who gets up for just about every game, Kobe was largely invisible in this one, taking only 17 shots and scoring only 15 points. He was only 1-4 from three-point land, and didn't earn even one trip to the foul line. On the other end Kobe let Shane Battier light him up for 23 points on only 12 shots, including 5-10 from deep. To put this in perspective, Battier had only scored 18 points combined in Games 1, 2 and 3 of this series, and it was the first time Battier had scored 20 or more points in a game this entire season (didn't Kobe just get selected to the All-Defensive 1st team last week?). Kobe was most assuredly not going to be confused with Michael Jordan after this game.

Derek Fisher (Game 4): Freshly back from his one game suspension for leveling Luis Scola in Game 2, Fisher played like he'd been suspended for two games instead. His line: 2 points on 1-4 shooting with no assists in 20 minutes of playing time, and a game low -26 on the +/-. That alone would be worth a mention here, but the fact that his counterpart, Aaron Brooks, went off for 34 points on 12-20 shooting cemented it. Considering Brooks played so poorly in Game 3 while Fisher was out that he got mentioned above, maybe Phil Jackson should sit Fisher for the rest of the series. Then again, Jordan Farmar doesn't exactly get a reprieve here either, since he was guarding Brooks for some of the 21 minutes he was on the floor.

Lamar Odom (Game 4): Maybe Odom was waiting till the 4th quarter to make a contribution, but unfortunately for him he wasn't in the game that long, as he left with back spasms after a pretty bad collision in the 3rd quarter, during which he picked up a charge. Nevertheless, in the 25 minutes Odom did get to play, his contributions were negligible at best: 2 points on 4 shots, with 6 boards and 3 assists. Odom will have tests today to see how bad he's hurt, but if he can't go, at least the Lakers have...

Andrew Bynum (Game 4): Bynum continued his parade of futility through these playoffs with another scoreless game, this time in 12 minutes of playing time. He did manage to avoid a 12 trillion, however, thanks to one missed shot, two rebounds, 1 turnover and 3 fouls. Well done Andrew, you're exactly the spark off the bench the Lakers hoped you'd be. I should probably stop here before I go ahead and name the rest of the Lakers' entire roster (all of which deserve a mention, except maybe for Pau Gasol and Shannon Brown). It should be pointed out that the Lakers are now 0-4 in games against Houston in which Yao does not play. Not a good omen if you're a Lakers fan.

The Orlando Magic (Game 4): The good news: Orlando totally shut down Eddie House (zero points, 0-for-1) and Brian Scalabrine (zero points, 0-for-2). Now for the bad news: With a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the defending champs, the Magicians found out that the NBA...is where Big Baby Happens. (Thanks to Andrew B. for the link.)


This was especially sweet redemption for Davis, not only for that whole crying episode, but because Davis was the guy who fouled Rashard Lewis with 11 seconds to go, thus empowering Lewis to put the Magic ahead with a couple foul shots. So I guess we can excuse Baby for celebrating so hard he probably almost burst a vein. Oh, and let's not forget about that fat kid he shoved on his way to the Boston bench:

Baby shove

Orlando's starting backcourt (Game 4): Rafer Alston and J.J. Redick combined to shoot 2-for-14 and 1-for-11 from downtown. Oh, which reminds me...

The Magic's three-point shooting (Game 4): Remember way back at the beginning of this post how I said that, to beat the Magic, you needed to take away either the inside or the outside? Well, Dwight did his thing (23 points, 8-for-14, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks), but it wasn't raining outside. Orlando went 5-for-27 from downtown. As I also said above, live by the three and sometimes you'll die by it too. Ray Allen feels your pain, guys.

The Boston bench: There total contribution for the game in total: 2 points (from Stephon Marbury), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, a steal and 11 fouls in 35 minutes. I hearby dub them "The Invisible Men."

Weekend lacktivity update: Chris and his bud (and regular Basketbawful photo contributor) Dan B. tag-teamed on this weekend's lacktion.

Celtics-Magic - Game 3: Orlando's Tony Battie bricked twice for a +2 suck differential in 3:49. Teammate and fellow big man Adonal Foyle did get a board in 3:02, but negated it with a giveaway, foul, and brick for a 2:1 Madsen-level Voskuhl.

Lakers-Rockets - Game 3: Josh Powell missed two shots in exactly 3 minutes for a +2, marking his second straight +2 (and second straight appearance of unimportance).

First off, here's a shout out to my best friend and fellow 'bawful devotee Dan B. who helped out with the source material research for tonight, as I was away at the racetrack. Now, on to the top non-contributions of this playoff Saturday!

Nuggets-Mavs - Game 3): Johan Petro took a foul for a suck differential of +1 in 1:37, and as a center, that also qualified him for a 1:0 Voskuhl. Dallas's Gerald Green offered a verdant +7 suck differential in 9:11, the worst single-game performance of the playoffs to date (thanks to four bricks and three fouls). And, here's some mediocrity Dan noticed that has to be quoted verbatim (if you're looking for a cure for insomnia):

"What do you call something that isn't lacktion, but isn't action either? I call it Jose Juan Barea's night. Barea statistically had a fairly unproductive 11:37 of playing time, going 0-2 from the field, but with 1 rebound and 1 assist to balance it out. And if you factor in Denver's Nene having just a single name to type or say, that also balances out Jose Juan Barea's three names. So overall, it's a wash."

Cavs-Hawks (Game 3): The Dirty Birds have been thoroughly roasted by the crustacean nation all throughout this second round, tonight being no exception. Except that for once, the ultimate lacktion matchup finally lived up to its nickname, with the least important amongst them suddenly rubbing shoulders with some surprisingly significant ballers!

Daniel Gibson gave up the rock once and bricked three times (twice from Peachtree Street) for a +4 in 14:06, while Ben Wallace of all people turned over the ball once in 8:16 for a +1 (that also accrued a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl). Bench partners Tarence Kinsey and Sasha Pavlovic clawed at a Game Boy for 46 seconds in a four-way F1 Race battle with Atlanta's Solomon Jones and Othello Hunter, the first time in these playoffs that we have SYNCHRONIZED DOUBLE MARIO BROTHERS! (These creatures of the sea and air were so aligned in their lacktive celebration of the Famicom, that NONE of them even dared contribute anything to any statistical category!)

And THE Mario West avoided honoring his pizza-eating plumber namesake tonight, but instead went collecting gold coins with a take of 1.5 trillion!!

Lakers-Rockets (Game 4): What playoff game is complete without a Voskuhl from Andrew Bynum? This afternoon, his 11:37 saw two boards negated by a brick, turnover, rejection, and three fouls for a 4:2 ratio.

Celtics-Magic (Game 4): Adonal Foyle watched a 49-second snippet of "The Wizard" for a Mario.
Dennis Rodman: Seems the Worm tried to worm his way out of a $1,000 dinner tab and hilarity ensued. And by "hilarity," I mean that an altercation broke out in which the manager of the hotel at which Rodman had eaten got punched in the face. Once a Bad Boy, always a Bad Boy. (Thanks to Chris for the link.)

Update! Mark Cuban: How's this for a Mother's Day present from the land of Superdickery: Cuban mouthed off to Kenyon Martin's mom, Lydia Moore, at the conclusion of Game 3 of the Mavs-Nuggets series. According to Mark, he "only" told Kenyon's momma that her boy was a thug (an unnamed fan was calling the Nuggets thugs, and Cuban admits to telling Lydia "That includes your son"). However, Martin's agent, Brian Dyke, claims that Cuban told Moore, "Your son is a punk." No word yet on whether this happened before or after Cuban thugged a cameraman on his way to the Dallas locker room (at the 0:55 mark). (Thanks to DDC for the head's up.)

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77 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
In the big baby game winner video, when it shows the Boston bench with big baby celebrating, look closely at Brian Scalabrine's face.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Man, the Lakers really backed down in that game yesterday.

Blogger eileen said...
I'm totally bummed about Yao- I thought the Rockets might end up being the dark horse of this year's playoffs. But they won pretty handily without him, so who knows?

Big Baby's starting to come into his own as a player this season, especially with the mid-range jump shot he's developed.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
With Wunderlich getting that Nuggets-Mavs call wrong at the end of Game 3 and the league coming out and saying it was the wrong call, this makes two years in a row where the league has chastised an officiating crew he was a part of for blowing an end of game call like that in the playoffs. Not only was Wunderlich on the crew that got the Fisher/Barry call wrong last year, but as you may recall, the NBA came out afterwards and said they blew that one too. At this point, Wunderlich probably shouldn't be officiating another game in these playoffs.

That said, Stephanie G is 100% right that you know there is something wrong with a sport when a team intentionally tries to commit a foul in an effort to help their own team, and the sad thing is that this is something that happens throughout every NBA game. For at least the last two decades (and probably for longer), coaches in the NBA have simply sought to exploit loopholes in the rulebook, and the league has made zero effort to close them. Stuff like taking an intentional foul at the end of a game is something that should have long ago been written out of the rules, but it seems like it's the kind of thing the league never even thinks about changing. I've long been a proponent of changing the rules so that any attempts to get the refs to call a foul on purpose, for any reason should be penalized severely. I hate watching defenders wrap a player up rather than let him dunk on them just cause they can't defend him. I hate watching guys run into the lane and try to stand stone still to take a charge (and risk injury, I might add). I hate the Hack a Shaq. I hate grabbing guys so they won't get a breakaway. I hate fouls to give. I hate flopping. I hate all that nonsense. Anything that leads to stoppages of play is bad for the game, IMO, and the sheer number of times the game is stopped because people are trying to get the refs to blow the whistle is just insane. You don't see this in any other sport. Even in soccer, where players flop and dive, you don't see anywhere near this level of intentional fouls and game stoppages. Just in basketball. It has to stop, and it should have been stopped a long, long time ago.

Anon - I don't think the Lakers backed down yesterday. That would imply that they showed up in the first place. Yesterday's game was more like a boxing match where one boxer (Houston) scores a knockout on the first punch thrown. I've got no problems saying this: the Lakers were flat out pathetic yesterday, an utter disgrace. Whatever negative description you can think of to assign them for that horrid display of basketball they put on yesterday, they are well deserving of it. Truly, truly embarrassing. You definitely won't get any arguments out of me today for anything derogatory you want to say about them. I'll just say it in advance: I agree with every insult you want to say about them, and with every joke you want to make at their expense. The Lakers should be ashamed of themselves.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Potential Double Ewing Theory in effect on the same team. Has that ever happened before? If the blackhole known as Artest (4-19 in game 4 chucking up horrible shots while his team is living in the paint and getting open shots off movement) blows out his knee I would expect Houston to miraculously win it all. T-Mac is, well, T-Mac, and Yao kills his team's offense by clogging the lane and causing strings of turn overs when his team stands around trying to get him the ball. To be fair to Yao though his team couldn't throw a competent entry pass if their lives depended on it. Well, OK, that's all dumb to say after one game, but the records with/without Yao are telling and...come on, it's funny to think about, isn't it? Imagine both Yao and T-Mac in street clothes while Brooks or Scola or someone hoists the finals MVP.

Battier is the goody two-shoes version of Bowen from another dimension or something. I want his babies.

Phil Jackson is getting exposed yet again. Did he just stop caring after 2004 or what? No set rotation still, no clue what to do with Fisher, yanks guy's minutes around, does his cute thing where he lets his team play through adversity and they go down 17-4, doesn't tell his team to run the offense through Gasol, keeps putting in Luke at critical moments so he can make his normal assists to the other team...so good. Watching LA fail feels better than watching another team succeed.

I feel bad for both Bynum and Oden (and Odom too). =/

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
You... you did not just put "Incendio" in a post...

What's next, a debate on whether Twilight or Harry Potter is better?

Blogger Shiv said...
"...maybe it was because Pietrus didn't fall dramatically to the floor for some theatric writing..."

?!

Um, I hope that was sarcasm cos' did you actually watch Pietrus fall? I know TV makes things look slower (which explains why I have such a hard time understanding why it's so difficult to stay in front of Lebron) but Pietrus was standing still at the point of impact and Perkins was barely moving (even by his standards). However Pietrus still went down like he was shot in the head...and the foot...simultaneously.

It's even funnier because House was standing right behind Pietrus and propping him up so Pietrus had to fall sideways and straight down! How is that even remotely un-theatrical? Forget about flagrant, that's hardly even a foul.

Anonymous Pig said...
I just gotta mention Antoine Wright's reaction when he had not fouled melo..he raised his hands and stepped away like he's saying that he didn't foul him

Anonymous bizarro said...
...and now Rivers is instructing his players on "how to foul". This is him advocating to jump at the opponent, and foul hard with both arms:"The wrap-up also takes longer than raking a guy across the arms, and it reduces the chance that he can get off an attempt and get three foul shots,". (seen on http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2009/news/story?id=4156063)
How bad is this???players now have no real idea what a traveling foul is, and you need to clarify how to make a foul. basketball is really starting to suck.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Also, I'll play Devil's Advocate for Antoine Wright. I watched that play live, and it's amazing the effect of the degregation of the NBA. Immediately after his "intentional foul", you can see Antoine Wright instinctively shoot his hands in the air, in a "I'm not guilty" type reflex. This is what our professional basketball players are trained to do in light of the flopping and the refs control of the game.

Blogger Headless Chicken said...
Did anyone look closely at Baby's face and realize how - though in joyful celebration - he appears to be crying. Again?

Speaking of Big Baby - wv: maker.

Anonymous poptarted said...
People foul in every sport to get advantages of different kinds.

The free throw, the power play, the penalty shot, etc. A long as the points aren't automatically awarded then the fouling team gets an advantage if the guy who got fouled was clearly going to score.

Freezing the kicker, a hit to take out the opponents best player, all these things can be construed as not in the spirit of the rules.

Taking advantage of penalties is just playing to win, and until games are officiated by all-seeing robots that's just how it needs to be for sports to be played as fair as possible. I say bring on the robots.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Pretty sure I saw Hotlanta's Josh Smith blow two dunks against the Crabs. I'm pretty sure this dude bonks more dunks than anybody in the league... largely because the whole point of a dunk is that it's converted about 100% of the time. I declare the J-Smoove watch on!

Blogger Zonker said...
hey, Scal shot 0-2, not 0-20. That would have been awesome, Scal taking 20 shots

I'm surprised you didn't mention anything about the Celtics bench achieving a Team Voskuhl. Also, when the Hawks are finally eliminated, can we get a tribute to Josh Smith's total number of outside jumpers taken in the postseason?

Anonymous La Dolce Vita said...
There is a completely idiotic article up on Fanhouse saying that Battier's taking a charge on Odom on the play where he was injured was a "cheap shot." I mean, wow...I can't even put into words how stupid that is.

Blogger DDC said...
More Mark Cuban superdickery. This guy is going to end up getting beat up one of these days.

Anonymous Jack said...
Just a thought, but the images from the boner link you posted were originally from Superdickery: http://www.superdickery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=32:seduction-index&id=303:batmans-boner&Itemid=24
obviously I shouldn't say they were stolen because Superdickery took them from Batman comics, but still.

Blogger Junior said...
Brian Scalabrine (zero points, 0-for-20)

Wtf?

Scal had TWENTY SHOTS?

Anonymous plonden said...
Is the Lakers - Rockets Game Four evidence of a dead superstar bounce?

Blogger chris said...
Wild Yams: The only analagous plays I can think of in American sports are the intentional walk in baseball, the 4th down penalty in football to get a better punt distance, and hauling down a player on a scoring chance in hockey - all of which do not have the odd clock effects that intentional fouling does on the hardwood.

Part of the problem in the Associaton is the seemingly subjective limits of physical contact from game to game, something that has been true for quite some time.

Blogger Will said...
Mr. Bawful,is this current Boston bench close to being as bad as the Celtics' '86-'87 bench (which I believe you dubbed the Worst. Bench. Ever.)?
Also, did Scal really take 20 shots last night, or did you mean to type 2?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Anon: Actually, dunks are more like a 95% shot, for example LeBron and Dwight Howard, but not like Josh Smith (93.6%) and Shawn Marion (91.9%) and Yao (87.4%).

Blogger Wild Yams said...
La Dolce Vita - I would submit that guys standing still while an offensive player drives and leaps at the basket are dangerous plays that can definitely result in awkward falls like the one Odom had yesterday; but to say it was a "cheap shot" is just nonsense. You see this exact play in virtually every game, often a couple times a game. As I wrote above, I think this is the kind of thing the league needs to outlaw, as it's yet another loophole in the rulebook which has become exploited with such frequency that it is now woven into the fabric of the NBA game at this point. Hell, they even added that stupid "restrictive circle" to encourage these types of plays! Anything which encourages players to run underneath an airborne player is just not smart, nor is it fun to watch as a fan. I'd much rather see the defender try to, you know, play defense, than try to undercut a player and hope they're outside that circle so they can get the call. I'd really rather see the league empower the refs to say "that guy looked like he was trying to get a call rather than play defense, so the foul is on him." But Battier didn't do anything outside the norm whatsoever. It's a problem with the NBA, not with Battier. Not at all, and under the current rules that was a charge on Odom all the way.

Chris - You're right that there are instances in other sports of similar ways to supposedly have your team penalized in an effort to help the team, but they are quite rare, or they carry a much greater penalty for doing so. For instance, intentionally walking a batter can prove disastrous if the next guy gets a hit (or even worse, a home run), so it's more a case of helping yourself and hurting yourself at the same time. The play with Wright and Melo was one where Dallas was really not hurting themselves at all if the foul had been called. I just feel like there should always be some tangible (as opposed to negligible) downside for intentionally trying to involve the refs; but that is not at all the case in the NBA.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The box score for the Lakers' blowout doesn't even make sense. There's nothing about it saying they should have lost that bad, just the addition of the little things.

Yams: I don't think that circle is that bad. (I think you meant to say it discourages those types of plays under the basket, where most people are looking upwards). I think it adds a rock-paper-scissors element to offense and defense, or an attack-block-throw system of balance if you will. Otherwise, it'd be just the offensive player simply escalating his aggressiveness knowing the risk reward was worth it, and the defensive player would escalate thinking if they're gonna be called for a foul, might as well make it clear (in other words, lots of midair collisions that would be far worse than the defender on the ground "undercutting" the shooter).

And did you honestly just suggest giving the already over-worked incompetent refs even more Stern power? Uuugh. Why not just suggest a solution to get rid of the 3-pt line since it benefits these inside-outside exploit shenanegians? (re: Orlando, Phoenix).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Anonymous #1 -- I do'nt see Scal in that video. Am I missing something?

Anonymous #2 -- At least.

eileen -- Yeah. It's a bummer, and yet another sign that Yao just seems incapable of making it through an entire season. I'm gonna go all unintentionally dirty quote machine on you here, but his body, it seems, just can't stand up to all the pounding. As for Baby, yeah, he's developed a pretty sweet midrange jumper. I'm happy for him...he's becoming one of those ultra-rare successful second-rounders.

Yams -- Crap, I actually forgot that the NBA said they goofed on that foul last year too. Big "d'oh" for Wunderlich.

I agree with the thoughts on fouling. Evil Ted and I were just talking about that, and it's the single biggest thing we hate about today's game.

stephanie g -- This is kind of unprecedented, that a team loses both of its best players (or in Knee-Mac's case "best") and then blasts a team that most people think could (or should) win the NBA title. Weird. As for Jackson, all I can say is that this is NOT the same guy I remember from years past, in Chicago and his first stint in L.A., where he was a master of playoff adjustments. The dude needs to be relaxing on a rocking chair somewhere.

AnacondaHL -- Nope. There's no debate. Harry Potter is better. Done. (Also, that's hardly the geekiest reference on this here blog.)

Shiv -- My bad. I should have said, he wasn't theatrical ENOUGH.

Pig -- Exactly. That doesn't look like the action of a player who WANTS the call.

bizarro -- It's all NF man...No Fundamentals. We need to bring in Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn as foul consultants. "See, this is how you do it." [clotheslines somebody]

AnacondaHL -- Yep, yep. The old 7-11 routine. I started a paragraph for today's post and deleted it, but basically I was saying that it's a Catch 22. Refs aren't supposed to make critical calls in end-of-game situations. That seems to be what the players want. Unless they don't want it. Is a foul a foul? Should officiating be consistent all game, or only for 43 minutes, with the last 5 being a "swallow the whistle" affair?

Headless Chicken -- I will give Baby a pass for crying yesterday.

poptarted -- "A long as the points aren't automatically awarded then the fouling team gets an advantage if the guy who got fouled was clearly going to score." It's funny you say that. A few years ago, ET and I were playing in a bball tournament in which fouls in the act of shooting or fouls after a team was in the penalty counted for automatic points. In fact, I won one of our games by getting fouled on a layup attempt. It was crazy.

Anonymous #3 -- I only remember him missing one dunk in Game 3, but I was nodding off a bit. But I'm all for a Josh Smith watch...except that I have a funny feeling his season is gonna end tonight...

Zonker -- Yup. Typo. Scal was 0-for-2.

BleedingHeartPessimist -- I leave all the Voskuhl reporting to Chris. Chris...why?! But yeah, they sure did. Gak.

La Dolce Vita -- Speaking of gak.

DDC -- Added.

Jack -- Believe me, I know and have linked to Superdickery many, many times. Heck, I even made it an official Basketbawful Word of the Day. But sometimes I like to give other sites a little love.

Junior -- My bad. 0-for-2.

plonden -- I think so. The Rockets were psyched to prove to the world they weren't a bunch of Yao-less losers. But I can't see them sustaining that momentum. I see the Lakers finishing things off in Game 6.

chris -- "Part of the problem in the Associaton is the seemingly subjective limits of physical contact from game to game, something that has been true for quite some time." Part of the problem...or maybe ALL of the problem.

Will -- The only reason I'm gonna give this season's bench a pass over the classic 86-87 bench is that Baby should be on the bench (if not for the injury to Garnett), as should Leon Powe. I think this unit would be much stronger if not for injuries. Plus, I don't want to have to go back and change that post. (And yes: I typo'd.)

AnacondaHL -- I knew we could count on you for the numbers.

Blogger Glenn said...
Having seen Scalabrine after the game winner, I wonder if he was related to the kid that Big Baby blew up after the shot. LMAO.

--GCII

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Re: intentional fouls (Steph G, Yams). It's actually VERY common in soccer, where as long as it ain't in the penalty box, the downside can be minimal. Ask Diego Maradona. And isn't "no easy buckets" and extension of the same thing?

So I'd just say it's another example of a savvy team using the rules to their advantage.

Re: synchronized Marios. NO. No. Absolutely not. We have enough BS synchronized events in the Olympics now, no need to make up BS laction categories for Basketbawful.

And yes, I'm looking at YOU, synchronized diving at about 8 different heights, both men's and women's. Official BS inflation sports of the Olympics. You really mean to tell me that there aren't genuine sports that have a more legitimate place in the Olympics,and you need to conjure up some sport and pull it out of your ass? GG K THX,IOC.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Yams you bring up a great point about clock stoppages. Namely: there are WAY too many.

In MOST sports (hockey, soccer, lacrosse, water polo to name a few), when a foul is committed, referees will let play continue if the player fouled still has the advantage (I.E. a breakaway). Anyone who watches hockey knows what a "delayed penalty" is, and while that might not work in the NBA, certainly in 'Melo's case, he was given the advantage by allowing the play to continue. So in my eyes, the NBA got that right- in spite of itself. It should not be advantageous to commit a foul, ever, and you are absolutely right about the NBA needing to close up these loopholes such as the "hack a shaq" and end-of-game fouling. (2 shots and the ball within the last 2min for every foul? anyone?)

I feel that the NBA needs to change the way the last 2 minutes of games are played and reffed. I hate that there is a timeout called at every change of possession from 3:00 until the end of the game. It takes the games out of the hands of the players and turns it into a slow-motion turn-based RPG-style battle between the coaches, and it's just boring. If they would limit (to one) timeouts in the last 5min or so, it would make the game ultra-exciting, and it would really make intelligent point guard play and team cohesiveness shine through. It would separate the intelligent players from the not-so-smart ones that can't handle an assignment in crunch time without getting coached up every 10 seconds. The coach couldn't hand-hold them through each play on each possession, and the fans would get an awesome show.

In Hockey, the last 3min of a game are exciting to watch, not excruciating. Same with soccer. That is my biggest gripe about basketball; the last 2 minutes take 30min to watch, and it's not exciting, it's goddamned tedious.

...

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AnacondaHL - No, I meant what I said: I think the restrictive circle encourages players to try to go stand right underneath the basket in anticipation of a player who is flying right at the rim, and IMO anything which encourages that kind of contact is just not smart.

But I don't want to just focus on this one particular type of play (especially since it negatively affected the Lakers yesterday, and so I don't want people thinking that's what's motivating me to talk about it). I really loathe any play where one player intentionally tries to draw a foul, and this is just one of those kinds of fouls. But I won't fault players or coaches for trying to make those plays, because like I said above, they're just exploiting loopholes in the rules. That's why the refs blew the call at the end of Game 3, because even though playing that way would be preferable, it's not currently how the rules are set up. You can't fault Carlisle for trying to exploit the same loophole everyone else does, but you can fault the league for not trying to close it in the first place. It is the league's job to close those loopholes, but they've made no effort, and in fact shown no interest, in closing them.

The refs already have more than enough room to make all the judgments they want about those kinds of block/charge calls already, so I don't see the harm in adding in what I'm talking about. If anything I think I'm removing a lot of the judgment in that I'm saying if the refs even think a guy was just playing for the foul rather than trying to play defense, then give him the foul. That includes flopping and just trying to stand in to take a charge.

I'd further say that obvious intentional fouls like wrapping a player up when he gets great position, or gets past his defender just to "play the odds" and "make him earn them at the foul line" rather than give up a layup, should be officiated much more harshly than just a standard foul. Count it like a goaltend and just give the player two points (or three if they do it outside the three point line). That should also include all Hack-a-Shaq like plays, and breakaway fouls. Make it so that there is really no advantage to committing those kinds of fouls, because the basket will still count, but the player will get a foul anyway (don't make the plays and-1 situations though, just a foul and a counted basket and then play moves on).

I just think that it'll be good for the game and good for the fans if the NBA treats any and all game stoppages as bad, because in today's game there are far, far too many of them. The game is at its best when it is free flowing and non-stop, and games like Game 3 of Mavs-Nuggets are really just ugly to watch. Clean it up.

Blogger chris said...
Wormboy: Well, Rhythmic Gymnastics is more of a sport than baseball for the next Olympics, according to the IOC, right? :p

I only called those Marios "synchronized" because all four players involved spent EXACTLY the same amount of time together lacking it up. Nothing more than that.

Anonymous hellshocked said...
It pains me to say it as a Yao fan but Houston is seriously gonna have to look into trading him during this off season or the next. Much was made about how he played the entire regular season this year but during the first 2/3 he was nothing close to 100%. Playing over the Summer for Team China while not being anything close to recovered really hurt him and it wasn't difficult to tell. He was slower than usual, particularly off his feet. I think it's quite clear by this point the guy is gonna have a Bill Waltonish injury history before his career is over. Shame.

Stephanie: I don't think Yao kills his team's offense, I think its more a case of his team not knowing how to use him properly. As you well said nobody in there can throw a halfway decent entry pass. Furthermore, they have no idea when to give it to Yao and when not to. Time after time he establishes good post position and his team ignores him, only to pass him the ball when he doesn't have position or is on the verge of being swarmed. Since he can't do much under those circumstances they tend to relegate him to offensive rebounding duties.

I've said it before but Houston is a very unbalanced team. They have guys who operate best in a half court setting (Yao, Scola, Battier), guys who are at their best running and gunning (Brooks, Lowry, Von Wafer) and then there's Ron Artest who swears he's fantastic at both but is not particularly efficient at either. These two teams never quite seem to mesh on the court, but they've proven gritty enough to (sometimes) make up for it.

On a team that used him properly (minimizing his weaknesses while maximizing his strengths) Yao could be a foul drawing machine which, given his free throw shooting, is quite scary.

Mr. Bawful: Is it just me or is this website entirely lacking in Karate Kid references? It's very rare considering the prevalent obsession with the 80's. Then again, I may have missed them. In case I didn't, this might inspire you if you haven't already seen it.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Yea, lest we forget how long the offside trap has been around soccer.

AK Dave: Who the hell watches basketball AND hockey?!

Yams: Ok, again, I don't understand why you think the restricted circle is doing the exact opposite of what it's doing. Unless you think a 1.25 meter radius around the basket constitutes as "under the basket", I'm pretty sure the circle is there to discourage defenders from camping under the basket. The circle helps balance the power of the charge taken, just like active play definition helped balance the offside trap.

And again, the solution you presented leads to my aforementioned escalation in aggressiveness. Since offence nearly automatically gets the favor in midair calls, then there'd be no system of balance (and risk vs reward) so every offensive player would just be barrelling to the basket recklessly, flying in the air, and either making it or getting 2 free shots (or even free points according to your suggestion).

Atleast with intentional charges, or wrapping up, the defender can make a strategic choice. Of course, the shooter can counter this by pulling up for a wide open shot, and of course the defender can counter this by going for the block, but of course the shooter can counter this by going strong in the air with contact, as aforementioned. Like I said, attack/blockcounter/throw system.

There is a problem, as Yams you've said, but the solution isn't to just give Kobe free reign to...cough... I mean, the shooter free reign to be overly aggressive without any penalty. You say you want to see some proper defense, well I want to see some proper offense, not just some overly talented millionaires throwing their bodies into the air for the refs.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: To answer your question for AK Dave...me. :P

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Gah! Late with the news, but BASKETBALL IN SPACE!...ok it's not that exciting, since they're shipping them deflated, but still, Space Jam. Come on and slam. And welcome to the Jam.

Blogger BadDave said...
AK Dave - werd to your mother. Although now I'm going to have a version of FF12's menu coming up at each timeout at the end of a game.

Anonymous DKH said...
I've got some belated WotN nominations for the Cavs-Hawks game:

Zaza Pachulia: Earned a double technical and ejection after getting called for a blocking foul. I don't understand what his beef was. If anyone's got any idea, please tell me (see about 1:50 in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbxLl7DoDrQ).

Hawks fans: Also in the above video, someone throws something (a towel?) on the court at about 1:56. Come on; no need to throw things on the court.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AnacondaHL - The restrictive circle, IMO, was a band aid to try to prevent people from just camping under the basket, as you say; but instead all it did is make people rush right to the edge of it and then camp there, while waiting as still as possible for contact. Do away with the circle and just put it in the refs hands to say "if you look like you're just trying to take a charge, then the foul is on you; and that's true whether you're right under the basket, whether you're 2 feet from the basket, or whether you're out by the halfcourt line. Any attempts to just take a charge without making an effort to actually defend will be a foul on the defender." That way charges will only be called when the defender is actually trying to play defense and really just gets run over by the offensive player.

This type of ruling will probably lead to more aggressive offense, but I don't see why that's a bad thing (and I certainly don't see how it somehow would benefit Kobe more than anyone else, as you imply). Trust me, I'm adamantly opposed to any rules which would seem to just help one player or one team; I just want the game to be more enjoyable to watch, and not so frustrating when it comes to these kinds of crazy end of game situations like we saw in the Mavs-Nuggets game.

You say under my proposition "offence nearly automatically gets the favor in midair calls" is not necessarily correct. Players could still go up to block the shot with the same risk/reward that they have now (if they block it they block it, if they don't, they might get called for a foul). All it would do is eliminate the guys who run to try to position themselves under an airborne player, and IMO that's a good thing. Even if that wasn't a dangerous play (which it is), that isn't defense - it's exploiting a loophole. It lets guys who either can't block a shot or who couldn't get in position to actually defend the play a chance to still stop the play based on a technicality.

You say that wrapping up and intentional fouls gives defenders a strategic choice, and IMO that's exactly what the problem is. Do you see that kind of crap in pickup games? Hell no. A guy tries to steal or block the shot, or he plays good position defense, but he doesn't stand under a player with his hands on his balls and hope that everyone else thinks it was a charge, he doesn't flop over hoping people will think he got run over, and he doesn't wrap his arms around a player who burned him. I want to see good defensive posture and positioning, and good help defense rewarded, and I want to see the exploitation of loopholes and gaining an advantage based on percentages and technicalities limited as much as possible.

Please don't drag my team loyalties into this, because I don't see how this stuff would favor the Lakers over anyone else. I really just want to see the game made more enjoyable to watch, regardless of which teams are playing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
From anonymous #1:

Basketbawful- Check out this youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWZoY_mbdck) and pay careful attention to scal's face at around 21 seconds.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@Wild Yams
First, I really like your writing and contributions to the site.

Second, I've got 2 items for you (free of snark):

1) In the intentional foul play, a team does get penalized with a team foul. On the next possession, if a defender reaches, or pushes to fight through a pick and gets whistled, then the opponent will go to the line (assuming they are in the penalty.) This situation is analogous to an intentional walk as the coach/manager has made the Risk/Reward evaluation...

2) I understand if you don't like the pace/results/effect that some rules have on the game (and I agree with you on many) but I'm wondering why you always phrase these situations as a team "exploiting" the rules. It doesn't make sense. As long as the rules are enforced correctly (ha!) both teams have the same information and work to gain advantage on offense and defense. It's just strategy. (I'm not talking about injuring a player or anything).

Just my $.02

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Heh, wow, woosh. My comment that Kobe would benefit from your system was just a joke at your Lakers fandom, lighten up.

Anyways, what I meant was RIGHT NOW, offense gets the benefit of the doubt in mid-air, and I presume they would still do so in your proposed method. A defender could try for the block, but even clean blocks get called for fouls, or just brushes of mid-air contact get called. That's called a proper balance of risk and benefit, so blocks aren't an overpowered strategy.

And also like I said, the escalated offense aggression in your example would then lead to escalated defensive aggression (obviously the best choice would always roll the dice and go for the block), which leads to more offense aggression (pretty much always go for mid-air collsions since you have a better chance at the call), which leads to more defence agression (well if you can't block, just may as well hit him hard midair so he has to earn it), etc. etc. until you have basically a much more dangerous and unbalanced version of what we already have.

And I don't see offside traps in pickup soccer either, what's your point? How many pass interference fouls are called in pickup football? The level, the rules, whatever, are just different on the pro level, bad example Yams.

So the offensive player sees defender rushing past the line to take the charge... and then OH NO STRATEGY uses his brain! As I posted already, the counter is simply to pull-up and shoot an uncontested jumper rather than mindlessly barrelling to the basket. This also has the benefit for the defender to have a fighting chance against NBA-style travelling. Since guys are bigger, more athletic, cover more area, and refs are crap at calling travelling in the NBA compared to pickup games, if a defender sees the extended motion then he can counter with some strategy by taking a charge.

It's like you think Kobe has...I mean... basketball players have an inability to stop attacking and hit the throw button once in a while. (If you all haven't figured this out, yes, I've been making constant reference to the Dead or Alive 3 system of combat).

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Also, I find it humorous that you think a defender being under an airborn player (therefore, the defender was slow at his counter strategy and is penalized by a foul), is more dangerous than the escalated aggressive play leading to mid-air collisions. The only time people get hurt in the first situation is when Bruce Bowen is involved, but I guess we know how you feel about that whole Rudy-Trevor incident, amirite? Oh my God I'm sorry I accidentally faced East when bowing to my Kobe shrine! (I have no idea why I'm being extra smug-gy today)

Anonymous KB24 said...
Don't matter to me, no matter what YOU CAN'T GUARD ME!!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AnacondaHL - I think we're just gonna agree to disagree on this one, and that's OK :) If I ran the league I'd go way over the top to eliminate as many stoppages of play as possible. Not only would I do the things I mentioned above, I would cut down the number of fouls each player has to only 3 or 4 instead of 6, and I would instruct refs to never call a foul unless they absolutely see the foul clearly, even if the call is made late. I think refs far too often anticipate a call because they worry about being second guessed if the call is made late. I'd rather see them err on the side of missing a call entirely than calling one that never happened. I would instruct the refs that if there's ever any call that's made and then the replay shows there was nothing there, you're gonna get fined. I'm OK with calls that are missed, but not false positives, as those carry the added penalty of stopping the game unnecessarily and possibly leading to players having to sit with foul trouble (whereas missed calls at least allow the game to continue). I'm probably pretty out there in that view, and I can accept that.

I'm more interested in seeing the game flow just be maintained than trying to legislate injuries out of the game. People should be allowed to contest and block shots, because that's in keeping with the spirit of the game. Racing to stand underneath someone who is in the air is not in keeping with the spirit of the game, and as such should be done away with. That it's also a dangerous play just speaks more to its being eliminated.

Anonymous -

1. It's not that there is no penalty for taking an intentional foul, it's just that I don't think there's enough of a penalty. In my mind the penalty should be strong enough that it makes coaches and players realize it's a strategic disadvantage to ever take one. Right now it's debatable whether it's smart or not to take a foul, and in some cases (like the end of Game 3 in Dallas) it's unquestionably smart to intentionally foul. IMO it should never be smart to take an intentional foul, and that's why I'd make the rules so harsh if one is suspected of doing so.

2. I say "exploiting" because IMO that is not the way the game was meant to be played, and instead the coaches and players have smartly figured out the vulnerabilities in the rules, and as such are "exploiting" them. To me it's really no different than when teams figured out they could just dribble the clock out indefinitely (leading to the 24 second shot clock) or when guys like Mikan and Wilt realized they could be virtually unstoppable by camping next to the rim (leading to the widening of the lane). Sometimes people just figure out ways to essentially circumvent the rules in a way that's not technically cheating because they figured out a loophole, and when that happens I think the league should decide whether said loophole is really in keeping with the spirit of the game, or whether it's an ingenius cheat that needs to be legislated out. I think currently the game is absolutely riddled with these loopholes which are being exploited, and I hate every single one of them.

As AK Dave mentioned above, another one is all the damn timeouts. People have attributed this mindset to Phil Jackson that he likes to let his players play through adversity and that's not why he uses his timeouts; but I tend to think that for the most part he realizes that any minute now there's gonna be a TV timeout anyway, so why waste the hoard of timeouts he has stockpiled? Teams just have far too many timeouts. I would love it if the NBA changed the rules to say that in the last two minutes of each half that all timeouts a team has are either eliminated entirely, or they are only left with one (sort of like how even if a team has not committed a foul all quarter, they will be in the penalty if they commit more than one in the last two minutes of a quarter). I realize those last few minutes of a close game are huge moneymakers for the networks with all the commercials they can cram into the most exciting part of the game; but IMO they do so at the expense of the game, and ultimately it turns people off. I tend to think that anything that universally turns people off should probably be eliminated.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Racing to stand underneath someone who is in the air is not in keeping with the spirit of the game, and as such should be done away with."

That's already explicitly noted in the rules.

"I realize those last few minutes of a close game are huge moneymakers for the networks with..."

Hence the timeouts will continue unabated. At the end of the day very few people making these decisions would give a flying f%&! about the spirit of the game.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- "Not only would I do the things I mentioned above, I would cut down the number of fouls each player has to only 3 or 4 instead of 6..."

Don't you think this would lead to more situations in which star players were protected or fouls were not called? Not to mention that it would reduce, like, by a lot, the potential for agressive defense. You think Dwight Howard is going to (snicker) go hard after balls if he knows that one foul in the first couple minutes might earn him a spot on the bench for the rest of the half?

"...and I would instruct refs to never call a foul unless they absolutely see the foul clearly, even if the call is made late."

I think this is something everyone agrees with...but with so many things going on at once, and considering the speed of the game, I'm guessing that a lot goes on that the ref cannot see clearly. Although, supposedly, that's why there are multiple official. Then, too, there's the question of perspective. I bet there are plenty of times that a ref might think he saw a play clearly when he did not. Like when someone gets mugged and is asked to identify the mugger...and they KNOW he was wearing a red stocking cap. Except that he wasn't. That sort of thing.

"I think refs far too often anticipate a call because they worry about being second guessed if the call is made late."

I read a study on fighter pilots who are forced to make split-second decisions, and the science nerds found out that their brain can actually rebuild itself on a cellular level at incredible speeds, so that something the pilots anticipate could have happened is something they actually remember happening afterward. I wonder if the same can be set of refs.

"I'd rather see them err on the side of missing a call entirely than calling one that never happened."

I bet every player on the Dallas Mavericks would totally disagree with you on that one. Right now, anyway. ;)

"I would instruct the refs that if there's ever any call that's made and then the replay shows there was nothing there, you're gonna get fined."

Wow. That's some serious pressure. Fined for every mistake AND asked to err to the side of caution? Wouldn't that lead to a LOT of missed or "too scared to make" calls?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
First of all, don't say the phrase "agree to disagree", it's stupid.

Second, why do you keep bringing up this "race to get underneath someone in the air"? That's already called as a foul on the defender, and is the incorrect strategy in that case, so the defender should be penalized, and is.

fake edit: beaten by Cortez

And again, you're completely ignoring the mid-air collision fest the NBA would become under your proposed changes. And I can't even type out a rebuttal fast enough to your bizarro since I've just refreshed again and Bawful has beaten me to a reply.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
AnacondaHL- Good call: the offsides rule in soccer is the reason why the casual fan can't enjoy it. Yea, let us remember, lest we forget.

"AK Dave: Who the hell watches basketball AND hockey?!"

-You forgot about lacrosse and water polo, scro. And women's volleyball :D

Chris- I knew I wasn't alone in my multiple sports love affair. Thanks for the support!

BadDave- since yesterday was Mother's day, I'll let my mom know you said "word". She'll understand. She's cool like that.


.....


Other thoughts of the day include (but are not limited to) the following:

- How many more years can Dirk play at this (obscenely high) level? He seems to be pretty durable, but does his game lend itself to longevity? I just wonder how much longer before he becomes another Sam Perkins. And what can Dallas do to make their team better with so much money locked up by old/dilapidated players who clearly can't get it done?

-I hope Dallas can save some face and avoid the sweep at this point. Obviously Denver has won my heart (only just recently), but I would hate to see Dirk go out in a sweep when he played so hard.

-Agree with Bawful on Big Baby. I had hoped he would pan out and he really has. And especially after getting called out by SuperDick extraordinaire KG (who made him cry- sad face!) early in his career. He's going to be a nice player for a lot of years with a smooth jumper like what he's shown us recently.

-Luis Scola is a freakin' load down low. He is not afraid to back down Pau Gasol in the post and he makes good decisions down there. That is all.

-The Lakers still haven't shown us what they are capable of, and I keep waiting for a switch to flip and them to go god-mode on us... is that going to happen?

-It's great to see Battier have a nice game after Kobe's douchebaggery, kneeing him in game 1, and taunting him the rest of the way. All Shane has done is play good defense, keep his mouth shut, and now his 3-pt shot is falling. Good for him.


And I can't BELIEVE with all the collective nerddom we have on this site that nobody has sparked the "Star Trek" discussion. Best Star Trek ever? Or best MOVIE ever?! (OK perhaps going too far, but I really liked it. If you haven't gone- do it. It really is worth the price of admission IMNSHO)

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
The Ghose of Kite curses all Boston reserves!

He's like the opposite of the Ghost of Aurebach.

Blogger chris said...
AK Dave: Gotta add some of the others - auto racing (my biggest passion, just look at my Flickr account for proof), boxing, snooker (which I'm sure most readers here will be confused with)...hell, I miss watching that late-90s roller derby thing TNN used to have, too. :P

Buck Nasty: So is the Curse of Pitino the reason that KG appears to be the real coach behind the current edition of the C's?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - The idea with giving players less fouls would be to hopefully limit them from having the mindset that it's OK to foul sometimes. Maybe if all the other things I proposed were put in place you could do away with that and let the players keep their 6 fouls, but I just hate it whenever someone commits "a smart foul" because I think such a thing shouldn't exist. I also hate guys on a team who basically represent "six more fouls to give". I'd be willing to do anything and everything to get rid of that whole way of thinking.

I think it would be perfectly OK if the refs were scared into not making calls unless they were sure they'd seen something. I'd only penalize them for calling something that just did not exist. If the play was questionable, even on the replay, then OK, no big deal. I'm referring more to plays like this one (sorry that example is Laker-centric, it's all I had on hand).

AnacondaHL - So you're saying we should just continue debating until one of us agrees with the other? Many debates never come to such resolutions, which is why "agree to disagree" kicks so much ass :)

Look, it's not that racing to get under a defender is currently allowed (it isn't), it's that players will race to get in front of someone and end up underneath them in the hopes that they'll get the call. Even worse is that they often do get the call. Also, the guy doesn't have to be airborne for this particular brand of "defense" to piss me off. Anyone running to just jump in front of someone is exploiting that same loophole, IMO. If you're defending a guy and trying to keep yourself between him and the basket, fine. If you're coming from the weakside to contest his shot or double team him, fine. If you're running in to just stand in front of him and fall over, that's not fine, and should be a foul, IMO. And it should be a foul whether you "get there in time" or not. You're not looking to play defense, you're just looking for a foul, and that shit bugs me. Does that make sense?

There's already a lot of midair collisions in basketball games, I don't think this would increase it much. After all, you wouldn't suddenly see six foot point guards jumping up to block dunk attempts by power forwards simply because they can no longer just run and jump in front of them - instead they'd just recognize that there's nothing they can do and would probably get out of the way.

AK Dave - All I can offer you on the Lakers is that they tend to play to the level of their opponent (or what they perceive that level to be, at least). I hate to say it but when I saw Yao was done for the series, a part of me thought "Oh crap, the Lakers are gonna go back to playing the way they did in the first 6 games of the playoffs, now that they believe they're faced with an inferior opponent." My suspicion is that once again the Rockets have their attention and that they'll win Game 5, possibly even handily, but then they'll go back to thinking "we got this" and will lose Game 6, forcing a Game 7 they'll win.

About Star Trek, I thought it was great. It had the thing that has been missing from just about everything else having to do with Star Trek over the years: excitement. Amazing what a little excitement can do for a movie :)

Blogger chris said...
Wild Yams: Well, while I generally get where you're coming from...sometimes a good hard foul HAS to be there to send a message, vis a vis McHale-Rambis. So in that context, a "smart foul" can also have connotations beyond the scoreboard, as a sign of team toughness.

Anonymous Karc said...
Lamar Odom is doubtful for Game 5...

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2009/news/story?id=4159470

This is why you finish a series when you have the chance.

Anonymous DKH said...
chris:

Any time I've seen the McHale-Rambis foul, I've never thought, "Wow, he clotheslined that guy; he must be tough." I just don't think hard fouls show toughness, though I don't disagree that they can be smart in that they discourage players from driving to the rim.

=====

Wild Yams:

Maybe a better way to accomplish what you want is to allow, say, 4 fouls with no penalty. After the 4th foul, any more fouls by that player will result in a bonus free throw (i.e. if the foul was on a layup, the shooter gets 3 foul shots; if it was non-shooting, there is one bonus free throw, then the ball is inbounded). So, players are discouraged from wasting fouls, since they have fewer to take without penalty, but the tendency to rapidly foul out will be limited.

They could still foul out at 6 or 8 fouls or whatever, or have a double bonus at 8 fouls. I dunno. The point is to align incentives with what you want to accomplish.

I agree that stoppages in general are bad, but I don't know if I agree with the whole block/charge adjustment. I think cutting down on charges will do too much to eliminate the counter to players like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, who can just get a ball screen to take their man out and then drive hard to the rim without having to be as concerned about picking up an offensive foul. Hope all that makes sense.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
So Yams, your ideal version of the NBA would be just like that old video game NBA Jam?

Anonymous Ruben said...
I definitely agree with the stupidity of the concept of "smart fouls". A "smart foul" in a pickup game is a douchebag move, so I don't know why it is encouraged in the NBA. Basketball is a game of pride and braggery-rights through using skill, hard work and talent. A lot of these rules you have been discussing go against this "spirit of the game". We could learn a lot from the saying in cricket (the real gentleman's game): "It's just not cricket".

I was watching soccer-football a while back (mainly for the heckle-value), and I commented that in order to stamp out the constant flopping, they shouldn't play on nice soft green grass. They could play basketball on tarmac too...I mean, streetballers don't flop. They have some pride. If they had that in the NBA, you would see who the floppers are by their self-inflicted grazes and wounds. Of course, I'm being ridiculous, but the hardwood is too "flopper friendly", as are the rules. I would like to see some rule that rewards players for not falling to the ground when they don't need to.

p.s. Wasn't there supposed to be a rule in the NBA from the start of this season that flops would be reviewed after the game and fined? Any news on that?

WV: "gurly", ie anybody who falls to the ground for no reason.

Blogger Will said...
Wild Yams- let me guess, you're not an Anderson Varejao fan. Living in the Cleveland area, I've gotten to see him pull that dumb maneuver about 5,000 times this season. He is one of my least favorite players in the league and I wish the Cavs would get rid of him. They won't, because he's their "hustle guy", even though you can hustle without being a douchebag.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Big Baby:

Raging Animal

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Basketball was originally conceived as a non-contact sport, so all these "spirit of the game" arguments don't really make much sense. If you are in position and an offensive player runs you over it is a foul and good defense. That was the offensive player's fault for not stopping and shooting over you, not the defenders fault for picking a spot and being there. If anything, that is more "in the spirit of the game" than the suggestions to eliminate charges if you aren't trying to get a block or however the new definition would call it. You could say it isn't your personal vision of ideal basketball, but it is part of basketball to draw a charge.

Will, I am glad you aren't the Cavs GM, because he does a lot more than draw charges, even if he does act like a douche a lot haha.

Blogger Jerry Vinokurov said...
I like Wild Yams' suggestions for the most part (I too think that one should not be able to derive an advantage from committing and offense) but I don't get how the whole charge thing plays into it. It seems to me that drawing a charge is a lot like setting a screen. On a screen, the one who sets the pick is essentially standing still in the way of a defender to give space to his teammate; on the other hand, when a player stands still on defense, why is that not a legitimate way to play defense? Seems to me you're creating the same obstacle as a screen does, and for the purpose of disallowing a clear path to the basket. I think that's a valuable thing to be able to do and I'm not seeing any reasons to not allow it, even though I'm on board with most of Yams' program (e.g. doing away with Hack-a-Shaq, intentional fouls, etc.). I think doing what Yams suggests for charges would give a huge benefit to the offense, though I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.

wv: imishapp. Van Gundy's postgame interview.

Anonymous poptarted said...
@Ruben

I love the idea of soccer and basketball played on less comfortable surfaces. Great solution to flopping, and general lack of control otherwise known as Tony Parkering.

Anonymous ak dave said...
Dirk Nowitzki: exhibitionist extraordinaire

"We’ve got to go back to Denver and let it all hang out again"

(from Yahoo Sports recap)

Easy, big guy... kids watch this stuff!

Anonymous Mick Dundee said...
The charge Shane Battier took on Lamar Odom is the perfect example of why I hate referees encouraging players to make that kind of contact. Jumping in front of someone attacking the basket at the last minute is soooo goddamn dangerous. I couldn't count on two hands the amount of times I've seen this kind of "defense" cause serious injuries, in my local league alone.

Blogger Lloyd said...
Something slightly off-topic but still related to fouls:

Not sure if anyone's heard of it but there used to be a pro basketball league before that if a team was in the penalty, would give the opposing team the option to either shoot two free throws OR one three pointer (free three).

If they implemented that, particularly for intentional fouls, then I bet no team would wanna foul intentionally anymore :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is it just me or does Glen Davis look kind of like a bigger fatter version of Alfonso Ribeiro? (The guy who played Carlton on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air). Close your eyes and imagine big baby hitting that same shot but busting into that dance Carlton would do to Tom Jones. Or am I the only one who sees this?

Anonymous Dan B. said...
On the fouling issue, it's such a tough balance. I honestly don't know the answer. Do you treat fouls in the last two minutes of the game completely different from how you treat them the rest of the game? (Maybe 3 freethrows instead of 2?) Do you change the way fouls the entire game are called? It's tough. Either way, somebody is going to be pissed since you're completely changing the dynamic of the game. I agree though on one thing -- if only we could make the intensity level of the last 2 minutes of the game similar to the intensity level of the end of an NHL game... And yes, I watched the heartbreaking but amazingly entertaining overtime ending of the Capitals/Penguins game instead of watching the Cavs eliminate the Hawks.

AK Dave and Wild Yams -- as I told Matt in an e-mail, I loved the new Star Trek movie. (A couple of my die-hard Trekkie friends are a bit miffed that history is being totally rewritten; they feel like all their effort in learning every nuance of the Trek universe has been wasted. However, I'm fine with it since I have only lightly dabbled in Star Trek before.) I loved the good balance of over-the-top CGI action with legitimate hand-to-hand combat type of action, plus a healthy dose of humor, especially of the self-depricating kind, and the plot was actually pretty clever. Any time you throw time travel into the equation, things can get nasty in a hurry, but they managed to do it well. Oh, and I totally was not expecting to get treated to two solid minutes of Sabotage -- that was sweet.

Blogger BadDave said...
Poptarted, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

But Brain! If they played basketball on a bed of nails wouldn't the ball pop?

With the notable exception of the Celtics/Bulls series, I have to say my TV has spent MUCH more time on Versus watching NHL than on TNT watching NBA. Even the series that have no teams in which I am interested have been very fun to watch.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Is it just me or does Glen Davis look kind of like a bigger fatter version of Alfonso Ribeiro?"

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ!!!!

You're right.

"Basketball was originally conceived as a non-contact sport"

How this fact seems to get lost is amazing.

"A "smart foul" in a pickup game is a douchebag move, so I don't know why it is encouraged in the NBA."

I completely agree with you about pickup games. Although the motivation there probably has more to do with wanting to stay on the court as long as possible so you'll do anything (i.e. hacking) to stay on.

The NBA isn't as clear cut/ I was say that fouling Dwight Howard to prevent a dunk is a "smart foul" because he shoots free throws like a busted catapult.

The solution in that case is for Howard to stop making T-Mobile commercials and learn to shoot wide open 13'5" shots effectively.

I mean really, what else does he have to do with his time?

...besides make T-Mobile commercials that is.

Blogger Will said...
AK Dave- Provetti says Davis shoved his 12-year-old son Nicholas with such force, that Nicholas' baseball cap catapulted into the air and his son went tumbling into his courtside seat.
Talk about big babies.
CAPTCHA- unction- this is actually another term for being annointed

Blogger Wild Yams said...
The league has got to stop all these flagrant foul calls! Did anyone see the two flagrant fouls called near the end of the first half last night when JR Smith and Linas Kleiza drove to the basket? Neither one of those were flagrant at all. I don't even think they were even very hard fouls. What the hell are the refs doing calling everything flagrant these days? I know a lot of people are clamoring for the NBA to be consistent in its rulings, but honestly I don't care about that anymore. I'd be totally fine if they essentially admitted they'd been wrong recently and starting now you saw players able to foul the way they could during the regular season without worrying that they'll get called for flagrants for every little bit of contact.

Also, did we really need for the game to stop last night for 5 minutes so the refs could review the video just because Melo shoved Wright to get him off of him? Whether he made contact with his head on that shove or not shouldn't be relevant: an open-handed shove is not a punch. The refs seem like they don't know how to call things anymore, and honestly I can't blame them. It seems nowadays like the league offices are changing the in-game calls (or worse, officially saying "they blew that call") after virtually every game. Can we just get back to playing basketball already?

Blogger sk93 said...
big baby hits one game winning shot and ESPN already wants to tell his life story. seriously, who gives a shit.

Anonymous Pablo said...
Totally off topic and don't know if this has been mentioned yet but someone has posted a "Where will amazing happen" version of the Z-Bo airball. Just awsome!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh2fn01cngg&feature=related

Blogger Fowill said...
Anonymous - Actually if you do a GIS for Alfonso Ribeiro, it looks like Alfonso Ribeiro is a bigger, fatter version of Alfonso Ribeiro.

Anonymous poptarted said...
@Bad Dave,

If they played on nails, then they could just make the ball out of Kevlar. But no one likes synthetic balls so then they have to cover it with leather. But then guys like Aaron Brooks couldn't pick up the ball because it would be too heavy.

Hmmmm. I like where this is going, let's let it simmer a little while longer.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...

Blogger J. Compton said...
Maybe I missed it somewhere up there, Yams, but what about intentional fouling when you're attempting a comeback in the waning seconds? What other option does a team have besides letting the opponent dribble out the clock? Surely intentional fouling has SOME place in the game.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
J. Compton - Actually, I would still be opposed to intentionally fouling at that part of the game as well. I think if you've played poorly enough to find yourself behind by 5 points with 30 seconds left (or some similar situation), then you probably don't deserve to win on the basis of a free throw shooting contest. A team who is trailing can play defense and aggressively go after steals in that situation, without regard to whether they commit a foul, and I have no problem with that; but that to me is still preferable to just seeing guys get grabbed as soon as the ball is inbounded.

After all, one of the most replayed classic highlights of all time is Bob Cousy dribbling out the clock by avoiding defenders on one of those many Celtic championships from way back when. What's so wrong about that?

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