FEEL THE POWER

The Gol_en State Warriors: If there was a team in the league that was going to let the Philadelphia 76ers -- who had scored 91 points or less in five of their last eight games -- 1) drop 117 points and 2) break their 12-game losing streak, it was bound to be the Warriors, right? I mean, Allen Iverson went 7-for-10 from the field. What does that tell you? But hey, Gol_en State is ranked 28th in Defensive Efficiency (108.1 points allowed per 100 possessions) for a reason.

The 117 points was the second-highest total by the Sixers this season, next to the (giggle) 141 they scored in an overtime game against (of course) the New York Bricks back on Halloween. The 71 points they scored in the first half was a season-high, and their 59-33 advantage on the boards was the largest rebounding margin by any team this season and Philly's largest since March 19, 1972. The Warriors had to outscore the Sixers 33-20 in the fourth quarter just to pull within 16 points at the final buzzer.

The Not Answer said: "We felt like once we did get a win, it was going to be extremely hard, one of the hardest games to win. It was totally opposite." Ouch.

Elton Brand: You'll notice the 80 Million Dollar Man played only 17 minutes in his team's most important non-loss of the season...and those minutes were off the bench What was up with that, you ask? From the AP recap:

Looking for a spark, 76ers coach Eddie Jordan benched power forward Elton Brand and paired rookie Jrue Holiday in the backcourt with Iverson. Jordan's move worked: Holiday had 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

"He just put us in a good rhythm tonight and had us flowing," Iverson said.

Brand, who was previously benched in some fourth quarters, said it was hard to complain about his role after a victory. He just can't believe he's considered a bench player early in the second year of an $80 million, five-year deal.

"When you look around at other teams, yeah," Brand said. "It's like, no disrespect, but [Golden State's] Mikki Moore gets the start and I don't. Not that he's not a good player, but, definitely."
Like I've been saying, the Clippers were the ones who made out like bandits when the Sixers "stole" Brand away from them.

The Memphis Grizzlies: Everybody has been getting pretty excited about the Grizzlies lately. After all, they've gotten a couple quality wins lately (at home against the Mavs and Crabs), and their 10 wins (versus "only" 14 losses) is more than most people thought they'd have by February or March. And last night they fought the Boston Celtics -- who have won 11 games in a row, eight of which have been on the road, by the way -- to a near standstill. The game featured 18 lead changes and 15 ties, and neither team led by more than eight points at any time.

Not bad for bad team, right?

But you'll notice that the Celtics shot almost 53 percent and 50 percent from downtown (10-for-20). Which isn't a big deal, you say, because Boston is second in the league (to the Phoenix Suns) in Effective Field Goal Percentage (53.9). True. However...has anyone stopped to realize that Memphis currently ranks 29th in Defensive Efficiency (108.8 points allowed per 100 possessions)? That's right, worst than the Warriors (108.1), Kings (108.0), Sixers (108.0) or Knicks (107.7).

It's just something to keep in mind. Because, yes, they are playing pretty well and can be fun to watch. But are they really good enough to overcome their woeful defense? Some team are, like the Suns, who rank 24th (107.3). I'm not sure I'm ready to put the Griz in their league, though.

Paul Pierce, dis machine: Apparently, the Truth doesn't think very highly of his own conference. This is what he said after the Celtics edged the Grizzlies last night: "It's unfortunate that they're in the Western Conference. If they were in the East, they would probably be a top-four seed right now." Really, Paul? Really? See my comments on their Defensive Efficiency. Also see the combined works of the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Craboliers (who are disappointing but still much better than Memphis) and the Atlanta Hawks (who aren't winning a title but are still better than the Griz). I'm just sayin'.

Tommy Heinsohn, quote machine: From Hilary:

I can't decide whether this commentary from the Celtics' broadcasters is Basketbawful, Basketbawesome, or merely honest and incisive:

Mike Gorman: "Zach Randolph has played very well for this team."

Tommy Heinsohn: "And they like him as a person, which is, um...unique."
Chris Paul: In New Orleans' 94-90 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks, CP3 was matched up with Juan Jose Barea. One of these men scored 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting, the other scored 20 on 9-for-22 s hooting. Guess which was which? Barea's 23 was a season-high, which helped Dallas overcome a season-low 10 points (on 11 shots) by Dirk Nowitzki. And 19 of those points game in 16 first-half minutes. Said David West: "I don't think we gave Barea enough respect in terms of his ability to impact the game. He was getting layup after layup and we didn't have an answer." Speaking of which...

The New Orleans Hornets: As West said, they didn't have an answer for Juan Jose Barea.

The Dallas Mavericks: Sarcastic golf clap to the Mavs for keeping the Hornets in the game by giving up 28 points off 23 turnovers. Said Jason Kidd: "We gave it away a lot tonight. That kept them in the ballgame."

Rick Carlisle, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Or maybe he was being intentionally dirty? I have no idea. Like, literally, no idea whatsoever. The quote: "We need," said the coach of the 18-7 Mavericks, "to not always make hard work out of sex." Thanks to BJ for the head's up.

The Utah Jazz: I don't get it. I just don't get this Jazz team. On the one hand, they've suffered ugly home losses to the Rockets, Kings and Thunder. On the other hand, they've won three in a row this season versus the Spurs, including the their first win in San Antonio since 1997-98. They got smacked in the mouth in L.A. when the Lakers blew open a close game by holding them to only 6 fourth-quarter points. Utah responded to that embarrassment with back-to-back home wins against the Magic and Lakers. So just when you think the Jazz are getting on a roll...they lose at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves?!

The Timberwolves now have four wins on the season. One of those wins is against the 2-win New Jersey Nyets. Two of the wins are against Utah.

Rookie Jonny Flynn -- who bested his previous career-high of 20 points by scoring 28 on 11-for-19 shooting -- hit the go-ahead layup with three seconds left in the game. Deron Williams -- whose season-high 38-point, 13-assist explosion was negated by Utah's loss to the second-worst team in the league -- clanked a three at the buzzer. Game over. Think Jerry Sloan is happy about the fact that his team not only choked up a game to the lowly Timberpups, but that Minny's winning bucket was a layup?

The Jazz can blame this defeat on their misguided foul shooting. Utah missed an astonishing 16 free throws. That's an awful lot of blown freebies in a 2-point loss. According to the AP game notes: "The Jazz were 11 of 24 from the line through the third period -- Williams had made 10 of 12. His teammates were 1 of 12." Said Carlos Boozer: "How come we can't get up for Minnesota but we can get up for everybody else?" It's an interesting question from a power forward who earned only three free throws...and missed them all. Boozer also had a team-high 4 turnovers.

The Washington Wizards Generals: And here I thought Washington's defeat by the Pacers last weekend was about as Generals-y as a loss could get. The poor Generals -- who have now lost five in a row by a total of only 11 points -- suffered yet another heartbreaking fail in L.A. against (of all teams) the Clippers. Washington built a 17-point lead in the third quarter, and the Clippers were this close to earning another "they are who we thought they were." But, as it turns out, the Generals are who we thought they were more than the Clippers are. Or were. Or whatever. The point is, as snake-bitten as the Clippers have been, are, and always will be, Washington is even snake-bitten-er this season.

The Other L.A. team came all the way back and took a 2-point lead with 11.3 seconds left when Eric Gordon -- who matched his season-high by scoring 29 points -- hit one of two from the line. That meant the Generals had a chance to tie the game...until former Clipper Earl Boykins (zero points, 0-for-4, 1 assist, 1 turnover) bumbled the ball away with four seconds left. Fail.

Boykins fail
Fail you can fit in your pocket.

Said Boykins: "I just lost the ball. It was that simple. I saw Brendan (Haywood) open up under the basket, I went to make a pass, and I lost the ball. It was a game where we didn't execute at the end. Whenever you lose a one-possession game, there's other possessions in the game that lead to that. We played good, but we didn't play well enough to win. ... It seems every game we'll find a different way to lose."

In all fairness to Boykins, he wasn't the only Washington player with spaghetti fingers. As a team, the Generals gave up 23 points off 19 turnovers. That was in addition to shooting 38 percent from the field.

This sucks
"I know it sucks, but dude, I play for the Clippers."

Marcus Camby, unrealistic expectations machine: After wrapping up a six-game homestand, the Clippers now embark on a five-game road trip though Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio and Houston. Said Camby: "We talked about this being our getaway game, so this was an important win. This will boost our confidence and allow us to play strong. Every game on this road trip is winnable. We just need to come in with the same attitude we did tonight."

Every game is winnable? Really?! Marcus does realize he plays for the Los Angeles Clippers right? I predict a 1-4 trip with at least one "they are who we thought they were loss," maybe against the Timberwolves.

Shaq's rebounding in his prime: Basketbawful reader Eddie C. sent in this interesting little tidbit (via Ball Don't Lie). And it's not just interesting because Pau Gasol was passive-aggressively complaining about his lack of shots (which was facilitated by Kobe taking too many shots):

Mike Bresnahan, L.A. Times: "Losses don't happen often to the Lakers, but there's often something interesting to come out of them. After their 102-94 defeat Saturday against the Utah Jazz, forward Pau Gasol wanted more touches. He made a plea for more action in the post after being asked how it felt to collect 20 rebounds for a second consecutive game. 'I'm just being active, pursuing the ball,' he said. 'I don't get many looks offensively, so I've got to get my offensive rebounds. Otherwise, I'll get five shots during the game. I'm trying to get my looks there, and I work hard and stay active and do what I can.' Good thing for him that he's rebounding a lot. Gasol's back-to-back rebounding efforts made him only the third Lakers player in the last 14 years to take 20-plus rebounds in consecutive games, joining Lamar Odom and Vlade Divac. Gasol made six of 11 shots in almost 43 minutes. He had nine offensive rebounds. So are teammates not looking for him or is he being thwarted by double-teams? 'A little bit of everything, I guess.'"

You mean to tell me even in shaq's prime, he never got back-to-back 20 rebound games?

That's awful.
Lacktion report: Chris continues to ignore the potential hazards to his heart and mind by reporting on all the latest lack of action:

Warriors-Sixers: In a matchup of the past and present Philadelphia teams, Nellieball lackey Chris Hunter scoped out a foul, two giveaways, and a brick in 5:53 for a suck differential of +4.

Celtics-Grizzlies: Brian Scalabrine and DeMarre Carroll played against each other in a round of ORIGINAL Mario Brothers (with spiky 18 and 16 second stints respectively)!

Hornets-Mavs: Dallas's Drew Gooden sketched a single foul in 7:12 for a +1 and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.

Wolves-Jazz: Ryan Hollins had a +1 in 3:49 via foul, which also gave the aforementioned Clothesline a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.

Generals-Clippers: While Fabricio Oberto preserved one foul for a +1 and 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl in 3:06, Ricky Davis was called by Mike Dunleavy to help the Clippers hold onto the lead with 16 seconds left, but after shedding the warmups for plumber's overalls, was pulled with 11 to go - resulting in a 5 second SUPER MARIO!!!!!!!

This Yahoo! Sports team preview for the Clips ended up being rather ironic, considering the brevity of Davis's time tonight on Tetris: "Ricky Davis played for 20 minutes, but wasn’t much of a factor. He netted four points and snagged four rebounds in the extended action that he hasn't seen much in 2009-10. He may need more of these prolonged chances to prove himself to develop consistently strong performances going forward."

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27 Comments:
Blogger Dan B. said...
I'm so glad I'm not a Jazz fan. This year's team would have already driven me to drinking. At what point do they have to just succumb to fate and dial up Ostertag and ask him to come back?

By the way, it is quite literally impossible for me to read "Juan Jose Barea" without wondering how somebody with a name that awesome ends up playing basketball instead of going into professional boxing.

Blogger Sturla said...
Although Shaq never had two consecutive 20+ rebound games with the Lakers, he did have them with the Magic on at least three occasions.

He also had this monster
http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199311200NJN.html
which is probably twice the best game Gasol will ever have.

Blogger Jason said...
Gasol wasn't saying that he isn't getting the ball enough on offense, he's saying that he doesn't get very many good shot attempts on offense because he's a willing passer out of double teams. Also, no one on the Lakers passes the ball to Gasol more than Kobe so that is also a false assumption, though a reasonable one if you don't watch the games, and are going off reputation.

Blogger Jason said...
Just some stats to back up my assertion: Pau had 7 shot attempts while Kobe was on the floor with him, and only 4 without. Part of this could be attributed to double teams, but still goes against the idea that he's getting less shot attempts because Kobe is taking too many.

Blogger Austen said...
While we're bagging on Boozer, I'd like to add that he also fouled out on a critical final minute possession where he drove into the lane for an offensive foul. His scoring also wasn't phenomenal considering who the Jazz were facing and previous performances this season. His backup, Paul Millsap, also had 3 absolutely critical blocks in the 4th quarter to spark the Jazz comeback. Boozer? Not so much. So yeah, Boozer, why didn't you come to play tonight?

Blogger Will said...
Come on, 'bawful, that is a classic unintentional dirty quote by Boozer. It sounds like the T-wolves just don't arouse the Jazz anymore.

Anonymous DKH said...
Gasol's rebounding percentage numbers with the Lakers:

Season: Off/Def/Total

2008-09: 10.0/19.3/14.7
2009-10: 13.8/22.1/18.0

Shaq's rebounding percentage numbers with the Lakers:

1996-97: 11.6/25.9/18.8
1997-98: 11.1/24.0/17.7
1998-99: 13.1/22.6/18.0
1999-00: 11.5/24.8/18.3
2000-01: 11.3/24.8/18.1
2001-02: 10.8/21.6/16.3
2002-03: 11.4/21.6/16.5
2003-04: 11.1/24.4/17.7

I guess Gasol has a season with higher offensive rebounding efficiency than Shaq ever had, and a season with numbers lower than Shaq ever had, but it looks like Shaq in his Laker years was doing just as much work rebounding, overall, as Gasol is.

Anonymous sea_mole said...
As a Jazz season ticket holder, you go to every game because there's always the possibility that it will be a close and exciting game. The Jazz get up for the big dogs and play down with the little guys (or the little guys play up for the Jazz, I don't know. Probably some of both). It's not like being a fan of the Celtics or Lakers where if a scrub team comes in there's a 90% chance of a blowout happening. No, the Jazz love to play just well enough to stay in the game until the end, regardless of the competition.

So while the Jazz are wildly inconsistent at times, at least any games one may attend will be a tightly contested, close game. (Ah, the silver lining is my favorite part of the cloud. It's the coziest.)

On an unrelated note, that game from Shaq that Sturla mentioned was monstrous. Ever since I've been playing fantasy basketball I like to look back to the old(er) school players and see how they would be on a fantasy team today. John Stockton for instance would be awesome, as would Karl Malone. Every Mark Eaton would have been a sweet fantasy center!

Here's an amazing Stockton game:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199101150UTA.html

Anytime you had Malone in the mid 90's would be good:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/malonka01.html

And check out Mark Eaton's 84-85 season; 5.6 blocks per game!:
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/malonka01.html

Blogger Basketbawful said...
DKH -- Good points. Did Shaq's numbers compare to similar players of that era?

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: Just doing a quick check of BB-Ref...

http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2000.html

That year, Shaq was 2nd place overall in rebounds to Mutumbo, being 2nd in the league in both offensive and defensive boards. He and Dikembe were the only two to pass the 1000-rebound mark that season!

Blogger chris said...
BTW, BBRef does a little smacking down of Bill Simmons here in today's blog entry!

Blogger Shiv said...
@ Jason:
Pau played no less than 32 minutes with Kobe on the floor and no more than 11 with Kobe off it. That's nearly 3 times as many minutes with Kobe than without, yet he attempts less than twice as many shots with Kobe on the floor than with Kobe off it.

Shots/minute with Kobe = 7/32 = 0.22
Shots/minute w/o Kobe = 4/11 = 0.36

Are you suggesting that Pau gets better looks and is double teamed less while Kobe is on the bench?

And secondly, as Bawful was implying Pau meant, a significant part of his 9 offensive boards probably came off Kobe's 17 misses.


@ Bawful:
Has B-Diddy gone from Marvin Gaye to Mr T?

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
AnacondaHL - Tonight the Spurs travel to Phoenix to try to get a win on the road against someone other than the Rockets or the Clippers. Meanwhile, the Suns will try to preserve the only perfect Home record. What's your take on the game?

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Shiv - Those aren't misses, those are KBAs! They just show what a consummate team player Kobe is.

Anonymous Fletch101 said...
It's "Jose Juan Barea."

Blogger chris said...
AND...the Maloofs' finances (as well as the Kings' attendance woes) are mentioned in great detail here:

http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2009/12/14/1199587/maloof-money

Yeah, $1 Beer Night can't come soon enough for the guys who ironically sold their profitable beer distributorship.

Meanwhile, some commenters at STR are now curious as to why this info was posted by someone who had a scant history on the site in the past...well-researched, but out of nowhere.

Me? I'm not surprised. Just hate to see the Omaha-level attendance #s here in the capital city, but...the Maloofs earned it the hard way.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
NarS: As Steve Nash pointed out on Twitter, "Anyone know coach Poppovich was an American spy in Russia before he began coaching? No wonder his teams are hard to beat!".

In other words, any Arizona fan could call this game just as easily as any AZ Cardinals-49ers game.

Blogger Jason said...
@Shiv

Of course Kobe is going to take more shots than Pau, he is the first option of the team. What I was implying and what can be observed by watching the Lakers is that sadly Kobe is one of the only Lakers players along with Luke Walton (who is injured) that consistently feeds Pau in the paint and allows him to go to work. Also, Kobe only took 13 shots until he checked back into the game in the 4th quarter facing an 18 pt deficit, at which point he decided to chuck away. I also don't see how you come to the conclusion that Bawful was saying that when it was pretty clear he was saying that Kobe shot too much.

What was definitely bawful about that game though was Kobe's defense or lack there of as he used his "I'm gonna leave you so open that you miss" strategy.

Blogger chris said...
Found this fun link via Sactown Royalty as well:

http://www.sbnation.com/2009/12/14/1199710/the-nba-watchability-scale-helping-you-find-the-right-team-to-watch-this-holiday-season

AnacondaHL: And obviously Popovich takes some press conference cues from sport's most famous master of investigation...Bill Belichick!

Blogger GC2 said...
When Gordon made 1 of 2 FT at the end I seriously thought about turning off my radio cuz I figured Boykins would do something to win the game. LOL the clips pulled out a win I can't believe it.

--GCII

Anonymous Jai said...

Anonymous Web said...
Ha.. What the heck is with the Scal pic?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'm glad to see Shaq's rebounding brought up, and the ensuing defending of said rebounding skills. IMO nobody should dispute Shaq's ability to rebound or block shots, not when he was in his prime. The guy was an absolute monster out there and was easily capable of putting up some insane numbers. Yet at the same time, he is one of the laziest superstars to ever play in the NBA, and as such, even with such incredible physical gifts the guy never once led the league in either rebounds or blocks per game. When you consider that he was capable of putting up games like the one that Sturla mentioned above (28 boards and 15 blocks), it's really crazy to think that Shaq never led the league in either of those categories. In fact, in some years he wasn't even in the top 5 in either category (like in 2001-02 when guys like Adonal Foyle, Erick Dampier and Raef LaFrentz had more blocks per game than him and Danny Fortson and Elton Brand had more rebounds per game than he did). Shaq had all the talents, but only occasionally gave the effort. Such a waste.

Also, I'm a Laker fan and I like Kobe and all, but he definitely played the Lakers right into a loss in that last game, and Pau Gasol is right to be complaining that he's not getting enough touches. With Kobe having stomach flu and a broken index finger on his shooting hand, he should recognize that the ball needs to be going into Bynum and Gasol as much as possible. Instead it looked to me like Kobe put wanting to show everyone that he could still dominate, even with such limitations on him, ahead of playing smart basketball and winning the basketball game. Kobe let his ego override his intelligence and thus the Lakers lost. If Kobe keeps doing that, the Lakers will keep losing, cause if Kobe is suddenly going to be a horribly inefficient shooter who is taking a ton of shots, that will kill the Laker offense. The Lakers have plenty of other guys who can score, they don't need Kobe to carry that load by himself. If Kobe wants to set a goal for himself, it should be to average double digit assists while his finger heals. Otherwise the net effect will continue to be like the Lakers swapped Kobe for Allen Iverson.

Blogger Davros said...
Continuing the snakebite theme, the Golden Shower Wankers are another shadetree sawbones squad, suckin' the suck juice out of any team in need. Bulls, Sixers, whoever.

Blogger Jason said...
Alas, my numbers were wrong. Gasol only shot twice while Kobe was on the bench. Which brings Pau's shots per minutes higher with Kobe on the floor than without.

@WildYams
Kobe really didn't play well at all and should be looking to pass more, but I really don't consider 13 shots in 28 minutes of meaningful minutes to be ball-hoggery. As I said before he went into chucker mode once the lead swelled to 18 while he sat on the bench.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Holy crap, Davros is one jive talkin' mofo, yono?

I think the most amazing thing about that monster game Shaq had? 0/1 FT. What the...

Blogger Davros said...
Jive talkin' mofo? While cowpoke chat of the Ol' West is not a cradle speech for me, I beleive I , um "represented" quite well in this situation.

And the GSW (that's the Gun Shot Wounds, by the by) really do Hoover up any stray suck laying about.

Bawful - Is there a special pickup term for the fat guy who holds the ball and tries to direct traffic, and then just hucks up a brick anyhow? Thanks in advance.

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