Groundhog Day
"It's happening again...isn't it?"

The Milwaukee Bucks: How bad were the Bucks last night? Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles was so pissed about the manner in which his team fell behind 22 points by halftime, that he benched his team's two best players. From the AP recap:

Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut never took off their warmups in the second half of the Bucks' 94-84 loss to the Bobcats. The team's second- and third-leading scorers were benched after combining to shoot 1-for-10 and play little defense in a one-sided matchup of teams that figure to contend for one of the final Eastern Conference playoff spots.

"What do I need to say? We were 4-13 in our last 17 games, now 4-14 in our last 18," Skiles said. "Everybody has got to look at themselves right now."

Shocking? Yeah, I guess you could say that. Brandon Jennings could hardly believe it: "I was real surprised. I thought once we got it down a little bit, we were going to bring them back in, you know Bogut and Redd and them."

Nope.

It's a classic Skiles move. He doesn't accept bullshit. He expects all-out effort every night...or else. As he should. But NBA players aren't machines, and with the money they make and the associated sense of entitlement they feel, they begin to resent being driven like horses all the time. Their effort starts to slip a little, especially on defense. And the harder Skiles tries to retake control, the worse his team will play. I saw it happen when he was in Phoenix. I saw it up close when he was coaching the Bulls. When these things start to happen, it's usually the foreplay to him getting effed over by his players...and fired by his bosses.

Said Skiles: "It's not so much producing. It's body language and the way we look out there. The bottom line: this is the NBA. You have to produce. It's what pro sports is. And we need more consistent production out of our key players."

I so totally agree with those sentiments. I do. And I'd probably be the same kind of coach. But, at least in the NBA, that kind of hard line attitude can and will cost you your job. Only Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Larry Brown could get away with being a ball buster to that extent. And even those guys are usually wise enough to pick their battles.

The New Jersey Nyets: Another night, another double-digit home loss for the New Jersey Nyets. Even Ji Jianlian's career-high 29 points could not save them. The Nyets actually kept things respectable until the fourth quarter, when they scored only 13 points on 6-for-18 shooting. Most of the Nyets' shots were long jumpers, and they got to the line only once in the final 12 minutes. The Thunder's defense got a lot of fluffing after this game, but come on, people. This is New Jersey we're talking about. They're 2-29 and have now lost 10 in a row for the second time this season. Shutting them down is a case of "dog bites man." Zzzzzzz...

Said New Jersey coach Kiki Vandeweghe: "I don't know if we ran out of gas or did they turn it up?" If by "if we ran out of gas" you mean "we suck," well, I guess that's your answer.

The Washington Wizards Generals: Losing to the Grizzlies doesn't earn an automatic bid for Worst of the Night anymore. They're actually...decent. (After they reach .500 or get over it, I'll dub them "halfway decent.") But Memphis was without Rudy Gay, their leading scorer (20.6 PPG). That should have evened things up, right? It sort of did. Washington forced the game into overtime. But we all them the Generals around here for a reason. You know why it went to overtime? Washington was actually up 102-100 with five seconds left. The Griz ran a helter skelter play in which the ball ended up in Zach Randolph ended up with the ball outside of the three-point line.

Now, Z-Bo is a great many things, but one thing he isn't is a three-point shooter. He's hit 28 percent of his treys over his career. And while I don't expect the Generals to know the exact percentage, I do think they should realize what shots you want Randolph to take. No, really. But instead, the defender crowded Randolph, which allowed him to slip past the defense for a drive on which he got fouled by Brendan Haywood with less than a second left. Z-Bo nailed 'em both, and it was onto overtime and another defining loss for the Generals.

Said Gilbert Areneas: "We just couldn't get a break." Indeed.

Speaking of Z-Bo, check out this factoid from today's Daily Dime: "Zach Randolph had 23 points and 13 rebounds on Monday and over his last five games he's scored 141 points and collected 91 rebounds. The last NBA player with as many points and rebounds in a five-game span was Shaquille O'Neal in February 1993, his rookie season."

Seriously....Zach Randolph for MVP?!

The Los Angeles Lakers: Earlier this season, I told Wild Yams in the comments section of a post that, when rested (i.e., not on the second night of back-to-backs), the Suns can play with anybody, and that they'll win at least one home game against the Lakers this season. Well, my thanks go out to the Phoenix players for making it happen in style. The Suns put a good old fashioned hurtin' on the Lakers, who are starting to look like the Fakers of old. It was 2006 all over again, as Phoenix outran, outshot and outhustled a bigger and more physical Lakers team.

But, really, that shouldn't have happened. Kwame Brown is long gone after all.

Derek Fisher went 1-for-7 against the vise-like defense of Steve Nash, Channing Frye (14 points, 11 rebounds) negated Andrew Bynum (14 points, 9 boards), and Amar''''''e Stoudemire (26 points, 11-for-17, 6 rebounds) outplayed Pau Gasol (13 points, 5-for-10, 5 boards), and Ron Artest was still out with a laceration to his head. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant took 16 more shots than either of L.A.'s big men on his way to scoring a game-high 34 points before sitting out most of the final quarter. Do you think the Suns would rather have Kobe shooting jumpers from all over the floor or get pounded inside by the Lakers' frontcourt? Let me put it this way: that strategy hasn't changed since 2006.

Phil Jackson gets it...even if he was powerless to stop it. "I wasn't comfortable with my starters or my bench. I didn't like either group. Guys didn't play right. We had the inside game going for us, yet we just didn't attack."

Added Kobe Bryant: "They played much better than we did, in a nutshell. That's all it was. They executed very well in transition, we didn't get back and it gave them a lot of easy opportunities, and that broke the game open." Uh, according to the numbers, the Suns scored only 11 of their 103 points on the fast break. I'm just sayin'.

The Lakers are now 6-6 on the season against teams that are .500 or better.

The Boston Celtics: You think the Lakers are in trouble? At least they're losing to good teams. The Celtics now have back-to-back losses to the (gak) Clippers and the (erk) Warriors. Losses in which they basically hit the snooze button on defense. I mean, the Clips shot better than 50 percent against them, and the Warriors came back from an 18-point first half deficit to beat Boston behind Monta Ellis' 37 points (15-for-26 from the field, 6-for-8 from the line).

Let's face it. We all know how well the Celtics can defend when motivated. Having an 18-point lead against Gol_en State should have been more than enough. The absence of Paul Pierce doesn't not explain that kind of defensive collapse. Early in the season, Doc Rivers complained that his squad had developed a tendency to relax against lesser teams, which is something they hadn't done in the previous two seasons. Is that the Rasheed Wallace Effect? Because, seriously, that's what 'Sheed's Detroit teams always used to do. Think about it.

The Portland Ail Blazers: I pumped these guys up in my Worst of Christmas Weekend post, and then they lay an egg at home against the Sixers? Well, the injuries were bound to catch up to them. You think the Blazers expected to be giving significant minutes to frontcourt players like Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph? And by "significant" I mean "any."

As if by coincidence, Elton Brand exploded off the bench for a season-high 25 points on 11-for-16 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds. Oh, and in case you care, Allen Iverson played and shot a surprising 7-for-11. Maybe he's finally becoming an efficient player...

The Denver Nuggets: Yes, the Nuggets were still Chauncey Billups-less, but the Kings were Tyreke Evans-less, which should have more than evened things up...right? And maybe it would have, if the _enver _efenders had remembered to put a hand in the face of one Andres Nocioni. Noc went 6-for-7 from the field, including 4-for-5 from downtown. He finished with a team-high 21 points, including 7 in the decisive fourth quarter.

The Nuggets have now lost six consecutive road games, where they score 14 fewer points per contest than they do at home. Since it seems doubtful they're going to have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, that could be a problem. Said Aaron Afflalo: "At the end of the day we're going to have to get a win on the road. We need some more practice time to regain our focus on whatever it may be at the end of the day we have to do to get a win."

Seriously? More practice is the answer?

Lacktion report: As usual, Chris is on the case - not even the newest of Association members can hide from the ledger!!!

Bucks-Bobcats: Charlie Bell rang up four bricks (twice from Discovery Place) in 7:31 for a +4 suck differential! Meanwhile, Larry Brown and Michael Jordan had Acie Law wager one rejection and brick each for a +2 in 1:50.

Thunder-Nyets: Oklahoma City's Byron Mullens (who's taking a cue from Tim Duncan and denying his own status as big man) got off the Greyhound from Tulsa and made his Association debut tonight by mopping up some Goombas in a 40 second Mario!!!!

Generals-Grizzlies: DeShawn Stevenson fouled once for a +1 in 1:16.

Lakers-Suns: Earl Clark crunched out a brick, rejection, and giveaway to give Phoenix a celebratory +3 in 1:55.

Sixers-Blazers: Jrue Holiday vacationed in the land of lacktion tonight by bricking and losing the rock twice each, adding a foul and rejection to the itinerary for a +6 in 11:05. Fellow Philadelphian Jason Smith took a foul and giveaway himself to earn a +2 in 4:17 that also counts as a 2:0 Voskuhl.

Celtics-Warriors: As Gol_en State somehow played enough D to halt the C's, Don Nelson ended up in the rare position of bringing out a human victory cigar at the Oracle, lighting up Chris Hunter for a foul and turnover in 2:06 that scored a +2 as well as a 2:0 Voskuhl. Earlier, Doc Rivers attempted to stem the tide by having Brian Scalabrine foul once in 6:22 for a +1 that doubled as a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl - his second straight game within the realm of bawful big men!!!

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32 Comments:
Anonymous Karc said...
Gotta admit, I was ready to pile on the Lakers, who are getting blown out by good teams and needing buzzer-beaters and OT to beat the bad teams. But Boston losing to the Warriors? Denver losing to the Kings? I mean, are Cleveland and Dallas really the best two teams in the NBA? I don't think so.

Blogger chris said...
If "more practice" is the answer for George Karl, then it's obvious they've moved way past the Iverson era in Colorado...

Blogger 49er16 said...
Philadelphia's Jason Smith had a terrible night playing in 4 minutes and picking up a personnel foul for a grand total of -4 on the night.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
I'm surprised you didn't add Jerry Sloan to the list of no bullshit coaches. I'd rank him ahead of Jackson and Riley but just behind Larry Brown.

Scott Skiles has mellowed from his Phoenix days but he still grates on his players until they inevitably tune him out. Chicago was a great fit for him because it was a team of role players, as Detroit was for Larry Brown. In both cases the drop off between the starters and the bench players was minimal so they could punish anyone at any time when they weren't playing their hearts out and the team would not suffer much for it. Milwakee is a different situation, since the team is so very unbalanced and lacking anything approaching a serviceable bench. Can't fault him for sitting Redd though, the guy has done nothing but stand there and shoot (mostly blanks) since he came back.

I've seen a few Nets games this year and Yi really does seem to be coming around. He actually seems to have a pulse these days and is taking it hard to the rim, finishing with authority or getting fouled. He is still a poor rebounder and passer, but the signs have been encouraging this season. As always with him, however, it is a matter of can he keep it up and for how long.

As for Memphis being without Gay...it's not a coincidence that Gasol, Conley, Mayo and Randolph had great games last night. For all his skills the guy is not the most willing of team players and he is gunning for a new contract. The Grizz have done a pretty decent job of moving the ball around this year but Gay is still most comfortable in isolations. I'm not entirely sure who the Grizz are building around but I don't believe Gay and Mayo can be at their most effective when playing with each other, especially when you throw in Zach Randolph. Rudy could be valuable trade bait, though I have a feeling they'll let him walk for nothing in order to save money.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
How about the Basketbawful stat curse? In hindsight, you probably should have waited it out instead of switching the T-Mac banner for the Z-Bo banner, eh?

Currently leading the league in ORebs (143) too, I think he may be confused thinking this year is his contract year, instead of next year.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Carmelo had 34 pts...on 35 shots! I bet he had to ice his arm after launching it so much. I guess he kinda had to though since their spark off the bench Ear--I mean, JR Smith went 1-9 for 4 pts.

Anonymous Mladen said...
No mention of Ray Allen's ingenious plan, to feed himself a pass of the backboard off of a "missed" free throw, which surprisingly didn't workout, and cost them the game?

Blogger Paul said...
You need to add Jamarcus Russell to the list. From the ESPN recap:

Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was booed when he made his exit late in the game.

Blogger chris said...
49er16: Hey, I saw you posting all those anigifs at StR. Sweet. :D

AnacondaHL: Considering that Ime Udoka and Jon Brockman played key roles in the Kings' comeback over the heifers last week, it seems as if there's a Jekyll-and-Hyde quality to bawful: one week, trillionares, the next week, HEROES!

Blogger mg said...
Seriously, man. Knee-Mac needs to be back at the top of the banner right now.

Anonymous Ak dave said...
Well if nobody else is going to tip this one in, I will.

Hellshocked said:

"As always with him, however, it is a matter of can he keep it up and for how long. "

That's what she said.

WV: liter
"Liter is French for give me a goddamned cola!"

Blogger Apocalypse34 said...
You know I've been reading Basketbawful too much when I'm looking at high school box scores and thinking "Ha, this team had two Mario brothers and this guy had a +2 suck differential."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
completely off topic and random, but Kiki Vandeweghe totally looks like Moe Green from The Godfather with those glasses.

Blogger 49er16 said...
@Chris: Some advice, don't use gifs from photobucket. Some of them don't register ;-)

Also I was the first one to post a dancing gif on the post game thread over at StR, and now everybody does it. I guess they are contagious.........

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Apocalypse34: That rules

I, for one, feel disappointed when a potential +9 suck differential is ruined by one rebound or assist or something.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
When well rested ANY team team can beat anyone.

A terrible argument for the Suns. They're still a first round exit team

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL and Apocalypse34: Indeed! I think this season's highest SD is a mere +7 or +8...and we haven't had a Damon Jones-level collection of riches in many months!

BTW, speaking of high school basketball, I HAVE been to the Warriors' old arena in SF for a high school game! (no, not the Cow Palace or the Bill Graham Auditorium - though I HAVE been to both of those) I went once about 8 or 9 years ago and barely paid attention, though my alma mater won.

Blogger chris said...
49er16: And I don't know if you've used this one, but this is my all time favorite dancing GIF, which I've used on numerous occasions at the Crapwagon.com auto racing forums:

http://s116.photobucket.com/albums/o37/animalmother00/?action=view&current=Banana-1.gif&sort=ascending

Blogger chris said...
Apocalypse34: And another thought. If lacktion is something that goes all the way to the high school levels...you gotta wonder how many kids playing street ball in the playgrounds of the world ever get to go from the pavement to the arena hardwood and the big bucks in a career of ONLY video game mode or wealth collection!?!?!?

Blogger Caleb Smith said...
It wouldn't matter if Z-Bo had a hall of fame level career from here on out... he'd still belong on the basketbawful banner. It's not like the guy couldn't play and all the sudden he's putting up crazy stats... he's always been a box score stuffer. This year he's just stuffing it even more, and he's discovered a wonderful thing called... efficiency. Good for him, but the dude belongs on the banner no matter what!

Blogger Ash B said...
Z-Bo actually had 23 points and 19 boards, so you might want to correct that (if you even care anymore). I know this becuase I have him on my fantasy team. Best pick I've ever made.

Anonymous DKH said...
Worst-of to the Cavs and Hawks, who gave the fans a fabulous brickfest for the first 3:48 of the fourth quarter. I think the Cavs missed 7 shots in that period, and the Hawks missed 3, to go along with significant ineptness and incompetence.

The Hawks continued to miss until there was 3:12 left in the period, including 2 missed free throws by Jamal Crawford with 4 minutes left.

Blogger chris said...
Okay, the most bizarre bawful I just saw was from a Fox Sports Arizona clip replayed on Versus's Sports Soup show:

Some Cheesecake Factory gal got to have her dream dinner with...TOM CHAMBERS?!?!? HUH!??!?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
chris: To be fair, I'd be excited to go too since any dinner at Cheesecake Factory is a dream dinner.

I hope you all get video of Delonte West just posterizing Josh Smith in the 4th, the NBA.com recap has it.

Blogger Davros said...
Perhaps I'm over-analyzing it (a congenital defect), but it seems to me those who appear regularly on WOTN are always saying things like "We couldn't catch a break" or "sometimes things just don't go you way" or "our shots just weren't falling" or the like.

So do these guys think it's just fate? Are they cursed? Or are these just lame cliches to avoid saying "We suck, and it cain't be fixed"?

I mean a 1 or 2 point loss can be mere misfortune. To lose 10 in a row or cough up a 35 point lead is basic garden variety suckitude. Go ahead, admit it. We all admire honesty.

My captcha was "cometho"

Blogger jim said...
Does 'bawful keep a running SWAC alert?

Because so far this year, 199 of Danilo Gallinari's 322 field goal attempts have been behind the arc.

And 180 of Channing Frye's 308 have been triple-chucks as well. And only 52 FTAs.

Or are both too good at shooting that trey to be considered true SWACs? Are they just certified chuckers?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
In ESPN's daily dime, Chris Paul is under box 5 as "wasted efforts". It goes on to talk about him and David West going Ape Shit-stat blasting crazy on Houston and still losing. Yet the picture is from a game against the Bulls. ... How does that make sense?

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/kobe_bryant_proves_he_can_win

Kinda harsh but it's been a while since we made fun of Luke Walton around here...so much bawfulness in the NBA to distract us.

Blogger zyth said...
not to be bitchy,but...
at the start of the season the nba's official site got a grrrrreat interactive rulebook explaining travelling, offensive fouls and whatnots with video examples. and yet, when you look at the cav:hawk recap, the crabs two first plays are a travel by bron and an illegal shuffle by williams. and, sadly, that's not the first time it happened(nor the only players, no hate for the cavs as a team from me), and all the reviewers always tout these plays as great. wtf,nba? why not just let them bunnyhop through the whole court?

Blogger chris said...
zyth: I think they need a special interactive rulebook to differentiate between bipeds and crustaceans...

Anonymous Aram said...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdxTQ4rX55Q

As an avid Laker fan, i couldn't resist sharing this fail with Bawful.

Blogger Andrew said...
Bawful-

As the guy on the wrong end of the Warriors-Lakers rivalry with more than a few of my friends, I was wondering if you could keep going with the updates on the Lakers' record against +.500 teams. It brings me great joy to think of their possible future playoff woes. Thank you.

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