lebron james bitch
"Offensive foul? But...don't you know who I am? I'm LeBron James, bitch!"

The Cleveland Cavaliers: I know David Stern would like to just go ahead and hand LeBron James the Larry O'Brien Trophy, the crown, the king's scepter, the key to every NBA city and a solid gold throne on which to sit his noble buttocks during his regal bowel movements. But Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls have gone off-script by actually -- Gasp! Shock! Gasp again! -- refusing to roll over and just die already.

This wasn't part of the plan.

lebron scared
"Oh my God! They're...trying to win!"

The Crabs got outscored 38-32 in the paint by a team that hasn't had a low post threat for most of the decade. They couldn't stay in front of Derrick Rose (31 points, 13-for-26, 8 assists). They couldn't get a hand in the face of Kirk Hinrich (27 points, 9-for-12, 4-for-4 from beyond the arc). Their best defense against Joakim Noah (10 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal and a game-high plus-minus score of +13) was letting Noah get himself into foul trouble.

Cleveland also missed 11 free throws, which is kind of a big deal in a two-point loss.

Mind you, the Craboliers would have lost Game 2 if not for some uncharacteristically hot outside shooting from LeBron. They have the presumed MVP and the best regular season record in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Bulls barely squeaked into the playoffs -- in part because Chris Bosh broke his face and the Raptors pulled an epic choke job down the stretch -- and were considered nothing more than first round hors d'oeuvres for the Crabs. Not even the good kind. I'm talking those cocktail weiners wrapped in a bagel.

And here they are, out-working, out-hustling and out-playing the supposed NBA-champs-to-be.

LeBron James: It's not fair to pin this loss all on King Crab. After all, he scored 13 of his game-high 39 points and dished out 5 of his game-best 8 assists during a give-me-the-ball-and-let-me-take-over fourth quarter. BUT...

...his outside shooting wasn't great (5-for-13, with some truly bawful bricks, including one three-pointer that didn't even touch the rim) he was responsible for six of his team's 11 missed free throws (yet Shaq was 2-for-2) and he committed a game-worst 5 turnovers (compared to a total of 8 for the entire Bulls team).

Speaking of those turnovers, three of them happened during "winning time." With 3:39 left in the fourth, Noah stole a tough pass. With 1:17 left, King Crab dipped his head and drove his shoulder right into Luol Deng. Tweet! Offensive foul. With 51 seconds left, 'Bron dribbled straight into a Noah-Deng double-team...Joakim swiped the ball out of LeBron's hands and Luol controlled it.

Those were three major turnovers.

invisible poop
Giant invisible poop.

Some other nits to pick. There was a play during the third quarter in which Deng drove right at James, went behind the back as LeBron went for the steal and then left King Crab in the dust on his way to a reverse layup.


Then, with about two and a half minutes left in the fourth, LeBron asked to guard Derrick Rose one-on-one. As physically gifted as 'Bron is, he couldn't stay in front of Rose, who slid past and pulled up for a lead-sustaining 13-footer.

I guess the larger point is: LeBron is freaking amazing. But still human.

Chicago's free throw shooting: Things got a little needlessly exciting at the end. The Bulls could have put this one to rest in the final, but they missed four three throws -- two straight by Hinrich and one each by Rose and Deng -- which gave the Crabs a chance to steal the game. And yes, I almost peed myself after each one. Good thing Heather D. wasna't around.

James Johnson: At the end of the third quarter, Rose took a jump shot that was about to bounce in when the rookie went up and goaltended it. And he missed it! I don't usually see Derrick lose his cool, but he looked about ready to choke a bitch.

Officiating, Part I: The officiating was pretty good for the most part, and I was rooting for the Bulls, but even I had to admit this was a pretty big missed call. Hey, 'Bron, you didn't need your head, right?


LeBron James, quote machine: Regarding the play in which he went all NFL running back on Deng: "I saw him backpedaling. Me as a driver, I'm watching the defender's feet. I'm seeing if he's stationed or is still moving. To me, I felt like he was still backpedaling, and as soon as I saw him backpedaling, that's when I decided to take off. They called a charge. I haven't seen the replay, but I know exactly what I've seen on the court with the defender right in front of me."

Joakim Noah, quote machine, Part I: Regarding the same play: "I think one of the refs was about to call a block and then he looked at the other ref because he wasn't sure, and the other ref -- thank God -- called a charge. That was a huge play for us. I'm really happy that play went our way. I think I'm kind of biased, but to me, I thought it was a charge the whole time."

Joakim Noah, quote machine, Part II: Regarding his five personal fouls, which limited him to only 33 minutes: "Stupid, stupid fouls."

The Los Angeles Lakers: L.A. got solid games out of Derek Fishr (17 points, 5-for-8, 4-for-5 on threes), Andy Bynum (13 points, 6-for-9, 7 rebounds) and Pau Gasol (17 points, 7-for-12, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks), but they couldn't stop the Thunder in transition (23 fast break points), nor could they contain Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook down the stretch. Those two dudes scored 22 of Thunder's final 23 points, including 10 points during a 10-2 run that put Oklahoma City ahead for good.

But the biggest problem for the Lakers may have been...

Kobe Bryant: Ah, sweet Mamba, how we've missed thee. Kobe had a rough night, shooting 10-for-29 from the field and 4-for-11 from downtown. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Lakers ran 15 isolation plays for Bryant, and Kobe went 2-for-13 on those plays...0-for-5 when guarded by Kevin Durant.

Speaking of which, how 'bout KD? The kid redeemed himself for his Game 2 choke job by asking to guard Mamba down the stretch. And -- surprise -- he shut Kobe down. Like, completely. It's enough to make you forget that Durant missed his first seven shots and 15 of his first 19 while finishing 8-for-24 on the night.

Thanks largely to the Durantula's defense, Kobe went 2-for-10 in the fourth quarter. Said Bryant: "It was a matchup that caught me by surprise."

No kidding.

Update! Officiating, Part II: Adam is kicking up a little dust at the refs for their apparent home-cookery: "I rightly expected there to be no mention of the ridiculously suspect free throw advantage the Thunder had over the Lakers. They had just short of three times the attempts the Lakers had (34-12). Durant himself had more attempts than the entire Lakers team (13). Yeah, roll your eyes at the Lakers homer complaining about the officiating in a loss. This was more than just Crawford being one of the refs."

That Durant, he sure gets to the line, I tell ya.

Update! Nick Collison, poster boy: As nominated by Basketbawful reader Alex K. Man, this could be used for one of those Southwest "Want To Get Away" commercials.


Update! Lamar Odom, poster boy: One good posterization deserves another, right? Of course, an anonymous commenter had a good point: Shouldn't Westbrook have been T'd up for taunting?


Scott Brooks, quote machine: Regarding the, ahem, lively OKC fans: "I was actually disappointed in the crowd because all year long I thought they were the best crowd. They just gave us so much energy and were so loud throughout the year. But now, I realize they were sandbagging."

The Portland Frail Blazers: Is this the same team that used a spirited effort to steal Game 1 in Phoenix? The Frail Blazers -- who once again lost a big man when starting forward Nicolas Batum aggravated a shoulder injury in the first half and had to take the rest of the night off -- fell behind 34-16 after the first quarter and 66-37 by halftime. During the fourth quarter, Rudy Fernandez pulled Portland back to within 11 by drilling three straight threes, but the Suns woke back up and closed things out with a 108-89 win.

Blazers sad bench
Yes! Another sad bench photo!

After the first game, all the talk was about how the Blazers were quietly one of the best defensive teams in the league. Since then, Phoenix has schooled them twice in a row. Last night, the Suns shot 53 percent as a team. What's more, Jason Richardson nailed eight treys and finished with a career playoff-high 42 points. And of those eight triples, about eight of them were wide open.

Said Richardson: "I was surprised they kept leaving me."

So were the fans in attendance at the Rose Garden, who actually booed their Blazers. That's not something that happens every day. That's like a room full of Catholic priests booing the Pope.

The Suns once again put the clamps on Andre Miller (4-for-11, 4 TOs), and Marcus Camby (3-for-7, zero blocked shots) had his second straight "meh" game after signing that two-year extension. Really, guys, you should have waited until after the playoffs to overpay the Camby Man.

I should also point out that the Frail Blazes bricked 12 free throws.

Said Portland coach Nate McMillan: "Tonight we just seemed tight. The first half, we seemed to be a little tight, maybe put some pressure on ourselves. The second half, we won that. We started to play basketball. We started to fight and won both of those quarters."

Too bad the game is still four quarters long, Nate.

Jaron Collins: Think Phoneix would love to have Robin Lopez back right about now? In 17 minutes as the Suns' starting center, Collins finished with zero points and 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 turnover and 2 fouls.

Here's some more Collins-bashing from Steve:

Things that were suggested replacements for Collins by Suns fans (on the RealGM boards):

- The Gorilla ("He's got hops!")
- Jarron Collins' Mom
- Dan Majerle
- Dan Majerle's jersey
- A wooden board
- A cutout of Jake Voskuhl, who was after all a Sun
- "Oh, God, ANYONE"
Update! Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: Apparently, 'Melo likes gettin' physical: "It's in my nature to love contact. The way I play, I like to get to the hole and I'll do whatever it takes to get there. I like going about it the hard way. I love to get thrown on the floor, pushed around. It's fun." Many thanks to Squackalee for this man love special.

Update! David Stern: I'll leave this one to Basketbawful reader Kevin:

Just read Stern's pissy stance about calling out refs. Basically, he said that coaches/players that complain about officiating should consider finding work elsewhere.

By association, Kings fans shouldn't complain about Game 7; Bucks fans about the Sixers series; Spurs fans about 0.2; Mavericks fans about the Finals; Suns fans about the 2006 ejections; Jazz fans about Jordan's push-off; U.S.A Olympic basketball fans about the 1972 U.S./Russia gold-medal game. Am I missing any other instances where the refs actually did an incredible job, but as fans we just didn't appreciate it?

So will Lebron be fined for second-guessing his charging call?

Can we call out Stern when it comes to his (lack of) policing his refs? (Donaghy, Crawford, etc.)
Lacktion report: Blow into your cartridge, kids...it's chris's lacktion report:

Crabs-Bulls: In the shocking defeat of the crustacean crew, JJ Hickson spent 46 seconds distracted by the assembly of a Qix pathway to earn a Mario - his THIRD in three games!!!

Lakers-Thunder: Luke Walton seemed to cue up his dad's exile in San Diego, by bricking twice from, uh, Bricktown for a +2 suck differential in 2:37!

Suns-Blazers: Yes, Jarron Collins should basically rename himself "Jake Voskuhl Jr." at this point, as in his third straight game as the Suns' playoff starting big man, he negated a board in 16:53 with two fouls and a giveaway for a 3:1 ratio, his third in three games.

Travis Diener flashed a Diner's Club card tonight and collected 1.65 trillion (1:39), no doubt just enough to get a lifetime Microsoft Works home user license.

Labels: , , ,

28 Comments:
Blogger Dan B. said...
Okay, the Heather D. reference was a very nice touch.

Alternative caption for the first photo if we really are trying to read LeBron's mind: "Offensive foul? But...don't you know who I am? I'm The Juggernaut, bitch!"

There's a reason I was worried about the Robin Lopez injury. Jarron Collins is about as effective as a traffic cone. (Then again, the traffic cone might have fewer turnovers and fouls)

And can you imagine that some of our younger readers may not even get the "blow into your cartridge" reference??

Blogger Leland said...
I was truly amazed at KD35's defense of KB24 in the 4th quarter. KB24 was 1/9.

Watching KD block the mamba's baseline jumper and then procede to hit a jumper in Artest's grill was awesome.

KD is KB's kryptonite. The mamba's shot attempts against KD looked forced (80% of KB's shot are), and I knew they had no chance of going in as soon as they left the mamba's hand.

It was glorious to watch the "best offensive player on the planet" look so mortal, so off his game, and so discouraged.

LA called a TO, and after that TO KB shot maybe 2 more times. I think PJax told him to stop embarrassing himself.

Also, I found it hilarious watching Ole' man Fisher trying to keep up with young gun Westbrook. Westbrooks crossover fried the fish, and then finished with a nice facial on Odom.

What a game

Blogger Factfinder said...
Am I the only one who wants someone to come up with a "techno-mash" commercial featuring AT THE VERY LEAST Sheed's "both teams played hard" and Iverson's "we talkin' bout practice" interviews????? Bawful... make it happen!

http://realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/66134/20100422/nbas_techno_mash_advertising_a_creative_success/

Anonymous Alex K said...
What about that dunk Bynum had on Collison? As much as I hate the Lakers, that dunk was pretty nasty. Though Westbrook and Durantula threw some nice ones down too.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
And can you imagine that some of our younger readers may not even get the "blow into your cartridge" reference??

Yeah, except this blog doesn't *have* any younger readers. Bawful probably scared them away with his "using proper words and punctuation" and such.

I being a fossil like the rest of you of course know exactly what this is referring to.

Anonymous Alex K said...
Kobe also threw some awful, awful passes in this game.

Blogger Adam said...
I rightly expected there to be no mention of the ridiculously suspect free throw advantage the Thunder had over the Lakers. They had just short of three times the attempts the Lakers had (34-12). Durant himself had more attempts than the entire Lakers team (13). Yeah, roll your eyes at the Lakers homer complaining about the officiating in a loss. This was more than just Crawford being one of the refs.

Of course that doesn't negate Bryant essentially shooting the Lakers out of the game near the end. I didn't know at the time if they were running plays through him or if he was just going it alone, but it certainly didn't help things. Nor did Artest dribbling the ball in place for ten seconds before handing it to Kobe for a last second miss.

Blogger Adam said...
Dan: I shed a tear for anybody who doesn't get the "blow into your cartridge" reference. It's a universal experience for anybody who gamed in that time. Everybody also had their own way of jiggling the cartridge in the system until the blinking finally stopped, though sometimes you'd get that weird halfway result where the game would play but with corrupted graphics where random bits of the sky would be green and the floor would be made up of @ symbols.

Good times, good times.

WV: kunts
You gotta be kidding me.

Blogger Dan B. said...
The Other Chris -- Good point. All the kiddies are apparently posting in the comments at espn.com, Yahoo, and Youtube. Reading comments at those sites hurts my brain and makes me weep for anybody born after the 1980s.

Adam -- Speaking of corrupted graphics and such, I miss using the Game Genie on my NES and punching in random codes, or slightly altering codes that were in the code book. Sometimes you could come up with some crazy results. I was at a buddy's house when we just punched in random letters for the three lines of codes for Mario 3, and the end result was freaking insane. Half of the sprites were wrong and the sky was green instead of blue. I wish I had written that code down or something. Since this was before the days of digital cameras, etc., I have no proof of its awesomeness beyond my memory... Oh, and your word verification is simply amazing.

Blogger Adam said...
Dan: (So off topic but what the hell..) Game Genie was awesome and Mario 3 seemed to be one of the best games to use with it. You could change the gravity, screw with enemy powers, anything. The fact that you could do so much more with it than simply cheat with invincibility or unlimited lives is what made it so great.

I love Nintendo to death and while I do understand the arguments they had against it at the time, I'm happy the thing was allowed to be sold. (Nintendo's court cases are a goldmine of interesting details.)

And yeah, I stared at that word verification for ten seconds just to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

Blogger Steve said...
Things that were suggested replacements for Collins by Suns fans (on the RealGM boards):

- The Gorilla ("He's got hops!")
- Jarron Collins' Mom
- Dan Majerle
- Dan Majerle's jersey
- A wooden board
- A cutout of Jake Voskuhl, who was after all a Sun
- "Oh, God, ANYONE"

Blogger Kevin said...
I'm sorry, but the NBA stole techno-mash from DJ Steve Porter, who started it with the Slap Chop commercial:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLqPeMku4vg

Then with "Press Hop" with Iverson, Mora, Green and some other press conferecnes (although I couldn't find Rasheed in it):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exOxUAntx8I

I hope Porter is doing the NBA ones.

Blogger BadDave said...
I always thought that the blowing in the cartridge was to remove debris stopping good connections. I have since learned that what really happens is that the contacts wear down, and then don't make good connection. The real effect is blowing moisture on the contacts to improve connection. So the lesson is kids, don't blow like Sasha Vujacic; blow softly and warmly like Arvydis Sabonis.

I also hesitate calling Durantula (that's a winner in my book) Mamba's kryptonite. Wait - if Mamba's a snake, would that make Durant Kevin Tiki Tavi? He had a great effort, and I think he can make things difficult for Mamba, but one game does not create certainty; I see a lot of potential for Kobe to still go off even with Durant in his face.

wv: giant

Georghe Muresan is my giant.

Blogger Dooj said...
@bawful

On that charge taken by Deng in the final minute. The announcers kept going back through the replay, I think 3 or 4 times, trying to find a way for it to be a bad call. They kept saying, "Deng is still moving his feet... still moving." Meanwhile, the whole replay shows it was a great call.

Blogger Kevin said...
Sorry to double post, but just read Stern's pissy stance about calling out refs. Basically, he said that coaches/players that complain about officiating should consider finding work elsewhere:
http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/news/story?id=5127532

By association, Kings fans shouldn't complain about Game 7; Bucks fans about the Sixers series; Spurs fans about 0.2; Mavericks fans about the Finals; Suns fans about the 2006 ejections; Jazz fans about Jordan's push-off; U.S.A Olympic basketball fans about the 1972 U.S./Russia gold-medal game. Am I missing any other instances where the refs actually did an incredible job, but as fans we just didn't appreciate it?

So will Lebron be fined for second-guessing his charging call?

Can we call out Stern when it comes to his (lack of) policing his refs? (Donaghy, Crawford, etc.)

(Ps: Factfinder, I missed the Porter reference on the first scanthrough of that tecno-mash article.)

Blogger Squackalee said...
"The way I play, I like to get to the hole and I'll do whatever it takes to get there. I like going about it the hard way" - Carmelo Anthony

Man Love at its finest

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How was Westbrook not given a T for taunting after that dunk? He was clearly looking at Odom as if to say "we've got heart."

Blogger chris said...
By association, Kings fans shouldn't complain about Game 7; Bucks fans about the Sixers series; Spurs fans about 0.2; Mavericks fans about the Finals; Suns fans about the 2006 ejections; Jazz fans about Jordan's push-off; U.S.A Olympic basketball fans about the 1972 U.S./Russia gold-medal game. Am I missing any other instances where the refs actually did an incredible job, but as fans we just didn't appreciate it?

So will Lebron be fined for second-guessing his charging call?


Well, it couldn't have been last year's Bullets-Crabs tilt, as we DID appreciate the crustacean moniker granted for all time to the Cuyahoga County residents!

CAPTCHA: "midst." Yes, a normal word! i.e. "John Starks was in the midst of more than mediocrity during Game 7."

Blogger Will said...
The thing about cartridge-blowing is that you had to have the magic touch. I could get games to play in a couple of tries that my friends could blow in for hours and get nothing.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
And can you imagine that some of our younger readers may not even get the "blow into your cartridge" reference??

[shudders]

I was truly amazed at KD35's defense of KB24 in the 4th quarter.

You weren't the only one. Wow. Way to step up, KD. Man.

Factfinder, I'd love to do a Iverson/'Sheed techno mash commercial, but I don't have the technical know-how. Any Bawful readers who can do it?

Kevin, never apologize for double-posting. I have added your sage words to this post. Speaking of which...

Adam, Alex K, Adam and Squackalee, you all just earned "Update!" status at Basketbawful. Tourette's Guy approves.

Anonymous Karc said...
@Adam - The Lakers took a season-high 31 three-point attempts. There's a reason they didn't get to the line. They were hitting them early and often, then bricks galore, leading to multiple fast break attempts for the Thunder and no drives to the basket. If the Lakers only take 20 3-point attempts, they win. If Kobe wasn't such a gunslinger, they would have won.

I had OKC winning in a blowout, but this is the type of game that infuriates Laker fans (and thus, gives me great joy). They looked good for about 30 minutes, then Westbrook posterizes Odom and the Lakers never recovered.

I'd root for the Thunder, but seriously, I am not giving Clay Bennett the satisfaction. I mean, the crowd is on their feet as they realize the Thunder are about to win, and he looks like he wants to be somewhere else. This guy is a douche.

Blogger brandon said...
I hope someone pointed out this Melo quote:

"It's in my nature to love contact," Anthony said. "The way I play, I like to get to the hole and I'll do whatever it takes to get there. I like going about it the hard way. I love to get thrown on the floor, pushed around. It's fun."

Blogger Basketbawful said...
brandon, Squackalee beat you to it. That quote has been appended to this post.

Blogger Will said...
Brandon and Squackalee- were they playing "Momma Said Knock You Out" when he said that?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Was really impressed by Durant's defense and rebounding. If he had his shot going the first 2 games Thunder might be up 3-0.

And the free throw advantage in game 3 was an accurate reflection of how the teams played. Lakers shot jumpshots, OKC busted their asses and took it to the rim.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Is Durant hauling in 19 boards just him being awesome or LA being bawful?

Anonymous Mladen said...
"Press Hop" = awesome

Thanks for sharing, man!

Anonymous Todd said...
Here's a WotPN nomination waiting to happen: the Memphis Grizzlies.

If the Bobcats pull out a win - tough, but maybe the Magic will take a night off - then the Grizz will become again the only team in the NBA never to have won a playoff game.

Which is very bad. I mean, it's bad that the Charlotte BCats have been around for seven years and never got a single playoff win. But the Grizzlies have existed since 1995. 1995! That's just painful. Can't wait to see them leave for Vegas or something.

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