vag carter

The Orlando Magic: The Magic swept their way through the first two rounds of the 2010 NBA playoffs. This included a four-game drubbing of the Charlotte Bobcats -- which they essentially did without Dwight Howard, who was plagued by foul trouble throughout the series -- and the laying of some historic smack down on the Atlanta "They Are Who We Thought They Were" Hawks.

This, of course, led to some drastic "mis-overestimation" of the Magic, who were boldly (and foolishly) proclaimed by many experts to be the best team in the playoffs. And yeah, I get that Orlando had won 14 straight games dating back to the regular season. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy wanted his team to be hot heading into the postseason, and he got his wish.

But...shouldn't people have realized that Orlando had two rounds of extremely good fortune? The kind of luck Ben Affleck had when he met Matt Damon and managed to jumpstart a long and crappy career -- have you seen Daredevil?! -- based on the success of Good Will Hunting. The Magic first faced an offense-free team that relied heavily on the shot jackery of Stephen Jackson. Re-read that sentence out loud. Then they drew a squad that had barely beaten the Andrew Bogut-less Milwaukee Bucks and featured an offense built around isolating an All-Star who's masquerading as a superstar.

I'm not saying the Magic weren't playing well -- they were -- but they hadn't faced a complete team yet, either. That should have been obvious, right? It was obvious to me. (In fact, I even said they were going to get a wakeup call in the ECFs.) And it was apparently obvious to the Celtics too...because they welcomed Orlando to the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals with a face punch.

The Celts had a game plan and they carried it out: Use single coverage on Dwight Howard, fouling him whenever necessary (and sometimes even when it was not)), and staying at home on his teammates. In essence, Boston's coaching staff said: "Dwight will have to beat us with his post moves. We can live with that."

Turns out it was a good plan.

The Magic set new 2010 postseason lows for points (88), field goal percentage (41.6), three-point field goal percentage (22.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (18 TOs to only 10 assists on 32 field goals). Orlando was stuck on 14 points almost 17 minutes into the game. Their last field goal of the first quarter (a Vag Carter dunk) came at the 5:33 mark. Orlando didn't hit another shot (a Carter layup) until 7:35 was left in the second quarter.

During the regular season, the Magic set a new NBA record for three-pointers made. The Celtics were ready to make sure they didn't set any long-distance shooting marks in Game 1. Orlando went 0-for-9 in the first half and 5-for-22 for the game. Boston controlled the tempo and the score for most of the game, eventually going up by as many as 20 points. The Magic did make a strong fourth quarter run to make the final few minutes exciting...but other than that, the Celtics did pretty much whatever they wanted, stealing the game and home court advantage away from the supposedly unstoppable Magic.

Last but certainly not least, some careless ball handling by Orlando and some very active mitts (and no-calls from the officials) by the Celtics led to 18 Magic turnovers which turned into 21 bonus points for the Celtics. Oh, and the "old" Celtics outscored the well-rested Magic 20-6 in fastbreak points. Have you ever seen a healthy teenager get outrun by an 80-year-old man with a walker? Well, you saw the NBA equivalent of that yesterday.

Here's some more fun with numbers, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information: The Magic hadn't lost since April 2, hadn't been held below 90 points since March 24, hadn't lost had home since March 14, hadn't had 18 turnovers since March 11, hadn't made 4 or fewer three-pointers since March 3, and hadn't had 10 or fewer assists since January 28.

Dwight Howard: You want to know the exact moment when I knew Howard was going to have a bad game? During the pregame show when they showed a clip of Howard's halftime interview with himself. That's right: Dwight, dressed as Clark Kent, actually interviewed himself as "Superman." I understand he's a fun dude and all that, but does that seem like something somebody who's totally focused on an upcoming playoff battle would do?

To quote myself from a few paragraphs ago, Boston's coaching staff went into Game 1 with the following philosophy: "Dwight will have to beat us with his post moves. We can live with that."

Kendrick Perkins, Big Baby and Rasheed Wallace took turns roughing up Howard -- they fouled him a total of nine times -- and harassed him into the following stat line: 13 points on 3-for-10 shooting to go along with 4 fouls, a game-high 7 turnovers and a game-low plus-minus score of -10. Only Matt Barnes (-14) had a worse plus-minus score.

Mind you, Howard had game-highs in rebounds (12) and blocks (5), but the Celtics contained his offense with surprising ease -- even when Baby was guarding him -- which caused Orlando's offense to break down until their fourth quarter run.

Said 'Sheed: "You've got to be physical. He plays physical. That's the one thing we looked at and seen over the last few series. Guys just let him do whatever he wanted to do. We're definitely going to fight him, we have a lot of fouls. I have my six, so do Baby [Glen Davis], Perk [Kendrick Perkins], Shelden [Williams], Kevin [Garnett]."

Pretty much, yeah. And that physical play started getting to Howard, who started trying to elbow and shove away his Celtic defenders. Only the shoving became the focus instead of a means to get open.

Said Dwight: "They're going to try to frustrate me and get into my head and play head games, and I have to do my best to maintain my focus. I got into a little wresting match with all their guys, and that's to their advantage. That takes me off my game."

Update! From TrueHoop, here's a video breakdown of Pumaman's rough night:


Rashard Lewis: Vince Carter's strong game -- a team-high 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting and some aggressive moves to the basket -- was offset by Rashard's Fiesta of the Bricks. Lewis went 2-for-10 from the field and 0-for-6 from downtown, finishing with only 6 points in 43 minutes. Mind you, scoring his is primary function. And it's not like the Celtics had any special "Rashard Rules" or anything. They just refused to leave him open and kept a hand in his face. That's it. That's all it took to shut Lewis down.

And this is where I remind everybody that Lewis was the 9th highest paid player in the league this season. Other notables in the top 10: Knee-Mac (1st), Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal (3rd), Shaq (5th) and Michael Redd (10th). Also, Larry Hughes is 29th...just ahead of Chris Paul. As always, I'm just sayin'.

Update! Rasheed Wallace, quote machine: Thanks to Heretic for sending this one in: "A lot of them jump shots, the buttholes get tight."

Update! Almost forgot...Ray-Ray failed to block out tiny Jameer Nelson when Vince Carter intentionally missed a free throw with eight seconds left. Nelson strolled in for the putback, which cut Boston's lead to 90-88. Allen knocked in a couple freebies with six seconds left to widen the gap, but that play really could have cost the Celts the game.

Officiating: During the first quarter, Rajon Rondo drove to the basket and was very clearly whacked across the arm right in front of Dan Crawford. No call. Shortly thereafter, Jameer Nelson got semi-wrestled into a turnover that turned into two points going the other way. I understand "letting them play," but at times this game was chaos.

As Basketbawful reader Heretic said: "Loved the officiating. Just horrible calls all around. Fouls, illegal inbound passes, moving screens...the refs said 'Fuck it, its Thunderdome rules baby!'"

Phil Jackson: I know, I know. I titled this post "Worst of Game 1 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals," but I had to include some Worst of the Weekend-type stuff. Such as more of Phil Jackson's stupid mind games. His latest victim: Steve Nash.

Jackson had grinned when asked on Friday if it's tough for the Lakers to prepare to face Nash, the reigning NBA skills champion, because of the Suns guard's frenetic style.

"Yeah, because you can't carry the ball like he does in practice," Jackson said, making a gesture of palming the basketball. "You can't pick that ball up and run with it."

Asked Saturday in El Segundo at Lakers practice about Nash's comments, Jackson smiled and feigned innocence. "I didn't complain about it. Did you hear me complain about it?"
Steve Nash and the Suns, quote machine: Steve's response to Phil's latest anti-him volley:

"It's news to me. I'm fortunate. I don't know if I've been called for a carry yet," he said after the Suns practiced Saturday, then he added straight-faced: "I've never heard anyone accuse me of carrying it. I mean, the best coach in the league Gregg Popovich [of San Antonio] didn't have a problem with it last week."

Get it? Popovich the best coach in the league?

"We have the best officials in the world," Nash continued. "I'll just leave it up to them."
Here's Alvin Gentry's response:

"You guys got to admire Phil," Gentry said. "C'mon, the stuff that he throws out there, I mean I think it's great. He's very creative. There's a reason. But I think you've got to understand that there's kind of a method to his madness. If you let it affect you, then it will."

Gentry went on to praise Jackson for his ability to create championship chemistry on teams with great players, calling it "probably the toughest thing in the NBA to do."

He said the Suns weren't going to get drawn into what they consider Jackson's psychological ploy.

"How can we win that?" Gentry said. "We're not going to win that battle anyway."

But the Phoenix coach added a jab at the Lakers when he was asked jokingly if the team worked on ball handling skills.

"We spent the day ducking elbows on post-ups, to see if we could duck elbows on post-ups, " Gentry said, a not-to-thinly veiled nod to the Lakers' style. "So it all works out, it all works out."
And Amar''''''e: "Typical Phil."

Pretty much, yeah.

Shaq: Check it:

Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal is a free agent and wants to keep playing, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Friday.

The Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics, 94-85, on Thursday night in Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I missed 360 games because of injury in my career, so by my calculations I still have 3.7 years left," O'Neal told the Plain Dealer. "That means I'm going to play until I'm 41. I've been here 17 years but I've missed a lot of games, so I still feel I can play this game."

O'Neal said he'd return to the Cavaliers but many things are up in the air, including the status of LeBron James and coach Mike Brown.

"There are a lot of free agents on the team," he told the newspaper. "We just have to sit back and I'm sure everybody's going to do what's best for them."

O'Neal missed the final six weeks of the regular season after tearing a ligament in his right thumb.

"I got injured, came back in better shape," O'Neal told the Plain Dealer. "I did everything they asked me to do."
You know, Shaq promised us he'd retire when he was "only as good as David Robinson." I'm still waiting for him to make good on that promise. Unfortunately, he's going to need a time machine to go back a few years when he was still as good as The Admiral.

By the way, I saw this SI cover at a grocery store near my house yesterday. It cracked my shit up to the point the old lady at the register didn't want to ring up my order.

old shaq

Fresh on the newsstands! Next week: The Beatles...can they make it as a band? This is why the print media is dying a slow, shuddering death.

Lacktion report: And on the seventy day, chris reported lacktion:

Celtics-Magic: Kendrick Perkins trucked on with five fouls AND giveaways countering two field goals and boards each for a 10:6 Voskuhl in 26:02! Michael Finley found a way to finagle a portobello or two in 7 seconds for a SUPER MARIO!

In non-lacktive news, Pumaman scored a Dantley -- amazing enough considering he missed 5 of 12 attempts at the charity stripe...which is kinda bad when you lose by 4 after a furious fourth-quarter rally. Woops!

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58 Comments:
Best Voskuhl ever?

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Where to begin..

"I missed 360 games because of injury in my career, so by my calculations I still have 3.7 years left,"

And by everyone else's calculations, you have about -2 years left.

Funny how the Suns got better by giving away your rotund, bloated corpse. (Not to mention salary). I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

"so I still feel I can play this game."

And that feeling is wrong. So very, very wrong. Like the feeling that you "should" call that girl you *just* met, like Mikey in Swingers. Wrong. Wrong. Like maybe that 9th beer on a work night is a great idea. Wrong.

I remember one play in game 6 where on a pick-and-roll, as the play unfolded, Shaq literally just stood out on the perimeter and watched his man roll to the basket for an open dunk. And at this point in his career, that actually makes sense - he's far too slow to actually get back into the play, so why bother trying?

"I got injured, came back in better shape,"

Better shape than what? A marshmallow soaked in molasses? First of all, Shaq doesn't even have *any* shape any more, let alone a "good" shape. He's an amorphous blob. A massive, blundering, rotund fat sack. Second, at no point in the last 5+ years has Shaq been in anything even approaching shouting distance of "good shape". If he gets any fatter at this point, smaller players are going to get sucked into his gravitational orbit. Compare the Big Creaky to, say, Ray Allen, who's worked his ass off every second of his NBA career to put himself in the place he is now: still relatively athletic, still quick enough to get to the rim when people get too close. Or even a player like Kevin Willis: not exactly HOF material, but until the end of his career the guy was in better shape than I will ever be in my life. And it's not even close.

"I did everything they asked me to do."

They asked you to help the Cavs win a title. You, and the rest of the Frakenstein team that the rest of the NBA doesn't want - Jamario Moon, Daniel Gibson, Antwain Jamison, Shaq, Big Z, Mo Williams - fell far, far short of that. Anything less than the Finals this year was a huge disappointment; this was an outright disaster. You were a big part of that disaster; the team was markedly and obviously worse with you and the floor.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Shaq had one thing going for him when he was younger. Size and power. Thats it. He never had good footwork, a mid range shot or really a go to move (does throwing elbows and backing players down with your huge ass count as a go to move?). Robinson actually had a polished game and was flexible with his assortment of moves (having a young Tim Duncan to take some of the pressure off helps as well). But now he's not helping teams, he's become a liability. I know its hard letting go after being the most dominant center of your time but leave with some dignity. He should have quit after Miami.

Howard is almost like a young Shaq with the exception that he's a goofy fucktard who gets all whiny and soft when someone plays rough defense on him. He is stronger, quicker and bigger than Sheed, Perkins and Big baby combined. Yes he'll get fouled hard but he has to finish strong. I can't count how many times I saw him just lob the ball halfheartedly after he got fouled then miss some free throws, dunk the fucking ball or go strong off the backboard. I figured he had learned to be more aggressive after a soft player like Pau took him to school last year but apparently he was too busy coming up with this:

http://www.basketusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/dwight-howard-clark-kent.jpg

While on the subject of terrible pictures, presenting the two biggest douches in the NBA world:

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0512/nba_g_cuban11_576.jpg

I just love the look of pure loathing that Jon Barry is giving Cuban.

Blogger Dooj said...
At what point does Shaq hit the Patrick Ewing Theory? Sure the Lakers got worse, but the Heat and Suns got WAAAAY better after he left.

Blogger chris said...
Dooj: Well, I'm surprised Shaq hasn't done a few Snickers commercials yet!

Blogger chris said...
Other "timely" SI headlines:

Michael Phelps: Can He Win Gold (And Eat A Week's Supply of Waffle House Food)

JR Ewing: Television's Rowdiest Rancher

Sam Bowie's Stock Rises Before The Draft

Sputnik Flies Over North America, Space Race Begins

BREAKING NEWS: Hawks Trade Bill Russell!!!!

Desert Inn Opens Up In Las Vegas - Could A Professional Sports League's All-Star Game Be Far Behind?

NFL Institutes New System Called "Playoffs," Jim Mora Not Impressed

Greg Oden Born

Blogger chris said...
Steve Nash calling Association officials "the best in the world" strikes me as more ironic than...a traffic jam, when you're already late (on Interstate 10).

Blogger Will said...
One interesting stat from yesterday's game: Dwight Howard missed more shots yesterday (7) than in the ENTIRE Hawks series (5). That is both a condemnation of ATL's defense and a sign of how good Boston's D was.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
For my money, Perkins does the best job guarding Dwight out of anyone in the league even with his foul trouble issues. Orlando is built around the idea that Dwight is going to draw a double-team and kick it out to open shooters/slashers but if a team is worth its salt it won't have to use two defenders on him.

All it takes to guard Howard one on one is a burly, physical player (Boston has 3, 4 if you count Rasheed). He doesn't have to be tall or even a Center, he just has to be strong enough and physical enough to not give him much ground when he is fighting for position. There is no need to even contest his shots because he lacks touch. That spin move/half hook thing he does when he can't just go up and dunk on someone at point blank range is a line drive of a shot.

Even to this day Howard is successful mostly when other people create shots for him (pick and rolls, dive cuts, back door alley oops) and when he gets garbage points. When forced to go 1 on 1 against a physical defender he is remarkably inefficient. He has a tendency to rush his shots and to somehow minimize his 6'11-ness in the process. Some guys just have no feel for the post and Howard seems to be one of them.

I still see this series going 6 games though.

On a related note, why is Patrick Ewing still Howard's post game coach? Their games couldn't be any more different. If I'm Orlando im paying Moses Malone whatever the hell he wants to come tutor Dwight Howard.

Anonymous Heretic said...
I wonder if Jackson's "mind games" actually work. I'd love to think that Nash is somewhere in a dark room rocking back and forth in a fetal position , stuffing Krispy Kreme donuts in his mouth while mumbling "I don't carry the ball, I don't carry the ball" in a catatonic states. Or that in a bunker somewhere a team of refs are going over every Nash footage exclaiming "By the balls of Odin, how have we been missing all those carrys!?"

Most likely the end result is...nothing. The refs may take an extra look now and then to make sure Nash isn't carrying the ball but I doubt any calls will come out of it. He should have gone the republican politician route and said "You know Steve Nash isn't American, god only knows how much damage he's done to the NBA simply by existing. I say comrade Nash keep himself out of the playoffs for the good of this great nation. Hasn't 9/11 taught us anything?".

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Good or bad sign for the Magic that Vag Carter was their best player yesterday? Leaning towards bad that it was wasted in a loss. Don't know if they can count on Wince to do this at least 4 more times.

Can I get a bawful mention for the Magic allowing the best FT shooter on the floor to get the ball with 8 seconds left and dribble almost to halfcourt? Brilliant strategy to let Nelson tip in the miss but couldn't Ron Jeremy have reminded them in the huddle to force them to inbound to anyone but Allen.

Oh SI you fail so hard but hey Shaq wants to keep playing so it's still possible he can win a ring for the king.

Blogger 49er16 said...
Dwight and LeBron must have been separated at birth. Both guys seem like they would be fun to hang out with, but do you really want either guy on your team during the playoffs?

Blogger Basebawful said...
The Magic played bad. But I also think it was bad luck. The Celtics played good defense but the Magic had a lot of open 3's and they simply didn't go in.

I think J.J Redick should play more minutes, the guy is a hustler, plays great defense on Ray Allen and shoots great. That run at the end of the game was in part because of him.

If Vince can play the way he played yesterday, the Magic will win this series because Boston won't get that many breaks again.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
At what point does Shaq hit the Patrick Ewing Theory? Sure the Lakers got worse, but the Heat and Suns got WAAAAY better after he left.

I think The Big Blowhard deserves his own special "Empty Promises Theory." Shaq's big thing was that teams always improved when he showed up...and it was true for Orlando, L.A. and Miami. But after the Heat won the title, his ability to impose his will on his team and the league in general disappeared. He did nothing for the Suns except gun for one season to audition for another team. And he never fit with Cleveland. Never.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@49er16

I would want them on my team but not as the guy other players look to for leadership.

Blogger chris said...
Anonymous: So the clear sign Shaq will still be on his mission is...if Chicago, the Nyets, or the Knicks sign him? :P

Anonymous Stockton said...
sHAQ is one of those guys who trust on their body to acomplish everything. While he was able (and allowed) to park under the basket, headbutt his opponent and slam it home, he was the man!
He never developed a mid-range shot, neither low-post moves, not to mention that he couldn't make a FT to save his mother's life.
That's what happens when you spend your summer rapping and filming Shazam instead of working on your game.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Uhm...are we gonna talk about the Delonte West sexing LeBron's mom rumors? I can't remember the last time I wanted something to be true so badly.

Anonymous UpA said...
Heretic, I'm a long time Shaq fan and I do recognize that he has not aged as I'd wish him too,playng so many teams in the last days of his career is diminishing his legacy and his current "shape" is not helping at all, he should have hung that jersey back in the Miami days and that would have been a grand finale for him, but putting down his skills as just "Size and power" is well beyond this universe's justice!

He opened up the field with great passing with the Lakers, his footwork was average for a 7 footer with that massive weight, not as good as Robinson/Olajuwon but still pretty decent, and about the mid range shot, C'mon! he never needed that, he had an above average hook and his trademark move was known as the "Shaq Attack" and yes, it consisted in the complete deletion of the opposing player via "big ass" pushing and a fast right twist with a god-slapping dunk as a result, coaches even tried to kill that move with the hack-a-shaq, I'm sure you didn't miss those days but the guy was more than just size and power!

It's bad for a gambler not to quit at the right moment, but for an NBA player getting millions out of a deal instead of going home the gamble is stil a go, would you let go a 2 million dollar a year deal just because of sportsmanship or legacy? or because ppl say you are old? I wouldn't.

And about his statement, He is clearly selling himself for GM's, I'm good, healthy, not quitting on a team at the end of the season, we all know his nothing of that at all, but we know there are some major assholes playing the GM's role (I'm talking to you Joe Dumars) ready to buy into a good old guy.

He'll found a GM to buy into him, and let's be honest, Shaq sure sold more jerseys this year than Varejao has on the last 3 with CLE.

Was Sheed speaking from direct experience? Furtive observation? Or was that a threat, in which case you'd rather have his hand in your face than anywhere near your hinder?

Blogger spongefrob said...
Ugly, ugly game. Uglier than that war wound your crazy uncle keeps showing off at family picnics... More spasmodic than Quasimodo at an epileptics orgy.... Asses and elbows everywhere. No rhythm to the thing. Refs would go for longs stretches not calling a thing (which is alright by me...) then try to rein it in by calling every last foul in a three minute span... only to go blind again. Remarkably inconsistent. Players never certain what they could get away with consistently...

Orlando's defense could more rightly be called dry heaves: extreme muscular contractions, painful to watch and more painful yet to listen to, that call forth excruciating exertion without producing any thing whatsoever.

Bostons offense, on the other hand, was better termed episodic and probabilistic: throw enough crap in the general direction of the hoop and somethings gonna fall... As much as I think Boston is the better team and their tactics against #12 are the right thing, they gutted through mainly on luck.
But it was damned ugly.

Blogger Drake said...
Chris:

Sadly enough, the NBA refs just happen to be the best in the world at officiating basketball. It's not an indication of their skill level, but rather how bad the other refs are. I mean, have you seen FIBA refs of NCAA refs?

Hellshocked:

At this point, I can't think of a more apt player to compare Howard with than Ewing in terms of offensive game. Both were rather slow and clumsy in the post, had horrendous touch around the basket, and both have essentially the same go-to move (the running shot from the middle of the paint, with Ewing shooting a jumper and Howard shooting a hook). The key differences are that Ewing had a decent jumper despite his lack of touch, and Howard is a stronger, more athletic, and slightly quicker player.

We know that Howard isn't a young Shaq - Shaq actually had decent post moves back then, despite what Stockton claims, and he had nimble enough feet and enough strength to push around any defender. Young Shaq would have eaten Perkins alive.

And we know he's not a young Moses Malone, since Malone knew exactly what he was doing in the low-post right of high school. And despite Howard's awesome athleticism, he's simply not the quick leaper that Moses was, which hinders his ability to get those offensive rebounds.

So to me, that leaves Howard as basically a poor-man's Ewing - a clumsy yet effective post player. Of course, I can only recall Ewing being neutralized by Hakeem on offense, while Howard seems to be bothered by any sort of physical defender.

Blogger Cortez said...
"I wonder if Jackson's "mind games" actually work."

Probably not.

Even though I love Nash, I have debated (with myself mostly) whether or not Nash is carrying the ball before Jackson observation.

After studying the issue (i.e. looking half-assed at a handful of Suns games while doing something else) I've determined that Nash is not "carrying" the ball, although it's really close sometimes.

"I think J.J Redick should play more minutes, the guy is a hustler, plays great defense on Ray Allen and shoots great."

If they go this route...

Celtics in 3 because they'll cancel the last game to pay respects to Redick's smoldering corpse.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@UpA

You're right, I did him a bit of a injustice to shaq when I broke him down to a guy that would just waddle into the paint and throw down. Even though I stand by my statement that most of his success relied on him just being huge and powerful instead of a reliance on skill. But you do bring up and excellent point, he never needed a mid range game so he didn't develop it. This is a big problem for guys that are naturally gifted either by power or speed (in some cases both). They can dominate guys just because of their natural athletic prowess so they don't really concern themselves with picking up new skills. The problem is by the end of the season your opponents know exactly what you'll rely on (Exhibit A - Lebron, Exhibit B - Howard) and will effectively shut you down. This is worse for superstar players because their team relies on them so much. Take Rondo for example if he stops relying just on his speed and his awesome passing ability and started to develop a a mid range or 3 point jump shot he would be so deadly. If shaq or dwight could shoot mid range they would cause huge cracks in the defense. I'm not saying that it should be something they rely on but it should be a good alternate option when your primary one is being shut down.

Anonymous UpA said...
I know this doesn't come on the right time, but this pic deserves to be seen,

http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/LeBron-Nate.jpg

Blogger Paul said...
hellshocked said:
"On a related note, why is Patrick Ewing still Howard's post game coach? Their games couldn't be any more different. If I'm Orlando im paying Moses Malone whatever the hell he wants to come tutor Dwight Howard."

Actually, if I'm Orlando I'm paying "The Dream" whatever the hell he wants to tutor Dwight Howard.
Check that, If I'm The Lakers (Bynum,Gasol) or pretty much any team in the league with a little more than average big, I'd pay the dream to come and tutor him. Not too many good bigs out there, but of the top of my head I'm thinking... Bogut, Mark Gasol, Kaman(too late for him?), Bosh...

Heck... that Fesenko guy is passable enough that he is headed towards "Ostertag" kind of territory. But if they invest a little on him he could end up being a nice surprise.

Blogger Paul said...
hellshocked said:
"On a related note, why is Patrick Ewing still Howard's post game coach? Their games couldn't be any more different. If I'm Orlando im paying Moses Malone whatever the hell he wants to come tutor Dwight Howard."

Actually, if I'm Orlando I'm paying "The Dream" whatever the hell he wants to tutor Dwight Howard.
Check that, If I'm The Lakers (Bynum,Gasol) or pretty much any team in the league with a little more than average big, I'd pay the dream to come and tutor him. Not too many good bigs out there, but of the top of my head I'm thinking... Bogut, Mark Gasol, Kaman(too late for him?), Bosh...

Heck... that Fesenko guy is passable enough that he is headed towards "Ostertag" kind of territory. But if they invest a little on him he could end up being a nice surprise.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Uhm...are we gonna talk about the Delonte West sexing LeBron's mom rumors? I can't remember the last time I wanted something to be true so badly.

I've been holding my tongue, waiting for a reputable source or two to confirm the story. It being true would be like a lifetime's worth of Birdmases rolled into one.

Ugly, ugly game. Uglier than that war wound your crazy uncle keeps showing off at family picnics... More spasmodic than Quasimodo at an epileptics orgy.... Asses and elbows everywhere.

Loved this...the "asses and elbows everywhere" part really got me.

Celtics in 3 because they'll cancel the last game to pay respects to Redick's smoldering corpse.

Just when I thought I'd recovered from the "asses and elbows" comment, I read this and spit out a potato chip.

Blogger chris said...
So if we're gonna see more Thunderdome ball for the forseeable future, does that mean Kermit Washington can come out of retirement?

Blogger Dylan Murphy said...
I hope so. I'm just waiting for a Dwight Howard haymaker on Rasheed Wallace.

Blogger chris said...
Drake: What about olympic refs, particularly the ones in the 1972 gold medal match?

Those guys must be Tim Donaghy's personal heroes.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
Round is a shape!!! HAHAHAH
anyways that's all I wanted to say

Anonymous Heretic said...
If the Delonte West thing is true and Lebron as well as Delonte stay with the Cavs, its the ultimate trump card.

Lebron: Delonte, you really need to work on your defense.

Delonte: I fucked your mom.

Lebron: ...

Blogger stephanie g said...
The NBA needs to commission a band of former great low post big men to travel the league and teach young guys how to not have panic attacks when they catch the ball on the block. Consider it a business decision. It improves the product on the floor. Get Barkley, McHale, Hakeem, Kareem, Moses, and...hell, put Dantley in there too. Make it a reality TV show and show put it on NBATV during those long summers.

Dwight's touch is horrid. It looks like he's putting those shots up while wearing oven mitts.

Everytime Ray Ray drives and makes a pull up leaner in the lane I squeeeeeeee. I can has Jesus babies?

RE: refs, I loved watching the Olympics. Guys can actually body people up on the perimeter and big men are allowed to play. Add the old NBA on NBC theme and it was like entering a time warp.

Vince is a career underachiever and chronically lazy, but it's not like he's Marquis Daniels out there. Guy is still good enough to swing a series.

Blogger Cortez said...
"If the Delonte West thing is true..."

If this is true, if nothing else, it confirms that West's reported mental issues are very real and very very deep.

"Not a MILF, Gloria James is."
~Basketball Yoda

It would also go far in explaining why he couldn't hit the rim most of the series, his eyes are shot!

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
"Everytime Ray Ray drives and makes a pull up leaner in the lane I squeeeeeeee. I can has Jesus babies?"

This made me, as the kids say these days, lol.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@stephanie

I think the Celtics were surprised that Vince actually played and wanted to see if it was just a prank. I don't see him sustaining it though, especially on the road.

@Chris

As long as Vince subs in for Rudy Tomjanovic I'm fine with Kermit coming in.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I'm just sayin': Delonte West's basketball-reference page is open for sponsorship. Given how the ping pong balls are pulled tomorrow, and the pending c/d on the story, I'd throw down cash for a quote.

"His mom loved it."


Kobe's knee was drained of fluid. I'm feeling really awesome about Game 1 now, as Kobe tries to prove he's not injured by chucking up 27 shots for a Suns win.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
@Drake:

Ewing's entire game was built around the fact he could hit midrange jumpers from the elbow and fadeaways from the post. This is the exact opposite of Dwight Howard, whose complete lack of touch makes his go-to move the dunk and, if it's taken away, the half-spin prayer. I don't see how paying Ewing to teach Dwight how to fade away is doing him or Orlando any favors. Both players are limited, obviously, but in completely different ways. They are almost on opposite ends of the Center spectrum.

Of course Dwight not Moses. That goes beyond saying. He isn't even Alonzo Mourning in the post. Moses, however, is who Howard should be patterning his game after due to his bodytype and skillset. He is never going to hit those jumpers consistently, but Malone could teach him how to get his hook off without looking like he is wilting, how to use the backboard to finish whatever he can't dunk and how to execute without having to rely purely on his overwhelming athleticism. Howard's problem with offensive rebounding, if there is one, isn't that he is slow off his feet (he isn't young Shawn Marion but I think Howard is actually rather quick off his feet) but that he relies purely on jumping ability instead of positioning. If he seals his man properly he won't even need to jump much. Moses WAS a quick leaper but he was never a high flier, he was just a badass. Howard could use some badassing.

@Paul:

HELL NO. I think the worst thing Orlando could do is get Hakeem to tutor Howard because Dwight has no hope in hell of ever being able to execute any of those moves. Olajuwon was a freak. His foot speed was off the charts as was his agility and skill set while facing the basket. He is a great mentor to talented guards like, say, Kobe Bryant but what good would he be with someone whose foot speed is relatively slow, who is awkward in the post, has absolutely no touch on anything outside of 5 feet and whose game relies on brute strength? It would be almost as bad as Ewing.

Playing in the post requires a certain outlook, much like playing the point does. The truly great ones already know which way the defense is leaning when they get the ball down there and do their damndest to go the other way. If they are cut off, they have a counter move. If the counter is cut off, they have a counter for that. They are also entirely aware of where their teammates are and how best to get them the ball. It doesn't matter if they have 1 second before the double team gets there or 15, it is always enough time for them to execute their game plan. Howard is definitely not in this category, and it is difficult to imagine he ever will be. I think shoving Moses down his throat is his best chance.

Blogger BadDave said...
Stephanie - That is an awesome idea. There are other players that come to mind - Karl, D-Rob, Otis Thorpe, Magic, Kevin Willis, Oakley (the hombre) and Rodman, too. I feel like post rebounding is also a bit of a lost art. Plus some of those guys would make for some great TV. We could also include Mark Jackson, but I don't know if a 2-hour episode is realistic.

In line with VC's question in the open: does Michael Redd's 10th highest income include a death benefit payout? I thought he was out of the league 2 years ago.

Always a treat when you can work in a Larry Hughes reference, even in a playoff edition.

Anonymous Luke Waltons Fan said...
i think this deserves a bawful mention. If not for absurdity of the idea but for clipper fans being worried of being teased and/or beaten up by laker fans like the uncool kids at high school.
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/The-Clippers-are-throwing-a-LeBron-Parade-;_ylt=AuIMKJfB4cU6dmWH_yR6Osi8vLYF?urn=nba,241476

Anonymous Heretic said...
Dunno about Rodman. He was never the biggest guy on the court, he usually got the rebounds on pure hustle (and to some extent by distracting his opponents by his hair). Dunno if you can teach hustle, especially not to Dwight Howard. Goofy bastard.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
espn has a very exciting headline right now:

McHale interested, but no formal Bulls contract

Sadly, they are referring to NBA legend/Torture Chamber operator Kevin McHale, not Matt McHale, technical writer.

Given Kevin's track record in Minnesota, I'm pretty sure Bawful could do a better job. I'm also pretty sure that doing nothing constitutes doing a better job than Kevin McHale.

As a Bulls fan I'm sure you're already having nightmares about it. Maybe they could bring Isiah Thomas and Billy King in while they're at it?

Blogger Dan B. said...
Maybe they could bring Isiah Thomas and Billy King in while they're at it?

Hey, if you're going to screw it up, screw it up real good to get a better shot at quality draft picks, right?

Blogger Drake said...
Hellshocked:

I think I can agree with you on that. If there's one thing that Dwight can feasibly work on (from a fan's/pundit's POV), it's his rebounding positioning. Either that, or he can spend an entire summer doing Mikan drills to get his touch down pat.

Heretic:

Like anything in basketball, hustle will only get you so far when it comes to rebounding. Sure, it definitely helps. As Isiah Thomas once said to Eddy Curry when Curry asked how to become a better rebounder: "Jump!" But you can jump and hustle as much as you like, but without a true knack for rebounding, you'll end up like Tyrus Thomas.

As stated in Chris Ballard's recent book, the elite rebounders know a lot of secrets. They know where the ball is going to carom off the rim/backboard, and they'll seal off their man accordingly. They'll play the percentages of where the rebound is going to go to based on where a player shoots the ball from. They know how to control the ball once it's up for grabs in traffic.

One thing that made Rodman such a great rebounder was that, on defense, he would leave his man as soon as shot went up and immediately go to the spot where he thought the rebound was going to go. Scratch that. Where he KNEW the rebound was going to go.

The point is that there are just some things that cannot be taught, and this includes how to become an elite rebounder. It's not just about hustle (although hustle is a very important element).

Blogger Drake said...
Dan B.: Hey, if you're going to screw it up, screw it up real good to get a better shot at quality draft picks, right?

Wrong!!!!! [assault rifle shot to the head]

The team might get a better shot at a top draft pick with King or Thomas at the helm. But given this is Isiah we're talking about, those draft picks are guaranteed to be traded for a washed-up former All Star. We Knick fans are still suffering from the Isiah-error to this day, since he traded out first round pick for this year to Utah. Then again, we're going to be hurting for some time in the future for the sake of cap space this year.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Drake -- Damnit, your logic is spot-on. (And your knowledge of Schwarzenegger movies is impressive) I can't help but wonder who Isiah would trade draft picks for in the next year or two if he was somehow hired by the Bulls...

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Dan B

He'd trade Derrick Rose for Greg Oden and draft picks for Anthony Carter. It makes so much sense.

Blogger Drake said...
Dan B.:

Actually, my knowledge pretty much extends only to Commando (God, I love that movie!). I have yet to explore the rest of the Schwarzeneggar 80's (read: homoerotic) action canon, but will do so immediately once I get Netflix. That's, of course, provided I'm not dead tired from work or huntin' for slash at the mall.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Heretic -- Yeah, I think that's pretty much right.

Drake -- Your immediate assignment is to go watch The Running Man, Predator, and Total Recall. Your life is not complete until you see those three movies.

Anonymous Heretic said...
@Drake

The Running Man is a classic Arnold movie. So many quotable lines but my fav is probably "Uplink underground, uplink underground. If you say that one more time, I'll uplink your ass, and you'll be underground!"

Blogger senormedia said...
The NBA needs to commission a band of former great low post big men to travel the league and teach young guys how to not have panic attacks when they catch the ball on the block...Get Barkley, McHale, Hakeem, Kareem, Moses, and...hell, put Dantley in there too. Make it a reality TV show and show put it on NBATV during those long summers.

I would DVR this and watch it every day for the forseeable future.

Blogger Drake said...
Dan B. and Heretic:

Thanks for the suggestions. I will be looking for Raw Deal and Red Heat as well.

Blogger Preveen said...
"Hey, if you're going to screw it up, screw it up real good to get a better shot at quality draft picks, right?"

Dan, getting a quality draft position isn't equal to picking someone good. See: Brown, Kwame.

And whats with all this ignorance going around about Shaq's game? The man can still warrant a double team at this age, and can make you pay if you don't. Didn't he have a 20 point game in these playoffs? In the limited minutes he plays now? Should be shaking your head and going "Damn!" not snarking about his limitations in front of your PC. IMHO, the only reason he isn't the NBA's highest scorer (even with all his missed games) is his poor free throw shooting. Not just the missed free throws, but if he could shoot it well, people wouldn't bother fouling him and sending him to the line. It'll be a totally unfair situation.

He should have sat on Perkins a few more times tho. That was pretty much the highlight of that crappy match for me.

Blogger spongefrob said...
And whats with all this ignorance going around about Shaq's game? The man can still warrant a double team at this age, and can make you pay if you don't.

You got the double team thing wrong. It's Shaq's own team that needs to put two bodies on him: one to push him out of the paint after the three seconds is up and one to push him back in. He can't move fast enough hisself for that. The second guy is also responsible for pushing him outta the way of any of his teammates if they wanna take it to the hoop...

All seriousness aside, maybe you didn't see this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39453023@N00/4614857377/

Made me think of Brando in 'Apocalypse Now'... the horror... the horror...

Blogger Preveen said...
spongefrob: Your posting a link to a picture that is on the post. If thats any indication of your powers of observation, it casts some doubt on your other observations.
He's not Usain Bolt, but its not easy to move 300+lbs around a whole game. And while it might be a liability sometimes (makes him too slow to guard pick and rolls), at others its quite useful (move people out of the way to score, rebound, clear the way for teammates by setting screens, etc). Bet his bench press numbers are a lot more impressive than yours!

We know he's old. Thats not something to make fun of. Bawefull's David Robinson comment? Justifiable. Too old? Not. The man shot +60% the last 4 games. Against Boston. Over 50% for the series.
Now you can laugh at the numbers going up from a guy who's making 20mill. Yes, he's overpaid for what he's producing. But that contract was signed long ago. He's still good enough to play. Maybe limited minutes, but he can be effective in those limited minutes for a team that gets him without overpaying.

As an aside, I like that pic. Makes him look a wise old grizzled battle scared veteran. Whatever the rest of the content, Photog did a good job. IMHO.

Blogger Sports Chump said...
I couldn't agree more, man.

I was AT Game One... (Here's my take - http://sportschump.net/2010/05/18/how-doc-rivers-enjoyed-his-return-to-orlando-and-spoiled-mine-celtics-down-magic-in-game-one/3767/)... but when I watched the replay and saw him doing that stupid halftime interview, it confirmed my take.

Dwight needs to get a mean streak and quickly.

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