sad hawks bench 3
The Hawks set a new NBA playoff record for getting blown out in a sweep...
not to mention an unofficial record for most sad bench photos.

The Atlanta Hawks: Look, I hate to say I told you so -- oh, who am I kidding...I love saying I told you so! -- but the Atlanta-Orlando series proved beyond a shadow of a doubt what I've been saying since the preseason. Specifically, that the Hawks were, at best, a second tier team.

There's no particular shame in that. And, frankly, it should have been obvious looking at the roster. Their captain and best player is a volume shooter who relies on a steady diet of isolation plays...and that's what their offense is based on. Well, that and running, when they can. That never quite happened against the Magic. In the "Broom Game," Atlanta managed only 6 fast break points.

And as for their All-Star/All-NBA team leader, Joe Johnson, he saved his worst for last. Joe averaged 13.4 points a game on 32 percent shooting over his last seven playoff games. Facing almost certain elimination, Johnson went out and scored only 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting. He also bricked a couple free throws and went 1-for-6 from downtown. In fact, his last shot attempt -- maybe his last ever as a member of the Hawks -- was an air ball from 25 feet out as the shot clock was about to expire.

Not what you'd call a storybook ending. It was more like one of those M.Night Shyamalan movies with the twist ending that leaves you feeling confused, disappointed and full of self-hate.

If Johnson does flee Atlanta this summer, the fans might not be all that upset about it (well, until the team falls into complete ruin next season, anyway). As the AP recap put it: "[Johnson] was booed by the home crowd at the start of the game and got the same treatment when he went to the bench with 3:51 to play. The fans were still miffed that he said didn't care if they 'showed up or not' after they heckled the team in a 30-point loss on Saturday."

I know this will shock and astound you, but Joe doesn't give a shit: "It doesn't bother me, man. I've got thick skin. I've been booed louder than that."

As for the Hawks, the were -18% in 3P%, -15% in FGP, -10 in assists, -7 in rebounds and of course -14 in total points. Speaking of margins of defeat, the Hawks conspired to help the Magic set a new playoff record for playoff asskicking: Orlando had the largest margin of victory in any four-game sweep in NBA postseason history (+25.3 PPG).

Reality check: The Magic and Hawks finished second and third in the Eastern Conference...but the Dirty Birds suffered the most bawful four-game pimp slap in league history. Think about that. Let it soak in. Now read this mea culpa from Scoop Jackson (via chris):

Dear Atlanta Hawks,

Thanks.

That's the only word that feels appropriate. That's the only word ESPN will let me use without violating the language code set in place for moments just like this.

Thanks for making me look like an idiot for publicly picking you to win the East.

Yes, I said "publicly" and yes I did that. Back In January, I went out of my way to tell anyone that wanted to listen that I believed the team from the ATL was going to be the last one standing in the NBA East when it was all said and done.

Over Boston, over Cleveland, over the Orlando Magic.

Now I look like the last comic standing...without any jokes.

This is worse than when I was fooled into picking the New Jersey Nets in 2005 to win the whole thing. Now I know how Rod Blagojevich and Steve Bartman must feel everyday.

So Hawks, my squad, thanks for making me look more of a damn fool.

From here on out, I don't need your help. I can do that all by myself.

Thanks for nothing.

Scoop
Couldn't you almost hear the Journey music playing while you were reading that?

Joe Johnson: See above. And for the hell of it, here are 10 reasons Joe Cool isn't a superstar. For my money, there's just one reason, and it's called "This series."

Okay, okay. One more dis for "iso-Joe" from Basketbawful reader and Suns fan Clifton: "Joe Johnson hasn't changed a bit since the Suns refused to give him all that dough he wanted. Just like getting rid of Marion, it's taken a little while for it to bear fruit, but boyyyyyyyy does that ever look like a good move now. People seemed surprised at his bitter comments about the Atlanta fans after Game 3, but we heard pretty much the same song here in PHX that summer when he was lobbying for his new deal. And, sure enough, as the money nears its end, Joe shows his true colors once again."

Josh Smith: If the NBA gave out MVP awards for teams that just got swept, Smith would probably receive one for this series. But...according to the game notes in the AP recap: "Smith, who ranked third in the NBA with 2.14 blocks a game during the regular season, had only two blocks in the entire series against the Magic."

I'm just sayin'.

Mike Bibby: 11 minutes, 4 points, 2 assists. Let me put it this way, if I was out to eat and my steak came out this done, I'd send it back to the kitchen and then leave the restaurant and never come back. Unless it was to burn the place down.

sad Bibby
Mike Bibby watches the slow, shuddering death of his career...
from the lonely comfort of the Atlanta bench.

Mike Brown: Basketbawful reader Will pretty much said it all: "There's no way on God's green Earth that Mike Woodson can come back next year. Rashard just hit a three to put Orlando up 21 and the camera cuts to him looking like a cigar store Indian. I wasn't sure if he had a pulse. The Hawks need someone who knows about that orange sphere called a basketball."

Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: "If we're better than you, we're going to win most of the time."

Vince Carter, quote machine: "Guys are just focused. It's unbelievable to see. This is my opportunity for a championship."

Don't worry, everybody. I don't think Vag Carter will be joining the "Antoine Walker Memorial Team of Players Who Didn't Deserve to Win a Title But Did Anyway." The Magic are getting a lot of buzz for sweeping through the first two rounds, but let's be honest: They had two very favorable matchups. I think they're going to get a wakeup call in the next round. And even if they do reach the Finals, I can't see their outside game beating the Lakers' inside game.

sad Jazz bench
Another sad bench photo. And you know what that means...

The Utah Jazz: After dismantling the Denver Nuggets in the first round, the Jazz were feeling pretty good about themselves. Deron Williams dubbed himself the best point guard alive and the Mormon Musicians felt they had a very real chance to upset the Lakers. And hey, they could have stolen a game in L.A., and the third was certainly up for grabs. But once the buzzer sounded after that Game 3 loss, you could just tell Utah was finished.

"We just can't beat these guys" might as well have been written on their foreheads in magic marker. Okay, that sentence would probably only fit on Carlos Boozer's giant forehead, but still. I read somewhere that Utah's practice the day before Game 4 felt like a funeral, meaning the Jazz had lost this one before it ever began.

They're called "motions," and the Jazz were going through them.

The Lakers built a 22-point lead in the first half. Utah went on one of those "Hey, let's not totally humiliate ourselves, guys" runs in the third quarter before slowly and rather quietly succumbing to the inevitable 111-96 loss.

The only Jazz starter who finished with a positive plus-minus score was Kyrylo Fesenko (+9). The rest of them were a combined -56. What does that tell you?

Said Williams: "We're a playoff team and they're a championship team. They're just better than we are. ... We all were discouraged. It was kinda deja vu. It's always hard to get down 10, 12 points against this team and try and come back."

Doesn't this kind of remind you of how the Suns used to regard the Spurs? A handful of solid efforts that came up short followed by a depressed and discouraging playoff elimination. Speaking of discouragement, the Jazz seemed became increasingly intimidated by L.A.'s size as the series progressed. By Game 4, all it took was a handful of early blocked shots by the Lakers' bigs to scare Utah out of the paint for what seemed like the rest of the game.

Oh well. Like Lance Armstrong said in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story: "Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn't have anything to regret for the rest of their life."

Carlos Boozer: This very well might have been Boozer's final game with the Jazz...and it was the kind he'd probably rather forget, no matter how many illegal chemicals and household cleaning agents are required to induce memory loss. Carlos finished with 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting and committed a co-game-high (with Williams) 4 turnovers (the Lakers had six as a team) before fouling out of the game with 3:31 left.

What's worse, his power forward counterpart, Pau Gasol, erupted like a volcano set off by some evil genuis's giant underground drill: 33 points (12-for-18 FGs, 9-for-11 FTs), 14 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots. And that wasn't an aberration. Gasol made Boozer look tiny all series long. Not only that, he was regularly outplayed by his backup over these final four games. In Game 4, Paul Milsap scored a co-team-high 21 points (8-for-14) off the bench. Of course, Milsap also had a game-worst plus-minus score of -29. So maybe that's a bad comparison.

As for the future, Carlos doesn't want to talk about it right now: "I'll figure it out later. It's too soon for all that talk. Right now we're disappointed that we lost and our season is over. All the free agent talk, we'll talk about it in July."

Deron William: From Basketbawful reader phelan: "So Lakers advance with a sweet of the Mormom Musicians. Granted, it's the Lakers and everybody knew LA was going to go on, but still, D-Will needs to get into the WotN somehow just for dooming...no, STARBURYING his team when he said he's the best point guard in the league. It's like a stat curse...without needing any stats!"

Indeed, Deron followed in Stephon Marbury's footsteps from Starbury's last trip to the playoffs as a starting point guard: A four-game sweep...although Marbury was broomed by the New Jersey Nyets, which is a little worse. It was after this head-to-head postseason loss to Kidd that Marbury proclaimed his best-point-guard-in-the-NBA-ness.

D-Will facepalm
Following in Starbury's footsteps is never, ever
a good thing, as this facepalm proves.

Getty Images: I can say with complete sincerity that my life would have been much more complete without ever seeing a picture of Adam Morrison in his underwear. Thanks for the nightmare fuel, Getty Images. Next time, please send a rusty utensil capable of ripping my eyes from their respective sockets.

half-naked Morrison

Things we dismiss as "coincidence": From Basketbawful reader Mike T:

I have always maintained that the J.A. in J.A. Adande stands for "Jack Ass." I must have been really bored at work to even read his Lakers propaganda, but I'm glad I did because I came across this:

"Pau Gasol had 17 rebounds. Artest made 4 of 7 3-pointers. It kept the Lakers right in the game and allowed Bryant and Fisher to go all 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' on the Jazz with two killer 3s in the final minute."

He even included a link to the YouTube video of Mola Ram.

I'm amazed that Adande reads Basketbawful (I didn't think he had good taste), but I'm not surprised at all that he stole this from your May 3rd description of Kobe's treatment of Utah.
For the record, here was what I wrote:

As a long-time Jazz fan, I'm not sure how much I have to say about this one. It was like watching a rerun of a television show you hate. Utah fell behind early, the Lakers' bench let them back in, and then Mamba went all Mola Ram on the Jazz.
Like Adande, I provided a YouTube video of Mola Ram ripping out a heart. But I'm sure it's just a crazy random happenstance.

Lacktion report: About the only "good" thing that came out of the Lakers-Jazz game was some lacktion for chris to report on:

Lakers-Jazz: Josh Powell produced a pair of fouls and bricks each in 3:32 for a +4 suck differential that also garnered a 2:0 Voskuhl.

For the Mormon musicians, Kosta Koufos and Othyus Jeffers finished up their concertos with a coda lasting 99 seconds -- Koufos hitting a high note worth 1.65 trillion, and Jeffers bricking once for a +1.

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49 Comments:
Blogger Dan B. said...
I look forward to the day when I get plagiarized by J.A. Adande.

Also, I loved the M. Night Shyamalan smack. Reminds me of when one of my friends took his girlfriend to see The Happening. I asked him the next day how it was. He frowned and said "Fucking trees! It was all a bunch of fucking trees!!"

Oh, and we totally should do a post during the off-season detailing the "Antoine Walker Memorial Team of Players Who Didn't Deserve to Win a Title But Did Anyway."

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Oh, and we totally should do a post during the off-season detailing the "Antoine Walker Memorial Team of Players Who Didn't Deserve to Win a Title But Did Anyway."

Very agreed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kobe's frequently been described as ripping the heart out of teams with a backbreaking jumper and his "hard" face. Timing is interesting, but it's not like you referenced an obscure foreign film.

Anonymous Sorbo said...
When is the last time we saw two guys completely doink in close-out playoff games before getting max money in the off season?

Blogger Onandonymous said...
Is it that they never, ever deserved to win a championship? Or is it that they won but didn't deserve that particular championship?

(Gary Payton is very, very nervous right now)

Blogger Cortez said...
"It doesn't bother me, man. I've got thick skin. I've been booed louder than that."

Let me fix this for Joe (and the readers).

It doesn't bother me, man. I've got a guaranteed contract for MILLIONS of bucks, so it doesn't really matter if I go for 5 or 50, you feel me?

Plus, in a couple of months, I'll have another contract even bigger than the last one. So keep on booing fans, enjoy yourselves. I know I am!

Anonymous Sorbo said...
On J.A. homerisms...consider him the less abrasive version of Steven A. Smith. Similar to how Smith got his job with ESPN because he was Iverson's biggest fan (and close ally), J.A. was an L.A. Times reporter who had an "in" with Kobe, so ESPN hired him.

Ever notice why we rarely hear from Smith anymore? Because there are no more stories about Iverson. So don't worry, you only have to read his Kobe-asskissing as long as Kobe is healthy...so five more years at least.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Mr. Bawful, in light of today's development, how about having a Basketbawful J. A. Adane Appreciation Day sometime? I'm sure he has some other englightening remarks that have yet to be given the exposure they deserve.

There's no question the Hawks were a second tier team but, beyond that, they are simply incapable of beating Orlando. They just can't. Some teams are just another team's Kryptonite. Orlando is capable of exploiting all of Atlanta's weaknesses (penchant for isolations, very small front line, lack of a real point guard, terrible defense) but Atlanta is not built to exploit any of Orlando's (overreliance on the three, penchant for fouling, soft at the 4). Something similar happens to Utah when they face the Lakers. LA is super long and athletic at pretty much every position which gives the undersized and underathletic Utah fits. LA's weaknesses are softness, occasional lacksaidical play and Kobe going 1 on 5 are well documented but the way Utah is built there is basically nothing they can do about them.

Anyone who has had the misfortune to read anything Scoop Jackson has ever written already knew how much of an idiot he was, but picking the Hawks to take the East pretty much takes the cake. I would love to hear him justify the pick: "Sure they are are a mediocre defensive team, have no real point guard, are undersized and have a tendency to try to inefficiently gun their way into a win, but Josh Smith can jump really high!"

Anonymous Stockton said...
Fisher/cancer
The point is Fisher asked to go to NY or NJ to take care of his daughter. Then he went to LA. That's not lying? He coulda force some kind of trade or something, but he just fled... or could have gone to the Clippers :)

Boozer
Booz, you can go #### yourself. I hope Malone runs you over with one of his trucks! Can't wait to hear how Boozer will make Miami a contender playing the pick and roll with Wade... (meanwhile, I can't believe how Orlando didn't choose to spend money on him instead of getting Vince... Booz is THE fit for the Magic)

Joe Johnson
NY max money. Wanna bet? Oh I forgot... that will make NY a contender.

Suns
GO SUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jazz
Well, let's go to lottery... it's 9th pick, no? Just hoping KOC donn't go berserk and give the boozman max money like he did AK...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
When is the last time we saw two guys completely doink in close-out playoff games before getting max money in the off season?

You know, that's a good question. It hasn't happened in recent memory...usually those guys kick total ass to bump up their contract numbers, even if it's at the expense of winning.

It doesn't bother me, man. I've got a guaranteed contract for MILLIONS of bucks, so it doesn't really matter if I go for 5 or 50, you feel me? Plus, in a couple of months, I'll have another contract even bigger than the last one. So keep on booing fans, enjoy yourselves. I know I am!

Pretty much. Like Clifton said, Joe Johnson has always been a bum (to use your word, Cortez), and the fact that he enjoyed a slight bump to this stats while being The Featured Part of Atlanta's offense has fooled a lot of people into thinking otherwise. But honestly, he went from being the (reluctant) fourth or fifth option in Phoenix to being the first (and often only) option in the Hawks' offense and his PPG only jumped 3-4 PPG and his PER only got upped a few points? This wasn't a blinking red light to anybody?

Is it that they never, ever deserved to win a championship? Or is it that they won but didn't deserve that particular championship?

We might need to have two teams...one for the guys who simply DID NOT deserve to win a ring (Antoine Walker, Glenn Robinson) and the ones who championship piggybacked their way to a title (cough Gary Payton cough).

Ever notice why we rarely hear from Smith anymore? Because there are no more stories about Iverson. So don't worry, you only have to read his Kobe-asskissing as long as Kobe is healthy...so five more years at least.

Somebody needs to create one of those automated online countdown clocks...

There's no question the Hawks were a second tier team but, beyond that, they are simply incapable of beating Orlando. They just can't. Some teams are just another team's Kryptonite. Orlando is capable of exploiting all of Atlanta's weaknesses (penchant for isolations, very small front line, lack of a real point guard, terrible defense) but Atlanta is not built to exploit any of Orlando's (overreliance on the three, penchant for fouling, soft at the 4). Something similar happens to Utah when they face the Lakers. LA is super long and athletic at pretty much every position which gives the undersized and underathletic Utah fits. LA's weaknesses are softness, occasional lacksaidical play and Kobe going 1 on 5 are well documented but the way Utah is built there is basically nothing they can do about them.

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but of the top four teams in the East, who would the Hawks have beaten in this round? Maybe Boston...maybe...but honestly I think the C's would have won that series. And I don't think the Hawks would have stood a chance against any of the top four teams out West either. They are a good but limited team.

Anyone who has had the misfortune to read anything Scoop Jackson has ever written already knew how much of an idiot he was, but picking the Hawks to take the East pretty much takes the cake. I would love to hear him justify the pick: "Sure they are are a mediocre defensive team, have no real point guard, are undersized and have a tendency to try to inefficiently gun their way into a win, but Josh Smith can jump really high!"

I'm not going to name any names, but the members of the TrueHoop Network did MVP voting, and Smith got some second, third, fourth and fifth place votes for MVP. I'm not even kidding. And people mocked my first place vote for Pumaman.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Stockton: Fisher tried reaching out to NY/NJ teams as well as the clippers, good offers were not forthcoming. He had a history with the Lakers and had to take a big pay cut. How is that lying? He simply made the best of a bad situation. Plus its not like he was just awful in Utah, he was a pretty good point guard while he played there.

Plus the the fact that Utah had fans covering one eye whenever he had to shoot free throws in reference to his daughter makes me wish he screwed them over.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'm glad to see Mr. Bawful has already pencilled in the Lakers as the Western Conference champs (the reference to how Orlando won't be able to do the same things against LA's size). Even though I know he's rooting for Phoenix, Mr. Bawful knows what I said in yesterday's comments was right on the money. LA dominated Utah because of the huge height advantage, and the Suns are even smaller than Utah. 

Phoenix is about to get their asses handed to them. Period.  

Why we have to wait a week before the humiliation begins is beyond me. Both teams are ready to go, so why is there a fucking week break in between this round and the next one?

Look, I know Mike Brown's rotations have been pretty questionable in the playoffs so far, but I don't think it's fair to blame him for the Hawks' poor performance.

Anonymous Heretic said...
There's always the cavs - celtics slugfest.Anyone willing to give odds on who will win in Cleveland tonight?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Even though I know he's rooting for Phoenix, Mr. Bawful knows what I said in yesterday's comments was right on the money. LA dominated Utah because of the huge height advantage, and the Suns are even smaller than Utah.

What brought you out of hiding, Yams?

Although they're smaller, I don't think L.A.'s dominance will be as complete against the Suns because their bigs will be better able to spread the floor against the Laker defense...something Utah couldn't do without Okur. But L.A.'s interior dominance will be too much for any of their potential opponents, regardless of Kobe's occasional gunning.

As for the wait, it all has to do with TV scheduling. Money. That's the reason pretty much everything happens.

Blogger Will said...
Is it just or does it look like Ronnie Price (or whoever has their warmups over their mouth) is stifling laughter in the Jazz "sad bench photo"?

Blogger Basebawful said...
Do you want to see facepalming? Do you want to listen something bawful? Watch this video.

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/05/07/and-peralta-oh-god/

Anonymous Stockton said...
Heretic
C'mon, I don't the details of the Fisher move, but it was said he put the jazz in a position "I'll go to NY or quit playing because my daughter comes first". He didn't put the lakers on the table. Giving a personal oponent some player without anything in return is the dumbest move in sports. And the jazz did that. They could have got a #5 round pick, cash, something for their troubles...
and nobody said Fished mailed while in Utah. He played really well; his numbers were not special, but his leadership was great!

Blogger chris said...
Bawful and Dan: Two words for that category.

"Livin' Large."

BTW, does this mean Isiah Rider gets on this list immediately?

And do we count undeserved titles for people who have already won them? (Think The Chief with the Jordan Bulls, and Shaq in Miami.)

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Stockton: Read Simmons column today, he's right on. In short, Simmons writes: Fish took a paycut, went to a floundering 42-40 team, Kobe wanted out at the time, and the move paved way for DWill's extension (instead of him leaving at the end of the year).

That, and the Clips/Knicks/Nets may have tried to use his cancer-stricken daughter as leverage to give him a shitty deal (last one is my opinion). He didn't lie, circumstances changed after his release.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but of the top four teams in the East, who would the Hawks have beaten in this round? Maybe Boston...maybe...but honestly I think the C's would have won that series. And I don't think the Hawks would have stood a chance against any of the top four teams out West either. They are a good but limited team.


I probably wasn't too clear with what I meant. Atlanta was definitely not getting past the second round against any team in the East and probably wouldn't have made it out of the first round in the West. If they had played anyone other than Orlando, however, they probably would not have gotten swept and definitely wouldn't have lost by such a historic differential. If Utah was playing anyone but the Lakers they might actually have stood a chance and in all likelihood would have, at worst, taken two games. I just find it interesting when two such teams meet. There is literally nothing Atlanta or Utah could have done against those particular opponents: it wasn't lack of effort or poor coaching (at least not in Utah's case), they were just pretty much screwed from the get-go.

I'm not going to name any names, but the members of the TrueHoop Network did MVP voting, and Smith got some second, third, fourth and fifth place votes for MVP. I'm not even kidding. And people mocked my first place vote for Pumaman.

There is this very annoying tendency in the media to rank super athletic players as "extremely talented". The posterboy for that is probably Tyrus Thomas, who is constatnly being touted as one of the most talented players in his position and someone who could become a superstar if he would just bring it every night. Talented at what? The guy is a terrible ballhandler, mediocre shooter, mediocre rebounder, has no real post moves and is a poor defender. What exactly is his super talent, jumping very high? Josh Smith fits in this same category, and now that he is finally having a good consistent season where he has reduced his knuckleheaded tendencies writers are all sent to annount him as a superstar who is finally living up to his supposed "amazing talent". Top 5 in MVP voting? Sheesh. He is a 3 playing the 4 because of a lack of perimeter skills who can get away with it because of his athleticism who has a knack for weakside shot blocking. That's it. There is no doubt he has improved across the board this year and will probably be a very good player for the next 8 years, but he (rightfully) wasn't even an All-Star. He is at best a Shawn Marion, not a top dog.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, what brought me out of hiding was just stunned disbelief at the Lakers' good fortune of being able to avoid Denver, San Antonio and Dallas in these playoffs. I was so happy to see Phoenix offer not only a great chance for some payback for 2005 & 2006, but also simultaneously giving the Lakers the easiest road possible to get back to The Finals. Plus, I love to tweak all the Suns fans and/or Laker haters round these parts :)

You still interested in meeting up when I'm in Chicago in the next couple weeks?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
BTW, does this mean Isiah Rider gets on this list immediately?

YES.

Speaking of BTWs, Adande listed Kobe as one of his second round MVPs: "His return to form has the Lakers returning to championship contention. Most obvious link since candy and cavities."

He must have watched a different Jazz-Lakers series than I did, because L.A.'s frontcourt -- and not Kobe -- made the difference.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
You still interested in meeting up when I'm in Chicago in the next couple weeks?

Of course. Just gimme a call.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Yams -- Good to see you back out of hiding! (Even if you do root for the Lakers) :) I was wondering why you went AWOL for a few weeks.

When by chance will you be in Chicago? I'm going a roadtrip with one of my buddies and it's possible we'll go either through or near Chicago depending on what route we end up going. However, that'll be later in June so I'm guessing you won't be in town around then. I was hoping for a chance to meet up with Bawful (assuming I can make the route and the scheduling work out), and it'd be pretty cool if you were able to be there at the same time.

Blogger chris said...
He must have watched a different Jazz-Lakers series than I did, because L.A.'s frontcourt -- and not Kobe -- made the difference.

To some extent, isn't that the truth about the Gasol-era Lakers?

Anonymous Heretic said...
Stockton
The problem I have is that the Jazz fans are acting like its a huge betrayal akin to Lando stabbing Han in the back but much much much worse.

Michael Finley was unsatisfied with the minutes he was getting with the spurs and they couldn't come to some kind of arrangement so he went to the Celtics. Now if the spurs had won the West and the Celtics the east I doubt spurs fans would give Finley the same treatment that Fisher got.

The Jazz organization gave their blessing and Jerry Sloan was fine with it. Fisher doesn't owe the Jazz fans anything more than he gave while he was in Utah. Gotta give it to Fish though, no matter how booing or tasteless gestures he got, he want out and performed like a pro.

Blogger Phil said...
Don't think a single thing went right for the Jazz all series. While L.A.'s bigs dominated the game and won it for their team, Jazz might have stood a chance if Ron Artest (!?!?) and Fisher hadn't suddenly morphed into the leagues best outside shooters. Artest went from shooting 17% in his first eight playoff games to making 4 straight in the second half in game 3. And at the end of the game when Fisher lobbed up that deep 3, I was cheering it as a great defensive possession... until it fell right through the net.

Why did L.A. only commit 6 turnovers last night? I counted no less than four times where a good defensive read by the Jazz led to a deflection that ended up in Laker hands. And when the defense collapsed during the ensuing confusion, L.A. kicked it outside for a 3.

I honestly think the majority of the Jazz was trying to win last night. Boozer is an exception; TNT showed several pre-timeout highlights of Lakers laying it in over his head while he elevated about as high as Jabba the Hutt. Kevin O'Conor, whatever you do please don't resign this guy. He's good but Millsap can decently fill in for him, and for a cheaper price that frees up some cap space to sign someone who can actually play interior defense.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
When by chance will you be in Chicago? I'm going a roadtrip with one of my buddies and it's possible we'll go either through or near Chicago depending on what route we end up going. However, that'll be later in June so I'm guessing you won't be in town around then. I was hoping for a chance to meet up with Bawful (assuming I can make the route and the scheduling work out), and it'd be pretty cool if you were able to be there at the same time.

Oh hell yes.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I honestly think the majority of the Jazz was trying to win last night...

I might have miscommunicated in this post. It's not that I think the Jazz didn't try, it's that they were mentally beaten heading into this game. They stopped believing they could beat the Lakers and it showed. They played the Lakers to a near standstill in the first three games and couldn't get over the hump. That scarred their psyche and muffled their usual energy/determination.

It happens. Last night at my pickup league, my team was fighting tooth and nail against a team with superior talent. It was close and we had a chance...then their worst player nailed a dagger three-pointer. Everybody's shoulders slumped. After that, our offense degraded to one-pass-then-a-chucked-three until the other guys finished us off.

Anonymous Stockton said...
Heretic
I'm not defending the boos or one-eye impersonations... I hate "personal" booing, except directed to guys like Vince Carter, who refused to play just so they could get traded... and Fisher (altough he didn't like utah that much) was nothing but pro while he was there.
And yes, both Sloan and KOC "blessed" his exit, because his main role was to tutor Williams. STILL, I don't believe he put all the cards on the table... well, we can agree on disagree. Anyway, the Jazz have the "Boozer", who tricked Cleveland, so one hand washes the other...

"He didn't lie, circumstances changed after his release."
Hey, you sound like my wife talking... see honey, I know I told you before marriage that you could go out with your friends every friday night, but circumstances have changed :)

Blogger Phil said...
I might have miscommunicated in this post. It's not that I think the Jazz didn't try, it's that they were mentally beaten heading into this game. They stopped believing they could beat the Lakers and it showed. They played the Lakers to a near standstill in the first three games and couldn't get over the hump. That scarred their psyche and muffled their usual energy/determination.

I can agree completely with that. To me it's the same thing that happened to the Suns after Tim Duncan dropped that three in 2008. They didn't look the same the rest of the series.

Craig Sager is a Dick

http://blogs.sltrib.com/jazz/index.php?p=15784&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Long story short, the Jazz beat writer's copy editor wrote the headline for his article after game three: "All Hope is Lost". TNT and Craig Sager subsequently parade this fact all over the Jazz locker room before the game and on national television. Oh, reporter drama.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Wild Yams is back? SWEET. Time to stir the pot:

I'm going to go ahead and declare that PHX wins vs. the Lakers in maximum 6 games.

LAL hasn't SEEN a defense like PHX yet. Lou Amundson is going to dominate Pau and Bynum, Nash is going to crush Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar, and Fisher can't keep up with them.

Plus, PHX just owns LAL.

Height? Pffft. Since when does "height" matter in basketball?? It's all about fundamentals and teamwork and passing and CHEMISTRY, right?

Blogger Josh said...
@Stockon

It's not agreeing to disagree, you're actually just wrong. Fisher had no cards to put on the table other than "I need to take care of my daughter and LA is the best place. Can I please be released?"

There's... there's really nothing remotely deceptive or tricky or "not putting all the cards on the table" there. Really, it came down to where his daughter could get the best treatment, first and foremost. That was LA. Second, Fisher still wanted to play basketball if he could. Why not go back to a team you were already comfortable with? Along with the other reasons mentioned above, going to LA wasn't a sure thing for a championship or anything at all, Fish just wanted to play.

I just don't see where there's even remotely an issue. I guess you're saying that Fisher knew he was gonna be signing with the Lakers when he asked to be released from Utah? Read his book. Basketball was taking a very distant second priority to his daughter. He wasn't even sure he'd even play again at all at the time and once things were arranged for him to relocate to LA and once he made sure Tatum was going to get the care she needed, THEN he seriously looked at his basketball options.

"He didn't put the Lakers on the table" is kind of a silly argument since, when asking to be released, Fisher didn't even have basketball on the table.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Regarding the Fisher/Jazz thing, I'm going to have to go with Bill Simmons on this:

To Jazz fans for their continuing enmity toward Derek Fisher, who asked for his release from Utah three summers ago so he could play in an NBA city that had a hospital with an advanced eye surgery wing for his cancer-stricken daughter. He signed with the Lakers … who knocked Utah out of the playoffs in 2008, '09, and now '10. Jazz fans take this personally -- even booing him during games -- and conveniently forget that Utah was happy to let Fisher go in 2007 (not only was he overpaid as a backup, but it needed the cap relief for Deron Williams' extension) and wasn't worried about the Lakers contending at the time (since they finished 42-40 and seemed headed for a Kobe trade). A few months later, Chris Wallace gift-wrapped Pau Gasol to Los Angeles and everything changed. Not Fisher's fault. I am all for booing Lakers players and fostering random vendettas against them, but not like this.

See, here's what you get when you boo Fisher, Utah fans …

1. Bad karma. Goes without saying.

2. You just look stupid. Like you have no idea what actually happened. Fisher didn't betray you by jumping to a conference rival. The Lakers were floundering at the time.

3. You bristle every time a media member calls you the most (fill in one: bitter/angry/hostile/vicious) fans in the NBA. This illogical Fisher vendetta helps you on this front … how?

My advice as a neutral party: Let the Fisher thing go. It's creepy and ill-conceived.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
So, uh, I know making fun of someone's daughter is bad form and all, but am I the ONLY one who thinks "Tatum" is a HORRIBLE name for a girl?

"Tatum"??? She's doomed to being fat, ugly and mannish. She might even have a beard with a name like that. Child naming fail.

WV: hogra (that might even be a better name than "Tatum")

Anonymous Sorbo said...
Stockton: I'm sorry you hold your wife in the same regard as Fisher. Hopefully she can guard PGs better.

He must have watched a different Jazz-Lakers series than I did, because L.A.'s frontcourt -- and not Kobe -- made the difference.

Bawful: Can we cavaet this statement a little bit. Look, as a Laker fan, we know that Gasol is the key to any series. When he's dialed in, the Lakers are very hard to beat. But he does sometimes play soft and loses focus once in a while. To me, he's second-banana material through and through who needs a player like Kobe (and a coach like Phil) to keep him engaged while taking the pressure and scrutiny off of him.

Blogger Marc said...
Perhaps I can shed a little light on why Jazz fans are so bitter about Fisher...there is more to the story then those outside of Utah know. Most Jazz fans think Fisher felt he was "to good" for Utah and used the sickness as a tool to get out.

Salt Lake City is home to the Huntsman Cancer Institute...the top cancer center in the Intermountain West and consistently among the top 10 cancer centers in the nation. (not just making random crap up...http://www.hci.utah.edu/index.jsp)


Fisher didn't even consider staying in Utah. It was always about leaving, when the trade went down to come to Utah he was less then thrilled. I am all about getting the best care for a child but it doesn't add up. Most Jazz fans feel like he exploited the sickness to get out. It's good to hear his daughter is doing well, but she could have gotten the same care in Utah.

Blogger Marc said...
Also I know it's just the perk of being a celebrity....but it sucks that jack nickelson can act like a terrible fan, drop tons of F bombs caught on tv during the game, and the media treats him as this cute, wonderful Laker fan, while if a fan of any other team were to act that way they would be labeled as "classless, immature..etc"

I hate everything.

Blogger Cody said...
A couple of thoughts from a Jazz fan:

I think personal attacks like covering one eye during free throws is classless and I would never do it. In fact, 99% of Jazz fans probably wouldn't do it either. It seems like Jazz fans are being generalized as 100% classless, which is not the case.

When Fisher first came back after joining the Lakers, there was a mixture of boos and cheers. There were a lot of cheers actually. The ratio has shifted much more to boos now, not because we felt "betrayed" by Fisher, but because he plays for the Lakers now and keeps kicking our butts.

Actually, I think many do feel betrayed by Fisher. Not because he allegedly weaseled out of his contract in Utah (well, I'm sure some do), but just because he left the team. Is this a unique reaction by Jazz fans? Or do other teams fans boo former players that move on to other teams?

Even Karl Malone heard some boos after he left for LA to try to win a championship.

Anyway, Go Suns!

Anonymous Stockton said...
Well, first of all I'm not defending Utah fans or attacking Fisher. But the story is not as simple as people put it. I read here that he wanted LA or other town... but at the time he said NY. He wanted to go to NY, and basketabll was put in second place. And then came LA. But again, altough he easn't pleased in Utah, he was 100% professional. Always. Nothing to point to him.

As for my wife, she puts the defensive clamps on m, and I'm and all-star caliber PG

Blogger Josh said...
@Marc

The two locations that had the best facilities for his daughter were in New York and California. Period. The whole decision process is detailed in his book. That's not to say Utah didn't have a great Institute but LA and NY offered the best options for care. So "it doesn't add up" doesn't add up.

Also, I actually agree with what you say about Jack. I mean, I love him as a fan but that's only because I live in LA. Anywhere else I'd hate him too. The only thing I'll say is that I don't think he gets away with it because of the team he's a fan of, I think he gets away with it because HE'S the fan. It's "just Jack being Jack". That's by no means an excuse, but still.

@Cody

Sadly, it's the small minority of jackasses who cause the blanket statements about the bunch. I wouldn't say ALL the Jazz fans in the arena last night were twits, but the ones being shown covering their eyes and wearing moronic shirts paint a bad picture. Hopefully enough people can separate the idiots from the rest, but I doubt that.

@Stockton

I still don't think you're getting it. When Fish was asking to be released from Utah, he didn't have any intentions of playing basketball for any team. There were offers because of the fact that he wanted to leave but he wasn't the one directly soliciting them. NY and LA came up specifically because of what the facilities in those cities offered his daughter. Those cities also had basketball teams so yeah, he'd be getting offers from them. He settled on LA for his daughter and resigned with the Lakers once he knew his daughter would be getting what she needed. Again, it's detailed in his book. I take that as a pretty direct, reliable source since what possible reason would he have to lie about this?

It really is that simple.

Anonymous Heretic said...
WTF is up Bynums jumping ability? During the Jazz series I saw him hopping maybe an inch of the ground to lay in the ball at the rim instead of jamming it with authority. Hell shaq looked more spry then he did. The knee brace can't be that bad can it?

Hah the word verification was cousi.

Blogger Marc said...
@Josh,

It's very hard to know what the BEST care is if you don't even set foot in the facility. Otherwise you are going on hearsay. At least sit down with the doctors.

(I know this is apples and oranges, but why even have playofs? Everyone SAYS LA and Clevland are the best, why waste our time? Let's have the parade tomorrow)

The fans crossed the line with the behavior last night, but booing Fisher really isn't as clear cut as people are making it.

Blogger Josh said...
@Marc

Actually, you do know what the best care is. Those two facilities in NY and LA (among others, though those were two of the best) were set up to deal with the rare type of cancer that his daughter had, not the one in Utah. They had the right specialists to treat her as well. That's, you know, why his daughter was being treated in NY and not Utah. Where he was playing. What kind of sense would it make to fly to NY to treat his daughter while living in Utah and playing for Utah when there was a cancer center in Utah already? Maybe because that center didn't offer the type of care the ones in NY and LA did.

Look. Fisher talked to specialists. Most said his daughter's eye would need to be removed. However, the specialists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York had experimented with a new cancer treatment that could allow her to keep her eye. She was treated there upon recommendation from Dr. Abramson, an expert in the kind of cancer Tatum had who had been advising Fisher the whole time. So Fisher asked to be released from the Jazz. He wanted to live in a city that offered the most for his daughter and LA was one of them (*not* Salt Lake City). Dr. Abramson said there was another colleague who he would trust handing Fisher off to in LA and, obviously, the Lakers were interested in Fish as well so... Makes perfect sense.

Honestly. Very simple. He did his research and, based on recommendations from the foremost expert in the country on retinoblastoma, LA offered the best combination of care for his daughter and, a distant second, a team who showed interest in him.

Booing Fisher is certainly very clear cut. Those who were booing (and again, not every fan was doing so) either didn't know the actual facts or just didn't care.

Really. Not complicated at all. Just get over it already.

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
I can't believe people are still defending bitter Jazz fans. Fisher's daughter went to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in West LA for her monthly checkups. Her oncologist there was/is the partner/colleague of her NY oncologist. Also, Fisher’s wife’s family is from LA, so another reason is the existence of that support system, which is very important for cancer sufferers and their families.

Neither the Knicks, Nets, or Clippers showed any interest in Fisher, so after he took an $8 million pay cut from his Jazz contract, he signed with a worse team at the time in order to play for the Lakers again. Nobody foresaw Bynum’s development into a better option at center than Kwame Brown (certainly not Kobe), but when he got good, Kobe shut up with the trade demands.

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
BTW, the "covering the eye" photo was from the 2008 playoffs. This time, it was constant booing, a couple people wearing classless t-shirts, and racial slurs like "boy!"

Blogger Preveen said...
I see BleedingHeartPessimist already picked up on this. I was almost ready to say I nominate basketbawefull for a WotN for heading "Mike Brown" and saying Mike Woodson should be dismissed, but then I thought, nah, should give him a pass on that, they both deserve it, and it natural to mix up which one is causing the face palm. That response to Mo's dunk just keeps playing in my minds eye. Someone make it stop!

vw : toreoufs. So many possibilities I'm overwhelmed.

Anonymous gebwel said...
i think people should relax on calling out d-will for proclaiming himself the best PG in the league. unlike starbury in 2004-05 (who wasn't even named to the all-nba team nor all-star game), williams is actually an all-star + all-nba 2nd team this year and received the 2nd most votes among PG, behind only nash. so,if he wasn't 1st, he's definitely a close 2nd. plus, his playoffs numbers aren't too shabby (again, unlike marbury who was horrible during the sweep)

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