Prediction off... again

Having a hard time with this for some reason. The prediction in question today is the one that said Memphis would move up in the West standings when Pau Gasol made his return. I mean, it made sense, right? A team adds a guy averaging 18, 7.5 and 50.3% in 32 minutes back to the lineup and you'd figure it'd be a great improvement. Instead, the team is 1-4 since his return. Granted, some of the games have been tough (Phoenix, at Chicago, Seattle). Granted, part of this is his fault... he's averaging 11 and 2.6 while going 3.8/7.8 (48.7%) from the field in an average of 19.8 minutes. Slanted up to the old 36 minutes, that's 20 and 4.7. His season averages, slightly slanted up to 36, are 20.3 and 8.4... clearly, he's lacking in the boards. But that's not a gigantic difference, something is still wrong. Someone (can't find where I read this, sorry) at ESPN.com seems to think that Fratello just needs to find the right mix now that the Spaniard is back in the lineup... and they're probably right. If so, Fratello better do it in a hurry because the Nuggets have now tied the Grizzles for the 7th seed.

Now, for some Piston talk. Tony Mejia over at Sportsline.com put up his Power Rankings for the week two days ago (would've covered this sooner, but it slipped my mind to check the site) and as usual, included a blip about a certain team that was doing things for the week in question. This week, he chose the Pistons. Here's the first quote that made no sense to me:

On Monday night, a Western Conference front-runner barged into The Palace and started slapping the home team around. The Mavericks jumped all over the Pistons, smothering them on defense in the most unacceptable of role reversals.

First of all, the Mavericks are playing D since Avery Johnson took over (they've given up 94.1 points per game in the 7 since Johnson took over, as opposed to their 97.6 on the season). Second... jumped all over? They won by six points. That's not jumping all over. The funny part about the first point is that he actually addresses this later on, in the blip about the Mavs in the actual rankings...

Count us as believers that Avery Johnson's defensive-minded approach is right strategy to get the Mavericks into The Finals.

First, it's a terrible role reversal that the Mavericks played good D against the Pistons. Then... it's good thing the Mavericks are playing defensive-minded. Like Vince Carter when he's unhappy, this is completely inconsistent.
Later on, in his blip about the Pistons...

Lindsey Hunter's remarkable slump (1-for-18 and counting) and the lack of productivity from Carlos Arroyo has the Pistons worried.

Hunter I'll give you, but Arroyo's doing just fine. He's averaging 11.3 points and 7.2 assists per 36 minutes... doesn't sound like lack of productivity to me. This isn't inconsistent, it's just not true.

Also in the rankings, but unrelated to the Pistons, here's his blip about the Warriors...

They're calling Baron Davis the "Boss" these days, and considering he's happy and thriving back in Cali, the Warriors might just be a team you have to watch next season.

Similar to what I said about Stein's rankings, Baron Davis isn't playing well, let alone thriving! He's shooting 39.4% from the floor since moving to the west coast. He's taking 7.5 triples a game at a 33.9% clip (which is reasonable for about a third as many triples). His assist numbers are good (7.8 per 36) as are his steal numbers (1.4 per 36) but those first two stats detract too much for it to matter to me.

Going back to the Pistons, their next matchup is Friday against the Clippers... which as the edited link I mentioned last post said, may be the return of Larry Brown. Very good.

Trouble brewing

I meant to post this earlier, but I ran into a six hour nap... so up it comes now.

Here is what happened during the game tonight. The Kings are sans Miller, but recall the last time these two met on 3/6/05, the Kings thrashed the Pistons. Fortunately, that wasn't the case tonight. Numerous things stand out, including the FG% differential (Pistons +9.7), rebound differential (Pistons +9) and turnover differential (Pistons -6). Point guard play also stands out, but the rest of the Pistons made up for Chauncey's mishaps of shooting 1-7 and getting booted in Q2. I liked Lindsey's 4 steals though... maybe that defensive PER will go down. Didn't like the triple percentage, but they held the Kings to a similar total. So, mostly a solid game for the team. Good stuff.

Other than the game, here is the news of the day for Piston fans. Heard's been alright filling in (the Kings game was his tenth straight in the head role) but if they're sans Brown in the playoffs, it could be really troublesome... troublesome in that they'd probably lose to the Heat. Let's be honest, the East is a two horse race. Even without the coach, they're going to spank every team in their conference that doesn't have a guy making $27,696,429 for the season on the roster. But, you know there's going to be a battle between the two powerhouses. Sans Brown, I don't know if the Pistons would be able to take the Heat down in 7. More speculation after his official announcement comes, I guess.

Update: The second link originally said that Brown was out indefinitely... now it's been changed to that he'll be back Friday. Good to see!


All about the acronyms

Note, I first got the idea to poke around with this while looking at this, which I was looking at because I'd noticed some blogs I read (Knickerblogger, Bulls Blog, Forum Blue and Gold, etc.) mentioned their own teams' stats on the same nature. The thing that seemed inconsistent to me is that the Pistons' SG's PER was lower than the Pistons' SF's PER. I figured, "This can't be right, Hamilton and Prince are about equivalent, but Delfino and Hunter are better than Dupree!". I decided to look into it... I knew Lindsey was declining (9.67 offense, 18.4 defense, yet he's played 27% of the team's minutes... yuck) and I knew Delfino was having a rough time, but this is ridiculous! His offensive PER is about 9.43 and his defensive PER is about 19.45. I knew his D was brutal but I figured he at least offered something offensively. I know he's a rookie, but they did leave him in Europe and Argentina for an extra year. Plus, he is playing behind some talented guys and in only 8% of the team's minutes. Both guys aren't even in the double digits on offense and on defense they're almost to 20. As for Dupree, he's not much better (10.9 and 16, 11% of minutes). I guess I'll be happier to see Dupree on the floor than I was previously now. It's pretty clear that the team needs to sign/draft a competent 2 or 3 (or 2.5, as they say) and get rid of Lindsey after the year. NBAdraft.net has them taking Rudy Fernandez, a Spanish SG who is 6'5, 180. I think larger (like Delfino's 6'6, 230 size) is more fitting, personally.

Another interesting thing I found on that stats page is that the Pistons have a 11% higher iFG at the SF spot than their opponents do, while they have a 10% lower iFG at the PF spot than their opponents do. I know McDyess (44% of PF time) often nails a mean 15 footer, but think this is more indicative of the fact that a 6'9, 210 guy (75% of SF time) known for being shrimpy and long is in the post far more often that a 6'11, 230 guy (47% of PF time) who has a reputation as a wicked post player. Also note that the 6'9 guy has a 47.7 FG%, while the 6'11 guy has a 43.4 FG% (McDyess has a 51.2%). Thus, Rasheed should get inside more and Tayshaun should keep up what he's doing, as he's doing swell.

The team has the Kings in Detroit on Wednesday as their next game, that preview comes tomorrow.

Generic title here

My predictions aren't going very well, are they? Box score here. Pistons played well, but came up short in the fact that they had 9 more fouls than the Mavs (leading to 8 more Mav trips to the line) and shot 3-12 from the stripe. Not really a lot to say. No starters stood out lowly, none really stood highly aside from Ben's 17 boards (including a wopping 7 offensively). Not much of a showing by the bench, whose only points were scored by Darvin Ham. Not really a whole lot to say. They didn't score well in the first half obviously (33 points at the break) but nearly made up for it later on. Pistons just couldn't do it, no big deal.

More later, the post form doesn't seem to be working too well here at the moment.


Back to broadband

Finally! After going through the horrors of dialup for a few days, I have returned to the beautiful thing that is a fat pipe. Now, for the posting.

6 (2) Pistons
Why is a Lakers comparison so apt for these switch-flippers? One Detroit observer we trust says the champs' problem is arrogance against lesser teams. Just like the old Lakers.
- Marc Stein, today's ESPN.com Power Rankings

At first I was annoyed, but there might actually be some validity to this. Their games against bad teams (like the 64-62 win at Utah) have seemed sort of like disrespect... either that or they've just had some bad games that they managed to pull out lately. I'll tell you one game they recently had that they played well against a weak team and won in... this one.

A friend pointed out to me recently something funny about Antoine Walker. In his first twelve games with the Celtics, they were 11-1 and he took a total of 30 triples, making 13 of them. That's 43.3% and only 2.5 triples a game. In his next three, the team was 0-3 and he was was 4-18 from behind the arc, for 22.2% and 6 triples a game. There MIGHT be a correlation here. In particular, he was 0-6 from behind the arc against the Pistons, one of the numerous reasons his team lost. Other reasons his team lost were their 28 personal fouls (to Detroit's 17). Granted, the Pistons were only 4-18 from behind the arc (just like Walker last three) but they did a number of other things to keep ahead. Getting 37 trips to the charity stripe is probably the one that stands out the most, where they hit 29 (78.4%). The other one would be the monster night Rasheed had, with Walker guarding him. 11-21, 11 boards and 31 points, fantastic night for the taller of the Wallaces. The shorter of the Wallaces also had a funky 7-9-6 night, while Hamilton made his glorious return with a night of 22-8-8. Every starter played at least 44 minutes, but I still think it was a nice game for the team. They play the Mavericks tonight, that preview will come in a few. In other news...

14 (13) Pacers
How good a coaching job has Carlisle done? Consider that Pacers' projected starting lineup of Tinsley,
Miller, Jackson, Foster and O'Neal has combined to play zero games together.
- Marc Stein, today's ESPN.com Power Rankings

This is wrong in multiple spots. For one, you'd think their projected starting lineup would include that guy that was Defensive Player of the Year last year. Second, his claim isn't true. Look at the starters. The guy should do some better research, I think.

20 (22) Warriors
Montgomery says Baron is getting too much credit. Huh? GS is 6-4 on the road with Baron ... and 5-21 without him.
- Marc Stein, today's ESPN.com Power Rankings

And he's 53/141 (37.6%) from the field in those ten games. Again, Stein should read and think before he speaks. It's not that I don't Stein, I think he's alright, he just need to do more thinking and less pandering to people who think points per game = everything.

Read something humourous in today's National Post's (for those unfamiliar, it's a large newspaper in Canada) sports section. There was a quote in there from somebody (sorry about the vagueness, I read it three hours ago at a restaurant) who said that the Lakers went from a must see championship team to a bad one man team. I guess the Lakers don't have anyone shooting 47.3% from the field, scoring 15 points and grabbing ten boards a game on their team. Nobody at all.

Now, for the preview. Here is the one on ESPN.com. Mavs recently massacred the Cavs, but you know how the Cavs are on the road. Pistons are of course coming off of the game described at the top. Rip Hamilton's back. The Pistons beat the Mavs 101-85 last time they played and that was in the middle of the 12-12 start... so, dismissed. Aside from that abortion the other night against Indy (where they were sans Hamilton), the Pistons haven't lost at home since January 22 against Chicago. So, I think their chances are pretty good for winning.

Last word of the post comes about Larry Brown. His return is still indefinite but Heard seems to be doing an alright job now, so I don't think it will affect the team much. So, take your time, coach.

Update: I sent Stein an email about his error, he changed the column to read "Artest" instead of "Jackson" and replied to me with:

"do you see artest's name in that lineup?

read a little closer next time"

What an upstanding guy.


2002 Draft

Big old update when I return to the salvation of broadband on Monday, until then, here's the draft thing I mentioned:

Heading towards the playoffs, we're about three seasons removed from the 2002 NBA Draft. As is often the case in sports, after three years is a good time to judge whether a player is a waste of a pick or not. There were a number of steals in this draft, as well as a number of large busts. From the top...

1. Houston selected Yao Ming (23.04 PER this season)
There's still a lot of debate about this one. Some think Yao should be Shaq-esque, others think he just needs to mesh with McGrad for a few more years. I fall closer to the latter sentiment, in that I think Yao is just fine now and could be beastly in the coming years.

2. Chicago selected Jay Williams (n/a PER this season)
Last I heard, he was hoping to make a comeback sometime in the next year or two. He showed signs of promise in his first year with the Bulls, but this pick has to be labelled a bust at this point, since he's not with the team. However, unlike a few Bulls picks (like Marcus Fizer), this bust isn't their fault.

3. Golden State selected Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (14.5 PER this season)
Dunleavy's been alright. This year and the previous season have been alright for him, as seen by his PER. He looks like he'll improve to be an average guy in the league, but certainly not third pick worthy. Technically he's a bust, but he's not too terrible

4. Memphis selected Drew Gooden (20.29 PER this season)
Before this year, I would've been shooting "Bust!" from the rooftops. But something in him has made it turn it around. Most would probably say that it's playing with Lebron and Zydrunas, but every time I see the Cavs play, most of his work is done by himself. So, in my opinion, he's done this for himself and I commend him for it. Good pick, even though he's on his third team.

5. Denver selected Nikoloz Tskitishvili (4.50 PER this season)
This one would have be the bust of the draft. Skita ran into some trouble with Carmelo being drafted the year after him and Nene being drafted the same year as him, but you'd think he could play his way into some backup minutes. Apparently not, as it seems. He'll probably be a 12th man for someone after his deal runs out this offseason.

6. Cleveland selected Dajuan Wagner (4.73 PER this season)
Very close runner up for bust of the draft. I know he's been hurt, but he's been pretty useless even when he's avoided the injuries and DNP-CD's. A large waste, to say the least.

7. New York selected Nene Hilario (16.64 PER this season)
Nene was traded to the Nuggets along with Marcus Camby for current Piston McDyess not long after the pick, if you'll recall. The trade's really worked out for Denver so far and so has the pick. Nene's been dinged up this year too, but when he's been in, he's been a nice force off the bench. Denver's resigned him for next year, but don't expect him to stay at a place where he can't start after next year. He's good enough to start for many teams and likely will start for one of them in 2007.

8. LA Clippers selected Chris Wilcox (14.20 PER this season)
A lot of injuries for the 2002 high draft class in 2005. Wilcox currently makes a good sixth man on the ever struggling Clippers, which is about what you'd expect in his third year. Fairly good pick.

9. Phoenix selected Amare Stoudemire (26.89 PER this season)
And here we have the steal of the draft. Amare's been a beast this year, which many claim is thanks to the arrival of Nash, but you have to give this guy some credit for his own success. Hoopsanalyst had a nice article in December about the Suns which featured what was up with Amare, which can be found at http://hoopsanalyst.com/ew9.htm . All in all, a terrific pick.

10. Miami selected Caron Butler (14.57 PER this season)
Caron's fairly similar to Dunleavy, except seven picks lower and with a new team. However, since he was a part of the trade for Shaq, he also takes on similar scrutiny to that which Dunleavy endures. I feel the same about Butler that I do about Dunleavy, except his stats are more suited to the first double digit pick. So, good pick.

11. Washington selected Jared Jeffries (11.58 PER this season)
Jeffries has sort of been a bust so far, but he's showed a bit of promise this year. Of course, he does have Kwame Brown, Etan Thomas and Jamison in his way, so getting minutes are troublesome for him. Nevertheless, he could develop into an alright player. Pick is a bit bad now, but could improve.

12. LA Clippers selected Melvin Ely (11.27 PER this season)
Ely's kind of like Jeffries, except he only has Okafor and Brezec in front of him. My opinion on Ely is pretty much the same as Jeffries, in that this was a bad pick but could be better in the future.

13. Milwaukee selected Marcus Haislip (5.60 PER this season)
This was a bust. Haislip's got some redeeming qualities (he can block shots, for instance) but overall he's nothing special. Currently a 13th man on Indiana, he's probably not going anywhere. Bad pick.

14. Indiana selected Fred Jones (13.95 PER this season)
This pick seems fairly good. I don't particularly like Jones or that dunk he did to win the dunk contest last year, but I'll admit that he's an alright fringe player.

15. Houston selected Bostjan Nachbar (11.59 PER this season)
Bostjan was barely used in Houston, but upon going to New Orleans in the Jimmy Jackson trade, his PT has increased. His PER is still rather weak, but he's a good shooter (40.7% from beyond the arc, 81.7% from the stripe this season) so he has a redeeming quality. As long as he hangs out around the 23'9 line, he'll be an alright fringe guy. So, alright pick.

16. Philadelphia selected Jiri Welsch (11.57 PER this season)
Jiri's kind of like Nachbar, except with Boston and Cleveland and less PT in the new city. His PER sucks and his 3 point percentage (31.5%) has dropped almost 7% from last year (38.1%). If he can get it back up, he'll be pretty similar to Nachbar. Until then, bad pick... but keep in mind that he's been on the roster of Golden State, Dallas, Boston and Cleveland since being in Philly.

17. Washington selected Juan Dixon (17.50 PER this season)
Dixon's been quite good off the bench for the soaring Wizards. This pick is looking like a steal at this point, as he seems to be quite talented for such a selection. Nice move, Wiz.

18. Orlando selected Curtis Borchardt (10.10 PER this season)
He didn't play the year he was picked and he was hurt for all but 16 games of last year, so this is like a rookie year for him... so there's no real point in debating this pick at the moment, as his career is currently 73 games old.

19. Utah selected Ryan Humphrey (12.30 PER this season)
Humphrey's been alright for Memphis, but he happens to have Gasol, Swift and Cardinal ahead of him in the depth chart, so his playing time is limited. He seems decent, but it's hard to say. Alright pick, I suppose.

20. Toronto selected Kareem Rush (11.00 PER this season)
Remember when there was a big deal about this guy because he had that one nice shooting game in the playoffs last year (I believe he was 6-7 from behind the arc in the clincer versus Minnesota)? He was later traded for a second rounder. Yeah. He can shoot well (37.2% from beyond the arc) and he looks like Lindsey Hunter, so he has a pair of redeeming qualities. Thus, he's in a similar boat to Nachbar and Welsch. But, since he was a bunch of picks deeper, he's a better pick.

21. Portland selected Qyntel Woods (n/a PER this season)
Despite having been on two different rosters this year, Q has a grand total of zero playing time. But if you'll recall, there are reasons for this. Portland got rid of him for the dogfighting thing and Miami hasn't played him yet... could be because they also have Eddie Jones, Rasual Butler, Dorell Wright and Shandon Anderson on the roster, all of which play similar position to Q. One thing Q did have going for him was that he could shoot triples (34.2% on the career, though he did only take 42 of them). Other than that, zilch. Perhaps if teams can look past his troubles, he'll be a 13th man somewhere. Even so, bad selection.

22. Phoenix selected Casey Jacobsen (10.77 PER this season)
Pretty much like Nachbar, but with a 36.7% 3 point percentage. Seems like a lot of similar players were taken around here, huh? Like Rush, since his selection was lower, the pick is alright.

23. Detroit selected Tayshaun Prince (16.17 PER this season)
Another steal of the draft right here. This season, Tayshaun's improving almost across the board (+1.8 FG%, +3.2 FT%, +0.6 RPG, +0.7 APG). His offense punch is good, his defense is great and he's often taking on the other team's top scorer if they're a 2 or a 3. He's very vital to the Pistons at the moment and they'd really be in trouble at the moment, with Dupree behind him. Excellent pick.

24. New Jersey selected Nenad Krstic (13.15 PER this season)
Like Borchardt sort of is, Krstic is a rookie at the moment, so there shall be no judging. However, he does look like he's talented.

25. Denver selected Frank Williams (1.35 PER this season)
He almost came to the Pistons earlier this year for Smush Parker and Horace Jenkins... now Parker's gone and Jenkins barely plays. Doesn't really matter, Pistons got their backup PG anyway. The guy's played 69 minutes on the year, so it's hard to judge him. However, his season in NY last year as alright (11 points and 6.2 assists per 36 minutes, despite an ugly 38% from the floor). Thus, again hard to pass judgment when he's barely played. Blame Chris Duhon, I guess.

26. San Antonio selected John Salmons (10.86 PER this season)
He shoots 33.3% from behind the arc, is 6'6, 207 and plays his best offense at the point (15.6 PER there, as opposed to 8.2 PER at the 2 spot). Strange. Like Jacobsen et al, he's an okay pick because he was picked so low.

27. LA Lakers selected Chris Jeffries (n/a PER this season)
According to the internet, he's playing ball in Ireland this season... nice place for a former first round pick. Obviously, not a good selection, but he was traded to the Raptors with something small for Rush anyway, so it mattered not for LA.

28. Sacramento selected Dan Dickau (16.80 PER this season)
He's certainly blossomed in New Orleans. Of course, like Primoz Brezec's numbers, you have to figure they're kind of inflated playing on such a bad team. I mean, someone has to get some of the boards in Charlotte, just like someone has to throw the ball around in the the Big Easy/Sweet Lady Gumbo/Old Swampy. Nevertheless, the times I've seen him play, he's looked like he could be an effective guy in the league. So, nice pick my the Kings, even though he was passed to Portland, Dallas and New Orleans already.

Second round highlights:

33. Milwaukee selected Dan Gadzuric (17.64 PER this season)
Talk about larceny! Danny G is second in the league in boards per minute (I think I mentioned this recently already) with and blocks shots as well, the numbers being 13.13 and 2.37 per 36 minutes respectively. Great year for him and a wicked steal for the Bucks.

34. Cleveland selected Carlos Boozer (19.59 PER this season)
Second biggest steal of the draft would be this. An even bigger steal than Gadzuric, we all know how this one worked out with Cleveland. No need to explain it.

41. Milwaukee selected Ronald Murray (12.10 PER this season)
I know I posted the other day that he wasn't a good option and as you can see by his PER, he isn't. But, he's still a nice pickup for 41st overall.

49. Boston selected Darius Songaila (14.71 PER this season)
This was a great pick. Songaila's having a nice year off the bench of the Kings and looks like he'll keep improving. Good times.

All in all, an interesting draft. A 7'6 guy from China, a potential 2005 season MVP (though I wouldn't place a wager on that one), an 18-9 guy with the 34th pick, a board machine with the 33rd pick and the Pistons' current 3 with the 23rd pick. Beautiful!



Battling with a 32k internet connection at the moment (at home for holidays) but I'll attempt to put a few things up later on. I'd do it now but I'm still annoyed with the game from earlier.


Sans Hamilton

That went well! Without Rip, the Piston O was bad and their D was even worse! I guess he's 15th in the league in Roland Rating (+10.3) for a reason. Of course, Tayshaun is 4th in the league with a +14.7, so you'd think the affect of Rip being gone for the evening would be lesser. However, the affect can't be lesser when you have things like Tayshaun shooting 2-8, Rasheed shooting 6-18 and Delfino (starting in Rip's spot) shooting 1-9. Brutal. The team shot 28-74 (37.8%) as a whole, as opposed to Philly's shooting of 41-76 (53.9%). Iverson, the league leader in Usage Rate, was 15-26 for 39 points, 10 assists and 5 steals. Against the super, super defense of Delfino, Iguodala had 10 points, 10 boards, 10 assists and 4 steals. Even Chris Webber shot fairly well with 9-19 for 19 points, something he hasn't done in Philly so far (but his PPS still sucked at 1.00). Basically, the Piston backcourt did a bad job of defending... but at least Chauncey sort of made up for it by going 5-7 for 15 points, though he did have 6 turnovers. Bad effort all around for the boys in blue. They have Indiana at home on Friday, which ought to be a good place to turn things around off of this two game skid. The head coach and the shooting guard might both be back, so look for a W here... but more on that as it approaches. In other action...

Knicks 107, Celtics 82
Thwomp. The Celts fell flat on their faces after being so hot, a lot it due to Antoine Walker's 5-20 night and Ricky Davis's 2-10 night. Also, the Knicks shot 38-73 (52.1%). The Celtics shot 31-81 (38.3%) but without the mentioned two (with some simple math) they were 24-51 (47.0%), much better. Walker had 10 boards to sort of make up for it, but Davis little positive on the night. This is an odd one, as Ricky Davis is usually a good contributor... and I guess Walker has been too, since his return to Boston. Other things of interest were that Tony Allen managed to foul out in 19 minutes of play and Tim Thomas managed to have one less in the same amount of time. Bruno Sundov, the only real centre still on the Knicks' roster, had 2 minutes of play (adding to his season total of 67). Kurt Thomas didn't play, but the Knicks still outrebounded the Celts 46-36. I don't know whether the Boston tear is over or not, but this certainly is a dent in it.

Pacers 100, Spurs 93
A battle of two teams sans their MVP-esque power forwards... and one sans their dominant small forward. Rough times for these two.

As was in the news, Reggie Miller broke the 25,000 point barrier in this game. There's been a whole pile of debate this year on whether Reggie is a hall of famer... I'm kind of split on the subject. I'm not of the opinion that an athlete has to win a championship to be "great" or that winning championships makes a player great, so I didn't really factor that in when thinking about Reggie. He's the all time leader in triples made and has a career three point percentage of 39.5%. He's had the great individual games in the regular season and in the playoffs, naturally including the famous "9 points in 8 seconds" bit against the Knicks. He didn't board much and didn't assist much, his D was alright... it's really a tough call. I'm not for or against it and will be happy with whatever they pick, but apparently I'm in the minority for this. As the phrase goes, "It's all good".

As for the game itself, the Spurs shot badly (28-73, 38.4%) and made up for it at the line (30-36, 83.3%) but it wasn't enough. Tony Parker was 4-13 and Beno Udrih was 3-10, whereas Anthony Johnson was 6-9 for the Pacers. Steven Jackson was only 6-17 for the Pacers, but it was made up for with Jeff Foster's 8 points and 15 boards in 23 minutes off of the bench. Basically, the Pacers won the point guard battle by a large margin and it made the difference in the game's score.


A turn of events

Before I begin... behold, the new colour scheme!

So Duncan's dinged now, that's not too good. I guess the Suns will be taking that 1 seed out West then. Also, the reason there was no wrap up last night was... because there wasn't much to wrap up. Other than the fact that the headline in the Knicks game started "Rose drops 18 on old team", despite that the 18 in question came on 6-18 shooting. Sigh.

Hedo/Hidayet Turkoglu's out for the year, the Magic are really screwed now.

As for tonight's action, the Pistons got squashed by the Cavs, 91-76. Pistons only shot 37%, including 3-11 from Ben, 2-8 from Chauncey and 2-9 from McDyess. Rip didn't play, which would add to the shooting woes (Delfino started in his place and went 2-5). Why was Ben taking 11 shots when he was only hitting 3 of them? I can understand Ben taking 11 shots if he happen to get hot and hit 5 or 6, but 3? Come on, far too much. Tayshaun and Rasheed combined for 47 points and 15 boards on 18-38 shooting, which I applaud both for. Arroyo had 4, 4 and 4 off the bench in 20 minutes. Those three were swell, the rest were weak to questionable. As for the Cavs, it was a nice rebound from the weird game at Toronto on Sunday. I'd say more, but there isn't more to say. In other action...

Rockets 84, Heat 82
Shaq's line goes 9-15 for 23 points, 16 boards and 3 blocks... and the Heat lose. It's like there's been an explosion of team stars having massive games and most of the rest of the team being completely flat and causing an L as of late. Haslem didn't play, that was part of it. Wade shot 4-19, also part of it. Keyon Dooling was 1-6, also part of it. How is it the Rockets won in a game where T-Mac shot 8-27 for 26 points, where the team as a whole shot 28-79 (35.4%)? Very odd.

Jazz 115, Lakers 107
Hey hey, AK's on the winning end for once, yet came off the bench (and played 41 minutes) for some reason. Ben Handlogten (possibly the scariest looking guy in the league ) got the start. Why was he on the winning end? For one, his own effort was good, with an evening of 6-8, 18 points, 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Only 1 board... but it was made up for by the next two guys. Matt Harpring had a night of 10-12, 23 points, 8 boards and 5 assists. A very nice night. Also, Mehmet Okur (ex-Piston) had a night of 7-8, 27 points, 16 boards and 5 assists... wow! Wicked night for the best player in the league from Turkey (yes, best out of two). As for the Lakers, Kobe had 16-26 for 43 points which was spammed across the basketball part of the internet. However, if they're letting the Jazz put up 115 points, you have to figure something was up with their D.

That's all for the evening. Pistons play Philly tomorrow night on ESPN, I'll be back with the preview for that later. Also, sometime this week I'm putting up a review of the 2002 NBA Draft (since it's been about three years since then). Should be a good, long one.


!?, part two

Let me get this straight... Jermaine O'Neal punches a guy while on court and gets a 25 game suspension, which was reduced to fifteen. Steve Francis kicks a guy while on court and gets a... 3 game suspension. What? I still haven't managed to see the clip, but how could there be debate if J-O wound up with five times as much for a punch instead of a kick?

More oddity + more wrap up

So I wake up this morning with Sporting News Radio on and I turn up the volume as the "flash" (their update type thing) comes on. First thing I hear is that Paul Silas is fired and I have to wonder why. At first, it made no sense to me. A team with the 5 seed this late in the season firing the coach after not even being in the playoffs last year? But then I got to thinking about it. Cleveland lost 9 of 12, 9 straight on the road and... well, yesterday against Toronto after Lebron's crazy game. SNR said they were looking into getting Flip Saunders, so perhaps their fall will be halted. If it's not, the Cavs are just a game up on Chicago now, so this might be a chance for the Bulls to continue their ascension. They're also a game up on Indiana... who I now think will make the playoffs with the Magic sans Steve Francis's services for probably a while. Overall, I think the move can't be picked as good or bad yet. The real assessment to me will be if this gets the Cavs past the first round, because as I said, I didn't see them getting past there. If it does, it's a good idea. If it doesn't, it's pretty much a lateral or backwards move and thus, not useful.

Beginning the second part of the wrap up, from the "too late" category, Warriors 104, Kings 94

Golden State's now beaten Sacramento at home, Phoenix on the road and Sacramento on the road in consecutive games. I praise the guys aside from Baron Davis and Derek Fisher, who combined for 7-29 from the field for 21 points on the evening, but they're wasting their time. The more they play "spoiler" now, the worse their draft spot is going to be. They're not officially eliminated from the playoffs yet but even if they won out, with their current 23-44 record, there's no way in hell someone gets a playoff spot in West with 38 wins. However, it's nice to see the development of Zarko Cabarkapa, who has put up averages of 14.8, 5.3 and 23-37 (62.1%) in 23 MPG over his last four. Slanted up to the old average starter's minutes of 36, the stats read 23 and 8.2. Not bad for the third 6'10, 230 on the depth chart, huh? Note, I'd consider the chart to go Murphy - Dunleavy - Cabarkapa - Biedrins - Tskitishvili. What a roster, eh?

Nuggets 114, Bucks 103
Good effort by Denver all around, but there are some individual efforts for the Bucks that are more interesting to me. Dan Gadzuric, who is second in the league in boards per minute by the way, had 12 boards in 28 minutes. That's good. Zaza/Zaur Pachulia had 11 boards in 20 minutes. That's better. Anthony Goldwire (ex-Piston) had 9 assists in 19 minutes. This is best. It's too bad Michael Redd shot 8-25 for 23 points and the team defense sucked, otherwise these various stats would go a long way to help yank out a win, even thought the Bucks are in a situation similar to Golden State.


So much for me knowing anything. Gasol played today, as did Ginobili. No big deal though, the commentators I heard from in today's games don't know anything either.

Let's start with the Cavs/Raptors game I watched today. As was all over ESPN, Sportsline and such, Lebron decided to blow up with a 56, 10 and 5 performance... that concluded in the Cavs losing. Gooden was playing well too, but Lebron must be sympathizing with AK47 about now. What the commentators (Chuck Swirsky and Leo Rautins, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Toronto's usual commentary team) were lacking knowledge in, in this one, was the 25-7-7 thing. The stat is that only Jordan, Bird, the Big O and someone else (can't recall off the top of my head) have only averaged 25, 7 and 7 in a season before. Technically this is correct, but as is often forgotten, some guy by the last name of Chamberlain once averaged 24.3, 23.8 and 8.6 in a season. He also averaged 24.1, 24.2 and 7.8 the season before that. Technically, they're not 25-7-7. However, in the latter of those two seasons (67-68), Chamberlain was 58 points away from the 2050 point mark, which is 25 PPG in 82 games. Combining his field shooting clip of .595, his charity stripe clip of .38 and his average of .676 FTAs per FGA, Wilt would've only had to take about 40 more field goals in the year, or about half a field goal more a game to be at the 25 point mark. But because he was sans this, he must be ruled out of the situation entirely. Ah, nothing like glancing past this. Speaking of glancing past, at halftime of the Raptors/Cavs game, there was a montage on Lebron and how he compared to "the greatest NBA player of all time, Michael Jordan". Normally I'm used to this and I'm used to the 25-7-7 thing, but together the force was too much for me, so I had to come and bitch about it. I don't understand how Wilt can have so many fantastic records and yet be lambasted when referring to alltime greats by the mainstream media. Is it because he was 7'1, 270 or so? Is it because his career spanned from 1959 to 1973 instead of over the course of the 80's, 90's and early 00's? I just don't get it. If you hadn't guessed already, I much prefer the answer of the Big Dipper when asked who the best player of all time is.

On to the Pistons/Spurs game, where one of the two ABC commentators (this game had Breen and Brown) noted that McDyess played the backup 4 and 5 for the Pistons. I knew about the prior part, but I didn't recall him having played the 5. I checked it out on 82games and sure enough, he'd played a grand total of 0% of minutes at centre for the team. For those who don't understand, this it basically means that he didn't play ZERO time at the spot, but he played so little there that the results were negligible. Bad information was plentiful today, I guess. As for the game itself, the final score was indicative that it was quite an odd game. Duncan going down two minutes into the game leads to... the Spurs and Pistons combining for 211 points? Strange. I thought the Pistons did a very nice job offensively, aside from Hamilton. He looked kind of lost at points out there today, I don't know why. I know he was dinged partway into it, but I don't think that was it. Tayshaun was dinged too, yet he had a line of 8-16, 8 boards, 2 steals and 22 points. Defensively... ugh. Udrih, who I like and who has great upside, shouldn't be going up for 7-13 and 15 points in 20 minutes at this point when his opposition is Chauncey and Arroyo. But overall, nice effort, good to get a win against such a good team, even without their best player. Looking forward to the Cavs on Tuesday, Lebron will probably be looking for revenge after what happened on versus my country's sole team. More reviews of Sunday's action up later.


Nightly wrap up + Spurs at Pistons preview

Steve Francis kicks courtside photographer
Oh, that's good. I haven't seen the clip yet, so I can't comment on possible severities of suspensions. But as is repeatedly noted around the web, the Worm got 11 games for this sort of thing about eight years back. Normally I'd expect similar punishment, but with what happened on old November 19th, it'll probably be more severe. Orlando has 17 games left, I wouldn't be shocked if he has all of them off. So much for the chances of the Magic making the playoffs.

Bulls 94, 76ers 88
You'd think Iverson committing 11 turnovers, Rodney Rogers starting, Othella Harrington scoring 24 points on 10-15 shooting and shooting 27-76 from the field as a team (35.5%) would add up to more than a six point loss for Philly, but I guess not. Funny how things work sometimes. What is up with the 76ers? I realize Webber's been having trouble as of late, but you'd think a lineup of Iverson, Iguodala, Korver, Webber and Dalembert would be effective. I figured after the Webber trade that they'd be in trouble in a year or two because of Webber's likely upcoming decline, but that they'd explode head this year. Somehow, the Celtics add one of the biggest wastes of money in the league (that's Antoine Walker, though I must say he's been extremely hot since returning home) and are now roaring ahead on a spurt of now eleven wins in twelve games since adding him. Those two are strange, I already mentioned the Raptors' troubles last night, Zeke got rid of Nazr Mohammed for a late first rounder plus an overpaid stiff and the Nets think they're dangerous with a frontcourt of Cliff Robinson and Nenad Krstic. Logic doesn't seem to exist in the Atlantic division anymore.

Wizards 96, Jazz 95
AK47 is overly dominant, his teammates most play terribly and the Jazz get snubbed. Where have I seen this before? His line goes something like 6-9 from two, 1-3 from three, 13-17 from the line, 7 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals, 5 blocks and 28 points. Almost another five by five night. It's too bad his team stinks and he missed time, he'd be a shoo-in for MVP. Dude's Roland Rating was like 50 a week or two into the year, that's how important he is to the club. As for the Wizards, Laron Profit got the start, putting heights of 6'4, 6'5 and 6'3 in the starting lineup of the Wizards for the night. Maybe Profit getting the start's not that weird, Smush Parker did get a start for the Pistons earlier in the year.

Heat 97, Knicks 82
Seemingly taking a page from Latrell Sprewell's department of "I shoot, that is all", Eddie Jones put up a statline of 13 points, 0 boards, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover and 4 fouls in 28 minutes. Beautiful. Fortunately for him, Shaq and Haslem combined for 33 boards, while Damon Jones, Wade and Shandon Anderson combined for 12 assists. Not a real shocker of a game, one of the best centres of all time goes up against a team with no true centres on the roster and dominates. Like the Raptors, the Knicks ought to just turn it in and play the young guys (Ariza should have many more than twelve starts so far on the year) early and often.

Now for the preview
Ah, this one should be wicked. It's on ABC and is a showdown of the two of the best defensive teams in the league... sounds like my kind of basketball. I believe Ginobili's still dinged up, so the Pistons should have a nice boost in their chance to win this. The last time they met, in San Antonio, the Spurs won 80-77. However, this was in the middle of the Pistons' starting the year 12-12, so I'm dismissing it and starting fresh. The Spurs are 19-12 on the road and the Pistons are 24-7 at home, so there's an advantage for the Pistons, as is often the case between home and road teams (except Phoenix, which has odd home and road records of 23-9 and 25-7 resectively). The Pistons finally got Delfino back for the Raptor game, so the bench should be improved, what with having a talented guy backing up the 2 and the 3 instead of Ronald Dupree. Gar Heard is still coaching the team in Brown's absence, which normally would be a decent dropoff in overall team usefulness, but he is 4-0 during this stretch. If you'll recall, he was 2-3 earlier in the year, but this was also during the 12-12 period so this is also dismissed to me. So, I think the Pistons will be just fine with this game. I'm a large believer in the "a win is a win" philosophy, so I won't give an estimate on how much the difference will be between the teams at the end of the game. However, I am saying that I believe the home team will be victorious, as is often the case in the NBA these days.

Breaking news

Don Nelson is out as Dallas coach, Avery Johnson's in. I mean, we knew this was coming sometime, but in the middle of March? I find this kind of strange. I don't suspect this will do much to the Mavs' playoff chances, seeing as how Johnson's been around the team all year and Nelson let him coach a bunch already.

The right to jump past the lottery

At the moment, the middle of the East standings looks like this:

# Team GB
6. Indiana 16.5
7. Chicago 17
8. Philadelphia 18

9. Orlando 19
10. New Jersey 20.5

I know they got a nice win last night after the mentioned huge efforts from Miller and Davis, but I really don't think they can keep it up without (obviously Artest and) J-O. Thus, I foresee them falling into the 9 spot and out of the playoffs. I know I said I wasn't a fan of Orlando's moves, but I still think they're better overall than New Jersey and thus, I think they'll move into the 8 spot. This will bump Philly to 7 and Chicago to 6. Thus, my picks for playoff matchups will be:

(1) Miami vs. (8) Orlando
(2) Detroit vs. (7) Philadelphia
(3) Boston vs. (6) Chicago
(4) Washington vs. (5) Cleveland

I suspect the Heat and Pistons will thrash their opponents, but the other ones will be closer when Boston cools off and Chicago warms back up.

Now, for the West's middle/lower middle:

# Team GB
8. Denver 15.5

9. Minnesota 18
10. LA Lakers 18

This one is harder to call. I thought Denver was a shoo-in for a nice spot before the season (nice being 4 or 5), but obviously things changed. Lenard went down, Carmelo shot like ass, Bzdelik finally got the axe, Nene's been dinged and Karl came in. And since Karl's come in, the team's been on fire. As is often mentioned, LA's got the roughest schedule (with numerous games against other West playoff teams, many of which are on the road) left, yet I find it hard to pick against Kobe and Odom. Nevertheless, I'll do it anyway. I'm pretty much dismissing Minnesota because at this point I see them as Utah, but with less injuries to their best player. So, this leaves Denver. They'll probably get spanked by Phoenix/San Antonio, but the bigger media story will certainly be "KOBE MISSES PLAYOFFS" rather than "NUGGETS REBOUND FROM INJURIES, SLOW START AND FIRED COACH TO MAKE PLAYOFFS". Oh well. I suspect the West first round will look something like this:

(1) San Antonio vs. (8) Denver
(2) Phoenix vs. (7) Sacramento
(3) Seattle vs. (6) Memphis
(4) Dallas vs. (5) Houston

I'd pick the Kings higher if Miller wasn't out for 4-6. I'd pick the Grizzlies higher if there was more hope that Gasol would be back. I know they're hot now (they've won 8 of 10), but I don't see them getting up to fifth for some reason. Presuming the Spaniard does return for the playoffs, I think they could give Seattle a run for their money. Memphis is one of the few teams that can match Seattle's bench AND shoot with the Sonics. So I wouldn't be shocked to see that upset.

As for my listed 4/5 matchup, it's hard to say. Houston absolutely thrashed Dallas last Sunday sans Dampier, Dirk and Finley, so that's not exactly indicative of what would happen if Dallas was healthy all over. If only the Mavericks had a competent backup centre instead of the biggest white stiff, then they wouldn't be so dinged up without the services of Dampier, the guy with the hilarious contract. 7 for $73 for a guy who clearly (see .535, 12 and 12 in 32.4 on the year, where his career averages before that year were .432, 8.3 and 6.4 in 24.5 minutes. I know it's ten more minutes a game but the upgrades of practically doubling his rebounds and adding ten percent to his FG% are pretty clear) was beefing up for contract year? Give me a break. I mean, this guy was Adonyl Foyle (another hilarious contract) with more playing time and fewer blocks before that. It hasn't killed the team or anything yet, but wait for a few years. When he's still around and doing a lot to prevent them from making certain deals, then the effects will show. But going back to the playoff thing, I'd say that Dallas will handle them, seeing as how Nowitzki and Finley are both healthy now. Dampier's still out and now Stackhouse is as well, but I don't think the latter matters much due to Dallas's excellent bench. As for Dampier, Dirk can slide up to C while they wait for him and play Van Horn at PF or vice versa, no big deal. So in conclusion, Dallas > Houston in my opinion, even without their 7 for $73 centre.

Winds of change

I sense a new beginning! Since this is the first post, I'll start with an introduction.

- This blog is titled "The Pistons", but it will cover all of the NBA. The team in question will be the focus, seeing as how they're my favourite, but I have love and hate for all thirty teams.
- Seeing how much free time I have on my hands, updates will often be daily
- Note: Absolutely no talk about the NCAA on here. I'm a small fan of that but just about everything I hear about in sports (aside from the steroid stuff in baseball) these days is regarding that. Thus, it shall not be discussed here
- A bit about me: My name is Corey, I live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. I'm currently attending Wilfrid Laurier University, but that is ending in April. Come September, I'll be attending the University of Windsor and living in the city of the same name. For those unfamiliar with the area, it's just a bridge away from Detroit.

That's about it for introduction. I know it's a strange idea to fire a blog up in the later half of the NBA season, but it goes anyway.

I'll start with the Pistons/Raptors game that took place earlier. The Pistons were victorious, 103-92. Why was this? As I suggested would happen before the game (not that I can back this up or anything), something that often happens to the Pistons, the best player on the opposing would explode and the rest of the team would play like grade schoolers. Normally the best player on the Raptors would be the raptor-appearance-esque Chris Bosh... but he was hurt/injured on the evening and didn't want to aggrevate the hurt/injury against the powerful Piston frontcourt. But tonight, the best player on the team (and someone I've thought has been the second best player on the Raptors ever since he got there) was Donyell Marshall. Sure enough, the Ludacris-lookalike had a wicked 10-16 from the field, 5-10 from behind the arc, 12 board, 25 point game. The rest of the Raptors? 25-77 from the field, 3-11 from behind the arc and only 28 boards. Standouts included Detroit native Jalen Rose, who had his standard array of bad shot selection, finishing a sparkling 9-26 and 1-5 from 23'9+ on the night, as well as Aaron Williams, who actually got more than two minutes of playing time! Maybe crazy old Sam Mitchell will start playing Eric Williams next game too, it'll be a miracle twice in a row. I really don't understand what that guy (Mitchell) is doing to the team. As I stated above, I think Marshall is great, yet this was his FIRST START OF THE SEASON. I realize that playing small forward or center is out of position for him, with Bosh usually taking up the PF role, but that's ridiculous. What's even more ridiculous about it is that despite that the Raptors are pretty much just playing for ping pong balls at the moment, they're still throwing Marshall out there as he basically increases the amount he signs for in the offseason. I really don't understand it. Why start giving him more time now when they're practically out of the race instead of earlier in the year when they still had a shred of hope? As for the Pistons, it was the usual good job all around, aside from Rasheed's usual chucking, unusual 2-7 from the charity stripe and McDyess's out of the ordinary 2-7 from the field. Tayshaun had another strong game, going 6-10 from two, 1-2 from three and 6-6 from the line, for totals of 21 points and five boards. He also was part of the reason Rose shot like ass. Rasheed chucked but had 18 and 13, so no large complaints, even though his defense was questionable. Ben had 15 boards and 4 blocks, another wonderful game from the heart of the team. Rip looked good on O and D, putting up 20 points on 9-16 shooting and holding Mo Pete to 13 points on 4-13 shooting. Chauncey did some serious beating down of the weak (that's weak as in the opposite of strong) Raptor PGs, scoring 23 points on 7-10 shooting to go with 8 assists and 6 boards.

Also recently in the news was the firing of Johnny Davis and his assistant... I really think the guy got a raw deal. The team may have been playing like crap, but whose fault was that? As often mentioned, the team started out 13-6 but has tailed off since. I don't suppose part of that could be because of the terrifying lopsided Doug Christie for Cuttino Mobley trade that Weisbrod made? I understand that they didn't want to pay Mobley, but trading him and angering your team's best player (Francis, though Howard will probably overtake that by next season) is a worse alternative to me than letting him walk. At least you clear cap room that way. The way Weisbrod did it, they get a contrasting personality in Christie, then throw him on the IL. Why? Why would one do this?

I read the link title of "Wife of Piston Ham arrested in domestic dispute" as "___ piston __ arrested in domestic dispute" and I was worried for a moment. Then someone got me thinking, his wife must also be quite large if she can crack a 6'7 guy over the head with a wine bottle (semi-related note, I measure in at 6'8, not that this is necessary information). Which is kind of cool, seeing as how the average height of women is North America is 5'4.

Vladimir Radmanovic is out 4-6 weeks. That's right, a good team's popular shooter off the bench is out 4-6 weeks. Normally this would be cause for concern, right? In this case, not so much. For one, Vlad is only averaging 1.14 points per shot (happily referred to as PPS) while another deep shooter off of Seattle's bench, Antonio Daniels (1.37 PPS) provides a much better alternative. Daniels is a 7% drop from downtown, but is a 6% increase in two pointers and gets to the line much more often (4.1 FTA/game for Daniels, 1.6 FTA/game for Radmanovic). And inside, of course, there is the statistical anomaly that is Danny Fortson (who has a disgusting 2.07 PPS). Unfortunately he's limited to 3.8 FGA/game, but if he could cut down on the fouls and improve on the stamina, losing Vlad wouldn't cause much of a difference at all. Unfortunately, I read that Nate McMillan might just use Flip Murray (a special 1.02 PPS) in his place instead. I realize that PPS isn't everything, but Radmanovic is mainly a scorer... thus, being mainly a scorer, PPS is quite important (at least in my eyes). So why not increase the shots of Daniels and Fortson, who are efficient, instead of adding the inefficient Murray?

This is kind of old, but since I didn't exactly post anything about it at the time, I'll cover it now: The big deal about Payton resigning with the Celtics. I hear people saying "OH THE CELTICS GOT A GREAT FREE PLAYER". One, Payton isn't great anymore. He may have been one of the best guards of the 90's and maybe early 00's, but he's falling apart now (from what I can see). His stats are average, his defensive PER may be alright but we all saw him in the playoffs last year, right? He must've had a had time guarding a barn. Second, what's the big deal? It's probably collusion, sure, but it's not like he's being paid under the table like Joe Smith (ex-Piston) was (though if he is getting paid under the table for this move, it's a different discussion entirely).

Other games of note around the league from the night:

Indiana 103, LA Lakers 97; Reggie Miller goes up for 39 points, Dale Davis goes up for 16 boards (including 7 O boards).

Wow! I don't know which is more impressive, that old man Miller can still have nights of 13-18 from the field and 10-10 from the line or that old man Davis can scoop that many of the old "OREB" up. Talk about overachieving.

New Jersey 94, Utah 80; Utah grabs a massive 27 rebounds as a team.

Andrei Kirilenko, as usual, had a nice night (though it only contained one board, somehow) and wasn't rewarded for it. AK47 might be the single best player in the league and he's just wasting away with the hacks (Boozer, while not a hack, is hurt at the moment) in Utah. Garnett's going through similar trouble, but his recognition is seen often, like that MVP he got last year. Whenever AK47 gets recognition it's usually "WOW WHAT AN UNDISCOVERED TALENT" even though he signed a fat extension earlier in the year... thus, not really recognition at all (how can you have recognition if what's being recognized isn't properly analyzed?) What I find funny about Utah is how the bitching is that they need a good point guard... hm, seems to me they had one earlier in the year (I realize Arroyo's stats weren't too swell in Utah, but as seen with the Pistons it was just a dry spell) and shipped him off for a late first rounder. Hypocrisy is super!

Golden State 110, Phoenix 100: Baron Davis learns how to shoot, going 7-10 from behind the arc.

Zuh? This stat might be even weirder than the other Davis's O boards. I really don't like Baron Davis. I appreciate that his steal numbers are good and he often puts up good assist numbers but THE MAN HAS TO STOP SHOOTING THE THREE BALL... just like Antoine Walker, Rasheed, Iverson, Kobe, etc. As you can see, I'm not a fan of the chuckers. Well, Kobe's not really a chucker, but in regards to threes he can be. The others stand regardless. Back to BD, I applaud him for the stat, even though we'll probably never see it again. Speaking of Phoenix, Nash is my second pick for MVP this season (Nowitzki is number one).

That's all for the first night.