Visions of angels

A note before we start... sorry about the lack of update last night. I really didn't feel like writing about the NBA. I wrote about some other stuff, though, so it's not like I was avoiding writing completely.

The above being said, it's not "Panic in Piston town!" for me. Yes, they did fall apart down the stretch and despite that ten minute stint (6:00 Q3 to 8:00 Q4) where they allowed about ten points, they weren't that good all game. But this weak game did happen to coincide with a game where Wade was hitting just about all of his jumpers, where Shaq had a PPS of 1.85 on 13 shots and where Rasual Butler hit three triples in three tries. Granted, the Pistons' play had a bit to do with the first two and I'm not saying they'll never happen again this series. But if the Pistons are going to play that bad and the Heat are going to play that good and the Pistons are only going to lose by 9, that's not too terrible to me. Like after game three of last round, where the Pistons were also down 2-1 (except then it was on the road), I again feel that the Pistons could randomly roll off three straight. Yes, the Heat are much better than the Pacers... but I know the Pistons are much better than what they showed in games two and three. The Pistons may get a lot of T's, but they don't tend to get a pair of them that late in the game. The Pistons may shoot bad from time to time, but Chauncey doesn't tend to shoot a PPS of 0.95 on... 19 shots. Basically, what I'm saying is that the team's inconsistent and they're currently on the "bad" swing of that inconsistency. What I'm also saying is that the Pistons are yet to win a game three in these playoffs, yet they're a combined 4-0 in game fours and fives. They'll be alright. I reiterate, Pistons in six. Now, for more singular discussion.

As I said, Chauncey had a piece of crap pretty much everywhere. Shot bad, defended bad, got that late T. I mean, how did Damon Jones get 7 boards? Only one TO, though, that was good. Rip had a great game on O, but defensively he was questionable. Constantly he was hitting Eddie Jones and Wade on their shots and it certainly wasn't helping his cause. Granted, the refs were crap all game, but they were equally crap towards both teams. No more game three ref ranting for me, hopefully. But back to my point, as good as Rip was on one end, he was terrible on the other end. Which leads me to Tayshaun. He seemed missing on some of the jumpers that Wade got open on. He did a good job keeping Wade out of the key at some points, but he was also to blame for some of Wade's shots. Not as much as Rip, but still a bit. The bigs were alright, I liked how Mourning got 6 fouls in 17 minutes. But overall, the team D was weak. Thus the Heat having 113 points on 65 shots... a team PPS of 1.74. Ouch! Don't expect such a number for any team for the rest of the playoffs. I wonder what the record is for a team's FTA per FGA. The Heat had 54 FTA's and 65 FGA's... for a clip of 83.1%. Granted, the Pistons had a high one as well (52.4%) but 83.1%!? That's ridiculous. 97 FTA's shot this game. Now that's a playoff game!

Delaying the inevitable
Shawn Marion, welcome back! His game still wasn't very effective offensively, but combined with the 14 boards and 3 blocks, he's moved past the acceptable level. And what do you know, they won in the same game that this happened! Might be a correlation there. Also, Johnson with his ugly ass white strapped mask and all (I much prefer Rip's) had a whale of a game. Well, he wasn't that great on D, but his offense was certainly key to the victory. Nash returning to double digit assist form was also key. As were Amare's late game heroics. Q played well too. Basically, all five of their starters was in their average to above average form and it got the job done on a whole. Yes, Steven Hunter is still their seventh man and that's a rather large problem, but they might be able to stick out another win if they can reproduce what they did tonight. I really don't expect them to win game six if they get there at this point, though. Awesome road record and firing on all cylinders or not, the Spurs aren't going to drop three home games all regular season and then two in the same playoff series.

Now, for Spur dissection. Parker went Walker, Barry was ineffective and only had three shots, Duncan only had 12 shots... they had numerous problems. Seeing as how Duncan was a combined 33-36 from the stripe (91.7%) in the first three games where he had shot 67% from the same spot during the year, you had to figure that the law of averages was going to catch up with him sometime. That's no big deal. What is a big deal is that he only got 12 shots, which ties him for the lowest amount of shots he's taken all playoffs. Over the 15 games the Spurs have played these playoffs, he's averaged 17.5 shots a game. Yet, here he took 12. Similar to the correlation of Marion playing well with the Suns winning, there might be a correlation between how many shots the best player in the league gets and how well the Spurs do.

A look back
Hoopsanalyst has a nice article up about Don Nelson at the moment. This is what I love the most about that site, the retrospectives that they do sometimes (like the GM Reports, for instance). I always enjoy reading such things.

Sounds more and more like PJ is going to coach KG and the sunshine gang
Yes, this will be the first meeting between the two, but rumours say they've been interested in him for a while. I expect it to go through, more on it if it happens.

It's official, Mike Brown is in for the Cavs
Thus gaining him the title of Lebron's second coach. As I've said before, if the Cavs make some good offseason moves (picking up a guy who has a been a lifelong coach as their GM would not be a good move, more on that later) then he should be fine. Get a great/very good SG, play Varejao more... should be a good team next year. Certainly a playoff team. If they miss out a third straight year, Lebron's not sticking around. But, luckily for the team in Wine and Gold, that won't be happening if they play their cards right.


Like it or not

Well, it's pretty clear what was wrong here. The Spurs were on pace for 288 points after two and a half minutes! Well, that and Nash had three assists. And Marion had a PPS of 0.67 on nine shots. Yeah. Amare was a monster as usual and Johnson was decent in his return, it just wasn't enough. Also, more respect to Horry. His shot wasn't on, but he raked in eleven boards. Yes, Marion did similar, but Marion's a much better player than Horry and was starting. As much as Marion wasn't effective on O, Nash wasn't either. Considering that he was averaging 12.1 APG in the playoffs before this game, getting a quarter of that is pretty much unacceptable. It's not like he was very effective shooting the ball either, with that 1.11 PPS. Yes, that's alright, but not too hot when it's coming on 18 shots. The Suns had 10 assists as a team! As seen on the recap page, San Antonio outscored Phoenix on the fast break 14-8. The Suns got outscored on the fast break by 6. That might just have something to do with the 10 assists as a team. But enough numbers. The Suns played a nice fourth quarter, but clearly it was too little too late, as they put up an astounding 10 points in Q2. That was such a strange parallel of quarters. 38-29, then suddenly 19-10, both not in Phoenix's favour. During the pregame, the guys kept mentioning that it was critical for Phoenix to have a good start to the game. So much for that, huh? Much of this was due to Duncan's repeated asskicking on both ends of the floor. The guy was 15-15 from the stripe! Mark Price, Reggie Miller and Chris Jackson (you heard me) come to mind. Parker had another ineffective offensive game and half the time he was switched off to someone other than Nash, so he can't really be credited there. He did mix in 7 assists though, so it wasn't all bad. Ginobili continued to have a wild PPS and snagged 9 boards, yet another good showing by "The Sickness". He seems almost unstoppable at times. So, in conclusion, as I said a few posts back after game two... "Butter them, they're toast". Monday is broom time. So much for my prediction!

Report: Pacers assistant talks with Cavs
I was hoping it was Kevin O'Neill when I read title! I'd love to see another K-O inspired trainwreck, a la last year's Raptors. I'm surprised they're talking to all of these unproven guys, I thought they'd go with someone more established. Time to rehash that yes, I did say Phil Jackson would do to them if he wasn't nuts. So, to go with the fallback plan... he's nuts! Or his girlfriend is Buss's daughter, one of the two.

More bloggery, part two
Yes, I am going to start up that Lions blog sometime. Maybe in July when there's not much NBA action to talk about other than summer league and free agency. I have decided on a title and I think it's fairly good. I guarantee it will be better than this one... fortunately, people are routinely referring to this one as "Pistons Blog", which isn't as bad. Perhaps I should officially change it to that. We'll see.

More mockery, part two
Not that I know a ton about how good some of the guys were in college, but I think I'll throw up my own mock draft sometime. Maybe I'll put that up during an off day of the Finals as well, just like the playoff team offseason moves thing, catchy title and all. I know! I'll try to come up with something entertaining for each off day that doesn't happen to have an explosion of NBA news. I might be able to pull it off.



You heard me!

JJ1 returns
Coach Mike D'Antoni said the only thing that would limit Johnson's playing time is "how he's playing."

As I suspected earlier... I just figured he'd be back in time for the start of the series. Problem is, it's too late now. Yes, I know the Spurs were up 2-0 and lost in six last year, but that's a much different thing. For one, the Spurs didn't have Barry, Mohammed, Udrih, etc. For two, the Spurs won those games at home. Finally, for three, the Spurs probably won't have the folks running the clock working against them. Well, it's quite possible that the last one could come true, but I don't think the Spurs will let it get to that situation in game four. As I said a day or two back, I think the Suns will win game three and game five. But nothing other than that.

What you say?
Can someone translate this for me? I think he's developed a new language that only he and the higher-ups at ESPN.com can understand... Scoopese, perhaps. Yes, that's the one. So, to rephrase that, could anyone who is familiar with "Scoopese" translate that? I'd do it with Google or Altavista, but they just don't carry such a language pack.

The Cavs actually contacted Calipari for their open coaching job
This comes to mind. Come on, Gilbert! I know many of them aren't taking, but there are a lot of better options out there, most of them not coming from the college ranks. Do your franchise a favour and don't go looking anywhere but the pro level.

Antonio McDyess has bad knees; Captain Obvious strikes again
Is this really necessary? This is like saying that Mourning has bad kidneys or Hill has a bad ankle. Well, it's not as famous as them, but it's close. So why bother putting up an article that's half about that? In related news...

Rip Hamilton not shooting well after two games, obviously because of a defender and not because of missing open shots
For those who have watched the team all season, we know the guys are streaky and anyone could show up with a huge game at any time. I know I suggested that Hamilton take more of a distribution role, but that's only if his shooting trouble continues. He'll probably have a big game in game three, to counter the crap he was throwing up the first two games. It has nothing to do with Eddie Jones. He's a fairly good defender, but defending Hamilton like Tayshaun defended Wade in game one is not something he can do for long stretches.

League and Union resume talks
That's pleasant to see. Yeah. I guess there will be more to say when they actually start agreeing on certain terms of the deal. I'll still be shocked of the max contract lengths are lowered to four years. The agents (who despite Billy Hunter's rant, do have a big say in this) stand to lose far too much money if such a thing happens. Thus, it won't happen. In related news...

Thanks, Russ
I had no idea there would be a lockout if the two sides couldn't agree on things! More pointless articles! Yay!

More mockery
Apparently there's a mock draft on ESPN.com but guess what? Insider'd! Since the link regarding the insider articles on the right here hasn't updated in a bit, those of us who won't fork it out for words on a screen are left without access. However, it was mentioned on the main page of the NBA section there that Ford suspects the Bucks will take Williams. More on this when bleedinginc updates, I guess.

More bloggery
I'm thinking about starting up a Lions blog when the NFL season gets closer (such as, around when preseason starts). It would probably be slightly more home team-centric than this one, as my knowledge of the leaguewide NBA is larger than my knowledge of the leaguewide NFL. Not that I wouldn't touch on leaguewide issues, but I wouldn't be doing things like describing what the non-playoff NFL teams should be doing each offseason. Hopefully I can come up with a more original name for it than I did with this one. As always, tell me what you think.



Yes, that's a Genesis song title.

Can't believe I forgot
Chauncey had 8 turnovers in the first half yesterday. Yeah, 8 of them. This prompted me to look up the record for such a thing in a game at half time, as I know all of the other single game records (100, 55, 30, 17, 11) but I didn't know this one. The record for turnovers in a game is 14, by John Drew. Fortunately, Chauncey had no turnovers in the second half, but obviously it was too late for that. This also prompted me to think about something else. The stats after two games for the great Piston backcourt:

Chauncey: 86 minutes, 12-26 (46.2%) from the field, 32 points (1.23 PPS), 10 turnovers, 11 assists
Rip: 90 minutes, 15-43 (34.9%) from the field, 37 points (0.86 PPS), 2 turnovers, 10 assists

Now, seems to me that Chauncey is scoring the ball well (helps that D. Jones is guarding him most of the time) and not handling it that well. On the flip side, Rip is handling it well and shooting it poorly. They say Rip's hamstring is a bit dinged, that might have something to do with it. It looks like he's been moving fairly well with that, but maybe there's something I don't see. So, perhaps Chauncey should start focusing on scoring and Rip should start focusing on distributing. Makes sense to me. Also, Ben (who has 17 points on 22 shots) should stop shooting as much. But that's not as important as the first part.

Brown sick
Bulls Blog also sick of Brown, but that's beside the point. Yes, most of it is speculation, but it's not too hard to believe. We know Brown's missed a bunch of time because of his health and we know he doesn't want to coach much longer. I'm starting to think that LB probably won't be back behind the Piston bench after all next year. It's too bad Woodson took off to coach the Hawks, he usually did a pretty good job in Brown's absence last year. Yes, the Hawks were horrible this year, but look at their roster. The only guy above a 16 PER played with them for 2 games. But going back to Brown and his possible absense, I wonder who the Pistons would turn to if he happened to be gone. Probably not Heard, as he didn't do such a good job in Brown's absence (part of that was because of Ben being gone for the early one, I know). Maybe they could get Laimbeer instead of the Knicks. Just think of the story if Joe D became interested in bringing him in as heach coach. "Former Bad Boy backcourt mates battle for former Bad Boy center". Could be funny.

Mocks that are only a slight mockery
Not bad overall... as to why Lawrence and Mejia have the Pistons taking a C and a PF at the 26 spot respectively, I don't know. Can't say I'm familiar with Joey Graham, so I'll have to get back to you on that one. I am familiar with Sean May though, and I find it humourous that his predicted spots are 4, 24 and 13. I think the Doyel's 13 is the most accurate for him. Similar can be said for McCants, who is listed at 12, 29 and 20. Difference is that Lawrence's 12 is probably the most accurate there. Also, Stoudamire is at 15 on Doyel's list, 29 on Lawrence's and nowhere to be found on Mejia's. I'll go for Lawrence's there. But enough of that. Overall, I think that Doyel's is the most accurate. I guess we'll see in about a month.

Dickie V has a take on the draft, unsurprisingly
I know I said that I'd try to write next to nothing on college ball as I'm not much of a fan of that, but as far as I'm concerned, it stops being college related when draft day is approaching. Yes, expect a lot more draft coverage in the coming days. Now, for the link. While I disagree with the Ex-Piston coach's pick placement after the #1 spot, the article is good. Bogut should fit right in with the Bucks, as he and Gadzuric will be a very potent duo on the glass and on the interior D. Bogut's passing skills will help Mason and Redd (if he's there) a bunch too. Even if they can't bring Redd back, it's not like there aren't other SGs they put in his place, as I detailed a few weeks back. I'm starting to lean more towards selecting that big man with the top selection.

Bogut, Williams likely to be gone by fourth spot
In related news, water is wet. It's pretty clear that those two will be done sometime in the top three picks. What's also pretty clear is that Bristow is a jive turkey. A quote:

Bristow said the Hornets will be inviting the three top-rated point guards in the draft for workouts slated for next week, along with a couple of high school prospects and several others.

But Bristow said the Hornets still intend to bring back Dan Dickau, a free agent, and may also keep Speedy Claxton.

"We said all along we want to carry three point guards," Bristow said. "Because we might bring in a rookie point guard, it might take some time. So it wouldn't necessarily mean we'd have to do something with either" Dickau or Claxton.

Yeah, sure. You're going to keep two decent young point guards and then draft a point guard with the number four pick. Unless you're going to run some sort of two-point offense or you're the '96 Suns, your count of PG's you're going to play will decrease to two somewhere along the line. As I said before, I think the Hornets should take a big man and I stand by that. Andriuskevicius ought to be around, as will Vazquez, Frye, Taft, etc. I guess you could include May, but unlike Lawrence from earlier, I don't think a team that high will take a chance on him. I probably shouldn't include the centres, but perhaps they could run a twin towers type thing with Magloire. He's quick enough to move to PF in the future, I think. Granted, he's played just about all of his time at centre the last three years (82 Games ought to put links to the player's past stats on the player's personal page), so I can't prove that. But, it's a personal belief! I doubt that the Hornets agree with me, though. All of the big man talk quickly erases if Paul happens to fall to the four spot, though. But, like the odds on Phoenix reaching a game seven this season, that's pretty unlikely. So, think about a big man. Andriuskevicius (I love typing that) sounds like a good choice to me. Or, if they don't want to replace PJ quite yet, Gerald Green sounds like a good one.

All time great, but few MVPs
Going by the stuff noted, he probably should've won in '94 and '01, as well as when he actually did win. Obviously Shaq's biggest problem is the injury trouble, but that'll happen to a guy who has weighed around 330 pounds for the latter part of his career. Lack of MVP's or no lack of MVP's, he's still one of the best to ever play the game. Maybe I should throw together an all-time All NBA team. That would be original! Maybe in a few posts.


Turn it on again

Ah, savior of the universe!
I figured they'd bust that wonderful song out once or twice during this series. Good reason for it too, as the guy who happens to share a nickname with the song's focus was great tonight... well, when inside the key he was great. On the dunks, layups and Kobe-esque (more on this later) moves, he was fantastic. On the jumpers... not so hot. I don't have the numbers separating the two on me, but I'm positive he was a lot less effective when he wasn't in the painted area. The Pistons will definitely have to work on keeping him out of there, a la game one. If they can consistently do that, their time winning the series will be much easier. There's still no doubt in my mind that the Pistons will win this series and, unlike popular opinion, why should there be? They did just get a split on the road and if they'd played a little better down the stretch, they could've been coming home up 2-0. Shazbot, huh? But no big deal. As I said the other day, but now with full backing, I believe home teams will go undefeated in this series the rest of the way.

Now, for some number cracking. I don't know what to think about Wade now. Thus, my hypothesis is that he'll repeatedly be inconsistent, except they won't win one of the next two games where he breaks out for 30+, 6+ and 6+. Hell, might be 40+ instead of 30+ again. It's too bad the Pistons couldn't have had as nice of trips to the line as he did. Rip 4-7? Chauncey 0-2? I would've believed Wade would go for 60 before I'd believe FT numbers like those for those two. As bad as those were, obviously the Pistons' shooting wasn't very good. 38.3% is bad times, especially when not facing their round two opponent. Why was this number so low? Aside from that they were missing numerous open shots, they just weren't playing that usual team game. Too often, the guys were going one on one and running into trouble (like Mourning's four blocks, specifically the one near the end on Tayshaun). They need to work on this for next game too, but not as much as their other task. Also, Haslem! I know he's running on about seven fingers right now, but he's been completely useless on offense. His defense hasn't been particularly good either, but it's not like Rasheed was working him over very much this game. Game One Rasheed was and it was more obvious then, but not on Wednesday night. Yes, he did get 8 FTA's, but Rasheed was still doing too much 20+ feet from the basket.

What Brown can do for them
I guess I forgot, there's another guy in the league with a position of power who adores Ex-Pistons now too, Dan Gilbert. Being that he's a businessman from the town, it's understandable. First the rumours that he wanted Laimbeer, then talking to Daly, now the rumours that he's talking to Brown. As the article says, Brown denied of course, but I wouldn't be shocked if there were talks. I don't know how well he'll do as a GM, he could be a huge success or a big flop. He might do as Phil did, taking a year off and then driving up the price when he returns. We'll see. Something irks me about this, though:

Gilbert, speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, said the Cavaliers "are undergoing a massive transformation" and that he will announce the hiring of a new coach, new general manager and president in the next one to two weeks.

It's going to be pretty tough for that to happen when the Pistons are trying to repeat in the Finals... or so I thought before I remember what happened with the Patriots. Crennel and Weis took other jobs as they were storming back to the big game, but stuck around enough to help the Pats get a third title. Perhaps a similar thing will happen in Auburn Hills.

DW and KB
All the time I keep seeing things like, "Wade isn't like Kobe at all!" because Wade's "not selfish" or something like that. First, I'd respond with that while Kobe is second in the league in usage rate, Wade is fourth and Kobe's assist rate is is only 3.2 lower than Wade's. Thus, if Kobe is selfish, Wade must be nearly as selfish. I don't really see either as such, so let's move on to their games, rather than the perceptions about them. Against weak defenses, Wade and Kobe both dominate. Both average over 20 points a game and are the high scorers on their respective teams. Both are the second best players on their team (that's personal preference, obviously), but tend to take it in crunch time. Also obviously, both have played with Shaq. Both have been very inconsistent against good defensive teams like the Spurs and Pistons. Both do their best work around the basket, as referenced near the start of the post. They draw fouls, make circus shots and pretty much slice people up down there. The major difference between them is that Wade isn't a great outside shooter yet and realizes it. Kobe's not a great outside shooter (yet?) and doesn't realize it, taking only 29% of his shots from "inside" while Wade takes 47% from the same area. Kobe's clutch, but he's not great. Similarly, Wade takes 36% of his shots from "close" and Kobe only does 25% from this area. Granted, Kobe's field goal percentages are better from inside but Kobe doesn't take as many shots inside, thus decreasing his overall field goal percentages. As you can see on the pages, Wade's FG% is better while their eFG% is equal. Wade still wins slightly because of his ability to draw more fouls. I guess I shouldn't say he wins, as I wasn't really planning to pick which one was better. The point is that they're similar in play and stats, thus disproving these untruths I hear so often. It's also great filler! Feel free to leave some comments about this one, I'm sure somebody will want to praise/hate on me.

I guess we're sans NBA games until Saturday now, that's a bummer.


The lamb dies down on broadway

Butter them, they're toast
Sorry to my latest link addition, but nobody's going to win 4 out of 5 from the Spurs. I guess I do owe Horry an apology now, he's been wicked this series. I forgot how good he was in the playoffs. Of course, he almost got in one little fight and his mom got scared, but my guess is he'll be avoiding Bel-Air. Also... Nash! Nash! If you didn't catch it, that's four straight playoff games with 25+ and 10+. The Big O and His Airness are the only others to have accomplished it three straight times! That's pretty crazy. Almost as crazy as it would've been if he'd hit that triple at the end. Other impressive performances included Duncan's wild second half and... Jimmy Jackson's four blocks? I didn't notice any of these during the game, but the box score is showing this to me. If it's true... nice! Corliss's long lost twin is always fun to cheer for. But as, good as it was and as I said at the top, it's not happening for Phoenix. They might sneak in wins in games 3 and 5, but it's definitely not going back to Phoenix after game 6.
Side note, anyone notice that Tony Parker's dad looks like a 2035 version of Ron Artest?

Bucks win lottery, irony realized by few
Well, that was weird... and I guess my streak is broken. I'm curious as to what the Bucks will do with this. If they can't resign Redd, I think getting Marvin Williams and shifting Mason to the 2 would be a good idea. If they do manage to keep Redd, which seems unlikely, perhaps they should get Bogut. Joe Smith is getting older (30 in July) and while he's still talented, he seems like he would be a good sixth man. Or, if Bogut isn't ready to contribute right away, he could still start. He's a versatile kind of guy! They could go for Chris Paul, but they have Mo Williams who is young and decent... they have Ford as well, if he ever makes it back. So I'd suggest Marvin Williams if there's no Redd, which seems likely. However, if they do keep Redd, they could still get Marvin Williams and move Mason back into that sixth man role that he was so successful with. I guess it's up to Larry Harris... I'll certainly be interested to see what they do.

Sorry folks, I'm low on stuff again. I guess I could bounce a couple of rumours I heard off of you.

Laimbeer to coach in NBA?
Note, this was on the pregame show, I think S. A. Smith brought it up. Like many Piston fans (above a certain age, anyway) I think Laimbeer's great. Great player, good commentator, seemingly good coach (won a WNBA title... makes me think about my grade school's team again)... and now supposedly being contacted for an NBA coaching job. Guess where? The same place that holds a guy who loves to bring in old Pistons at the helm. That's right, New York! Apparently Zeke wants to bring his buddy in to coach. I wouldn't be shocked at all if this happened. I'd laugh and wish him luck with that screwed up roster. More on this if it happened.

More coaching news, this time an assistant
Note, this came from the same place as the above rumour. This one is that old PJ Carlesimo is going to coach the Timberwolves. I guess I'll get it out of the way, "Good thing they're not going to bring Spree back, huh?". PJ hasn't been a head coach in a while but has been an assistant on these great Spurs teams for a few years. So I think it'd be a pretty good choice for Minnesota. I thought a lot more guys would be clamoring for the chance to get to coach KG... but then, I also thought the same about Lebron. There I go suggesting people use logic again. How foolish of me! Insert other elitist remarks here.


The lamb lies down on broadway

Seems to me I changed the band I took song titles at the start of the last round, so I guess I should change again now. Not to hard to figure this one out, considering how famous the album is.

Wade builds a habitat for humanity by himself
Good job, D-w-y. I mean, the Piston defence had a lot to do with this most recent "going Walker", but a lot of it was Wade's fault too. For instance, partway through the fourth, Wade had Rasheed on him on an isolation about 20 feet from the basket with 14 seconds or so on the shot clock. The obvious thing to do would be to drive to the hole here, right? Dwyane had a guy who is 7 inches taller than him and much slower than him on him far away from the basket with a decent amount of time on the shot clock. Instead, Wade took a step back and threw up a brick. Rich, but not smooth. On a related note, I was surprised how much they had Tayshaun on Wade. I figured they'd do what they did with Reggie, have Hamilton on him most of the game and then throw Tayshaun on during crunch time. Instead, it was Tayshaun on him for about 70% of the game. Similarly, Wade guarded Tayshaun about 60% of the time... and Tayshaun didn't respond very well. I think that's a bit out of place but trust me, Wade's piece of crap won't be an anomaly. He won't shoot 28% again, but I bet he'll be in the mid 30's a few times. As for the PPS of 0.64... okay, maybe that will be an anomaly. I can't believe there were only 22 free throws taken, four of which came on techs. As for the other guys, I must say, I was shocked when Rasheed was heating up (and consequently on fire) early in the first quarter. Never thought I'd see the day where Rasheed hit his first three triples and only shot five on the game. Great showing with the 2 PPS, to go along with the 20, 10 and 3. As for Shaq... wow. If you didn't catch it, prior to the game, the trio of Marv, Steve and Doug at TNT were all worried that Shaq would barely play and be next to useless when he was in there. He then proceeded to be the Heat's second best player by a considerable margin. Granted, he could've had more boards, but they couldn't complain that much. Also, I'd put up a "Sorry" thing for Eddie Jones like I did for Bones, but the karma has to run out sometime. Other nice showings included Arroyo's 7 assists in 10 minutes off the bench... that's 25.2 per 36 minutes. Could've given Scott Skiles a run for his money if he'd played about 43 minutes (and stayed on pace... yeah). McDyess's 5-6 shooting was also impressive, but wasn't accompanied by any FTA's. It was accompanied by those 6 boards in 19 minutes though, so I can't complain. All in all, a good showing by most of the guys on the Pistons. I'm beginning to think that the home teams will go undefeated the rest of the series, to keep in line with my prediction.

Good times in Eagletown
Friend of mine was psyched about this one. We were curious as to whether Philly would let O'Brien go after the year when Mo Cheeks was available and well, I guess they would. If they can keep Korver and Dalembert, they should improve next year... even more so if they pick up someone for their bench other than Marc Jackson who has business being on an NBA court. As for what's next for O'Brien... he has a decent track record (as seen in the article) and there are plenty of job openings, so he should find his way into one of them.

Something out of place
Remember how we kept hearing that Phil Jackson was the sixth man on the Knicks team that won the title in 1970? Why is it that he didn't have any PT with them that year, regular season or playoffs? At first I thought this might be something erased a la Kamino, but after checking at the other basketball reference (the one with the hyphen) this fact seems to be consistent. Weird, huh? I wonder what the story on this is... and why this is incorrectly told, as mentioned at the start of the section.

Let's do it again!
I don't know what to say. I mean, his record as a head coach is good, but he had Shaq and Penny (in his prime, before the injuries were too bad) during those years. It's not too hard to do well with those two on the squad, right? I guess they could do worse, they could keep Jent.

Big Mouth Zo, now with Jive Talking action
Yeah, my grade school could put together a team that could beat the '72 Lakers after a few billion tries too, doesn't mean it's going to happen.

Intelligent Simmons, sometimes worth listening to, seconds the opinion
Sort of. Too bad his game one prediction is off, it could... actually, unless he's joking, pretty much all of his game predictions (except maybe game six) are likely to be way off. Or so says I. Then we move into the second series, in which he slams in the old "nobody likes to watch defense" generalization. As usual, I'm nobody. I like the Suns, but I still want the Spurs to win. I think a Spurs/Pistons series would be fantastic. I also think it's very possible. We'll see in a week plus.


The gnome

Completely forgot to add the round 2 roundup to the round 3 preview... oh well. I guess I'll put it here. Like last round, I got all of the winners. I was only two games off in total this time, but the scale was smaller so I was a bit more off. No matter, it's not like I get paid for such things. It'd be awesome if I did, though! Surprise big performer of the last round was... Nash, I guess. We know he's wicked, but he had some pretty wonky games. Surprise underachiever? Michael Finley. His last two games against Phoenix were crap and sure enough, those were wins 3 and 4 for the opposition. There you have it.

SA/PHX, Game 1
I owe Brent Barry an apology, I guess. Horry... well, not so much Horry. But definitely Barry. So, brother of Jon and Scooter, I'm sorry for the hate. It's not that I don't like the guy, I just didn't think he'd contribute. Aside from that... wow! 43 in the fourth for the Spurs. It's not like they're terrible on the offensive end or anything, but that was pretty funky. I don't think they'd be scoring as much if Marion had shown up. Sure, his rebound numbers are nice, but his D was bad and he did shoot 1-6 from the field. Q's bad shooting didn't help. I liked how Amare had 18 FTA's and 21 FGA's, while Manu had 13 FTA's and 10 FGA's. These FT numbers are Fortson-esque (remember, he averaged 1 FTA per FGA). Fun stuff! Very entertaining game, a real joy to watch. I hope the next six (yes, six) are like that. A friend of mine seems to be convinced that Phoenix won't take any on the road, but I beg to differ. SA did already drop one at home (granted, Duncan was about 60% at the time) and Phoenix was 3 wins shy of the all time best road record, which leads me to believe that they'll win one of the three they play in SA. Probably game six.

Weisbrod to book it
Yeah, that's it. Trade the team's superstar and a good piece (that'd be Mobley) for much smaller returns, then leave the next summer. Nice guy, huh? Granted, he did grab Nelson for little, but he's mostly hurt the organization. So now they need coach and GM. As to who fills or which two fill these roles, I have no idea. I doubt they try another assistant, though. Such another practice hasn't worked out for them too well lately.

Sorry folks, but it's a really slow news day aside from the game. I guess I'll delve into other topics to comment on.

Here's a laugher
To quote "The Seattle Times", care of Hoopshype:

Still, league sources said yesterday that Atlanta plans to court Allen just as they did Kenyon Martin a year ago.

Uh, okay. It's not like they don't already have Childress as a good young guy who can play the spot. It's not like there are better situations for him to go to. Unlike K-Mart, there's going to be more than one team that goes after Allen. I guess I can't blame them for trying.

Anyone notice the Pistons have the five man unit with the best Roland Rating so far in the playoffs?
Fifth best one too. More proof to the fact that the Pistons have the best starting five in the league. Also in the "bests" department, anyone notice that Tayshaun's deferensive PER at the 3 spot so far in the playoffs is 3.3? Granted, he wasn't guarding Bird and Jordan or anything, but it's still pretty impressive. He also has a monster personal Roland Rating of +22.2. More evidence to the fact that this team needs a good backup 2.5 in the offseason. As to who would be the best to get, I'm not positive on that matter yet. We'll see who falls to the MLE section. More on that when I put up my playoff team offseason preview, I guess.

Don't know if I mentioned it here before or not, but this is pretty humourous. While all of the stats, info and such are useful, I think the humour section might be the best part.

Like I said, there's not much to go on. I've got stuff to talk about like Drew Gooden has infected hair follicles. Yes, it's that bad. Maybe I can dig more stuff up tomorrow. Wish me luck!


The Endless Enigma; Round 3 Preview

#1 Miami versus #2 Detroit
Miami is #2 in offensive efficiency and #6 in defensive efficiency
Detroit is #17 in offensive efficiency and #3 in defensive efficiency

Well, we've been waiting for this one for quite a while. Media favourite versus the underappreciated. Shaq looks for revenge against the last team he played while in Los Angeles. The Pistons take on the guy they could've drafted, even though people don't seem to notice that they already had Chauncey and Rip at the time... moving on. The two best teams in the East (at least while Artest isn't playing) duke it out. Damon Jones and Christian Laettner face their old team... well, not that one so much. But you get the idea. Here are a few stats that stand out from the Won-Lost profiles on 82games.

Miami is only 14-10 against teams that are ranked "Good" in Points Against. This is a clip of 58%, while they won 74% of their other games. Similarly, Miami is only 10-13 against teams that are ranked "Good" in defensive eFG%. This is a clip of 43%, while they won 83% of their other games. As for the Pistons, not a lot stands out. The best one with a good sample size is that Detroit is 22-9 against teams that are ranked "Good" in Points For. This is a clip of 71%, while they won 64% of their other games. Not big, but still the one that stands out the most. Perhaps it's a sign that the Pistons can take on any type of opponent? Let's take a look at the matchups.

Center: Shaq, Mourning and Doleac versus Ben, Rasheed (part time) and Elden
There's a big deal being made about Elden being a "Shaq stopper" or something, but I don't think he's going to get a lot of time. He'll come in and use up 3 or 4 fouls on Shaq and maybe hit a jumper, but that's about it. Shaq's going to get his, we know this. Even if he's not 100%, he's still going to get his. As long as Ben and Rasheed do a decent job of staying out of foul trouble, a la last year, they should be alright. Also, while Shaq's still quite good in the area, the Pistons are still better defenders in the lane. So, advantage Heat, but only on offense.

Power Forward: Haslem and Laettner versus Rasheed and McDyess
This matchup is kind of funny. Haslem and Laettner are great shooters and compliment Shaq well. Rasheed and McDyess are great from fifteen feet in and compliment the Piston offense well. On offense, the Pistons only have a slight advantage. Defensively... there's a gigantic advantage for the team in blue. Haslem is too small and Laettner is too slow. Rasheed and McDyess are big, quick and good shot blockers. Yeah... yeah. This isn't Heat advantage over Nets or anything, but it is at least Rocket centres over Maverick centres-esque. Advantage Pistons.

Small Forward and Shooting Guard: E. Jones, Wade and Butler (maybe ?) versus Tayshaun, Rip and Lindsey
These are grouped because Jones/Wade and Tayshaun/Rip will be alternating on who each guards between each other fairly often. Jones won't be able to guard Tayshaun (similar to how he wasn't able to guard Jamison last round) and Wade won't be running around on Rip all game, so I suspect they switch up sometimes. Wade will wind up on Chauncey as well, but I don't suspect that happens a whole lot. So, I'll focus on these. Basically, the Heat will have trouble guarding the Piston starters no matter who is on them. On the other side, Hamilton on Wade will be the only matchup that doesn't favour the Pistons on the other end. Tayshaun's shown that he can defend Jones and Wade very well during the regular season and I don't believe he'll let up here. Advantage Pistons.

Point Guard: D. Jones and Dooling versus Chauncey, Lindsey (part time) and Arroyo
Here we have another spot that's favourable for the team in blue. Jones and Dooling can't guard Chauncey... that's pretty much all that matters. Hunter will spend more time at SG and Arroyo will probably only play 6-8 minutes a game, so what they do while he's in won't be overly important. Bottom line is, Chauncey won't be stopped when he doesn't want to be in this series, much like last series. Advantage Pistons.

Overall, while the Heat are very talented, they shouldn't be able to take out the Pistons. The 2004 Pistons beat a somewhat similar team in the 2004 Lakers last year and while Wade is better than Kobe and 2005 Shaq is better than 2004 Shaq, I don't think the outcome will be much different. I suspect my favourite team makes it to their second straight NBA Finals before the fourth game in Miami.

Surprise positive showing: Pretty much everyone in this series is well defined already... something more fitting would be more like "better showing than last round" and I'm going to go with... there's no one to pick! Darn. Pretty much everyone on both of these teams played great last round.
Surprise negative showing: Eddie Jones. He's going to get torched multiple teams this series, even if he does have the Jungle Karma.
Series winner and game count: Pistons in six.

#1 Phoenix versus #2 San Antonio
Phoenix is #1 in offensive efficiency and #16 in defensive efficiency
San Antonio is #9 in offensive efficiency and #1 in defensive efficiency

Out west, another one versus two matchup. I was really going back and forth in my head before deciding who would be victorious in this one. Both teams are overly talented and go with much different philosophies, as we know. Like above, we travel again to the Won-Lost profiles.

San Antonio is only 17-11 against teams with a "Good" offensive eFG%. That's not really an "only", but is is far down from the others. That's a clip of 67%, while they won at 75% the rest of the time. Like the Pistons, their stuff is slight. Another thing that points out that they're good all around. As for the Suns, Phoenix is 17-12 against teams ranked "Good" in Net Points. That's a clip of 59%, whereas they win at 85% the rest of the time. If you'll recall, the Spurs were the best team in the league for Net Points. That makes me wonder. I mean, granted, most teams aren't going to be success against teams with high net points. But a 26% difference? That's fairly major. Now for the positions.

Center: Stoudemire and Hunter versus Rasho and Nazr.
Dampier couldn't defend at Amare at all, but these two will. Granted, he's been so hot it's going to be tough to do much, but they'll do better. I'd suggest that they could power him out down low, but Dampier couldn't do that either, so I wouldn't count on it. I'd mention Hunter, but his PT will be quite limited. Advantage Phoenix.

Power Forward: Marion and McCarty versus Duncan and Horry.
Hard to say. Duncan's the best player in the league, but Marion did a great job against Nowitzki last round. McCarty and Horry won't do much, so I'll leave them out. Duncan's going to work Marion more in the post, which could be troubling for Phoenix. Marion's on fire right now, but... Duncan's on permanent fire. Seriously! Advantage San Antonio.

Small Forward: Johnson and Jackson (part time) versus Bowen and Robinson
Johnson's supposed to be back, but whether he's 100% is up in the air. It is an eye injury, so it's not like he's going to be slowed or anything. He might be a little afraid to go to the hole, but it's not like he went there a lot anyway. He ought to be just fine... except for that Bowen is guarding him. Bowen ought to do a pretty good job of shutting him and the other JJ down. Robinson won't get much PT and if he does, he'll just run into foul trouble... but that's no big deal. Advantage San Antonio.

Shooting Guard: Q and Jackson (part time) versus Manu and Barry
I'd go in depth here, but Manu's just been on an absolute tear as of late. Q and the older JJ will get their treys, but it won't be enough to counter Manu and Barry... mainly Manu. Advantage San Antonio.

Point Guard: Nash and Barbosa versus Parker and Udrih
I don't know what's up with Parker. I can understand him not shooting too well in the first round, what with having to deal with Miller and Boykins. But having that continue against Ridnour and Daniels? I like the guys, Daniels more, but they aren't good defenders by any stretch. I don't know what it was. Maybe it was a funk and he'll snap out of it, but even if he does Nash is right there. As we know, my countryman is on fire. Almost had two straight triple doubles to end the series against Dallas and it's not like Terry can play a lot of D, but it's still quite impressive. Nash is going to roll again, whether Parker is on or not. Advantage Phoenix.

Ooh, this is tough. My gut tells me San Antonio, just because they're a good choice to pick in just about any series, but my head tells me that nobody in the West can stop Phoenix. I'm positive the series is going to seven, anyway. I'm so torn on this, I decided to flip a coin. I haven't been this torn on a subject since first deciding who was a bigger chucker between Walker and BD (Walker won). After the coin flipped, it landed on Spurs. So, there you have it.

Surprise positive showing: Joe Johnson, since people will be clamoring about his eye.
Surprise negative showing: Brent Barry. I doubt Manu comes off the bench at all during this series, so Barry may be next to useless.
Series winner and game count: Spurs in seven.


Still you turn me on

Programming note, third round preview will be up as the Sunday post instead of the Monday one, since Spurs/Suns game 1 is Sunday. Expect this one to be more "in-depth" than the last two round previews.

Down go the Mavs
Michael Finley pulls out another piece of crap and unsurprisingly, the Mavs drop another one. Unlike game 5, Dampier brought some game (even if he did only get in 30 minutes), but Finley didn't follow suit. Also, where was Marquis Daniels? A DNP-CD in a game six when down 3-2 isn't a good thing for him to have. On the flip side... Q with 13 boards! Where did that come from? Marion and Amare were beasts again, but Nash is still clearly the MVP. Almost put up a second straight triple double and had a PPS of 1.63. Fantastic, Kid Canada. The series seemed fun, even though I didn't get to see a ton of it. Not as much fun as some would have you believe, such as those saying that the league needs to have teams sprinting 48 (or 53, 58, etc.) minutes as game, but fun nonetheless.

The Wilt Stories, parts 1 and 2
I was expecting more of an era breakdown than the few references this involved. Regardless, this is the best thing I've ever seen Scoop write. It was interesting, even if it didn't really resolve anything or offer a ton of insight. Not overly circular either!

Ainge locked up for a trio more
Aside from sending a first round pick for something that could've been useful instead of Walker, he's done a pretty good job so far as GM. Bringing in Lafrentz's talents, brought in a decent coach (Rivers), making good draft picks (Jefferson, Allen), creating balance (trading Jumaine Jones and Welsch), not bad. Of course, my opinion of him changes by a bunch if he resigns Walker to a big, long or both deal. We'll
see how the offseason goes.

#91 did something odd that didn't make the national news (yet)
Most of you are probably unfamiliar with this one, so I'll retell the whole thing. On WDFN earlier (I've mentioned them before, for unaware of them), the "Pistons Insider" Chris McCoskey (spelling might be off) came on and told of a scene he had witnessed himself. He said that after game six, at about 11:30 at night, the Pistons were at the loading docks of Conseco Fieldhouse getting on the team bus. At this point, a black Escalade drives up to the bus and nearly decks a couple of people on the way. Out of the vehicle jumps Ron Artest, clad in gym clothes. He proceeds to look at the Piston bus, rip off his shirt and go inside. There were a few false reports like he called out someone or tried to start a brawl, but in reality, he just went up and did as I described. First speculation was that he was trying to say something like "This is what you'll see next year" to the team. Later speculation just said that he wanted to come in and work out at the building (it has two practice gyms and the regular one) and happened to see the Pistons getting there. I don't know what to make of this, but I do know it's funny. Just thought I'd relay the story, seeing as how it's kind of funny.

More on the Sonics
A valient effort, but winning without Lewis again is tough. Thus ends a very odd year for the team in the state of Washington. A large chunk of the team probably won't be back next year, leading me to believe it'll be Lewis, Ridnour, a great rebounder and a gang of misfits. From what I could tell, it was good while it lasted. My friend in Seattle wants to hurt the Spurs, but I'm sure the rage will subside in a week or two. What's next for them? Their draft spot won't be that good, but they will have cap room. As I mentioned a while back, I'll be doing an "offseason preview" for the playoff teams sometime in the future. Likely during an off day during the Finals. You'll see more on this team then.

Draft Lottery on Tuesday
Just thought I'd remind you. Presumably, it will be at halftime of game 2 of Spurs/Suns. The last three years (Houston, Cleveland, Orlando) I've been able to predict the winner of the #1 spot before it happened. So, I figure I'll take another crack at it this year. So, you're hearing it here first, the winner of the 2005 NBA Draft Lottery will be... the New Orleans Hornets. Believe it!



I had this one done for the regular time last night, but Blogger's "new post" function was on the fritz. Some proof of this was that I edited the template (put up the game 6 recap and Miami game slots). Was here, but got owned. Sorry about that.

With his brim pulled way down low
The end is here! I can't complain at all about any of the Piston players, pretty much all of them played great. As for the Pacers... J-O finally showed up, but it was clearly too late. Tinsley had 0 points. Jackson had a PPS of 0.5, Davis had one of 0.67. Nice work, starters. The team had a PPS of 1.05 in total. Foster was on fire inside there, his only miss came on a 20 footer (as to why he shot this, I don't know). I mean, they shot well, 48% from the field, first time all series they topped the 40 mark. But 7 FTA's? Pistons had 24 and the Pacers had 7. Pacers only had 6 more fouls than the Pistons, why was there such a difference in FTA's? It was weird. Anyone else notice that the Pistons were 4-0 when Rasheed had his normal hair and 0-2 when he had the cornrows? Anyway, the series was mostly good... outside of game three, anyway. Moving on...

Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet
I decided to do something special for this. I tried to keep track of how often Reggie pushed off upon going up for shots. The counts, out of his 16 field goals:

- 7 came where push offs took place within the previous second or two
- 7 were clean, generally off of picks or late game triples from the next area code
- 2 came when he was about to shoot, but had the ball stolen instead
- 1 was missed due to ABC showing me drivers (not sure which association they were from, I don't exactly follow such a thing) that happened to be in the crowd
- 1 was missed due to ABC throwing stats up on the screen in the middle of a play

So, he pushed off on somewhere between 43.8% and 56.3% of his shots. Honestly, it being his last game, I expected a higher range. Related note, Anthony Johnson screwed up at the end of the first quarter... how many times did that guy screw up at the end of a quarter this series? Must've been at least four or five.

Machine guns ready to go
Now, it's on to the series most of us have been predicting to go down in the ECF since about November 20th. Shaq's still dinged and they say he might not make it out for game 1 on Monday. I really hope he's not, as the complaints that, "Oh, Detroit sucks, they only won because Shaq was hurt" will annoy me to no end. Never mind that they frustrated the hell out of Wade in the regular season and such. Third round preview will be up for Monday's post.

All-NBA... and creative section titles
No complaints at all here, the selections were quite good. However, I'm shocked that Yao didn't get on... conspiracy! Also, needless to say, Duncan's fantastic. If they held another "50 greatest players" thing, he'd be one of the first names they'd add. More on him later.

Boys of summer
The most recent post on Forum Blue and Gold states that even if there is a lockout, summer league will still go on, it just won't be individual NBA teams... which makes me happy. As I've stated before, I like summer league. Last year, from watching it on NBA TV, I learned how useless Rafael Araujo was on defense (which he kept up through the year) and how much they showed Boston and Denver for reasons completely unknown. Indeed. Speaking of that site, I must say that I've found the position reviews he did of the Lakers very interesting. Check them out if you haven't.

Walton off his rocker again
Somehow, this didn't surprise me. During the pregame, Walton decided to throw out that to him, the Spurs don't have much of a bench. I completely agree! They only have Barry (53.2% eFG), Brown (good all around scorer), Udrih (ran the point well for a rookie, 51.8% eFG), Nesterovic (great defense) and Robinson (17.54 PER in his short time during the year). No bench at all, Bill. Especially no bench when Ginobili came off of the bench for a few games these playoffs. Jeez.

I'm moving Courtside to an MWF schedule, as is the most popular one for webcomics on the net. I wish I could do it more often than that, but it's just too time consuming at the moment. Maybe in the future I can start doing it more often, but until then... MWF!

"There was Dallas, from Phoenix."
Note, this was for game five. Something about that box score just doesn't make sense. Perhaps it's that the minutes for Dallas's guys combine for 198, rather than the standard 240 (48 x 5). But I digress. Where was Dampier's scoring. Granted, he made up for it all of the boards and blocks, but still... 0-7 from the field? Wacky. Even worse was Finley's play. Bad on O, brutal on D... just crappy all around. Dirk needs to call him out next.

Kings contact representative of Phil Jackson
Wish I had a link for this one, but I don't. Heard it on the radio... yeah, great place for rumours, right? I don't give much chance of substance to this, but I thought I'd mention it... seeing as how I find it kind of funny. They might actually be a good fit for him, with the good passing centre and all, but I give him more of a chance of coaching the Knicks than them. Yeah, that bad.

Cavs are a bit nutty
Okay, going after Kiki is bad enough... did they really think Denver is going to let him go? But going after Daddy Rich? He's 74, looks like he's 90 and talks like he's 30... he's not going to fit as a coach in the league anymore. College maybe, NBA... no. Not a chance.

John Nash still has a job
Worst record in team history, team's over the cap, just handed out some bad contracts... let's bring the guy back! Great thinking, Blazers. Third worst GM in the league gets his job back for another year. If you hadn't noticed, I place Mullin and Isiah respectively at two and one. Great players, brutal front office guys.

Wilt articles coming at random
There's a two part thing about the Dipper going up at ESPN.com. There's only one part up right now, I'll comment on it when the second part comes up.

While watching Conan, I saw an ad for Carson Daly's show. Normally I think nothing of this, but... among the featured guests?

"B-Baller Rick Fox!"

Yeah... numerous things wrong with that one.

You blew it!
Unsurprisingly, Seattle's defense was the reason for their demise. More on this next post.


The curse of Baba Yaga

Can't do it, folks. Creative juices aren't flowing at the moment, I'll give it another try after that rest period we go through sometimes.


Nutrocker, part two

You know something's wrong when Anthony Johnson is your most effective offensive player. You also know something's wrong when the other team outrebounds you by 18! There isn't really a lot to say about this one. Tayshaun had 12 boards, that was good to see. In fact, all of the top six had at least 6 boards each. Good sign. Foster and Davis boarded well for Indy, but... J-O has three boards in 31 minutes? Unacceptable for Pacer fans. Speaking of unnacceptable, nice line by Reggie. Series is over on Thursday, bring on the Heat.

Note, below boxscore is taken from sportsline because the one on ESPN wasn't working correctly.

Spurs jump up
I guess Wilkins wasn't quite as effective in this one. Courageous effort by the Sonics, but just not enough to get past Manu's wacky night. On the bright side, Fortson made himself useful for the first time this series.

Sorry for the short post, was working on Courtside #3 for quite a while. Hopefully the amount of time it takes will decrease with the more comics I make.



Colangelo collects
It's not official, kind of like comeback player of the year, but more realistic. I can't say I can think of a better candidate. Riley's a good one as well, but he didn't get Nash, Q and the older JJ. Granted, he did get Shaq, D. Jones and Zo, but they fit in pretty much any system well. Colangelo's moves fit the running Phoenix system perfectly.

Apparently they still think NBA players are on steroids
Yet, they're shocked when nobody shows up. Next on the chopping block, high school volleyball! Seriously, they should just drop it. Stern will go in, talk up a slightly better storm than Tagliabue (and a much better one than Selig) and they'll hopefully forget all about it.

Crazy go nuts polls
As to why Lebron and Carmelo are being mentioned in a poll that focuses on the Heat, I don't know. Let's start with questions five and six. The candidates are fine but, where's Bosh? Again he was left out, just like in the comments from yesterday. I guess because his teams haven't made the playoffs yet... oh, right. On to question seven, which (at the time of writing) garnered 51.1% for the first selection, 28.4% for the second selection and 20.5% for the third selection. Yet, if you'd listen to the media during this Pistons/Pacers series, the Pistons couldn't possibly be underdogs anywhere! But, what happened here? I guess hilarity ensued.

If you didn't catch it in the top right there, it has begun. Yes, I know it's nothing special yet, but I think it will be good. I also know it's all text for now, but trust me, that ends with comic #3. I think it'll be a good one. Still working on learning how to do stuff on Keenspace, but as with this blog, it'll come to me sooner or later.

Jeez, talk about a slow news day
What's up with there being no games on Monday? I know Miami/Washington game five would've been here if it were to happen, but... come on. Three games the night before, no games tonight. I guess I could touch on the game I missed from Sunday.

Crazy go Nash stats
Oh doctor. I can't believe the strategy worked, really. I doubt it works twice, though.


The old castle

Yeah, I'd say that worked out pretty well, despite some efforts. Rasheed took 20 shots and had 1 FTA, Hamilton took 16 shots and had 1 FTA. These numbers almost make what Jamison did the other night look good. Fortunately, Chauncey was around to throw up a 1.45 PPS on 20 shots. Well, the Pacers shot like grade schoolers, that helped too. I must say, that was brutal. As I've always said, Anthony Johnson can't shoot. J-O can't seem to shoot lately as well... yes, I know he's dinged, but this is pretty bad. Almost nobody on the team could shoot triples. As I look at the box score, I see that Stephen Jackson was 2-5 from behind the arc... which I find very odd, because I could've sworn I saw him miss about six or seven shots from the area. Maybe they were just 22 and 23 footers. As for the Pistons, it's not like they were hitting triples either. Rasheed still needs do as McDyess does and stick to fifteen feet and in. I'll discredit Hamilton's, because two of those were in the last two or three minutes. Maybe it's not so bad... not 3-19 bad, anyway. Something else that stood out on the box score that I didn't notice in the game was that Tinsley had 7 turnovers. Perhaps if Chauncey keeps having big games, he'll continue to be less effective. Also, the refs were pretty good this time. I guess it took the power of Steve Javie to straighten such a thing out.

Carnival #9 is up
Back where it started! For the third straight time, I make an appearance. Not only do I make an appearance, I get a nice compliment. As I'm fond of doing, the quote:

Another must-read newcomer is The Pistons (with now-appropriate color scheme!), which covers the defending champs' drive for the repeat. Not only that, but with daily posts he's tackling the entire league. Becoming an every-day read for me.

Nice to see that someone I read every day reads me every day as well. Thanks, Matt.

Some joker commented on my post that was mostly about game three and I have to laugh at him
As per standard, we break down with quotes. I realize I could've just responded in the comments spot, but then few people would've seen it. So, here we go:

I have always had a rule of thumb which is, in any major college or professional sport the refs will screw up enough so as to help a team win one game and lose another; therefore each team must be mature enough to overcome this hurdle.

See, I don't think it was a screwup. If I thought it was a screwup, I wouldn't have logged on and suggested something like "Artest's missing $5 million finds its way into refs' pockets".

Forget the refs and concentrate on scoring more than 80 points in a playoff game. If an NBA team's defense can keep the opponent to under 80 points, victory ought to be a lock.

Let's go back to last year's ECF between these two teams, shall we?

Game 1: Pacers 78, Pistons 74
Game 2: Pistons 72, Pacers 67
Game 3: Pistons 85, Pacers 78
Game 4: Pacers 83, Pistons 68
Game 5: Pistons 83, Pacers 65
Game 6: Pistons 69, Pacers 65

Three times that series, teams held their opponents under 80 (once under 70) and didn't get wins. You were saying?

If the Pistons can not score more than 80 points, they don't deserve to win the championship.

I guess the Pacers don't either, since they haven't topped that mark in the last two games. Also see above comments on last year's ECF.

I also call every loss the curse of Darko. The Pistons could have drafted Dwayne Wade or 'mello.

Yeah, not like they won a championship with Darko on the roster or anything. Also, I'm confused as to who those last two people are. I'm familiar with Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony, but not Dwayne Wade and 'mello. Side note, Bosh is better than Carmelo.

What's up with ABC?
While watching the pregame and halftime shows for the Piston game, I discovered a number of odd things that were said.

1. Let's start with the guy they call "Big Red". He was a fantastic player and is usually a decent commentator. However, he decided to put his stupid cap on for today's show. To start, he said that nobody on the Pacers would even start for the Pistons. When challenged about J-O, he said Rasheed was better than J-O. Uh... maybe slightly defensively, but J-O is much more talented on offense (even though he's not showing it this series). I have a hard time running with that one. Later on, Walton said that Amare was the best big man in basketball. What!? He's kicking ass this year and working very well in the system, but... Shaq? Duncan? Garnett? Come on now! There's no way Amare's better than those three. Following this, for the trifecta, Walton said that Seattle's big men needed to more than just dunk and shoot against San Antonio. Of course, I had to smirk and go look up some stats. Keep in mind, this was before game four of the series, so I'll leave that out. Also, I'll be counting their big men as Fortson, James, Evans, Collison and Potapenko. Their series totals in stats:

Fortson: 13 minutes, 2 boards
James: 48 minutes, 10 boards, 5 blocks
Evans: 76 minutes, 21 boards, 1 block
Collison: 42 minutes, 18 boards, 1 block
Potapenko: 16 minutes, 2 boards
Totals: 195 minutes, 62 boards, 7 blocks
Per 36 minutes: 11.45 boards, 1.3 blocks

So as a collective unit, per person and not counting the dunks and fouls, they average 11.45 boards and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes. I'd say that's more than just dunking and fouling, wouldn't you?

2. Next, Tirico. Normally I don't mind the guy, he's usually a decent talker. But, today, to start, he asked the group if Miami needed Shaq to get past round three. This isn't just the Piston fan in me, this is the NBA fan in me... what!? They may have swept a pair of teams that can't defend, but they're going to be running into Detroit next round. Without Shaq, they're going down in five at the most... provided the Pistons don't score 29 points against them in a first half or something. As if that wasn't bad enough, Tirico later went on to refer to Indianapolis as "Basketball City, USA". I'm sorry, when was the last time they won title? Oh, right, 1981... in college. Okay, when was the last time they won a pro title then? Oh, right, 1973... in the ABA. Sorry, you can't be Basketball City, USA if you haven't won an NBA title or won any title in the last twenty years.

3. Finally, Ahmad. He only committed one offense, but it was a big one. During a pretaped interview with Chauncey, he went about various questions until he got to a brutal one. He asked Chauncey why Chauncey is referred to as "Mister Big Shot". Let's break the nickname down word by word. Mister, referring to the fact that Chauncey is in fact male. Big, referring to that Chauncey often does large things. Shot, as in field goal attempt, often made. So Chauncey is a male that takes large shots that are often made. What exactly is so hard to understand about this? Ahmad must have a hard time understanding, otherwise he wouldn't have asked why Chauncey was called that? I mean, is it so hard to figure that he's called "Mister Big Shot" because... he hits big shots? Jeez! I don't remember what Chauncey's response was, but I bet he was being ridiculously polite when he said it.

Sonics even series
Heh, I guess they'll make it to six after all. The causes of death here are pretty obvious, them being that the Sonics shot 8.3% better from the field and had 8 fewer turnovers. What's even more intriguing is that the Sonics pulled off those feats sans Rashard Lewis. This meant that, as seen in the box score, Damien Wilkins had to play 32 minutes and the point guards had to start together. If I was told this would happen before the game, I would've said "well, 3-1 Spurs". Instead, you get that trio combining for a reasonable PPS of 1.23 on 44 shots and combining for 9 steals. Not bad! Also, Danny Fortson continued his hilarious statlines with 13 minutes and 4 fouls. Not as hilarious as in the previous three games, but funny nonetheless. JJ didn't do much, but it didn't matter, apparently.

Jeez, I thought I was tired an hour ago. I guess not. Also, Courtside should be launching shortly, take a look.


Excerpts from "Brain salad surgery"

I really should start with the sweep, but...

"I'm in Indianapolis and I write for ESPN.com... therefore, I must be a complete homer!"
What a piece of garbage. The quotes:

League officials -- well, one in particular, named David Stern, who was present at the game -- tried to screw the Pacers back on Nov. 20

Yeah, because Stern ought to applaud the jokers for cracking some fans, right? Here's the worst one:

Did Brown honestly expect the officials to hit Miller with a charge in the final seconds of what could be one of his last games? I like Hunter a lot, but let's keep it real -- we're talking about Lindsey Hunter. Reggie Miller. Lindsey Hunter.

HE'S NOT FAMOUS OR POPULAR, HE'S JUST AN INSANELY HARD WORKER, HE SHOULDN'T GET ANY CALLS. This guy makes Tommy Heinsohn almost sound unbiased! I decided to take a look at another article of his (remember, he also wrote this, which I explained the crappiness of a few days back) to see if this was a one time thing or not. Guess what? Quotes from here:

The Pistons were in a collective funk for six quarters, from the second quarter of Game 2 through the first three quarters of Game 3, when they scored, in order, 17, 19, 14, 11, 17, 17, and 17 points. During that stretch they looked lethargic, lackadaisical, even, at times, lazy. And they were being outworked by a scrappy Pacers bunch.

Hunter made two great hustle plays Friday night when he blocked Johnson's breakaway dunk from behind in the final minute of the third quarter, and got on the floor to steal the ball from Johnson early in the fourth. McDyess carried the Pistons offensively for a short stretch of the second quarter.

They're lazy... but they had a guy (from their bench) make multiple good hustle plays. Which is it? Keep in mind, this is the same guy that according to the writer, should never get a call late in the game when he's on Reggie. This guy does circular like Scoop Jackson!

Indy might be the deepest team among the final eight. The Pacers go 10, 11 deep, giving Carlisle the luxury of subbing for situations and matchups.

Yeah, just like the Celtics went ten, eleven deep against Indy, right? For matchups? The thing about going ten or eleven deep and it being effective is when you're like Memphis or Dallas and actually have ten or eleven guys on the roster who can make contributions. The Pacers have guys like Pollard (-14.5 Roland Rating this postseason) at ten and Gill at eleven... yeah. The other thing is, those two have combined for 97 minutes so far this postseason, which for them is ten games. Which means that combined and split, counting all games, they average 4.85 minutes a game each. Sorry, guys don't tend to make contributions in that time, especially at their talent levels.

The Pacers' strength clearly is wearing on Detroit. Pacers backup point guard Anthony Johnson says he's noticed that at times the Pistons have been late getting back on defense in transition, something he attributes to the Indy second unit's edge in energy.

I've been trying to find how many fast break points the teams have this series, but my search has been fruitless so far. More on this if I can find the stat.

Moral of the story is, this guy has no idea what he's talking about. I can't wait to see his reaction after the Pistons win this series. I bet it will be something like "REGGIE WAS SCREWED WITHOUT ARTEST". Side note, this is the first time I've ever written sentences in all caps on here. That's how infuriating Michael Smith, a "senior writer for ESPN.com" is. Like Scoop, I have no idea how he got his title.

Also, like Rasheed before game 2 last year and before game 4 now, I also guarantee a victory for the Pistons. You heard it here second.

Is that a 40 spot in the third?
Yes, yes it is. You'd think Miami was the team down 3-0. Despite the wacky D, Washington had a shot at this one. Like Boston last round, they just had problems distributing the shots. Jamison scored 10 and took 15 shots. Haywood took 14 shots and had 18 points. Most importantly, Arenas took 17 shots and had 25 points. Respectively, the PPS numbers are 0.67, 1.29 and 1.47. You know where I'm going with this. I think Jamison's great and I still don't think anyone on Miami can guard him that well, but come on. He took 15 shots and didn't get to the charity stripe once! Clearly something's got to change there. As for the Heat, well... Wade's a machine. Nothing more to say on them.

"Haywood, pioneer for early entry, favors age limit"
Huh? Okay, his reasons make sense, but it's kind of odd that he's the guy saying it. Also, if you look at another quote (certainly are a lot of those this post):

"Those people who say LeBron James is the best ever at 19, they didn't see me," Haywood said in a telephone interview.

Well, he wasn't in the NBA (or even the ABA) at age nineteen, so it's kind of hard to say. Again, people need to do research... even on their own lives.


Bitches crystal

Folks, there's four words that sum up how I feel about game three.

I was considering a different section title like, "Pacers + Refs 79, Pistons 74" or "Artest's missing $5 million finds its way into refs' pockets" or "Reggie Miller has perfected mind control" or "Reggie Miller has developed a force field in which anyone else who steps inside is called for a foul". But, I settled on the one in all caps and in broken English. Seriously, was that not absolutely horrible? He took 12 free throws and probably took about two of them care of fouls that weren't a complete prevarication. Not only were there phantom calls called in his favour, there were a pile of pushoffs that also weren't whistled. I mean, we're talking Jordan on Bryon Russell at the end of the 1998 Finals-esque. I was about twice as pissed off about it at the time. Makes me wish I was detailing my thoughts then, I bet it would've been something like "Screw Flanders Screw Flanders Screw Flanders Screw Flanders" and so on. What's kind of funny about this is that Reggie was "going Walker" (that's going to be my new phrase for a supposed "star" who is shooting badly) all game. 3-11 from the field, including 0-7 from behind the arc. Even if you hadn't seen the game, isn't it odd how a guy who only took four shots from inside the arc went to the line 12 times? Really makes you think. I'd offer more analysis, but when an outside force does so much to the game by giving the Pacers many points, putting the Pistons in the penalty repeatedly and knocking Rip out of the game, it's hard to break the game down. Yes, I know the Pistons only had 28 points in the first half, but the amount they put up in the second half would've been enough to win the game if not for the tainted variable in question.

The millenium of aftermath
Hey hey, someone else noticed too! Some quotes from the recap:

And when Detroit needed a stop to have a chance at a potentially tying 3-pointer, Hunter fell down -- or perhaps was pushed -- and Miller hit a 21-foot jumper to make it 79-74.

"It was an unbelievable shot he hit," coach Larry Brown said. "But how could he get so open? ... It's a shame that in the final situation they leave it up to other people to decide the game."

Brown seemed to infer that Miller was using his trademark push-off to draw fouls and get free, and Hunter declined to comment for fear of a fine.

Fitting that the guy who has seen just about everything in basketball also saw this. He'll probably get fined for it... but, that's what happens when you tell the truth sometimes, sadly. Also, I guess my prediction is ruined. I still have complete faith that the Pistons can win the next three in a row and win the series in six... provided we don't have the same (insert favourite eight letter compound word of many NBA players here) we had in game three anymore.

In a game that I won't bitch about...
I have to give it up for the Suns. They went on the road (not that they're bad on the road) sans their younger JJ and shot 11-22 from behind the arc anyway. Favourite number of the night is Nash's 17 assists. Least favourite number of the night is Nash's 7 turnovers... not like he didn't make up for it. Dirk shot like crap again, I don't know what's up. I haven't heard anything about him being injured, it's not like Bill Russell is defending him, I can't figure it out. I don't know if he's going to get it back on track in time for them to beat this kind of opponent.

In different basketball news
After grabbing an FTP program and editing the thing on Keenspace that way, I've managed to get part of what I want done. So, it's official, Courtside will be launching Monday morning at around when I put up the blog post for that day. The link is up already, but the "under construction" part will be removed soon. I hope you enjoy it, I'm having fun writing for it.


Benny the bouncer

If you're curious as to why this is up later in the morning than usual... honestly, I forgot all about it. I thought I put it up earlier, but then I remembered that I couldn't say anything about SEA/SA yet and didn't. D'oh.

All defensive teams announced; Blog writer left without good section titles
First, why is it under Minnesota news, rather than Detroit news? The Pistons had three guys out of the eleven, you'd think it would be attributed to them. Garnett's on for the sixth straight time... so? Duncan's been there the same amount of consecutive times, it's not like KG is unique in the regard. My other complaint is that Bowen got in listed as a guard, despite that he played 1% of SA's time at SG and no time at all at PG. Other than that, no complaints at all. If AK47 wasn't on the first team and had played the full year, I'd complain. But, since he unfortunately wasn't, no more complaints. Good to see Chauncey and Tayshaun on there, they deserve it.

This was eerie. I think the game (and/or the dollar bill) was trying to tell me something... there were so many references to the number three.

- The obvious one, it was game 3
- Etan Thomas, #3 in Washington's big man rotation, was out
- Shaq didn't play, so Mourning (wears #33) got the start instead
- The most frequent advertisement I saw was for Star Wars: Episode 3
- This was the 3rd road game Miami played in the playoffs
- Mourning won 3 tips in 3 tries in the first 3:30 of the game
- Washington's big 3 had all of Washington's 24 (8x3) points in the first quarter
- Washington lead by 3 after the first quarter
- This was the 3rd time in 3 games that there had been a reference to why Gilbert Arenas wears the number he does
- Dixon wears #3 and got a huge cheer when he first entered the game
- Etan Thomas was shown on the bench 3 times
- Lute Olsen was shown in the crowd 3 times
- Washington hit 1/3 of their 3 point shots
- Brendan Haywood, who wears #33, played 33 minutes
- Wade, who had another great game, wears #3 (almost had 33 points too)

Crazy. In a similar fashion, I think Jared Jeffries is hilarious. Almost every time he goes to the basket, something funny happens. A few games ago, he kept on trying stationary dunks from five feet away. Tonight, he stuck the ball between the glass and the rim. Very adventerous. Now... for some real comments. Break out the brooms! How is it the Wizards lost at home when Miami was missing Shaq? Oh, I know. They gathered a grand total of 29 rebounds, to Miami's 43. The team rebound rate was 34.9. By comparison, Miami's was 51.8. I mean, Shaq and Haslem's rebound rates for the season combined are just 1.9 boards short of what Washington reeled in, in game three. This is what happens when they're sans Etan and Kwame with Ruffin only grabbing 2 in his 17 minutes (his regular rate is 14.8). Sigh. I thought they had a shot at one game, but I guess not. Turn out the lights, DC, the party's just about over.

Sloan, not Sloan-terno
I think the Jazz will be much better next year if they get a competent point guard so that ought to delay his retirement even more. As the title of the section suggests, he's not going Joe-Pa, he still knows what he's doing. So, more power to him. I don't think he'll let himself go on until he's useless anyway. As to when he actually does quit... hard to say. I hope it's not for a while.

I want some "Revenge of the Stith"
Had to throw it out there eventually. If you remembered him, you were probably thinking about it too.

Potapenko makes himself useful
I certainly didn't think I'd be using that section title tonight. There are a number of things to say here. First, Fortson has 10 fouls in 16 minutes here. Slanted up to 36 minutes, that's 22.5 fouls. Keep them coming, our enforcer in pigtails. Second, is it really possible that Seattle can win a game where Lewis and Allen combine for 9-33 from the field and 32 points? Apparently so. Part of it was the +11 rebound advantage they had (Hm, where did I see a similar thing earlier?) and another part was... JJ! 7-7 from the field for 15 points! He also had 2 blocks in his 24 minutes. Unfortunately, he also raked in those 6 fouls. This guy is hilarious. He's kind of like Fortson. If he didn't get so many fouls and actually managed to stick in there for a while, he'd get so much accomplished! I guess the same can be said for Evans, but his foul trouble isn't usually as bad. Seattle's certainly got some interesting big men.


From the beginning

Let me start with something that I had to explain to friends that said 'Hello' to me with, "Pistons suck" and "Pistons got owned"... the Pistons lost a home game in every series last year and look where they wound up. Don't be like Marc Stein and not do your research before claiming ownage.

I've heard of hot and cold, but this is ridiculous
So the Pistons put up 33 points in the first quarter and 33 points in the second half. Yeah, something's a bit off there. Something else might be off when one guy on the opposing team has 10 offensive rebounds. Jeez! Foster was everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I think the guy's a great player and I know he tends to play well against the Pistons, but he shouldn't be crushing them like this in a playoff game. The Pistons shouldn't be losing playoff games where their opponent has a PPS of 0.97. But, it happened in game two. It's pretty clear what the Pistons need to do next game... keep up the good D and box out. I know it's not a very popular concept in the NBA, but they need to do something to slow those second chance opportunities down. I mean, outside of Foster, it's not like any of the Pacers played particularly well. Reggie couldn't defend a chair, Jackson was 2-9 from behind the arc, Tinsley was 4-19 from the field, J-O had a PPS of 0.88 (but made up for it with the quintet of blocks, I know). Even if they hold him to like five offensive boards, still a big number, the Pistons have a great shot to win the game. Instead, he grabbed ten and they were doomed. As noted at the top, I know they didn't do particularly well on offense after the first quarter, but it would've been enough if they could've slowed Foster down a bit. I don't mean to diminish the guy's success, he was playing like a superstar, but part of it was the Pistons' mediocrity on the glass. Being outrebounded by nine? Being outshot by 18? For a team with the big man talent of the Pistons, brutal. I don't place the blame squarely on one of the Piston big men for this, as all three of them had their chance on Foster on both ends, so all three deserve a chunk of it. I know Ben had 15 defensive boards, but he was in on it too. Despite all of the complaining, I fear not, as I believe Brown will pound them into shape for Friday. Side note, Tayshaun was silently very effective. 24, 9, 7, 2 blocks and a 1.6 PPS. He made up for his weak game one in a big way, too bad it went to waste. However, it's alright. If Reggie keeps guarding him, he'll get the opportunity to do such things again in the coming games.

Stern to the hill
I'm not expecting much here. It's not like news that a pile of NBA players are on steroids is going to come out afterwards. As the article says, suspensions on the subject have only come out twice since the policy started. Granted, that was only six years ago, but I doubt many more would've been up if the policy was older. Look out for late night TV jokes that involve Katelyn Faber injecting Kobe, though.

Artest back in the news because... he's talking about stuff to somebody
This seems to be the head column on it. A quote:

Consider lifting Artest's suspension after Game 2. Let Ron come out and play. Don't tell me it's unrealistic.

Not only is it unrealistic, it's also never going to happen. Why in the hell would Stern randomly lift the suspension after game two? I can only imagine the bad press the league would get for it. "NBA lets suspended fan beater back in for ratings reasons alone!" is the first headline I foresee. I know, it wouldn't be correct, but the league would sadly get a bad rap. I think Artest ought to be back as well, but I've thought he should've been back about 30 games after he started being out. That's just me, of course. Now that he's out, letting him back in for game three of a playoff series (after saying he'd be gone the whole year) just wouldn't make sense. Letting him back in would be like letting Dumars fire off a trade for a decent backup 2/3 and letting him play in game three... it just makes no sense at this point in the year.

Lebron did something
Guess who put up an article about it! Hint, I ragged on him and got complimented for it last post. I'd comment on it, but I haven't read it. I'm sure it's very circular and self-contradictory, as per standard.

Unrealism, part two
He's kidding, right? Right? Two things of note here. First, the draft is in a month and a half and yet, he's just now declaring himself for it. Second... he's coming out of nowhere, not hiring an agent, completely willing to go to school if need be and expects to go in the first round. It's too bad we all can't make assumptions that bogus, huh? If we could, I'd assume that I could get someone to pay me for sitting around and scratching my ass all day. I really hope he's kidding, otherwise, he shouldn't be heading to Texas A&M... he should be heading to Arkham Asylum.

Weird out west
Funny, I didn't think one would go to the wire until at least game three... didn't think Dallas would win one until then either. Keeping in mind that the score was 106-106 before the events happened, let's take a look at the last few plays of the game, as noted by the ESPN.com Gamecast:

0:06 4th DAL Dirk Nowitzki made 16 ft two point shot.
0:06 4th PHO Phoenix Full Timeout.
0:06 4th DAL Marquis Daniels enters the game for Jason Terry.
0:00 4th PHO Quentin Richardson missed 25 ft three point jumper.
0:00 4th End of the 4th Quarter.

I can't say I've seen the play yet, but one of two things had to have happened here. Either (a) COY D'Antoni drew up a triple at the end of regulation when down two or (b) the ball randomly found its way to Q with six seconds on the clock for some reason and he decided to have a triple try. I'm guessing the second one is more likely. I realize the guy was 3-4 from behind the arc before that shot, but come on, you'd think Amare would be a more derisable target when 0:06 on the clock and the score being 108-106 in your opponent's favour. Or failing that, Marion, who had a wicked game of 23, 15 and 6 blocks. This isn't "Reggie chucks up ugly 28 footer with time on the clock at the end of Q4 against Boston in game six", but it's close. On the opposite side... welcome back, Dirk Nowitzki! His last name is misprounced almost as much as Jamison's name. Maybe I should put up a pronounciation guide for NBA player names, it sounds like a lot of folks on TV and the radio out there need it. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, Dirk finally shot well. 8-18 for 23 points and nice PPS of 1.28. Not only did he shoot well, but his verbal busting up of Dampier after game one might've helped as well, as that lethargic beast (no, Dirk didn't call him that) went 7-8, 15 and 12 in only 27 minutes. Granted, he had fouls like Jerome James/Big Dog, but his contributions were great nonetheless. Maybe I was wrong about his playing time being really limited.



First, remember to look below for the fatter post. Second, sigh... apparently I can figure out how to use the comic uploading software, it's just acting like a piece of crap right now. Example? I try to delete what it has as the sample comic up right now instead, it places a copy of the comic in the trash and keeps the original file in place. Great stuff, huh? But enough of that, on to the games!

Crazy for the Heat
This one wasn't nearly as close as the score indicates. The Wizards had some nice runs and as I predicted, nobody could guard the man whose name is mispronounced by commentators more times than Sarunas Jasikevicius (okay, that might be a stretch) but you were kidding yourself if you thought the Wiz had a shot at this one. Teams don't let their opposition shoot 16.5% better from the floor and win playoff games! If such a box score exists somewhere in the great history of the NBA, I'd love to see it.

Spurs... uh... blog?
Similar idea to the Heat game, except only 10.5%. Wicked line of the night goes to Manu Ginobili, who shot 9-11 from the field and had... 28 points? The man had a PPS of 2.55 on the night. Every two he took was equivalent to a make and over half a free throw made. That's so good it makes Ray Allen's 1.79 PPS on the night look average. In the Jerome James watch, he went 4-9 with 8 points, 7 boards and 5 fouls in 24 minutes. Slanted up to 36 minutes, that's 12 points, 10.5 boards and 7.5 fouls. Yeah, something seems off here. Too much hanging out with Fortson and Collison, perhaps? Or maybe it was just playing against Big Dog, who had 6 fouls in 20 minutes. Tell me that guy can't play D, huh?

Preview of Pistons and Pacers, game two
As I said in the post down below, this ought to be another beatdown. I suspect J-O has a better second half, the near 40 year old shoots a little better and Jack-1 stops hounding Tayshaun, but the result will be very similar. I know I don't normally attach score predictions but I love 100-85, let's say it'll be around there again. Was only four points off on both sides in game one, right?