That title is clumsier than Gerald Ford after doing keg stands of morphine, I know, but it’s the best I could think of after the unholy mauling endured by the Bobcats frontcourt last night. I’m still traumatized. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors and even DeMarre Carroll ripped out the collective heart of the Bobcats’ interior and showed it to them before they died. Late in the game, which I was inexplicably still watching, after yet another Al Jefferson dunk-and-one, color commentator Dell Curry pointed out, “One thing that’s not noticed is how good Utah’s entry passes are into their bigs.” Bismack Biyombo sure didn’t seem to notice anything all night long. Jefferson had his way with Biyombo like he was Sally Hemings. Tyrus Thomas was no help, either; in fact, he was anti-help. He shot 4 miserable long-range 2’s, turned it over twice, and was minus-11 in 12 minutes of “work.” Hakeem Warrick was more effective on the offensive end than Thomas (how could he not be?), but he was equally helpless defensively. Brendan Haywood, meanwhile, has taken up the Danny Glover-in-Lethal Weapon role; he’s grumpy and too old for this s—. All together, the Jazz’ bigs went 29-for-44. All together, our bigs are defending like 1990 Kuwait.
And despite the abomination in the frontcourt, it still didn’t provide the night’s ugliest moment. That occurred when the injured Byron Mullens was shown, hostage video-style, providing guest commentary for the radio broadcast. A clearly pained Scott Lauer was basically forced to do a one-man show, while Mullens uncomfortably chipped in every 5 minutes or so about “being blessed” for something or other. We need you back soon, BJ, because you analyze about as well as you box out. This all coincided with a Jazz run that shoved their lead from 1 point to 19, by the way. When they awkwardly cut back to the TV announcers, Stephanie Ready added insult to Byron’s injury by stating that he expects to be back “Friday,” before correcting herself with “February.” Ouch! That was a hell of a mistake, Steph; good thing you’re not a doctor (“It’s a girl! Sorry, I mean it’s a boy!” “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you’ve got cancer—whoops, I meant a cavity.”)
Back to the game, the deluge down low opened up the Jazz’s 3-point attack. It’s the same chicken-and-egg problem as always with the Bobcats. Or, as l like to put it with this team, what came first, the face-sucking alien or the stomach-bursting fetus? With our wings forced to overcompensate for our frontcourt’s inadequacy, Utah shot 10-of-22 from long-range. PG Jamaal Tinsley hadn’t had that many open targets since he was outside an Indiana strip club. The season stats bear this trend out as well: by allowing the 2nd-worst opponent 3-PT% in the league and simultaneously the most attempts at the rim, the Bobcats are in the rarified air of a Chilean mine shaft.
There might be a diamond to be found amidst all this feces, though: Jeff Adrien might be useful. After the frontcourt carnage, he somehow crawled out like Charlie Sheen at the end of Platoon with a plus-5 and a block. This is an extremely small sample size, but he’s got a 16.78 PER and leads the team in TS%. His rebounding rate leads the team, too. Defensively, he’s holding opposing PFs to an 11 PER and opposing 5-man units to an incredible 82.5 points/100 possessions. I’m sure this is all due to the fact that he’s played fewer total minutes than it takes for Vlade Divac to get a nicotine craving, but we need something to cling to after that performance.
Speaking of points-per-possession, I mentioned in my last article that Ben Gordon is allowing 11.3 points fewer while on the court. It turns out that he’s +11.3 while on the court defensively, which means that opposing teams are scoring 11.3 more while he’s on the court, which is a bad thing. I blame you, Stephanie.
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