The Magic of Youtube
Worst Scoring Team in the Whole NBA?!
I can see it if I was a coach. Charging into the locker room, throwing things, knocking stuff over. “You guys can’t buy 90 points. Forget a HUNDRED! Sure you’ve done it what once, twice this year? So what? Our leading scorer is out with a knee injury? So what? You guys haven’t picked up any of his points. Gerald, with Jason out I would expect you to take over for him as leading scorer on this team, but NO! You can’t do that for us, can you? Emeka, your already dismal production has actually gone down. Shannon, you were the first question asked about in the press conference. ‘Gee Larry, what did you tell Shannon walking off the court?’ ‘I don’t know, crappy radio announcer. What do you think I told him? Make a damn shot. Play defense the way I tell you.’ Come on guys, most of you were first round picks. I’m a Hall of Fame coach, I’m the only guy who has won an NCAA Championship and an NBA World Championship and you guys are making it look like New York actually WAS my fault!”
This is why I’m not a coach, that and I don’t know how to play or coach basketball. No one in that locker room could deny anything said to them along those lines. Bonnell’s tagline reads “Worst Scoring Team in the NBA managed to reach a new low.” Whoa, that’s bad.
What is it? I mean can we find a pattern in these losses? Is it Jason Richardson’s injury? Well I looked at the numbers and with my new skills in excel, I’ve figured out in the 6 games J-Rich was in the Bobcats averaged 88 and 2/3 points per game against 92 and a half each game for the opponents. Since he’s been out, 5 games, they are averaging 3 points less per game, 85.8. the point difference is about the same though, we’ve been holding opponents to 90.6 a game. So I don’t think that’s it. I mean yeah 3 points less but point difference, whatever. We won 1 game without him and 2 with him. Not the key to our wins or losses but he sure could help.
So we’re getting beat, but I don’t feel like by much. -4.2 points per game. That is not much, but we’re only talking average here, but assume with me for a second: Where are we going to find those extra points at the end of games? Gerald, Mek, Raymond all need to score like on bucket each and not give up anymore. You can’t ask much more out of DJ. Ajinca, quit fouling and be there in the 3rd quarter please. Those are the starters with J-Rich out. Adam, Shannon and Carroll can’t do much more, I just don’t think it’s in them.
I know I’m oversimplifying things. If you just look at the numbers it’s possible and easy. Basketball will never be quantified by numbers alone. It’s a game of entertainment. It’s a visual game. No one talks about the great radio guys for basketball. Marv Albert and Kevin Harlan are the guys you remember simply because of their great calls that go along with great plays. Their words match what you just saw. So how do these Bobcats measure up in the all important eyeball test? That’s for each his own really but for me they are a step or two away as well.
We don’t always see big plays. There have been a few. Last night Shannon Brown made some very nice plays at the end of the game but he didn’t use his brain. Larry said as much. He went for the block and got it but LB claims his assignment was to deny the inbounds pass. This would have given the Bobcats more time and possibly a chance at a steal and easy bucket. A block is fantastic but it is almost like a rebound in that it gives the guards, at least, a chance to get back on D. I can see that. Larry can see that but Shannon Brown had a hard time with it. I think that is a major problem with a lot of players on this team. Playing in the moment, not thinking about what this move or that move will do to the clock, the scoreboard and the momentum. They are a million small things in a game but to this point they all add up to a 3 and 9 record, and I haven’t even mentioned FREE (FREE!) throws.
Notes from Friday night’s loss to the Hawks and my brief attempt at a pregame to the home game tonight against the Bucks:
Brief thoughts when I realized I’m far too drunk to make a good analysis about the damn Hawks and their stupid young talented group of players, none of whom I like. PS, I type extremely well drunk and sarcasm is increased by 125%.
-With Defense we’ll definitely be back in this game. I love you Steph, I want to kiss you, I could care less about this game, I want to kiss you.
-Defense is about effort and intensity.
-Halftime PTs leaders Gerald with 14, Augustin with 11 and Carroll with 3?
-3 tries to get the ball in and it doesn’t work the last time.
-Does LB hate this team? Would he rather be at home?
-Shut up about DJ’s 3s, 4 of 6 in this game so far.
-Gerald elbow to the chops.
-BLOCK on Zaza Pechulia
-“that foul is offensive!” Awesome quote from the PA guy
-I say we put Mek, Ajinca, Hollins, Gerald and Ray out there and see how many blocks and dunks we get. Also Ray can throw an oop like no one this side of Slamball!
-Larry looks pissed all the time.
-I like that he doesn’t walk out to the free throw line at time outs. Bernie was the all time greatest but every coach seems to do it now.
-Phil Ford writes furiously every time camera is on him and Larry. What do his notes look like? I want one of those cool Spaulding portfolio things. Mine is zip up and Velcro. I feel like I have a trapper keeper. The only thing adult about mine other than the porn I hide in there are the business card holders.
-Seriously, we couldn’t find more than 4 sponsors? Wachovia, Bud Light, The God forsaken Lotto and Sprite.
-Huge play for MC, steal, layup for the tie and “and one” for the lead. 3 seconds end of 3rd.
-Momentum anyone? Wait for it wait for it and oh yeah baby! The refs end it for us again.
-Ok there are more than 4 advertisers. But like half of them are bankrupt or about to not have any money. Ford, GM, the Marines (government), Wachovia, Lotto. Lotto is stealing from the education. I don’t think 50000 ads during a Bobcat’s game will make anyone go buy a ticket. So advertising is worthless, they spend money on it and kids get dummer. Do y’all have an eraser, my word maker righter don’t work on that dummer word, I guess they don’t know nothing about no dumm kids. There it goes again.
-Dick Bavetta = senile old man-kisser
-Who will be our TV guy once some one retires as a Bobcat? Do you think the greatest dunker of all time hate being the color guy for Atlanta? Was he forced into it?
-We lost again, big deal, we’ll go on one of those runs like Houston did last year and show the world…..
Sorry about all that. Laptop, gin, greasy food, Bobcats on TV, it happens to the best of us. At least I didn’t fall asleep on the couch. On to tonight:
Milwaukee, as we all know from Wayne’s World, means the good land. Thank you Alice Cooper, we are truly, not worthy. Other than that colorful thought from a movie based on an SNL character from the early nineties (Do they still have Wayne’s World at Carowinds? How could Mike Myers not show up for that? That’s absolutely huge, to base an entire area of a major theme park on one crap character) Milwaukee as a basketball city absolutely blows. They haven’t done much in the past few years. You think they’re still pissed about losing the Lakers? Other than the Jazz worst non-name-change in NBA history. What about the old days with Lou Alcindor? My diabolical nemesis from the worldwide leader offered to be the GM and he’s so bold and brainlessly narcissistic that he probably thought it would be possible because no one says “Hey, Bucks are great. I’m happy to wear a Michael Redd jersey in Charlotte because I like them so much and have basically no connection to them other than their excitement.” (Some one count the Bucks jersey’s in the stands tonight, I won’t be there for the first time all year)
Their GM’s seem to be the type to hear that guy 2 weeks before the draft that Fran Frechella and Bilas start talking about having great upside and should be the surprise of the draft. This year’s first rounder was Joe Alexander, another tall guy from WVU that could jack up threes, yeah College 3’s. Year before young upcoming “the next Yao” that no one knew anything about except he could sure post up a chair in his videos on YouTube in Yi Jianlian. He was traded to New Jersey for Richard Jefferson, who everyone hates and he only seems to play well, really well, against Charlotte. In the offseason the Bucks re-signed Andrew Bogut. First overall pick of the 2005 draft, he hasn’t done a lot but he’s been pretty solid. His NBA.com Bio is interesting and baffling, he’s Australian, of Croatian Descent, but went to school at Utah. Most hilarious moment ever in recent basketball, to me, him high-fiving imaginary teammates after a made free-throw.
Focus on tonight’s game there BIGCat: I’m not going. I decided after driving home from work on Friday afternoon and generally hating being in public right now I wouldn’t leave the apt until Sunday when I’d go eat breakfast at 2:30pm. I cannot remember ever being enthralled by a Milwaukee basketball team, and the Bobcats are under performing. J-Rich has been out, he gives us a different feel and look and I love it. According to the sports network, first place Google news showed me, he’ll still be out and no one knows when he’ll be back. He did travel to Atlanta to watch DJ Augustin tie his team record for threes in a game, which was quite ironic for this board in particular after Alex and a few others called for DJ to back off on his attempts right now.
DJ was the story last night in the loss. 26 is a nice total for a guy in his first ever start in the NBA but it wasn’t enough. Ajinca, in my opinion was mishandled in the game, he got a little run, a little heat with a block a board or two and a made shot, then taken out and it looked like he was pissed. Larry talked to him, sat him down and he played only 15 minutes total. True enough he had 4 fouls, he plays a little like a 19 year old that hasn’t figured out how to use his 7’1” frame and definitely not his 7’9” wingspan, wait he is that 20 year old, living in a new country for the first time in his life. Learning the language, learning the game, learning what collard greens and pulled pork barbeque are. I don’t mind he hasn’t made waves yet. So who starts? 2 PG’s, the 20 year old 7’ rookie, Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor? You can almost guarantee Mek, Wallace and Raymond. DJ played too well not to start, but will that take Raymond out of the starting lineup? I don’t think they play together well yet. Ajinca probably sits, May probably sits, if he doesn’t break the chair, Matt Carroll probably sits.
Charlie V is back for the Bucks, had a nice game against the Knicks who rocked the NBA world huge on Friday with their 2 trades, unloading salary and dead weight. They were so shorthanded with the players involved unable to play, that they suited up Stephon Marbury who refused to play. I would too actually after seeing Mike D’Antoni on Inside the NBA this week. Enough about NYK because I’m sure Northeastern biased ESPN has given you more than you want. So they have Charlie V, Bogut, Richard Jefferson, Redd will be out. I think the next time I blog about the Bucks I’ll concentrate on Redd because I truly know so little about him, he was on the Olympic team this year and played a lot, come on? Their coach is Scott Skiles who I really like because when Upper Deck’s Collector’s Choice did faces of each franchise he was the face of the Orlando Magic way back when, pre-Shaq and Penny. A balding white PG is the best player in the first 5 years of your franchise? Sign me up. He got fired by Chicago on Christmas Eve. Now that’s cold. Chicago tried for Danton but ended up Vinnie of Black, or sorry Vinnie Del Negro (Vinny Testaverde = Vinny GreenBalls). So the Bucks have a pretty good coach, I think but not the guy who will push them and their mis-mashed roster.
Charlotte limps home after losing a 13 point lead in the first quarter to Joe Johnson (who did go to the All-Star game last year, not Josh Smith) and Marvin Williams (2nd overall in 2005 behind Bogut, no one wins a prize from yesterday) in Atlanta last night as rehashed above. I don’t know what we have as far as players anymore. Already don’t know the starters, does Rick Bonnell? I don’t know because I can’t stand to look at his creepy pic anymore on CharlotteObserver.com. Following the footsteps Rick and Stephanie Ready (Stone cold FOX) I have to say I’ve never seen as bad a technical foul call as last night against Larry Brown. Should he have said “Excuse Me Sir?”
Just far too many question marks coming into game 2 of a back to back and although short trip but a trip nonetheless to Atlanta for me to feel good about the Bobcats chances tonight. USAToday who normally does a great job doesn’t know either and just gave a rundown of the past few games. I mean come on someone has to have a good feeling for the Bobcats to get a win tonight against the Bucks right?
Additionally, people always complain that choosing an MVP is problematic because it’s undefined. But at least with MVP we get the words “Most Valuable” to work with; “Coach of the Year” is completely amorphous. Is it “Coach With the Best Team”? “Coach Whose Team Had the Biggest Turnaround”? For sure, they ought to have a “Purple Heart Coach of the Year,” which would go to the guy whose team isn’t any good, but given the circumstances, it’s just a miracle nobody’s dead. The obvious winner this year would be Indiana’s Jim O’Brien (the O’Neal injuries, the Tinsley injuries/shoot-outs, the Murphy/Dunleavy contracts, the Harrison bong-hits, the Donnie Walsh bailouts, the forced reliance on guys like Kareem Rush, the awful yellow alternative jerseys that make the team look like the “Indiana Cliffs Notes”, etc. etc.).
Anyway, you can probably see where I’m going with this. For lack of a better term, the “Anti-Coach of the Year” award should go to our own Sam Vincent. Where to begin? Actually, I know where NOT to begin, which seems to be where Michael Jordan and Bob Johnson ARE beginning: Vincent’s controversial decision to bus, rather than fly, to Milwaukee back in January. So far, this is upper management’s only public complaint, because it apparently almost cost $5 million in fines and Vincent didn’t consult with them first. Whatever. That’s like when the government gets all hot-and-righteous over earmarks, even though they only account for 4% of the deficit. Vincent’s method of transportation to one game is a drop in the bucket of his underachievements.
How about playing a shooting guard who can’t shoot, a 2 at the 3, a 3 at the 4, and a legally-declared-comatose man at the 1 virtually all year? How about 8 minutes-a-game given to Jared Dudley in January, when his impact upon entry was almost always instantaneous and significant? What about all the Derek Anderson DNP’s? DA was a great glue guy last year and inexplicably marginalized this year. How about regressing in wins despite fewer injuries and the acquisition of a premier scorer (J-Rich)?
I have this recurring fantasy in which Michael Jordan comes into a meeting one morning, sees Vincent sitting there, and spontaneously bursts into that refrain from the White Stripes’ song, “There’s No Home For You Here”: “Waking up for breakfast, burning matches, talking quickly, breaking baubles, throwing garbage, drinking soda, looking happy, taking pictures…So completely stupid, just go away!!” Instead, MJ’s just given the media the usual Donnie Walsh-isms about “evaluating everything at the end of the year.” This always strikes me as an extremely lazy, ridiculous thing to say when there are only 2 weeks left and all of the remaining games are meaningless. What’s going to change between now and then? Why don’t they just start evaluating right now?
Owner Bob Johnson’s no help either. He thinks Vincent’s done all right, but this is the same man who can’t sell the naming rights to the arena or get a cable deal worked out, plus spends most of his free time riding on the backs huge animals who’d just as soon trample him to death than jump on command over a silly, flower-covered obstacle. Never trust the opinion of someone who chooses to ride a horse voluntarily. “Did Sam do something that was just obviously so blatant that you said, ‘This guy could never get you there?’” Johnson said in a recent interview with the Charlotte Observer. “I don’t see that at all.” Nor will Johnson see that hoof coming full speed at his face one day.
Wait, what am I talking about? How could I forget about Zeke Thomas? For every horrible decision Vincent’s made, Thomas has made it three-fold, plus he was the GM, so he can’t even hide behind the “hey, I’m just playing the guys they hand me” card. Plus Thomas apparently hasn’t been showing up for work lately. Oh yeah, and he started the year off getting slammed with sexual harassment lawsuit. Ha-ha, yeah, picking Vincent for worst coach this year would be like backing Dominique Wilkins over Michael Jordan for MVP in the 1990-91 season. But still, as they with the MVP talk, Vincent’s “definitely in the discussion.” In fact, the only thing really separating us from the Knicks is that we’re too poor to screw up that badly.
Ahhhhhh…Ummmmmmmm…Huh. I’m speechless. I need to go on autopilot and throw out a bunch of random sports clichés while I try to recover from my shock: “At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, the last time I checked, that’s why you play the game, it is what it is, I don’t believe in moral victories, TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO!”
Phew! Okay, I’m back.
Last night’s victory over Boston in Boston was the equivalent of Barack Obama losing the New Hampshire primary…to Dennis Kucinich. Where to start? How about Paul Pierce’s comment afterward: “It was one of Charlotte's best games.” Yes it was, Paul, in the same way that “Come On Eileen” was “one of” Dexys Midnight Runners’ best songs. In fact, I might be going out on a limb here, but I’d argue that it was the best game we've played this year (narrowly edging out that victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in November).
It’s sad and petty of me, but you know what made it even better? Listening to Tommy Heinsohn descend into madness. In the span of 2 hours or so, he turned into Colonel Kurtz. It’s almost mean-spirited, because when the Celtics get creamed, Heinsohn becomes something of a sympathetic monster—you almost feel like you’re laughing at a handicapped guy. Tommy blamed the refs (specifically Ken Mauer), Ray Allen’s injury, Glen “Big Baby” Davis’s injury, and—laughably—the Celtics’ three off-days for their loss. Pretty much everything but Jessica Simpson was responsible for this one, according to poor Tommy. The only credit he’d give to the other side went to Nazr Mohammed, of all people, although even this was delivered in classic Heinsohnian fashion: he actually had to ask play-by-play Mike Gorman who this “kid” was, despite the fact that Mohammed is 30 and playing in his tenth season. Tommy also capped off a memorable night with the gem, “Jeff McInnis hasn’t played an inch of defense!” Um, is that like the "inch of respect" we all apparently owe Roger Clemens? I said a few days ago that unlike Red Kerr, Tommy at least uses words in his commentary—but I didn’t go so far as to say those words made any sense.
Anyway, as much fun as it is poking fun at Tommy, it’s even more fun to bask in the glow of two straight victories. And on that note, let’s not underestimate the significance of crushing the Nets just one night prior. As much as the Bobcats drive me crazy, I would still rather root for them over teams like the Nets. As crappy as they are, I’ve never, EVER seen our Bobcats put forth a garbage effort like the Nets did on Tuesday. By far the most interested looking guy for New Jersey was poor Lawrence Frank. Even scarier for NJ? The second-most energetic guy was Josh Boone. Hey, what happened to Nenad Kristic? Has anyone heard from him? And what about Marcus Williams? He didn’t get caught stealing computers out of the Nets' HR department or something, did he? As for those on the court, Vince Carter was at his sulkiest, and even better for us, he shot about as well as that kid bursting from the kitchen in Pulp Fiction: Carter made an abhorrent 5-of-15 field goals.
Still, given the way we’ve played, the Nets victory was impossible to enjoy until the very end. I kept waiting for the Wile E. Coyote moment, which I was pretty sure had happened with about 4 minutes to go in the third. Gerald Wallace drove home an alley-oop to put us up by 19, New Jersey called a timeout, and right on schedule, there it was: McInnis doing a playful little pirouette by the bench right before they cut to commercial. That’s it, I thought, there’s the smile, we’re screwed. Sure enough, right off the timeout, Richard Jefferson made an unopposed dunk, Mohammed turned it over, and Bostjan Nachbar drilled a 3-pointer. But that was it. After Jason Collins hit a free throw, we pretty much traded baskets from there on out.
“We hadn't had a chance to have one of those kind (sic) of games all year long, really,” Coach Sam Vincent said after the game. I’m not quite sure what he meant by that—isn’t every game a chance to have one of those kinds of games? Also, in a perfect world, I really wish that Michael Jordan having any sort of contact with the players—as he apparently did prior to this game—wouldn’t be so newsworthy. I mean, seriously, isn’t this what he’s supposed to be doing? It reminds me of that headline from The Onion a few weeks back, that one that went something like, “George Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Work.” But whatever, I’m really in no mood to complain…
Onto Boston, and man, that crowd was rocking. Is this how they normally sound? Maybe I’ve just gotten used to all those ghost-town home games we’ve had, but they were like the Soviet crowd at the Balboa-Drago fight. Once again, there was no way I was stupid enough to start get excited—no matter how long we stayed in this one. Paul Pierce was capable of beating us all by himself last year, forget about having KG and Jesus S. by his side. Plus, Rajon Rondo is a walking optical illusion. He’s listed as 6’-1”, 171, but I swear that’s +/- six inches depending on the camera angle. And even when we’re able to contain a team’s stars, we have this tremendous knack for allowing journeymen to put up legendary numbers. That’s why, in the second quarter, I was not in the least bit surprised to see a lineup of Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, James Posey and Scott Pollard (who, in a remarkably short period of time, went from looking like a gutter punk to one of my uncles) giving us all we could handle, stretching out a 4-point lead to 9.
Thank goodness they put Garnett and Pierce back in! Otherwise, we probably would have lost. Instead, Nazr was illmatic under the hoop, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 boards (of course, in the twisted mind of Coach Vincent, this probably means he’s now destined to spend the next two weeks on the bench). Meanwhile, Gerald Wallace lately seems as confused about how to score as he is about how to wear his hair. Fortunately, everything he tries seems to be falling: drives, mid-range jumpers, 3-pointers. But the man of the night (and of the past several) was J-Rich, who can miss all the free throws he wants as long as he keeps putting up 34, 9, and 64%. I don’t want to go overboard, but if we keep this up, 15 wins for the year won’t seem like such a pipe dream…
On the other hand, what a safety net! The Knicks continue to be a sad burlesque of a franchise, the type of disaster that when Quentin Richardson and Isiah Thomas get into a heated and very public exchange (as they did tonight), it’s considered to be progress. Although New York didn’t have Starbury suiting up, he still managed to come through with his own wonderful magic. Just before tip-off, the latest issue of Dime magazine found its way to my mailbox, and it contains a gem of an interview with Steph. Here’s the best part:
Dime: People were emailing links to the videos of your interviews, especially the Bruce Beck appearance.
Marbury: And saying that I’m on coke? That I’m on crack, right?
Dime: You guys have known each other for a while, right?
Marbury: Yeah…now here I am having fun, bugging out, tripping out…and so now I’m crazy? So now I’m on crack?
Dime: The word “crazy” has been attached to you a lot lately when people are talking about you.
Marbury: Yeah, that and I’m on crack.
Oh, Steph, promise me you’ll never change; you’re a candle in the wind. Anyway, after a frighteningly competitive first few minutes, we went on a 23-7 run to take control of the game, en route to 67 first-half points. We could have actually gone scoreless for the first eight minutes of the second quarter and still just been tied—so ineffective was New York. With guys like Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph, it’s always to tough to figure out whether they’re just not trying hard, or they’re simply too overweight to move very fast; I guess it’s two sides of the same coin.
In the 3rd quarter, when we pushed the lead out to 29, Thomas began benching his players. But after the jawing session with Richardson, I was halfway expecting him to do something completely radical, like reassign positions at random—maybe put in Nate Robinson at center with Curry running the point. Instead, the Knicks buckled down a bit and made things a little more interesting at the end. But with Lee clanking foul shots and a slew of missed put-backs by the Knicks, plus our 50% shooting, things were never really in doubt. I just hope Jordan left them some nice mints in their lockers; they’re welcome them back anytime.
Sadly, the good times didn’t continue the next night in Milwaukee. Things started with a calamitous road trip, featuring inclement weather, delayed flights, bus trips, and pretty much everything but John Candy trying to sell Sam Vincent some shower curtain rings. The team arrived only a few minutes before tip off, and the Bucks had target-lock on the hoop. And though we fought hard to come back out of double-digit wilderness by shooting over 50% for the second straight night, it’s like saying Sal Maglie pitched a great game against Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series, because the Bucks were just about perfect. By my count, Milwaukee scored on 12 of their first 14 possessions to start the 3rd quarter, stretching an 11-point halftime lead out to 22.
The chief perfectionist was Yi Jianlian, who hit his first 12 from the field and finished 14-17. These weren’t point-blank makes either; most of them were long-range baseline 2’s. In my opinion, this will go down as one of the more unheralded-but-extraordinary performances of the season. Mo Williams was the runner-up MVP, hitting 9-of-20 for 22 points, penetrating often, and assisting more than public housing. Oddly, Michael Redd was the weak link for the Bucks tonight, missing a ton of open shots (10-of-27).