Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I know this is a blasketblog and not a livejournal, but I thought the community would appreciate the following item.

I'm currently accessing wikipedia through an NYU ip address, and they sent me a warning message about recent vandalism committed by someone logged on to the same address:

"Please stop. If you continue to vandalize pages, as you did to Junior Mints, you will be blocked from editing Wikipedia."

Further evidence of skills

Any knucklehead could tell you that this is how basketball should be played: 8 players in double figures. All 12 players scored. 48 rebounds spread between 11 players. Scot Pollard had 4 offensive rebounds in 5 minutes.

And on defense: 12 steals spread between 7 players. 26 assists spread between 9 players.

Ok, so the free thrown percentage was still bad, 71%. But the field goals sparkled at 49.4% (54% from 3-point land - apparently those are higher percentage shots.) And Sasha Pavlovic played the role of Lebron pretty convincingly.

What does this mean? It could have just been one of those nights when the 3s were dropping so consistently that the Cavs couldn't lose. But there's clearly more to it. Most critically, there was passing. The Cavs generally don't move the ball a lot on offense because every play is designed either to go straight to Lebron (say, 70% of the time), risky passes be damned, or through Lebron (maybe 20% of the time), in which case the ideal outcome is for him to exploit a hole in the defense and feed the ball inside. The three pointer tends to be an out when the defense is unyielding, rather than a product of design, except late in the game when there's a significant point disparity or when Lebron or Donyell Marshall feel the need to respond to a three at the other end.

Now, I don't know if Pavlovich is always good for shooting as well as he did last night. But even excluding him, there are a lot of Cavs with range, including big men. Gooden, Ilgauskas, Hughes, Gibson, with Marshall and Wesley to a lesser degree off the bench - at the very least, Mike Brown should give the first four the green light to shoot whenever they have a look. This would introduce a radical element of surprise into the Cavs offense. Certainly Lebron would still get to take a lot of shots, but if the idea were to move the ball around democratically and keep the defense shuffling, rather than allowing it to converge on James, you'd see an offensive juggernaut rather than a chariot led by one lonely, noble charioteer.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kevin Garnett --

-- single handedly stopped the Suns (it seems). I feel like in different circumstances he could have gone down as one of the great basketball players of all times, but instead he is a bit of an also-ran. Any idea what those different circumstances could have been? (maybe if he was on the same team as Jason Kidd?)

Quality shot!

Monday, January 29, 2007

unexpectedly harsh sarcasm

Indiana calls timeout with 12.5 seconds to go in the 4th quarter, after Rip Hamilton's free-throws raise Detroit's lead to 8. Random ESPN guy says, dryly, "Indiana calls timeout, because apparently they have a 9-point play."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Burnt by Phoenix

Shrug. This outcome was beyond predictable. Had the Cavs swept Philly, as they clearly ought to have, it wouldn't have mattered much. Now it stings a bit.

Larry Hughes is a real prankster, hitting that 3-pointer during garbage time. He was 1-10 when it mattered. If he'd gone, let's say, 5-10, as an NBA player should, then the fourth quarter would have been very different. The Cavs would have taken safer shots and it could have been close.

You really have to tip your hat to the Suns, who have 5 great starters, all of whom can score. Marion, who grabs a double-double nearly every night and sometimes pulls down 20+ rebounds, is almost forgotten next to Stoudamire and Nash. As a team they shot .571, including .464 behind the arc. They scored 115 points on the road against a team that generally gives up 92 or 93, and who were rested and motivated. I don't know how you can beat them. The Cavs certainly don't have the ammo. The streak will end when the Suns decide it's time - though maybe not even then. They beat the Bucks in a not particularly close game for win number 16, after which Nash criticized them for being lazy and underrating their opponent. Unless they do that against, say, Dallas or Chicago, I'm not sure they'll ever lose again.

Other than Diaw, they don't seem to get a lot of production from their bench. I guess it doesn't matter.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

LeBron = Albatross?

I know it is only one data point but it seems like a fairly well controlled experiment to me.
Wednesday - in Cleveland, 76ers win
Friday - in Phillie, Cavs win

Two differences; Road vs. Home, Lebron vs. no Lebron
Cavs way better at home than on the road, so it probably isn't that.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I can't even begin to discuss the Cavs. My mind is blocking them out. Another issue is weighing on my mind, however. Is there any possible way Greg Oden is 18 years old? He seriously looks 45. Look. Does he have that same disease Robin Williams has, for which this provocative and heartbreaking documentary was made? Freddy Adu looking 20 when he was 14 is one thing, plus he was coming from the third world, so who can say for sure? Oden was born in Indiana, I'm pretty sure they keep pretty good public records there. He looks like Robert Parish in 1997.

Adam Sandler is Gilbert Arenas in .... "Put Up Your Dukes"

SPOILER ALERT***********

An egotistical, nutty NBA superstar named Gilbert "Agent Zero" Arenas is forced to return to college for one year following the commissioner's discovery that he failed to turn in a final paper for his TV history course as a Senior.

Seeking revenge against Duke's coach, who cut him from the U.S. National Team for undiplomatic behavior on the international stage (he taunted the Japanese squad with cries of "hibachi" each time he scored), Arenas vows to score one million points when he faces them.

"I wouldn't pass the ball. I wouldn't even think about passing it. It would be like a NBA Live or an NBA 2K7 game, you just shoot with one person," he quips during a memorable rant to a colleague, 7'7" center Wally Williams, a former Indiana Mr. Basketball who learned to play on an improvised hoop on his father's farm.

"One college game that's five fouls, right? ... 40-minute game at Duke, they got soft rims. Sheeit."

Arenas, also known as The Black President or Black Jesus (read his Wikipedia page), is initially dismissive of his education, but is gradually seduced by Heidegger. His teammates find him passed out, a copy of Being and Time lying on his bosom, the afternoon of the big game. Arenas insists that he cannot play, but after being movingly reminded of Coach K's snub, particularly by the cute girl with whom he had often flirted at the library, he decides to suit up.

The Duke team taunts him relentlessly with jokes about his big brain. He responds by scoring 603 points entirely on half-court 3's or dunks, each time he shoots yelling "Gesamtausgabe!," the title of Heidegger's collected works which is directly translatable as "Total output!"

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The World Weeps

RIP the Cavs chances of ever being respected again.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Don Nelson and Matt Barnes: more than just basketball?

Some strong feelings between Warriors coach and recently-benched small forward:

"I was mad at him [Matt Barnes]," Nelson said. "He's played like four (crappy) games in a row. I just wanted to slap him and figured that was the way to do it -- just not play him in a game."

Nelson said he scolded Barnes because "I need him and love him," and the coach can expect an improved Barnes when he returns to the rotation.


Also, Jason "Future of the Pistons" Maxiell plays UNO,
and more, in this hard-hitting interview:

Q. What pop do you like?
A. I'm into Mug root beer.

Q. Favorite card game?
A. I'm into UNO.
Q. I don't think that's what the guys play on the plane.
A. No, it isn't. They're playing spades or whatever. But I'm not into that.
Q. Maybe you should bring some UNO cards with you the next road trip, see if you can get them to play with you.
A. I should, totally. I think they would love to play UNO with me. It's a good game.

Q. Favorite book as a kid?
A. "Of Mice and Men."
Q. That's not exactly a kids' book.
A. I know, I don't even know how I found it, really. But I just loved it. Just read it over and over.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

lets get ready to mu-toooom-booooooo!

In the nexus of blasketball and politics - did y'all see Mutombo in attendance at the state of the union? Other than him towering over Laura Bush there is not much to say.

drafts from the past

The Timberwolves fired coach Dwane Casey today, which is especially funny considering that the turmoil in their locker-room was doubly ignited by the Pistons game last week when Casey benched Ricky Davis, and then Antonio McNICE waved his magic wand and caused their whole team to implode by gently destroying Mark Madsen and then baiting Kevin Garnett into throwing an illegal air-punch. Speaking of McNICE and KG, I was looking at the nba drafts from 1988-2006 (roughly defined as the part of recorded history that i was aware of basketball), and there are some mindblowing ones. There is a really convenient website with all of the drafts - - and the 1995 draft went: Joe Smith, Antonio McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, and THEN Kevin Garnett. Wow. I know it's always a gamble to pick guys right out of High School, and that aspect of having to gamble on those guys is a large part of why GMs like the new age minimum, but you see this all the time! For example, the Warriors could have taken Tracy McGrady out of HS instead of...drumroll...Adonal Foyle. Argh. But for all the talk about the 2003 draft, I'd take the 1996 draft as clearly the best of the last 20 years. Iverson, Camby, Starbury and Ray Allen in the top 5 and then, about 10 picks later, Kobe, Peja, Steve Nash and Jermaine O'Neal. Funny how the 2003 draft is basically this year's EAST all-star team (LeBron, Wade, Bosh) and the 1996 draft is basically this year's WEST all-star team (Kobe, Iverson, Nash). Though the 1996-er O'Neal will start for the East and the 2003-er Melo will start for the West. Consider that one a time-travel-assisted trade. I guess that provokes the following question. This year the West is clearly the better conference, but except for Melo, are all of the "future of the nba" guys in the East?? I guess Yao and Nowitzki are not *that* old, but Dwight Howard will be bringing Meals On Wheels to their retirement homes when he's still 28.

Unchained Melo-dy

So Carmelo is back and he scored a lot of points and played well with Iverson who also scored a lot of points. But how about waiting until they play some team other than the MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES before declaring them a "dyanmic duo" ALL major sporting news venues?


Monday, January 22, 2007

As Low As It Ought To Get

Needless to say, I'm depressed over this loss. Deeply, clinically. I suppose getting back to Cleveland at 7:30am, being jetlagged, and then playing a good club is reason enough to be outplayed. But it's the last time I'll be lenient with this team this season. I am livid that they have the same record as at this point last year. What a frustrating team to root for.

Two wins against Philly are imperative. I will box Lebron's little ears otherwise.

Home Court

I seem to have nominated myself to be the official statistician of the AG-Hoopz Zone (not surprisingly as my first access point to sports was a love of all of the NUMBERS involved) so, while I work on a fuller analysis of the up-at-the-half question, I pose a new one. Almost all of the teams in the NBA have a better record at home - but which teams really are more likely to win at home?

7 teams who are SIGNIFICANTLY better at home (using a simple chi-square test comparing home performance and road performance for those who are interested).

(1) The Washington Wizards of Washington
Home Record: 17-3 (0.850)
Away Record: 7-13 (0.350)
Difference Home WP - Away WP = 0.500

(2) BEE-drins Warriors from the State of Golden-ness
Home Record: 15-8 (0.652)
Away Record: 4-14 (0.222)
Difference Home WP - Away WP = 0.430

(3) Cavs
Home Record: 15-3 (0.833)
Away Record: 9-13 (0.409)
Difference Home WP - Away WP = 0.424

(4) Those Teasin' Bulls
Home: 17-6 (0.739)
Away: 6-12 (0.333)
Dif: 0.406

(5) The LA Not-Lakers
Home: 14-7 (0.667)
Away: 5-14 (0.263)
Dif: 0.404

(6) The LA Lakers
Home: 18-4 (0.818)
Away: 8-11 (0.421)
Dif: 0.397

(7) The Seattle Mocha-Grande Sonics
Home: 12-9 (0.571)
Away: 4-16 (0.200)
Dif: 0.371

Many other teams also have a differential - but there is a big drop off at between the Seattle team and the team with the next highest difference (the Grizzlies for anyone who is interested, who have only won twice on the road all season). Also, for all of these teams there is less than a 5% chance that the proportion of wins observed on the road and the proportion of wins observed at home are drawn from the same sample of games (i.e. the fact that some are on the road and some are at home matters for these proportions).

A few notes on these results: It is striking that winning on the road is so hard for teams in the Pacific Division. For those people who live in the Pacific Division (ahem) I was wondering if you could offer any insight into why this might be. Are the fans in Cali more excited than elsewhere?

Also - it is striking how high up both the Wizards and the Cavs are on this list. Both teams are led by a SUPERSTAR who is beloved by the fans at a fevered pitch. I guess that the LAKERS are the same way (though no the rest of the teams on the list?). Is it easier to rattle a those teams on the road because the fans can direct all of their attention at just one player?

I think, mostly, having a big differential between performance at home and performance on the road bodes really poorly for a playoff team. I would feel more confident with a 6th seed who was 22-19 at home and 22-19 on the road than a team who is 29-12 at home but 15-26 on the road.



Sunday, January 21, 2007

Talkin' about my main man, ANDRIS BIEDRINS

There seem to be many ways to say "ANDRIS BIEDRINS," and I'm not including the national announcers who are unfamilliar with him. This catalog of phonetic variations comes exclusively from the FSN Bay Area TV/Radio guys, and Oracle Arena's announcer. Since all of these guys have regular contact with Biedrins, I assume they have asked him personally how his name is to be pronounced. Therefore, it is only logical to assume that the intensely wide range of variations are not simply inaccuracies, but rather, like the apocryphal "40 words for snow" in inuit languages, refer to specific qualities of BIEDRINS that the speaker wishes to articulate.

BEE-drins - A lucky Biedrins
BEE-a-drins - Biedrins, who is swift
BEE-en-drins - Biedrins, the spiky-haired
BEE-en-drinsch - A Biedrins at dusk
BEE-a-dringe - A Biedrins, full of sorrow (Alternate usage: A Biedrins who has fouled out)
It was fun to be at the Warriors/Cavs game last night, which was a really bizarre game. At the beginning of the third quarter, the Warriors were up by 19. Even without Boom Dizzle and JRich, and with both Monta and Biedrins having slightly off nights, they were playing great, pretty much entirely due to Al Harrington (14 pts, 12 rebounds, 3 assists) and Stephen Jackson (season-high 29 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 5 3-pointers), who was simply stellar. The Cavs didn't look good, not even when they were winning. This is obviously due to the traveling; they must be exhausted. Also, I'm sorry to say, I'm not personally drawn to their style of play. How many times can Varejao fall down in one game, only getting the calls he wants a small percentage of the time? However, as tends to be the pattern, the Warriors simply fell apart. They imploded. What was bizarre was that it looked like they were getting the same looks overall that they were in the first half, but not a single shot was going in. You have to give the Cavs credit for coming out with such tremendous energy after the half. At the end of overtime, Stephen Jackson sent up a beautiful 3-pointer for the win, and it just didn't fall. I think that's fine, though. In some ways, it would have been just too much to win like that their first game together.

It was interesting to watch how the Warriors and Pacers used their new players yesterday. It's strange to watch the Pacers play the Knicks; the old rivalry is just a specter since the two teams are just shells of their former selves. For a few minutes there it looked like the Knicks were going to end up losing their third game in a row by 1 point, but thankfully it didn't happen. Dunleavy and Murphy played quiet but respectable games, and there were very nice signs in the stands welcoming them, which is probably a nice change after the boos Dunleavy would get here if he missed a single free throw. Indiana is probably happy to get some clean-cut white boys (TMurph cut his hair for the occasion), and Oakland doesn't mind being a repository for felons. I've been curious about what it's like to throw new players into the mix, who don't know the plays and just don't have a sense of their teammates yet, but as Jake pointed out during the Warriors game last night at one point it was as though the Pacers were playing, since Jackson and Harrington and Jasikevicius were all on the floor, so they obviously know what to do together.

The most important win of the year so far?

Could be. The Cavs were faced with the prospect of going 2-5 on this road trip. That single-handedly would have suggested that they've made little progress since two years ago, when they tanked in the second half and didn't make the playoffs at all. It would have put them out of first place in the East, and in the division too. It would have given them a demoralizing 4-game losing streak.

As it is, they went 3-4. Not great. Strongly suggestive of the fact that this team is not yet a true contender due to its lackluster road game. But also not ruinous. Not even bad, really. I said at the start that 3 wins would be satisfactory on this trip, and I still feel that it's true. The Warriors game also continued a trend of winning from behind, a relatively new ability for the Cavs. Not that I like that kind of scare, but it's an important playoff tool to have.

3-4 also kept the Cavs on a 50 win pace, which is crucial. They need to be winning more and more games each season in the regular season to give themselves an easier time in the playoffs, and I don't want to see that upward trend stop. They won 50 last year; I'd like 52 or 53 this year.

Their next three games are against Orlando, Philly ... and then Philly again. That should be three wins, no questions asked. If they go 2-1 I'll grit my teeth a bit and deal with it. Orlando, in spite of their recent struggles, is a good team, and they match up well against the Cavs. But this is sort of a gimme situation, what with the homecoming tomorrow and two straight games against the NBA's worst after that. This is the kind of opportunity good teams eat up. 27-16 would be wonderful. It would put them on pace for 52, and would be important to shore up their record before two tough but winnable games against Phoenix at home and Miami (presumably with Shaq) on the road. I would *love* to see a win against Phoenix, and I don't think it's impossible given the Cavs' generally excellent record at Richfield Colosseum (where they play) and the strength of the NBA's revenge culture that I articulated in an earlier post. It would require nothing short of a career game from Lebron, but that's not unimgainable given the Suns' mediocre D. (I know they played good D in the last game, but it's really not their norm.)

Interested to hear Jake and Phoebe's comments on last night's game, since I didn't see it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Cavaliers attempt to unearth Nuggets

Do I have any confidence in a win tonight? No. Even if the Cavaliers were playing anything approaching professional basketball, I think a team like Denver is exactly the sort of team that reveals our flaws. In that they have players that actually play roles in different aspects of the game, such as a PG who distributes and actually runs the offense, Andre Miller. Plus Marcus Camby basically is the equivalent this season of Drew Gooden and Zydrunas added together.

AI should provide enough firepower to overcome whatever LeBron manages on his jell-o legs. If Melo were back I might predict a blowout. He's always sort of had LeBron's number anyway. But without C. Anthony, Nuggets 104 - Cavs 93.

I'm not sure how much of this is sour grapes and sheer frustration, but I will be shocked if we come away with a W tonight.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

will play for the warriors for food!

last night's rotation:
baron davis, andris biedrins, monta ellis, matt barnes,
and 3 D-LEAGUERS: azubuike, o'bryant, major.

a professional basketball team was fielded. and they almost beat the clippers. AND, matt barnes shot 1-16 or something from the field. they were within 5 points when baron davis made the same spin move twice in a row against the same defender and he tapped the ball loose in the same way for 2 turnovers. game!!

NELLIE: We're going to have three D-League players on the floor tonight, which is going to be exciting for them - not so exciting for me.

So...tomorrow night is the first intra-blasketball-blog-rivalry game! My mind is still reeling around the loss of T-Murph and gain of "Baby" Al . . . but, I'd guess the starting line-up will be

PG Baron Davis
SG Monta Ellis
SF Matt Barnes
PF Al Harrington
C Andris Biedrins

And Stephen Jackson coming off the bench. Eventually, I would vote for S-Jack to replace Barnes at SF, though people think Nellie will keep Barnes at SF, put S-Jack at SG, and bring Monta off the bench. I think that is officially stupid. The Matt Barnes wave is over. Like I said, 1-16 last night. Monta, as everyone knows, is 20 years old and is literally made of gold.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cavs/Blazers tonight

Last night's game was really uncool and stuff, but you'd have to expect the Cavs to bounce back tonight, and powerfully so. As I've said, I feel that the NBA is all about "revenge" games where a certain team has something to prove, and that one can really hang one's hat on such truths. Z and Co. have little to prove against Portland, but they certainly need to save face after last night's embarrassment. I predict another big game from the Soviet brobdingnagian, and 30-35 from Lebron, who tends not to have trouble with Portland's D.

If the Blazers get cute and run a zone, I don't even know. I'm not sure they can with Jarret Jack out. This is truly a game where not being complacent should be more than enough to win by a lot. I won't accept the fatigue excuse in the second game of a back-to-back. You lost to SEATTLE last night, that means you didn't try.

I want to say also that I'm really liking this blog.
If the Warriors weren't playing in LA tonight, since they play approximately 11.9 miles from our house and since by all accounts they seem to have SIX eligible players for tonight's game, I would hereby nominate Jake to suit up and go join Thunder and the boys over in Oakland. When is the last time a game was forfeited for lack of eligible players? Is it simply customary for players involved in a trade not to play to prevent injury, etc., or do they become contractually ineligible to play for the old team the instant the trade is made?

4 for 4

Wow. Just when I thought I couldn't be more excited for Webber (84) 's debut in the pistons/jazz game that
is currently 150 minutes from tip-off, BLOCKBUSTER 8 player deal, essentially, sending NEARLY ALL of
the indiana pacers for NEARLY ALL of the golden state warriors. Well, at least all of the white ones.
It's Troy Murphy and "Bay Area's Most Hated" Mike Dunleavy (plus, the jason maxiell of the warriors, Ike Diogu and the useless Keith Mcleod)
for Al Harrington and "My least favorite basketball player" Stephen Jackson (plus Sarunas Jasawhatever-is, and the useless Josh Powell). Wow. I will be very interested to see how each team reorganizes itself... quick thoughts: i hate stephen jackson.

tonight we're gonna play ball like it's 1984 !!!

Don't look for any tricky symbolism or convoluted numerical messages as to why Chris Webber is wearing No. 84. This one came courtesy of Webber's 7-year old nephew, Colten Henney-Webber. "I called him and told him I might be coming home to Detroit to play for the Pistons," Webber said. "He said, 'What jersey are you going to wear?' I told him I couldn't wear No. 4 because Joe Dumars is the man and you can't wear No. 4 for the Pistons." Jersey No. 4, which Webber has worn since college, is retired and hanging in The Palace rafters. "My nephew said, 'Get No. 84,' " Webber said. "He said, 'Get a pencil and write it down -- 84 is your jersey.' Then his mother got on the phone and told me he had a dream that I was here playing and wearing No. 84. We won the game he dreamed about, so, I am wearing No. 84." -AP

The Golden State... Pacers?

This trade is huge! Oh my god. I will leave the proclamations about what's going to happen and why to others, but: I am a big fan of Dunleavy and will be sad to see him go, unlike pretty much every other resident of the nebulous "Golden State" allegiance region. But it obviously wasn't working for him here and everyone hates him, and they boo and shriek whenever he misses a shot or a rebound, so I wish him a fond farewell and a better reception in Indiana. TMurph, as we call him, is awesome, and they are lucky to have him, with or without his face mask. And bye-bye Diogu and McLeod, who I don't care about.

From MSN:

News: Coach Nelson had some choice words after Mike Dunleavy's big game Monday against the Mike Dunleavy Sr.-coached Clippers
Impact: "He must have wanted to impress his father," Nelson said. "I wish he was trying to impress me the last 40 games." Cantankerous as always, Nelson's comments didn't exactly disguise his feelings for the younger Dunleavy. Expect his trade to the Clippers for Corey Maggette to be consumated shortly.

Ha. Poor Dunleavy.

I don't know much about the guys we're getting. They don't sound too exciting, and Jackson doesn't sound like a very nice dude. Biedrins and Monta are monsters, and I'm not interested in seeing Monta's time get bumped back. What I'm wondering is how they're going to have enough players tonight if they're not going to play the Indiana-bound guys, because there are multiple injuries. What an exciting basketball day, this Warriors shakeup and the impending debut of Webber at the Palace!

Up at the half

I was struck yesterday by the fact that both the Cavs and Rockets were up at the half but lost the game. I wasn't watching the Cavs game - but the Rockets (specifically Tmac) looked dominant over the Mavs in the first half and then just petered out. I wondered how good a predictor a half time lead was for eventual victory.

I have only looked at the games that have been played in the last 7 days - 51 in all.
(1) Of those one team was leading at the half in 49 of them.
(2) That team won in 32/49 of the games (65%) of the games. This number is not significantly above chance - but if I looked at the whole season I bet that it would be.
(3) Of course, some proportion of those games (Cavs v. Suns for example) were blow-outs from the very beginning, so I removed those games where a team was up by at least 15 points at the half (which happened 6 times and in all 6 cases the team with the lead went on to win). Now 26/43 of the times (60%) when the team was leading at half they won. This is not significant, and even if it was it means 40% of the time when a team was losing by 1-14 points at the half, the team came back and won.

Maybe all of those come from behind victories were when the other team lead by only one or two points. Not so!
When the team was leading by 1-4 points: They won 11/18 times
When the team was leading by 5-9 points: They won 11/18 times
When the team was leading by 10-14 points: They won 4/7 times.

Perhaps this week is an anomaly - if I look back over the course of the season maybe a half time lead is a really good predictor - but right now it looks like going into the half with even a healthy lead barely gives you an edge in the final result. (in contrast - for the first three weeks of the football season this year the team with the lead at the half won 80% of the time)

In other news: here is a web site full of rainbows puking.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stream-of-consciousness 4th quarter

Cavs winning by 3 as I write this, 5 minutes to go in the fourth. Tiny lead, but could not be more confident.

Why? Z is having maybe his best game of the year. 24 points, 10 rebounds already.

Now a 1 point lead, damn. 3.5 minutes to go. Sonics shooting *terribly* but getting a lot of rebounds on account of better effort/chaotic bricks.

Tied at 87, 3:23 remaining. Sonics now up 88-87.

Still confident. The zone D can't stop Lebron, can it? Nope. Lebron just drew a foul from Ridnour, nice acting. Misses the first FT. Makes the second, tied again, 3 left.

Collison is suddenly a star? Sonics by 2.

2 minutes left. Lord this game is messy. Allen just did what Lebron needs to do for the rest of the game - drive, go to the line. The first time these two teams played, the Cavs rolled. That was without Allen, but still the rest of the team looked discombobulated. Not very different tonight. Seems like the Sonics are getting some better bounces, tho, and working with home momentum, and relying on an inexplicably effective zone defense.

To win in the last two minutes the Cavs need: a) Lebron to drive; b) a coupla rebounds off of inevitable Sonics misses and c) a three-pointer?

Cavs down 4. Jones hits a 3! Ok, that's c. Sonics by 1. Ouch. Some weirdo just hit a shot. Sonics by 3. Same weirdo misses a FT. Sonics by 3. Makes the next one. 4 point lead. Lebron gets fouled; that was necessary.


Nice. 95-92. OK. 95-93. Sonics take a weakling timeout. If this game goes to OT I'm going to sleep and taking it on faith that the Cavs will win. The NBA has sudden death right?

BTW, while the Cavs are on a seven-game road trip, the Sonics are on a seven-game home trip. This league is so racist.

Damn, weirdo makes another weird shot. Sonics by 4. Cavs now fouling. Ugh.

Do the Sonics have TWO weirdos? Yes, they do. Huh.

5-point deficit. Cavs take a noble timeout. Not looking good.

Jones hits a three, that's cool. Allen immediately fouled. Still not looking good at all.

There's the game, Sonics by 5. Foolish.

Man, the zone should not be that hard to penetrate against a terrible team. Why did Damon Jones touch every posession in the last five minutes???

The homecoming of Mayce Edward Christopher Webber III

Alas - it took me so long to post that most of the points I wanted to make about the Webber pick-up (too many big men on the Pistons) were made by Jacob, and many of the counterpoints (short term gains) were made by Benjamin. Fundamentally, I agree with Jake. As a basketball move, it is hard to imagine who the Pistons are going to trade out of the front court who will have less of an impact on this team than CWebb. I think Ben's prediction of 2-3 more 16/8 years is optimistic. I am not even sure he will finish this year anywhere near that number. And he is sure to whine about the 20 minutes a game they play him.

Though, it is extremely hard to fault the pistons for this BUSINESS move. They get CWebb for next to nothing, which they will surely make back in jersey sales and bobble heads to Wolverines fans longing for the years when Michigan was the center of the basketball universe (before Webber himself shamed his alma mater). The response he got last night - and he wasn't even playing - speaks to what a great PR move this is for the DETROIT pistons. And I guess it is a good move for Webber himself - though it is sad to see someones desire for a championship ring and want to bask in the glow of home dominate his desire to be a monster basketball player.

In further agreement with Jacob: If he quietly accepts his new role, however, there is some great Odysseus-style story in this move - young local hero cast from home for hubris (accepting booster money/calling stupid timeout) returns years later older, wiser, humbler. It is a better story than payton, finley, and stackhouse because Webber is and will always be the face of michigan basketball for anyone over the age of 22.

In other news: From my position south of the mason-dixon line, I don't care how bad Gilbert Arenas is for basketball - he is definitely the man I want with the ball to win the game at the last second, though at the end of the game it seemed like Okur could have done the same thing for the Jazz.

Monday, January 15, 2007

a few thoughts on the game of BLASKETBALL

chris webber - my favorite basketball player of all time, or at least, that's what i would have said between 1991 and 2001. today -- excitement, really, for what he can bring to the pistons, but, for the last few days, i admit to dreading the arrival of what i have come to believe since around 2002 -- chris webber really *is* a born loser, selfish whiner, etc. and given the dark clouds brewing between flip saunders & rasheed and the developing frontcourt rotation with mohammad/mcdyess/dale davis and the NEXT BEN WALLACE, jason maxiell, i have been VERY WARY of introducing a mercurial former all-star who is going to be upset if he's not in the starting line-up every night, or something. send that trouble somewhere else, i said. BUT, my wolverine background kicked in, the great storyline of finally being able to do something for his hometown, and the likelihood that like gary payton, michael finley, jerry stackhouse, etc., when these grizzly veterans finally find their way onto a winning team, they act their age and accept being a great 6th man. chris webber is dead, long live the new chris webber. the biggest question is who they are going to trade now. i think (and hope) that it will be mohammad, who, over the course of the season, has played better than mcdyess, but not lately. mcdyess is back. dale davis is fucking awesome, and jason maxiell is the future heart of the pistons frontcourt.
his game is beautiful.

the tayshaun prince WALLSIDE WINDOWS commercial
just came on during pistons/t-wolves. oh, league pass:

also, i just heard kevin garnett audibly say
"get that shit outta here, n*gga", while blocking
flip murray. if i was to block a shot by flip murray
i think i would say something considerably nicer.
like, "thank you for shooting such a silly layup -
it was quite easy for me to knock it far away,
mr. flip"

on fsn bay area, i am seriously regretting letting
monta ellis slip away from me in the death vipers
fantasy league while he was injured. dude has
18 points at halftime. in 3 years he will be tony parker.

BEN -- look forward to my cavs/warriors preview post
later in the week.
I'm watching the Knicks-Kings game now, and am getting ready to watch the Pistons. It's nice to have all these games in the middle of the day today. The Knicks game is close and exciting in the fourth quarter, and they look so GOOD, which leads nicely into one of my main NBA topics: why are the Knicks so BAD? I just don't get it, because so many of them are so good. I don't want to get into it now - tie game, 37 seconds left! - but I think this is an interesting question that is nowhere near as simple as some people seem to think it is.

Will Chris Webber be at the Pistons game today? Probably, and I'm sure that's all they'll be talking about. I'm going to leave the main discussion of this to those who are more qualified than I am, but my first reaction: I'm very nervous. I know that at some level Jake thinks Webber is a born loser, I hate Flip Saunders, Tayshaun gets lazy (maybe he's tired because of his new baby!), Sheed is mentally unstable... I don't honestly feel this negative about them, but I'm nervous.

Knicks win, Jamal Crawford was tremendous, Pistons commentators are singing Flip Murray's praises.

Cavs 1/15/07 "Off-day"


The Cavs' current seven-game West Coast swing is about nothing if not damage control. I decided twenty games ago that three wins would be sufficient. Now it looks like they could pull out four - even five if the sun shines. Of course, the only quality team they've faced had their way with them.

But that's neither here nor there. You see, the Cavs are not a championship team this year, and thus their road chops against the best or second-best team in the NBA should be mostly irrelevant. Or, if not irrelevant, already obvious. It is unfortunate that they are in the position of being the East's best since, in a normal year and in a normal conference, they would have two or three superiors to take the pressure off. As it is, a conference championship would be deeply ironic. My only hope is that no one will expect too much.

Let the soft bigotry of low expectations rein!