The End of the Bench
Friday, May 31, 2002
Los Angeles 106, Sacramento 102
There was some awful, awful officiating going on in this game - a lot of suspect fouls being called. In the first quarter, Chris Webber got T-ed up when he an Kobe Bryant sort of shoved each other after getting tangled up. I thought it probably should have been a double T, but I could live with it. However, in the second quarter Devean George pushes Vlade Divac (Vlade did nothing but stand there and take it - and of course flopped a little). This is called as a double T. What the hell is that?!?!?!?!? That was one of the worst instances. I usually don't make a big deal about officiating, but this was way worse than in games 3 and 4. This was blatantly pro-Lakers. Despite the poor officiating and meager .413 shooting, the Kings kept it close, but came up short. The Lakers should have won this game by a lot more. The Kings were pretty bad the whole first half, but still managed to go into halftime up 5. The Lakers don't have that look of champions anymore, but I'm still not willing to bet against them in a game 7. My prediction is the Lakers in a close one, 95-93.
Nets earn first trip to NBA Finals
The story here was the stars. Jason Kidd has yet another triple double and Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker just couldn't get it done. Kidd is really the story of this series. He went all Oscar Robertson and averaged a triple double for the series. If he wasn't a superstar before, he sure is now. There are two reasons the Nets have been so good: one is obviously Jason Kidd. The second is their relative lack of injuries, particularly with Kerry Kittles and Keith Van Horn. Kittles played in all 82 for the first time since his rookie year of 96-97 and Van Horn played in 81 after missing 33 games last year. Despite all that, I'm still not a believer. Whoever comes out of the West will beat the Nets in 6.
Monday, May 27, 2002
And That's Why They're the Champs . . .
Perhaps the Robert Horry karma is even stronger than the Chucky Brown karma? Horry has made a career of making big shots and he did it again as the Lakers stunned the Kings in Los Angeles. I knew it was gonna happen. The Kings just didn't play all that well after their torrid 40 point first quarter. Meanwhile the Lakers just kept coming little by little. I predicted at the time, a Kobe Bryant drive and then a dish to Horry in the corner for the three and the game. I was partially right. The reason I knew: Where there's an Horry, there's a way. He did it to the Blazers in this year's playoffs, and the Sixers in last year's finals, and to Dallas on March 18th of this year, and . . . you get the picture. This is what Robert Horry does. Ben Wallace rebounds and blocks shots; Allen Iverson scores and gets steals; Robert Horry makes big shots and breaks other teams' backs. The question now isn't whether the Kings can get back up from this, but whether they can get the Lakers down. The Kings has finally gotten away from the idea that they couldn't beat the Lakers with the game three win, but now this just brings it back. I honestly don't think the Lakers are gonna lose now. This game had a lot of what ifs: what if the Samaki Walker three at the half that wasn't counted as it shouldn't have; what if the ball hadn't squirted out to Horry. In the end though, none of that matters. The series is 2-2 and probably will end up 4-2 Lakers. And I was hoping for new NBA champ . . .
Saturday, May 25, 2002
This site is fantastic. John Hollinger, the guy who runs the site does a fantastic job. He has great insights and has developed a rating method (Efficiency Ratings) that from what I can tell is pretty good. The formulas are not on the site because they are going to be published this fall (October according to the publisher) in the first Pro Basketball Porspectus. Can you tell that I am way excited about this? Go check the site and you'll see why.
Quick! Someone call Dr. Heimlich!
The Nets were up 21 going into the fourth quarter . . . and it wasn't enough. Just to put this in perspective for everyone, before this game, teams that were up at least 19 at the start of the fourth quarter were 171-0 in the playoffs. 171-0!!!!!!! I hate to use the phrase, but the Nets choked. First there was the dumb sixth foul by Kenyon Martin while the Nets had no fouls to give which resulted in two Paul Pierce made free throws. Then there was the Kerry Kittles pass to no one in particular that Kenny Anderson took for two. Then there was the atrocity that was the Keith Van Horn three pointer. I actually stood up and yelled "What the hell was that!?!?!" at the TV when he shot that. As much as the Celtics won that game, the Nets lost it.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Maybe If I Get to be a Marginal NBA Player I Can Analyze Games on SportsCenter Too
Sportscenter had Tim Legler (yes, the Tim Legler immortalized in one of my favorite quotes from my friend Ben Matasar) analyzing the Nets-Celtics game during their "Breakdown" segment.
"Obviously he's a great three point shooter, he took the most threes in the NBA this year."
-- Legler on Antoine Walker
First off, attempts don't make the shooter. If that were the case, Allen Iverson would be one of the best shooters the league has ever seen. Another problem with Legler's quote is the fact that Toine shot only .344 from three point land for the season. Now .334 is a respectable number from out there, but it is a far cry from great. The irony of it all is that Legler is a former 3 point shootout champion and three point specialist (for what that's worth). If anyone should know Toine is not a great 3 point shooter it is Legler. What are the odds Legler even bothered to look (or have a Sportscenter intern look) up Walker's percentage? It makes me sad. This was a poor showing from a guy who shares my name. Shape up Legler or change your name.
Monday, May 20, 2002
Mike Bibby: ESPN Player Card
You know who should be happiest about Mike Bibby's play from the second round on in these playoffs? No, not the Kings. It's Mike Bibby's kid. See, Mike is in a contract year and his playoff performance is gonna get a couple mil tacked onto what he would've gotten. This means that the kid's inheritance is gonna be that much larger as long as his dad isn't stupid.
Rockets hit jackpot at NBA draft lottery
It appears I'm not the only one with the Midas touch. It appears Stevie Franchise has similar powers. With him as the team representative, the Rockets and their 8.9% odds got the first pick in the draft. This isn't the only piece of evidence to support Steve Francis' golden touch. Francis missed extensive time this past season. The team's record with Francis: 26-21. Teams record without Francis: 2-23. You do the math.
Sunday, May 19, 2002
Just Add King Midas to my List of Nicknames . . .
Because everything I touch turns to gold.
Yes folks, EotB has been named the site of the week (see bottom for the little pseudo-plaque). The reason for the headline though, is that this comes a mere three weeks after my partners and I at BaseballJunkie.net got the same award. Here is my acceptance speech:
(Tim runs up to stage and shrieks like a little girl) I'd like to thank my parents, friends, and everyone else who has helped me get to this point (tears start to form). I'd like to thank Sports-Central.org for giving me this award (sniffles). I'd like to thank Ben and Ryan for their HTML help (wipes away tear). And most of all I'd like to thank all 8 of the readers. Without you, none of this would be possible (holds award up above head and shakes it) Thank you all so much. (Walks to wrong side of stage and is quickly grabbed by the presenter. Tim walks to correct exit side with a sheepish, goofy grin)
Saturday, May 18, 2002
NBA out to prove conspiracy theorists wrong
The lottery is tomorrow and I can't wait. I can't explain why, but I am really looking forward to watching it.
The NBA is going to let four reporters watch the process this year in an attempt to quell the conspiracy theory rumors. Now I like a good conspiracy theory just as much as the next guy, but I don't believe that the NBA is fixing the lottery or ever has. No matter what happens though, there are always gonna be conspiracy theories. As Wally Walker, the president and CEO of the Sonics put it, "I don't think you can do anything to prevent the conspiracy theorist from coming out. There's always someone who's going to say that we never landed on the moon or that it's made of green cheese."
The other point made in the article was that the conspiracy theorists have selective memories and only act when its in their interest. "(Russ) Granik laughs at how conspiracy theorists disappeared when the Orlando Magic, which had expanded into the league for the 1988-89 season, received the first picks in 1992 and 1993. Orlando was the second-worst team in 1992, but was the team with the best record in the lottery in 1993 and only had 1 of 66 balls in the drum." That's an excellent point. How can people call it a fix when the Knicks get Patrick Ewing, but when Orlando gets the top pick for the second straight year despite having only a .015% chance of getting it no one says a damn thing. People need to just settle down. As much fun as it is to speculate about it, there is no fix in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Underclassmen to be penalized for camp games
The NCAA has problems. Their product is far inferior to the NBA and only getting worse. They have some rules that I think are bad (players not being able to accept ANY money at all for example). All the good players are leaving early. So what do they do? They make it harder for people to come back after declaring for the draft. This is a terrible move to randomly decide to start enforcing a rule that I don't ever remember being enforced a mere month before the Chicago pre-draft camp. What is the point of the rule anyway? The NCAA seems to think that the best way to keep the good players is to make it hard for them to leave. What they really need to do us make the players want to stay. While they can't compete with the money the NBA offers, there are things that they can offer such as more teaching by the coaches and an education (and the college experience that goe with it). The players are already essentially slave labor in college. The NCAA and the schools make a lot of money off of the players, yet the players don't really see a dime of it. All that's really gonna happen with the enforcement of this rule is that the players will be just as likely to leave, but it will just be harder to come back. As I pointed out before, the NCAA is panicking. This is the second bad decision they've made involving the draft and underclassmen in the past month. At least last time they were trying to help the players. Now they are just trying to penalize them and make the draft more of a guessing game for the players. The NCAA needs to try and make the players want to stay however they can. Hopefully they will listen to me and start making some better decisions.
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Stars don't fully shine, but C's finish off Pistons
Jerry Stackhouse makes like Dikembe Mutumbo in the first round and disappears. Stackhouse scores 8 points on 3-18 shooting, misses his one and only free throw attempt and the Pistons lose. Coincidence? I think not.
Sports Guy Visits "The NBA Today" on TNT Set Part I and Part II
This is Bill Simmons' two part diary of his visit to the set of the greatest studio show ever. If you like the show, this is a must read. It provides a great behind the scenes look at the show.
Sunday, May 12, 2002
Dr. Jack's Mailbag 5/11/02
I found this question there:
Given Patrick Ewing's numbers, should he be inducted in the Hall of Fame despite never winning a championship?
New York, N.Y.
Why does it matter whether you have championships in a team sport? One guy doesn't win a ring in basketball, baseball, football or any other team sport for that matter. Of course Ewing should get in. As Dr. Jack points out in his response, "a lot of players elected to the Hall of Fame that didn't play on a championship NBA team -- George Gervin, Alex English, Dan Issel, Bob Lanier, Calvin Murphy, David Thompson -- to name a few." If this were golf or tennis, then championships do mean a lot. But in team sports where you are relying on at least 6 or 7 other guys - and in most cases more - having no rings should not keep someone out of the Hall of Fame.
Thursday, May 09, 2002
Prosecutor files felony marijuana charges against Stoudamire
I must be a bad omen. I mention Damon and his stash and a few hours later - POOF - charges are filed. Maybe the prosecutor reads the site . . .
Wednesday, May 08, 2002
I Guess He Only Cleans For Extra Special Occasions
I was watching MTV Cribs tonight and they did Damon Stoudamire's place. There was something missing though. At no point did I see his marijuana and assorted other drug paraphernalia. He must only clean that stuff up for cameras. The police don't rank high enough to warrant (oooh, bad pun) a clean-up.
Tuned in with the sound off
Eric Neel talks about watching playoff games with the sound off (due to a deal with his wife) and the advantages of it. He also talks about the things he notices that he didn't previously. At least nothing is "hoooooorrrible" when the sound is off (sorry, I haven't taken a shot at Bill Walton in a while). He makes it sound so good I may even try it.
Duncan Gets Dubious Triple Double in Win Over Lakers
Tim Duncan went for 27 points, 17 rebounds and 10 turnovers in the Spurs 88-85 win over the Lakers. Not the kind of triple double he would want I'm guessing, but a win is a win.
Monday, May 06, 2002
Sorry I haven't posted in a couple days, but I needed some time to recover from the Sixers getting absolutely trounced by the Celtics in game 5 of that first round series. Dikembe Mutumbo managed to disappear even more than he had before with a dismal 12 points and 6 rebounds. The other appaling stat of the game: The Celtics outscored the Sixers 43-20 in the 4th quarter. Oh and Paul Pierce dropped 46 on the Sixers. That sound you heard was Paul Pierce singing the Diana Ross disco classic "I'm Coming Out" because it is looking like this year's playoffs are gonna be his coming out party. The singing you heard after that was me singing the Monkees "I'm a Believer." I'm sorry Paul, I won't argue that Antoine Walker is better than you ever again.
But the Sixers weren't the only team that would get their heads handed to them last weekend. How bad did Dallas look against Sacramento? The Kings played great defense for an entire game, but that wasn't as shocking as the utter lack of any defense at all for Dallas. That was bad even for Dallas. It was like they weren't even trying on the defensive end. Everyone has been talking about how Dallas may have the best shot at beating the Lakers, but that only matters if they can actually get by the Kings. Vlade Divac owned Dallas in the low post. It was sad to watch Wang Zhi Zhi get mauled by Vlade. You might need to hit the weights if you're 7 feet tall and Vlade Divac is muscling you around like a rag doll. Vlade is not the kind of center that is gonna muscle other centers around, so the fact that he did that agianst Dallas says more about them (and Raef LaFrentz foul troubles) than Vlade I think. They looked lost. The other story from this game was the cowbells.
"At least the Mavericks will be able to hear themselves think in timeout huddles. During Game 1, they got NBA security personnel to silence the fans who have rung cowbells behind the opposing bench during the playoffs and other big games for years.
'You shouldn't bring objects like that into an arena,' coach Don Nelson said. 'Those cowbells do actually hurt your ears. They should ban them.'"
Don, did you see your team play? You have more important things to worry about than cowbells behind the bench.
Friday, May 03, 2002
Help is needed, not Yao
"The Warriors, who were noncommittal after Wednesday's workout, have too many needs to fill to take a flier on a project."
-- Gary Peterson in the above linked column from today's Contra Costa Times
The Warriors have no hope at this point. They have Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and Troy Murphy. Those guys have a lot of potential to be good or even great NBA players. However, if Peterson thinks the Warriors are gonna be good before those contracts expire he's kidding himself. The Warriors suck, so why not take a flier on Yao Ming if they have the chance? But this isn't all. Peterson went on to compare Yao to Manute Bol, Gheorghe Muresan, Shawn Bradley, and Arvydas Sabonis (and not in a good way). He followed that one up with "They [the Warriors] can't risk a lottery pick on someone who may turn out to be the next Mark Eaton." With the exception of Sabonis, those guys didn't have the basketball skills that Yao has. Peterson either a) didn't watch that tape of Yao's workout in Chicago or b) is a moron. At this point in the article I was on the fence. It gets better though. By the end I had to go with b) he's a moron. The most damning piece of evidence for this is the following quote:
"As this is written, there has never been a complete basketball player taller than Ralph Sampson and Rik Smits, both of whom were 7-4. (Though it should be mentioned both their careers were plagued by leg injuries. The glass ceiling for a complete player with longevity was established by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at 7-2)."
That's right Gary, it must be the height. Obviously anyone 7-2 or below can have a long career, but if you are above that height forget it. Ugggghhhhh. That's the dumbest thing I've read in a newspaper article in quite a while. When it comes right down to it, this was Peterson telling the Warriors not to draft Yao Ming because he is too tall and he might end up being another Manute Bol. Jason Williams (from Duke) could end up being another Penny Hardaway, but that isn't gonna stop anyone from drafting him. Hey Gary, next time you write an article like this at least have some reasonable evidence to back it up.
Thursday, May 02, 2002
Nets survive two OTs for second series win
What that headline should read is "Nets win - twice." Reggie Miller's three from almost halfcourt at the end of regulation should have been disallowed and would've been - if the NBA had instant replay. On the replay it was pretty clear that Miller still had the ball in his hand when the red light behind the backboard went on. Either way, Miller was clutch. I personally dislike "Ears" Miller, but on top of the three at regulation he had the drive and dunk at the end of the first OT to send the game to double OT. However the game shouldn't have even gone to overtime and had the Nets not pulled it out in the end, the uproar would have come quickly and loudly. The best part of it all: David Stern was at the game. I think we'll be seeing instant replay at the end of games sooner rather than later.
Wednesday, May 01, 2002
One-man show: Iverson, Sixers force Game 5
Dikembe Mutumbo: 10 points, 14 rebounds. Well, if I was gonna be wrong I'm glad it was this way. While my prediction was wrong, the Sixers won anyway. Was it just me, or did the Celtics not look like the higher seed at the end of that game? Paul Pierce getting stripped by Aaron McKie . . . Pierce missing a layup . . . the Celtics are looking a little vulnerable. Game 5 should be interesting. Against my better judgement, I'm going to go with the Sixers moving on to the second round.
Celtics still learning how to seal the deal
"But Mutombo, who anchored that 1994 Denver team, said he thinks the Sixers now have some momentum for Game 4. It'd be great if the Sixers also had a center. The Celtics have basically neutered him in this series and the Sixers made their run at the end of Game 3 with the ineffective (some might say invisible) Mutombo on the pine."
-- Peter May in his article for ESPN.com entitled "Celtics Stilll Learning How to Seal the Deal"
While I do have to question May's use of the word "neutered" (some words just shouldn't appear in articles about sports), his comments on Dikembe Mutumbo are right on. Mutumbo has gone from Mount Mutumbo to PJ Brown. Now that's not a shot at Brown (who is one of the better role players in the NBA), but the Sixers need more out of Mutumbo than for him to be a role player. His points are down 4.2 a game and while the rebounding has been the same, the blocks are down about .4 a game (around 17%) from the regular season. One of the most telling stats is the fact that Dikembe's shooting percentage is down about 7% from his regular season performance of 50%. As May said, the Sixers did it at the end of game 3 without Mutumbo. However, I don't think that they can force a game 5 without a good game by Mutumbo. I like my Sixers and all, but if Dikembe doesn't go for at least 15 points and 10 rebounds in game 4 the Sixers are gonna need to start making calls to get tee times for next week.