The End of the Bench

Basketball blog with takes on basketball and anything related to basketball . . . as well as a haven for jingoists everywhere - in America.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Sixers at Magic

It's halftime as I write this and I've watched the whole first half. Some quick observations now with more to come at the end of the game.

-- You can tell it's early in the season Part I: The refs have blown to goaltending calls already against the Magic. Granted they were both close, but I was pretty sure they got them wrong even before seeing the replay.

-- You can tell it's early in the season Part II: 16 seconds left in the half and Allen Iverson brings the ball down. He runs the clock down to 4 and then passes to Keith Van Horn At this point I yell, "Why did you do that?" Little did I know that Van Horn would dribble to the wing to the foul line and then throw to Eric Snow in the corner. I was absolutely baffled by this, since Snow has practically no chance of a) creating his own shot and b) making a jumper. So with about 1.5 seconds left Snow driblles to the wing, stops, pump fakes and then throws up a fadeaway after the buzzer, which made no difference because even a computer science major had a better chance of scoring than that shot did.

-- 14 minutes and counting: 14 minutes into comeback number 672 (maybe it just seems that way), Grant Hill is looking pretty good. 10/2/4 (points/rebounds/assists on 2-4 from the field and 6-7 from the foul line. He is getting to the basket pretty good. Although Keith Van Horn will do that for your offensive game.

-- Stat Oddity: Todd MacCullouch - 9 points in 7 minutes and 2 fouls. Brian Skinner however, has played 15 minutes. Can anyone explain this to me. MacCullouch was firmly planted on the bench when the Magic had Tracy McGrady, Hill, Shawn Kemp, Horace Grant and Pat Garrity on the bench. Instead of putting MacCullouch in and letting him eat that cupcake squad the Magic had out there, Larry Brown leaves Skinner in and puts in the the second unit. MacCullouch was eating the first unit alive. Why not let him munch on the cupcakes?

Scariest moment of the first half (for me at least): Grant Hill is bringing the ball down and he is being pressured. That's fine, but when I realized it was Keith Van Horn pressuring Hill up the court I was frantic. This just beat out the point when the Magic gave the ball to McGrady in the lower left block and cleared out. McGrady turns and faces the defender - again Van Horn - and it was over at that point. I swear I saw him smile when he saw it was Van Horn.

Second Half

Best exchange of the game:
Mike Fratello - Allen Iverson with the inadvertant turnover.
Brent Musberger - Aren't all turnovers inadvertant?
Fratello - Yeah . . . I guess so.

Cold Front Coming In - Allen Iverson went the last 16 minutes without making a field goal (0-8) and finished 7-25 from the field.

In the end, the Sixers had no answer for the Magic's small lineup. That same small lineup kept the unstoppable Todd MacCulloch on the bench nad no one could score at the end. Magic win 95-88.

Sunday, October 27, 2002
The Weekend of Malcontent Point Guards

Some of our favorite disgruntled, trouble maker point guards were in the news this weekend. Rod Strickland officially signed with the T-Wolves Sunday. Yes that is the same Rod Strickland who has been arrested 6 times during the course of his NBA career. This includes serving 10 days last April for a DUI conviction. He stayed out of trouble last year, but does anyone actually believe that Strickland can make it through two consecutive years without causing a problem? I sure don't. A trouble-free season from Strickland is the equivalent of an injury free year from Marcus Camby. It is the unicorn, which Pat Riley magically corralled for a brief stint last season.

But the news wasn't all good for the malcontent point guards. While Strickland was practicing with the T-Wolves, Kenny Anderson was spouting off about he didn't want to be a backup. Some of my favorite quotes from Kenny include the following:

"Gary Payton is here, a great player who has been here his whole career. Whatever is going to benefit me in the long run, I'm all for it.'' Way to be a team player there Kenny.

"I don't think I'm giving up money,'' Anderson said. "I'm not doing that.'' Well Kenny, you're probably wrong. Anderson is due to get payed $9.185M in the last year of his current contract. However, Kenny wants the Sonics to buy out his deal. That would give Kenny $6M and the ability to sign somewhere else. Does anyone think that a team is gonna pay $3M for a 32 year old point guard that barely passes as a starter (PER around 13.5 - league average is about 15) and has no three point range? I wouldn't and I doubt any team would. Unless Kenny is willing to take the league minimum, he better think about retiring after the buyout (if it happens of course) because no one is gonna sign his ass for more than that.

Friday, October 25, 2002
You know it's a rivalry when . . .

Doug Christie is swinging at guys. Let's be honest. Christie is a bit submissive when it comes right down to it (To see the basis of this conclusion see this Bill Simmons article). You know the rivalry is getting ugly when Christie is throwing haymakers. But it gets better. Apparently Rick Fox chased Christie down in the visitors tunnel and they continued the fracas there. But wait, there's more. Then the rest of the Kings and some of the Lakers got into it and Shaquille O'Neal in his Hee Haw Halloween costume got into a shoving match with 3 time Oscar winner Vlade Divac. By the way, THIS WAS A PRESEASON GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They better get metal detectors in the locker rooms for the regular season.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002
Nailon waived

Lee Nailon got waived. This one caught me by surprise. While Nailon is just short of being invisible on defense, he is a good offensive player. More free throw attempts would help, but he can score. The real reason this is surpriseing is that there are nothing but "defensive specialists" on the Hornet bench. Not only that, everyone knows Jamal Mashburn is gonna get hurt at some point. This is fact. So why waive the only guy on your bench that score at a position where you know you will need some depth? I just don't get it.

End of the Bench Fantasy League

I'm sure you've all been waiting for it and now it's finally here! The league is on Yahoo! and is a rotisserie league. I hope to get the dratf done before the season starts, but if I can't I won't be doing retroactive stats. So sign up here and the league ID is 97835 and the passsword is "EotB". So come join and we'll have some fun.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Alarming Stat of the Day

So my Pro Basketball Prospectus came last Friday and I'm about halfway through the Eastern Conference. According to Rebound Rate, which measures the percentage of missed shots a player grabs while he is on the floor, Uncle Cliffy (Clifford Robinson) is a worse rebounder than - prepare yourselves for this - Pat Garrity, Penny Hardaway, George McCloud, Walt Williams, Dan Majerle, Rodney Buford, Calbert Cheaney and Chris Mills (Chris Mills!!!!!!). And that was even after a pretty drastic jump in his rebound rate from the year before! How can you be 6'10" and be a worse rebounder than Dan Majerle?

Monday, October 14, 2002
So, I've kinda been an absentee blogger lately. I've had at least one midterm per week for the last 4 weeks, so you'll have to excuse me if my energy level has been a bit down. Now that I've explained myself, on to the basketball.

Ouch!!!! (Injury News)
Mike Bibby - Bibby fractured his right foot and after surgery will be out 6-8 weeks. This probably won't be that big a hit to the Kings. John Hollinger agrees in todays edition of From the Baseline.

Antonio McDyess - McDyess is out "indefinitely" after he fractured his knee cap. The Knicks were gonna miss the playoffs with him and they can certainly do it without him. Welcome to the starting lineup Michael "I couldn't even start in Cleveland last year" Doleac.

Wally Sczerbiak - Injured his toe and should be out about two weeks. I need a better voodoo doll. I thought I poked his ankle with the pin.

Make Sure to Read the Fine Print (Read: Signings)
Michael Redd - The Bucks matched the offer that the Mavericks had made to Redd. Good basketball decision for sure. I don't know enough about the Bucks financial situation to really say anything, but the fact that it took them almost the full two weeks to decide says something.

Charles Oakley - The Wizards signed Oak to sit the bench, be a mentor and joke around with Patrick Ewing during games (does Oakley even have a sense of humor?). You know when I think of who I want mentoring my young big men, the first guy I think of is Oak. So what if he punched a guy at a shoot around once - what? That happened twice?

Olden Polynice - In what is becoming a yearly ritual, Larry Brown has brought on a suspect attitude in order to bother me. Last year it was Derrick Coleman and this year's acquisition is Officer Polynice. Was Dennis Rodman unavailable? Couldn't swing a trade for Anthony Mason? I can't really find any good reason why this happened. Maybe OP is going under cover? Maybe OP is gonna arrest Raja Bell for trespassing in the NBA, since we all know he should be in the CBA? These jokes would amuse me much more if they weren't all about my favorite team.

And the Utterly and Completely Random
Magic Johnson is trying to become a minority owner of the Sonics. Why can't Magic just fade away into the sunset? Why he feels the need to be in the news every few weeks is beyond me.

Hakeem Olajuwon is reportedly gonna retire. That means 2/3 of my retirement trifecta is done. Come on Zo, I'm counting on you.

Thursday, October 10, 2002
Nuggets' Camby out at least one month

Surprise, surprise. At least last year he had the decency to get 29 games in before going down.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Sprewell fined $250K

Hi, my name is Scott Layden. I obviously don't have a clue. I fined my star guard $250K for breaking his hand and not telling me about it. Everyone says there is no basis for fining him this much. They're wrong. He should have told us. So what if it will make absolutely no difference in how long he is out. So what if I wasn't gonna sign anyone else anyway. It's the principle of the matter. Maybe I would have gone and made another ill advised signing or trade to help ease the loss (Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson anyone?). This is an outrage and Latrell Sprewell deserved to get the heftiest fine ever levied on a single player by a team. I know it seems like I'm fining Spree for getting hurt, but you all know that I wouldn't do that. I never fined Marcus Camby did I? And he was always hurt. Everyone should just get off my back and let me go back to running the Knicks into the ground.

Sunday, October 06, 2002
Utah 89, Seattle 82

And it begins. This was the exhibition opener. Only thing to note is that Rashard Lewis, the "60 million dollar man," sprained his left shoulder and left the game.

Saturday, October 05, 2002
Knicks Hire Psychologist

Maybe the Blazers should follow the Knicks example . . .

Tuesday, October 01, 2002
It's That Time Again!!!!!!!!!!

Training Camps Open Today

Keep an eye on these 10 in preseason

In honor of Dr. Jack's column, I figured I should do one of my own. It is entitled:
"Five Points I Will Probably Repeat Many, Many Times Over the Course of the Season, So Just Get Used To It."
5) How over-rated Wally Sczerbiak is and my general dislike of him (as if you didn't hear enough of this last year).
4) Cheap shots at Bill Walton
3) Posts about Bill Simmons' NBA columns
2) References to John Hollinger's PERs (once my copy of Pro Basketball Prospectus arrives)
1) My joke about Mateen Cleaves and Mark Madsen

Looking for a laugh?

Go here. There are some great quotes from NBA guys on there. Some of my favorites include:

Sgt. Kirk Hartwell, who arrested Kwame Brown (Was) for going 120 mph in a
60 mph construction zone: 'He just kept saying "Michael Jordan is going to
kill me."

At the news conference introducing Alvin Gentry as new coach of the LA
Question: Didn't you have any friends warning you not to take the job with
the Clippers?
Gentry: They all encouraged me to take the job.
Question: You don't have any friends, do you?

Malik Sealy, who played the past 3 seasons with the Clippers, on signing
with Detroit: "I'm happy to be here. It's great to be back in the NBA."

Charles Barkley on teammate Cuttino Mobley: "He's instant offense, on
both ends of the floor, I might add."