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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Thursday, January 30, 2003
Possible Name Change?

"You should change it's name to 'StuWatch: Suspensions 'R Us'."
--Ben Matasar on my recent posting habits, particularly the frequency of suspension related posts.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Wait for It, Wait for It . . .

Don't worry. The All-Star post is coming. But with class started up again there is less time. I will do my best to have the post up before Friday at 6, but it may not happen. I guarantee it will be up by Monday morning though.

Sloan suspended seven games for pushing ref

Finally a suspension that makes sense! Nick Van Exel got 7 games for his ref shoving incident and Jerry Sloan gets the same. While I doubt that Sloan's shove was equivalent in force to Van Exel's, they deserve the same punishment. Basically it comes down to equivalent acts getting equivalent punishments. Rick Fox runs down tunnel and what not and gets 6 games. Mills does the same and blocks the opponent's team bus with a car and gets 3. That makes no sense. The Sloan one does. That is all I ask for from the disciplinary wing of the NBA. Is it really too much to ask?

Artest 'disappointed with the league's ruling'

he's lucky he only got 4 games. The way the league has been doling out the suspensions I was waiting to hear he had gotten 20. Is what Ron Artest did worth 4 games? Maybe. I think prior bad acts have to be taken into consideration in Artests case. I mean, it has only been two weeks since the camera incident. The way I see the suspension breaking down is like this. Flipping of the crowd got him one game. Tainting the Heat bench to the extent he did gets him one only because of the stuff that followed. Bumping Pat Riley got him the other two. It doesn't seem that out of line. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than the suspension of Chris Mills, Rasheed Wallace, and the non-suspension of Troy Murphy.

Friday, January 24, 2003
Knicks' Houston establishes scholarship at Tennessee

Allan Houston is making a scholarship to honor his father and college coach Wade Houston. At least someone deserving will get some of the money the Knicks are giving him.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Wolves notes: Pippen thinks Garnett should play guard

'"I don't mean to be negative about him, because his numbers are great," Pippen told the Portland Tribune. "But what exactly is he doing for them? They aren't winning enough games, that's the point. His numbers ain't measuring to wins. He has to find a way to make his team win. When you are getting big numbers like he is and still losing, I call it padding your stats."'

I don't like Scottie Pippen. Maybe it's because of his nose. Mayeb it's because i think he is a whiner. Either way, he is wrong if he thinks Garnett should play guard. He is also wrong (and so is everyone else who says this) if he thinks Garnett is the reason the Wolves aren't winning in the playoffs or winning enough games. I also don't like this coming from Scottie.

First, why Scottie should just shut up. He hasn't won anything without Jordan. I realize that cuts both ways, seeing as Jordan has won nothing without Scottie and also that we don't know what they would have done without each other. There is a difference though. Jordan's non-Bulls teams have had poor talent for the most part. Last year's Wiz? Please. Even this year's Wiz outside of Jerry Stackhouse are not very good. Scottie had Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and a pair of young guys who could play a little in Cuttino Mobley and Michael Dickerson for that year in Houston. And those Portland teams are always loaded with talent. Scottie still has done nothing without Michael if you look at winning as the only factor.

I'm only gonna say this once, so pay attention. Kevin Garnett is not the reason the T-Wolves aren't "winning enough." The guy had the 4th highest PER last season highest PER at small forward and the 6th highest overall. What more do you want from him? And you can't blame him for his contract either. No one forced the T-Wolves to give him that money. The problem is two-fold. One, there is a distinct lack of talent around him - especially with Terrell Brandon gone. Joe Smith and Rasho Nesterovic played major minutes on this team. Do I need to say more than that? Second problem is management. They have no draft picks because they broke the rules to keep Joe Smith. Joe Smith!!!!! Ugghh . . . moving on.

Garnett should not move to guard either. That stuff about four bigs being an advantage is bogus on this team. Why make more minutes for Loren Woods or Marc Jackson? I'll let Steve Aschburner, writer for the Star-Tribune, make the rest of the argument. "Three points Pippen might not have considered: First, Garnett has, at times, defended Bryant. Second, as versatile as Garnett is, he sometimes lacks lateral quickness to keep up with slashing wing players. Third, this all really would be up to coach Flip Saunders, not Garnett." Amen.

So in conclusion, it isn't Garnett's fault the team doesn't win enough. Blame it on management and the scrubs they hired to play beside him. Garnett's numbers are superb. As for Pippen, he needs to simply know his role and shut his mouth.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Coleman's Curse

John Hollinger discusses how Derrick Coleman drags his teams down when he plays too much. While there isn't really an explanation given in terms of what Coleman himself does, the statistics are clear. Coleman's team's suffer defensively when he is in, to the tune of giving up 3 points more. Hollinger also points out that the the points aren't coming from the opposing centers (who DC would be covering). He proposes that maybe DC's help defense is poor. This would be my guess. DC is not exactly fleet of foot. I don't see him flying across the lane to get the big block or alter a shot very often. The most surprising part of it all was the size of the difference when DC plays major minutes and when he less or not at all. This isn't a Philadelphia trend either.

Sunday, January 19, 2003
Apple releases new Yao Ming commercial

The commercial is pretty funny. Neither Yao Ming or Verne Troyer have any lines, but the comedy of the two of them next to each other is good. The most amazing part is that they are on a plane and Yao can get into his bag (in the upper compartment) without getting up out of his seat. The guy doesn't have to stand up to get into the baggage compartment!

Saturday, January 18, 2003
Yao and Shaq

No one should be doubting Yao Ming anymore. The guy can play the physical game when he needs to - as he did with Shaquille O'Neal last night. His blocking of Shaq's first three shots was impressive and sent a message that he wasn't gonna be pushed around by Shaq. The offensive performance was lacking a bit on Yao's part. He had no rebounds at the half and had a poor shooting game. Shaq did end up with 30 points, but it was as dominant as it appears. 10 of those came in overtime. While his overtime was impressive, Shaq as far from dominant on the offensive end in regulation. He was good, but not dominant as he usually is. As Marc Stein put it, this game didn't give Yao credibility - it gave him more credibility.

Wallace suspended for threatening ref after big game

7 games???? Rasheed Wallace says a threat to a ref and gets 7 games. Chris Mills gets in a fight, blocks the Blazers team bus with his car, causes them to need a police escort for the 5 minute ride to the airport, and gets 3 games. What is wrong with this picture? Not that I condone Rasheed's actions, but what is up with the doling out of suspensions this season? Could they be a little more inconsistent?

Camby makes first start of season for Nuggets . . .

And sprains his ankle 17 seconds in. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003
ESPN Player Page: Rafer Alston

Some of you may know Rafer Alston by his playground name Skip To My Lue or from the And1 Mix Tapes, in which he is a frequent subject. Rafer was recently called up from NBDL to Toronto and has played well (14.0/5.0/7.3 - pts/rebs/asst in 3 games since being called up). The only reason I point this out is that this is that he is one of the players I most like to watch. He can do street ball, he can play straight ball. He probably isn't gonna be an All-Star or anything like that, but he is fun to watch. And if you can catch some of the street ball stuff, either on the And1 Mix Tapes or on ESPN's documentary series "Street Ball", do it. Don't expect them to be running the pick and roll or anything like that, but expect to be entertained.

Saturday, January 11, 2003
Speaking of Injured Players . . .

There are rumors floating around that Todd MacCullouch and his bad feet are on the trading block. The Knicks have interest, but they don't want to give up Kurt Thomas. Then what are they gonna give up? Even Larry Brown isn't crazy enough to take on Allan Houston's contract or Latrell Sprewell. Lee Nailon could add some scoring punch, but I don't know that he plays enough defense (read: any defense) for Larry Brown's liking. There is also the possibility of draft picks, but I don't know why a team that is/should be rebuilding would trade away draft picks. Although Scott Layden isn't known for his savy in making trades.

Another note: If MacCullouch does get traded, it would be yet another person who the Sixers trade away that is hurt. You know it will only be a matter of days after MacCullouch gets traded before he hits the IL for the rest of the year.

Hardaway has torn ligaments in right thumb

Penny Hardaway injured? No way. I never saw that coming. Actually i think everyone saw it coming. Did anyone outside of Phoenix really think that Penny could repeat last years 80 games played? The guy has averaged 57 games per year over his career. If you take out his first three years when he played 241 of his teams' 246 games, he has averaged a mere 272 of his teams' 738 games. That, my friends, is a mere 37% of the games. That's even worse than Marcus Camby.

First Cal Basketball Post of the Season

All it takes is a big win to get me to pay attention on my winter break. The Bears threw the smack down on Oregon Thursday night. The bears are 9-2 now with wins over Stanford and Oregon and the two losses to some strong teams in Kansas and Georgia. I feel another tournament berth coming this year. It's too early to start guessing at seeds or anything like that, but this team can play. The only concern is that there isn't a real inside presence. There is no one over 6-10. Amit Tamir is 6-10, but isn't really an inside player. The other thing I wish the bears would do is get better non-conference opponents. Other than Georgia and Kansas, the schedule was full of cupcake (Grambling, Howard or USF anyone?). But that isn't something that can be changed this year. Anyway, these guys can play and I look forward to overestimating their abilities due to my blind loyalty and optimism come tournament time. Go Bears!!

Wednesday, January 08, 2003
What's your take on AI's current run of poor form?

This is the question posed to me in the comments of this post. I did a quick glance at the game log of Allen Iverson and didn't think, it looked all that bad. However, I also know that a quick glance can be deceiving. So I calculated game scores for all of Iverson's games in the past month (12/11 - 1/6). The game score is another of John Hollinger's creations. It is basically a PER for individual games. Iverson's average game score over the period examined comes to 14.58. That falls on the border of "Reasonably Solid Performance" and "A Very Strong Effort." The real problem is that while his average is there, the scores were actually kinda scattered. This incocnsistency is the real problem. That and while "A Very Strong Effort" may be fine for a lot of players, it is a bit disappointing for a star of Iverson's caliber. I don't think I would call it poor form though.

Another not is that over the period, Iverson shot about 38%. Make no mistake about it, that is just plain bad. That is significantly below his career 41.9%. While 41.9% is still below average, I can live with it. But 38%. I examined the FG% leader board and discovered Allen isn't the only one having some shooting woes this year. Also below 40%: Jason Terry, Antoine Walker, Paul Pierce, Jason Richardson and Morris Peterson. And those are only the people who were on pace to meet the minimum qualifications.

Bryant sets two NBA records for 3-point shooting

What else can you say about Kobe Bryant's 12-18 night from 3 point land and his streak of 9 straight, but DAMN. That's a hell of a night. The other thing that's surprising is that he shot 18 threes - 18!!!! Althought if I hit 9 in a row, I'd keep lobing them up there too.

Fight With Assistant Coach? Pull Out the Gat

Nolan Richardson III brandished a gun after a fight with an assistant coach over the lack of attendance for a practice on Christmas night. He blamed the assistant. They got into it a bit. Richardson went to his car to get a gun - the obvious solution. But it's okay because the gun wasn't loaded. What a moron. His employer, Tennessee State, is now looking to fire him. The question is, why can't they just fire his ass on the spot? Dude brandished a gun at a fellow coach on campus. Uggghhh. Gotta love the bureaucracy.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003
I'm Back . . . Again

Sorry for the disappearance again. It's been a busy week with going away parties and helping my sister move. Anyway, here is the important stuff from the last week.

Reason #37 that Ron Artest is Crazy
He went all Tim Hardaway on a monitor and then smashed a camera for good measure (and it was your 35mm either). He got a $35K fine and 3 game suspension (the same number Chris Mills got for his antics . . . but I digress). While I don't condone the behavior, every team needs a head case to keep things interesting. However, more than 5 is not advisable. This means you Bob Whitsitt.

Clark on Carter: Raptors better off without him
Perhaps Keon Clark believes that the Ewing Theory applies to Vince Carter?

Grunwald Informs Wilkens He Will Be Fired
The dreaded vote of confidence was given to Lenny Wilkens. Losing 10 in a row will do that for a coach. To Lenny's credit, that team is decimated by injuries and foolish signings by Grunwald. Is it Lenny's fault Vince Carter keeps getting hurt and is cursed by the Ewing Theory? Did Lenny cripple the club in the free agency market with that Antonio Davis contract? Is it Lenny's fault the Canadian dollar has so little worth? The answer to all of those is no, but someone has to take the fall and it won't be the guy making the decision (Grunwald).

Sixers lose 11th Game in Last 15
They're falling apart. When you are counting on Monty Williams to come back and turn things around, it's a bad sign. Maybe I cursed them by seeing them in person. The reality is that there aren't enough people on the team that can score consistently, especially when Keith Van Horn doesn't play. Derrick Coleman had a nice game tonight and Kenny Thomas has been playing fairly well, they just can't (or aren't) put up the kind of numbers this team needs them to.

Golden Bear Not Named Kidd or Abdur-Rahim Sighting
Sean Lampley led the Heat in scoring tonight against the Warriors with 18. I like Lampley, but he is a bit above Mark Madsen when it comes to ability. A better scorer for sure, but if he is leading you in scoring for any NBA game you sucked.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003
Sixers at Warriors - 12/30/02

I went to see my Sixers play the Warriors in Oakland Monday night with my Dad. Despite the Sixers loss, a good time was had by all. And as with any game I attend, comes the obligatory notes column.

- Allen Iverson is amazing in person. You don't realize how fast he actually is til you see him in person. And that crossover . . . good god.

- Earl Boykins is easily in my top 5 favorite players to watch. You can't help but root for him. The things he does sometimes in the lane are amazing. The guy is just plain fun to watch.

- Jason Richardson totally dropped the hammer on Derrick Coleman and Brian Skinner. He just skied over him. I swear his chin actually got above the rim.

- The first quarter was sloppy, more so for the Sixers than the Warriors. I stopped counting how many passes bounced off of DC's hands after three in the first few minutes. Keith Van Horn was also having some problems catching passes as well. Not fun to watch as a Sixers fan.

- Bob Sura, in his first appearance of the season, wasn't sporting the Slim Shady look. I was disappointed.

- At one point Derrick Coleman was out at the arc and they rotate the ball to him and the second I se the ball going to him I start saying, "Don't shoot, don't shoot" over and over again. And as he released the shot it changed to "Doh." Then as it went in I said, "That works too." My Dad was amused by this.

- From the second deck, Todd MacCulloch and Keith Van Horn look a lot alike. And it isn't just the skin color. It is mainly the hair I think. This wasn't a big problem though since MacCulloch played a mere 7 minutes due to foul trouble.

Kings put Jackson on IR, bring back Cleaves

You knew I wouldn't be able to resist posting this. Maybe Mateen will actually get some minutes, but we can only hope not. It would take away from his minutes being the towel waver at the end of the bench. If Mateen is on the court, who will inspire the team coming into timeouts? Will he be too exhausted by playing his 10 minutes a night that he just won't have that same enthusiasm? Will he only do half circles with the towel instead of full circles because he is so tired? This could spell disaster for the Kings.

Happy New Year!