Archive for April, 2008

Desert Madness

April 30, 2008

The media is already running so hard with news of D’Antoni’s imminent demise that I can’t tell if it’s sourced to anything except a huge swell of misplaced conventional wisdom. If D’Antoni and Kerr have philosophical differences they can’t resolve, and Toronto, Chicago, or Dallas really wants a fresh start with a fun-‘n’-gun coach, maybe they part ways by mutual agreement, and that makes sense.

But the implication that a total roster overhaul is also in the pipes… huh? Does this Suns’ loss really necessitate blowing up the team? Realistically, I can’t even see how it’s possible. Nash isn’t going anywhere. Shaq is untradeable. And does anyone believe they’re moving Amare? Any other move — like swapping Barbosa for a cheaper veteran — doesn’t really constitute an overhaul.

On top of that, this core had less than half a season to get this new offense running, and even with that the Spurs won in 5 more by fluke than dominance. I just don’t see the need to hit the panic button yet. The window is still open, even just barely. Develop a little youth and give it another shot next year, right?

Maybe the general feeling I’m getting from writing about the Suns is simply people realizing (a month or two late) that 7 Seconds or Less really is dead. It’s been gone, y’all.

Advertisements

It Sucks to Be a Suns Fan

April 29, 2008

Compare and contrast to last season’s Amare/Diaw suspensions:

The Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks escaped discipline for a Game 4 skirmish in which Kevin Garnett pushed off a referee while players on both benches stepped onto the court.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Tuesday there would be no fines or suspensions. Four technical fouls resulted in a game Atlanta won 97-92 to tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

The confrontation started when Garnett cleared out Zaza Pachulia with an elbow, and the Hawks forward went forehead-to-forehead with the Celtics star. A referee grabbed Garnett, but he, too, got a push as Garnett struggled to break free.

Celtics center Kendrick Perkins and Atlanta forward Marvin Williams acknowledged they stepped onto the court as they strained to see what was going on. Such actions are barred in the NBA, especially with commissioner David Stern looking on.

Reid: WTF? How does the NBA justify this shit? Do they just not care at all about consistency? This pisses me off and I don’t even care about the Suns.

Wright: No, I really don’t think they do. All Stern cares about is the league’s image at this very moment, and right now the image is trending positive, despite the physical play. A year ago, the brass was terrified of another brawl, and that’s what drove their decisions.

Adding injury to insult:

Shaq also will be 37 next season. What’s the chance over the next two seasons he slows down even more, along with Nash, and what’s the chance the Suns crash?

Here’s where Sarver (the Suns owner) begins to look more like Bill Bidwill (the Arizona Cardinals owner) than Cuban to those in Arizona: One of the draft picks he gave to Seattle (Kurt Thomas trade), Phoenix’s own in 2010, is unprotected.

In that colmn, Buck Harvey also points out that the Spurs are currently committed to only $53 million in contracts next year. The Suns will pay six players $68 million. Ouch.

Speechless

April 28, 2008

I haven’t written much here just because I don’t have anything unique to contribute to the deluge of micro-analysis out there. Even though the excitement has been unexpectedly out East, there’s not much else to say except, Didn’t see that coming.

Instead, here are some of my favorites plays/performances from the past week.

1. Josh Smith, fired up.

This taste of the playoffs may keep him inspired all regular season. Color me (and my fantasy keeper league team) excited.

2. Al Horford making Paul Pierce his bitch.

Yeah, that was probably uncalled for, but A) I loved the fire and balls it showed, and B) you know the odds are really good Pierce’s smug ass did something to deserve it.

3. Carl Landry really is Carl Landry.

Flying all over the court and making crazy unexpected playing, he’s forcing me to love his game even though I tried, and tried again, to chalk it up to a fluke.

4. Lebron.

Nuff said.

The $60 Million Dollar Bad Ass

April 22, 2008

Rooting against the guy tonight and all, but, man, this is great:

That’s from Nash’s own production company, which maybe explains the funkiness that makes it so good. From Skeets.

It’s Called Confirmation Bias, You Moron

April 21, 2008

One dunce passes along the wisdom of another:

TrueHoop reader Isaac: “Watching the games between these two teams is becoming increasingly frustrating. To be fair, I hate the Spurs, and I feel like something is wrong with the world if they win yet another series against the Suns. I don’t like the Suns for any reason other than they are enjoyable to watch and I feel that on some level they “deserve” to win. On to my frustration: the Spurs are huge babies. This applies to Popovich, Duncan, and seemingly every other player on the court. Duncan has his Duncan Face everytime he doesn’t get a call. Ginobli lays out every single play that he is even slightly touched as if he in a soccer match. Oberto definitely does a lot acting to get Shaq in foul trouble each time these teams play. The trend I’ve seen is really disturbing though. The players and Popovich complain to the refs in the opening quarter and it seems to make the refs subconsciously favor the Spurs on the calls from then on out. Don’t the league execs heavily monitor these games to ensure that the refs are calling the games right? At this point doesn’t someone have to crack down on all the bs that the Spurs players employ in order to get cheap fouls called in their favor. These games are all unequivocally amazing to watch and they get ruined because of ridiculous foul calls.”

Look, I love watching Nash and Barbosa play, but Phoenix fans are turning into the whiniest bunch of chumps in the league. OK, you got screwed on the suspensions last year. Now it’s time for you to stop blaming the refs for the fact that your team doesn’t ever fucking execute down the stretch. Your team, full-strength, got their asses handed to them in Game 6 last year, and they screwed up at least 5 or 6 chances to ice Game 1 this year. Stop pretending the Spurs’ complaints and flops are any different than EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE LEAGUE or that the Suns deserve special treatment because they’re fun to watch.

Graphical Analysis

April 20, 2008

Hmm… the Nuggets miiight want to adjust their line-up.

And, just a guess, judging from Gasol’s shot chart, but they might also want to shore up their interior defense:

This Seems Familiar

April 20, 2008

One day in and the playoffs are already as good as advertised. Something surprising is how quickly the matchups have settled into familiar patterns. That probably should’ve been expected with so many rematches from last season. But with all the trades and movement this year, I guess we all expected more upheaval.

Instead…

  • The Wiz talk big, then get overpowered by Lebron.
  • Really obvious questions: Why in God’s name would you provoke Lebron? He’s a human bulldozer and you decide to get physical with him?
  • The Suns look positively snake-bit against the Spurs, losing a game they were in position to win.
  • Q: Why not let Steve Nash win the game for you? He hit a huge clutch fade-away three in the second OT, but why didn’t D’Antoni run plays for him at the end of regulation or the first OT? As a Spurs fan, fine by me. Also: When is Amare going to learn to take what the defense gives him? He could’ve sealed the win in the first OT by knocking down a wide open 10-footer, but instead he went flying at the hoop, picked up an offensive foul, and fouled out. Whaaa?
  • Shaq plays terribly on offense, then tries to blame “the floppers.”
  • Q: For a guy who’s relied on the kindness of referees all career, he sure complains a lot, huh?
  • The Mavs face a quicker, less experienced team in the first round, then look completely¬† shell-shocked when the other team gets rolling. Dirk plays like a beast but gets zero help.
  • Q: How many more times will Howard, Terry, and Stackhouse disappear in the post-season? They combined to shoot 9-32. That’s Kenyon-Martin-in-a-big-game-esque.
  • Houston’s not getting out of the first round.
  • Q: This isn’t totally his fault, but when is McGrady going to learn that 20 points on 21 shots isn’t going to cut it.?
  • Denver is also on their way to flaming out again, because they apparently refuse to stop Gasol from dunking. Seriously, he sucks in the post! Just guard him!
  • Q: How many games before they start taking cheap shots and smirking like punks while getting their asses handed to them?

The one thing I didn’t expect: the Sixers are a lot better than I thought. They won’t beat Detroit, but they might give them trouble.

Barackaballa

April 18, 2008

If you got a few minutes this weekend, Real Sports piece on Barack Obama’s love for basketball is worth checking out. He may bowl like a ninny, but he looks pretty smooth on the basketball court for a 46-year-old dude.

From Jones on the NBA.

Season’s Over. Bummer.

April 17, 2008

For such a great regular season, it sure ended on a down note for me. The Warriors left me believing in a 1/50 chance of landing a top 2 pick. Then this guy and other local media tried to stir up a shitstorm between Baron Davis and Don Nelson over nothing. My fantasy team self-destructed in the playoffs. And David Stern had the gall to tell NBA fans that Clay Bennett and his band of sleazebags made a “good-faith” effort to keep the Sonics in Seattle. Arrrrg.

Meanwhile the Spurs and Hornets hosed up the bracket by choking away the #1 seed to the Lakers:

The four teams I was most excited about watching this postseason will all be beating up on each other in the bottom half of the bracket. One of the four teams I can’t effing stand will make it to the conference finals. It’ll make for great TV, but I really don’t want to be left rooting for the Celtics to beat the Lakers for the title. Seriously, enough of Boston. I can’t take their fans or media cheerleaders any more.

OK, had to get that bitterness out of my system before two months of basketball heaven begin.

Still Believin’

April 12, 2008

The Nuggets went into Utah and got their asses handed to them, which was pretty much expected. J.R. Smith and Najera combined for zero threes and only 14 points a game after lighting up the Warriors, which sounds about right. Denver reminds me of a cocky pick-up team that would take one look at me and my friends and decide they would spend the game practicing their alley-oops. In other words, I’m sure they’re shrugging off the loss and just know they’ll get the next one.

Anyways, their loss is step 1 of 5 in the Warriors’ last-ditch hopes to make the playoffs. Golden State needs to keep TCBin’ against the Clippers tonight. Then tomorrow things gets interesting: Denver plays at home versus Houston. The Rockets will be better rested and are fighting for position, but the Nuggets basically have their season on the line. Might have to watch that one. And so help me if the Rockets throw up a dud in the only game all year that I’m rooting for them…

Then, if all that comes to pass, the Warriors get their turn with the season on the line at Phoenix on Monday night. Unless, of course, Denver loses to another lottery-bound team in its final game against Memphis. That would be a (hilarious) collapse for the ages, and it couldn’t happen to a bigger bunch of tools.

UPDATE: Just saw that the Hornets lost to the Kings, which puts the Lakers in the driver’s seat for the #1 seed. If the Warriors can just sneak into that final spot, oh man, a Lakers-Warriors series might actually top last year’s Mavs series. Warriors fans have a legitimate burning hatred of L.A. and everything it stands for. C’mon, basketball gods, help us out.