Archive for the ‘Playoffs’ Category

Pinche Spurs

May 9, 2008

stay classy, san antonio

Game 3 was an instant classic, a back-and-forth duel of offensive greatness — with Parker and Paul both going nuts — played at a run-and-gun pace with both teams making difficult shot after difficult shot.

Uh, does that really sound like a formula for Spurs’ success? I’m still worried that this Hornets team is flat-out better than this Spurs team (until at least next year, when we retool with youth). We’re like Boston: if our defense isn’t winning the game for us, we’re in serious trouble.

Anyways, to take the edge off, here’s Charles Barkley calling himself a dumbass.

Dangit, Utah, You Let Me Down

May 5, 2008

I said you wouldn’t let this happen:

9:13 4-7 LAL Pau Gasol made Slam Dunk, Assist Derek Fisher
8:15 6-11 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Derek Fisher
6:03 28-41 LAL Pau Gasol made Slam Dunk, Assist Kobe Bryant
8:14 49-66 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Derek Fisher
2:13 64-73 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Kobe Bryant
1:53 89-96 LAL Pau Gasol made Tip-in
1:36 90-98 LAL Pau Gasol made Layup, Assist Kobe Bryant
46.0 90-101 LAL Pau Gasol made Finger-roll Layup, Assist Kobe Bryant

I know it’s easier said than done, but make Kobe and Fisher finish in the lane! Better yet, make Pau work out of the post!

Stephen A.’s R.O.W. #5

May 3, 2008

UPDATE: Ha ha ha, from the same game, Long sends along… this:

The Daily Overreaction

May 2, 2008

Hawks coach Mike Woodson on Kevin Durant’s no-brainer as rookie of the year:

“It’s a travesty and it’s not right. He should have shared it, if not gotten it outright. … It’s what this kid has done for this team. … We haven’t had a power forward/center come in our league and do what he’s done [average a double-double] in I don’t know how many years,” Woodson said. “I mean, come on, man.”

Um, Mike, how many years ago would be 3. Emeka Okafor averaged 15 and 11 when he won ROY in 2004-05.

Hey, Horford’s great and had a great year, but I still don’t understand the ROY campaign for a role player (for now) playing alongside two All-Stars (Johnson, Bibby) and one future All-Star (Smith).

Anyways, he has been a blast to watch, and the way this Celtics team has (A) buckled under pressure, (B) gotten 95% of all 50/50 calls the last couple games, (C) still had the gall to whine and complain when exactly one call went against them, and (D) acted like they’re tough shit while trying (unsuccessfully) to bully a team with 30 wins less than them — well, screw those guys, even KG. I hope the Cavs or Magic make the finals.

BONUS: I can’t talk overreaction without linking to this guy’s video comparing the Pacman Jones trade to McCarthyism.

For the Record

May 2, 2008

I feel like I’m the only one among my Spurs-fans friends worried about this series with New Orleans. S.A. hangs their hat on defense but they struggle to match up with Chris Paul and David West. That’s why you have Bowen pulling that B.S. where he kneed Paul for no reason — a classic Bowen move when he’s a step slow. And David West’s numbers in four regular season games aren’t a fluke: 23 ppg on 58% shooting. Like another quick, face-up PF, Brandon Bass, West gives Duncan fits.

All that said, Pop will have something up his sleeve, and the Hornets somehow have to account for Ginobili. Should be good, but I think it’ll go longer than a lot of my friends expect.

POSTSCRIPT: For what it’s worth, I also think Utah beats the Lakers just because they’ll make Gasol post up one on one, where he’s terrible. No one seems to notice it, but whenever he has to work in the post on his own, he scores on like one out of every four possessions. No way Utah ever allows him to get uncontested dunks like Denver did.

Speaking of the Suns…

May 1, 2008

Simmons’ year-by-year account chronicling the decline of The Suns into plodding first-round losers is exactly the kind of column I would love to write if it were my job to write a few thousand words on sports every three or four days. Great stuff.

One thing to add: It would take a separate column to address, but the personalities of Suns’ players and officials played a huge role in how this decline.

Simmons equates the Spurs’ success in part to roster consistency. Since 2003, they’ve built around Duncan, Ginobili, Parker, which the Suns could have done with Nash, Stoudemire, Marion, and Joe Johnson. Too bad only Nash has the same win-first mentality that defines the Spurs. Tony could’ve bolted like Johnson after the Spurs pursued Kidd, Manu could’ve taken more money, and Tim could’ve demanded to score 25 a game, but those weren’t their priorities. That mindset never united the Suns, making the long-haul approach in PHX much, much more difficult than it looks on paper.

Even this week, after four years and no Finals appearances, here’s Amare throwing D’Antoni under the bus after Game 5:

Amare Stoudemire offered no words of support for D’Antoni — “That’s not my focus at all,” Stoudemire said — and was much more willing to expound on the need for the Suns to find a plan and stick with it, most importantly establishing who is going to be The Man on this team. Not surprisingly, he nominated himself.

Not the stuff of champions. And we won’t even get into the Sarver-Colangelo and D’Antoni-Kerr feuds…

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.

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.

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.