Miller

Miami Heat: Last night, the Heat were without Dwyane Wade (left knee), Udonis Haslem (left ankle), Shawn Marion (sore back), Jason Williams (jammed right thumb), Marcus Banks (right hamstring), and Alexander Johnson (right knee). This left the team with the following seven players (and I use that term very loosely): Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Chris Quinn, Daequan Cook, Earl Barron, Bobby Jones, and Joel Anthony.

If you recognized more than half of those names, you're either lying or you're some kind of roster-memorizing savant. Either way, that's one seriously motley crew. I'm not sure that squad would even qualify as an expansion team for the D-League. Stitching a team together out of whatever crap you can find...that's no way to run a franchise. It's like the basketball equivalent of Frankenstein's monster, only at least the monster could complete basic tasks, like menacing villagers and destroying its creator.

I guess I should just cut to the chase and explain why I'm going off on these guy, although judging from the e-mails I received last night and this morning, most of you already know. The Heat scored only 54 points last night. It was the third-lowest point total of the shot-clock era, surpassing only the 53 points scored by Denver against Detroit in November of 2002 and the 49 points Chicago put up against Miami in April of 1999. They accomplished this feat by shooting 25 percent from the field (20-for-78) and 21 percent from beyond the arc (5-for-23). It was a performance so bad, so historically wretched, that Pat Riley was openly pitying his players after the game...this, of course, being one night after the team notched it's 12th win of the season and Riles comparied Williams and Quinn to Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. And frankly, the Heat would probably have played better with West (who's 70 years old) and Goodrich (65), even if those guys were blindfolded and forced to play with oven mitts on.

Awful. Just awful. But, honestly, it's about what you'd expect from a team that's led by Ricky Davis and started three guys who wouldn't even be the 12th man on most NBA teams.

Update!! Toronto Raptors fans: Loyal Basketbawful reader shrugz informed me that the mighty dino fanbase freaked out when their hopes for a little free taco excitement were dashed. "Please mention the pathetic booing/restless attitude of the Raptors fans when they realized they were not getting free pizza. JUST CHEER. GAWD. I'm embarrassed to be known as a Raptors fans with people like this."

Mike Dunleavy Jr.: One day after matching his career-high in scoring and forcing me into the huge concession that he doesn't suck any more, Funleavy shoots 2-for-12 and commits 5 turnovers. Like Mike, if I could be like Mike...

Dwight Howard: What happened to Superman? Did somebody shove a hunk of Kryptonite up his butt or something? Young Thunder grabbed 14 rebounds, but he shot only 1-for-6 and had more turnovers (4) than points (3). Astonishing. Maybe it's like in Superman II, when Superman gave up his powers so he could get it on with Lois Lane. And I guess that would make the Wizards a 12-man General Zod. Which gives me an excuse to say, "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!" Okay. I'm happy now.

Update!! The Magic and the Wizards: An anonymous reader had this to say, and I couldn't disagree: "Oh man, you need to include the entire Magic team if you're going to call out Howard. Excluding Hedo, who was the only Magic player who didn't roll over and die last night, the team shot (as per Ben Q Rock from Third Quarter Collapse) "15-of-57 (.263) from the field and 7-of-26 (.269) from three-point range." It was appalling. I should know, I was there. However! We still only lost by one point, and that was up until the very last shot. Shouldn't the Wizards at least get a mention? Seeing as they couldn't even beat a team who performed as poorly as the Magic did last night."

Enver Nuggets: Yesterday, I blasted the Nuggets for their shocking lack of defense after they gave up 136 points on 60 percent shooting to the Detroit Pistons. A few readers contradicted me by explaining that Enver is ranked sixth in defensive efficiency (although Hollinger's latest stats have them in the seventh spot). So I said, "Fine, I'll keep a close eye on these guys -- two eyes, even -- and if they prove to be the stalwart defensive bunch that the numbers say they are, I'll openly and freely admit my mistake." We are one day into my added scrutiny, and the evidence looks good...for me: The Nuggets surrendered 115 points to a Sixers team that averages 96.6, while also letting their foe shoot 60 percent from the field for the second straight game (and Philly typically rat-a-tat-tats at a 46 percent rate). Enver did force 21 turnovers and blocked 7 shots, though, so there's that. But neither those numbers nor their sparkling defensive efficiency rank do much to change the scoreboard.

Vince Carter: I've got to hand it to him, dude played great: A season-high 39 points, 17-for-26 from the field, 10 rebounds, 8 assists. He even blocked a shot! Here's the problem. Vinsanity could play at this level, or pretty close, any night. Every night, even. But he doesn't. He avoids contact and shies away from his responsibilities as a franchise player. Always has. I wouldn't be surprised if Carter shot 5-for-21 in New Jersey's next game. So it's actually nights like this that upset me more than when Carter stinks up the joint, because he's not just stealing money from his employers, he's cheating the fans. And that's not cool.

Darrell Armstrong: I know he's old and stuff, but that doesn't excuse a three trillion.

Atlanta Hawks: I believe the Hawks are serious about making the playoffs. But someone needs to tell them that putting a hand in somebody's face -- as long as you don't face-guard them!! -- would help their cause. The Nets typically score about 94 PPG on 43 percent shooting, but Atlanta brought them out of their offensive coma by giving up 125 points on 58 percent shooting, in addition to the previously mentioned season-high 39 points to Vince Carter. This enabled New Jersey to usurp the eighth seed from the Hawks for at least a day.

Memphis versus Minnesota: Why do these games have to happen? Make them stop, David Stern. I'm begging you.

Detroit Pistons: When they were dropping 136 on the Nuggets, the Pistons scored a season-high 73 points in the first half. Last night against the Cavs, they scored 73 points, period. Which is so weird, since Cleveland is ranked five spots below Enver in defensive efficiency. Must be some kind of fluke or something. Anyway, the Pistons shot 39 percent from the field and hit only 5 of 17 three-pointers. As my buddy Craig from The Association said in a text last night, LeBron owns these guys.

Houston Rockets: Sigh. Well, I've got to be fair, right? I praised them for The Streak, and now I have to mock them for their second-straight 20-point loss. Tracy McGrady (6-for-21) led the brick brigade in Houston's 34 percent shooting night. They only hit 10 percent of their threes (2-for-19). They had only 11 assists and committed 18 turnovers. Believe it or not, the game was tied after three quarters, but the Rockets got outscored 31-10 in the fourth. And now Houston is suddenly streaking in the other direction.

Phoenix Suns doubters: You know, a couple weeks ago there were a few hundred articles and blog posts about how, due to the Shaq trade, Phoenix might not even make the playoffs. Suddenly, thanks to a six-game winning streak, they're only a half game behind the Hornets and Lakers for the top spot in the West. Oh, and remember how The Big Slowpoke was going to reduce the Suns fast break to a crawl? Let's take a look at how their offense has performed over the last five games (I'm tossing out the Spurs game because nobody puts up points against them): 132, 123, 127, 111, and 110 points on 59, 55, 60, 55, and 57 percent shooting. Oh, and the Suns have rediscovered the three-ball too: They were 15-for-21 from The Land of Three last night. And they're regularly out-rebounding their opponents now. Now, I'm not saying that Phoenix is going to win the championship this season, only that the reports of their collective death have been greatly exaggerated.

Smush Parker and Mike Dunleavy: I don't know what's worse: Smush's performance (4 points, 2-for-10 shooting) or the fact that Dunleavy played him almost 30 minutes off the bench. Only two Clippers (Al Thornton and Tim Thomas) took more shots than Smush. I know the Clips are bad, but I didn't know they were "Smush Parker is our third option" bad.

Charley Rosen: The NBA Historian's comments about Shane Battier's "illegal face-guarding" of Kobe Bryant last Sunday set off a storm of controversy across the Blogosphere. That storm uncovered the fact that -- regardless of how you feel about it personally -- face-guarding is perfectly legal within the context of current NBA rules. And I'm sure Rosen got a few e-mails to that effect. But instead of admitting that, Rosen included the following note in his article yesterday: "The league's refs routinely called face-guarding fouls until 3-4 years ago. But with the installation of the new no-defense rules, these same fouls began to be ignored — the idea being to prevent hand-to-shooting-arm fouls that would slow up the game. As it is, since the natural instinct is for shooters (as well as civilians) to move their heads away from an attacking hand, the license given to face-guarders impinges on a shooter's elevation and generally flattens the resulting shot."

Now, I hate to call bullshit -- I'm kidding, I actually love doing it -- but I've been following the NBA for 20 years. I have scads of classic games from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s on both VHS and DVD, and I rewatch them endlessly over the summer when the only sports on TV are baseball, golf, and the WNBA (and yes, I did rank those sports according to how excited each one makes me). And I'm here to tell you: I do not remember seeing a single face-guarding foul called on any player at any time, let alone seeing the call made "routinely," not unless actual contact was made with the shooter. Yet I've seen countless examples of the old "hand in the face" defense over my 20 years of NBA fanaticism. So how is it I missed the many and routine face-guarding calls Charley is referring to? I think we know why.

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20 Comments:
Blogger flohtingPoint said...
6 game streak or not, I still have no faith in The Big Junk-In-The-Trunk.

I have scads of classic games from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s on both VHS and DVD, and I rewatch them endlessly over the summer when the only sports on TV are baseball, golf, and the WNBA

Yea I do the same thing with football and college football, during the exact season you mentioned. I know it's only a couple months, but boy does it seem like a long time. It really is a testament to one's manhood in fact, because everyone reaches that point where if they hear about Ichiro or Big Papi one more time, they feel like they might head to the nearest mall in Nebraska and shoot 9 people in the face.

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1691561,00.html

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
bleh, expired link, damn google's caching ability...

Anonymous bears in the cathedral said...
Could someone please tell me what exactly face guarding is? Is it like waiving your hands in someone's face or just sticking the hand?

Anonymous The $ynchronizer said...
We threw a Dunleavy line into our Warriors rap. Let us know what you think.

www.myspace.com/bergondy

Anonymous Shrugz said...
I've only being reading sports articles/blogs two years ago (apparently when I started working)
but man this charley rosen has one of the worssssssst reputation ever (to go along with some others)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Oh man, you need to include the entire Magic team if you're going to call out Howard. Excluding Hedo, who was the only Magic player who didn't roll over and die last night, the team shot (as per Ben Q Rock from 3QC) "15-of-57 (.263) from the field and 7-of-26 (.269) from three-point range." It was appalling. I should know, I was there.

However! We still only lost by one point, and that was up until the very last shot. Shouldn't the Wizards at least get a mention? Seeing as they couldn't even beat a team who performed as poorly as the Magic did last night.

Blogger 80's NBA said...
"Could someone please tell me what exactly face guarding is? Is it like waiving your hands in someone's face or just sticking the hand?"

It's sticking your hand in the shooter's face in order to block his vision to the basket when he's shooting.

And like Bawful...over the course of more than 25 years, I've NEVER seen this called in an NBA game. A couple of players that used to do this a lot (off the top of my head, Dennis Johnson was one) were never called for it. In fact, even though it's a rule in college and high school, I've never seen it called in the thousands of those games I've watched.

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
Any chance we'll get a blurb on the smack between Deshawn Stevenson and LBJ, calling him overrated and then slamming James with "Tell him to cut his beard and quit copying me." I love it... I hope to God that Deshawn is quick-witted enough to start in on the fact that LeBron named his kid Maximus, this has some serious potential to be great.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
OK. Here's the deal. And this is hard for me to say because I believe Kobe Bryant is the greatest b-baller on the planet, and I know he isn't a fan favorite on this site.

But, facts are facts.

This blog is fantastic. Unique approach, updated regularly, and always funny. You've made it to the "check every day" category on my NBA blog list, and that's not easy to do.

Thanks for the effort.

So, tonight, instead of sleeping with my life-size Kobe pillow, I am going to sleep with my life-size Basketbawful pillow.

Blogger flohtingPoint said...
So, tonight, instead of sleeping with my life-size Kobe pillow, I am going to sleep with my life-size Basketbawful pillow.

Flattery will only get you so far. From there you have to step up your cuddle game. Make sure you get the Basketbawful body-pillow with the "I <3 INIGO MONTOYA" shirt on it.

Anonymous Sports Tsar said...
happened to attend the LAC-GS game last night: http://sportstsar.com/2008/03/20/arbitrary-nba-outing-clippers-vs-warriors/

everytime smush touched the ball, the crowd faced a difficult decision, as they were unsure whether to boo, laugh, or just cry

George
http://sportstsar.com/

Anonymous manic said...
I find it funny that Shaq is healthy and playing good ball while at the same time, Marion and Banks are sitting the pine in Miami.

I was really hoping that once Wade was shut down for the season, Marion would try to step up and be the go-to guy that he cried about wanting to be. Now with him out, LET THE TANKING BEGIN!!!

Anonymous james said...
man, even in basketball video games like the nba 2k series, the coach always yells "get a a hand in his face!" when a player shoots an open jump shot.

as for the denver nuggets

i think they have good individual defensive players who get good individual defensive stats like anthony carter and iverson getting steals and kenyon martin and camby getting blocks (and steals). but as a team, if they don't get a steal or a block, a lot of the times, they get scored on. i think it's their team defense that is hurting them. they score a lot, but always seem to let the other team score a lot too.

Blogger Ryne Nelson said...
Likin' the three trilion reference. I wonder what the highest trillion recorded this season happens to be.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
flohtingPoint -- I know what you need. A big, man-crushing Shaq hug. That'll get you in the spirit!

bears in the cathedral -- 80s NBA explained this one. You're basically just covering the offensive player's eyes with your hand. I guess that's why the NBA rulebook calls it eye-guarding.

$ynchronizer -- I'll check it out. Hopefully you can YouTube it. Then, if it rocks, I can post it on the site.

shrugz -- Well, he is kind of a dick. But not a whimsical, take-nothing-serious dick. He's the kind of dick who takes things way too seriously but won't admit he does. Nor will he admit that he makes mistakes. Also note I updated my post to include your blurb about the Raptors fans.

anonymous 1 -- You're right. I updated the post and quoted you.

flohtingPoint -- I do plan to bring up the Stevenson/LeBron feud...stay tuned.

80s NBA -- Thanks for taking that one. And yeah, Dennis Johnson did it. So did Michael Cooper and Buck Williams, among others. Never, EVER saw it called.

anonymous 2 -- Thanks for the kudos, dude. Our party is always open, even to Kobe fans (although they don't always like the drinks we're serving). Glad to have you on board. Don't listen to flohtingPoint...flattery will get you everywhere.

flohtingPoint -- Try not to be so narrow-minded. The Basketbawful pillow with the "Jack Burton ROCKS" t-shirt is also nice.

sports tsar -- I'd choose boo AND cry. Can you boo-cry. Or would that make one's head explode?

manic -- You know, that's a really good point...

james -- I agree. They do a good job of playing passing lanes and obviously Camby blocks a lot of shots. But they have a negative rebounding differential and their ability to force turnovers doesn't work all that well against disciplined teams. I think your assessment is on the money: Good individual D, bad team D.

ryne nelson -- Off the top of my head, I believe the highest trillion we've seen this season is a seven trillion. The highest I've ever seen was Damon Jones' 12 trillion in last year's NBA Finals. Chris Duhon had the largest regular season trillion with 10 trillion last year.

Anonymous Shrugz said...
ahhaha thanks feels good to have that posted cuz it's really annoying (especially chants of "Pizza!!")

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'm totally perplexed by this face guarding controversy. I'd always believed if you don't touch the player it's not a foul. Maybe it's risky cause you could put someone's eye out, but getting a hand up is like defense 101.

This week's Suns are like last week's Rockets: people are jumping the gun in their race to the bandwagon. All you have to do is check these teams' schedules, people, that'll clue you in to where their success is coming from. The Rockets beat up on a bunch of lottery bound teams and good teams missing key guys? So what, look what happens when they face good teams at full strength. Same with the Suns. Smacking around teams like Memphis and Seattle? Big deal. Winning a home game against a Spurs team that's 1-6 in its last 7 games? Yawn. Winning a home game against a Warriors team that played the previous night in Toronto? Color me nonplussed.

Tell you what: the Suns go 4-2 or better to end the month of March and THEN I'll give them some credit. Houston & Denver at home and road games in Boston, Detroit and Philly (with an easy one in Jersey as well) should tell us if the Suns have really stepped it up, or if they have just been outplaying poor opposition. I'll give credit where it's due, I just feel like the Suns haven't earned it yet.

Blogger beep said...
hey, did you notice Mark Blount was on that Enver team which scored 53?
coincidance? ;)

Anonymous bears in the cathedral said...
Thanks for the explanation.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
"Mike Dunleavy Jr.: One day after matching his career-high in scoring and forcing me into the huge concession that he doesn't suck any more, Funleavy shoots 2-for-12 and commits 5 turnovers. Like Mike, if I could be like Mike..."

Look, man. Poor Mikey finally turns it around, and you have to stat curse him?

Rosen's a giant donkey. Actually, that more or less par for the course for Fox, be it sports or regular news. So I guess that makes him sort of a Sports Bill O'Reilly. Maybe comedy central will create a hit show that is a nonstop lampoon of this blowhard.

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