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Monday, April 01, 2013

OT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 2013

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: the Oxford comma and unspeakable criminal acts.

 

The District Attorney Posted: April 01, 2013 at 11:27 AM | 1276 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   201. smileyy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:37 AM (#4409470)
Was that before or after he hurt his knee bowling? I think people forget about that re-injury.
   202. Maxwn Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:00 AM (#4409475)
I don't care about the sixers, so I was following the Bynum story not much and from afar, but this bit about him not playing at all this year was certainly surprising to me.
   203. kpelton Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:09 AM (#4409479)
Was the condition of Bynum's knees really that much of a mystery before training camps opened?

On behalf of everyone who did preseason projections, I will say yes, yes it was.
   204. Morph Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:10 AM (#4409480)
It reminds me of the most depressing Knicks season ever: Waiting on McDyess. I guess it's small consolation that McDyess was actually injured on the court. Bynum just never played. It's really remarkable, if you think about it. Really feel for 'Sixers fans on that raw deal.

Edit: Wait a second. That isn't the most depressing Knicks season ever. Not even close. Sorry about that.
   205. Maxwn Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4409482)
This 8th seed race in the west is bipolar. I feel like every other day or so I'm thinking "Man, does not look good for (Jazz/Lakers)." And then one of them will lose to somebody they shouldn't or win one they shouldn't and everything's reversed. I'd try to figure out who I like now, but they'll probably swap places 3 more times in the last 4 games, so screw it.
   206. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:15 AM (#4409483)
Today's results (Jazz lose, Lakers win) were expected. The Lakers still need help to get in.
   207. robinred Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:33 AM (#4409484)
Yeah, the Lakers are about 30/70 and could, actually, lose their remaining four games if all four teams try hard against them. Berg's point about the Wolves perhaps mailing it in after getting #1000 for Adelman seems logical and is obviously germane. Utah is in the driver's seat here for sure.

One plus is that Pau has looked better lately; I am hoping that he may have something in the tank for 2014, whether he is here or gets traded.
   208. bob gee Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:18 AM (#4409501)
i'm surprised no one had the knicks first, not because they're so good, but because the east had a "almost anyone can win this" feel to it.

i think bynum was initally only supposed to be out the first month of the season.

didn't see last night's lakers game, but i really like kobe running the offense - slowly - and having him make a decision from 12-14 feet. not so keen as him shooting 3 pointers when he's the leader closer to the basket.


   209. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 07:37 AM (#4409507)
4 rebounds for Howard against LAC and then 6 against NOH. What gives?
   210. AROM Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4409673)
My spreadsheet has Lakers/Jazz close to a tossup, about 49/51 with the Jazz at a slight advantage. Though beating NOH and OKC beating Jazz was the expected outcome, it helps the odds to move those games from probable outcomes to in the books. If all games go to the favored team Lakers will get in: Utah would beat Minnesota twice, lose to Memphis, and Lakers would lose to the Spurs but beat Portland on the road, and GSW/HOU since the games will be in LA.
   211. Booey Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4409702)
This 8th seed race in the west is bipolar.


I'm in the camp that doesn't really see last nights events as changing anything. Like Hombre and rr said, the Lakers winning and Jazz losing yesterday was already accounted for in everyones projections. Odds shouldn't shift until someone wins or loses a game they weren't expected to.

i'm surprised no one had the knicks first, not because they're so good, but because the east had a "almost anyone can win this" feel to it.


I disagree. The East had a "almost anyone can finish 2nd" feel to it. Barring a catastrophic injury or two, the Heat have been a virtual lock to win the East right from the get-go.
   212. andrewberg Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4409724)
The Lakers-Blazers game will be interesting. Portland has been a haunted house for the Lakers the last few years, and they had to fly there after last night's late game. At the same time, it sounds like some of Portland's key guys will be sitting it out, and it's not like they have depth to provide quality reinforcements. I will predict the Lakers, but they didn't have an easy time of at at home against New Orleans last night, and that was on regular rest.
   213. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4409731)
as a casual fan i am hopeful the nba doesn't let their desire for a competitive eastern conf cause the league to allow rougher play which apparently is what experts think is the means to defeat miami

the league worked hard to get away from the scrum play years back. would hate to see a team like the bulls get free rein to mug heat players so that a series reaches a 7th game
   214. JJ1986 Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4409735)
Is the Blazers bench historically bad? Their 6th-10th guys in terms of minutes have PERs of 12.5, 8.6, 9.2, 7.9 and 6.8
   215. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4409739)
no intended criticism of chicago

just used for example purposes
   216. andrewberg Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4409743)
the league worked hard to get away from the scrum play years back.


Ironically, the league has been working to get away from that perception ever since the last time a transcendent wing player made the East imbalanced all by himself.
   217. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4409757)
214 - And has been playing better of late (I think). They may very well be historically bad, yeah.

Oh, folks - check out the recent Zach Lowe bit on how offenses are adapting to defenses like what the Bulls run (someone link it, please).
   218. smileyy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4409762)
[213] If anyone has a reputation for that, its the Pacers.
   219. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4409763)
Oh, folks - check out the recent Zach Lowe bit on how offenses are adapting to defenses like what the Bulls run (someone link it, please).


Link
   220. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4409767)
thanks joe
   221. Maxwn Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4409840)
I'm in the camp that doesn't really see last nights events as changing anything. Like Hombre and rr said, the Lakers winning and Jazz losing yesterday was already accounted for in everyones projections. Odds shouldn't shift until someone wins or loses a game they weren't expected to.

Well, my comment about the 8 seed race was off-the-cuff and I didn't really pay attention to who UTA lost to. So I'll withdraw that.

That said, I disagree with the second sentence emphatically. As Arom said earlier, expectations are not guarantees, the expected outcome of this race absolutely shifts every time one of these games goes in the books, whether it was a surprise or not. This is especially true of a race between two teams like LAL and UTA, who are simultaneously not good enough to be massively favored over much of anyone nor bad enough to be a huge dog to very many teams. All these games that are expected to go one or another are probably 60-40 type games for the most part.

I agree with AROM that this is probably much closer to a toss-up than a race where UTA is the drivers seat. LA's got the tougher slate of teams, but the last three are all at home, whereas 2 of Utah's last 3 are on the road. Utah is no guarantee to beat any one on the road and they are the ones that are a game back in the loss column at the moment. FWIW, the ESPN playoff odds thing appears to have the Lakers at 56% to make it in. I don't know that I'd go that far, but I do think that 30/70 is underselling LA's chances by a fair bit.
   222. Booey Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4409868)
I agree with AROM that this is probably much closer to a toss-up than a race where UTA is the drivers seat. LA's got the tougher slate of teams, but the last three are all at home, whereas 2 of Utah's last 3 are on the road. Utah is no guarantee to beat any one on the road and they are the ones that are a game back in the loss column at the moment.


True, but the Jazz also have the easiest game left (statistically) - a homie vs the Wolves. None of the Lakers games (or the remaining Jazz ones) should realistically be considered anything better than a toss up. I'd guess the Jazz odds vs Minny in SLC should probably be around 75%.

FWIW, the ESPN playoff odds thing appears to have the Lakers at 56% to make it in. I don't know that I'd go that far, but I do think that 30/70 is underselling LA's chances by a fair bit.


I agree that 56/44 Lakers or 70/30 Jazz are both too high. I'd probably go with the Jazz at around 60/40.
   223. AROM Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4409869)
Utah is no guarantee to beat any one on the road and they are the ones that are a game back in the loss column at the moment.


At least by my calculations, Utah's disadvantages of being on the road and having 1 more loss almost exactly offset their advantage of holding the tie breaker.

I do wish that the NBA would take a page from MLB and not have tiebreakers to determine in/out for the playoffs. A Utah - LA game 83, winner take all, would be fun.
   224. Booey Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4409891)
I do wish that the NBA would take a page from MLB and not have tiebreakers to determine in/out for the playoffs. A Utah - LA game 83, winner take all, would be fun.


And the tie breaker would determine HC, like it does in the playoffs when two teams with identical records meet? I'd be down for that.

Or they could do it like the Superbowl or NCAA and have the winner take all in a neutral location. Next on ESPN, Jazz vs Lakers, game 83 with the playoffs on the line, live from whatever arena the Bobcats play in!
   225. robinred Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4409914)
I think people are understating the off-the-grid factors. Matthews and Batum may not/will not play, but the Lakers have not won the second game of a b2b all year and have never played well in Portland. There no reason at all for Minnesota to go really hard in either Utah game; they may go hard anyway, but if they do, it will be sheer pride/ethics. I would not blame them at all if they didn't.

Meanwhile, HOU and GS are still jockeying for 6/7, SA is still jockeying for 1 and may prefer playing Utah to playing LAL.

What the Lakers have working for them is HC, and Pau playing better. But Kobe has to be gassed; he is #1 in teh league im MPG.

Finally, while the fans probably care a lot more than the players do about schadenfreude, I am sure Portland will go very hard tonight, trying to drive the proverbial nail into the coffin.
   226. AROM Posted: April 10, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4409927)
And the tie breaker would determine HC, like it does in the playoffs when two teams with identical records meet? I'd be down for that.


That seems fair.
   227. andrewberg Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4409940)
There no reason at all for Minnesota to go really hard in either Utah game; they may go hard anyway, but if they do, it will be sheer pride/ethics. I would not blame them at all if they didn't.


For what it's worth, they played hard against Golden State last night. Their defense fell apart a bunch of times, possibly because it's harder to maintain focus with less on the line, but they were working hard. It would not shock me if they won that game in Minny against Utah. I wouldn't bet on them, though.

Kobe looked pretty good down the stretch, even if he was gassed. Gasol had some good moments last night, too. That's a good point about Portland's motivation. I think that rivalry means something on their end, especially for the fans.
   228. kpelton Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4409944)
All these games that are expected to go one or another are probably 60-40 type games for the most part.

I had both last night's games as about 70-30 affairs, so the outcomes did substantially boost the Lakers' playoff odds. Of course, playoff odds are relatively meaningless now because they assume constant quality of teams.

I don't know what to make of Lakers-Blazers tonight. I understand RR's concerns, but at the same time Will Barton and Victor Claver going hard is a lot different than Batum and Matthews going hard. I saw three Portland games in person last week and the Blazers were terrible for about 11 out of 12 quarters, with a Barton-led fourth-quarter comeback on Sunday against Dallas the exception.
   229. kpelton Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4409962)
Oh, forgot to mention that J.J. Hickson (back) and LaMarcus Aldridge (migraine) may be out tonight, which would leave the Blazers starting five rookies, in all likelihood.
   230. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: April 10, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4409979)
Lakers about 5.5 point favorites tonight and about 68% to win according to the 5 Dimes odds Yahoo lists.
   231. steagles Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4410056)
Was the condition of Bynum's knees really that much of a mystery before training camps opened?
he was healthy in the summer.

then about 3 weeks before training camp he went to germany to have the kobe knee surgery. at that point, he was expected to be ready for the first day of camp.

then he had a few injections of lubricant in his knees. after the first one, he was expected to be ready for the first game of the season. after the 2nd, he was expected to be back around december 1.

then, in late november, he had the bowling thing, and that was expected to keep him out another 6 weeks. so until around mid-january.

then, that injury lingered, so his expected return was pushed back indefinitely, but it was implicitly thought he'd be back around the all-star break.

then, he got back to practicing around the all-star break, but his knee didn't hold up, so he got an MRI.

the MRI showed loose bodies.

the loose bodies were removed via arthroscopic surgery.

and the surgery ended his season.


and that's how a guy misses an entire season despite not having any apparent injury.
   232. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4410064)
no intended criticism of chicago

I do take some exception to it, mostly because you commented on how physical that last Bulls/Heat game was* and because it doesn't really apply to the Bulls. It's hard to point to one stat that would confirm or deny it, but FWIW, the Bulls are only 21st in the league in PF (sorry, don't have the exact per game stats) and are 14th in FT/FGA (another way of measuring how often they foul). Of course, total fouls doesn't really speak to how often they foul or how physical they are (or how often fouls are actually called on them), but it would be quite amazing were they an overly physical team that fouls below average. Going back the last couple of years, the Bulls are always low in the FT/FGA category under Thibs (as opposed to Skiles, who's motto was to foul first and then foul again).

As for how to beat Miami, yes, the book does say you have to be more physical. Part of that is because Miami is going to draw fouls no matter what you do (partially star calls, but mostly a function of how they play) so the thought is obviously to make those fouls count. It's not done, at least IMO, with the same intimidation factor as the Riley Knicks or Daly Pistons, but that's simply because the league doesn't allow that anymore. If anything, the more common complaint is how much the league rewards the offensive players and their ability to draw fouls (both the Thunder and Heat excel at this and face that criticism regularly).

And I'll echo the praise for the Lowe piece linked in 219.

*And to be fair, that game was very physical both ways - atypically so,IMO - partly out of a rivalry between the two teams.
   233. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:31 PM (#4410066)
And to complete some thoughts from yesterday, Rip did make a surprising return, but even that plus Jimmy Butler's career night (28pts on 10/12 shooting, along with 7 rebounds in 48! minutes) still wasn't enough to beat the Raptors.

Outside of the Knicks, none of the other East teams really feel like they're trying everything they can to win right now.
   234. AROM Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4410067)
My odds for each relevant game:

Utah:
vs MIN 73%
at MIN 54%
at MEM 25%

LA:
at POR 50%
vs GSW 55%
vs SAS 38%
vs HOU 56%
   235. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4410141)
So, ESPN did another of their NBARank things and today they had a 5 on 5 on who was over/underrated. Chris Palmer's reaction to all the player rankings is so out of whack with what everyone else thinks it's kind of funny.

EDIT: I'm not saying he's right or wrong (though most of the time I think he's an idiot), but it's funny to see 3-4 guys call someone underrated, then he says they're overrated.
   236. smileyy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4410179)
[235] I find it amusing that often a guy will be talked about being "underrated" so much, that he ends up being "overrated" -- that rarely does that guy just end up being "rated appropriately"
   237. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:43 PM (#4410269)
I'm curious what everyone's Top 10 looks like (Best player, not MVP).
   238. smileyy Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:02 PM (#4410289)
Can you clarify "best"? My assumption is "If the NBA were redrafted every year, who would be the top 10 picks for next year?"

1. LeBron
2. Durant
3. CP3
4-7 Harden, Rose, Westbrook, Marc Gasol
8-9 Parker, Duncan
10 Kobe?

Edit: I might go Griffin over Kobe. It's defense that's knocking Kobe and Carmelo off of this list.
   239. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4410303)
moses

I really didn't work to pick Chicago. and with everyone commenting on threads about edit issues I thought the follow comment would suffice

but regarding the playoffs I would not be surprised if the league suddenly looked up and the heat are down 3-1 in a series and then there are a rash of ridiculously officiated games that propel the heat to a series win.

all because they let some team knock them around to make things competitive

   240. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4410313)
Washington lost at home to Miami who was playing without the Big Three and Udonis Haslem. That's not good.
   241. RollingWave Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4410336)
Is the Blazers bench historically bad? Their 6th-10th guys in terms of minutes have PERs of 12.5, 8.6, 9.2, 7.9 and 6.8


Coaching and dubious front office ability probably had something to do with this.

   242. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4410346)
Edit: I might go Griffin over Kobe. It's defense that's knocking Kobe and Carmelo off of this list.


If defense is keeping guys off this list, what's Harden doing on it?
   243. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:59 PM (#4410349)
1. LeBron
2. Durant
3. CP3
4. Marc Gasol
5. Duncan
6. Harden
7. Kobe
8. Melo
9. Westbrook
10. Howard

HM: Wade, Parker, Bosh, Blake, Love, Brook, Rose, Horford
   244. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4410350)
I know that there have been health and depth issues with the Lakers. But there's no way you can have two guys in the top-10 and struggle to make the playoffs.
   245. Maxwn Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4410361)
So, ESPN did another of their NBARank things and today they had a 5 on 5 on who was over/underrated.

I enjoyed the bit they did about guys out of the top 30 they thought should be in. I've been thinking about doing some sort of recap-type post on the Grizz with the regular season winding down and Arnovitz and Koremenos both made one of the main points I wanted to make, which is that Mike Conley is now quietly really ####### good and that Zach Randolph is at best the 3rd best player on the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol is now getting a lot of recognition for what he does, but Conley's still way under the radar, I think. He's turned into one of the best defensive PGs in the league and this year in particular his offense has dramatically improved.

One of the reasons that the Rudy Gay trade seems to have worked out so well is that Prince has fit really well, but one of the other big ones is that Conley has improved to the point where it makes more sense to have him be your main guy on the wing than Rudy. If I did the math right, he's been averaging around 17/7 since the trade and he's scored 20+ in something like 10 of the last 13. I think I said at the time that there was a chance the Gay trade would improve the offense just by rationalizing the roles of the other players on the team and the tendencies of the offense itself. That seems to have really come true, at least to my eyes. I still don't think it was all or maybe even mostly his fault, but something about the combination of Rudy and his weaknesses, the coaching staff's blind spots and the other players' deference to him seems to have really been screwing up the Grizzlies offense. It's like Rudy got traded so Lionel finally took the training wheels off Conley and he's been killing it ever since. File that under things I would not have predicted 3-4 years ago.
   246. Maxwn Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4410363)
I know that there have been health and depth issues with the Lakers. But there's no way you can have two guys in the top-10 and struggle to make the playoffs.

I think the fair answer to this question is that Howard wasn't top-10 this year. But if you're doing a forward looking list, his past level of excellence and the fact that he seemed a bit healthier lately (at least from my limited perspective) make it reasonable to put him pretty high going forward. If he's no better next year, then I think he'd be off the list.

Edit: Of course, I'm not sure I'd have Kobe #7 like [243] on a forward-looking list, especially given his defense these days. That said, the effort he was having to put in on offense in the game against the Grizzlies the other night was pretty unbelievable. From what I've seen of them this year, the Lakers offense would be terrible and they'd probably be well into the lottery without his offensive contributions this year, so I can see the argument.
   247. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:20 PM (#4410364)
Maxwn, your math is right - Conley is at 17.1/6.7 since the trade, with 2.2 SPG and shooting %s of 46/36/83. He's not elite, but he seems to have improved to a level I don't think any of us necessarily expected he'd get to.
   248. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:23 PM (#4410366)
Portland has dropped 22 on the Lakers in the first six minutes.

California-ite Laker fans - do folks out there understand that the Lakers' D will keep them from doing anything beyond a tough 1st round series (maybe), or do folks have actual expectations since the Lakers *are* 23-12 over the past few months?
   249. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4410382)
SAS-DEN should be interesting as far as potential playoff preview.

EDIT: Aaaand SAS is off to a 12-0 start. Guess I'll stop watching now.
   250. bob gee Posted: April 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4410391)
lillard's going off (23 pts, 7 assists). who's supposed to be covering him, kobe or blake?
   251. Maxwn Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4410396)
This game may come down to a Kobe-Lillard race to 60.
   252. AROM Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:36 PM (#4410405)
I wish I could watch this one. Only following the PBP, Lillard hits 4 free throw in a row, steals the ball and hits a 3.
   253. AROM Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4410406)
For those who think Kobe should be gassed, this is called adrenaline.
   254. bob gee Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:39 PM (#4410408)
arom - there's ways online, streaming basketball
   255. AROM Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:40 PM (#4410410)
Don't have league pass, and I'm not going to pay for it now. Pretty soon all the games will be on cable anyway.
   256. Maxwn Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:41 PM (#4410412)
So he's gonna try to go all 48 again isn't he?
   257. bob gee Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:42 PM (#4410415)
arom - it's free, google it. just have adblock on.
   258. RollingWave Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:42 PM (#4410416)
So he's gonna try need to go all 48 again isn't he?


And score 60 points.

   259. bob gee Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4410420)
kobe's leading lakers in blocks, steals, boards and points. if pau didn't have so many assists, he'd have that too.
   260. RollingWave Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:55 PM (#4410424)
LMA need to step up more than he has so far if the Blazers want to win this thing, Kobe's simply going into god mode at this point

EDIT: and just as I type that Portland's bench somehow opened up a 5 point lead
   261. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 10, 2013 at 11:56 PM (#4410425)
AROM - a t d h e dot e u
   262. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4410433)
Kobe.
   263. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM (#4410436)
Pau's passing, wow.
   264. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:29 AM (#4410438)
I wish I could watch this one. Only following the PBP, Lillard hits 4 free throw in a row, steals the ball and hits a 3.


http://www.firstrow1.eu/sport/basketball.html I've never had a problem finding a feed for any game.

I didn't watch this one, but even though Thunder or Spurs would still be big favorites, I would not want to face the Lakers with (mostly) healthy Bryant, Gasol, and Howard, especially as the playoff schedule should help the Lakers a bit.
   265. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:30 AM (#4410440)
Kobe finished with a 47/8/5/4/3 on 52% shooting and played the whole game. He was 18/18 from the line. Jesus.
   266. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:30 AM (#4410442)
Kobe finished with a 47/8/5/4/3 on 52% shooting and played the whole game. He was 18/18 from the line. Jesus.

Second game of a back to back.
   267. robinred Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:35 AM (#4410445)
People (in general, not really thinking about here so much)who bag on/mock Lakers fans for sticking up for Kobe and being "too defensive" about him...well, they should just look at tonight's game.

I still think Utah will get in, though, and the Lakers probably would have lost this game if a couple more of POR's guys had played.
   268. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4410446)
I would not want to face the Lakers with (mostly) healthy Bryant, Gasol, and Howard, especially as the playoff schedule should help the Lakers a bit.

Eh, even if Kobe, Dwight, and Pau are pretty excellent they still wind up in tight games like tonight because their team defense is bad and all of the other Lakers basically suck. If they showed any signs of getting it together on defense, that'd be one thing, but without that they are not much more threatening than any of the other lowish seeds in the West. At this point in the season, I think they basically are what they look like, which is more or less a mediocre team.
   269. robinred Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4410448)

ESPNChrisPalmer chris palmer
Kobe on Lillard: "That boy's serious."
   270. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:43 AM (#4410449)
Second game of a back to back.

Yeah, I was going to mention that. Kobe played 89 minutes the last two nights and scored 77 on ~50% shooting.

I will say this, I don't think they're much of a threat in a 1st round series, but if they get in, Kobe's like to kill himself trying to prove otherwise.
   271. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:46 AM (#4410451)
Eh, even if Kobe, Dwight, and Pau are pretty excellent they still wind up in tight games like tonight because their team defense is bad and all of the other Lakers basically suck. If they showed any signs of getting it together on defense, that'd be one thing, but without that they are not much more threatening than any of the other lowish seeds in the West. At this point in the season, I think they basically are what they look like, which is more or less a mediocre team.


Like I said, both the Spurs and Thunder are still huge favorites, but a healthy Lakers team is more dangerous than most 8 seeds. I'd rather face the Jazz or Warriors for sure, and maybe the Rockets as well.
   272. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4410454)
so as a UNC guy I point to tonight's Bucks-Magic box score and ask why John Henson has barely averaged ten minutes a game since Christmas? I mean, he's too skinny, sure, but you have him playing fewer minutes than Epe Udoh because why?
   273. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4410455)
I'd rather face the Jazz or Warriors for sure, and maybe the Rockets as well.

Well, I mean this is not an unreasonable thing to say, but I don't think the Jazz or Warriors are really that great either. Most 8 seeds is a pretty low bar. I also don't think I agree at all about the Rockets.
   274. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:55 AM (#4410457)
However, as a fan of a team that now looks increasingly likely to be in that 4-5 series, if the Lakers get in and feel like taking out the 1 seed, I'm all for it.
   275. puck Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4410458)
SAS-DEN should be interesting as far as potential playoff preview.

EDIT: Aaaand SAS is off to a 12-0 start. Guess I'll stop watching now.

After all that, the Nuggets won. 54 wins, ties the franchise NBA high.
   276. smileyy Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:57 AM (#4410459)

If defense is keeping guys off this list, what's Harden doing on it?


Because he's that damn good on O. And I suspect he's being told not to play defense. Which makes him similar to Kobe, I suppose. If I'm going to ding people for D, I should probably move Harden down, then.

With Kobe, its the lack of D, and the years/miles going into next year.
With Carmelo, I don't trust him to keep playing at this level, and my #2 draft pick better be a Tyson Chandler-esque center.
   277. smileyy Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:00 AM (#4410461)
so as a UNC guy I point to tonight's Bucks-Magic box score and ask why John Henson has barely averaged ten minutes a game since Christmas? I mean, he's too skinny, sure, but you have him playing fewer minutes than Epe Udoh because why?


Because neither of them are any good, so it doesn't matter?

Which is too bad, because I liked Epke Udoh.
   278. robinred Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:14 AM (#4410465)
Corey Brewer was +30 in 34 minutes in the SA/DEN game.
   279. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:18 AM (#4410468)
Because neither of them are any good, so it doesn't matter?

Also, and I say this while admittedly knowing about this specific situation(indeed, I don't think I could have told you 20 mins ago who either one of those guys played for), rookies often don't get minutes ahead of guys that are arguably just as bad as them because they aren't as polished and familiar with the playbook/NBA defensive concepts/etc. If two guys are fighting for back of the rotation minutes and one of them is better at knowing where to go and what to do and so forth, that guy will get the minutes from nearly every coach in the league. They possibly overdo it with this tendency(looking at you, Lionel), but it is real.

I don't know if that applies here - Udoh could be a complete idiot and Henson could be the smartest rookie in the league for all I know.
   280. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:44 AM (#4410471)
yeah, but both PER and my eyeballs say Henson is gonna be a good player.
Udoh, well, neither support him.
And Udoh's 3 yrs older.

Team D concept though is undoubtedly the reason.

Still, 17/25/7 blocks is a nice night. Maybe it buys him a few minutes against the Heat....
   281. robinred Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4410473)
ESPNChrisPalmer chris palmer
Perfect 18-18 FT has been done 18 times in last 50 years. Done it twice: Kobe, West, Barry.
   282. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:18 AM (#4410476)
yeah, but both PER and my eyeballs say Henson is gonna be a good player.
Udoh, well, neither support him.
And Udoh's 3 yrs older.

Yeah, that's fine, I have no real opinion on any of that. The general answer to the question "Why is that rookie not playing more than some terrible veteran?" is usually that the vet knows how to do what the coach wants him to do more consistently, whether he does it to any degree of effectiveness or not. From my perspective this is especially true if the team is in the playoff hunt at all. Milwaukee isn't really much good, but they are the 8 seed in the East, so a rookie who's any kind of project at all is gonna be prone to riding the bench.

There's also probably an ego management factor as well. John Henson was a mid-1st round pick who was probably not expecting to jump into the league and play all the time. He's probably easier to placate about minutes than anybody who's been in the league for a minute or two. You just have to read Jack McCallum's book on the 05-06 Suns to realize that managing the ######## and discontent about minutes and roles is a real problem for coaches and the temptation to take the path of least resistance and bench a rookie who will probably STFU about it would be pretty big.
   283. Maxwn Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:24 AM (#4410478)
Perfect 18-18 FT

That might be the most impressive thing of the game. It's always seemed to me that the first thing you notice when guys are on a b2b and/or start to get gassed is they start missing free throws.
   284. Booey Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:27 AM (#4410479)
Not happy of course that Mamba and co pulled out the W, but ya gotta tip your hat to Kobe for that performance. The age, the minutes...damn. It even overshadowed a fantastic night by Lillard (who went to college in Utah, so it goes without saying that he's awesome).

I'm glad the Spurs lost though; keeping them neck and neck with the Thunder makes it more likely they'll take their remaining game against the Lakers seriously. I'm also hoping the Nuggs wrap up the 3rd seed ASAP so Memphis has nothing to shoot for in the finale. The Clips losing would've helped, of course.
   285. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:36 AM (#4410482)
Booey they could throw the game to dodge the lakers and let the thunder face em, would make it interesting
   286. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 07:16 AM (#4410502)
DEN comeback was awesome. Would much rather have them face SAS in Round 2 than OKC. SAS seems on the brink, health-wise.

As an aside, didn't DeJuan Blair use to be fat?
   287. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 11, 2013 at 07:55 AM (#4410509)
I have never been a Mamba fan, but I gotta admit this year has made me re-evaluate. He is a tough and competative SOB. Damn.
   288. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4410530)
Booey they [the Spurs] could throw the game to dodge the lakers and let the thunder face em, would make it interesting


I don't know. Technically San Antonio should be afraid of everyone right now because, as usual, their guys are breaking down at the wrong time. But man, I don't know, ceding that Kobe is super human, LA just gave up 69 first half points to Portland's (mostly) JV team. That's pretty crazy.
   289. AROM Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4410559)
Thanks for the .eu links guys, I'll have to check those out.

I had LA @ POR as basically a 50/50 being on the road, so putting that in the win column is huge. I've now got the Lakers favored, at about 65/35. Utah has the tiebreaker, but to use that tiebreaker they now have to be one win better than LA in a 3 game set. I've got Utah winning outright only 12% of the time, and utilizing the tiebreaker 23%.
   290. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4410606)
Booey they could throw the game to dodge the lakers and let the thunder face em, would make it interesting


The Thunder would score 120 per game on the Lakers. That wouldn't be a series. Kobe would win one by himself, though.

Because he's that damn good on O. And I suspect he's being told not to play defense. Which makes him similar to Kobe, I suppose. If I'm going to ding people for D, I should probably move Harden down, then.

With Kobe, its the lack of D, and the years/miles going into next year.
With Carmelo, I don't trust him to keep playing at this level, and my #2 draft pick better be a Tyson Chandler-esque center.


That's fair, thanks for the response. I agree that Harden is a guy you'd want going forward over Kobe simply because of age (well, just don't tell Kobe I said that).

I have never been a Mamba fan, but I gotta admit this year has made me re-evaluate. He is a tough and competative SOB. Damn.


Hmm...for me, I'd argue we've known about his competitive nature for years. Obviously, it's very impressive what he's done at his age, leading the league in minutes, basically willing his team to the playoffs. He's a top 12 all-time guy in the very tail end of his prime; that's what they do. I am perfect willing to acknowledge and respect (and even savor) his greatness; he's never going to make me like him, though.
   291. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4410626)
Hmm...for me, I'd argue we've known about his competitive nature for years.


Agreed, but at his age with his mileage he just keeps cranking. I find it impressive though not likeable. Of course I don't feel a need to like sports figures in general. Lance Armstrong is amazing and a giant jerk.
   292. AROM Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4410637)
I think it was last month's thread, or maybe the one before that, where I picked the Lakers to make the playoffs despite being a few games back in the standings, basically on the premise that Kobe would push himself to the limits of life to make that playoff push. All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

As to Kobe's competitiveness, if you didn't know it before now, you must not pay much attention to the Lakers.

For the potential motivations of the remaining playoff-impacting games:

1. Minnesota: Will play for pride, but are understaffed and undertalented. Utah should handle them.

2. Memphis: Potential for the Griz to bring their A game. They are 1 back of Denver, and the seeding of those 2 teams is huge, since the Clippers are locked into #4 by their division title. Winner gets HCA and faces HOU/GSW, loser faces LAC on the road. If this seeding has not been locked up, expect a very tough matchup for the Jazz.

3/4. Houston/ Golden State: I don't see 6/7 as a huge difference. One plays OKC or SAS, other plays Denver, all without HCA. Both teams could be resting players. Laker defense means their reserves will be scorching the nets though.

5. San Antonio. Pros to full effort: Potential implication for #1 seed and HCA throughout the west. Joy of beating the Lakers. Cons: Old players want all the rest they can get before playoffs. Popovich is the coach. Getting #1 or #2 seed not a big deal in choosing your first round opponent.
   293. Booey Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4410654)
Booey they could throw the game to dodge the lakers and let the thunder face em, would make it interesting


The best way to dodge the Lakers would be by beating them and helping the Jazz make the playoffs instead.

Besides, if SA and OKC meet in the WCF again, that series could very well be decided by home court. Are they really going to hurt their shot at the Finals just for a slightly easier first round opponent? Spurs would beat the Jazz in 4 or 5. They'd beat the Lakers in 5 or 6. I'm not really seeing the motivation for tanking.
   294. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4410707)
The general answer to the question "Why is that rookie not playing more than some terrible veteran?" is usually that the vet knows how to do what the coach wants him to do more consistently, whether he does it to any degree of effectiveness or not. From my perspective this is especially true if the team is in the playoff hunt at all. Milwaukee isn't really much good, but they are the 8 seed in the East, so a rookie who's any kind of project at all is gonna be prone to riding the bench.

Also, in the specific situation, Jim Boylan is terrible as a head coach.
   295. robinred Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4410800)
A lot of guys have "competitive natures"; what is noteworthy about Bryant's recent performance is the minutes he is playing at his age and mileage level, and the amount of repsonsibility that he is taking on O (Nash is out again, remember), which would be noteworthy for a guy of any age, but is particularly so for a guy pushing age 35 in his 17th year, who has been in the playoffs, often deep in the playoffs, almost every year of his career, and who also played in the Olympics over the summer. And the reaction of some of the people here to it demonstrates how impressive it has been, given how Bryant conversations generally have gone.


LA just gave up 69 first half points to Portland's (mostly) JV team


Like I said a few months ago, and have said over and over again, the Lakers are a very poor perimeter defensive team, which means they can lose any time they take the floor. It is partly a roster construction problem and partly a coaching problem. The Lakers need a wing with quick feet who can defend, and they need a combo guard who can play with either Nash or Bryant who can defend 1s or 2s. Even if these players had no offensive ability at all, and they wouldn't since they would be cheap guys, they would help. We have seen this already with Earl Clark, who is extremely limited offensively, but has been useful since he tries hard on D, is young, and has a little athletic ability.

What happened in addition to the injuries/age is that Kupchak:

a) Misread Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris
b) Focused on shooting/scoring, picking up Meeks and Jamison
c) Stuck with Steve Blake as the backup 1

Jamison and Meeks have actually done as much as could be expected, and they have helped to win games at times, but they add to the defensive problem, rather than alleviating it.
Also, while it is hard to convert low draft picks, the fact that Ebanks and Morris, who, physically, have some traits the Lakers need off the bench, have not been able to develop even into 10-12 MPG guys has been a problem as well.

Some in the fanbase think that MDA should have been running Ebanks and Morris out there a few minutes a game anyway, just to get some young legs on the floor and to give Kobe a break. Others think that they are so awful that he is doing the right thing by running the team in the way that he is.

   296. robinred Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4410808)
And there is another side to it:

http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/36384/kobe-brilliant-but-lakers-need-team-ball-too

"It's bittersweet," Pau Gasol said when asked about Bryant's dominating performance against the Blazers, in which he played all 48 minutes in a non-overtime road game for the first time in his career. "Because, I think it's spectacular and it's very impressive and it's remarkable to be able to play 48 minutes and score 47 points. That's incredible. On the other hand, I'm a player that likes to see a little bit more ball movement and better balance. I've always been [like that]. That's just how I perceive this game.

"But again, he was incredible tonight. He scored a tremendous amount of points that I never scored in my life. So, like I said, it was very impressive and it's not something that you do every night, of course."


"We just got to play together; that's the biggest thing," Howard said. "Play together. I think we got to really play inside-out. That's what kills teams. It slows the game down. It gets me and Pau in a rhythm, and we're able to find guys on the perimeter also. It's tough to guard."

World Peace joined in the chorus the night before after the win against New Orleans, when he was yelling at his teammates from the bench in the fourth quarter to not just get swept up by Bryant's aura.

"At the end of the game, Pau was looking for Kobe, and I'm like, 'What the hell are you looking for Kobe for? Go to work. You don't have time for spectating. Everybody, what the f--- are you looking for Kobe for? Go to work. Everybody go to work,'" World Peace said Tuesday. "The five guys that are on that floor? We go to work. We're not watching. We don't take pictures. That's what you guys [in the media] are for, you take pictures. We're not taking pictures out there. We can't even bring a camera on the floor if we had a chance."
   297. Booey Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4410810)
Considering Stern's reaction to the Spurs/tanking controversy earlier in the season, does anyone think he would/should care if teams like SA, HOU, or MEM alter the playoff race by benching starters in the final couple of games?

You always see teams that have locked up their seed resting players at the end of the season, but I don't remember it ever affecting other teams playoff chances quite as much as it does this year.
   298. robinred Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4410814)
You always see teams that have locked up their seed resting players at the end of the season, but I don't remember it ever affecting other teams playoff chances quite as much as it does this year.


You may be right, but ISTM that this just seems different because there is one spot open and the Lakers are in a fight for it. But I am not sure about that.
   299. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4410823)
"We just got to play together; that's the biggest thing," Howard said. "Play together. I think we got to really play inside-out. That's what kills teams. It slows the game down. It gets me and Pau in a rhythm, and we're able to find guys on the perimeter also. It's tough to guard."


I didn't want to drag that aspect up out of respect for the resident Lakers fans, but since RR opened the door! It did occur to me that Dwight would be upset about the Kobe show, because that seems like exactly the kind of guy that Dwight is.
   300. AROM Posted: April 11, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4410859)
You may be right, but ISTM that this just seems different because there is one spot open and the Lakers are in a fight for it. But I am not sure about that.


That's my impression too. I'd be OK with a heavy handed approach, tell these teams that if they bench starters in games that have playoff implications, then that player can't play game 1 of the playoffs either. I realize this would affect the Lakers more than the Jazz, since they have 3 games against the playoff bound, but I'd far prefer to see things played straight up to tanking.
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