We decided to do a running blog entry of tonight’s Cavs-Wizards game. Few reasons: Its our favorite series right now, we had nothing else better to do…but basically we just wanted to write glowing things about LeBron James.
A few notes before we get things under way:
- All this crap that LeBron didn’t play well because he got knocked around is just that: crap. The Zards D really didn’t have that much to do with the win: Bron Bron just didn’t play that well. When you are saving balls under your own basket and missing breakaway dunks, you just don’t have you’re A game. He leads the NBA in 3-point plays: you think he can’t handle some contact? Dude’s a freight train. Brenden Heywood is…ah, you know what? He’s a Carolina grad. We’ll lay off.
- Will Bronny still attack the rim? Not because he’s scared of contact, but because the Wiz are laying off him. So maybe the real question is, can the King knock down a few open J’s?
- We know Gilbert and LeBron are going to get theirs. Who else will step up? If Drew Gooden can duplicate his performance from Game 2 coupled with LeBron playing better, it’s a wrap. If the Wizards big three can crack 75, it’s a wrap. If both those things happen…well, that’s a lot of wraps.
- Caron Butler is a dead man for mocking LeBron’s “chalk in the air” routine. A dead man.
- We’re openly cheering for the Cavs.
- We’re slightly buzzed. Just saying.
In the interest of full disclosure: we’re joined by my man Biz; Polly and Caspian (the house ducks) and a full case of Miller Lite. Here we go…
Snapper Jones and Mike Tirico calling the game. Love Tirico, hate Snapper. We’ll call it a draw. His name is Snapper! How bad does your real name have to be to change it to Snapper? Snapper, BJ…ESPN needs to hire some people with more sexual names, we think.
Doris Burke working the sideline. Apparently, Trey Wingo was unavailable.
Ilgauskas opens up the game by drilling a hook shot that started at his knees. I can’t believe that goes in regularly. Nice beard, Z, you look like the Russian guy from Bad Boys II. But everyone one the Cavs has a beard. In fact, like, 85% of the people in the playoffs have a beard. Except Nash, he can’t grow facial hair. Just MVPs. (And I just puked. Nash: back to back MVP. Yea, he’s that good. Puke again)
Down 6-4, Z has shot 3 times, Gooden once, Hughes twice. Maybe LeBron could touch it, yes? By the way, only one of those went in.
Both teams seem pretty upset with the backboard. And the basketball. Those two are colliding a lot. The net is lonely.
Gooden hammers home a tip dunk. If the Wiz don’t keep him off the glass, they are done. Good sign of you’re a Cavs fun (like us).
Gooden just double dribbled. I swear to God. He dribbled, picked it up, shot faked, and then dribbled again. Second graders everywhere said, “Hey, you can’t do that!.”
LeBron scores! Goes coast to coast after a rebound. Good sign, despite the sloppy start.
(Breaking news! Mario Williams signs with the Texans! Good God, the Niners have a chance at Reggie Bush! If the Niners get Bush, and LeBron plays well…and the Tar Heels recruiting class….dear lord, this is too much..don’t mess with me)
Gilbert says “let LeBron get his and we’ll take away everyone else.” Yes. Very smart. Let’s do that.
This is so sloppy. Both teams are missing layups, falling over, throwing the ball away, falling over…is this Cavs-Wiz or Rockers-Mystics (yes, I know these cities WNBA teams. We’ll discuss this later).
Wizards are doubling LeBron off the pick and roll. That conflicts with the whole “let LeBron get his” doesn’t it? By the way, I don’t get the whole “let him get his” theory. Why wouldn’t he score every time then? They aren’t letting him score, are they?
Butler just shot a three from near the top of the key and it hit the backboard – squarely. Wow. Karma, Caron. You have no one to blame but yourself. If you got points for hitting the backboard really hard and avoiding the rim at all costs, the Wiz would be killing the Cavs. As is stands, they’re up six, 17-11.
Commercial break. We are all witnesses. Yes we are.
Flagrant foul on Anderson Varajao. Unreal. The NBA is turning into a bunch of pussies. That’s ridiculous. He bodied them up. This is a contact sport, Commish. Let ‘em play. Neither Artest or Psey should be suspended. They were hard fouls – granted, they had nothing to do with basketball, but whatever – and it’s the playoffs.
Cripes. Arenas drills a pull up three. But LeBron answers, getting to the rim, taking the foul, finishing, but missing the free throw. 22-15, Wiz.
Caron Butler scores again, coast to coast. 26-15. This is no good. 7-8-8 so far for the Big Three. This is no good.
LeBron hammers one out of the time out, blowing by everyone from the top of the key and finishing with two hands. We’ll leave it to Tirico: “Excuse me while I clear my throat.”
End of the quarter: LeBron whips a great pass to Verajao under the rim, who is promptly rejected. Memo to LeBron: he sucks. Quit throwing him the ball, especially under the rim when no one is around him. Bad things happen. Still, Cavs force a quick turnover and Flip Murray’s dunk beats the buzzer. After one – Wiz up 7. 13 combined turnovers. Let’s sharpen things up, eh, ladies?
Good God. Arenas is on fire. LeBron answers again, though. He’s kinda good. Oh, he scored again while I was typing that. I’m a slow typer, but that was fast.
I went to grab a beer – Bizz, what I miss? Oh you’re sleeping? K, just checking.
Every time the Wiz make a big basket, LeBron answers. It’s a layup fest for him. Where is the enforcer Brenden Haywood?
(I have to pee so bad. Can we go to commercial please? Please?!?!)
Haywood flops as Ilgauskas gets an easy bucket. I never say Charles Oakley flop, or any “enforcer” for that matter.
With 6:13 left in the half, Arenas head to the locker room. Yay. Going to check the flop, we think.
Antonio Daniels – knock it off. He’s causing all kinds of problems, getting in the paint, drawing fouls. Two freebies pushes the lead out to eight. Damn you, Antonio.
Bronny misses a three. Shit. Jared Jeffries, three point play. Shit.
James: 16 points. Rest of team: 20. Yea, Kobe has a weak supporting cast.
The Big Three is pissing me off. I hate all of them. Quit shooting, all three of you! The Cavs playing can’t guard their own shadow, though, so that might help.
Mike Brown – get that look of your face. Tell me you have some answers. That look makes me think you don’t. Oh, you’re just relying in LeBron? You have no answers? Just that dumb look? We thought so.
LeBron follows up a Snow miss with a tip dunk, then steals a lazy pass and hammers one at the other end. Still, the Wizznuts are up 10. Make that eight: Varajeo actually made a layup. I don’t know who I hate more, the Wizznuts or LeBron’s supporting cast.
Halftime: Cavs down 8. The Big Three really couldn’t have played any better. Bron needs some help. Anyone. Z? Larry? Drew Gooden? Oh nevermind, Drew is done. Atawn Jamison is “taking it personal” to stop him. So Gooden is done. Fabulous.
Second half is under way. Arenas drills a jumper. Of course he did.
In the interest of full disclosure, these posts are starting to be a lot funnier to me. And that’s not because I am writing funny lines. Yea.
ESPN just showed back to back shots of the Cavs coach and the Wizards coach making the exact same face; they should just run a thought bubble above their heads saying, “What is the best way I can blow this game?” I don’t think either of them is smart. So this game should be up to the players. Somehow, we don’t know who that favors. The Wiz have more good players, but the Cavs have the best.
Somehow, this game is getting boring. Half court set after half court set resulting in bricked midrange jumpers. Lots of fouls. Few offensive rebounds. C’mon fellas, gimme something.
Biz just sneezed in his sleep. That was more exciting than anything in this half.
Caron drills a fadeaway. Kid is having himself a game. Bron answers in the post. Why isn’t he living in there? They aren’t doubling him, and hes about 7 feet from the bucket. I see no downside.
Are you bored reading this? You should be, because I’m bored writing this.
Not anymore! Heywood just airballed a free throw. That’s right. He’s being paid a lot of money to play basketball and he can’t hit the rim from 15 feet away. He should get a bigger suspension than Delmon Young. That’s ridiculous.
Oh what a fucking pass. LeBron just flicked a pass from the 3 point line under the rim to someone who made a layup. It was all wrist, just snap and it was there. I’m still trying to figure out how he got it in there. Heywood didn’t even see it zip over his shoulder; it was like throwing a fade when the DB isn’t quite looking. That’s why he’s LeBron, plain and simple. Damn.
The announcers are making a big deal that LeBron “doesn’t focus on the defender in front of him.” Just the help. Little secret, fellas: that goes for a lot of the players in the NBA. Few people can stop a professional scorer one-on-one. That’s why help D is so crucial in the NBA – the primary defender is usually useless.
Somehow, we’re tied after the third quarter. Fourth, all even…it’s the playoffs, great become good, legends are born, and any other cliché you wanna throw out.
Wiz draw first blood on a sweet baseline drive by Arenas. The reverse finish in traffic…that was tough. But, as always, LeBron answers, drilling a three. But Arenas responds with a two of his own. Shootout!
Arenas scores again – holy hell, he’s tough – and Hughes answers right back with a layup and the foul. Free throw on the way, after the break…good. We’re all tied. Michael Ruffin checks in after Haywood picks up his fifth foul, and not for his offense.
Ga-Damn. Arenas with a 3 point play. I hate him. Bronny hits a three! The back and forth is getting a little “can you top this?” I never saw it, but this is turning into a poor man’s - very poor, mind you – Bird/’Nique.
5:34 left. Cavs down 6 after two Caron Butler free throws. He has 18. I hate him so hard.
Neither team seems particularly interested in stopping the other. I know the playoffs are all about D, but I can’t name a series – certainly not this one – where one team just put the clamps on another team.
No one is even sweating right now. There’s three minutes left in the fourth quarter of a crucial first round playoff game – and no one is sweating.
OK, two minutes left. My concentation is waning. I think I’m drunk. Wiz up four. I hate them. LeBron with another three point play. Everyone else on his team sucks. He does everything. He might as well have the Rockers out there. They don’t guard anyone, they don’t make open shots – they’re freakin worthless. LeBron has them within one.
1:45 left, Wiz ball. Arenas flops on a block call and goes to the line. Makes one of two. If LeBron can pull out a win here, he’s a god. He gets fouled, no call – Wiz ball. Ruffin fouled, but since the refs were trying to make up for screwing LeBron, they don’t call it. Donyell Marshall wake up from his nap, misses a three, and then is fouled when he grabs his own rebound. He knocks down both free throws – game tied at 93, 50.8 seconds left.
Oh no. LeBron is chewing on his nails in the timeout. Could he have picked a worse nervous habit? I’d rather have him smoking Marlboro’s.
Murray steals an entry pass! Cavs balls. 41.8 secs. LeBron goes to town on his fingernails. Even Snapper is mocking him. Hail Mary, full of grace…
LeBron scores…probably a jumpball, but he’s Lebron….Arenas the other way…layup, yes…And one! Makes the freebie…23.4 secs left, Cavs ball, down one. Here we go, Bronny, it’s all you.
Oh my God, I cant breathe….Oh my God…Oh…My…God…LeBron works his way in to the paint, takes the contact, hangs…and banks in an impossible shot…should have got the foul, too…just a ridiculous shot…ga-damn, he’s good. I witnessed that. 5 ticks left.
Arenas inbounds…gets it back…Hughes falls down…(tears begin to form…)…Arenas misses! Game, Cavs!
Everyone bite your nails! Its cool! It makes you hit game winners and shouldn’t be a concern at all!
Final thoughts: the Cavs trailed all game, and somehow won. That means something. LeBron willed them to that win…41 points, record for most points on the road during a playoff debut. This series is going to be a classic. Long live the King.
And I’m drunk, I think. Sorry.
Friday, April 28, 2006
We decided to do a running blog entry of tonight’s Cavs-Wizards game. Few reasons: Its our favorite series right now, we had nothing else better to do…but basically we just wanted to write glowing things about LeBron James.
Kobe has us baffled. The man really is an enigma. If you figure him out, let us know. Does he want to win, or does he want to put up numbers?
Kobe, at least to us, seems hell bent on winning - but winning his way. And there is a difference.
He was at least 50% at fault for breaking up The Shaq-Kobe Dynasty (and probably more than that). If he truly wanted to win, it seems to us, he would have swallowed whatever pride he had and kept the big man around. But that's all over and done with now, and not really worth debating who's at fault, because no one will ever really know - just something to keep in the back of your mind.
After missing the playoffs last year, Kobe absolutely destroyed himself this season trying to get his team into the playoffs. He shot and shot - it was borderline comical, borderline insane, borderline genius. His motives were questioned as not entirely pure - does he really want to win, or does he just want gaudy numbers? The 81-point explosion seemed to convince most that numbers were really what mattered to him, but what few people recall about the game is that the Lakers were trailing before KB8 took over and dropped a double nickel in the second half. Kobe was bashed by anyone outside of L.A. - us included - for shooting too much, for not caring about his teammates, for shooting too much, for putting himself before the team, and for shooting too much. But you know what? He got the Lakers in the playoffs. And with only one other good player on his team, in the West, that's a hell of an accomplishment.
Now come the playoffs, against one of the worst defenses in the NBA. Who wasn't expecting a few 50-point games, maybe even a 60-pointer out of Kobe? Once again, the Mamba does the opposite. He's shooting five less times per game, and averaging 10 less points per game - but the Lakers stole home court from the second-seeded Suns. Say whatever you want about Kobe, but it really has been a masterful performance so far. He's gotten his teammates involved - especially his bigs: Kwame Brown?!?! He's been taking advantage of double teams, finding cutting teammates and trusting them to make open shots. But when its needed, he has asserted himself. The Lakers are so much tougher to defend now because Kobe has options. And they are heading back to the Staples Center with homecourt.
So should he be criticized for this? Well, no; it's working. Our only question: why they hell didn't Bean do this all year long? Why, on the biggest stage imaginable, change tactics? Now, it seems, we're Kobe bashing. "Hey, he's finally doing what you and everyone else said he should, and its working - now lay off." Not so, this is Kobe praising at its highest. Even Kobe's most ardent apologists have to be asking themselves, Why? Did anyone - anyone - expect this? The results, yea, maybe...but how he got the Lakers homecourt advantage? No one thought that would happen.
So what is it Bean? You wanna play the team game, or you want to dominate the ball? Both are fun as hell to watch, and frankly, either way is fine with us. Just let us know, so we can bash you one way or the other, alright?
Oh, and while you're answering our questions, what's the deal with the number change? Yea, you picked 8 for a stupid reason, but something is telling us you have a good one for switching to 24. But if it has anything to do with Nike or shoes or jersey sales, that's it, Bean. You're kinda starting to grow on us, but if you pull a sunt like that, well...that's just unforgiveable.
Oh, and just for fun (by the way, when he hangs on the rim, second coolest thing so far in the playoffs, behind Bron Bron throwing the chalk in the air):
How good is Kirk Hinrich?
Hinrich is absolutely killing the Heat right now. His stat line is impressive enough - 16, 6 and 3 per - but its how he's been doing it that's got the Bulls on a roll right now.
Yea, Gordon has been on fire, and Nocioni is playing well, and Deng has been timely. But without Hinrich, this series isn't even close.
No one can guard him. He's shooting the lights out, he's making all the right decisions on the break, and most importantly, he gets in the lane whenever he wants. And once he's in there, its over. If he's not finishing, then he's finding shooters like its his job (probably because it is), and since Chicago is absolutely stroking the ball right now, that's very good for the Bulls and very, very bad for the Heat.
Plus, he is going right at Dwyane Wade. It's always something to see someone attack a valid superstar like that, and the Dwyane Wade-Kirk Hinrich battle has been an unexpected - and pleasant - surprise. Wade does his best to act like he doesn't care - honestly, has his expression changed yet this series? - but its obvious he does. You can see Wade playing differently against Hinrich, trying to make him understand just who he's dealing with, but Hinrich hasn't given an inch. There was a play where Hinrich drew an offensive foul against Wade, and on the next play, Wade forced a TO from Hinrich and then a foul, and his reaction was just a little too excited to mesh with Wade's icy playoff demeanor. Not that there's anything wrong with it; its just fun to watch.
But besides being fearless, he's tough as hell. When James Posey drilled him like a safety trying to knock a running back out of bounds, he didn't even fall over. What that says about Posey, we don't know, but we do know what it says about Hinrich. Dude's no push over.
While the Sun/Lakers series has everyone's attention as a legit 7/2 upset, the Bulls, we think, have just as good of a chance. The thinking goes that there is no way the Bulls can continue to shoot like this, but why not? They've done it for three games so far, why not a few more? Its easy to shoot when you are wide-freakin-open, and with Hinrich shredding the Heat's D and the Heat closing out on shooters as casually as possible, the Bulls' shooters are wide-freakin-open alot.
The Heat have yet to close out a game in this series, and that debacle at the end of Game Three was pathetic. They looked like a jayvee team. It was petty and immature: not exactly the qualities champions are made of. Meanwhile, the Bulls, led by Hinrich, have been pros throughout. Its not a popular pick, but we're telling you - there is an above average chance that there will be a pair of seven seeds in the second round. Are we ballsy enough to pick the Bulls outright? Well, no...but when they even the series, check back with us.
On a side note, Hinrich's play this series makes it even more ridiculous he wasn't invited to tryout for the US Olympic team. Luke Ridnour over Kirk? That's a joke, right? We know they needed a token white guy, so they threw Ridnour in there. And while Ridnour is a good player, Hinrich is just better. He does everything Ridnour does, plus he's a better scorer. Hinrich isn't token anything. The man is legit. He's emerging as an absolute superstar, and he would thrive in the international game. So do the right thing, Jerry Colangelo. Sign Kirk up for the stars and stripes. He's a better fit than Ridnour.
Game Four, Sunday afternoon. When the series is tied at two games a piece, remember who called it.
Here's the video of Delmon Young pulling a...well, the next time someone drills and ump with a bat, we can say he pulled a Delmon Young. The announcer puts it best: "Oh boy. That's a bad move by Delmon Young." Yes, yes it is.
We'll be the first ones to admit it: we've been slacking lately. You know that little post called "Night Three"? Well, aside from not being very good, it proclaimed that we'd be posting something about the playoffs every night. Every single night? Even we knew that wasn't going to happen.
Damnit. We always do this. We'll set our alarm for 6 a.m. and tell ourselves, "we are definetely getting up to do this paper." And then after the snooze has been hit 17 times and we're late for the class that the paper was due in, we think "well, that was bound to happen." Not getting up to do school work is actually more reliable than setting the alarm.
But something happened that is so insane, so once-in-a-lifetime, so "are you kidding me that really happened?" that we really had no choice. We feel like George Costanza after he eats Kramer's mango: "I'm back, baby!"
Here's what happened: The Tampa Bay Devil Ray's Delmon Young, one of the top prospects in the minors, threw his bat at the umpire after he struck out looking.
Words don't really do this justice; you have to see the video (which, if anyone has, we'd love to have). Young is walking away and he must say something to the ump, because the ump ejects him (doing his best Joey Crawford impression, by the way). Then, a split second after Young walks off camera, his bat comes flying out of nowhere and hits the ump in the shoulder/chest area.
Its really something else. That bat is thrown perfectly. It looks like it was tossed from a machine designed specifically to throw bats, like a tennis ball machine shooting out a tennis ball. The bat spins top over bottom, flawlessly. Young had to have practiced this. There's no other explanation. He's more than a five-tool player. He's a...well, he's a six-tool player. He can run, field, throw, hit for average, hit for power (yes, Biz, the Five Tools have been discovered) and throw bats like a ninja. Apparently, he threw the bat underhand, which is even more incredible, because the bat comes from off camera, and travels the length of the screen (which was, like, 18 inches on our TV) before hitting the ump. Speechless.
Luckily, the ump didn't get hurt, and he stayed in the game. But Young is suspended indefinetely. He's probably looking at a hefty suspension, but if it's more than five games, it's probably a little steep. Roberto Alomar got five games for spitting on an ump on national TV. Considering the ump didn't get hurt, what's worse: getting hit in the chest protector or having someone spit in your face? How degrading is it to be spit on? Personally, we'd rather be hit with the bat, but that's just us. Think about it: when your little brother threw something at you, you'd get ticked. But if he spit in your face? Oh, it was on.
Course, we wouldn't want to get hit with the bat, either.
Over/under on Delmon's suspension: 25 games. Any takers?