Postgame Spread
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Friday, June 27, 2008

NBA Draft    

Goddamn, this is one wacky game show.

I missed the draft. But considering all the trades that went down, it makes just as much sense to sift through the leaves instead of taking Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Then again, everyone loves Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. (Two... two Mallrats jokes! Ah ah ah!)

So, thought I'd have a quick, half-assed looksy at some winners and losers, taking trades into account as best I can:


This roster is absolutely TERRIFYING right now from a youth and potential perspective. Roy, Aldridge, Webster, Oden, Outlaw and Frye are all going to demand your attention in some way. Now they've added a stud point guard prospect to hold it all together. And it's not like the Blazers have a lot of recent busts. This team is going somewhere big.

Their GM, Kevin Pritchard, is doing as good a job of NBA management as I've ever seen. They're doing with their youth what the Celtics were supposed to do with all of theirs... i.e., win with it, not trade it all away for 30-somethings... piles of youngsters instead of piles of money. There's something to be said for the organic approach. Huge, HUGE props to Pritchard for doing it the right way. (So far.)

Basketball is relevant again in Minnesota. O.J. Mayo kind of addressed a need, but they needed depth more than talent. When you can get the guy you're after (Kevin Love), AND pick up a legitimate perimeter scorer in Mike Miller, AND dump both Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker... you do it. This team might actually be free of their post-KG misery.

When I saw Jerryd Bayless had fallen to them at #11, I assumed they'd won the draft. Turning him into two valuable players in Jarrett Jack and Brandon Rush was just as huge a move. Of course, they also drafted Dr. Hibbert, which seems to be the comedy moment of the draft. (I would have shit a gold brick if they'd drafted both Dr. Hibbert and Superintendent Chalmers.)

They were supposed to trade up to #4. But the Sonics surprised everyone by taking Westbrook, which in turn led the Clippers' guy (Eric Gordon) into their hands. Well-played. Now there's no pressure on Shaun Livingston to regain his form right away. Unless Eric Gordon pulls a Khalid El-Amin and gets season tickets to the In 'N Out Burger...

Wow. Douglas-Roberts at #40 is a second-round wet dream. Ryan Anderson and Brook Lopez are front-court depth at worst, which won't hurt. And they ditched the monstrously overrated and replaceable Richard Jefferson. If they can do something about the cancerous Vince Carter, they might just have a real team again...

Simply having Jose Calderon on the floor 40 minutes a night and letting Jermaine O'Neal distract a defender or two from Chris Boshgives them more value than T.J. Ford and the #17 had. Well done.

This incomplete motherfucker owes Rajon Rondo half his salary for the next three years.


Lehr covers this angle about as well as possible from the fan perspective. And I love a good draft-day boo as much as anyone. But these things can just as easily become infamous as expressive.

In this case, there are several things missing from the equation:

1) They're booing the fact that Walsh and D'Antoni passed on the fourth PG on the board in a draft with only two great point guards (Rose, Mayo), neither of whom were available to New York. The Westbrook/Bayless/Augustin/Gordon group could have gone in any random order from 3 to 6... and in many ways, they did. We're booing people who don't settle for the bronze now? No wonder we lose the Olympics every year.

2) The Knicks need EVERYTHING. No team in the draft was in "best player available" mode more than New York.

3) Just because Knick fans boo doesn't mean they made the wrong move (see Balkman, Renaldo and Frye, Channing)

4) Name ONE person whose hands you'd rather have Gallinari in than Mike D'Antoni. If this guy's got it, Euro expert D'Antoni will get it. Worst case, they're probably getting Boris Diaw, whom one must admit is an awfully nifty player.

But boo them anyway. Fuck 'em. Makes for great TV!

That they're losers, despite landing O.J. Mayo and dumping Brian Cardinal, is a testament to how shoddily their roster is built right now. Four point guards, and no forwards of note (for the right reason) besides Rudy Gay. They're like the bizarro Hawks, except that the Memph also have zero leadership. Their current veteran leadership? Antoine Walker. This is not how one teaches O.J. to pass the rock.

Also, they missed out on a big opportunity, according to the Sports Guy:

5:23: Just took a quick look through reader e-mails from the past hour and everyone seems to agree: We're all excited for the Gay-Love Era in Memphis.

It's official: worse than the Pau Gasol trade.

What the hell are these guys thinking? Augustin?!? And a project at center? We know how well Larry Brown works with projects. What a nightmare. Given that Michael Jordan's in charge, this doesn't surprise me in the least.

Richard Jefferson? Are you guys even trying anymore?!? Not that Simmons/Jianlian is a king's ransom or anything, but christ. And the guy from West Virginia? You suck. Revive the "Simmons for GM" cries.

Is this the Five O'Clock Free 2-Guard Giveaway?

Because fuck 'em, that's why.

This, of course, is the best thing about any NBA draft:


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So that happened    

I have nothing but love for my fellow NYers today. Last night, as predicted, they used the grand stage that is the NBA draft to boo the living shit out of the franchise.

As expected, the Knicks drafted Danilo Galinari, and while ESPN noted that the fans were booing cause they hadn't seen him play yet, make no mistake. This was the fans booing management for the last decade of utter incompetence. Unless they had served up jerked Eddy Curry on a spit, served by Starbury in a gimp suit, the fans weren't going to be appeased.

As for Danilo, aka the Big Cock, he looked terrified. Take it easy, Big Cock, and heed these words:

"Walking tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my homeland
Gloria, sent me pictures of my boy
Got my pills 'gainst mosquito death
My buddy's breathing his dyin' breath
God please, won't you help me make it through"

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The "Tell Me How My Ass Tastes" Remix    

Every now and again, a song comes along that grabs onto the nation's consciousness and never lets go. This is true not only in modern times, with addictive songs like "Umbrella" or "Crazy," but dating back to Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and even to the likes of Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. All it takes is one great line, and you've got America by the throat.

Nowadays, that one great line is "Tell Me How My Ass Tastes."

Shaq may have killed the high-flying Phoenix Suns, one of my favorite teams ever, but this nearly makes up for it.

That one simple line just kills me. Tell me how my ass tastes. It's got amazing staying power. Like Beetlejuice and "The Exorcist," it keeps getting funnier every single time I hear it.

Until recently, I wasn't particularly against Kobe Bryant winning another title. I wouldn't be happy for him, but I wouldn't be, like, Bruce-Bowen-wins-again angry about it. But now, with the prospect of this one song being Kobe's legacy, I will root against him for the rest of my life. When Kobe retires, I want to see Shaq's freestyle featured prominently in the SportsCenter montage.

(P.S. Compare and contrast remixes.)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


France's elimination from Euro 2008, in part the result of a total lack of offense, gives the French more than enough reason to consider RĂ©mi Gaillard for the national side in 2010...

(via kottke)

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Same shit, different coach    

From Chad Ford's latest mock draft column:
"The latest buzz has the Knicks talking to Memphis about a deal that would send David Lee and the expiring contract of Malik Rose to Memphis for No. 5 and Cardinal."

I feel like the dude in the video for Metallica's "One".
On the hospital bed, praying for death, unable to scream.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

NBA Finals Game 4: Bravo    

The great thing is that when they were down 24, I thought to myself, "they could still do this. Not playing like this, but it could happen." And then it did. What a night.

So many heroes. Ray Allen turns in another unsung performance, culminating in embarrassment on national television for Sasha "The Machine" Vujacic. Paul Fucking Pierce shutting Kobe Bryant the fuck down. James Posey showing his pedigree. And let's not forget Eddie HOUUUUUUUUSE!

Man oh man. I'm still clapping, and the game's been over for two hours.

While y'all in the clappin' mood...

...let's do something I may never get to do again: congratulate Doc Rivers on a phenomenal coaching job.

/blog explodes
//explodes with delight, that is!

Full marks to Doc tonight. This is his masterpiece. His rotations in the 2nd half were masterful... sticking with House, giving Posey huge minutes despite the 5 fouls, keeping Sam Cassell holstered, playing Allen the whole game. And he certainly kept his team focused and even-keeled, despite the 24-point deficit.

But above all else, let's talk about Doc putting Pierce on Kobe. It may have been Pierce's idea, but it was Doc's call. And since I'm feeling pretty generous, I'll let him take credit for that.

Enjoy tonight, Doc Rivers. Enjoy the glow of your masterpiece. Because by tomorrow, I'm going to forget any of this ever happened.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Donaghy = Omar?    

Is it just me, or does Stern come off exactly like smarmy Maury Levy in this one?

Of course, Omar is approximately 1000x cooler than Donaghy, but still, that can be chalked up to hollywood. Bubbles is about 1000x cooler than the average heroin addict too.

Far from a vague accusation, his statement is pretty damning. Here's the relevant piece:

"Referees A, F and G were officiating a playoff series between Teams 5 and 6 in May of 2002. It was the sixth game of a seven-game series, and a Team 5 victory that night would have ended the series. However, Tim learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew referees A and F to be "company men," always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA's interest to add another game to the series. Referees A and F heavily favored Team 6. Personal fouls [resulting in obviously injured players] were ignored even when they occurred in full view of the referees. Conversely, the referees called made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities for Team 6. Their foul-calling also led to the ejection of two Team 5 players. The referees' favoring of Team 6 led to that team's victory that night, and Team 6 came back from behind to win that series."

This, of course, was the Ralph Nader game.

Now, I don't actually expect anything real to come of this, and maybe it shouldn't. Donaghy is certainly a pretty reprehensible character. That said, the Nader game, and others, still fail the smell test, and I can't really be a full fan of the NBA until they convince me the officiating is on the up and up. Until then, my reaction to accusations like Donaghy's will be to believe them until proven otherwise.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Execution To The Max!    

Thank God for FJM.


At least he can punch a defenseless man in the guts with the best of them!

Speaking of attacking the defenseless, I bet this is how Jonny Gomes plays GTA4.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Massholes On Parade Special Report: Beatdown Edition    


Dear Los Angeles street toughs,

Beating down a Masshole is not an appropriate response to a "Beat L.A." cheer, as the cheer is not to be taken as a literal threat. Please instead resort to the correct response: pig-blaps and mushroom tattoos. Thank you.


The fans of the team that pig-blapped your jump-shooting rapist last night

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What did I say?

What did I say?



Leon Powe instantaneously transformed this team back into the 66-win juggernaut that it has NOT been at any point in these playoffs. For the last six weeks, we've been wondering what happened to the Celtics. Doc Rivers killed them by burying Powe.

If you seek evidence that Doc is ignorant, and that his coaching job the past six weeks merits the death penalty, look no further than the shabby treatment of #0.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

The Time To Abide Is Over    


Paul Pierce was, and still is, hurt.

Deal with it.

I'm sorry that everyone and their mothers has compared his recovery to Willis Reed's. I'm sorry you had that silly comparison shoved down your throats. I'm sorry you had to see him carted off in such a graceless manner. I'm sorry his return seemed so convenient. I truly am.

That does NOT mean he wasn't hurt. It just means you got surprised. It happens. Get over it.

Is it really that hard to believe? You know what happens when you tear a knee ligament? You go down for a minute in excruciating pain, spring up to your feet again as if nothing had happened, and then succumb to swelling and stiffness a few hours later. Pretty much exactly what happened to Pierce. While he doesn't appear to have torn anything, he was visibly limping after the game. Or was he faking that too? A second lie to hide the first one? Is that more believable than seeing a man play through a legitimate, albeit minor injury?

I am continually amazed by the ability of the human mind to deny, deny, deny.

But on the whole, this idiot reaction outside of New England isn't surprising to me. People have been doubting Paul Pierce since he entered the draft. This is no exception.

Why that bothers me so much, in two parts:

1. Nobody's been paying attention to The Truth... and they should have been

The Truth just can't win with some people.

Pierce has never, and I mean never, gotten the respect he deserves from the national media or the league fanbase. There is a double standard applied to Pierce's achievements and failures that is not applied to the more talented peers. Doubting his injury is just the latest entry in the ongoing saga of Paul Pierce being doubted. It started on draft day, and it hasn't stopped yet.

I believe this misconception originates with Pierce's nonathletic style. He's basically a smaller version of Carmelo Anthony... he can, and will, score on you in every imaginable fashion, but it won't look pretty. He's never been a Kobe/LeBron/VC-style dunking 2/3 swingman; he relies so heavily on unspectacular high-percentage plays (dribble penetration and foul shooting) that his best work rarely draws attention. The results are basically the same, and yet Pierce is considered a second-run 2/3, rarely mentioned in the same breath as Carter, McGrady and others.

(Ironic that Pierce's #1 strength, taking it to the hole as a matter of course, is the precise thing that the likes of VC and T-Mac are taken to task for when discussing their 4th quarter struggles. And yet VC and T-Mac are the "superstars," while reliable 4th quarter scoring stud Pierce dangles in purgatory. Huh.)

Yes, he's been on six All-Star teams, and is a well-recognized player who's been in shoe commercials and whatnot. People who know seem to hold Pierce in esteem. But he's always been viewed with a "but" of some kind attached.

More important than the lack of credit given for his successes, though, is the total lack of slack given for his failures.

We can start with his epic mental collapse in Game 6 against Isiah Thomas' Pacers a few years back. It's tough to argue that Pierce should have shoved Jamaal Tinsley like that, but I found it unnecessary to heap so much blame on Pierce for a) responding in kind to a hard foul and b) falling victim to such an obvious exaggeration by Tinsley. That's some Shane Battier shit right there. When one considers, further, that the Celtics would have been nowhere without Pierce's contributions, let alone Atlantic Division champs, the amount of grief Pierce absorbed was rather out of line. He's spent the last three seasons trying to live that one play down. That's bullshit.

Then there's the age-old question of his supporting cast. No help better than Antoine Walker. Years and years and years of mind-numbing play from the likes of Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Wally Szczerbiak. And yet it's always been Pierce's fault, because at the end of the day, it's his job to get it done with the hand he's dealt. If he were a real Celtic, he'd have blah blah blah.

Adding insult to failure is the stigma, unfairly attached to Pierce, of being seen as a me-first black hole on offense. Let me get this straight... he chose to keep the ball instead of passing off to Tony Allen and Sebastian Telfair, and that's the reason they lost? Recognizing that he really WAS the only decent player on the roster? Of course! What a bastard!

It'll always be something.

And it's not right. Some guys are ripe for that kind of criticism, deserving of that grain of salt, that cynical eye, based on their past transgressions. You will not find anything on Pierce's resume to warrant what he's dealt with in ten years as a Celtic. Snafus and dust-ups? Sure. Frustration? Absolutely. Self-perpetuated destruction? No way. The guy's a pro.

Anyway, all this adds up to Pierce being, in my view, one of the most (if not the most) underrated NBA players in recent memory. There's talk nowadays that a championship cementing his place in Springfield, and of Game 1 securing a spot for #34 in the rafters. As if he'd just sprung out of the ground this season. Wrong. The Hall and the rafters have been done deals for a long, long time. Everyone who thinks he needs a ring to be recognized for the superstar he is only expose how closely they haven't been watching Paul Pierce.

2. Convicted floppers have poisoned the well of credibility

Cry wolf often enough, and people won't believe you no matter what's after you.

All season long, we suffer through the tomfoolery of REAL cheaters like Manu Ginobili, LeBron James, Anderson Varejao and the like who gladly collapse in agony at the slightest touch with the express intent of fooling the referees. Flopping, faking injuries and engaging in other chicanery to gain a competitive edge, so long as it's not caught by the refs, has become a tacitly accepted part of the game.

Because the league has refused (until recently) to get serious about the problem, we in the audience have no choice but to accept it ourselves. As a result, it's not just the credibility of phony scumbags like Ginobili and LeBron that comes into question, but that of every player in basketball. Nowadays, any injury that doesn't involve blood, protruding bones or detached eyeballs is cause for doubt.

So, after seeing Pierce return from injury so promptly, one questions just how seriously he was hurt. Which is fine. He clearly wasn't hurt that badly, because he came back.

But why does that make him a faker? Is there no difference between "not hurt that bad" and "not hurt AT ALL"??? Is it really so hard to believe he was just being careful? What's so wrong with how he played it? Was it the 3rd and 4th people carrying his legs that were so upsetting? It was Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine! It's not like they were busy. Why not be careful?

More importantly, what in Pierce's resume would make you think he was faking? He is not a cheap player, a manipulative gamesman, a mind-fucking liar. He's not a self-protective ego case. He's just a baller. The genuine article. A basketball junkie (search that article for "junkie") more in tune with The Right Way To Play Basketball, NBA history, and his place in it, than the vast majority of his peers. That nickname of his isn't just some bad-ass moniker... it's what he is. He is The Truth.

Above all, he's a tough motherfucker. Last year was the first time in a long, long time that Paul Pierce has missed significant time due to injury. But it wasn't the first time in recent years that he'd been injured. Not by a long shot. Like Allen Iverson, he plays through the little shit and throws himself into the breach anyway. He doesn't have to answer to anybody on the subject of toughness.

And yet he has nevertheless been saddled with the cynicism borne from what we see from fakers like LeBron and Ginobili.

Why? Because The Truth just can't win with some people.


Paul Pierce is not your average player. If you don't see why he's so different, you're not looking closely enough. I know, I know, it'll take more than five or ten minutes to do that. I'm really sorry about that. But that's what it takes to be right.

Reexamine him, regardless of wins and losses. He deserves it.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Massholes On Parade: Somerville Sonics Edition    

So much Massholery has gone unattended of late, I thought I should bring some up.

No, not this kind. The fun kind.

Ronnie Craven, a guy from Somerville, told a chick that he was Jeff Turner, the Sonics' director of player development, in order to get laid on Craig's List. This, along with Captain Cash-Fan, makes two classic Craig's List dating revelations in the last month.

The great thing is that Craven spoke out in his own defense. And as we saw with the cash-fan guy, that always goes well. Though Craven kept his composure, he dropped a truly phenomenal quote to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

"I am going to be honest with you. I don't work for them," the man who posed as Turner said from his home in Somerville, a Boston suburb, when reached by the Seattle P-I on Monday. "(The situation was) all brought on by an online dating thing. Craigslist. I lied to her. Does that mean I can go out there and represent the Sonics? No. Does that mean that I did it to get some (sex) pussy? Absolutely." [Likely original wording restored. - Ed.]

Oh, he's a sneaky one, that Ronnie Craven. I wonder if he's related to Craven Morehead.

He also pretended to be, of all people, the immortal Todd Lichti. See, that's how you perpetrate a hoax. Impersonate people so obscure that nobody would neither doubt your identity nor have any realistic means of confirming it. He also appears to have determined the line between hoaxes and fraud by never actually claiming to represent the Sonics when lying to basketball players and coaches. Smart fellow.

Anyway, today I salute you, Ronnie Craven... truly a Masshole on Parade.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Key To The Finals    

Abide by this JPEG, and the Celtics will bring it home. Ignore its sage wisdom, and watch your dreams shatter before your bare feet. (h/t to BDL liveblog)

I'm cautiously optimistic about this series, if only because I think people have conveniently forgotten the Celtics' defensive superiority, as well as their successful containment of Mr. Bryant (pre-Gasol) during the regular season.

I fully expect this series to be aesthetically revolting... and a classic.

Celtics in 7.

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