Pull Up Jumper In Transition Thoughts

Kurt —  April 30, 2009

NBA 2009: Lakers Beat Jazz 119-109
Since a disproportionate number of Lakers fast breaks end up in pull up jumpers, I thought today I would rename my usual Fast Break Thought collocation of notes to honor the PUJUT.

• With all this time off, Andrew Bynum is getting plenty of special attention regarding his lackluster performance in the Utah series. I, for one, am not that concerned about what will happen in the next series (be it Houston or Portland).

There are two reasons. First is the matchups are better for him. Utah often went small and didn’t have guys he could bang with down on the block — both Boozer and Okur are comfortable away from the paint. The Jazz also tried to counter the Lakers size advantage by going small, so even if he had been playing well this was not a series where Bynum was going to see as many minutes. But that will not be the case in the next round, he will be down low banging with Yao or Oden. And if either of those guys step out high, you know it’s to set a pick.

The other reason is focus and confidence. Bynum still plays like a young kid — when things are going right he plays bigger and stronger, when he hits a rough patch he loses focus and effort. By the end of the Utah series, his mind appeared to be off with Cedric Ceballos on a Jet Ski. But in the next round he starts again, he has a very clearly defined task, and he wants to prove himself. I have confidence he can.

All that said, Phil Jackson cannot be afraid to use the hook early if he isn’t hacking it (or is hacking Yao).

• Check out the interview over at Hoops Addict with Kim Hidalgo, who just filmed the movie version of Ball Don’t Lie based on Matt de la Pena’s book and is a huge Lakers fan. That’s a good combo.

• I think the guys at The Painted Area hit the nail on the head:

The ridiculousness of the flagrant-foul interpretation is that, in practice, it is determined almost entirely by whether the fouled player hits the floor in an awkward, scary-looking manner, and Miller ultimately did not hit the floor that hard. Many times, you’ll see a guy go for a legitimate blocked shot on a breakaway, and get called for a ridiculous flagrant ONLY b/c of the way the fouled player falls.

• While we’re on the Rondo foul on Miller, there have been people suggesting that the Bulls seek revenge with a hard foul on Rondo tonight, the eye for an eye theory. But the smart move is to take a page out of the hockey playbook here: On the ice in the playoffs, if someone cheap shots a teammate (and nobody can start a fight that second) you don’t take the revenge in the next playoff game — that could turn the course of a series against you. However, the next season, first home game against said player and team, expect the revenge with interest. I’m not advocating that, I’m just saying….



168 responses to Pull Up Jumper In Transition Thoughts

  1. My prediction- and I hope I’m wrong- is that the Celtics win relatively easy. Not in a blowout, but by 8-12 points.

    For a young team to lose the last game that way and to now be on the brink of elimination, I think there might be too much awareness of what’s NOT in their control tonight and the notion of needing to win 2 in a row becomes too daunting while the Celtics see the finish line to the series and do what they need to pull it out.

    Celtics fans will view every Bulls foul as a vengeful cheap shot and claim that the league has it out for them because they don’t throw out every Bulls player.

  2. If we are discussing the Celtics fans here I think we are missing the point. The Celtics fans have a large contingent that we lower our IQ by responding to. So do the Lakers, but, thankfully, they don’t blog here.

  3. Aw, it’s good fun between 2 traditionally adversarial fan bases. for me, at least. My good friend and officemate last year was from Boston and had his father mail him confetti from the actual Celtics parade so he could throw it at me. I responded by making his desktop a photo of the “Patriots 19-0!” t-shirts that were prematurely printed.

  4. Now that womatoma’s Youtube account is gone, does anyone know of any other user that’s uploading full NBA Games online? I loved being able to see games I missed in such great quality, but now I can’t find full games uploaded anywhere.

  5. Heard game 1 of Rockets/Blazers vs. Lakers will be Monday.

  6. I’d advocate hard fouls on the Celtics all throughout, because facing an elimination game, what do they have to lose? Who knows, come next year, both teams could look different and the bad memories could have faded.

  7. Double post:

    Should have read the Chick Hearn rap topic, whooops.

    Wish Blazers/Rockets wasn’t on NBA TV tonight 🙁

  8. I don’t think the result of hard fouls should be the sole determining factor in the punishment, but I feel it has to matter. In all aspects of society we aren’t just processed based, we are also results based. ::shrugs:: seems fair enough that injuries resulting from dangerous plays would be a factor in determining any sort of punishment. But yeah, Rondo’s foul should have been a flagrant 1.

  9. Good ‘ole Ced Caballos !!

    I had forgotten all about him (sigh) …

  10. T34- The Orl-Phi game is the game relegated to NBA purgatory…er, NBA TV. We should all try to watch the Por-Hou game. Should be a good chance to glean some useful info about the upcoming matchup.

  11. nomuskles,

    I don’t know if results should be factored into the calling of flagrant fouls, particularly when those results often involve flailing arms, scrunched up faces of agony and Jim Carrey type overacting.

  12. Rondo was willing to take out Miller to win his team the game; I see no reason why the Bulls won’t think the same about Rondo. While I don’t think it is good for the game, I do believe in an eye for an eye. So if one of the Bulls decided to take it upon himself to send Rondo out on Paul Pierce’s wheelchair, I would not be the least bit offended. I think it’s about time the Celtics and their fans realized that they’re not above the rules that the rest of the league has to follow.

  13. Kurt: I agree you don’t hit Rondo early, often, and hard in Game 6. However, if the game is out of hand for the Bulls in the second half, and Rondo’s still in the game…

    Dude may want to wear a helmet if he’s in late in a Celts blowout.

  14. Bynum has yet to play a continuous stretch of games in his career. His last two seasons derailed by injury means he has never been able to establish any long term confidence in his game to draw upon when he returns. he needs another “a-ha” moment to really get him going, and as I have said before, he has only played in 10 playoff games, 4 in the last 2 years. This is uncharted territory for him on so many levels.

  15. I’d rather not see Rondo go out on Pierce’s wheelchair because that means he would run back onto the court five minutes later as if nothing ever happened.

  16. Kurt, we are talking about Brad Miller here. He’s not one to let things go until next season. When he enters the game, I expect him to go foul someone hard and that player does not have to be Rondo.

    I think the Bulls will force a game 7. The last game was a tough loss, but that’s product of being young. Young players tend to play better at home than on the road, sans Rose’s big game performance earlier in the series.

  17. Fun fact from the NBA twitter feed: Fact: The BOS/CHI series has had 85 lead changes & 48 ties in the 1st 5 gms.

  18. @emh101: yeah, but i feel like referees can use some common sense and figure out if a player is faking or not. i dunno. maybe not. look at how Guatemala plays soccer.

  19. If you recall, flailing your arms after (you tihink) you’ve been fouled results in YOU getting suspended a la Kobe 2 years ago.

    Otherwise, there’s no question that the best floppers are more creative when it comes to acting out the effects of a foul. People who just fall on their butts and slide don’t get half as many calls as masters like Fisher, Ginobli, et al. who know how to move like they’ve actually been hit hard. If Miller had fallen onto the ground and assumed a confused look, then asked where he was and who was president, he’d have gotten the Flagrant. Unfortunate but true.

  20. Off-topic: Had a chance to catch the Spike Lee Kobe documentary today at the Tribeca Film Fest. (If you want to watch it without knowing anything — I think it’s on ESPN mid-May — I’d advise to stop reading, though really there are no “spoilers”.)

    I went in totally blind. All I knew about it was that Spike’s a big Kobe fan and I remembered he was at a home game, with cameras, against the Spurs late last year. I’ll say this: it’s definitely kind of bizarre. It’s basically the full Spurs game, from start to finish, with Kobe mike’d throughout, and the cameras following him at all times. Meanwhile, there’s a Kobe voice-over track that runs throughout, which was recorded after his 61 point game against the Knicks in February. If this sounds incongruous, it is. That’s not to say it doesn’t work: Kobe, as we all know, is obsessed, and very clearly he remembers certain plays exactly as they happened, and it’s great to see him reflect on or explain why in certain situations he directed the defense in one manner, for example, and differently in another. (At one point he refers to himself as a Troy Polamalu-type defender, which was amusing: don’t we always get on him for roaming too much?)

    That said, it’s incredibly disorienting to watch an entire game with the camera focused solely on Kobe. There are almost no wide shots; no one else is mike’d (you can overhear certain people occasionally, but not much), and really it’s just Kobe going over each play — which is fascinating in a way, but you start to wonder where reality begins to part with Kobe’s knowing Spike’s cameras are rolling.

    He really is a floor general. If it weren’t for the occasional shot of Phil in the locker room before the game or at the half, you’d think this was a Kobe Bryant-coached ball club. There’s even a sequence where Kobe grabs the clipboard on the bench and begins going over plays while the guys lean in (and Fish, on the outside, smiles mischievously), and Kobe is always, always, to the point of barking to teammates who don’t even respond, telling guys exactly what they should be doing — which he does do constantly, I know — but without any context, without input from the other guys, without seeing how the team as a whole is playing the game, it’s hard not to lose perspective.

    That said, there are some fun parts. At one point Kobe and Sasha are on the bench speaking Italian (I think), and Kobe’s teasing him and saying Sasha is too afraid to shoot, that he needs to loosen up. Then Sasha apparently says that what he’s going to do is dunk on somebody’s head, to which Kobe says, and I’m paraphrasing, That’ll be the day. In retrospect, this was great to see, and went a long way in explaining the bench’s reaction a month or so ago. What’s better though is that this becomes a kind of running joke (again, for the cameras?) throughout the game, and follows Sasha to the post-game locker room, where Phil basically says (paraphrasing again), in front of everyone during his recap: “Sasha, what the hell were you doing out there? I almost had to pull you in the last three minutes because you were going to get f–ed up.”

    Anyway, those are my two cents for the moment (just got back from the theater), and after it airs on ESPN I’m sure all the resident basketball gurus on this here blog will be able to break it down in much greater detail and more insightful commentary than I. Just thought I’d share some of my thoughts.

  21. Oh great, Joey Crawford is reffing the Bos-Chi game. Look out. Could be 1,000 fouls called.

  22. Although Rondo’s hit 21 of 29 fts in the first 5 games, the Bulls ought to be sending him to the line more often and take advantage of his subpar ft shooting.

  23. Everyone saw that coming right?

  24. :28.0 BOS – Flagrant foul (type 2) on R. Rondo

  25. haha boston, karma is a b****

  26. Only a flagrant 1. Rondo has to be now viewed as a dirty player.

  27. Kwame a.-Nah, Rondo is a Celtic. Therefore, his slap on Miller is a heads up play to save the Celtics from being scored upon. The play also displayed toughness that we have grown accustomed to seeing.

    -ESPN NBA Analyst (Insert Name)

  28. Coffee is For Closers April 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I sure see a lot of Isiah Thomas in Rondo, and that’s not meant to be a compliment.

  29. Wow, he should’ve been tossed.

  30. I swear, if Chicago has any self-respect at all Rondo needs to go down at some point tonight. Especially since the refs are too incompetent to take him out themselves.

  31. This has been an immensely enjoyable series. I hope it goes to seven games.

  32. I may be late in raising this issue; if so, my apologies. But I haven’t noticed it posted here previously and seeing his mug on the site’s video corner made me giddy.

    As a frequent NBA announcer critic on this site, I’m pleased to read that ESPN will soon have one less blowhard.

    Stephen A. Smith is taking his annoying act … I don’t know, maybe to his basement or the local barber shop. But he won’t be annoying anyone in a living room near you anytime soon now that he and the Worldwide Leader have decided to part company.

    Too bad he’s not taking Berman and Stu Scott with him on the ride to media oblivion.

  33. Ray Allen is unconscious

  34. Along with those you mentioned I would love to see Legler and Barry ride off into the angry, ex-journeyman player sunset together.

  35. I’m at work and don’t have access. Can someone tell me what happened on the Rondo flagrant?

  36. Coffee is For Closers April 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Sadly at the WWL, its much easier to name the competent announcers there, than name all the fools.

  37. 33. They toussled boxing each other out and rondo swung him round a bit and ended up throwing him into the scorer’s table I think it was, hinrich flipped out when after rondo and got a tech foul

  38. How about Orlando bouncing Philly around without D-Ho and C-Lee?

  39. Focusing on the game…

    Ray Allen is on fire

  40. Thanks James.

  41. On the flipside

    Rose is also bringing it

  42. I think Rondo has the most punchable face in the NBA. Just my opinion.

  43. 42. Anderson Varejo gets my vote

  44. 43. No, the title always belongs to a Celtic, at least since Danny Ainge had in the 80s.

  45. Kurt, ooh, I don’t know. Bill Laimbeer was pretty punchable in the 80’s.

  46. Man, zephid, between Doc, KG and Big CryBaby, you have a bunch of contenders with Rondo.

  47. Marbury and House could qualify as well.

  48. ok, anyway, lets beat celtics tonight! go bulls!

  49. bulls falling apart

  50. Ouch. Bulls are blowing it.

  51. Yea, this series is over. The baby Bulls almost tricked me there for a second. Almost.

  52. man that was a lame hard foul attempt by Miller on that Rondo J

  53. The Bulls are schizophrenic.

  54. still have chance. I believe!

  55. Bulls are a young, inexperienced team in the playoffs against a team that is fire tested.

    If nothing else, this series gives Chicago fans a TON of hope for the future. This is the kind of playoff experience that really matters.

    Tight games. Execution is all. Back and forth gut checks. Composure tests.

    If the Bulls can keep the nucleus together, they won’t be “Baby Bulls” next year.

  56. 46, I don’t think Doc Rivers has a punchable face; he seems like a genuinely nice person. KG may be intense and a huge a-hole on the court, but his smugness is somewhat warranted since he’s one of the best PF’s ever. I do agree with you CryBaby though. I think between him, Rondo, and Perkins, you have the trifecta of punchable faces: The whiney fatty (CryBaby), the smug skinny punk (Rondo), and the bully child-eater (Perkins).

  57. Perkins touched that.

  58. I LOVE this series.

  59. rofl, Miller with the underhanded scoop again

  60. miller rules!


    My goodness. He must feel so good right now.

  62. Miller did not learn from the last game that he needs to dunk that shot. It went in, but still he should have dunk that.

  63. HAHA that was the slowest drive I’ve ever seen in my life. I love how Rondo retreated away from fouling him THAT time…

  64. Seriously, one of the best series, ever.

    This is as back and forth as I have ever seen a series be.

    Is it the best series in terms of quality of the teams? Heck no. But as far as excitement goes… man o man…

  65. Ok, they’ll need to stay on Allen and Pierce.

  66. miller is doing yao imitation:
    7-7 2-2 1-1

  67. Is this thing going to OT again?

    Vinnie del Negro is greying as we speak…

  68. Damn OT again. How is this possible? Some series.

  69. I knew that was going to be the play – just thought he’d brick it, not completely miss the hoop.

  70. Wow, talk about a terrible play call. Rose getting the ball, Miller with a backscreen, then Rose can drive and either kick out or put in a lay-up

  71. not again…you would have thought with a full timeout vdn could design a better play then a contested ben gorden jumper

  72. Doug Collins: If I’m Vinny Del Negro, I’m telling my team not to settle for a jumpshot. Drive that ball.

    10 seconds later, Ben Gordon airballs the last shot.

    Doug, Bulls fans everywhere would trade Jordan’s statue outside if you were their coach right now.

  73. So if the Bulls lose this series, do you guys think that VDN is a gone after the Summer? Seems like he’s not experience enough and will most likely get majority of the criticism for the lost.

  74. If VDN gets the ax, and anything is possible with Reinsdorf, he will get another shot pretty soon.

    Coaches learn too.

  75. Just tuned in, a 2nd OT, now? Go Bulls…

  76. this is starting to get stupid, im not sure if all these timeouts are a result of clutch plays or bad coaching, botched plays and missed free throws

  77. i meant overtimes not timeouts

  78. ive never seen such a crazy ass series

  79. Brad Miller is learning.

  80. Has anyone ever seen Perkins smile? Does he have any other face than that mean look?

  81. Lead by 3 @2min again, hopefully bulls can hold the lead this time.

  82. +1 for james

  83. All they need is a 2 pt shot. No need for the 3.

  84. For Chicago.

  85. comon refs obviously a 2

  86. Unbelievable.

  87. +2 for james, you have got to foul!!!

  88. Ray Allen.

    My goodness.

  89. OMG, here comes OT3, salmons jumper instead of gordon

  90. I don’t even understand why they let Allen catch that ball. Get on the guy and deny the ball. If he catches it, foul him. He can only shoot 2. Wow. Bad coaching.

  91. This is simply insane!

  92. 79, Perkins eats children. That’s why he doesn’t smile.

  93. Admittedly, VND needs to learn to call and diagram plays for late game inbound situations…

    I am pretty sure there are some in a book somewhere…

  94. Both Pierce and Baby with 5 fouls. Drive at them.

  95. this game is bananas.

  96. “I like turtles” April 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Wow. Here are some random thoughts:

    – Orlando has got to be smiling no matter who wins this 3 OT game. Same with Cleveland.

    -Rondo’s averages is this series are great, but you have to factor in all the extra mins. he’s played with the all the OTs. Plus, Rose is a poor defender.

    -Those Wolverine commercials are almost as annoying as last year’s Bill Engvall Show ads. What do you think?

  97. OMG….they can’t even get the shot off?

    WTF…fire Vinnie Del Negro…even if they win this series…

  98. im predicting at least one more OT

  99. Yes! Noah with the big play! Getting Pierce to foul out with a 3 pt play. Awesome!

  100. with ray allen in the game anything can happen

  101. mistake by house not being behind 3 point line

  102. That was a moving pick

  103. Baby is out.

  104. Ok, let’s see if VDN learn from the last OT. They are up 3 with 1 foul to give.

  105. vdn didnt just use his last timeout with 23 secs left did he?

  106. So VDN calls a timeout with 23.7 seconds left and a three point lead…why?

  107. hinrich..how?

  108. How could you have Rose defend Allen on that last play. Hasn’t it already been determine that he can’t defend anybody?

    How about a dunk? Bulls are trying to give this game away.

  109. How the hell does Hinrich miss that layup?

    At least VDN diagrammed a good play though….

  110. that timeout could cost bulls now

  111. What?!? Vinnie calls a GREAT play and Heinrich blows the lay up?



  113. Rose is trying to make me look bad. Huge block.

  114. This is the most ridiculous first round series I’ve ever seen. It deserves a seventh game.

  115. And then Rose bricks the FTs.

    Oh well, game 7 in Boston anyway.

  116. Finally. OMG that was the craziest game. 7 game series. The Leps sure like to stretch out every playoff series.

    Go Bulls! One more time. Just one more win is all you need.

  117. This game had everything that a fan could wish for… WOW

  118. Anyone else need a drink?

    I smile to think of what both Simmons and Thorpe are thinking right now.

    Most entertaining series, by far, in a long time.

  119. This has been one wacky series. And I have been loving it.

  120. Wow. What a game.

    Haha. The Rockets-Blazers game is already in the 3rd qtr. If that was a Lakers game, I would be f***in pissed off.

  121. My TV, my walls, my couch, my girl…. would have not survived had this been a Laker game.

  122. 3ThreeIII,
    Vodka in the bottle over there, help yourself.

    So how many heart attacks do we think there were in total in Chicago and Boston tonight? This was both ridiculous and oh so impressive. And Del Negro seriously needs to stop giving games away like this.

  123. I hate Noah, but that steal and dunk and one is making me reconsider.

  124. the other Stephen April 30, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    i don’t think derrick rose will ever have an exciting enough public personality for the nba to really really endorse him, and i hope it stays that way. any interview with him falls flat like a dead fish. keep it real, derrick rose. it’s why you’re so awesome!

  125. If I were a Bulls fan, my favorite player would be Noah. He is like a 7 foot Turiaf with waayyy better rebounding skills. He is fun to watch.

  126. I was wrong about Philly, I was wrong about Chicago. 1 out of 3 ain’t bad.

    Thanks for playing our game, Portland. Your bandwagon has officially crashed, caught on fire, and exploded.

  127. Houston will be a tough out – they will not be like the Jazz who let us shoot >50% in 4 of the 5 games. Their defensive rotations are spot on, and Yao is pretty intimidating and singlehandedly deters dribble penetration in the paint.

  128. awwwwwwww looks like the blazers couldn’t make it out of the first round..


    revenge is sweet

  129. Gotta disagree, goat. I really think this is going to be easier than the Jazz. I’m just not sold on Houston. Yao won’t have an advantage against our bigs. His team won’t consistently get him the ball and he won’t demand it. Their guards are suspect. Their ability to guard Kobe will prove to be vastly overrated. And Ron Artest…

    We’ll know who was right in about 2 weeks.

  130. I wonder what McGrady is doing right now and what he’s thinking.

  131. Clutch – deal. I’ll win if the series goes longer than 5 games.

  132. lolsaangkeleesr April 30, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Wow… Artest calling out Kobe, calling him easier to guard than Roy.

    Regardless of the truth… not a smart thing to say.

  133. And, their little celebration reminds me you can’t underestimate the “happy to be there” factor.

    You’re on, goat. 5 is my prediction, but I think we both lose if it goes longer than that.

  134. So are the Laker opponent prep coaches going to work all night to prepare for tomorrows practices? Knowing who are next enemy is to assault in the battlefield (need some Civil War stuff here, huh).

  135. Artest is asking for it… Kobe will drop the 40+ on him to shut him up

  136. It’s already started. Artest just reiterated that Roy is the best and that he’s the only one that scored 40 on him. I wonder how many points Kobe is going to get in this series.

  137. Wow, Artest is totally looney-tunes. Did anyone else see him *sprint* top speed to the locker room after his postgame interview? For every game he wins for the Rockets in the next series, he’ll cost them two.

  138. you know what they say Portland

    Never count your eggs before they’ve been hatched.

    i wonder what their trolls are saying now, where art thou?

  139. That game was just crazy. I hate both teams but am pulling for Chicago.

    Del Negro is a moron. He made more bad decisions in the overtime than any NBA coach should make in a year, capped off with using their last foul to give for no reason as soon as Boston inbounded the ball. They got lucky that Rose made such a great block.

    Ray Allen is sick. And Rose needs to quit deferring to the likes of Hinrich or Salmons. Yes, they’re playing well, but there were too many stretches in OT tonight when I was just waiting for him to take it to the hole, and he seldom did. He may just need to realize how good he is, which will come in time.

  140. btw
    artest is playing mind games

    see how roy didn’t even play well tonight, it was added pressure for him im sure he heard about it

    artest is trying to make kobe go one on one, not going to work buddy

  141. most annoying ad this year – Tiger Woods Gatorade flavor. Anyone else think that’s a bit racially insensitive, putting a black kid in the jungle?

  142. For me, watching the Bulls-Celtics was a pain. Poor execution, isolations, awful coaching, stupid decisions, lack of talent, and just mediocre players. Yeah, it’s pretty sweet to see lucky shots go in, but when every possession ends up in a contested prayer, it gets pretty damn boring. Close games when good basketball is being played are what I consider great games. But this was just atrocious basketball. Boring to watch, not a ‘classic’ . Sorry Simmons

  143. I’ll get in on the bet and take the Lakers in 4. If we run on the Rockets, they stand no chance. Portland was idiotic and waited around for Yao Ming to get back on defense. If we run on Houston, Yao Ming will be dead by the 2nd half.

    Lamar Odom is the one player the Rockets cannot contain and he is playing his best ball right now. I like our frontcourt of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom going against Yao, Scola, Hayes, and Landry.

    I’m not trying to underestimate the competition; I’m just looking at the matchups and I think the most probable outcome is Lakers in 4, and I definitely don’t see it going past 5.

  144. can somebody explain to me why Portland’s 2 seven footers, prizbilla and oden, are considered a bad match up for Yao while our 2 seven footers are considered a good match up against him?

    just curious, cause it’s official now, we’re gonna be seeing the Rockets now, starting on Monday night.

    I know I’m going to be hating that hand in the face thing Battier does, it seems like that should be illegal, or at least unsportsmanlike.

  145. “I like turtles” April 30, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    not as annoying as the Wolverine commercials.

  146. Zephid / Clutch – i’d love to be wrong here, so the more people piling on the better.

  147. Talk about Houston shutting down the supporting cast. Up until the last 2 1/2 minutes of garbage time, the Blazers not named Brandon and Lamarcus shot 6/27 at 22%. Let’s hope the Lakers can keep their balanced offensive attack going throughout the second round against the Rockets D.

  148. Wiseolgoat,
    Worst ad this yr to me is the cartoon character dancing on power lines. That’s the image you want to give kids,playing w/power lines is fun.

    Going to savor the Rockets win. Altho I set a personal record for cursing as Boston and Chicago went on and on and on. Esp wondering why the f*** TNT has never heard of that revolutionary technology split screen.

  149. Zephid’s in on this one and he’s on my side? Good, now I can’t lose two internet bets to him.

  150. 142, chris h, the answer is lateral movement. Our big guys have it; Portland’s big guys don’t. First of all, Przybilla has no post up game, whatsoever. He has no moves, he cannot operate with his back to the basket, and he is not an offensive threat except after a shot goes up. Second, Oden’s still learning his post game, and really his only good move is a drop step into the middle of the lane. Neither guy can turn and face up, neither guy can finish with both hands, and neither guy can knock down a jump shot to save his life. Pau and Bynum are both capable of working back to the basket, have offensive moves to spare (at least Gasol does) and both can turn around and knock down shots. Add in the fact that Pau can take Yao off the dribble, and our 7-footers are a completely different animal than Portland’s.

  151. @142
    Yao’s biggest weakness is conditioning. Hauling around that 7-6 body of his tires him out. If you let him walk up and down the floor and stay stationary on defense he can stay on the floor and not get tired. If you run the floor and make him move his feet he gets tired quickly.

    The Laker bigs run the floor. Which either makes Yao run the floor and get exhausted or let’s them get easy buckets early in the shot clock.

    If you remember the last Lakers-Rockets game Yao wasn’t even in the game during the stretch. He was too worn down. In fact in all the Lakers-Rockets games this year Yao comes on strong early in the game, but fades late. This is entirely because the Laker bigs running the floor tires him out.

    And that’s why the Blazers went 1-2 vs the Rockets while the Lakers went 4-0.

  152. First and foremost – major props to my boy Hedo, for one of the most gangsta hugs I’ve ever seen on a basketball court. Told Dalembert to meet him back in the locker room so they could settle it. Dwight or no Dwight, Hedo was having none of it. Gotta love that display.

    lol I’ll be curious to see if Phil tells Sasha to be the “Von Wafer” stopper. Yes, it sounds extremely funny, but Phil loves to motivate and give his players roles. Last year against Utah, he told Sasha to stick to Korver and shut him down. Sasha had a very specific defensive assignment and didn’t get sidetracked. When looking at the Rockets’ bench, Wafer is the closest thing I see to a player whose minutes will mirror Sasha’s. He’s done damage when hot, so Sasha sticking to him might not be a bad idea.

    This should be a fun one. I love watching Yao play, and Bynum should get up for him. Best offensive perimeter player in the league vs the best the perimeter defenders. Good coaching, good role players (our skilled ones vs their hustle, scrappy role players), and this should be a fun one.

  153. KURT SERIES PREVIEW LETS GOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  154. Another thing about Yao, he seems to get flustered when we put those surprise double-teams on him when he gets the ball in the mid-post… he either coughs up the ball or makes a bad pass… hopefully this continues…

  155. Gerrit,
    Adelman has upped Yao’s minutes as season ended. He will get winded in a running game,but he recovers his wind very quickly. And the physical wrestling he’s endured against Portland have not worn him down. Don’t forget the much longer timeouts in the Playoffs gives players some invaluable breaks.
    Against Portland
    Game 1,24 minutes(didn’t play last 18 min in blowout).
    Game 2,31 min
    Game 3,36 min
    Game 4,44 min
    Game 5,40 min
    Game 6,41 min.
    Yao has shot 56% against the Lakers but has only had 50 FGAs in the 4 games.

    But what is going to be interesting is these two teams haven’t really played each other. They only played once after the Alston/Lowry trade and Bynum was out,Lamar was suspended and Brown didn’t play.

  156. @Stephen
    I haven’t seen all the games in the Portland – Houston matchup, but I did see game 5 and at the end of that one Yao was bent over hands on his knees indicating that he was tired.

    You’re right about the longer playoff breaks though. Yao will be able to play longer minutes and will be less winded late in the game. I don’t think that the longer TV timeouts will be a big enough factor. I guess we’ll find out starting Monday.

    Is there an easy way of breaking down Yao’s production quarter by quarter? I’d like to see how he fared against the Lakers quarter by quarter and see if my recollection that he tired out as the game progressed is correct.

    I don’t think that the Altson/Lowry trade changed anything significant. Off the top of my head I would think that replacing the slower Rafer Alston with the speedier Aaron Brooks would be a worse matchup for Derek Fisher who has trouble with quick point guards.
    But generally it comes down to a teams three best players and that does not include Alston, Brooks, Lowry or Brown.

  157. okay, can someone explain to me why Bynum will have a better series against Houston? They do have this guy called Yao. He may not shoot 3ptr, but he does rebound and play defense, or at least put his hands up and block out the sun.

    At least we won’t have a DWill to torch us. I’m confident we’ll win, but I’m a little skeptical about folks calling it in 4 or 5.

  158. wiseolgoat, I believe those are the “woods of wisdom ” so no jungle. Though they are definitely going for a “jungle book” vibe. HUGELY annoying commercial.

    Totally amazing series. Too bad the only thing on the line is the right to be fed to the Magic.

  159. I would not underestimate Yao’s stamina. It has improved dramatically over the last couple of seasons, which is why he seems to make far less mistakes in terms of positioning. Once he gets comfortable in the post, and makes a move he’s used to, he’s unstoppable, regardless of which 7 footer guards him. Hence the high shooting percentage against us. We need to get him out of his comfort zone. Push him out of spaces and make that first dribble move difficult.

    But in the end, our best defense against him is our offense. Our bigs can post on him, spot up. And of course, we can run the pick and roll and which is his biggest weakness. Against the Blazers he could sag off so much he gave Roy trouble since the Blazers’ bigs were not threat at all on the roll.

    I think Adelman took him out of one of the earlier games because of his lack of pick and roll defense, as the coach said, not his stamina issues.

    This will be a great series. I have been loving the way the Rockets have been playing. Artest/Battier vs. Kobe will be very interesting to watch. And Yao is a great player.

  160. Yeah, they’re definitely all in a forest and not a jungle. I just saw the Jungle Book vibe and made the wrong deduction.

    Another thing to keep in mind regarding Yao’s conditioning is that, unlike the Blazers series that had multiple days in between games, this series will go strictly every other day. You have to think it’s an advantage to us since we’ve already gotten used to that schedule, right?

  161. Why is it that some series have multiple days between games and some only one?

  162. On an unrelated note, is there anyone here who lives in NYC? Are there any bars you frequent to watch the games?

  163. j.d. Hastings May 1, 2009 at 9:56 am

    No matter what happens Saturday between the Bulls and Celtics I feel like as the clock winds down a tear is going to come to my eye that this thing has to end. Like the last episode of your favorite show for the last 10 years is ending, and you can’t stand losing them.

    I only hope that when it’s all over both teams come to center court, join hands and bow, because they’ve given us maybe the greatest show I’ve ever seen in this league. I don’t care if its just the first round, or that its defined by KG’s absence. This series has encapsulated everything I love about basketball and I don’t want to see it end.

  164. Yao’s a great stationary post player, but he does seem to run out of gas in the second half and it seems to me the Lakers have had pretty good luck defending him by posting a big behind him and flashing a small across his front whenever he catches the ball down low.

  165. j.d. Hastings May 1, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Look at this:

    What’s interesting is the nba NEVER goes after its clips on youtube from what I’ve seen. Except suddenly they don’t want any video of the Rondo – Hinrich incident floating around?

  166. Folks: I hate to say it, but don’t expect much more from Bynum from this series either. Yao is an elite center, in playoff shape, coming from a great performance in the first round. Bynum had a two month lay-off, is not in playoff shape, and just had a horrendous first round. Also, Bynum still has not realized that his primary job in this offense is to contribute blocks and rebounds – not points. The kid focuses too much on scoring and not enough on D. I’m sure this will change, but this is the way things are now.

    Anyway, I think the key to this series will be the play of Lamar and the bench.

  167. Gerrit/#151 –

    You and I saw the same thing in each game between the two this year. Yao started out like gangbusters in each one, almost single-handedly keeping the Rockets in the game (or in the lead), but as the game progressed, as Pau and LO continually ran ahead of him up court, we began to both get easier buckets, and he began to fade, such that in the 4th quarter he was next to useless.

    Compounding matters, we also switched up how we defended him each game, usually at half time. In the first half we’d have Pau play him honest, allowing him to catch the ball in his preferred position. In the second, though, Pau would start shading him and forcing him to catch the ball farther out. So now Yao was both tired and frustrated at not getting the ball where he liked it, and as a result, his efforts to keep Pau at bay would be uneven, which resulted in Pau getting more than a few steals as he overplayed Yao.

    I’d look for more of the same this series. Yes, there are more commercial breaks, but Yao is still not going to want to chase our bigs up court. Playing against a deliberate team like Portland was no help for Houston, because we play at a much faster pace. And after not having to guard anyone on Portland, Yao is going to have his hands full with our bigs, and will not be able to get his rest in-game like he could in the first round.

    Plus, the problem Houston has is, unlike say, Utah, they don’t really have anyone who can get their own shot. Ron-Ron tries, but 4 out of 5 games he fails. So when the game gets tight in the 4th, they tend to have a higher number of failed possessions.

    I used to worry about Houston because Battier and Artest were so effective against Kobe. But thanks to Michael Lewis and his “Moneyball” article, Kobe seems to make extra sure that he destroys those two. Thanks Lewis. I’m sure Daryl Morey is all that happy that he agreed to be quoted in that article. 🙂

    I’d be surprised if this series goes 5 games. It’s setting up as a sweep for me.

  168. new post up as we start talking rockets