Thursday, May 24, 2007

LeBron Should Put the Onus on the Refs ... Oh Wait, Nevermind

Just got done watching another horrific Eastern Conference Finals matchup. I only have three thoughts, then it is back to mastering the world of private equity and venture capital (don't ask).

1. If you were one of the 432,000 people criticizing LeBron for not "putting the onus on the officials" in Game One, please step forward now. What, no one will admit it? That's what I figured. It's so great in this day and age. Say something on air and it is forgotten a few hours later. Post something on the Internet and it gets buried the next day. I heard so much garbage about how LeBron should have tried to finish that drive the other day - ignoring the fact that he had yet to earn a single trip to the foul line in that game - and now I promise that no one will admit they were saying that. Why? Because tonight LeBron "put the onus on the officials," got fouled twice by Rip Hamilton, and did not receive a call. Game over. I love Inside the NBA, but the ringleaders of the "put the onus" crew didn't say a single word about it tonight. Solid work, everyone.

2. Mike Brown might be the worst coach in the NBA. He inexplicably forced the ball to Z for the first five minutes of the third quarter, depsite the fact that Ilgauskus looked like Cosmo Kramer in the "Butter Shave" episode of Seinfeld. He couldn't have reeled in a pass if he was Spider Man. Yet there were the Cavs, isolating Z on the block and throwing it to him again and again and again. And poof, a 12-point lead was a one-point defecit. Great job. Not only that, but Brown's rotations were a mess, his decision to hold for the last shot in regulation was a disaster, and his insistence on featuring Larry Hughes AT ALL is puzzling, to say the least. Speaking of ...

3. I know I've hit on this a few times, but Larry Hughes is just awful. He sat for almost 12 minutes straight as Daniel Gibson completely outplayed him (even Damon Jones showed him up) and then managed to get Brown's attention, show him that blackmail material again, and get back on the court. Where he promptly turned it over three straight times, failed to make a single positive play in the final six minutes, and missed an open seven-footer to win the game. I'm not trying to pick on Hughes, because he seems like a nice enough guy, but I just don't think he knows how to play basketball. He's athletic and all, but his feel for the game is nonexistant. Gibson isn't even very good and he's only a rookie, but he is SO much better than Hughes.

(Sorry there aren't any comments on the Pistons, but what am I supposed to say? They scored one field goal in the final five minutes, had Billups and Sheed sleepwalk through the first three quarters, and only stayed in the game because Jason Maxiell isn't too cool for school out there. Forgive me for not being terribly impressed. This is one of those games where someone lost it, rather than someone winning it. So the focus is on the losing team. But that said, I can't wait for some Pistons-Spurs Part II in the Finals! Ugh. The movers are coming to take my TV on June 6 and you know what? Good riddance. What a total, absolute, unmitigated disaster these playoffs are turning out to be. Get ready for a lot more Draft chatter on this space.)

8 comments:

Jack Wang said...

Lebron got mauled. I know it was the end of the game, and at the Palace, etc., but that was a bad no-call. That being said, Hughes shot-putted a brick on the rebound tap. Didn't anyone ever teach the guy to use the backboard from that distance? I guess even Larry Hughes won't watch the Spurs games, or he might have seen Tim Duncan do that 10 times a game. Hughes won't get a chance to see him in person either, now that the Cavs are almost done. Blowing two winnable games at the Palace is going to hurt, but not as much as the NBA's ratings when we see another Spurs-Pistons finals.

The NBA desperately needs to change the playoff system now. I know that the East has won 2 of the last 3 titles, but the power imbalance between the conferences is ridiculous. We though we saw the de facto western conference finals when the Spurs played the Suns, but in fact that was the de facto finals. With Durant and Oden going to the pacific northwest, the gap is about to widen even more. They have got to disregard the conferences in setting playoff matchups, or at least reseed without regard to conference after the first round. Otherwise, we'll be seeing the best teams knock each other out in the west while the finals become a joke.

John said...

OK, is it me or does it seem that the commentators aren't allowed to disagree with a call? I haven't heard them question a call since the Horry mess...

jsuns1 said...

The calls - no calls by refs. First the 1000 calls and trips to the line during last years finals for d.wade, now the opposite during the suns/spurs let's put the dirtiest player on nash series, then the lebron no calls. It seems like the refs have a protocal to call the games tight or not, it's just amazing the variance in game to game. I want to see a team win by shooting great, or making great passes, or even playing hard and smart defense (not dirty), but this
playoffs has turned dry. I'm hearing in a lot of different places, about changing the format to not base the seeding by conference, but by record. If the nab doesn't do this, I think things will only get worse for them. Hey, I know, (thinking like stern), maybe we just need to change the backboard to wood, yeah, that's it
:-) sad... Must be very, very tough
for Cav fans to have both games be so winnable and turn out like this.
Have the other cleveland players like hughes been this bad during the season? Is the cleveland management willing to make the moves to get 1-2 players who could put this cleveland team over the top (by eastern conference standards, if there is such a word)

Anonymous said...

Well, I think this puts to rest any conspiracy theories, for last year or this year. All those calls for Dwayne Wade last year? Not a conspiracy, just incompetence. This year? If there was a conspiracy, LeBron would've gotten that call.
The only part I don't get is, why did Wade get all those calls last year, but now, no one will call a foul? I can still blame Bruce Bowen for being a cheating menace to the health of every opposing player, but I can't really blame guys like Duncan and Hamilton for fouling all the time, because the refs are encouraging it by calling nothing at all.

Brandon said...

*mentally prepares self for slow-it-down, grind-it-out 59-62 type basketball games for the Finals*

Ugh. Pistons/Spurs is gonna suck. Again.

jessica said...

You know it struck me that that March 14 Suns-Mavericks game was better than any single game we've seen or will see in the playoffs this year. That's so not how I envisioned it at the time. I was looking forward to a fantastically dramatic post-season.
Well it was dramatic, but it peaked too early and didn't reach the levels I'd hoped.

Then again, 'real' basketball fans should enjoy the Finals with the Spurs and Pistons.

Adam Hoff said...

Yeah, I can't wait for all the guilt trip arguments about why we don't appreciate basketball enough if we can't get excited for Pistons-Spurs. Last time I checked, sports were entertainment, and if I'm not entertained (makes me think of that Russell Crowe line from Gladiator), what is the point? It is a lot like the Mayweather-Oscar fight - everyone knows it sucks, yet a handful of "purists" act all condescending if you didn't love every minute of a glorified sparring match. Whatever. I am legitimately excited about the Draft, so everything balances out.

John said...

Nicely put Adam...
I absolutely hate how they say things lik, "this is good basketball" or say how the Spurs - Pistons would be a good fundamental series.... Why are the Spurs better at the fundamentals then the Suns? To me Basketball should be a free flowing, high-scoring sport. A fundamentaly sound game is around 100 - 97 not 76-79. I am sure Naismith planned the fundamentally sound teams to barely score 80 points in a 48 min game....
Also, why does everyone put so much stock in what an announcer says, I think the majority of people who read this blog are "True Basketball fans" and we seem to have the same opinions about what the NBA is failing to do, or doing well.....