15-Footer, 11/8/13: Group Therapy

12 games on tap for tonight! We offer you a mini-roundtable of word association and Hot Sports Takes to preview the evening’s games. Enjoy. Or Pierre the Pelican will find you.

Prompts by Andrew, responses by Noam Schiller, Bo Churney and Robby Kalland.

New York Knicks at Charlotte Bobcats (7:00 PM, NBA TV)

[Editor’s note: Bobcats coach Steve Clifford was hospitalized on Thursday for chest pains. Former Knick Patrick Ewing will coach Charlotte as he recovers.]

Mike Woodson:

Noam: Stubborn. The universe may be out of ominous omens at this point. Just kill the big lineups, Mikey Dub.

Bo: Mr. Potato Head. I mean, just look.

Robby: Stubborn. He’s a full believer in the captain goes down with his ship. The problem is he forgets the part where he should fix the ship if he can before letting it sink.

Kemba Walker:

Noam: Fun. Damn right, a Bobcat is fun. He’s like Milwaukee era Brandon Jennings without the unreasonable expectations off the top.

Bo: Big East nightmare.

Robby: Knick killer. Yes, I’m totally basing this off of one game a few days ago. Also, I like alliteration. Knick Killer Kemba.

Andrea Bargnani:

Noam:  #shooterswhocantshoot. That counts as a single word, right?



Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a dinosaur:

Noam: Pterodactyl. Can get anywhere, doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

Bo: Reptar.

Robby: Ankylosaurus. He’s not the most threatening player, especially attacking, but he’s a pretty stellar defender.

Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers (7:00 PM)

Roy Hibbert:

Noam: No. As in, I tried to write this blurb and Roy Hibbert blocked the crap out of me.


Robby: Tall. Tallest person I’ve ever stood next to.

DeMar DeRozan:

Noam: Smarter Nick Young. Still too one-dimensional for any other designation, even as rumors of his improvement run amock.

Bo: DeMaR DeRoZaN, because I feel like every other letter in his name should be capitalized.

Robby:  Enigma. He can have monster nights (like against the Hawks last week) and he can also be a super inefficient chucker.

Rudy Gay:

Noam: Smallball 4. That’s the solution to all of this. Don’t know if Toronto’s roster is the one that makes it happen, though.

Bo: Still can’t see.

Robby: One foot out the door. Masai Ujiri will get rid of him by the end of this season.

Paul George as a Disney movie:

Noam: Aladdin. Roy Hibbert is the genie, Lance Stephenson is Abu, David West is the Sultan, George Hill is the carpet.

Bo: Anything but Lion King, because that’s my shtick.

Robby: George of the Jungle, duh.

Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic (7:00 PM)

Hot Sports Takes

Noam: Both teams are tanking, except Orlando is an awesome kind of tanking with one of the league’s top 2 most fun rookies in Oladipo and a bevy of enjoyably quirky frontcourt players, whereas Boston is just horrendous. Seriously, so bad. Might as well trade away Rondo right now, injury discount and all. I just don’t see the point.

Bo: Celtics: The Celtics are bad and Rondo should probably sit out the whole year so the Celtics can continue to be bad.

Magic: Vucci Mane and Oladipo are going to be the next Jay Z and Timberlake, right?

Robby: Vitor Faverani? Kris Humphries? Gerald Wallace? These aren’t your grandfather’s Celtics. These aren’t your father’s Celtics. These aren’t MY Celtics. These are some impostors. Danny Ainge should be ashamed of this group.

Dwight Howard left the Magic two years ago. Now, the Magic are building the right way. Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic are the future. They’re workers, not whiners. That’s what the Magic need. Not Dwight.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Philadephia 76ers (7:00 PM)

Anthony Bennett:

Noam: Slow. On the court and how I would take his development. Potential is still there. And he’s officially scored a basket now!

Bo: Misunderstood.

Robby: Canada.

Thaddeus Young:

Noam: Trade him trade him trade him. It was fun for the 3-0 run but seriously, trade him.


Robby: St. Thaddeus Young, patron saint of getting buckets. (PLEASE TRADE HIM HINKIE! LET HIM WIN!)

Which president in history is Michael Carter-Williams most like?

Noam: Whoever was the most smiley president. Rutherford B. Hayes?

Bo: George H.W. Bush. Fast start, won’t sustain.

Robby: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Three names and making the most of a bad situation. The 2013 Sixers are the NBA’s Great Depression.

Anderson Varejao’s hair:

Noam: the only part of Anderson Varejao’s face that doesn’t look like a part of Jimmy Fallon’s face.

Bo: Sideshow Bob.

Robby: Majestic.

Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards (7:00 PM)

Hot Sports Takes:

Noam: Much like the entirety of Andray Blatche’s career, he will take part in a game in which the Wizards are terrible.

Bo: Nets: One injury away from $200 million going down the drain.

Wizards: They are going to be good. Beal with it.

Robby: They say money can’t buy happiness, but can it buy championships?

44.1% from the field so far? /cues Pink Floyd…”All in all it’s just another brick from John Wall.”

Oklahoma City Thunder at Detroit Pistons (7:30 PM)

Russell Westbrook:

Noam: Wolverine. From the quick healing to the attitude to the odd outsiders who think he and Kevin “Cyclops” Durant can’t get along even though they’re BFFs.


Robby: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It’s the only explanation for how he can come back so quickly and look like he never lost a step.

Steven Adams, UFC participant:

Noam: Kiwi. That’s the secret. Ever see the Flight Of The Conchords guys knocked out by an elbow to the temple? Zealanders just don’t do that.


Robby: Champion. Try to make him tap out. I dare you.

Greg Monroe:

Noam: Mid-range jumper. As in, “man, the Pistons look good early on, but know what would make them great? If Greg Monroe had a mid-range jumper.”

Bo: The forgotten Pistons frontcourt starter.

Robby: Needs a new situation. Pistons frontcourt is jammed up and Monroe looks like the odd man out with his contract expiring and Smoove and Drummond around on long term deals.

Chauncey Billups:

Noam: Done. Has been for a while. Sorry. Coach Chauncey sounds good, though.

Bo: Dude’s old.

Robby: Coach Chauncey. He’s the real coach of the Pistons, sorry Mo Cheeks.

Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls (8:00 PM)

Hot Sports Takes:

Noam: This Jazz frontcourt is awesome, and within a few years it will translate to wins as well. Surprise, surprise, 18 month absences may come with rust.

Bo: Jazz: Currently winning the #TankSafariForJabari


Robby: This Jazz team needs to be tuned, or else this season will be full of sour notes.

“If you take away the money and the fame, what do you have?” A mediocre player, that’s what you have Derrick Rose. What were you doing while you were taking a year plus off while your team battled without you?

Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves (8:00 PM)

Dirk Nowitzki — Highlander:

Noam: Shut it down, let’s go home.

Bo: There can only be one.

Robby: There can be only one.

Sneaky athleticism:

Noam: Kevin Love and his sneaky 42 inch vertical. Really making the most with the least, eh?

Bo: Kevin Love.

Robby: It’s only sneaky if you’re not paying attention.

Kevin Love:

Noam: We all agree he’s the best power forward in the game, right? None of this “team success” nonsense? We’re better than this.

Bo: Sneaky athleticism.

Robby: Making the most of those limited abilities, one 20-20 game at a time.

Monta Ball:

Noam: just keep on playing it.


Robby: Monta Ball now. Monta Ball forever. Long live Monta Ball.

Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans (8:00 PM)

Anthony Davis:

Noam: SO GOOD. All-star, All-NBA, MVP – you name it. All avaiilable within a 5 year range.

Bo: KG-like.

Robby: MGFDM. Mardi Gras Flying Death Machine.

Steve Blake:

Noam: Pass.

Bo: Scott Leedy.


Jrue Holiday’s national holiday equivalent:

Noam: Columbus Day. Just go with it.

Bo: Arbor Day.

Robby: Festivus. Jrue is a point guard for the rest of us.

Chris Kaman:

Noam: Ambi. As in, ambidexterous, and in ambiguous whether he’s the worst bad player or the best good player of all time.

Bo: Future “Man vs. Wild” host.

Robby: What do we have to do to get a Spencer Hawes/Chris Kaman hunting show? How much money do I have to put up to make this happen?

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs (8:30 PM)

Hot Sports Takes:

Noam: The Spurs have all of the ball movement and threes and also their defense works again. The Warriors have all of the ball movement and threes and also their defense works for the first time ever.

Bo: Warriors: Probably the funnest team in the league. I’d watch Steph Curry and Klay Thompson shoot jumpers in an empty gym for hours on end.

Spurs: Tim Duncan will keep playing until he is 87 and somehow be putting up a PER of 22. They’ll be contenders then, too.

Robby: This Warriors team makes Run TMC look like the Bobcats.

Tim Duncan is a robot. It’s the only explanation.

Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns (9:00 PM)

Eric Bledsoe: 

Noam: Glorious. Him running a team alone is everything I ever wanted and more.

Bo: Mini-Westbrook, just to get away from mini-LeBron.

Robby: Mini-LeBron. Holy crap is he fun to watch.

Miles Plumlee:

Noam: Seriously? A Plumlee being good? Was this always supposed to happen?

Bo: Is he the good one?

Robby: MVP.

Kenneth Faried:

Noam: Demotivated. Seriously, Brian Shaw, you demotivated The Manimal. How is that even possible?

Bo: Leaving Denver.

Robby: Trade coming soon.

Ty Lawson:

Noam: Small. The more I see this Denver backcourt the less I believe in it. Ty is obviously the best of the bunch, but he also has the most value.

Bo: Possibly #TopTier

Robby: Fast.

Sacramento Kings at Portland Trailblazers (10:00 PM, NBA TV)

DeMarcus Cousins’s spirit animal:

Noam: Definitely some kind of bear. Probably a polar bear.

Bo: Momo, the flying lemur from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sometimes he’s fun, sometimes he just doesn’t make any sense.

Robby: Wild boar.

LaMarcus Aldridge:

Noam: Taken for granted. He’s really good, all the time, but not quite good enough to overshadow the shiny new toys he gets besides him every once in a while.

Bo: 17-foot jumper.

Robby: Underrated. One of the best power forwards in the league.

If Jimmer Fredette were a horror movie, he’d be:

Noam: The Exorcist.

Bo: The remake of Nightmare on Elm Street. You think it might be alright, but then it’s just really, really awful.

Robby: A terrible one.

Damian Lillard:

Noam: Pull up threes.

Bo: All of the minutes.

Robby: Shooters shoot.

Andrew Lynch

When God Shammgod created the basketball universe, Andrew Lynch was there. His belief in the superiority of advanced statistics and the eventual triumph of expected value-based analytics stems from the fact that he’s roughly as old as the concept of counting. With that said, he still loves the beauty of basketball played at the highest level — it reminds him of the splendor of the first Olympics — and the stories that spring forth from the games, since he once beat Homer in a game of rock-paper-scissors over a cup of hemlock. Dude’s old.