Tag Archives: Los Angeles Clippers

J.J. Redick and the Evidence of Things Not Seen

Photo from Rafe Saltman via Flickr

NBA fans are interesting. Every so often, for reasons that escape any scope of rational thought, a player that everyone loves to hate emerges. Be it because of a rumoured arrogance, his collegiate history or his late-blooming NBA relevance, J.J. Redick has been something of a punching bag for disgruntled fans that see him as the poster-boy for what they deem as “everything that’s wrong about sports”: a sense of entitlement before achievement, elitism, and of course, wearing a Duke Blue Devils uniform for four years.

The reputation Redick acquired thanks to his time at Duke quickly evaded him as it became apparent that he’s almost exactly the opposite of what he was touted as. In reality, J.J.’s characteristics — an unrelenting work ethic, a fundamentally intelligent playing style and the sense that he stayed true to his dream — are qualities we’re conditioned to adore. In a few arenas, the boos will forever echo at the sight of Redick but the majority of the animosity towards J.J., the person, has withered away.

Still, the criticisms of Redick as a player continue to prevail in some circles. Despite the mounting evidence, there’s one label Redick can’t seem to shake: that he’s a one-trick pony. On the court and in the gym, Redick has done everything in his power to shed that one final denunciation. At 29 years old and in the prime of his professional career, he’s finally maximized his potential but this newly-discovered state of tranquility doesn’t quite feel authentic. J.J.’s path to success was littered with speed bumps (his undersized, unathletic frame, Stan Van Gundy’s abhorrent affinity to keep him glued to the bench) and it’s apparent in the mechanical nature of his game. Aside from connecting on long-distance bombs, nothing looks easy for him.

Every time Redick makes a great play, you get the feeling that he’s barely threading the needle, that he’s grasping for straws and he’s not far from relapsing into mediocrity. Redick successfully made the same cringe-inducing, heart-stopping plays for an entire season with every made basket and assist screaming louder and louder, “THIS IS WHO I AM. WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE ME?” but while it’s easy for the eyes to defy the mind, it’s nearly impossible for the mind to betray its eyes. It’s almost as if there’s a chasm between the J.J. we see and the J.J. that is.

Of course, it didn’t help Redick’s case that he wasn’t given a chance to showcase his full array of tricks until after Dwight Howard’s departure from the Orlando Magic. Boiling under Redick’s sharpshooting surface were tenacious defensive instincts and a unique intelligence on offense that finally came into fruition. He defended the ball better than the majority of shooting guards in the NBA, allowing just 0.7 ppp (points per play) in isolation, per Synergy — good for 57th-best in the NBA — and 0.67 ppp as a pick-and-roll defender, which puts him at an impressive 26th-best in the league. With no one watching, Redick was quietly turning in the best season of his career.

Today’s Redick, a representative of the “3 and D” prototype, is an inversion of his younger self: reserved, cerebral and, above all else, unnoticed. Even more surprisingly so, he’s become more of a celebrated figure than an object of derision. After multiple seasons warming the bench for more aggrandizing and less effective players, an up-close and personal experience of the Dwightmare, and being exiled to Wisconsin for a few months, it’s finally become recognized that Redick has paid his proverbial dues. The “entitlement before achievement” tag has officially been removed as the basketball world rejoices at the fact that he’ll likely be a starter for his new team, the Los Angeles Clippers, one of the NBA’s most exciting squads.

With the bright lights in Los Angeles looming, the spotlight won’t be as fixated on the ever-improving and voracious J.J. Redick as it was during his days in Durham, but the opportunity to shatter any remaining misconceptions is his for the taking.

Two Step Forward, One Steps Back

Yesterday, in one fell swoop (trade), one team inched that much closer to title contention, a second added a key piece to their new youth movement, while the third…continued to baffle, if not infuriate.

The trade in question is of course the three-way exchange between the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, in which the Clippers receive J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, the Suns receive Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler, and the Bucks get two second round picks.

For the Clippers, this was a no-brainer. Willie Green was serviceable as the Clippers’ starting shooting guard last season. His PER was a less than respectful 11.8, but he shot nearly 43% from beyond the arc and scored 13.6 points per 36 minutes. Redick, however, is much more of a weapon than Green could hope to be. Not merely a standstill shooter, Redick is very adept at getting open looks via screens. Per MySynergySports, with both the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic last season, 30% of Redick’s offense came from off-screen situations. With Orlando, approximately half of Redick’s shot attempts coming off screens were three pointers (93 of his 187 total attempts), while with Milwaukee, that number dipped slightly (48 of 102 total attempts). Interestingly enough, Redick’s offense suffered the more he was forced into a spot-up role. Spot-up plays accounted for 18% of his offense in Orlando, scoring 1.27 points per play and shooting 47.1% from the field. As his percent of spot-up plays rose in Milwaukee, to the tune of 24%, both his points per play – 1.02 – and his field goal percentage – 39.8% – dropped. Further, to classify Redick as just a shooter is disservice to his all-around game. He’s a valuable defender from both an individual and system standpoint, and while he may not have the handles of Jamal Crawford, he is more than capable of running the pick and roll or being the initiator on offense.

Speaking of Crawford, it will be interesting to see how Doc Rivers manages the minutes of both Redick and the master of the four-point play. Green may have been the starter by name, but he only played 16.5 minutes per game, while Crawford played 29. With Redick (and Rivers) now in tow, however, one would expect this discrepancy to disappear. It’s possible we’ll see a three guard line-up of Paul, Redick and Crawford, which could be lethal

The Clippers also gained another valuable asset in Jared Dudley. Three-and-D wing players are very much en vogue, and Dudley is one of the too-often forgotten founding members of this club. The addition of Bledsoe to the Suns signifies several items. First, new General Manager Ryan McDonough showed his commitment to an actual rebuilding process, not one in name alone. Bledose was an extremely hot commodity during the regular season, due to his havoc-wreaking nature on both sides of the floor. Bledsoe averaged 14.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per 36 minutes, with a PER of 17.5. It wasn’t all roses, however, as Bledsoe also turned the ball over 3 times per 36 minutes, and saw his production taper off severely as the season wore on. Despite these flaws, Bledsoe’s production was apparently enough to convince McDonough that he was ready to be at the helm of his own team. This is a genuinely exciting acquisition. It’s not overpaying or giving up too much for a washed-up veteran or a player that will never live up to his potential no matter how many chances he gets. It’s still a risk, as Bledsoe is unproven in his ability to run a team full-time, but it’s a calculated one, and needed if the Suns are ever going to rise from the dregs of the NBA.

Second, goodbye Goran Dragic: point guard, hello Goran Dragic: shooting guard. The Suns didn’t bring in Bledsoe to back up Dragic, but the 27 year-old Serbian is too good, and too highly paid, to go back to the bench. There isn’t a tremendous amount of data to help gauge how successful Dragic will be in this role. According to 82games.com, the only time Dragic has played more than 10% of his minutes at the two was with Phoenix in 2009-10 (17%) and Houston in 2011-12 (13%). He saw some success in Phoenix, posting a PER of 18 and an effective field goal percentage of 57.2%. Those numbers weren’t as great in Houston, as his PER was 12.9 and his eFG% was .492. Then again, we can likely explain at least a portion of this discrepancy with the Steve Nash effect. Defensively, in Phoenix, Dragic held opposing shooting guards to an eFG of 49.4%, while in Houston, that number rose to 51.5%. Again, the small sample size caveat is an important one here, and we can’t yet make a definitive statement as to Dragic’s ability to play the two full time. The Suns can also use Dragic as trade bait to dangle in front of a fringe-contender in need of a quality point guard.

As for the Bucks…well…maybe we should rename them the “Milwaukee Meh.” Essentially, the Bucks turned a half season of JJ Redick, acquired to help them make a run in the playoffs which ultimately amounted to nothing, into two second round picks. It’s hard to see what, if any, strategy under which Milwaukee is operating. While second round picks are becoming increasingly more valuable, they are a paltry compensation in a trade that saw the other two teams acquire essential pieces. As Zach Lowe points out, it puts the Bucks in solid tanking position, but will Milwaukee actually succeed in this endeavor? Tanking is hard in the Eastern Conference, with so many awful teams in the bottom that one or two inevitably falls into the 7th and 8th seeds. Given how excited the Bucks were to make the playoffs last season, they may even forsake the tank in favor of another ill-fated run.

Two teams got exactly what they needed in this trade: the Clippers received two elite shooters, while the Suns received a young, promising point guard to lead them out of the desert (metaphorically speaking, since they’ll still be in Phoenix) and into the promised land. The Bucks? The Bucks aren’t even Charlie Brown on halloween, getting a rock while everyone else got candy–Charlie never expected the rock. The Bucks knew exactly what they were getting with this trade, but it’s unclear if they’ve planned a next step.

 

Kevin Garnett, the Clippers Trade and Some Inevitable Self-Reflection

Sometimes I write about things other than basketball.  It’s fiction; mostly short stories.  That’s a relative secret I keep close to the vest, only mentioning my creative dreams to family and close friends.

It’s extremely hard for me.  Five hundred words of fiction amounts to four times that much basketball material in terms hours and minutes, dissatisfaction and painstaking process.  And worse, I often doubt whether the stories are any good, but there’s no way to know for sure – I’m the only one allowed to read them.

There’s no reason for anyone to care about any of this but me.  The odds that I’m our next great story-teller are far, far longer than the odds I ever make a sustainable living out of writing at all, and the latter sometimes seem further from future reality than ever.  I’m not an author, I know it and that’s fine.  I’ll keep writing too familiar tales of male post-adolescence anyway.

But I won’t show it to anybody.  That’s a magnifying glass to the depths of me that I’m barely comfortable squinting through; there’s no chance in hell I give anyone else the opportunity to see what’s down there.

That’s embarrassingly dramatic but it’s the way I feel.  Writers are more arrogant and self-aggrandizing than even most assume.  It’s why I mostly avoid first-person in my blog posts.  I’m not now; is it obvious enough?

I’m no basketball sage.  I played highly competitive ball year-round until I was no longer good enough, then a few years of varsity in high school.  Not unlike many, many half-athletic kids that stopped growing at fourteen, probably.  I watched and thought the game more than most I knew, too, but that accounts for mostly nothing.

I’m pretty much just like anyone else that likes basketball, can form a coherent sentence or two and has a lot of time on his hands.  Just a blogger, basically.  If there is a difference between me and the rest of us, though, it’s this: I’m wholly and unapologetically objective with regard to analysis.  It’s a stupid point of pride for me, but it’s always there.

I grew up without a team to root for.  I prefer the style of some to others and generally cheer for what I consider ‘winning’ basketball from either side.  I have favorite players, but that’s more about method than anything else, too.  Essentially, I like the teams and players that emphasize process and play the way I would if I could: enthusiastically, selflessly and intelligently.  That’s it.

There’s one constant exception, and he’s the swinging pendulum between either side of this suddenly rambling internal – well, external now, I guess – conversation.

Kevin Garnett.

It’s not that I do and keep it to myself; I’ve literally never written about him.  It’s not by accident, either.

As KG and the hapless Celtics were on the brink of playoff elimination in April, I tried to change that.  His inspired, hardly surprising play and the increasingly cloudy skies of his NBA future deserved it.  If I don’t write about KG now, will I get another chance?

This is the progress I made before giving up:

We cling to innocence.

Age doesn’t change that, either. Our superficial selves shroud it from plain-view as we get older, eschewing outward sense of the unknown in favor of partially feigned knowledge and certainty. Adults are too socially aware to openly pontificate on subconscious thoughts of imagination, impracticality and sheer belief without reason. It’s a balancing act that plays out internally, how to weigh our perpetual childish enthusiasm against the way society dictates our actions and vice versa. And as dispiriting as it is to admit, the scale normally tips to the latter by our very choosing.

I’m projecting my own demoralizing reality, of course. There’s no information gleaned from a survey or focus group that confirm these sentiments, so I should clarify they’re simple assertions. But it’s heartening to assume there are others out there like me, that this sudden crisis of NBA conscience is easily identifiable by those with similar ambitions and who believe similar means are necessary to achieve them.

And should I ever do so, I’ll know my chosen path of resistance was worth it. But that doesn’t make this time lost any easier to comprehend or come to terms with.

I don’t know, either.  If fiction is a highly intensified lens to my soul, then what does that make this?

The diction is histrionic and the syntax is contrived, but the emotion conveyed is all too real.  I knew it was a road to nowhere when after several hundred words I’d yet to mention anything relating to basketball or Garnett at all.  Hardwood Paroxysm, after all, is not an alternative to the diary I don’t have or even my stream of conflicted twenty-something consciousness.  It’s about the NBA.

So I dropped it, saved the excerpt among my cavalcade of dying ideas stored in Google Docs and left it to rot for six weeks.  It didn’t cross my mind again until this past weekend, when talks of a trade sending KG and Doc Rivers to the Clippers reached their fever pitch.

I don’t know if the trade will happen.  On a very thin surface, it seems Boston could do better than DeAndre Jordan, cap flexibility and a couple late first-round picks for sacrificing the franchise as we’ve known it since 2007.  But there’s no foolproof way to rebuild a broken roster, and perhaps the notoriously cutthroat Danny Ainge wants his guys – including Paul Pierce, assuming an eventual buyout should the deal be completed – to ride off into the basketball sunset together.

But for once, this isn’t a time for me to analyze.  It just feels like a time to be thankful that I’ll have another opportunity to appreciate my favorite player’s relevance on a broad NBA scale before he hangs them up.

I want to be KG’s fan; I’ve missed out on that aspect of his twilight in lieu of unbiased and timely assessment over the last couple years, once I realized I might take basketball writing seriously.  Nobody likes a homer, I thought.  And it’s always hardest to write the things you really, really care about – if irrationally; he’s a goddamn athlete – and identify with, anyway.

So I want KG in a Clippers uniform, I want Doc roaming the sidelines, and I want Pierce, Paul and Griffin to be there, too.  If this postseason’s taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as a surefire championship contender.  A team’s fortunes can change in the blink of an eye; injuries suck.  But this hypothetical Clippers group has the on-paper makings of a team capable of playing into June.

And when I really think about it, that’s all I want most: more time.  More time to make up for that which I lost.  More time to appreciate his seemingly subtle superstar influence.  More time to laugh at his post-game interviews.  More time to think he’s better than he actually is.  More time to be KG’s fan.

I may not write about him, and even if I do it surely won’t be published.  It would take too long because I care too much, and most importantly, it might not be too good, either.  But I want a chance to do so on the level KG deserves regardless, talking culture-change, playoff-seeding and championship aspirations; not his farewell tour on the suddenly sorry Celtics, or worse, a career retrospective before I knew it was over.

Get the deal done, guys.  Please.

Follow Jack Winter on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RTOE: VDN is O-U-T

In the revolving door that is NBA head-coaching, many leave and many return. But mostly, they leave. It’s a pretty biased flow out the door. In fact, I think I can hear guys getting fired right now. It’s incessant. Oh wait, it looks like the same guys are sneaking back in. Oh, well. Aaaaaaanyway, to almost no one’s surprise (sadly), Vinny Del Negro will not be rejoining the Clippers next year.

1. Why do you think he was fired?

Jared: Have you been watching the Clippers play since he became the coach?

Andrew: IS THIS A SERIOUS QUESTION?! IT’S BECAUSE [redacted by HP's secret lawyer ninjas]

…ahem. Well, Vinny Del Negro wasn’t a very good coach. It seemed as if the free agent leader of the Clippers, Chris Paul, was more interested in listening to a talking fire hydrant diagram plays than his coach. And VDN lasted this long because he had the backing of ownership, but that’s certainly a fleeting commodity with this particular owner.

(Are these guys going to watch me while I write the rest of this? They are? Got it.)

Kyle: In an effort to keep Chris Paul. It’s that simple. This Clippers team has many replaceable parts, but an elite point guard who can get the best out of his teammates is hard to find. Players win championships, and while I believe Del Negro is a solid coach, the Clippers couldn’t risk losing their top player. They can win without Del Negro but not without CP3 and it really is that simple.

Jack: Watch game 6 against the Grizzlies.

Derek: For instances like the example I’m about to give. I remember a late-season  game against the Thunder where the Clippers were down 4 with about a minute to play and Lamar Odom, Ronnie Turiaf and Matt Barnes all got to miss shots on the most crucial possession of the game. Barnes isn’t so much the one I have a problem with as much as drawing up plays for the other two when you have Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to work with. The original play itself wasn’t even a broken play or anything– there was just no direction, which cannot happen with a top-10 team in the league. And good Lord, how hard can your job be when you have Chris Paul running the offense.

2. Are you surprised he was fired?

Jared: Have you been watching the Clippers play since he became the coach?

Andrew: Pft. …ha. Haha. Hahahahahahaha.

Kyle: I think he is better than a lot of coaches that are employed in the league, but I’m not surprised he was canned. The whole “is Chris Paul OK with him” thing played a role, but so did an uninspiring playoff run. This team would have made the playoffs without a head coach, so the first round exit (albeit to a team that is simply better in my opinion) was not viewed as a move in the right direction. If he had an excuse (i.e. star player injury) or coached in a small market (i.e. Memphis or Golden State), he might have gotten another crack at it in 2014, but he doesn’t so he won’t.

Jack: It’s surprising it took this long.  Barring a wholly surprising championship run, Del Negro lost this job in March.

Derek: No, but I am surprised that it didn’t happen sooner.

3. Who’s the best replacement available?

Jared: Stan. Just because he said he’s not on the market doesn’t mean he’s not the best replacement available.

Andrew: If neither Van Gundy wants the job, and Phil Jackson is a pipe dream, it’s probably one of the league’s most sought after assistant coaches, such as Mike Budenholzer or Brian Shaw. I could easily see the Clippers going with a well regarded retread, however — someone like Alvin Gentry or Nate McMillan.

Kyle: I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who wants to see Phil Jackson coach this team, but he doesn’t seem like he wants to be back on the sidelines. I like Jeff Van Gundy or PJ Carlesimo for this job out of the remaining candidates. Van Gundy has, in theory, gained perspective from the six years off as coaching while staying involved in the game, a nice combination for a passionate coach. Carlesimo was thrown into a tough situation in Brooklyn, and no matter who coaches there is going to have problems making those contracts seem like a good idea. Either way, Los Angeles is going to look for a coach that will allow Chris Paul to be an assistant coach of sorts and a coach that is willing to make a move to get a scoring front court player that can help the Clippers win NOW.

Jack: Stan Van Gundy, but he insists he’s taking another year off from coaching.  If that holds true, Golden State’s Mike Malone – thought of as the strategic brain behind Mark Jackson’s successful sermons – is a realistic and responsible option.

Derek: I like Mike Malone as well for what the Clippers are trying to do, but I think Andrew’s right and we’re going to see them fall back on a retread like Byron Scott or Alvin Gentry type.

4. Will the Clippers be better/worse/same next year with a new head coach?

Jared: If Chris Paul is back, the same or better, depending on who they hire. If he’s not back, worse.

Andrew: If CP3 is back and they stay healthy, they’ll certainly be no worse.

Kyle: Better. Like I said, this team makes the playoffs with any of us on the sidelines, making a first round exit the worst case sceneraio. The Clippers peaked too early this season and I think the team learns from that and wins a playoff serious in 2014. This, of course, is assuming that CP3 in still the leader of Lob City. Keeping Matt Barnes is also a very good idea … see? I’m already making good coaching moves. Consider my hat thrown in the ring for this position!

Jack: As long as Chris Paul re-signs, they’ll likely be better.

Derek: Depends on the coach, doesn’t it? This idea might play to Donald Sterling’s stingier side, but they could probably do just as well appointing Chris Paul player-coach. Okay, so that was an exaggeration, but they’re likely no worse-to-better with a new coach as long as they don’t screw it up.

5. Seriously, what do you think of VDN as a coach in this league?

Jared: He’s good at developing young talent (see: Rose, Derrick and Griffin, Blake), but if you want to be a serious contender, he’s probably (definitely) not your guy.

Andrew: He seems to connect well with the young talent, which certainly has value in a league that places such value on a young star on a rookie contract. His strategic and tactical approaches, however left the Clippers wanting for offensive execution and defensive consistency.

Kyle: He is an NBA level coach, but like anybody, he needs to be in the right situation. Who would have thought that in a three year span, a coach that increased the Clippers win total by 75% would be fired? As a former player, I see Del Negro as a good fit for an experienced team that has defined roles or an athletic team that has raw ability. The addition of Chris Paul obviously made the Clippers much better, and I think Del Negro is more of a “improve a team by 5 wins and get them over the hump” kind of guy than a “start from scratch and build a contender” coach. Call me crazy, but maybe he finds himself in Brooklyn in a similar situation (win now or get fired)?

Jack: He’s accomplished nothing but take talented teams no farther than most expected.  What’s there to think? Wins and losses matter most, and if they didn’t Del Negro’s reputation would be even worse.  How much credit does any coach deserve for the development of talents like Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin? And in the case of Del Negro, next to none whatsoever.

Derek: As much as we’ve bagged on Vinny the last, well, always, he has proven to be a coach that you can advance with if you have enough talent. Although, I think that says more about the roster than VDN.

And Chris Paul. Have I told you how much I love Chris Paul?

6. With Byron Scott, Vinny Del Negro, Mike Dunlap, PJ Carlesimo, Lawrence Frank, and Jim Boylan fired, who’s next on the chopping block?

Jared: You missed Doug Collins.

Andrew: Lindsey Hunter is still technically the interim head coach of the Phoenix Suns. This feels like cheating.

Kyle: Is Lindsey Hunter still employed in Phoenix? He isn’t going to stay there much longer. Maybe the Suns ping pong ball lands them a lower pick than expected and they blame Hunter and fire him tonight. They’ve got a bunch of picks (six first rounders spread out of over the next three drafts) and will likely bring in a new coach and allow him to build the team how he wants.

Jack: Other than adhering to the wish of basketball’s blogosphere by allowing Michael Beasley to compile more shot attempts than points this season, Lindsey Hunter’s done nothing in Phoenix to have his interim tag lifted.  He’s next on the chopping block.

Derek: Well, Dwight Howard is complaining to the Lakers about D’Antoni. Not like he has a history of costing coaches their jobs or anything, just ask Mike Brown and Stan Van Gundy. OH WAIT.

Lion Face/Lemon Face 5/1/13: LET’S GET PHYSICAL, PHYSICAL

Lion Face

Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors

All of it. Just all of it. This series has been tremendously entertaining, from Steph Curry going supernova, Andrew Bogut’s revival, #PlayoffPierre, Roaracle, Ty Lawson being spectacular, and so much more. The first round of this year’s playoffs hasn’t had much excitement or drama, but this series has been the exceptional exception.

Lemon Face

Vinny Del Negro’s suit game

Ew

Look, Vinny, just because we make fun of you for looking like you belong on the set of Miami Vice doesn’t mean you have to dress like it. I mean, look at those shoulders. Yeesh.

Lion Face

Chris Paul vs Marc Gasol


nbaSLAPwacky

Not so much for the play, but for this GIF. I could watch it all day. Chris Paul looks like the little brother who lost his toy to his big brother, Marc. “You butthead! Give it back give it back giveitback giveitback giveitback! I HATE YOU!”

(GIF courtesy of SBNation)

Lemon Face

Andrew Bynum gets down in Madrid

I can’t even begin to comprehend how frustrating this video of Bynum, fresh off a season in which he didn’t play a single game due to chronic knee issues, is to Sixers fans. So I asked my good friend Tom Sunnergren of Hoop76 to help me out. Take it away, Tom!

Andrew Bynum, apparently, has been struck with a variety of knee injury that allows him to participate in every conceivable athletic activity but basketball. This is remarkable. While a terrible blow for his basketball career (and the emotional balance of people who care about the Philadelphia 76ers), Bynum’s malfunction could mark a seminal moment in sports science—the key that unlocks the previously unknown and unknowable, flinging open whole new vistas of knowledge and inquiry. In studying what’s absent in Bynum, we might learn, finally, what really makes a good basketball player.

What is it that separates Jordan from the rest? Or allows LeBron to be LeBron? By considering Andrew Bynum’s knees—and learning what essential thing they, and he, are missing—we might finally understand what separates the greatest players in the NBA from petulant children with stupid haircuts who can’t play a goddamned minute of NBA basketball for a franchise that mortgaged its present and future to get them but can fucking flamenco dance what the fuck. In this way, Andrew Bynum isn’t just a washout, a buffoon, a deadbeat, or a botched abortion of an offseason acquisition, but something more. A hero, maybe. Fuck.

(Video via Facebook)

Lemon Face

Blake Griffin’s ankle

Say what you will about Blake Griffin. Say he’s a flopper, a whiner, a bad defensive player, whatever. Blake Griffin, at full strength, is still damn fun to watch, and his ankle injury that took him out of last night’s action, and potentially for game 6, is a bummer.

15-Footer, 4/30/13: HAIKUS FOR TUES(day)

Golden State Warriors vs Denver Nuggets 8 PM TNT

Steph Curry Stephen

Curry Steph Curry Stephen

Curry Steph Curry

 

He is en fuego

Karl sticks Miller

On him. Big mistake

 

Denver returns home

Down three games to one. Will Dubs

Deliver knockout?

 

Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Clippers 10:30 PM TNT

 

Marc Gasol getting

More aggressive on offense

Is good for Memphis

 

CP3 being

The Point God is good for Clips

And for us at home

 

What’s not good for us?

Blake Griffin’s incessant need to dribble between the legs then pull up for a mid-range jumper that will inevitably clang off the rim. YOU’RE SHOOTING 33% from MID-RANGE AND 51% AT THE RIM. GO STRONG TO THE HOLE BLAKE.

I broke haiku rules.

 

Statistic support

For story provided by

NBA.com

LION FACE/LEMON FACE 4/26/13: CAN’T TAJ THIS


Miss any of last night’s action. Actually, so did I. I went to sleep at 10 and got a great night’s sleep, thanks for asking. Oh, what’s that? You want me to shut up and make with the .gifs and the jokes? I see how it is. ONWARD!

Lion Face

TAJ GIBSON OH MY GOD

Twitter exploded in a fury of exclamations and Taj Gibson puns last night, and for good reason. Even though Gibson didn’t quite dunk over Kris Humphries, it’s safe to assume he still smothered Humphries’ mortal soul. Dunk of the playoffs, so far.

Lemon Face

The Brooklyn Nets/C.J. Watson

First, there was this.

Courtesy of NBA.com

Courtesy of NBA.com

That, dear reader, is Brooklyn’s shot chart from the first half. It’s fine, I’ll wait until you return from wiping away the vomit you almost certainly just spewed all over your monitor.

Yet, somehow, the Nets valiantly fought pack from this putrid, wretched, makes-your-eyes-bleed first half shooting performance to not only bring the game within 3, but have the last possession as well. Truly, it was like an epic fantasy, complete with C.J. Watson, unceremoniously eschewed from the Bulls, set to exact revenge against his former team by tying the game. Watson sets up in the corner, receives the ball, and launches. Through the air the ball soars, climbing, climbing, climbing, then falling, falling, falling…and falling well short of the basket.

Lion Face

LARRY SANDERS!

Courtesy of SBNation

Courtesy of SBNation

No, it hasn’t quite turned out the way Brandon Jennings predicted. But at least we, and the Bucks, have LARRY SANDERS! And not just shotblocking LARRY SANDERS! But coast-to-coast dunking LARRY SANDERS! Too!

Lion Face

Zach Randolph

See. I knew it. Randolph’s just a big teddy bear. Also, an honorary Lion Face goes to Matt Barnes for not peeing his pants when Z-Bo stomps towards him. I would have immediately assumed the fetal position.

Lemon Face

DeAndre Jordan’s legs

Like 7/11, they’re open 24/7. What’s Marc Gasol’s favorite spice? NUTMEG! I’ll show myself out.

Lion Face

Ray Allen

Allen had his regular season three-point record broken by Steph Curry. No matter, says Allen, I’ll just go and get another record. Congratulations to Allen, now the owner of the most made three-pointers in playoff history.

15 FOOTER, 4/22/2013: The Most Deranged Playoff Preview You Will Ever Read

If you just opened this like I or someone else told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in, because this 15 Footer is going to be a fun f’ing ride.

For those of you that have your heads stuck under rocks, there was an epically fantastic e-mail sent out by a Delta Gamma sorority sister at the University of Maryland last week which has made its way around the interwebs at warp speed. It really is an e-mail we have all dreamed of writing at one time or another, so I tip my cap to her for actually having the guts to actually follow through on this. Inspired by her performance, let’s take a look at the playoff games on tap tonight.

Chicago at Brooklyn (8:00 PM, TNT)

First of all, Brooklyn, you SHOULDN’T be chanting BROOOOK-LYYYYYYYN at random times. I don’t give a crap if your boyfriend is chanting it, if your brother is chanting it, or if your entire family is chanting it. YOU DON’T CHANT IT RANDOMLY. And you ESPECIALLY do f’ing NOT convince others in your section to chant it with you at inopportune times. Kudos to the Nets crowd for getting it right by busting it out when up huge in a playoff game. On the court and away from the blackout in the Barclays crowd that would make CISPA opposers proud, Deron Williams looked fantastic in Game 1 providing 22 points and dishing out seven assists. He looks like he does not give an F, and he WILL f’ing assault Chicago in this series if this keeps up.

Newsflash: Teams that give up 80% shooting in a quarter generally don’t win playoff games. Chicago allowed Brooklyn to shoot 16-20 from the field during the second quarter in building a 25 point lead heading to halftime leading people to ask, “Are the Bulls going to reach 80 points?” That wasn’t a rhetorical question. People literally wanted to know if the Bulls would crack the 80 point barrier. They eventually hit the 80 point mark with 3:17 to go in the game. Oh wait, DOUBLE F’ING NEWSFLASH: Running your starters into the ground during the year may cause those players’ bodies to break down when it matter most. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah both finished in the top 15 in minutes per game this season, and Noah was noticeably hurting during his 13 gritty minutes on Saturday. He is expected to play through his plantar fasciitis tonight, but his impact is expected to be limited.

Prediction: If you’re a Bulls fan living in New York during the day, this following message is for you: DO NOT GO TO TONIGHT’S GAME. It’s not going to be pretty. Nets 101-92.

Memphis at LA Clippers (10:30 PM, TNT)

I do not give a flying crap, and the Clippers do not give a flying crap, about how much the Grizzlies rebounded this year. They had 82 games out of the f’ing year to rebound, and this week is apparently NOT, I repeat NOT ONE OF THEM. Memphis as a team pulled down 23 rebounds in Game 1 with 7’1″ Marc Gasol pulling down 2 and Zach Randolph, who averaged 11.2 rebounds per game this year, recording 4 boards. This week is about winning games in the basketball community, and that’s not f’ing possible if the Grizzlies are going to stand around and talk to each other and not focus on their matchup.

Chris Paul is the type of person that can cause people to send texts to others and get them cheering for the opposing team. The opposing. F’ing. Team. Personally, I cheer for my own team, and I don’t give a crap about sportsmanship, but CP3 is so much fun to watch. He was a point guard savant on Saturday in carving up the Memphis defense to the tune of 23 points and 7 assists while seamlessly shifting from facilitator to scorer and back again. To those that think that there is any sort of debate as to who the best point guard in the league is, I have to ask, HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN TO A SPORTS GAME? ARE YOU F’ING BLIND?

Prediction: Clippers 115-102. And for those of you who are offended at this pick, I would apologize but I really don’t give a crap. Just kidding, you guys are great. Enjoy the games!

15 FOOTER, 4/16/2013: HAIKUS FOR TWO (games)

Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks. 8:00 PM ET. TNT.

If Atlanta wins
At home, does anyone see?
Attendance joke. Laugh.

Josh Smith wants the max
Hawks probably won’t give it
Unless, maybe, Dwight?

If Hawks win tonight
Closer to locking 5 seed
Hawks play Nets. We sleep.

Raptors have Rudy
Want to give him more money
No, Colangelo.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers. 10:30 PM ET. TNT.

The Blazers are hurt
Clips control own destiny
In quest for home court

Dame: Rookie of year
Crawford: likely not Sixth Man
CP3: Point God

Meyers Leonard runs
Like a gazelle or some shit
It’s just so pretty.