Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday 05/28 A.M. Quickie:
Lakers, Bruce, Triples, Tiger, More

I'm with the rest of you that Joey Crawford blew that call last night. Here's the thing: Aside from what is sure to be a day's worth of scrutiny -- and recrimination -- the fact remains: Lakers up 3-1 with 2 of the final 3 to be played in L.A.

I'm usually not afraid to call a series prematurely, but even the biggest Spurs fan (or Lakers hater) has to be fairly certain that the odds are about as long as they could be for a Spurs comeback -- not the way that HCA has been working for the Lakers this postseason.

That's the lead of my Sporting News column today. See the post below for a link to what I think is the definitive take on the Crawford non-call -- by far the most controversial thing to happen in the playoffs so far, and probably the most controversial on-court moment in the NBA since the Spurs-Suns suspensions a year ago.

(But given the overall perception problems with the refs since the Donaghy scandal, anytime you can link a situation to Donaghy, it's not good for the league. Again: It's not about Crawford throwing the game, but it IS about terrible judgment by a ref that has massive impact.)

Consider that impact for a second: It basically seals the series for the Lakers, which seals the Western Conference title for the Lakers -- it guarantees at least half the Finals pairing will be super-duper-stardom, a best-case scenario for the NBA.

It also ousts the defending champs -- a virtual dynasty, though also a bane to the NBA's interests in finding the biggest TV audience possible.

And, of course, it calls into question the capabilities of refs in the NBA. It isn't a stretch to think that dozens of the best NBA refs were sitting at home, watching that game's ending and wincing -- perhaps even shouting out "No!" -- knowing the shitstorm coming their way as a group.

Anyway, that's where we stand.

Meanwhile, the Jay Bruce Era has begun and the hype is so for real. You will regret not picking him up for your fantasy team weeks ago and just storing him on the bench. I certainly do.

As of today, if you needed one NL pitcher for the rest of the season, would you take Tim Lincecum or Brandon Webb? I might go Lincecum.

Unassisted triple play > triple steal. Hands-down. Although to have one team do both within a week or so of each other isn't bad at all.

Those of you who read regularly know that I think Kevin Love is totally legit -- both as the best player in college hoops last season and as a pro prospect. You will hear no complaints from me that he is being thrown into the mix as the first player taken after the Rose-Beasley lock at 1-2.

Complete SN column here.

More later. (Couple new snall posts over at Varsity Dad, if you occasionally drop by that blog. Bunch of cool stuff lined up for it for June, btw.)

-- D.S.


Anonymous said...

You going into these conspiracy theories is so lame. Expected more from you. You also fail to mention how the refs blew the call on the previous play that would've given the Lakers the ball with a fresh shot clock rendering all of this moot.

Eric said...

The no-call is no worse than the missed call as D-Fish's shot glanced the rim with 5.6 left, Odom's mauling of Parker on the breakaway or Duncan walking from Austin to San Antonio on his drive to the hoop.

Plus I would love to see what it looked like from Crawford's angle. All of the highlights I've seen have been from an angle Joey C couldn't have seen.

Unknown said...

Just stop it Dan. You keep calling Crawfords name like he had some sort of Jedi mind control over the whistles in the other refs mouths. How is he the ONLY person you blame for this? Once Fisher jumped in the air, basically guaranteeing a foul, why did Barry shy away from him like a little girl? And didn't the Spurs have ample opportunity to win this game, but kept missing open shots when they could have taken and lead and sent the crowd into mania?

That game started out a yawner and turned really exciting down the stretch. I had visions of Duncans miracle shot vs. the Spurs when we got down to the final 3 plays. Instead of enjoying a great finish, you want to start waving this imbecilic Conspiracy Flag.

Just. Stop. It. You're better than this. Don't let Buzz win!

Gaus said...

" far the most controversial thing to happen in the playoffs so far, and probably the most controversial on-court moment in the NBA since the Spurs-Suns suspensions a year ago."

Really? A bad call, yes, no doubt. Controversial? I suppose, if you're one of those 23 people who genuinely believes the NBA is rigged, despite no real evidence supporting the notion.

But even taking that into account, wouldn't this conspiracy theorist have to conclude that the NBA powers-that-be were trying to rig it for the Spurs last night? Kobe genuinely shot the ball 28 times and didn't get fouled? The refs blew the shot clock call in a way that was obvious to me in real time, and painfully obvious in replay. Questionable goaltend call down the stretch. Or, most important of all, the complete and utter lack of motive in the league throwing the game to the Lakers, most likely shortening the series and depriving them of a potentially highly rated game 7 matchup.

Bad call, yes, absolutely. Controversial? Don't see it.

d_helms32 said...

I'd also like to add, that Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Tim Legler all said it wasn't a foul. The only people saying that it was a foul are the people that haven't laced them up for an NBA game.

Larry said...

One thing first: Kenny, Charles, Reggie, et al, didn't say it wasn't a foul--they said it wasn't a foul as sold. They said there was enough contact there to get the whistle had Barry "sold it" more.

In an age where everyone bemoans flopping (foremost among them, Sir Charles, and the most accused often being the Spurs), is that the message to send? So if Barry flops, he gets the call? Is that how we want the games officiated? And if not, what our are options? How does that apply to that last play? Just asking.

Now to you, Dan: It seems that every time I read your column (which is less and less often), you are throwing out some Love-Love and doing the seemingly obligatory Hansbrough-hating. When did this become personal for you?

I can understand the Love-Love. You made your preseason pick. It colored everything you've written since (don't forget, WSU-UCLA was THE BIGGEST intra-conference game of the year last season). It's not uncommon for media types to make predictions and then get emotionally tied to them (recall Charles pouting after the Spurs knocked off the Hornets), but it's not particularly becoming.

But the Hansbrough bashing? You realize he's just a kid, right? What, did he knock off your son's Gator hat? Have you actually seen him play over the course of a couple weeks? I suggest you do so. His game isn't flashy. It isn't subtle. But watch it over the span of 5 or 6 contests, and you might find yourself appreciative.

His determination is off-the-charts. The amount of physical abuse he takes is incredible, and he does it with an even keel (he won't be the emotionally immature, T-earning, teammates-voting-him-a-suspension, pot-smoking NBA player that we've seen in the recent past). And he's worked to the point where his jumper is far more reliable than Antwan Jamison's was when he left UNC (another undersized, less-than-fleet-footed UNC forward). But his nose for the ball!

Watch the last play in the VA Tech-UNC game again. When Lawson (who is decidedly NOT NBA ready) shoots with 4 seconds left, Hansbrough is the player probably 9th farthest away from where the rebound will fall. But Hansbrough gets the offensive board. And it's not at all surprising.

How does that translate into the NBA? Who knows (besides You Almighty)? The only other player that comes to mind when I watch him go after loose balls is Rodman. Only a stable Rodman.

Maybe he makes it in the NBA, maybe he doesn't. I think it will be interesting to watch--at least for me. I get the sense that you will hate watching it, getting angrier and angrier with each positive Hansbrough play, Scrooge-like, as if each one somehow makes you less competent a sports writer.

But for 2008-2009, can you please pick on another hard-working, honest, soft-spoken kid? The Hansbrough-hating has become way too predictable. Like certain columnists themselves.

Dan Shanoff said...

Very fair points, Larry!

Samahash said...

larry said:
In an age where everyone bemoans flopping (foremost among them, Sir Charles, and the most accused often being the Spurs), is that the message to send? So if Barry flops, he gets the call? Is that how we want the games officiated? And if not, what our are options? How does that apply to that last play? Just asking.

The point is Barry didn't need to flop. He just had to absorb more of the contact and shoot it while taking the hit. Not dribble one slight step away from the contact and contort himself into an off balance shot. What Barry did was basically the exact opposite of a flop. By saying he should have sold it, they mean he should have stood still and allowed himself to be fouled more obviously. Because as we should all know by now, only obvious fouls are called at the end of NBA games.

Clay said...

Oh give me a break. Four Lakers had three fouls apiece going into the half (including Odom and Fish). Spurs shot more free throws. Kobe shot 29 times, while not getting a single free throw, despite scoring 14 in the paint and generally being recognized as drawing more fouls than most in the league. That doesn't even take into account the horrible shot-clock play or the goaltending call.