Monthly Archives: March 2011

Spurs slip but still have chance to avoid fall

Keep it together.

The best team in the NBA may have the No. 1 spot all but sealed but now is not the time for them to slip.

San Antonio has been running on all cylinders this season as they have amassed the best record in the league at 54-13.  However, they need to finish the regular season strong if they plan on making any sort of statement in the playoffs.

Last night, the Spurs lost to the Miami Heat 110-80.  Yeah, the same Heat that they beat last week 125-95.  According to STATS LLC, it was just the second time in NBA history that such a swing in scoring has happened.  Last season, the Dallas Mavericks beat New York by 50 at Madison Square Garden.  They lost to them at home by 34 nearly two months later.

Additionally, the loss was to the Heat that entered Monday with an 0-9 record against the Bulls, Celtics, Mavs and Spurs.  Well, make that 1-9 now for many reasons.

Yes, Chris Bosh played well with smart shot selection and 30 points in the box score (Hey, that’s the same amount they won by).  However, it’s the Spurs offense that looked ragged and their defense that looked anemic.

San Antonio leads the league in scoring with a .399 percentage.  They went 6 for 22 from beyond the arc.  They are averaging 103 points a game but only mustered 80 against the Heat.  Miami hasn’t held a team to that few points since the Clippers’ 79 on February 6.

They went long stretches of the game with zero points and it was mainly due to poor shot selection.  Tony Parker did not drive the lane once during the game and only made four of nine shots from inside the arc.

Gary Neal is one reason that this team has become such an offensive, high-speed team.  He made two shots in the second, one in the third and one in the fourth.  That’s it.

George Hill was invisible even though he was on the floor for 30 minutes.  He made one shot.  An eight-foot jumper in the second quarter.

I forgot that Richard Jefferson was on the Spurs since he didn’t take one shot in the second half.

During a late timeout, head coach Greg Popovich virtually told his team to run their asses off and get a workout.

They did and all it did was open up the fastbreak for the Heat.  It shut down the Spurs’ transition defense and allowed LeBron James and Dwyane Wade put on an offensive circus that got the Miami fans on their feet for once.

Yes, San Antonio has been beating up on some bad teams this month including Miami once.  However, statement wins have been hard to come by lately for the Spurs (remember, the Heat were 0-9 against the top two teams in each conference going into yesterday’s game).

Memphis beat them at the beginning of the month.

Derrick Rose dropped 42 points on them on February 17 in a 109-99 loss to the Bulls.

Philadelphia held them to 71 points in February as well.

However, it’s not the end of the world.  The Spurs are a good team and like I said, the essentially have the top seed sealed.

They need to prime themselves for the playoffs though and this new style of play doesn’t lend itself to that.  Last night, they looked tired and the regular season still has a month to go.  It will wear them out but they will also have the opportunity get this offense ready for the playoffs.

On Friday, they have an opportunity to shine against the Mavericks who will have Dirk Nowitzki.  Golden State will test their defense on the 21st and Denver will push them on the 23rd.  They will have an opportunity to shut down a small team in Memphis towards the end of the month and Portland will test their ability to take on a super scrappy squad.  Boston will test all of the above on the 31st.

The Western Conference has some serious teams set to make the playoffs and San Antonio needs to be ready.  Anyone can beat up on crap and crap can beat anyone (remember, 0-9 going into yesterday).  It’s going to be hard and it’s a new system for the Spurs.  Hopefully it wont fade.

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Eastern teams should be wary of the ides of March

Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils, Shrunk to this little measure?

The ides of March is upon us and there are several NBA teams that have reason to beware, especially when it concerns their playoff fate. Teams around the league are beginning to lock up playoff spots, the East already has three such teams (Boston, Chicago, Miami) because it is still the weaker of the two conferences. Out West on San Antonio has secured a playoff bid as of March 15. These teams need not worry about their post season appearances. The ides of March did not only have serious connotations for Julius Caesar, it also marks just less than a month of the regular season left to play and when teams either rise or get murdered in a coup on the floor of the theater of Pompey. Towards the bottom of the standings is where we find the teams who are looking over their shoulders almost constantly. They hope to not be the ones to utter the words, “et tu playoffs? Then fall, (insert team name here)!”

In the Eastern Conference the jockeying for the final few playoff seeds has been taking a rather disastrous turn for all teams involved of late. The Philadelphia 76ers likely will not drop from their seventh seed anytime soon but their play of late has been marred by unenthusiastic and disinterested displays on the court which has led Doug Collins to use the word terrible when describing his team’s efforts. The Sixers have lost two in a row in stylish blowout and near blowout form (they were down 15 in the fourth quarter to the Jazz) after upsetting the coasting Celtics.

While the Sixers look to lockup the seventh seed, the eighth seed remains wide open. The Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, and Milwaukee Bucks are all vying to creep into the playoffs but none of them are by any means as constant as the northern star.

Indiana currently holds a slight advantage over Charlotte for the eighth seed despite the two team’s identical 28-38 records. This is thanks to having defeated the Bobcats all three times the teams have met this season. However, Indiana is currently on a skid which has allowed Charlotte and Milwaukee to think themselves worthy of a playoff bid. The Pacers have only won two of their last ten games, six of their last ten were on the road, and during that span the team has shot only 42.6 percent from the floor while giving up an average of 105.8 points. Indiana’s average total per game during this slump has been 97.2 points. This is not a recipe for success, especially when they only played two top-tier teams over their last ten, both road games, in Oklahoma City and Dallas.

The Pacers’ schedule is not laced with tough teams for the remainder of the season, however, they must face the New York Knickerbockers twice, the Celtics twice, and the Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets, and Orlando Magic before the regular season draws to a close. Also in that span they must play the Bobcats and Bucks which may turn out to be Indiana’s most important games if they hope to stave off their immediate competition.

Since paul Silas took over for Larry Brown in Charlotte, the Bobcats have gone 19-19. This is a major reason for them being within reach of the playoffs. Over their last ten games they have gone 4-6, with all six of their losses coming in a row. All but one of those losses were at the hands of playoff bound teams. Against the Magic, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Bulls the Bobcats mustered an average of 80.6 points on approximately 41 percent shooting while surrendering 101.2 points per game in those five losses and allowing their opponent to shoot 48.9 percent. With numbers like these, Michael Jordan needs to decide if watching his team be swept in the first round is even worth it. This is a team that is primed and ready to be blown up this summer.

What more is there to say about the Bucks after that pathetic performance against the Celitcs where they only scored 56 points. Clearly, the ides of March arrived slightly early for the Bucks. If Milwaukee, and their anemic scoring,  somehow makes its way into the playoffs, both the Pacers and Bobcats should spend next season in the D-League to reflect upon the embarrassment that they brought on the league.

It says a lot about the Eastern Conference that, statistically, the Cleveland Cavaliers are not yet out of the playoff chase. Statistically they could still mike it while in the West both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings are out. Now, realistically, the Cavs have no shot at making the playoffs but that should serve to temper the comments that the East is now the dominant conference.

The Western Conference is slightly more complicated, however, the teams currently sitting in the lower playoff spots may be the ones that ultimately make the playoffs. Right now, only four and half games separate the sixth seed and the eleventh seed and each of these teams (New Orleans, Portland, Memphis,  Utah, Phoenix, and Houston) has a record of .500 or better. On top of that, each has won at least five of their last ten games as they know that not just making the playoffs, but playoff seeding is on the line.

Lower seeded Western Conference teams will likely fair somewhat better in the first round of the playoffs as opposed to their counterparts in the East. This is simply because the distribution of talent is not as top-heavy as it is in the Eastern Conference. This is why there has been a better likelihood of an upset in the West over the past several years.

The bottom tier of the Eastern Conference playoff picture has a long way to go if it is to ever become relevant. Teams slipping into the playoffs with a sub-.500 record bring nothing to the table. Sure there are some decent to good players on these teams but in a division that holds the Nets, Raptors, and Cavaliers there is no reason not to find a couple more wins during the season. Outside of the top four teams in the East, there is nothing but teams asking for handouts in the forms of wins. None will see the light of the second round. When beggars die, there are no comets seen.

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Blake Griffin dunks against Bobcats

Blake Griffin was kind enough to send the Beef an early present against the Charlotte Bobcats last night. We thank him for it.

It is good to see that Mo Williams can in fact throw a decent lob for Griffin. However, that only means that somewhere Baron Davis is green with envy as he reminisces about the days before he found himself in Cleveland. Good thing there is always comfort in food.

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The Kobe Beef turns 1

Happy birthday to us

It was one year ago today that the Kobe Beef came into existence. So, today is our party but we will leave all the crying to the Miami Heat. Since last March we have seen out readership expand each month as the two of us have settled in and found our voices as bloggers. Hopefully, there will be a league to talk about this time next year because we enjoy writing about basketball.

We want to thank each one of you who continue to read our postings. This site would not be possible without you and we promise to continue to bring you the quality cynical and sarcastic coverage you have come to expect from us.

Enough about all of that, though. It is our birthday. It is a time to celebrate. So, where are our presents? No, seriously, where are they? They had better be in the mail. Oh, and do not get us anything from Omaha Steaks. We already have enough beef.

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Moochie Norris’s hair still haunts the NBA

scary.

Moochie Norris was a well-travelled NBA player that is mainly known for his huge hair and haunting bobblehead.

Moochie’s collegiate career started at Odessa College where he played from 1992-94 before he went to Auburn University for the 1994-95 season then on to the University of West Florida for the 1995-96 season.

Looking like a Treasure Troll.

He was drafted 33rd overall (fourth of the second round) in the 1996 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.  He never played one game for them as he was waived by them on November 22, 1996.  On December 12, the Vancouver Grizzlies decided to pick him up as a free agent for some strange reason.  He was only on the team for 18 days before they waived him on December 30.

He took a vacation through the 1997-98 season and continued a practically unheard of career for the Seattle Supersonics, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and New Orleans Hornets before being waived during the 2005-06 season.

He then played in the CBA for the Yakama Sun Kings briefly in January 2007 then traveled to Italy to play for Climamio Balogna from March to June of that year.  Moochie returned to the Sun Kings and led the league in assists.

However, his hair was awesome.

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Return of Shaq could be delayed

Shaq wants to fight through the pain.

The Big Leprechaun says he should be returning in a week but Doc disagrees.

The Celtics’ big man Shaquille O’Neal thinks that he will be returning to the hardwood after missing the last 13 games after injuring his right Achilles tendon; however, head coach Doc Rivers thinks it may be longer.

The big guy actually got in some practice recently and at his birthday party yesterday he said that he is 85 percent.  Rivers and Celtics’ trainer Ed Lacerte say it could be longer since they want to play it safe.

So far, it looks like the coaching staff may be right in this instance since some of the pain did return during drills.

So far, Shaq has missed 25 of the Celtics’ 61 games but with the recent loss of Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, the green guys are looking for an identity at center.

The Celtics are 5-0 since the trade with wins over the Clippers, Jazz, Suns, Warriors and Bucks.  Each is poised to miss the playoffs.

Truth be told, it’s a big man that these Celtics need.

Doc Rivers has had to rely on both Glen Davis and Krstic but neither is the caliber of player that a coach should have to rely on heavily at the five position.  Davis flourishes against various undersized benches in the East while Krstic doesn’t really put in heavy minutes.

With Jermaine O’Neal out with an injured knee for another four to six weeks, Boston doesn’t have many options for the center position.

They have been winning and are still first in the league in points allowed with only 91 a game.  This is due to Rajon Rando and Ray Allen’s ability to completely pest anyone on the hardwood.

The Perkins trade made perfect sense for Danny Ainge and the Celtics.  They dumped a big man with a history of injury for another defender in Green.  Nate Robinson was traded as well to the Thunder and Marquis Daniels was sent to Sacramento (soon to be Anaheim).  Both are injured and further prove the point that Boston was aiming to dump anything that could hold them back.

They missed Perkins in the last two games of the Finals last year when he went down with injury and Daniels wasn’t going to help out at all this year.  However, it was Robinson and Davis that had the perfect chemistry against the b-teams of the East.  They will miss that but they have to look to the future.

The Celtics’ remaining schedule is challenging.  They have 21 more games with matchups in Philadelphia, in New York, in New Orleans, in Indiana, in San Antonio, in Atlanta, in Chicago and in Miami.  Even though Boston is set to hold the No. 1 seed in the East, that’s eight road games that will truly test them.

Yes, Shaq is old and has been a minimal force for the Celtics this season but he can start for them.  He will give them some needed grit at the five position and allow them to rotate in Krstic and Davis to fit their styles of play.

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It’s getting hot in here

It's been a long season of disappointment.

With the final weeks of the regular season approaching, the heat is on for Miami to actually prove something.

The Heat have yet to show that they can even approach the preseason hype that had sports pundits claiming that a “super team” such as theirs could win 72 games.  They lost ten games by early January.

Miami is currently on a four-game losing streak with losses against teams that will be playing in the playoffs.

They blew the lead against a Knicks team that was adjusting to newly acquired superstar Carmelo Anthony.

Orlando overcame a 24-point deficit with a 40-9 run to pull out their second win over Miami this season.

San Antonio demolished them 125-95 in a game that was never competitive.

Yesterday, the Bulls’ stayed a perfect 3-0 against Miami as LeBron James missed another clutch shot.

However, it’s not just their missed shots that are causing such astounding losses.  Luol Deng sunk a late game three last week to clinch a win for the Bulls and Chauncey Billups hit a late one as well to help seal the Knicks’ win.  This sloppy, late game defense has put the Heat at 5-13 in games decided by five points or less.

We could also blame Karma following LeBron down to South Beach but it would make more sense to blame that bench.  That TERRIBLE bench is last in the league in scoring with a measly 22.3 points a game.  That same group of players is only dishing out 3.9 assists per game, which is also last in the league.  They are 4-6 in their last ten games and their bench has done even worse with just 14 points a game including only six against the Bulls yesterday.

A team will not win with a bench that only scores six points in a game.

They are having starting problems as well.

Erik Spoelstra has gone from Carlos Arroyo to Mario Chalmers to Mike Bibby who has been virtually invisible since coming to Miami.  Dwyane Wade sometimes brings it up and sometimes LeBron does.  Who runs the floor?  Nobody knows.

Now, it has been revealed that players were actually crying in the locker room after the game and Spoelstra is the one that broke the news.  Why is he giving the media more fuel to criticize his underachieving team?

It sounds like even he understands how pathetic the Heat’s situation is.

It is he who allowed Chris Bosh to keep taking shots during their game last week against the Bulls and go 1 for 18 from the floor.  It is he who keeps giving LeBron the ball at the end of games and it is he who isn’t responding well to having the heaviest thumb in the NBA over his head.

Pat Riley should be embarrassed about his team that cries in the locker room and a coach that can’t seem to get it right.

We have already seen Spoelstra on the hot seat once this season and his crying comments wont help.  It took a player-only meeting the first time around to help save his job and more loses before the playoffs will just turn the heat up even more.

Just when things seem to be at their worst, rock bottom hasn’t been hit yet.

In the next week, they have to face Portland that is pulling out the craftiest wins.  They will host the Lakers who are currently on a winning streak.  They have to play Memphis who is hot and has already beaten them once this year.  They have to play San Antonio who we all know is good and they have to play Oklahoma City.

All of the games are at home which will make it even more embarrassing when they lose.

It’s almost too easy to criticize this team that was crowned before the season even started and it’s just going to get easier.  The Heat have a lot of problems and not a lot of time to fix them.

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