Are you joking?
Some yutz with a byline has decided to explain why he's not sending any of his hard earned cash to help fund relief efforts in Haiti. If you've been under a rock the past couple of weeks, a massive earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, followed by a bad aftershock a few days later. The Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and other charities and humanitarian aid organizations are overwhelmed as they work to care for the hurt and dispossessed, and they're not done counting the dead.
Mr. Shirley . . . it is your money and you are perfectly within your rights to spend it as you choose. This is also a society that permits and encourages free discourse, so you're within your rights to publicly state your opinion. The flip side to that is I'm within my rights to call you an inhumane jackass who has never gone hungry, never slept cold, and never suffered a loss so great it cracks the shell of your immense egotism. By your line of reasoning, sir -- people should not live and rebuild in a disaster prone region -- the human race shouldn't live anywhere. Furthermore, I fail to see how standing back and watching the body count rise from several hundred thousand to a few million will build a better, richer, and more stable Haiti.
In a nutshell, allow me to retort:
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Are you joking?
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Game 3 of the J-Ho, Let's Go watch.
Honest? I didn't sack out until almost five this morning, so when I got up around ten and somehow succeeded in pissing off the world, I went back to bed. I just got up and as I was sitting at the computer I heard one of the media guys ask Shawn Marion, "When was the last time you were in a fifty-point game?"
Straight to NBA.com, and it's true, oh my brothers and only friends. After getting more or less manhandled by the 76ers, the Mavericks hopped an Amtrak to the city and fed the Knickerbockers to a yard full of pissed-off pit bulls. And this without having Jason Kidd and Erick Dampier. Kidd had to fly back to Dallas to deal with a family issue -- I hope the Kidd clan's all okay. Dampier's had problems with fluid buildup on one knee.
I'm going to rewind the vid and get back to you in a bit.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Game 2 of the J-Ho, Let's Go watch.
The Mavericks took the night train to Philadelphia from Washington (literally, that's what they did). According to Sefko at the Morning News, Tim Thomas is back with the team after dealing with a family issue (hope everybody's okay!) and Eds Najera is still inactive. Word on Josh is he's starting tonight, but that's not 100% for-sure.
Okay, let's dissect the 76ers. According to Basketball Reference, the 76ers score 97.8 points per game whilst allowing 101.0, placing them 22nd and 19th in those categories. They shoot 45.4% from the floor including 34.8% on threes, grab 40.8 rebounds, average 20.5 assists, 8.2 steals, 5.8 blocks, and 14.3 turnovers. Their opponents shoot 47.3% from the floor including 41.2% (!) on threes, grab 41.0 rebounds, and average 22.5 assists, 7.1 steals, 4.3 blocks, and 15.1 turnovers.
This is also the first time in a long while the Mavericks have had to deal with the Can't Sir, Allen Iverson. Who has been voted into the starting lineup for this year's All Star game. There's a line from Memoirs of a Geisha, where the narrator reflects on her position on a Top Ten list, and she notes that people have a hard time seperating what's great from what they've just heard of. No further questions, Your Honor.
Tip-off in two minutes:
Great. Now that I'm done barfing up blood, let's tackle the numbers.
FG% -- DAL 39.5% (20.0% 3pt), PHI 43.0% (20.0% 3pt)
Rebounds -- DAL 42, PHI 49
Less possessions -- Dallas's percentage figures on 32 makes off 81 shots, Philadelphia's figure on 37 makes off 86 -- and bad shooting. Whenever Dirk shoots in the low twenties and Jason Terry goes 2-12 and el zilcho on threes (pause to cough up fresh blood) things tend to go horribly wrong no matter how bad the other guys are on defense.
So much for the idea that the team can weather bad shooting nights, and by extension so much for serious title hopes. Remind me to avoid Basketbawful's Worst of the Weekend on Monday.
As pertaining to the J-Ho, Let's Go watch, I'm going to pass the peach to Mike Fisher:
Josh entered at 4:18 of the first. He watched Jason Kidd attempt a 3.
Then, at 3:58, he touched the ball for the first time.
At 3:55, he shot a jumper and missed.
At 3:23, he touched it again, shot another jumper, and missed.
At 2:48, he made a 3.
At 1:20 he took another 3 and missed it.
That, my friends is what we call "shot-hunting." In 158 seconds – from the first time Josh touched the ball to the last errant 3-pointer – Howard recorded no assists, no rebounds, no steals, no fouls, no free throws … but four shots. All of them jumpshots. Two of them from 22-feet or more. Three of them missed.
Fast-forward to the final quarter. Mavs down 83-72 with 5:30 left. Here comes Josh, dribbling into the lane, in traffic, and he attempts a dribble-and-spin move. It’s like something the psychedelic Robbie Benson tried in "One-On-One." It’s not Josh’s game, he doesn’t have these sort of handles, it doesn’t fit the flow of what Dallas is trying to do.
And predicably, the ball bounds out of Josh’s control, into the hands of the Sixers for a turnover and a steal.
Buncha jump shots, midrange or more.
That is not what we need from Howard.
Does anybody have a HandiWipe?
Final: 92-81, Philadelphia
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Or, Game 1 of the J-Ho, Let's Go watch.
The word's just come down; Josh Howard will miss tonight's game with a case of the stomach flu. Assuming Coach will go back to Emergency Starting Lineup #1, which has JJ Barea starting at the 2 and Jason Terry coming off the bench. I have to do some shopping tonight, but the tape deck's locked and loaded.
Let's see, according to Yahoo! Sports, Washington averages 44.7% made field goals, including 35.1% threes, putting them 23rd and 16th in the league in those categories. They score 99.2 points per game and grab 42.3 boards, while allowing the opponents to score 102.7 and grab 43.4 boards. Franchise player Gilbert Arenas is out until the moon explodes after performing Stupid Gun Tricks--
Yeah, a quick thought on that. As Americans we have the right to arm ourselves in order to see to our own safety (up to a point, anyway). As a columnist with ESPN notes, though, there is a right way and a wrong way to own a weapon. The right way is filling out the forms, taking the safety classes, waiting whatever the legal waiting periods are in your area, making sure your weapon's secure at all times, and not carrying when and where it's prohibited to do so. Childishness can be charming when it's a matter of playing to the crowds at a basketball game, but it's not a good thing when you're pissed off and have a loaded weapon within easy reach. People die in situations like that.
To be edited later.
Another much tighter'n it should've been situation. Let's take a look at the figures:
FG% -- DAL 45.9% (20.0% 3pt), WAS 45.0% (38.5% 3pt)
Rebounds -- DAL 41, WAS 41
Split between Washington overperforming and the Mavs underperforming -- another game that should've been nowhere near as close as it was. Basically, we got a five-point lead after a quarter and spent the rest of the game just barely treading water. Coach started Jason Terry instead of JJ Barea. Given how JJ's been struggling with his shot I see why; 1-10 from the floor including el zilcho on threes.
This puts a dent in my theory about how the Mavericks' defensive struggles of late have had to do with Josh Howard's presence. I'm not sure how statistically significant 00.3% is when it comes to figuring defensive efficiency. I do know the Wizards were allowed to hit an awful lot of threes and I'd swear there were moments in the second half when they were getting a guided tour of the charity stripe -- our fault, the Mavs made some dumb ones inside leading to and-ones. Dirk would've had to eat a Crow Whopper if the Wizards had scored on the final possession and won the game -- his offensive foul gave the Wiz back the ball down one with 6.7 seconds left.
Thank God for the Matrix, who blocked the Wizards' last shot. Coach, kiss that man.
Final: 94-93, Mavericks
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
After I posted some thoughts on the Maverick's defensive numbers last week, JakeN commented that, in his opinion, the Mavs might be better served by trading Josh Howard.
I'm afraid he might be right.
I've been writing for a long time that the Mavs really need Josh Howard back. Josh Howard, the potential All Star, very good defender, guy who can slash and spin straw into in-the-paint gold.
We're still waiting.
Josh has been physically present for a while now, and he's started the last four games at the 2-guard. In the games he's started, the Mavs are 2-2 and the bad guys are shooting 47.58% including 32.83% on three pointers. Howard's field goal percentage in that same stretch figure to 25.78%, and he's got an average plus-minus of -7.25. Here's some more detail from David Lord:
The Mavs began this season with Josh mostly in street clothes, as he worked his way back from injury for as month or so. Without him, they logged a 13-7 record, which over 82 games would put them on pace for 53-54 wins and a likely 2nd-6th playoff seed in the West.
But now he's back and has played quite a few games. With him added to the lineup, after Sunday in Toronto they are a glittering, wonderful, impressive (wait for it) … 13-7.
There is something about Josh Howard's playing that is missing. Call it the balls-out effort, call it a new sense of skittishness (reasonable fear is something people can learn very late in life), call it bad vibes. But the Mavericks were winning as many games when JJ Barea was starting (!!!).
Coach hasn't made any adjustments to limit his playing time or his possessions. I can see why he might want to allow Josh some rope; if he's been a good boy it makes sense to demonstrate confidence in him by allowing him the opportunity to play through mistakes.
I disagree. I respect Josh, I do. But I don't have that much faith in his better judgment. I just don't. From the standpoint of a total layperson, the conclusion drawn from the numbers is that allowing Josh the luxury of trying to get his game going is costing us wins. It can also be construed, given the drop in defensive effort and efficiency, that it's fucked the Mavericks up as a unit. How and why that could be, I don't have enough information to even hazard a reasonable guess.
In the wash, I think the real question that needs to be asked -- and to be totally honest, should've been asked weeks ago -- is simple. Is it fair -- to the team, to the coaches, to whoever's gotta be the man (usually Dirk) -- to turn the Mavericks back into a one-man band whilst we wait and pray for Josh to get his head screwed on straight?
I give him another two weeks -- that's seven games, three of which are against winning teams. Call it the J-Ho, Let's Go watch.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
They have hit, and hit hard.
In the last two weeks, the Mavericks have allowed the bad guys to do this:
Field Goal Percentage:
44.4% HOU (45.1% DAL)
40.2% SAC (48.6% DAL)
63.4% LAL (37.8% DAL)
47.5% DET (44.2% DAL)
52.6% SAS (49.4% DAL)
53.2% UTA (41.2% DAL)
48.8% LAL (42.9% DAL)
Points in the Paint:
40 HOU (52 DAL)
44 SAC (38 DAL)
52 LAL (36 DAL)
44 DET (34 DAL)
50 SAS (44 DAL)
50 UTA (34 DAL)
44 LAL (34 DAL)
Let me crunch the numbers here . . .
Okay. According to my arithmetic, the Mavericks are allowing the bad guys to score on an average of 50.01% of their shots, while only scoring on 44.17% on their own shots. They are also allowing 46.29 points in the paint, while only getting 38.86 of their own points there. In that same stretch, the Mavericks are 3-4, and only one of those wins is against an above .500 team.
For a team with pretensions to being the best in the world, those numbers are appalling. The Mavericks began the season as a top-tier defensive squad. We were either overachieving then, or we're underachieving now, and I don't know which terrifies me more.
In spite of getting Shawn Marion, in spite of having Howard back, to my eyes we're right back where we were last year. The whole idea behind those upgrades was to build a team that could weather shooting slumps from Dirk and Jet. That's stopped being the case, and I haven't gotten a satisfactory explanation as to why.
There's something else. I read an essay on the Moneyball a while back. JakeDFW pointed out some interesting statistics which in retrospect were a harbinger for the team meltdown that happened later that year. Emphasis mine:
I should have realized this in mid-season. In my mid-season review last year, I wrote: "The . . . thing to take from this is that there is a reason for what we're seeing: A drop in overall defensive aggressiveness." For a coach that lives and breathes defense, and a team that showed an ability to perform at quite a high level, a lack of aggressiveness illustrated one thing: The team was tuning out their coach.
Should we be alarmed? Or am I reading too much into a bad stretch of games that might just be an extended case study of Shit Happening?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
To the disappointment of the younger set of panting ladyfolk, Kris Humphries is turning in his blues and packing his kitbag for cooler climates. Gina Miller first brought down The Word via Facebook:
marc stein (his twitter name is too confusing for me) reporting that mavs trade humphries & shawne williams 2 nets for najera.
Good to see the ass end of Williams, going away. Less good to see the back of Humphries. I hope his stay in Jersey lasts about two seconds; he deserves better than that particular corner of sporting Hell.
Safe journey, Kris. And thank you.