We said don't touch him!
Look, I really
like Dwyane Wade...but 24 free throw attempts in one game?! To put that into perspective, the entire Cavs team combined for 24 free throws last night (with Lebron shooting a woeful 3-for-8). Wade, by the way, is averaging a league-high 11.4 free throw attempts per game. That's, like, a lot
. The only active players to have ever averaged 11-plus free throws per game are Shaq (who averaged 13.1 in 2000-01 and 11.4 in 1997-98), Allen Iverson (11.5 in 2005-06), and...Eric Williams!! Yes, you read that correctly: Williams averaged 11.3 freethrow attempts per game in 1996-97, yet he only averaged 15.0 points PPG that season. Oh, and here's a random piece of historical perspective for you: Wilt Chamberlain averaged 11.4 free throw attempts per game for his career
, including a highest-ever 17.0 per game in 1961-62 (and yes, that was the season he averaged 50.4 PPG). Speaking of crazy numbers...Hold on to the ball, dude.
Wade had 12 turnovers last night. That also is a lot. Cleveland, as a team, had 14. Think Wade was trying to do too much?More suspensions coming?
Since the league suspended Kobe Bryant for whacking Manu Ginobili in the face last Sunday, then there should be two more suspensions handed out after last night's game: one for Lebron hitting Wade in the face while "going for the steal" and one for Ginobili kneeing then kicking Amare Stoudemire in the man parts*. I mean, the league's hands are tied; if they're going to be consistent, they've got to hand out one-gamers to those guys, otherwise they can't possibly justify Kobe's suspension.
*A few random observations regarding Ginobili's nutshot on Stoudemire: First, did anyone notice how Manu led with the knee then swung his leg out in a kicking motion? That's a blatant violation of the Guy Code, which clearly states "No man will kick another man in the whirlygigs unless engaged in a brutal bar fight in which broken bottles and Jackie Chan are involved." Second, did anyone notice that Stoudemire was able to lunge at Ginobili and argue with the official before
he fell down and writhed in pain? I mean, four or five full seconds passed before the agony reached his brain. I don't know about you, but when I take a shot to the jingleberries, the effect is almost immediate. In fact, if the impact is bad enough, the pain can actually travel back in time
and drop me before I get hit (but I'm not here to discuss time paradoxes). Third, have you ever noticed that announcers are completely incapable of talking about a man getting hit in the danglers? Instead, they use euphemisms like, "He's shaken up" or "He's catching his breath." Meanwhile, the guy's bent over clutching his tallywags, and we all know
what happened. We're not children, guys. You can use the word "genitals" on the air. It's okay.The McHale Zone.
Kevin McHale was the best low-post scorer in NBA History. He was so good, in fact, that he regularly got away with shuffling, sliding, and using upwards of two or three pivot feet per possession. I never thought I'd see anything like it again, and then Tim Duncan happened. That guy gets a minimum of three to four pivot feet per low-post move. It's amazing. He tossed in an overhead layup in the fourth quarter last night, and it was an incredible shot, but even more incredible was the fact that he had to pivot about 14 times to make it to the basket. Wow. What made Duncan's moves even more suprising was...The Spurs and Suns were both packing bags last night.
I've been following basketball for over 20 years, and I have never, ever
seen so many travelling violations called in one game before. There were six travelling violations called in the fourth quarter alone! And while I wasn't tracking it from the beginning of the game, the final number had to be in double digits. At one point, Leandro Barbosa got called for travelling in back-to-back possessions. I couldn't believe it. They even called travelling on a meaningless end-of-game drive by Tony Parker when the Suns were already up by 16 points:
Was it a travel? Absolutely. But that's the kind of move that Kobe, Lebron, Wade, McGrady, and whoever else you want to name get away with every game. When did they start calling travelling in the NBA? Statbuster figures that one of the coaches -- probably Gregg Popovich -- complained to the officiating crew about travelling before the game, and that got the refs all riled up. And sure enough, Dick Bavetta was one of the refs. I can almost guarantee you that any time there's a major officiating anomoly in a game, Bavetta is involved somehow. God, I hate that guy.The 15-point Bomb.
During the game last night, Statbuster described the Suns as "a 15-point bomb that can go off at any time. I thought that was a pretty accurate description. And even though the Suns struggled against the Spurs defense for most of the game, that bomb finally went off in the 4th quarter...and the Suns turned a close game into a 16-point rout.
A sidenote on the Suns' defense. Popular opinion is that the Suns don't play any, and that the Dallas Mavericks are a better bet to win the NBA title because they're so much better defensively. Well, here are a few factoids for you. The Suns have held 19 teams below 100 points this season, and they're 19-0 in those games. They're 7th in the league in defensive rebounds, while the Mavs are ranked 30th. The Suns force more turnovers (14.9 to 13.8) and get more steals (7.2 to 6.6). Both teams are in the Top Ten (due to ties) in opponent's field goal percentage (45.3 for the Suns and 45.2 for the Mavs). And while the Mavericks' opponents score 9 PPG fewer than the Suns opponets, the Suns score 11 PPG more than the Mavs.
As always, the most important statistics are the differentials, which identify how a team performs relative to their opponents. The Suns beat the Mavs in PPG differential (9.0 to 7.1) and have a major advantage in field goal percentage differential (4.6 to 0.9). This is because the Suns have a faster offense and get better shots than the Mavericks, who don't have good ball movement and depend mostly on isolation plays to score.Shaq A-Lack.
At this point, "The Diesel" is starting to look more like "The AAA Battery." Forget that he's only played seven game, and forget the 12 PPG, 6 RPG, and 46 percent shooting. He just plain looks bad. Yes, I know he's coming back from injury. But Shaq once said he'd retire immediately
if he was ever "only as good as David Robinson." If that's the case, his retirement is probably a little overdue.