Mishegaas and the NBA Finals

Phil Jackson came out today and talked about how the Pistons would grab, hold, push and hit the shooter and it wasn’t called. All true. How in the world does a defense as physical and aggressive as Detroit only have 10 fouls midway through the 4th quarter? That’s unheard of in a regular season game let alone a very physical playoff game. It also meant that they had to call 6 fouls the rest of the way. What changed? Who was officiating?

Larry Bird’s preference of defenders was big news this past week. Personally, I thought there was some big news that came out of Jim Gray’s 4-way interview with Larry, Magic, Lebron and Carmelo, but it wasn’t Bird’s comments.

What caught my attention was when asked about race in the NBA today, the future of the NBA, two African American teenagers responded in unison that race wasn’t an issue to them or their friends growing up, and it still isn’t. The Baby Boomers, raised in the 1950s thought race was an issue then, and it probably was an issue now. That the league could use more “larry birds”. Skip over Gen X and Gen Y to whatever they are calling today’s teenagers, maybe Gen Colorblind, and they talked about looking up to Dirk, Peja and Yao Ming. Thank you Lebron and Carmelo from saving us from the obligatory old man dialogue about hip hop, bling-bling, tattoos and posses being the end of the NBA. The only divide that was sensitive they could come up with was based on sponsor, both within the same company! Team Jordan vs the rest of Nike I guess…Horror of horrors.

And was anyone else surprised when they referred to Shaq as the Dad of the NBA. The guy any player could call and talk to? To me, that is the ultimate compliment.

Back to the Pistons vs Lakers last night (notice it’s pistons vs lakers, not lakers vs pistons.), where was Hack a Ben? I guess Phil didn’t want to win badly enough to put a guy who is shooting 28.6 Pct in this series onthe line. Big Ben makes Shaq look like Reggie Miller at the line. Why would you not put him at the line to break up the Pistons momentum and get a great chance of getting the ball back. It also would have given a breather to Shaq, who was definitely looking a little tired towards the end.

Finally, I’m really looking forward to the expansion draft. It’s the first time I have been through one, and I think it will befascinatingto watch how teams strategize, plan and work this through.

And as far as who I want to win this series… I just want it to go seven games… More revenue, lower luxury tax…

56 thoughts on “Mishegaas and the NBA Finals

  1. There have been way too many instances when a Pistons player drove past his man but a Laker defender didn’t step out to pick up the slack. I’ve seen more easy lay-ups for the Pistons in these 3 games than I have ever seen in a Finals game.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  2. I’m loving the Pistons and Lakers series. If I was a Laker fan, yeah I might be upset about all of the fouls, but I’m not so I’m not too broke up about it. I see the series as blue collar versus Hollywood, grits versus glitz, team ball versus me ball. The days of “isolate and freak” are drawing to a close as the new dawn rises in the East.

    Comment by runescape money -

  3. More or less nothing seems worth bothering with. I can’t be bothered with anything recently, but I guess it doesn’t bother me. I just don’t have anything to say. My life’s been really unremarkable these days.
    http://www.phonebell.net/

    Comment by calling card -

  4. Where the hell is the next entry?

    And for all you Mavs fans. You have no idea what your talking about. Nowitzki is not a PF, he is a 6 foot 11 small forward and McGrady only cares about the scoring title.

    Comment by John -

  5. Enough with all the whining about the fouls. The Lakers played far less aggressively on the offensive end. In order to get to the line, you must attack the basket. Kobe, the perimeter player most likely to draw fouls, routinely pulled up for jump shots and settled for bad shots. Shaq wasn’t fouled that much because the Pistons considered him relatively unstoppable. Shaq would have shot more free throws if his teammates would have gotten him the ball more frequently. They forgot about him for long stretches. Also, check out the number of three point attempts that the teams shot comparatively. This buttresses the argument about attacking the basket and going to the line. The Pistons also got to loose balls more quickly and the Lakers had to foul to negate their quickness.

    The Pistons played more aggressively, were quicker to the ball, were willing to play physical and intelligent and got out on the break for easy baskets. By any standard, the Pistons were the better team. The blowouts in Games 3 and 5 when coupled with the easy win in LA in Game 1 reflect something larger than “biased” officiating.

    Of course, the Mavericks aren’t exactly willing to play defense. They are more interested in putting on a show than they are in winning games and playoff series. Mark Cuban’s hijinks and passion for basketball are good for the NBA but his complaints about officiating (in a series where Dallas doesn’t even play) is mystifying.

    Comment by Steve -

  6. Detroit didn’t play hack-a-Shaq. Also, double-teams increase confusion and often lead to someone committing a foul, and Detroit wasn’t double-teaming.

    For consistency, perhaps people should question the record setting 2000 and 2002 finals? Did the officials GIVE the series to LA by granting so many free throws to the Lakers? If they are as crooked now, what weren’t they crooked in previous years? Maybe they are only crooked when your team loses?

    Crooked officials helped the Patriots win an NFL champsionship. Crooked officials helped the Lightning win the NHL championship. Crooked officials helped the Pistons win.

    Is there ever a time where the losers think their team lost fair and square?

    http://www.nba.com/history/records/finals_game_freethrows.html

    http://www.nba.com/history/records/finals_series_freethrows.html

    Comment by Shane -

  7. 1. Have you noticed in Europe that their soccer teams change their jerseys every 1 or 2 years. I think it’s pretty cool, and if NBA teams did that, I think it would spice up sales and make the anticipation for each year a lot higher.

    2. With P. Diddy designing I guess the 3rd jersey for the Mavs, we’re definitely going to have the hottest selling jerseys for the next year. Mark, you are a genius getting someone as popular as him to design the jersey. Even if it’s ugly, all the rappers and urban people are gonna buy it just because it’s Sean John. You’re gonna put the Mavericks into the TRUE mainstream because people on MTV and BET are all going to be sporting the jersey next year. And you KNOW when people see them on TV, all the followers are going to go straight to the store to get one. GOOD JOB!

    Comment by Dave -

  8. We could trade Dirk for Shaq, win a couple championships, and then resign Dirk in 4 or 5 years.

    Comment by Dave -

  9. He’s taller and has a contract the Lakers would love. Plus he has no interest in shooting or even getting near a basketball so Kobe will love him.

    Comment by Corey Long -

  10. I concur, keep Dirk with the Mavs.

    Comment by Birdsanctuary -

  11. Dirk in a Lakers uniform would make me as ill as I get watching A-Rod in a Yankee uniform.

    Comment by toni -

  12. Fin-dog has been a hero for the Maverick organization and his number will be retired eventually, but god willing we’ll trade him and Jamison to Orlando for Tracy McGrady and Drew Gooden. Then we’re gonna trade Dirk Nowitzki to LA for Shaq. Then we’ll have a starting 5 of Nash (if he resigns), McGrady, Josh Howard, Gooden, and Shaq. Godammit MARK! MAKE IT HAPPEN!

    Comment by Dave -

  13. Mark..it seems as if every mav fan is talking about how great of an opportunity you have placed us in to acquire Shaq since his recent demand for a trade. Everyone seems to be onboard in the notion that, aside from residing withing the Western conference, the mavericks appear to be the top candidate for a center who can dominate in an era where it is extremely difficult to find a decent center (much less an excellent one) Ofcourse, no one wants to trade Dirk for he is the cornerstone of the Mavericks franchise however, the majority seem to agree with the proposed trade of Walker, Jamison, and J.Howard along with our 1st rounder in 2006 and possibly this years second rounder.

    Mark…this is the type of opportunity all mavs fans have been waiting for… now lets get Shaq into a mavs uniform and win some titles already~

    Comment by Z -

  14. Jackson just might be the ticket. Have you thought about it?

    Comment by Lance -

  15. Mark, you’re the man! Love the blog!

    Now’s your chance! Snatch up Jackson and Shaq and grab the title next year!

    Comment by Todd -

  16. You want a big splash? There it is right there. I think you could convince the Magic moreso to take on Walkers contract than the Lakers.
    Can you see Phil Jackson here? I could as well.
    But then again Im not the owner, or even the Benefactor. LOL

    Comment by toni -

  17. There’s been lots of analysis of the Pistons victory and its contributing causes (foul calls, Malone’s injury, Shaq’s age, Brown’s coaching, Billups shooting, age vs youth etc. etc.)
    I have another theory on this. I think the game itself has evolved, mostly due to various rules changes over the past few years, such that it is now tilted well away from individual dominance to collective team play. The culprits include the zone, “advantage calls” that Mark brought up etc. etc.
    This is not a new idea – lots of people have predicted this. What is remarkable is how quickly it has happened, and to what extent it has taken effect. Now a team with 2 dominant superstars can be demolished, by a team of 5 good or very good players.
    I’m not taking anything away from Detroit – they are a great team, with very good, talented players. But just look at the following: nearly every championship in the past 25 years has been won by 2-3 Hall of Fame types of players:
    Magic + Kareem (+ Worthy) – 5
    Bird + McHale + Parish – 3
    Olajuwon + Drexler – 2
    Duncan + Robinson – 2
    Jordan + Pippen (+ Worthy) – 6
    Thomas + Dumars – 2
    Shaq + Kobe – 3
    Moses Malone + Dr. J – 1

    The current Detroit team does not fit this profile. Hamilton, Billups, Wallace, Wallace and Prince are all-stars (or near all-stars), but are nowhere near being individually dominant, nor do they belong on the above list.
    I think their victory is *not* an anomaly. I think they have a good chance to repeat.
    In his recent posting, Mark opined that Detroit’s victory proved there is no common recipe for building a champion. I think its exactly the other way around, the recipe has merely changed, and Detroit fits the new recipe to a T, which is – load up on youthful, long, athletic defenders, throw in some shotblocking and rebounding, have a couple of very good mid-distance shooters in the starting five, and stick to a simple rote offensive scheme. One-on-one play is now officially outmoded; dominant superstars can easily be neutralized by team-defense. Such is the new way of the new NBA.

    -TheFinalAnalysis

    Comment by TheFinalAnalysis -

  18. What are the odds that in after next season, you will be on the phone with Phil – trying to beat out the Maloofs for his services? Do you have a motorcycle valet at the training center?

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  19. http://www.nbarefssuck.com/quotes.html

    Comment by Jerome -

  20. Oh and about the foul disparity:

    Is it any wonder that athletic NJ beat the Pistons in fouls? They got in front of the Pistons and didn’t have to pull as many ‘stunts.’ The Lakers are the old mens. Malone, Payton – they couldn’t guard anyone so is it any wonder they are reaching? And as far as the Piston’s fouls being down against the Lakers, you don’t have to reach at what can’t go by you! Payton didn’t exactly blow by Billups for any reach fouls. *laughing*

    Oh well. Go Mavs!

    Comment by Matt -

  21. Since we can’t comment on the Pistons Win! post, I’ll comment here.

    “Up to the final series, the same people who talked about how defense wins championship praised the lakers defense, in the championship series, they condemned the lack of defense? So can you get to the Conf Finals not playing defense? The same people now condemning the Lakers, couldn’t praise their Hall of Fame lineup enough from the start to completion of the season.”

    The media has to write about something. My girlfriend recently asked me “how is there SO much stuff to write about that SI can come out weekly?” I should just point her to this comment from Mark.

    The media reacts to what’s happening. Now every team is going to go remake their teams in the Piston’s image. And next year when a superstar-led team wins the whole thing, we’ll be back where we are.

    Defense wins Championships, offense hangs conference banners?

    M

    Comment by Matt -

  22. Detroit did it. They won the NBA title without what meny consider a “superstar.” My question is, why are they so surprised. Didn’t the Memphis Grizzlies do the exact same thing this year. An incredible improvement and a playoff berth without as much as anything close to an NBA superstar. It shows that more than Detroit are giving this a try and succeeding. Congrats Detroit and hopefully for those of us in Memphis we will follow close behind.

    Comment by Steven -

  23. Dude…Marv Albert got fired by MSG. I can hear it now…

    Nash for 3…”YES!”

    Comment by toni -

  24. I am right there with you on the not being able to wait until you do not have to check the race ethnicity box. Here’s an example . . . Last week I took one of my many Education Certification Exams while filling out all the basic bio info. I fell onto the normal race question here were my “race options”
    African American
    Asian American
    Hispanic American
    Pacific Islander
    Native American
    Caucasion
    Other
    Me, being the smart A$$ that I am marked other and wrote in Texan. For the record I am a white 20 year old female, but I too am American and it pisses me off to know end that this even has to be a question and Caucasion is the only “category” without the American suffix. So I am a Texan born and raised.
    Well now thats off my chest GO MAVS!

    Comment by Sarah -

  25. one more thing, I did not talk about fouls which was a big factor in series and cost much of mindset to lakers but i think NBA commisoner has some role in this.
    I really think so. Kind of fixing the matches. Same ref will call the same sort of fouls against lakers and will not call against pistons but finally lakers could have manage the win with this trouble if they manage things mentioned above.

    Thanks to Mark for letting me post these comments and lakers fan please let me know if we have any forum.

    Comment by Kedar -

  26. There is going to be lot of discussion on how and Why Laker’s lost in finals between Laker’s fans like me.
    Some interesting points,
    1) Before series started Lakers are hot fav for media but nobody considers that pistons dont have a single star player as other teams had .(Dunkan, Garnet) So they dont have any role for Malone rather than rebounding for which you need to be active enough.
    2) Ben wallace always got help from either willamsan( not sure of name) or other wallace or okur etc. Shaq never had any help. Makvendanko was the most useless player throughout the playoffs. He could not defend right neither can rebound properly (unless ball falls in his hands). His shooting was very poor. Payton does not owe fault. His size is so small I wonder how is survived in league for these many yrs. I need to look at his old matches to see how he was supported. Kobe and Shaq tried to carry load but it was too much. They should have involved more team mates from start.
    3) Billups 3 were killing lakers in middle of game and never i saw rush got a open shot for 3 in same phase. Sometime he was not on floor or sometime they will pass ball to him without making him open. No screen set for him.
    4) I think lakers lost momentum after game 3. With spurs they worked hard to get out of error spots but with Pistons they never shown adjustments they might have made in free time.
    5) Another big reason was Shaq. I think he never played with intensity beside game 4 and 5. He was trying to prove same point in game 3 as Kobe was trying to prove in game vs. kings.

    But for me its all ok. I am a Laker fan but not stringant to lakers. Next season if I see Kobe on different team than Shaq, it is going to be more interesting for me to watch NBA. I know for sure that Pistons are not deserving team if Spurs of Timberwovles could make it this yr to finals then it surely was Western Conference dominance because they can hit jump shots. At least one team (Timberwolves, Spurs Or Lakers ) need adjustments next yr. And we are champions next yr. I am sure that Mavs can not do this as they dont have that strong team right now.
    For anybody who says that Pistons are more deserving once, watch their matches against NJ and you will find how bad they play. Cuban is talking about making open shots and Pistons did not do that all season beside Rick. It just that Billups got good shots in first game and then carried momentum bcoz he was defended by Payton or some short guy. Otherwise we can clearly see that when Kobe went on him for defense he passed that shot to Rick to who was defended by someone else. Lakers needed some energy in play from someone beside Shaq and Kobe ( I am saying energy and not the scores) but beside Luke in game 2 nobody stepped up. George( For all playoffs) and Fisher(for finals) could not bring it.
    Hope other teams will get good players from this team and we will have better matches again.

    Comment by Kedar -

  27. These finals to me have been absolutely ridiculous. The officiating is repulsive. How can the LA Lakers shoot comparitively so many less free throws than the Pistons?? The Pistons should have more fouls called on them resulting in more Laker free throws. And Rasheed Wallace hasn’t been ejected either. This whole finals is a farce to me. And It seems that the upper management of the NBA payed off the refs to help lift the Pistons onto the throne as NBA champions.

    Comment by Jeff Larkins -

  28. Nope it was Okur….Going Fishing….So, how about that I Robot!

    Comment by Mike -

  29. Come on…Darko Milicic was holding Shaq’s arm?

    Comment by sterling -

  30. Come on…Darko Milicic was holding Shaq’s arm?

    Comment by sterling -

  31. 1 QT No Calls From 6:00 minute mark
    5:35 Personal Foul double hand check Ben Wallace on Kobe Bryant

    4:36 Personal Foul Billups double hand check Kobe Bryant

    4:11 Personal Foul Corliss Williamson Double Hand Check on Shaq

    3:01 Personal Foul Gary Payton on Hamilton

    2:25 Personal Foul Corliss Williamson and Mevadinko Double Foul
    0:51 Personal Foul while shooting Prince on Kobe Bryant

    Comment by sterling -

  32. BLOW THE WHISTLE REF! OR DOES THE NBA HAVE AN AGENDA?

    Comment by slw1234@sbcglobal.net -

  33. Yeah, Eaton twice in the 80’s.. That oaf couldn’t cover anybody. But I guess if you get enough blocks they think you are a specialist. Then again, it probably helped that he got to play against Portland and Oakland several times a year.

    Comment by PSC -

  34. I assume that would be Mark Eaton, PSC.

    Comment by JPHJ -

  35. Quit playing the race card against Bird. Name the last white guy to win a Best-Defenseman title.

    Stats and history provide the basis for comedy. Were all of you crying foul at the movie “White Men Can’t Jump”?

    Mark makes a good point about Jim Gray and his old man attitude. Everyone who’s taking offense to Bird’s comments have the same problems as Gray. Quit being hipocritical.

    Comment by PSC -

  36. actually, this is the fairest series of the playoffs. the refs are calling on on the lakers when they reach, and the pistons just plain don’t reach… I repeat, the only thing the refs are really calling is when the Lakers reach. There is any sort of physical play imaginable but absolutely no reaching. they play close, they push off, but they definitely don’t reach. besides, when you consider all the offensive fouls shaq commits from lowering his shoulder into opposing centers and all the cheapshots malone has thrown in the past… it is truly a fitting ending to the shaq/kobe era. just think of all the games with the lakers (game 6 2002 wcf anyone? webber, pollard, AND vlade fouling out?) that have been somewhat questionable… WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND, FOLKS.

    Comment by steve -

  37. Dear Mark,

    After reading your blog, I can’t wait to see your “Benefactor” series. Here’s an idea for your next show, “The Turnaround”. How to save a dieing business in just six episodes! Pick one business (mine hopefully) and see if your expertise alone can bring the business back to life. Can’t say what kinda ratings it would get but I would watch every second of it!

    Comment by Thomas Hoops -

  38. The whole Larry Bird “white player” comments are the latest in a long line of racially tinged statements that just serve to get the PC world in a frenzy and really don’t add anything poaitive to the world of basketball. I’m sure Cuban would sign a polka dotted tatooed purple guy if he could average double figures in points and rebounds. I will admit to liking colorful characters like the World B. Free’s and Walt “Clyde the Glide” Frazier’s and I always welcome more people like them in the NBA, the fact that they were black, which of course had a huge impact on them personally, is of secondary interest to me as a fan. The most notable thing to me about Bird when he played was not that he was white, but that he was a country hick from French Lick in a sport that is overwhelmingly urban. The game supersedes race. If you’re a baller, that’s all that matters ultimately.

    I’m loving the Pistons and Lakers series. If I was a Laker fan, yeah I might be upset about all of the fouls, but I’m not so I’m not too broke up about it. I see the series as blue collar versus Hollywood, grits versus glitz, team ball versus me ball. The days of “isolate and freak” are drawing to a close as the new dawn rises in the East.

    I just have to remind and console myself that the Mavs were never that interested in Rasheed, were they?

    Hoping for a Mavtastic season in 2004/2005.

    Comment by wally -

  39. if the finals had been called like last night for the past five years…the lakers are lucky to win one title…finally defenders being called for re-routing a driving offensive player…lane violations…travels…if detroit shoots even a reasonable percentage…or what should be expected of 12 professionals making an average of $5 million per year…we have a game in the 100’s…all the players were crying last night…wallace yelled at eddie rush after the 3rd or 4th lane violation…”not here, not now”…that’s exactly what was needed…right here, right now…just surprised it was bavetta, nies, and rush doing the work…

    Comment by mark -

  40. The Lakers were the number one team in drawing fouls all season. They maintain that edge against every team in the playoffs including the defensive minded Spurs. And all of a sudden in the finals the Pistons don’t foul them? Something is very fishy. The Pistons have a HUGE FT disparity against the team that was #1 in the league at drawing fouls.

    Has the NBA turned into the WWF where series are scripted

    Let’s look at the Pistons FT numbers against the teams the faced in the playoffs:

    Bucks: 17, 31 , 26, 18, 16 — 108
    Pistons: 31, 21, 33, 21, 20 — 126

    Pistons 18 FT advantage

    NJ: 21, 23, 26, 28, 55, 26, 25 — 204

    Pistons: 21, 24, 26, 37, 42, 22, 18 — 190

    Nets 14 FT advantage

    Pacers: 23, 24, 27, 14, 27, 15 — 130

    Pistons 15, 34, 32, 23, 32, 15 — 151

    Pistons 21 FT differential

    LA 18, 25, 13, 22 — 78

    Pistons 30, 31, 30 , 41 –132

    Pistons 54 FT differential (and will very likely grow after the next game)

    NOW LOOK AT THE LAKERS NUMBERS AGAINST THE WEST:

    Round 1:
    Lakers – 140 FTs
    Rockets – 114 FTs
    Lakers 26 FT advantage

    Round 2:
    Lakers – 177 FTs
    Spurs – 138 FTs
    Lakers 39 FT advantage

    Round 3:
    Lakers – 186 FTs
    Rockets – 127 FTs
    Lakers 59 FT advantage

    So not only has Detroit all of a sudden gained a HUGE advantage in free throw attempts, but the Lakers have suddenly lost the advantage they had at the line in the playoffs up till this point. The Lakers also led the league in free throw attempts this year as a team, and had the largest differential between free throws attempted and free throws attempted by their opponents. All of a sudden it has mysteriously vanished.

    Comment by Julius M -

  41. I have never in my life seen the worst officiating in a finals game. All you Laker Haters can say anything you want but you might as well hand the rings to the Pistons on a silver plate and you guys will still love that the Lakers lost. But that’s not the game. The better team should win and I will happily accept the the better team. And the Pistons are not the better team. The Lakers are losing to the officials.

    I know the Lakers are supposed to be professionals but if you had this many fouls called against you, you start losing your ability to play. Especially when the Pistons are getting away with muggins. As the facts have shown in this final series, the calls are not consistent.

    I am a Lakers fan but more importantly I just want to watch a basketball game…not a game where the officials control the game.

    Comment by Lando -

  42. The craziness continues…

    Pistons 28-41 FTs
    Lakers 11-22 FTs

    Pistons 20 PF
    Lakers 35 PF

    Memorable plays…
    1. Phil is called for a technical foul for ‘stepping out of the coaches box’ within the first few minutes of the game
    2. Sheed takes a hard foul complains for about 2 minutes, no tech.
    3. Kobe complains during a TO, is teched up immediatley

    I just don’t see how the game was called.

    Comment by Manu Narayan -

  43. I agree with many of you that the Lakers are getting called for too many tacky fouls while the Pistons are getting away with muggings. However, it’s the Pistons that are playing like they want to win. I have yet to see the Lakers play like they are in the NBA Finals. They aren’t playing team ball, have made way too many stupid decisions on offense (mainly trying to dribble through 2-3 Pistons defenders) and aren’t playing team defense.

    There have been way too many instances when a Pistons player drove past his man but a Laker defender didn’t step out to pick up the slack. I’ve seen more easy lay-ups for the Pistons in these 3 games than I have ever seen in a Finals game. Another example is when Chauncey Billups moved past his man and Shaq was on the block. Instead of heading after Chauncey with his hands in the air, Shaq let him have an open look jumper. Shaq is 7’1″…almost a foot taller than Chauncey. If he would’ve just put his hands up he could’ve blocked the shooter’s view of the basket and in turn may have altered the shot.

    In the end I feel bad for Karl Malone because he deserves a ring. His Jazz teams weren’t good enough to go all the way and just when you think he has a legitimate shot his team isn’t playing like they want to win.

    Defense wins championships. If the Lakers don’t get their butts in gear then they will be watching the Pistons celebrate their first championship in over a decade.

    Comment by Tony -

  44. I’ve been saying it forever that there is a white/black issue in the NBA. Not to sound all Rush on everyone, but people do tend to overhype certain players. Look at KG’s performance in game seven of the Semi-Conference finals against Sac, and look at Dirk’s numbers last years from the same scenerio; a game seven vs. sac to advance to the WCF. They are almost identical.(KG 30 points 21 rebounds. Dirk 32 points 19 rebounds) People said KG’s was one of the best playoff performances they’ve ever seen, while Dirk’s went completely unnoticed. Not to mention that Dirk still leads all playoff performers in PPG, and has one of the greatest differences between regular season PPG and playoff PPG at +4. And yet people will praise the likes of Robert Horry because he scored 12 points comming off the bench before they give Dirk a lick of credit for doing so much more. It irks me too, Bird. The NBA has white superstars, but Nike decides who’s going to be a superstar and who isn’t. I guess Dirk isn’t marketable because he lacks tattoos and a criminal record, and he has a thick accent that’s hard to understand. That part is what bothered me, when Jim Gray ( Who is an f’ing idiot, Mark! Keep him away from your sidelines!!) asked Bird if it would help the white players if they were American. Answer: No. Comming from Bron Bron and Melo’s generation myself, I can tell you right now, it makes no difference so long as they don’t suck.

    Comment by Kellen -

  45. The Lakers got outplayed, no doubt. Out hustled. Out run. And run out of the palace. It was a great effort and showing by detroit, but you can’t really contextualize what the game would have been like if called evently.

    Kobe shot 3 FTA. He averaged 8FTA in the regular season and 7.7 in the playoffs. He’s averaging 4 in the detroit series.

    Shaq got 2 FTA. He’s averaging 13FTA against detroit and 11.4 in the playoffs. I don’t see if detroit somehow found a way to guard shaq over that 1 day of rest. Given he shot 50%, as opposed to 60%, it is easy to bet that he was fouled on some of those shots (look at that picture I posted)

    And then, even out the massive number of times the Pistons got to the line. Take away the EARLY pentaly situations the lakers always found themselves in.

    Take away foul trouble for lakers.

    That is the entire demographic of the game right there from how agressive you can be on defense to how much PT a player gets to how willing you are to take it to the rack if you’re going to get fouled but no whistle.

    So, in Game 3, im not saying the lakers would have mysteriously won, because the Pistons played a hell of a game, but it certainly would have changed the entire demographic of the game.

    Comment by Manu Narayan -

  46. But did it really make that much of a difference? the pistons won by 20 points. somehow i don’t think the occasional non-call swung the whole game in the pistons’ favor. and do you think its a mistake that Rasheed Wallace has gotten two quick fouls three games in a row? they say they’re unbiased, but when the same player gets two quick fouls, many of which were questionable, than you have to start wondering.

    The officiating has been bad for both sides, and remarkably sub-par these playoffs.

    Comment by Rob -

  47. personal fouls called in the finals

    game 1 – pistons 25 lakers 17
    game 2 – pistons 27 lakers 23
    game 3 – pistons 28 lakers 16

    thus … foul shots in the finals

    game 1 – pistons 30 lakers 18
    game 2 – pistons 31 lakers 25
    game 3 – pistons 30 lakers 13

    the numbers speak for themselves, lakers are gettin no calls…

    Comment by State Inspector -

  48. I am finding myself watching NBA basketball for the first time in years. This unheralded Detroit group is the most exciting thing I’ve seen since Lute Olsens last trip to the Final Four. Solid defense is fun to watch because it strips the flash right out of the opponents.
    Notice when the Lakers put in played Luke Walton in game 2 they were able to play the Pistons even. Walton plays fundamental defense. Where was he in game 3?? The Lakers will lose this series.
    Note to league: Jimmy Kimmel was half right with his Detroit joke. If you want to cut down on celebratory rioting play the final game at noon. Looters, thugs and pyros hate the daylight.

    Comment by Mike -

  49. I found Larry Bird’s comments on hating white guys covering him oddly insecure. Here is one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA stating that he felt disrespected when a white guy covered him. Were there that many bad white guys when he was in the league (i.e. McHale, Detlef Schrempf, Smits, Laimbeer, Mark Price, Stockton)? Who cares what color they were, like Melo and Lebron correctly answered? I agree that today’s youth doesn’t look at color. Remember Sebastian Telfair’s (point guard prep star) interview is SI stating that Dirk was the best he ever saw. Color doesn’t matter. It’s about game.

    Did Rodman’s comments (later Isiah Thomas backing him up) on him being just another player if he wasn’t white burn a hole of insecurity into his head? Or was being the lone white superstar in an NBA dominated by blacks get to him? Odd interview by Bird.

    As for Kobe vs. MJ, I totally agree: http://bernardmoon.blogspot.com/2004/06/awesome-win.html

    Comment by Bernard Moon -

  50. But, I hate to see a team win or lose unfairly. The biggest problem with the NBA is the lattitude with which they will make calls. Sometimes 3 in the key is called in a quick 3 count, sometimes Shaq (or others) just CAMP there for like 10 seconds. It needs to be consistent.

    If the Lakers just got out played, out hustled, and out worked (which they have been, but their talent keeps em in it) and lost, I’d be mad, but not nearly as frustrated, as when it feels officials are driving the course of the game.

    Comment by Manu Narayan -

  51. ^^ generally i would agree with you, but i hate the lakers so much…i dont care why they lose, just as long as they lose. im sure thats the wrong attitude, but who cares? i just hate the lakers.

    Comment by Jordan -

  52. Lakers don’t look good, they don’t look sharp, they are not playing with as much energy…but they are being murdered by the calls.

    It seems like if you’re in purple and gold every touch foul is called (even if ‘no advantage is gained, as it is supposed to be called now) but if you’re a Piston, you can hack and mug away.

    A few things that bug me about the officiating
    1. Detroids guards fend off with their off arms WAY too much. Its never called.
    2. Lots of travels when they initiate their screen and rolls beyond the arc, never called
    3. Lots of arm contact on ‘blocks’ they give the block, not the foul.

    http://images.sportsline.com/u/ap/photos/DTP118061023_1024x768.jpg

    This was a clean play, according to the refs. Up top, Okur’s primary hand, looks pretty clean, all hand. Minor elbow contact, let it go. But, Okur’s off hand is pushing down on Shaqs shoulder. Then look top left, you see Big Ben’s arm hitting shaqs off arm. That was considered ‘great defense’ by the refs. It should have been a shooting foul.

    The series just seems to be totally lopsided called. A great example was the second quarter, Karl takes it to the rack, Sheed jumps into Karl, arms out (not verticle) no call. Two possessions later, VERY similar play with Shaq and B Wallace, and shaq is called for the personal.

    All I ask for is consistency. If you’re going to let one team mug the other, both teams need to have the leeway.

    Personally, I want to see the game called as it should be.

    Comment by Manu Narayan -

  53. Speaking of GENERATIONAL differences it is funny how the young generation of teenagers I run into these days swear KOBE is the best ever. Yeah that shot in Game 2 was awesome. So was the one against Portland in the last game of the regular season. But the bottom line is the best ever was Michael Jordan and Kobe’s Game 3 performance proved it (not that it was needed). It will be interesting to see who the Lakers do not protect in the expansion draft it they fail in these finals (which I must say wouldn’t bother me a bit).

    Comment by Omar S. -

  54. Blue. As in Maverick Blue.

    Gold. The color of the NBA championship trophy.

    I swear I’ll fly to Dallas from San Diego for the parade.

    Speaking of the Lakers….ugh..I cannot stand it when I hear them saying (interviews) that thay (the Lakers) had a bad game. When will they give credit to anyone for beating them. I certainly hope for a 3 game Sweep in Detroit.

    Mavs in ’05….Tell the fellas with the personnel decisions that we believe in them.

    Comment by greg -

  55. I was also pleased to hear the kids didn’t think race was an issue. I can’t wait for the day I don’t have to check the “race – ethnicity” box on an application or survey.

    Comment by Travis Richardson -

  56. I’ve been saying that all day at work and no one’s been listening to me!

    Isn’t this series being called COMPLETELY differently that the rest of the playoffs! If not the rest of the SEASON!!!!!

    It’s so hard to enjoy basketball right now! Can you buy an Arena Football team or something Mark?

    Comment by Travis Richardson -

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