Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

USA Basketball Game 2: USA 97 – Angola 76

Another bad showing from behind the arc, but the United States once again used their overpowering force to basically bully a weaker opponent via the fast break.

Now we get to see how this strategy does against a team like Greece, which can actually push back.

The US was a dismal 5 for 21 from beyond the arc, however, that was mostly due to the efforts of Kobe “I love the three ball” Bryant, who put up an 0fer from three-point land in eight tries!! Otherwise, 5 for 13 does not even look that bad (Michael Redd was oh for two, as well, surprisingly).

Lebron James was dominant, but it was a bit disheartening to see the United States seemingly pull back a bit after building up a huge half-time lead of 55-37. For example, the US was actually out-scored in the fourth quarter by eight points! Yes, obviously, the game was out of reach by then, but still, the bench of the US team should be getting out-scored by eight points by Angola!

Carmelo Anthony looked good, by the way, in case folks were wondering.

Anyhow, next up is Greece – this should be a fun game!

Oh, yeah, one other notable game – Spain went into the fourth quarter today trailing China by fourteen points!!

Yes, they made up the deficit then kicked China’s ass in overtime (Gasol was a beast), but wow, that is not a good sign for Spain.

66 comments on “USA Basketball Game 2: USA 97 – Angola 76

  1. alec

    Team USA will do fine as long as their defense continues to force turnovers. I am worried that they are allowing a lot of open 3 looks though.
    Team USA’s depth is their biggest strength. In a tournament where you play 5 games in 9 days, you need to rest your best players. Our depth allows us to do exactly that.
    Bosh is playing very well and Wade is killing people. We are fine and I fully expect to see beat Greece handily. I think everyone on that teams know it is a statement game. Watch out Greece

  2. retropkid

    This club really should just blow through the competition. The only risk is 3-balls….if we take too many and miss too many, and/or allow too many makes. Every other factor goes our way (okay with Boeheim as a coach, this club may start missing clutch free throws, he has that effect…).

    Perimeter D is the easy answer — stop these clubs from getting open look 3s, and you limit the range of the +/- on 3’s that is unfavorable to Team USA.

    If Team USA loses, it will be because we shoot something like 3-17 from 3 and give up 8+ threes the other way.

    The talent and the coaching should prevent that scenario — we should go undefeated, without really much sweat imho. One could argue we shouldn’t even shoot more than 12 threes a game, just go for maximum efficiency inside the arc, approach 60% FG, get a ton of easy fast breaks….voila!

  3. Brendan

    Can you imagine the press team USA would get if they needed OT against China? I read one article at CNNSI.com after USA/China which simultaneously bashed them for only winning by 30 and for not showing enough respect to their opponents. There’s been some seriously pathological stuff in the MSM treatment of these games so far.

    As for that ad- wow. From the country which brought you people making monkey noises at Samuel Eto’o, comes another winner.

  4. Duff Soviet Union

    Brendan, I’ll go further. I am not sure why any NBA player would actually want to play for America. Seriously, what’s the point? If you win, it’s a guarantee that you will be called an ungracious winner and a terrible sport and have your achievement downgraded as often as possible, and if you lose you’ll be derided as an unskilled, lazy, unpatriotic prima donna who only cares about money. Why should they show their patriotism for a country that doesn’t support them? As for that Spain pic: I’m probably a bad person, but I actually laughed. However, I find it amazing that Spain apparently has no one working in an official capacity capable of saying the words “um, guys, taking this photo might not be the best idea because….”

  5. Guest

    @ Duff Soviet Union

    I’m just laughing my ass off at Spain’s retarded reactions to the controversy. That lone thinking official must still be on vacation because the Spanish players STILL DON’T GET IT.

    Gasol said it was “absurd” people were calling the gesture racist.

    Absurd?!

    I can at least see a defense if it was done satirically or with humor in mind but to still not have just the slightest inkling that it could offend people is flat out stupid.

    “The players explained what happened,” Villanueva said. “We think that’s enough.”

    And still not a single damn apology.

  6. Alex

    Pau Gasol’s comments

    “I didn’t find it very funny. I didn’t find it offensive, either. I guess some guys didn’t mind. To me I don’t want to be that way, I guess, to be doing that stuff.

    “If anybody feels offended by it we totally apologize for it. We never meant anything offensive by it.”

    So I guess somebody did apologize.

  7. Italian Stallion

    I didn’t find the photo particularly funny, but find it more disturbing that some people actually find these kinds of things so offensive that become a major issue. To me, political correctness is the much greater offense because it inhibits free speech. Who’s to say the “politically correct nazis” are right about everything. In fact, they’ve been proved wrong on lots of things, but I’ll refrain from taking the discussion further.

    People need to grow up, mature, get a sense of humor, and understand when something is said or done in an intentionally offensive way and when it’s done out on ignorance, humor gone bad, or honest intellectual disagreement. There was no malice here and the people that are offensed by it have the real problem.

  8. Moses

    I didn’t find the photo particularly funny, but find it more disturbing that some people actually find these kinds of things so offensive that become a major issue. To me, political correctness is the much greater offense because it inhibits free speech. Who’s to say the “politically correct nazis” are right about everything. In fact, they’ve been proved wrong on lots of things, but I’ll refrain from taking the discussion further.
    People need to grow up, mature, get a sense of humor, and understand when something is said or done in an intentionally offensive way and when it’s done out on ignorance, humor gone bad, or honest intellectual disagreement. There was no malice here and the people that are offensed by it have the real problem.

    It didn’t take long with the backlash-to-the-backlash, huh?

    Can we keep this one blog non-political?

  9. Hooped Up

    That Spanish basketball team photo belonged in the 1936 Berlin games and it was by far the most racist thing I have seen in a newspaper this year.

    Nice move Spain!

  10. Italian Stallion
    I didn’t find the photo particularly funny, but find it more disturbing that some people actually find these kinds of things so offensive that become a major issue. To me, political correctness is the much greater offense because it inhibits free speech. Who’s to say the “politically correct nazis” are right about everything. In fact, they’ve been proved wrong on lots of things, but I’ll refrain from taking the discussion further.People need to grow up, mature, get a sense of humor, and understand when something is said or done in an intentionally offensive way and when it’s done out on ignorance, humor gone bad, or honest intellectual disagreement. There was no malice here and the people that are offensed by it have the real problem.

    It didn’t take long with the backlash-to-the-backlash, huh?
    Can we keep this one blog non-political?

    I’m all for it.

    I wasn’t the hyper-sensitive that made it the primary topic of discussion on a basketball blog.

  11. Brendan

    No, you’re the hyper-sensitive who complained about other people talking about it, and claimed that people criticizing it was an inhibition of free speech.

    You want the free speech of an ad like this, you deal with the free speech of the criticism it engenders.

  12. Italian Stallion

    That Spanish basketball team photo belonged in the 1936 Berlin games and it was by far the most racist thing I have seen in a newspaper this year.
    Nice move Spain!

    Yea, next thing you know they’ll be posing in outfits like 1920s Mafia gangsters when they play the Knicks because of D’Antoni and Gallinari. Given my Sicilian background, I’m sure to be so offended by that it will take years of therapy to overcome. I wish they would, I need a good laugh in a world that actually has serious problems.

  13. Italian Stallion

    No, you’re the hyper-sensitive who complained about other people talking about it, and claimed that people criticizing it was an inhibition of free speech.
    You want the free speech of an ad like this, you deal with the free speech of the criticism it engenders.

    I’m all for your free speech also, but I think people that are offended by things like this are basically retarded and often do serious damage with overreaction.

    How’s that use of “retraded” for politically incorrect free speech?

    Am I going to get banned?

    Some people have an inability to tell the difference between bad humor, ignorance, honest diagreement etc.. and real hateful malice. The problem with that is that some people are so freaking stupid they then call for the destruction of people’s lives for honest mistakes or for simply holding an unfashionable view (even if they happen to be poven right over the long haul).

    The idea is to educate people so that the hateful kind of stuff is eliminated, but to keep a sense of humor because different types of people do have qualities can be made fun of in a good natured way, allow honest diagreement on sensitive issues, and realize that good people make mistakes out of ignorance.

    This should not have been offensive because it was not intended to be. It was just plain stupid and not very funny.

  14. caleb

    I’m not getting my panties in a bunch, but just because something wasn’t intended to be offensive, doesn’t mean it isn’t offensive.

    It’s worth pointing out how amazingly insensitive it is. It’s “not very funny,” as you say, because the whole “joke” is based on the idea that Chinese people are funny-looking. People aren’t gasping because they think the Spanish players are anti-Chinese — it’s because the ad shows how casual the stereotype seems to be, at least in Spain.

    It’s like Michael Kinsley said — a gaffe is when a politician says what he’s really thinking.

  15. Caleb

    ok – here’s one more (hopefully my last) political comment. “Political correctness” = flimsy straw man.

    No one is suggesting that the Spanish players have their lives destroyed (how would you do that, anyway? Trade them all to Memphis?) No one’s saying they should be thrown out of the Olympics, or thrown in jail — they’re saying the players did something idiotic. Which they did.

  16. retropkid

    “People need to grow up, mature” — Italian Stallion

    That’s right, so try it, you might enjoy it.

    Using the word “retarded” doesn’t demonstrate maturity, it demonstrates a limited vocabulary and/or immaturity. It’s not about being PC, it’s about being articulate — and with a little maturity, realizing you can make your statement without the need to risk being offensive…there’s no upside, except juvenile mirth…

    Ignorance about what is offensive to at least many people is no excuse. Yeah, it’s great when everybody has a thick skin and can let things pass…but many times, they won’t — maturity is recognizing that truth and interacting responsibly with a community.

    That is my first, last and only “political” comment that you will ever find on this board.

  17. Caleb

    Back to basketball…

    Mo Williams trade is official. Cleveland gives up Joe Smith & Damon Jones. Bucks get Luke Ridnour from OKC.

    Nice move for Cleveland, IMO – Williams might be overpaid (it’s a salary dump for the Bucks) but he’s a big upgrade for the Cavs. Of course if they end up losing Delonte West it’s a wash.

  18. Italian Stallion

    Caleb,

    Hopefully, this will be the last time I’ll have to make my point.

    It’s not that I don’t understand that some people are offended, etc… I am pointing out what I believe to be a very clear error in thinking that others often use in ways that are very damaging to a free society.

    “It’s worth pointing out how amazingly insensitive it is. It’s “not very funny,” as you say, because the whole “joke” is based on the idea that Chinese people are funny-looking.”

    You (and many others) are starting with a false premise. The Spanish weren’t implying that Chinese are “funny looking”. They were referring to the Chinese in a non verbal way by pointing out the obvious anatomical difference between their eyes and the eyes of typical European. That is no different than if one of them stood on a step ladder and wore a Chinese uniform to pretend he was Yao. A ladder gag would actually have almost been funny. ;-)

    Pointing out differences is not the same as suggesting that some qualities or people are either superior or inferior to others. But if you start with that twisted assumption or societal default value (which is what most hypersensitive and politically correct types do), you come to the wrong conclusion and get offended when you shouldn’t.

    There are loads of general physical differences between Asians, Africans, Europeans, etc… and even groups within groups. I take no offense to others pointing out the obvious differences between me and them unless there is clear malice instead of humor or ignorance etc… IMO, it would be better if we encouraged more people to be like me than the other way around. The reason this is important is that the results of this kind of outcry are often more damaging than the original “non existent” offense.

    I realize that in this specific case no one is calling for the destruction of the careers of the Spanish team. However, there are simply dozens of cases of high profile athletes, sports commentators, TV and radio personalities, politicians, etc… that WERE DESTROYED by people using “political correctness” as a weapon for controlling the agenda and even censoring the truth even though they knew that the comments/actions were NOT intended to be offensive. They were bad jokes, ignorance, honest difference of opinion etc.. that opened an opportunity to destroy an opponent, advance an agenda etc…

    Of course this does not even begin to address the issue of double standards.

    IMHO, people need to lighten up. The world would be a much more honest, open, funny, and better place. Then when real hate, malice etc…surfaces we can all throw the hammer down!

    I’m going to let this go. Hopefully people understand where I am coming from even if they don’t understand the point or entirely agree.

  19. Italian Stallion

    “People need to grow up, mature” — Italian Stallion
    That’s right, so try it, you might enjoy it.
    Using the word “retarded” doesn’t demonstrate maturity, it demonstrates a limited vocabulary and/or immaturity. It’s not about being PC, it’s about being articulate — and with a little maturity, realizing you can make your statement without the need to risk being offensive…there’s no upside, except juvenile mirth…

    You might want to lighten up. ;-)

    You are doing too good a job of making my point. I specifically used that word for a reason other than you think, one that you apparently didn’t grasp.

  20. Thomas B.

    I am going on record as saying that I don’t buy this:

    “11. Heat: Don’t be fooled by their 15-win debacle of a year ago. They should be much better now that Dwyane Wade is fully healthy. Along with Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem and No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley, Miami has the pieces to at least get back in the playoff hunt. The addition of James Jones gives the Heat a much-needed outside shooter and adds some depth. But until they get a point guard (Jason Williams left to sign with the Clippers), the Heat won’t be serious contenders.” -Marty Burns

    I don’t think the Heat will be in the playoff hunt. They have a rookie coach-youngest in the NBA I think. The bench is paper thin. They are going to rely on a talented rookie, and an oft hurt super star for the offense. They could be solid on defense with Haslem and Marion. But they have no point. I like Chalmers but c’mon a rookie point who isnt surrounded by three superstars. I don’t see Chalmers making it work. They have no post offense. Beasely may become a good post scorer but i see him as a better, more physical Lamar Odom. Odom can score in the post but it aint really his thing. I don’t see more than 35 wins, but that could put a team in the playoff “hunt” in the East I guess.

    Caleb and jon abbey will be sure to remind me of this come April when the Heat are the 6th seed.

  21. Count Zero

    Apparently Greece will be a good test tomorrow because according to Chris Sheridan, the US won’t be overlooking Greece or looking ahead to Spain:

    There may be no one who wants to win this game more than American coach Mike Krzyzewski, who many felt was outfoxed in Japan by his counterpart and friend, Greece coach Panagiotis Yannakis.

    “To me, his team is him,” Krzyzewski said. “They play with his passion, with his dignity, with his toughness, and I have just loads of respect for him. When we lost to him, we just didn’t play well, and after the ballgame we could have made all sorts of excuses, but I would never not dignify his great accomplishment. He is truly a great friend. But in saying that, I want to turn the tables on him [Thursday]. We’ll be ready. We’re going to be a different team than we were then.”

    If Coach K is that determined to exact some revenge and Greece stays within 10 anyway, then the US is in trouble. The spread is 21.5 FWIW

  22. Count Zero

    “It’s worth pointing out how amazingly insensitive it is. It’s “not very funny,” as you say, because the whole “joke” is based on the idea that Chinese people are funny-looking.”
    You (and many others) are starting with a false premise. The Spanish weren’t implying that Chinese are “funny looking”. They were referring to the Chinese in a non verbal way by pointing out the obvious anatomical difference between their eyes and the eyes of typical European. That is no different than if one of them stood on a step ladder and wore a Chinese uniform to pretend he was Yao. A ladder gag would actually have almost been funny. ;-)

    Not that I want to discuss this with you at all, but you are missing the point and I have to call that out. Examine these three phrases:

    “Chinese people are funny-looking”
    “Chinese people have eyes that are anatomically different than ours”
    “Chinese people are not like us”

    In the context of this team photo, those three statements are essentially the same in terms of intent and sentiment. When you make a remark (or a gesture, or whatever) that is intended to highlight the way a group of people (ethnic group, religious group, gender group, sexual preference group, etc.) are different from “your” group — and the intent of that remark is to make people in “your” group laugh — well then it’s prejudice.

    Basically, what you are saying is: “That group of people is different from our group of people and that difference is something we should laugh at.”

    You can sugarcoat it all you want — it’s still an obvious sign that you consider it OK to point at the anatomical features of an Asian person and laugh. And that is the basic flaw in your (and countless others like you) argument. The fact that you don’t even recognize the psychology behind your sentiment is a fundamental part of the problem.

    Do you have any Chinese friends? If you do, I suggest you print this picture, show it to one of them and then laugh uproariously and say, “Isn’t that hysterical? This is the Spanish basketball team getting ready to go to China.” Then closely watch his facial expression and body language — you might actually learn something.

  23. Caleb

    The spread is 21.5 FWIW

    I like the U.S. to win, but I’ll take Greece and the points.

    Thomas – you’re right the Heat are facing plenty of question marks — the roster is paper thin, Marion might get traded at any point, Wade could break at any point, Beasley has never played a game and the starting PG is a rookie 2nd rounder. Won’t be shocked if its another season of 20-something wins.

    BUT – if the current cast stays together and mostly healthy, IMO they’ll be over .500. Beasley will be effective right away and a healthy Wade might be the best player in the league. Don’t think the coach matters much.

  24. TDM

    “Do you have any Chinese friends? If you do, I suggest you print this picture, show it to one of them and then laugh uproariously and say, “Isn’t that hysterical? This is the Spanish basketball team getting ready to go to China.” Then closely watch his facial expression and body language — you might actually learn something.”

    Ok, I tried it. My friend found it so funny that he told the HR director at my work. She’s paging me now. She probably wants to see the photo too. I’ll be back in a few minutes . . .

  25. retropkid

    Agree with Caleb on Miami. I would just add that if Wade stays healthy, this is a year where he can really show his stuff — you have to imagine he hates losing, would love to taste alot of wins again, and should be VERY motivated to drive his team forward. Can Wade make the team better — that’s ultimately the question. I would bet YES, I think he has that kind of character and ice in the veins. Would be great to see it, except for the Knicks of course!

  26. Brian Cronin

    Jose Calderon actually used the “some of my best friends are Chinese” argument in his pseudo-apology!

    “We have great respect for the far East and its people, some of my best friends in Toronto are originally Chinese, including one of our sponsors, the brand Li-Ning,” Calderon wrote. “Whoever wants to interpret it differently is completely confusing it.”

    Racist or not, the Spanish players certainly aren’t showing themselves to be well-versed in dealing with controversy.

  27. Z

    I’d heard about the Mo Williams rumors a few days ago. They were looking for a third team to get involved at the time. Of course, I was hoping that would be us. Alas, it wasn’t.

    Perhaps Walsh was too busy watching olympic boxing…

  28. Italian Stallion

    ““Chinese people are funny-looking”“Chinese people have eyes that are anatomically different than ours”“Chinese people are not like us”. In the context of this team photo, those three statements are essentially the same in terms of intent and sentiment.”

    Not true at all.

    You feel that way because you have been programmed to feel that way by the politically correct thought police.

    They are entirely different statements with entirely different intents. “Chinese people are funny looking” is a direct insult in any context. Suggesting that the Olympics are in China by pointing out an anatomical difference is a statement of fact that makes no value judgment.

    ” When you make a remark (or a gesture, or whatever) that is intended to highlight the way a group of people (ethnic group, religious group, gender group, sexual preference group, etc.) are different from “your” group — and the intent of that remark is to make people in “your” group laugh — well then it’s prejudice. ”

    Not true at all.

    When I am at a comedy show, I often encouter a comedienne whose material is made up of a lot of enthic jokes. If some of them are directed at Italians, the intent is to make Italians laugh too, not for non Italians to laugh at Italians. I always do. If there are some hypersensitive Italian brainwash victims in the crowd, they may get insulted, but the problem is in their head and not in the head of the comedienne.

    You can understand the thought process that leads to people being insulted, but whether they were actually insulted or not is a matter of the intent of the comedienne, sports writer, commentator, athlete etc… and not what others think.

    It’s tough to argue that you shouldn’t say something that you know might be insulting out of heightened sensitivity for others even when you aren’t insulting them. There are always people out there with such extraordinary sensitivity, they can’t take anything and are insulted by silly things. So you hope people have a sense of humor and IMO encourage greater understanding of intent as opposed to encouarging greater conflict and speech control.

  29. Italian Stallion

    I liked this site better before “Italian Stallion” found it.

    I apologize for making such a big deal about this, but it’s an important point to me.

    If you don’t like the fact that I don’t always agree with the stats, that’s another issue. There are other sites on which I discuss basketball where they think the advanced stats “I” bring up are nonsense because they look at the game as a matter of skills that can be observed but not measured very well. Being in the middle makes me unpopular in both places. ;-)

  30. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    “Who cares what the Spanish do. The Spanish are stupid.” -Charles Barkley

  31. Italian Stallion

    I am going on record as saying that I don’t buy this:
    “11. Heat: Don’t be fooled by their 15-win debacle of a year ago. They should be much better now that Dwyane Wade is fully healthy. Along with Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem and No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley, Miami has the pieces to at least get back in the playoff hunt. The addition of James Jones gives the Heat a much-needed outside shooter and adds some depth. But until they get a point guard (Jason Williams left to sign with the Clippers), the Heat won’t be serious contenders.” -Marty Burns
    I don’t think the Heat will be in the playoff hunt. They have a rookie coach-youngest in the NBA I think. The bench is paper thin. They are going to rely on a talented rookie, and an oft hurt super star for the offense. They could be solid on defense with Haslem and Marion. But they have no point. I like Chalmers but c’mon a rookie point who isnt surrounded by three superstars. I don’t see Chalmers making it work. They have no post offense. Beasely may become a good post scorer but i see him as a better, more physical Lamar Odom. Odom can score in the post but it aint really his thing. I don’t see more than 35 wins, but that could put a team in the playoff “hunt” in the East I guess.
    Caleb and jon abbey will be sure to remind me of this come April when the Heat are the 6th seed.

    I have a tough time imagining the Heat not in the playoffs despite the fact that many teams in the east have improved. When you start with Wade and Marion, you are already fairly close to making the playoffs in the East. You throw in Beasley and I think unless he’s a total bust (which I can’t see), you are 6-8 seed. The team has weaknesses, but like the Knicks they proabbly aren’t done filling some holes.

  32. Solomon Grundy

    Yea, next thing you know they’ll be posing in outfits like 1920s Mafia gangsters when they play the Knicks because of D’Antoni and Gallinari. Given my Sicilian background, I’m sure to be so offended by that it will take years of therapy to overcome. I wish they would, I need a good laugh in a world that actually has serious problems.

    Solomon Grundy also not offended when people use word “zombie” like “boy Knicks play defense like slow zombies tonight”. Word roll right off Solomon Grundy’s rotting skin.

    Italian Stalian make great point. Because Italian Stalian not offended by something means everyone else should not be offended by something. As soon as everyone learns and thinks exactly the same way Italian Stalian think, the better off everyone be.

  33. Z

    Yeah. I agree about William’s contract ($8.5 mil in 2013!). Having a one-track-mind, I, of course, was hoping to dump salary on the Cavs the way the Bucks were– you know, get in on the party. There were a lot of expiring deals moving in that trade. I’d have liked to get our hands on some of them.

  34. Duff Soviet Union

    Jon, William’s contract isn’t that bad provided he can maintain the way he’s played the last couple of years. He can shoot and score, and his assist and turnover numbers are pretty good for a “shoot first” guy. He played no defense last year, but nobody else on Milwaukee did either so it might just be a system thing there.

  35. Thomas B.

    “Do you have any Chinese friends? If you do, I suggest you print this picture, show it to one of them and then laugh uproariously and say, “Isn’t that hysterical? This is the Spanish basketball team getting ready to go to China.” Then closely watch his facial expression and body language — you might actually learn something.”
    Ok, I tried it. My friend found it so funny that he told the HR director at my work. She’s paging me now. She probably wants to see the photo too. I’ll be back in a few minutes . . .

    This was so funny that I am mad that I did’nt post it first.

  36. Thomas B.

    RE: Spain’s Olympic team.

    There is such a fine line between satire and offensive it is hard to judge this. A reasonable person could go either way on this stuff. Take Mel Brooks’ movies for example. Blazing Saddles is full of racial humor. I mean the scene where Bart first comes to town is very funny, but it is full of white people using the word “nigger.” Now my parents always taught me that nigger is a hurtful word and that I should never call anyone that or condone its use. Yet seeing it in this film just had me rolling. How could an offensive word be funny? I think because it was used to make fun of the users rather than trying to be hurtful. The townsfolk use of racial epithets is used to highlight their own close mindedness and to underscore how insulated they have been from the world most of us live in. You can laugh at what Brooks put together because you are confident that he is on the right side, not racist.

    I can’t say where the Spaniards are coming from. The pic is racial, I dont know if it is racist. But I did laugh when I saw the pic because I thought “Jeez, what a bunch of morons. How could they not know how stupid this looks? And they ALL did it. Didn’t anyone say, ‘uh guys, um how do you think people outside this room might view this?'” I saw it and I didn’t think racist, I thought it was funny just how out of touch these guys seem to be. But I’ll probably be banned from the site for using the word nigger.

  37. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    I liked this site better before “Italian Stallion” found it.

    I apologize for making such a big deal about this, but it’s an important point to me.

    If you don’t like the fact that I don’t always agree with the stats, that’s another issue. There are other sites on which I discuss basketball where they think the advanced stats “I” bring up are nonsense because they look at the game as a matter of skills that can be observed but not measured very well. Being in the middle makes me unpopular in both places. ;-)

    You know if I were unpopular on two different sites (on different sides of the opinion), then I might make the assumption that it was the manner in which I communicated that was causing me to be unpopular.

    But that’s all part of your M.O., isn’t it?

    It seems that you seem to enjoy pissing people off by using inflammatory language (nazis, retarded) and building strawmen (“some people”). It’s sad because you could probably be more convincing without all the bullshit, but you’d prefer to just enrage people instead of trying to have an honest debate.

    It’s funny because there are things I want to say about this, but with you I feel there’s no point. And from reading the above, I feel that other readers feel the same way.

  38. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    The caption for the photo originally read “We Put Pee Pee In Your Coke”, so there was some judgement exercised.

    But it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt: Ask Judge Ito if he’s recovered yet from the drubbing Al “Italian Stallion” D’Amato gave him.

    As for banning Tom for using the “n-word”, it should be fine on a Knicks site as long as you’re using it to describe a female subordinate that won’t put out and “black bitch” has been deemed off limits.

    Or if you’re describing those in NY that do not carry season tickets.

  39. daaarn

    I’ve seen a lot of articles about the whole Spanish-Chinese controversy the last day or so and one of the most commonly brought up defenses for the Spanish team has been the whole “anatomical eye difference” thing. I mean, if the Spanish team had put on black face and stuck out their gums, I doubt there’d be as many people trying to defend them, so I don’t see why pulling back their eyelids to mimic another ethnicity should be any more acceptable.

  40. Captain Merlin

    I’m of the vast minority who believes that this and all other relatively benign racial faux pas are not such a big deal as they are often made out to be. The Spanish team did not think their move through particularly well, but it was not an outrightly vicious, demeaning attack on a large demographic, but rather a small joke gone awry.

    I mean, if the Spanish team had put on black face and stuck out their gums, I doubt there’d be as many people trying to defend them, so I don’t see why pulling back their eyelids to mimic another ethnicity should be any more acceptable.

    To this I respond by providing another situation: If the US basketball team, or another predominantly darker skinned collective, put on a heavy caking of pinkish-white makeup and started dancing around completely offbeat to some music, then would anyone stir up this whole racism ruckus? I say thee nay.

  41. cavjam

    Were I to choose between the epicanthic folds of the inscrutable Oriental or the minuscule forebrain of Mediterraneans like the peoples of Southern Italy or Spain, I think I would eschew the latter. The former is at least useful against snow glare and high winds, the adaptive factor for its development. Then again, what do I know? I’m just another mick sot with a glib tongue.

  42. Brendan

    “If the US basketball team, or another predominantly darker skinned collective, put on a heavy caking of pinkish-white makeup and started dancing around completely offbeat to some music, then would anyone stir up this whole racism ruckus? I say thee nay.”

    I’m not a fan of the White Guilt response to everything, but honestly, I need to respond to this.

    You and I and everyone here, by virtue of being human, live at one point in time in one place in one historical context, and nothing much that any of us do is going to change that quickly. We all play the historical cards we’re dealt. One of those cards is that we’re both citizens of a country which, for virtually the entirety of its existence, has treated black people like shit. I’m not going to detail the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow and systematic economic disenfranchisement, because you know them; I am going to say that while it’s pointless and self-defeating to go around wringing your hands over them forever, it’s also feckless and dishonorable to pretend they didn’t happen. Kobe Bryant, one of the players you refer to, was born only 10 years after Martin Luther King was shot dead. That’s the kind of blink-of-an-eye timeframe we’re dealing with.

    The brutal truth is, it’s not the same when black people make fun of white people as it is when white people make fun of black people, when the humor is based on race. It never has been, and it will be a long time before it becomes so. Lifetimes. Not so very long ago, within the living memory of many people, white people making fun of non-white people for being not-white wasn’t just humor, it was a threat. And you and I (I’m assuming you’re whiteish, correct me if not) get to live in the world created by that history and those expectations, the same as black people do. If we want to be decent human beings, we acknowledge that history; we do not demand a forced, unhistorical equivalence between white humor and black humor about race that ignores the lived reality of many, many people.

    The basic principle here, probably the most basic of all social principles is: don’t be an asshole to people. Think before you speak. Observe context. Think about how what you do looks to other people whose lived experience is radically different from your own. I have no doubt that the Spanish team never thought “hey, let’s stick it to the chinks, everyone grab your eyelids!” I DO think it’s irrefutable that not a man out of the bunch thought about how this would look to other people, especially the people whom they were so inelegantly imitating. That, simply, makes them thoughtless; it also, in my judgment, makes them assholes for not thinking ahead. They are not uniquely evil for that, for the world is full of such people, and in an odd way in their case it may even be somewhat more explicable given that Spanish sporting culture is STILL full of yearly near-scandals over fans at soccer matches throwing bananas at black players and such. Coming from that environment, I doubt many of the players ever were called on to question their assumptions about what would and would not be acceptable outside of their context. That means, yes, that they shouldn’t be demonized; it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be criticized.

    If that’s an explanation, it’s not an excuse. Their lack of intentional malice does not mean the rest of us should fail to point out that 1. it sure looked to many people like they were mocking a group of people for a heritable physical feature and 2. the recent history of white people relating to non-white people matters and effects how this kind of thing is seen, regardless of intent. Which, in the end, is what matters: if they really meant no offense by this, and discovered that they had actually pissed off the people to whom they directed their supposedly friendly gesture, the only reasonable response is an apology along the lines of “oh wow, we’re sorry, we just didn’t think, that’s not what we meant at all” (which has been the case in some instances!) But when the response is “that’s not what we meant, why are you so sensitive?”, what they’re actually saying is “why don’t you see things like us?”

    Which is to say, they’re still not trying to look past their own perspective and see things from someone else’s shoes; which was the problem with the ad initially, and the root problem with all kinds of “misunderstandings” of this type: people caring more about what message they wanted to send than what they actually sent, their own speaking and not their target’s hearing. It’s really the quickest way to become an asshole.

  43. Owen

    US is playing Greece right now, getting it on channel 197. They seem to have a score to settle with Greece.

    And Dwyane Wade is going to be really hot in my fantasy league….

  44. Italian Stallion

    You know if I were unpopular on two different sites (on different sides of the opinion), then I might make the assumption that it was the manner in which I communicated that was causing me to be unpopular.
    But that’s all part of your M.O., isn’t it?
    It seems that you seem to enjoy pissing people off by using inflammatory language (nazis, retarded) and building strawmen (”some people”). It’s sad because you could probably be more convincing without all the bullshit, but you’d prefer to just enrage people instead of trying to have an honest debate.
    It’s funny because there are things I want to say about this, but with you I feel there’s no point. And from reading the above, I feel that other readers feel the same way.

    You do realize that I use those words specifically because some people are offended by them and I’m trying to explain why they shouldn’t be. IMO, the problem is within them.

    There was actually a pretty funny bit on ESPN radio in NY the other day. I didn’t hear the whole thing, but Max Kellerman must be taking some heat for using the word “retarded” to describe some other sports media types he feels don’t evaluate players well. He says they don’t understand the advanced statistics he uses. I’ve heard him use that word lots of times. The context and meaning was always fairly obvious. It was humor. I doubt he is insensitive about the pain and difficulty families that have children like that have. I am also certain he not making fun of people like that either. I happen to have a brother that is mildly autistic. It’s not the same, but it sure makes me highly sensitive to the struggles. It just doesn’t stop me from using words in a joking way or for effect.

    That’s why I keep talking about examining intent/context as the critical component in determining what is really offensive.

    I think the “politically correct” types that try to suppress some forms of humor and legitimate intellectual disagreement on sensitive subjects are actually doing way more harm than a bad joke. Calling them nazis, is a way to make a point because nazis and totalitarians like to suppress ideas and speech.

    However, I would never actually meant to insult nazis by comparing them to politically correct types. ;-) (Here’s where you not supposed to be insulted. You are supposed to laugh even if I am describing you and you disagree with my perspective)

    I know a primary reason I tend to be unpopular. It’s that I am willing to call BS when I don’t agree with the dominant opinion on any board. So I become the outsider. When I drag out the advanced stats to make a point to people that don’t believe in them, I’m going to annoy people. The same is true in reverse here.

    It’s very easy to be popular on these boards. Just find sites where everyone else is just like you and believes all the same things. That’s not my style. I can’t learn from people that already agree with me and I can’t potentially expand the thinking of people that don’t.

  45. Italian Stallion

    Were I to choose between the epicanthic folds of the inscrutable Oriental or the minuscule forebrain of Mediterraneans like the peoples of Southern Italy or Spain, I think I would eschew the latter. The former is at least useful against snow glare and high winds, the adaptive factor for its development. Then again, what do I know? I’m just another mick sot with a glib tongue.

    That was pretty funny, but I had to look up the term epicanthic fold before I fully appreciated it. I guess there wasn’t enough room for that term in my minuscule forebrain. You’re pretty smart for just another drunken Irishman. ;-)

  46. Italian Stallion

    >>>If that’s an explanation, it’s not an excuse. Their lack of intentional malice does not mean the rest of us should fail to point out that 1. it sure looked to many people like they were mocking a group of people for a heritable physical feature and 2. the recent history of white people relating to non-white people matters and effects how this kind of thing is seen, regardless of intent. Which, in the end, is what matters: if they really meant no offense by this, and discovered that they had actually pissed off the people to whom they directed their supposedly friendly gesture, the only reasonable response is an apology along the lines of “oh wow, we’re sorry, we just didn’t think, that’s not what we meant at all” (which has been the case in some instances!) But when the response is “that’s not what we meant, why are you so sensitive?”, what they’re actually saying is “why don’t you see things like us?”<<<

    I mostly agree with you, but the problem is that the media and some individuals tend to fan the flames of the insulted people in order to advance their own political and other agendas and sometimes leave a path of destruction in their wake.

    Please don’t deny that there have been athletes, radio and TV personalities, sports writers, politicians, authors, a nobel scientist etc… whose careers have been damaged or destroyed because of a bad joke, ignorance, or an honest intellectual disagreement.

    There is nothing wrong with suggesting and explaining to the Spanish players that there are people that might be offended by a photo like that. However, you should also be explaining to the Chinese that the intent of the photo was to jokingly say they were going to China for the Olympics and that no malice etc… was intended. Then everyone could kiss and make up one side would be MORE senstive and the other LESS sensitive.

    That’s often not what happens. People call for heads to advance an agenda. I’m already reading articles calling for suspensions and fines from the NBA for Gasol and Calderon.

  47. DS

    Sorry to steer the conversation away from innocence of the word “retarded” and back to Team USA BUT what a great effort against Greece!

  48. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    I know a primary reason I tend to be unpopular. It’s that I am willing to call BS when I don’t agree with the dominant opinion on any board. So I become the outsider. When I drag out the advanced stats to make a point to people that don’t believe in them, I’m going to annoy people. The same is true in reverse here.

    It’s very easy to be popular on these boards. Just find sites where everyone else is just like you and believes all the same things. That’s not my style. I can’t learn from people that already agree with me and I can’t potentially expand the thinking of people that don’t.

    Ironically I agree with your opinion on this. I would describe the photo as stupid, moronic, and childish instead of offensive. I don’t agree with stifling free speech when it comes to words (George Carlin’s philosophy that they’re just words). I think there’s a time & place for stereotype jokes (night clubs) and a wrong place (job interview). I don’t think anyone on the Spanish team should be ejected or have their career ruined (but if a company decided not to use them to advertise their product I think that’s fine as well).

    However your combative style of writing makes it impossible to side with you on the issue.

    You state you’re purpose is to change the thinking of others & yourself. However I doubt you’re doing the former with anyone (especially if I agree with you on many principles and still feel like I should be arguing with you), and I highly doubt you’re doing the latter. I find you to be one of the least likely to listen to someone else’s opinion and I believe I’m not alone on this opinion (as others have called you arrogant & condescending).

    So are you really here for the enlightened conversation or your own sadistic enjoyment? (Or is it masochistic since you enjoy being reviled?)

  49. Italian Stallion

    If this team USA doesn’t win the gold in a blowout every game, there is a lesson somewhere in that about building a team. There was probably a lesson in losing the last one that was addressed with this team.

  50. Italian Stallion

    >I find you to be one of the least likely to listen to someone else’s opinion and I believe I’m not alone on this opinion (as others have called you arrogant & condescending). >So are you really here for the enlightened conversation or your own sadistic enjoyment? (Or is it masochistic since you enjoy being reviled?)<<

    LOL.

    I’ve had a few debates with Ted and Caleb about basketball (you too I think) specifically because they had things to say that opened my eyes to a way of thinking about a stat or aspect of the game that was new for me. That’s why I often respond to them.

    Maybe I annoyed them (and others) a bit, but sometimes I think what people perceive as stubborness and arrogance etc… on my part is really frustration with my ability to communicate my point well enough when I am highly confident I have something to relevant to say. Written communication is not my strong point. Maybe it’s that Italian frontal lobe thing again. ;-)

  51. Italian Stallion

    By the way, I am less open to things I’ve heard over and over again that I believe are flawed. I realize that can come off as arrogance, but sometimes it’s also that I am tired of all the foolishness that leads to conflict, a wildly flawed political and economic system, etc… That frustration comes out everywhere. Don’t even get me started on economics and monetary system. ;-)

  52. Count Zero

    I have three things to say:

    1) D-Wade is back
    2) LBJ is a beast on both ends of the floor
    3) Greece was never even in that game after the 1st quarter

    I now return you to the “Italian Stallion Knows More About Everything Than You Do Show” — already in progress.

    Personally, I don’t usually respond to this sort of nonsense on a board because the thing about this type of argument is that no matter how many ways I show him that it’s offensive to people, he’ll still think it’s not. And he’ll still say it’s his right to do it, no matter how many people tell him they don’t find it funny. Therefore, it’s a complete waste of time.

    Free Speech gives you the right to say many things — that doesn’t mean you should say them. As has been said by better men than I — this is what we call diplomacy.

    The justification for all this boils down to: “I think it’s funny and if you don’t, that’s only because you have no sense of humor.” — an argument which is unassailable because it relies completely on a subjective opinion. It’s like saying: “I like lima beans, ergo lima beans are good.” The fact that the majority of the world hates lima beans will have no effect on your steadfast belief that lima beans are good…or vice versa.

    You can feel secure in your lima bean worship because the incontrovertible evidence is that when you put a lima bean on your tongue, you get a pleasurable sensation. You cannot experience what happens when I put a lima bean on my tongue, so this is irrelevant to your opinion of lima beans. (Note that this is basically the entirety of religious bias and the cause of the majority of the wars in our planet’s history — talk about “foolishness that leads to conflict!”)

    The rational person says: “Some people like lima beans and others don’t — therefore lima beans are either good or bad depending on the person who’s eating them.” And the rational person extrapolates this to: “If I’m having five people over for dinner and I’m planning to serve lima bean casserole, I should probably ascertain which group my five guests fall into beforehand. If three of them hate lima beans, then I should probably offer another dish as well.”

    Insensitivity is an ingrained character trait — all but irreparable. And prejudice is a state of mind inculcated and nurtured from childhood — incredibly difficult to overcome. As such, people who have these traits will always manufacture rationalizations to back up their own opinion of themselves. There is no difference between the Spanish basketball team and Don Imus — both will claim they are unprejudiced, rationalize their actions with a spate of nonsense about how they were misunderstood, etc. Neither one should be crucified for their errors (which were mainly a product of “open mouth — insert foot” disease) — however, both should apologize and try to gain some self-realization from the affair.

    And on that note, I’m done with that topic. :-)

  53. Z-man

    C’mon, guys, lighten up!

    I spoke to a prominent knick player (a very popular player on this site) today. He did not seem thrilled with current mgmt or optimistic re future. When I asked him about Balk, he said that the new guys expect their guards to be better shooters. I found it interesting that this suggested Balk was thought of primarily as a guard by D’Antoni and Walsh. Of course, this was just a passing conversation, so maybe the player misspoke.

    On another note, I wonder if Miami would have any interest in Steph. They have a need at PG and he could be a low-risk one year experiment for them. Riley seems like the kind of guy that could be egotistical enough to take a chance on changing Steph into a good complimentary player for Wade and Beasley.

  54. DS

    There have already been reports that Miami would be interested in Steph if he were cut.

    Steph, Wade (who DEF is back, Count Zero), Marion, Beasley, and Udon is a very competitive starting 5 on paper.

  55. Z

    “I spoke to a prominent knick player (a very popular player on this site) today”

    There’s only one Knick popular on this site.

    As for Steph to the Heat, his contract is extremely difficult to match contracts up with. Moving him would almost certainly cost a lot of money to the Knicks (which Isiah would have been fine with, but Walsh seems to be considerably more frugal (a good thing because it keeps him from acting like Isiah, but a bad thing because it nullifies what was once our competitive advantage)).

    It’s cheaper to cut Marbury than to trade him, even if Marion is involved (and presumably the Heat could do better with Marion than just Marbury…)

  56. Brian Cronin

    a very popular player on this site)

    Unless that’s sarcasm, in which case it would leave many options, is there really any other player on the Knicks who is popular here besides Lee?

    Balkman was, but he’s gone.

    Oh! Nate! I forgot about Nate.

    Okay, never mind then.

  57. Z

    Nate’s popular? I haven’t sensed much love for him except the occasional “Nate is a good scorer off the bench”. I don’t think I’d call him “very popular on this site”.

    But of course this site is peppered with “Lee is overrated” talk too, but they seem to be transient posters, just passing through.

  58. Z-man

    “I spoke to a prominent knick player (a very popular player on this site) today”
    There’s only one Knick popular on this site.
    As for Steph to the Heat, his contract is extremely difficult to match contracts up with. Moving him would almost certainly cost a lot of money to the Knicks (which Isiah would have been fine with, but Walsh seems to be considerably more frugal (a good thing because it keeps him from acting like Isiah, but a bad thing because it nullifies what was once our competitive advantage)).
    It’s cheaper to cut Marbury than to trade him, even if Marion is involved (and presumably the Heat could do better with Marion than just Marbury…)

    As the season goes on, does a team only have to match prorated salary? If so, that also sopports keeping Steph around until Feb, then the Heat might do it for less.

  59. Owen

    z-man – That is a great item. It seems like the season ticket holders, the author, and most Knickerblogger posters are on pretty much on the same page, which is not necessarily the same one as Donnie.

    My question, what exactly is a non denial denial. The double negative has me confused. Does he mean to say that he was admitting that he could have done the trade but chose not to, or that he was denying he had the opportunity in the first place, without putting the topic on the table.

    Even in trying to ask that question I get hopelessly confused…

  60. Z

    “As the season goes on, does a team only have to match prorated salary? If so, that also sopports keeping Steph around until Feb, then the Heat might do it for less.”

    It doesn’t make a difference when it comes to matching salaries, but come Feb. Steph will only be owed about $7 million, so he will be more attractive to other teams than he is now. It won’t make a difference to us, though, unless we trade him for a similar expiring contract (or actually get something we want for him (unlikely at best)).

  61. Dave

    From the Newsday Blog about Donnie Walsh’s answers

    … “The overall sense was that the Knicks are rebuilding, that he is not going to make any more moves this summer, that they believe the talent on the team is better than its played, and that they will evaluate the players in training camp.” ….

    That’s very disappointing. Losing is tough to take at the best of times but what happened last season was just ugly … it wasn’t just losing, it was how they lost. How dysfunctional and irritating they were to watch. it was difficult to take.

    I was hoping for a few more changes just to better balance the team out, even if the differences were marginal to the W-L column.

    They have some videos up from the meeting, I can’t seem to play them though.

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