Hornets Hype

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Archive for the ‘ Conspiracy Theories ’ Category

Having one of those right now.

Paul joins LeBron’s marketing “company” (oh fine, I may have been, um, editorializing a bit there with the quotes)

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating this: it’s epically bad for New Orleans. This is the beginning of a dark spiral of bullshit, betrayal, hype, empty drama, diva behavior, leaks, “anonymous sources in Chris Paul’s camp”, and rumors that leads nowhere good. I’m not trying to be Cassandra here, but… start preparing yourselves.

More later, I guess. I’m too disappointed right now.

I’m sorry, did I miss something?

A screenshot of ESPN's front page last November

A screenshot of ESPN's front page last November

I thought Chris Paul hated Byron Scott. I thought this had been established. Like, mainstream established. I mean, I saw it on ESPN. They’ve been mentioning something about it every third day since last November. But then I get up and here are all these articles saying he’s terribly upset over Scott’s firing.

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE, PEOPLE?

Previously, on Lifestyles of a Small Market Team With a Top 5 Star Who Everyone Thinks Is Being Wasted In a Small City and Oh My God It’s So Horrible How Dare They Want a Star? Who Do They Think They Are, New York? … Bill Simmons went to a Clippers game in November 2008 and wrote his usual sports humor column. I’ll excerpt the relevant parts:

“The way players walk toward the bench after a timeout. (Goes one of three ways: “I’m interested to hear coach’s thoughts,” “I look forward to sitting down” or “Great, I get to listen to this bonehead again.”) How fast someone jumps up when the coach calls for them as a sub. (If they jump up fast, that means they’re totally in the game; if they jump up slow, that means they were either daydreaming about that night’s sexual conquest or imagining he’s punching the coach in the face.) Whether they listen or don’t listen in the huddle. The body language of the coach himself. And the telltale sign … what happens when a top player gets called over by coach when someone is shooting free throws.This can unfold one of three ways:

A. Player runs over respectfully and seems genuinely interested in the coach’s wisdom. Watch what happens when Popovich calls over Duncan or Parker in a Spurs game. Total respect. They look like someone jogging over to a police officer.

B. Player jogs over, doesn’t seem totally interested, but doesn’t want to seem like a jerk either. This usually sums up 75 percent of the league.

C. Player does a double-take and his head kicks back briefly (like he’s thinking, “Really, I have to talk to this guy again???”). He saunters over disdainfully. When he reaches the coach, he makes eye contact for the first two seconds, then starts subconsciously pulling away (first with his eyes, then with his body leaning back toward the coach), and at about the six-second mark, he just starts walking back toward the court whether the coach is finished talking or not. Everything about the exchange says, “I’ve just had it with this freaking guy.”

I mistakenly believed that Chris Paul and Scott had an “A” relationship but in the second half of Monday’s game, it was revealed that they were a “C.” At least right now. Translation: I am no longer sold on the 2009 Hornets.”

Basically, Simmons thought the Hornets as a team were in trouble– which turned out to be true– way back in the beginning of last season. I am back and forth on this. He went to one game, didn’t talk to any of the players, and just looked at body language. As a bench-watcher myself, I get that. I sit close enough to the Hornets bench (I’m not saying I sit low down, but I do sit on that end of the arena) that I can see who interacts with who, but unlike Bill Simmons, I see them for 41+ games a year. What he neglected to mention in his column, for instance, is that the game in question was at Staples Center back when the Clippers were abysmal and the Hornets were expected to contend in the Western Conference. The Hornets ended up winning that game, but they were down by around ten points for a big chunk of it, and understandably pissed about it. Simmons skipped over that part. That Byron Scott, by the end, had maybe lost David West and some of the Hornets is true. But it seems he never lost Chris Paul.

For his part, when this Simmons thing took off like wildfire through the articles and blogs, Chris Paul even came right out and told the media it wasn’t true. “I would think me and coach might have one of the best relationships out of the entire NBA. I guess people got to have something to talk about. Maybe he should come to a game. Let’s talk. If I had a problem with coach, I’d say it. I guess he comes to one game, and he can figure it out.” But of course, no mainstream media outlets ran with that story. It stayed buried halfway back in the sports pages of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Let’s be crystal clear here. My issue is not that Bill Simmons wrote an opinion column. My issue is that every mainstream media outlet and their mother, brother, and sister ran with it. “Sources say Chris Paul and Byron Scott are not seeing eye to eye.” “Reports are that Byron Scott has lost Chris Paul.” “Amid reports of conflict between Byron Scott and his star player…” Etc. It was in the Daily Dime. It was in the NBA Rumors section of every site. It was thrown in as a little parenthetical aside in articles about the Hornets losing games. My problem with it then is still my problem with it today: Bill Simmons is a guy who writes a humorous internet column. What he is not … is a source.

It’s also the selectivity of the headlines and news items that pisses me off. Simmons’ column was about the Hornets team chemistry as a whole, and it asked the question of whether they were tuning out their coach. I didn’t think it was true at the time– that was very early in the season, and the team would make a few more good runs before the season ended in rescinded trade drama, injuries, and a devastating playoff loss. Plus for every instance of the Hornets not looking like they liked each other, I had 41+ instances, personally witnessed, that told me they did. But most of the reports that pushed along Simmons’ observation and misrepresented it as fact, like a bizarre game of media telephone, weren’t worried about the rest of the Hornets team chemistry. Instead they saw the words “CHRIS PAUL” and “BYRON SCOTT’ and salivated, like wolves lunging for scraps of meat.

And here’s, really, why I’m such a big supporter of fan blogs, social media, and beat writers. In this age of the internet, when firsthand information about every team, observed by people who actually watch the games, is right here in my blogroll and my twitter feed, why should I trust these national aggregators of “news” and “rumors”, citing their “sources”, to tell me what I should believe? I haven’t included ESPN, with the exception of True Hoop, as a daily read since spring of 2008. To me, they’re a dinosaur. Don’t even get me started on the Associated Press, which will quote a blog or a Twitter account and not even put a link to it. Me, I want a trail of hypertext leading back to my source. Scratch that, I don’t just want it– I demand it.

And so today you will see the same mainstream media giants, whose team preview for the 2009-10 Hornets probably included a snippet about “if the Hornets can overcome the rumblings of friction between Chris Paul and Byron Scott,”  pound out columns. How could the Hornets do this to Chris Paul, fire the coach who was his best friend and father figure without telling him? How can a franchise be so small-time and clueless? Not a single one of them will mention how wrong they were about any of this.

Dolla dolla bills, y’all.

I get it. Teams alleged tanked ends of seasons to get the #1 pick.  They made a lottery to counter.  Yeah, that’s really stopped teams.  Remember the term “tankapalooza” from the last few years?  Riley scouting college games instead of coaching?  Right.  No impact whatsoever.  Worst idea ever.  Beyond that, since 1990, only 4 teams with the League’s worst record have won the lottery, and teams with the second worst record have won it just 2 times.  So who’s really being rewarded?  Teams that don’t deserve it.  It’s total bullshit. 

The Lottery is a joke and an embarrassment to the League.  I think the only reason that they keep it in place is so Stern can laugh at the conspiracy rumors.  Which, speaking of, may be more than rumors.   Ewing anyone?  Duncan?  Rose?  Right.

So, anyone know who’s been given the #1 pick this year?  My money’s on either OKC or Memphis.  Stern wants the former to succeed and the latter’s already been screwed by the lottery enough that even Stern might feel bad.  But that’s just me.

Discuss.

Some of these thoughts are things I’ve already posted on Twitter or in comment threads elsewhere. I’m just copy/pasting. If you follow me around EVERYWHERE you will have already read some of this (stalkers). Sorry. I’m home sick today, and alas, it is a bit too much to ask of me, to summon great thoughts twice. Perhaps mW has his own stuff to add.

Devin... we meet again.

Devin... we meet again.

On The Great Fallacy of Tyson Chandler Coming Back to Save Us All:

New Orleans fans (and players) have clearly been relying on Tyson Chandler’s return to give hope to this team… and… well, he’s something of an emotional leader for them, but he couldn’t even run in the 4th quarter. He was limping up and down the floor. If it wasn’t the playoffs, he wouldn’t be out there. His big return is just not gonna happen. Dude is hurt.

If we don’t win Game 3 shut him down? Just throwing it out there. I know we relied on him to inject some hope in this team, but it’s probably starting to be time to face the facts.

On Chris Paul and David West’s Troubles:

If you had told me Peja and Rasual would be that good from three, Posey would reappear from wherever he went in Game 1 with some mad hustle, and Devin Brown would have 4 points in 8 minutes and only miss one shot, and that we would lose because David West couldn’t hit jumpers and layups and Chris Paul was tentative, I would have laughed at you.

I know Byron Scott is never, ever going to do this, because he would never go all D’Antoni, but wouldn’t it be refreshing to see the Hornets go small and throw Butler, Stojakovic, Posey, and Peterson out there with an 18-point deficit and 5 minutes left, and just have them jack threes? ‘Sual and Peja were on from three all night. Seriously. Please tell me how that would be any worse when you’re already losing and your two best players can’t get into the paint.

On Denver’s Shooting:

Hot. Damn. I’m not sure if I mean that to be read as two separate words, each expressive of the Nuggets’ shooting last night, or as the phrase “hot damn.” I’m not sure it matters.

Here’s a question I wonder if someone can answer for me: the Hornets’ numbers say they are not a bad defensive team. But can you adjust for pace? What are the numbers on that? Are we really defending well, or are we just slowing other teams down to something approaching our 28th in the league pace?

On TNT’s Awesome(ly dumb) “Team Role” Blurbs Under Each Player’s Name

Oh, the fun I could have with this. “Chris Paul. Team Role: Jesus Figure.” “James Posey. Team Role: Hired Killer.” “Tyson Chandler. Team Role: Ceiling Fan Repair Man.” “David West. Team Role: Beast.” “Kenyon Martin. Team Role: Thug.” “Dahntay Jones. Team Role: Mosquito” …..

On Devin Brown:

Last night at the watch party, there was a great moment. Devin Brown hustled to a rebound. Everyone yelled, “YES!” Then he backed toward the corner and raised the ball to shoot. Everyone yelled, “NO, Devin!” But he ended up hitting the shot, and the whole bar went, “YES! Devin Brown!” and it was all very hilarious.

And, just for fun, Great Moments in the History of Fail… with Devin Brown.

You yell at that douchethug, CP!

You yell at that douchethug, CP!

On DoucheThuggery:

After watching all the posing and pouty-face-making that went on in last night’s game, I am standing by my inclusion of Chris Andersen in the “douchethuggery” category. Not on the thuggery part, because he’s an all right guy– he and CP helped each other up after one play, and I caught him and D West exchanging a smile once– but definitely on the douche part. And it clearly was a mistake not recognizing Dahntay Jones in the original post for the douchethug that he is. It was my error. It has been corrected.

On the Topic of NBA Determinism:

Does anyone have ANY doubt that it will be LeBron vs. Kobe? I mean, what’s even the point? Sorry, sorry, but this is genuinely how I feel and it makes me so upset because I want to be surprised and inspired and moved. And that… just won’t do those things for me.

[OK, I posted this on At the Hive, and this next part is me stepping back in to clarify, because a lot of people in the comment thread jumped at me for thinking there's a big conspiracy with the refs calling things against the Hornets, but I didn't actually mean to say that.]

I wasn’t really talking about this game. I don’t believe there is a conspiracy against the Hornets. There’s no reason, if there was, that David Stern wouldn’t want CP3 to go deep into the playoffs. People love him, he equals revenue. I watched part of the Cavs game yesterday and it put me into this mood. I’m feeling rather fatalistic about the whole thing in general. I know the Cavs have played great basketball this year, but that article about LeBron being called for an average of less than two fouls per game? Have you read it? Even Kobe, Wade, CP have been in foul trouble. James has never been, not once. And it’s frankly unbelievable for a guy in DPOY consideration who throws his body around that much and goes to the basket that hard.

My frustration is that Stern apparently has no interest in doing something about the league’s rep for sketchy officiating and ridiculous star calls. And CP’s have gone way up this year from last year, I’ve noticed— anecdotally— are there stats on this? I actually read an article where Brandon Roy said something surprisingly frank about that. [mW informs me he saved this article somewhere. Perhaps he will post it.] Said that after his 50 pt game in November he started to notice the fact that he was getting whistles he doesn’t usually get. But you aren’t allowed to talk about the officiating or you get fined. I just feel like there is a possibility it’s allowed to continue, maybe, MAYBE, because then when things are slightly manufactured, it’s less noticeable?

This is really more a tangiential “What’s the point anyway? We know who’s getting to the final” than “Everyone hates New Orleans.”

I relish unpredictability in my playoffs. But does the NBA give us a court on which Cinderella cannot live? What happened to “anything is possible”? Go forth, young flawed Hawks and Sixers and Blazers. Go forth and dunk and leap and shine. Your time is short. I shall cry for you when you are gone.

On Byron Scott’s Weird Refusal to Give Minutes to a Guy Who Was a Starter Last Season:

You know what? I’ve said enough. Just trade Mo Peterson. He deserves to play. Somewhere.

On Buy Your Damn Tickets For Game 3 Already, for the Love of God, the NFL Draft is Terrible and Dull and Jazzfest Happens Every Freakin Year:

I posted this rant yesterday in one of those team-hating forum threads that just really piss me off. I posted it several hours before the game. It is everything I wanted to say and it still stands:

People get mad when the national media/other teams’ fans/whoever criticize this city’s sports fans and their commitment to this team. “Ha, the Hornets have no home court advantage!” And then look at what the SAME people are busting out with in this thread.

I defend Hornets fans a lot on my blog and around the web. Lord, I’m embarrassed. Ugh. You don’t NOT GO to a playoff game because they’re down 0-2. You think the Spurs fans did that last year? Just because the team might lose does not make it a terrible idea to go to a game. You’re there to be loud and show support and help them win.

Or at least that’s how I feel. I watched the Boston Celtics come back from a 30 point hole on the road in LA, in what pretty much turned out to be the NBA championship-deciding back-breaking game. As a fan, if that’s my team, I want to be able to tell my grandchildren I never turned off the TV. I want to be able to say I was there, I saw it.

Man, I don’t know. Someday, some of you are going to miss something great. I’m not saying it’ll be this weekend, but someday.

Well, that’s why I’m going, anyway. You do what you like.

THE FIX IS IN

By on January 22, 2009

But this time, it’s a good thing!

Chris Paul is an All Star starter. Thank you, David Stern. Thank you. And yes, I am thanking David Stern. You cannot tell me CP made up 158,000 votes, or whatever it was the last time we saw the numbers, in like a week. The more everyone cried out that McGrady starting the All Star Game over him was utterly indefensible, the wider the gap grew. So you can’t tell me that the trend suddenly, magically reversed just like that. I flat out won’t believe it. And yet, they’re saying Chris got 1.1 million votes in the last two weeks!

But hey, it’s totally like the Shaq Scrabble ad. “How did you…?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

It’s all good, Mr. Stern. We won’t. CONGRATULATIONS, CHRIS!!

Update: Hornets 247 disagrees. But then, that’s the difference between us and 247. Next thing you know, they’re going to be trying to tell us The X-Files wasn’t a documentary about the 1990s…

Smiling all the way to the bank.
Hey Trailblazers’ fans, remember this pic?  Darius and his wife at the signing conference?  The travesty that is “medically unfit to play” and the Curious Case of the Disappearing Salary?  Well the strange saga that began on April 14, 2008, is all about to end, the final chapter  hopefully written within the next two Grizzlies’ games.  Darius Miles, once a top NBA prospect, has been the center of recent controversy, and with his salary about to land back on the Trailblazers salary cap, Blazers’ president, Larry Miller, thought it would be a good idea to send a letter to the other 29 teams in the League threatening legal action.  It was a pathetic attempt to try and assert that the Blazers had any legal ground to stand on in making this threat, which only served to question why they had been granted this exemption in the first place.  Here is Darius’ take on it:

“They made a decision on the career-ending injury, they made it for the organization, but I felt they didn’t have my best interests at heart. I don’t have to prove anything, because I always knew I had the skills to play at this level. But it did make me hungry and fired up. I really wanted to go to a great situation, if I did get another chance.”

(Courtesy of Boston.com)  And Miles got another Chance early this year, after two years with no on-court action, with the Boston Celtics.  But after playing in six preseason games, with 14 guys already holding guaranteed contracts, and with only one spot left for either him or Sam Cassell, well, we all know how that ended.  (Which, considering that Sam Cassell has yet to play this year, and the Celtics bench is weak, one has to question.)  After that, there were rumors that the Clippers were interested, and why wouldn’t they be?  (Incidentally, could Miles be any worse than the guys riding their pine?)  That never happened, though.  Nor did any other team take a chance on Miles.  Don’t forget, there was also a 10 game suspension hanging over Miles’ head for a violation of the League’s substance abuse policy even if he made a roster.  Honestly, by this time, most teams already had full rosters.  So Miles’ dreams of returning to the NBA appeared over.

Until the Grizzlies rolled the dice.  In December, they gave this 27-year-old, who hadn’t played in a regular season game since April 15, 2006 a chance.  After two more games, Yahoo leaked that the preseason games that Miles had played were significant.  Miles playing in 10 games proved that we was not medically unfit, and so his salary in 2008-09 and 2009-10, which were already guaranteed, would go back on the Blazers salary cap.  The Blazers had previously asserted this meant 10 regular season games, and no one had bothered to check the actual rules, until Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the preseason games had counted against the 10-game count.

And let me tell you people, with Miles salary back on the cap, the Blazers’ outlook is not pretty.  Already at $70,060,316 in team salary (just under the luxury tax of $71.15 million), that figure would balloon to $79,060,316, meaning that the Blazers will be paying $15 mil in luxury tax if they don’t slash salaries (dollar for dollar double the amount over the luxury tax threshold).  Yet the Grizzlies cut him after he appeared in two games.  TNT’s David Aldridge said both Celtics and Grizzlies sources had told him, however, that Miles “didn’t have any physical limitations brought on by the microfracture surgery he underwent on his right knee in 2006.”  Speculation was that the Grizzlies had only cut him because they didn’t want to guarantee his contract all year, that they were hedging their bet on Miles.

I'm back, bitches.

With Miles only needing to play 2 more games to put his salary back on the Trailblazers cap, and terrified that the initial travesty (getting Miles off their cap space) would come back to bite them in the ass, the Blazers threatened the other 29 teams with a lawsuit if they signed Miles just to screw them under the cap (the full letter can be found here), alleging two causes of action: (1) breach of fiduciary duty to a joint venturers; and (2) tortious interference with their contractual relationships.  One Western Conference GM said, “They’re daring someone to sign him now.”  Maybe.  But I think the Blazers’ lawyers are just stupid.

Here’s how it works in Oregon, where Trailblazer contracts are likely interpreted:

“To prevail on [a] claim for intentional interference with contract or prospective advantage, [a plaintiff] would have to establish each of the following elements: (1) the existence of a [contract], (2) intentional interference with that [contract], (3) by a third party, (4) accomplished through improper means or for an improper purpose, (5) a causal effect between the interference and damage to the economic relationship, and (6) damages.”

(As stated in the case, Leif’s Auto Collision Ctrs., LLC v. Am. Family Ins. Group, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78811 (D. Or. Oct. 22, 2007).)  So, obviously, there was a contract (1), which would be affected by a third party if another team signed and played Miles (3), which would, of course, damage the Blazers under the luxury tax implications (6).  But what the Blazers would never be able to prove are elements 2, 4, or 5, without any one of which they cannot make their case.  First, to prove “intent” to damage another team (2), rather than simply hiring a capable player is the inverse of trying to prove an at-will employee was fired for an illegal purpose: short of the alleged offender coming out and admit it, it’s almost impossible.  As for “improper means” (4)?  Under Oregon law, any “legitimate business purpose” will satisfy this requirements.  Miles is 6’9″, 235 lbs., and had so much potential he jumped to the NBA straight from high school.  What more would you need to say.  Oh, and just for the nail in the coffin, the causal relationship (5), I’ll let one Eastern Conference exec close it:

“The point that everybody is missing is that this isn’t about Portland’s salary cap. It’s about whether [Miles] is healthy enough to play or not.  He obviously is healthy enough to play. It doesn’t matter how good he plays. He can still play, and they said he couldn’t.  Portland received benefits when [Miles’] injury was ruled career-ending. If he can play, they don’t deserve to have those benefits.”

(Courtesy again of Yahoo.)  That’s the bottom line.  The Blazers have tried to argue they deserve something that they never deserved.  So it has taken Miles three years to get back to playing shape.  So be it.  But you have to question why the Blazers couldn’t get him into playing shape, when other teams with little incentive could.  Miles himself said: “It was a long two years. I felt I could have played last year, but that wasn’t in the [Blazers'] plans. It was real frustrating.”  Pretty sheisty if you ask me, could it be his association with the old “Jailblazer” team?  I don’t know.  But the team exposed a dark side of the business, and they got burnt.  Guess what, in the NBA most contracts are guaranteed, that is a fact of life.  So why should one team get out from under the salary cap implications of serious injuries to high-priced players when other teams don’t?  They shouldn’t.

As for the Trailblazers’ assertions of violations of Fiduciary Duties by a team signing Miles?  Equally stupid.  Especially as to joint venturers, who have lesser duties than corporate officers or other business partners actually working together to a common goal.  But the joint venturers in the NBA are all working together to work against each other.  Follow me?  Yeah, they all want to make money, but they each want to step all over the other 29 teams to get there.  What duty did the Jazz have not to steal Boozer away from the Cavs?  None.  It’s every team for itself.  The only way they could really be harming each other’s fiduciary duties is by supporting other basketball leagues over the NBA.  Besides, on this matter, Oregon law is going to take into account the “Business Judgment Rule Defense,” which provides that:

It is a presumption that in making a business decision [the person] acted on an informed basis, in good faith and in the honest belief that the action taken was in the best interests of the [business]. Thus, [such] decisions will be respected by courts unless the [persons] are interested or lack independence relative to the decision, do not act in good faith, act in a manner that cannot be attributed to a rational business purpose or reach their decision by a grossly negligent process that includes the failure to consider all material facts reasonably available.

Back again.  Good luck, Darius.

(As stated in the case, HLHZ Invs., LLC v. Plaid Pantries, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78817 (D. Or. Oct. 23, 2007) (emphasis added).)  Guess what, a good lawyer would argue that pushing the Blazers over the luxury tax is a rational business purpose within the competitive NBA joint venture.  Or maybe finding equity in the Blazers being denied an award they clearly didn’t deserve (getting Miles off their cap), and equalizing their rights as compared to the other 29 joint venturers is a rational business purpose.  Or also that whole 6’9″, 235 lbs., high school phenom thing.  Please.  Blazers, prepare yourself for the return hit.

The Blazers empty threats didn’t work.  Miles is signing a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies today.

From a legal perspective, it’s fortunate for Trailblazers that the Grizzlies have re-signed Miles, because if no one did, he’d probably have a claim under unfair trade practices laws.  As it is, no one is happy with their overhanded (and stupid) methods.  First, the League made it clear that any “Any such contract [signing Miles] would be approved by the NBA.” Then, the Cavs’ owner called the Blazers, “Dead Wrong.”  Further, players’ association director, Billy Hunter said: ”We are shocked at the brazen attempt by the Portland Trail Blazers to try to prevent Darius Miles from continuing his NBA career.”  Hunter added (as argued above) that the Blazers litigation threat was frivolous, and “a clear violation of the anti-collusion and other provisions of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.”  SI.com also reports that the players union will file a grievance against the Blazers.

This is one basketball fan that will not cry when Miles’ $9 mil a year goes back on the Trailblazer cap for this year and next.  I was incensed when they got this exemption.  It seemed to get swept under the rug, too.  Listen, I like the Blazers, I really do.  This is nothing personal.  But as quoted above, Miles is medically fit to play, so they don’t deserve the exemption.  Plus, I’ve always liked Miles, and have always been disappointed that he never broke out.  Always like the trademark head thump thing he and Q-Rich did as Clippers, too (which both have kept doing elsewhere).  Why not?  Plus, like I said before, I believe in giving guys second chances.

Make the most of yours, Darius.

I Knew It, Guys

By on January 2, 2009

They’re just fucking with me now, aren’t they?

Do Not Turn On NBA TV Today

By on December 30, 2008

No, seriously. Have you seen the ads for this? Because today is LeBron James’ 24th birthday, they’re doing 24 hours of LeBron, “a full day of around-the-clock LeBron-centric programming featuring games, highlights, classic performances and exclusive access to the Cavaliers’ superstar.” If you have NBA TV, you know I’m not making this up. It’s ridiculous. Here’s the network’s schedule for yesterday and today.

You know what? I have nothing against LeBron. He’s a great player. But the hype machine surrounding him is wearying. Handing out confetti to fans to throw like he throws chalk (a gesture which, as we’ve griped about before, he appropriated rather than invented)? Basketballs placed mysteriously all over the city of New York? I’m sick of him, and I don’t even think I’ve viewed more than one Cavs game this year. No, seriously. The only one I’ve seen is when they came to New Orleans Arena to play the Hornets. So explain to me how I’m so over him. Explain to me how I think, “Cavs… ugh” and switch to another game.

Could it possibly be the ubiquitous chalk commercial? Like, can I watch sports for 4 minutes without seeing this ad? Please?

So really, whenever I see the ad for this 24 Hours of LeBron nonsense, I just laugh. Because how is that different from every other day of life watching the NBA? Obviously, whoever came up with this campaign has a poor sense of irony. Or maybe not. Maybe they’re evil and trying to taunt us.

Really, my favorite thing about the NBA.com/Nike “Happy Birthday LeBron” article feature commercial is this quote that appears near the bottom: “I’m young,” James said. “But I’ve got an old soul.” BWAHAHAHAHA! That is just one of those things you aren’t really allowed to say about… yourself. Others can say it about you, yes. It may even be true. But how full of yourself are you, to claim that about yourself? I cringed reading that.

Whatever, NBATV. Way to completely whore yourselves out to Nike.

We can top this, though. Oh yes, HornetsHype.com can. What Hornet birthdays are coming up?

  • Tuesday, Dec. 30– Devin Brown: Oh, hey now, happy birthday, Devin! That must’ve sucked to be on the Cavs last year. I bet no one even got you a cake.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 13– James Posey: … Heh (pause)… Hehe… Now this is something I can work with. Stay tuned. Whatever, Nike. We’re gonna do twenty-FIVE hours of James Posey. Or wait, wait, wait. Are we doing it by age? Thirty-two hours of Pose! Even. Better.

The Saints playoff run in 2008 made everyone teary-eyed with Katrina sob stories. Haters of the Hornets accused New Orleans’ NBA team last year of having the same appeal in an extremely pejorative way. I never saw it. In fact, I saw only hate from the League, other than giving us the All-Star Game. So sorry we’re not a big market like L.A., Boston, or New York. Maybe we should clear some cap space so the League would care. Until then, I hold my ground, that the League is against us. Case in point, the NBA refereeing system that rewards certain teams and punishes others on a strange, hazing-type, respect system, where superstars get calls, and “good defenders” never get whistled. It’s a joke. It’s by far the most subjectively called sport in the world, which seemingly allows individual refs to write their own versions of the rulebook. And they’ve always hated on us. Only I don’t know why.

Okay, superstars get calls. Obvious. For a non-biased example, Kobe got several ridiculous calls tonight, while Bynum got hacked several times with no call. That said, the referees completely killed this game. How can a team make a run when there is totally contact uncalled at one end and at the other every little contact draws a foul? The refs were horrible. Horrible. And while they totally fucked the Hornets tonight, the refs horribleness wasn’t limited to just that. I already pointed out the Kobe-Bynum discrepancy. Ridiculous. But they weren’t consistent from quarter to quarter or even play to play on how they called the game. Read the rulebook, bitches. A foul is a foul, no matter who commits it, and no matter who it is committed against, and whether that player is in foul trouble, the clock is expiring, or if he complemented your mother.

For those of you that may be watching from home, what may not be clear, is how upset the crowd was. I have never heard the NOLA crowd upset about so many calls. Yes, yes, we’re all homers, and yes, shove your jokes about the Hornets players’ bitching rubbing off on us. That aside, that given, and compared to that norm: people were loud, booing, screaming, jump-out-of-their-seat so mad that they couldn’t even coalesce their rage into a cohesive attack of boos, screams, or curses; it was just a cacophonous explosion of disbelief. I’ve never seen so many 40-year-old dads tell the ref to fuck themselves in front of their kids. Okay, maybe in front of the kids belonging to someone else, but the crowd was incensed most of the game. Some random big black woman behind us pierced my eardrums all night. Usually I’m that guy. Our season-ticket holder “neighbor” actually left some time in the second half he was so pissed. Listen, anyone that knows me knows I give respect to the Lakers. As of today, they’re playing better than us. Fine. But let THEM prove that. They don’t need the referees’ help. But then again, maybe this makes the Xmas showdown with the Celts look better if both teams come in high. Think about it.

David Stern says Tim Donaghy was a liar and there was no big NBA conspiracy. I say David Stern is a bigger cheat than Tim Donaghy ever was. Let’s say it again just because Stern is trying so hard to sweep him under the rug: Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy, Tim Donaghy. Why? Yes, I told TT6 I wanted to do this post in a game when we won (and I should have after the Spurs game), because there are serious issues with NBA refereeing that need to be addressed regardless of the outcome of games.

Look at the numbers, they don’t make sense. Our shooting percentage was less than 3% worse than the Lakers, we made 3 more three pointers, there was only one more rebound for them, we had 5 more assists, 3 more steals, were tied in blocks, and only had four more turnovers, and six more fouls. Where does that 13 point differential come from? It’s about timing, not quantum. Sure, they can give a bunch of meaningless fouls to even the numbers out. Any good conspiracy is self-effacing. But you need to question when they occur. What was happening? Was a team making a run? Consider that we got the Lakers in foul trouble early and had an 11-6 or so differential in free throws attempted early. They ended up taking 10 more overall. That’s a big switch.

At the end of the day, the Bees were baited into believing the game would be called one way. CP was drawing all the contact fouls and our guys were aggressive on defense to great effect. Suddenly, CP is getting hammered and getting no calls and our every defensive play is a foul. I call bullshit. I call Tim Donaghy. It’s a verb now. I’ll say again, Stern wants that name to disappear. He wants to pretend no ref ever tanked a game. I say we never let him or the general public forget. This game was Tim Donaghy’d. It was bullshit. Absolute bullshit. Way to showcase the sport on national TV. Blow your whistle every three seconds. It was bullshit. Horseshit. Donkeyshit. Monkeyshit. Any shit you can think of.

At the end of the day, though, that shit smells like Tim Donaghy. Or David Stern. Whatever.

Tyson and Peja are terribly bored

Tyson and Peja are terribly bored. So am I.

Where has the will to blog gone? Come to think of it, where has the team gone?

In case you weren’t aware, despite a worrying start, the Hornets still have the second fewest losses in the West, behind the Lakers. This could possibly have something to do with the fact that, oh I don’t know, they NEVER. FREAKIN’. PLAY. While most teams are up around the 21-22 games played mark, the Hornets have only played seventeen games thus far.

I was reading all this “blah blah why are the Hornets so terrible, they have such a cake schedule” stuff from the national media. But is it really a cake schedule? You have to wonder why the Hornets took so long to look like they were in sync this season. And you have to think the two-games-each-week stretches just might be a factor. (NBA.com: “The Hornets have a strange schedule, almost Euroleague like in its infrequency.” In fact, in games after they had 3+ days off, the Hornets went 4-3 last year. The most egregious example of this was the Game 7 home loss to San Antonio, which came after a random three day break in the middle of a hotly contested playoff series. This year the schedule has included FOUR breaks of 3+ days already. The Hornets are a whopping 1-3 following those breaks. And you know what practically no games in November/December means? Mad back to backs down the playoff stretch. So yeah, thanks, schedule makers. Really appreciate that.

So. To sum up, last night I fell asleep watching Rockets/Grizzlies. Someone please put out an APB.

LOST: One Southwest Division champion. Last seen wearing teal. If spotted, please return to New Orleans Arena, Girod Street, New Orleans, LA 70113. Come back soon. We miss you.