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Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 12:24 pm  |  92 responses

Links: Inside the NBA (Playoffs)

Plus, Keri Hilson, anyone?

by Lang Whitaker

I said this in passing last night on Twitter but I also want to say it here, because I knew we’ve got a lot of readers over at TNT: All of TNT’s analysts and announcers who criticized Josh Smith for trying (and missing) that dunk through his legs are hypocrites.

If you missed the play, when the game was out of reach in the fourth, when the Hawks were up 20, Josh Smith got the ball on a run out for a wide open dunk. The video isn’t online right now, but as Josh gathered himself for what was surely going to be a human highlight, TNT analyst Dick Stockton — in one of the rare moments when he wasn’t talking about how awesome Dwyane Wade is — blurted out, “Watch this!”

Hey, I was watching, excitedly. I was waiting to see what Josh would pull off. All Hawks fans were. And if he’d been able to pass the ball through his legs and dunk in a game, everyone would’ve gone crazy. The NBA would have made it into a commercial. TNT would have replayed it a dozen times. We would’ve made it Slamadamonth. ESPN would have made it their top play in perpetuity. I bet even Fratello would’ve marveled aloud at J-Smoove’s athleticism.

But he didn’t make it. The ball just missed going in, and the Hawks got the rebound and ended up scoring on the play anyway. And the Hawks still won by 15.

So to criticize Josh for trying to be what we all want him to be is wrong. I’m glad he tried it. We’ve got Joe Johnson to be our rock, the guy who always makes the safe and correct play. Josh is the fire to that ice. Yeah, he jacks up threes and makes the occasional ill-advised pass, but you take the bad with the good, and with Josh there’s more good than bad. And the good is way more exciting than the good from most players.

The Heat are already sticking out their lips and trying to play the pride card. Speaking on the play, Erik Spoelstra said “they really tried to embarrass us.” Dwyane Wade added, “Yes, we were very insulted.”

Hey Coach? The Hawks weren’t trying to embarrass you, the Hawks did embarrass you. They blew you out in your team’s most important game of the year, just like your guys embarrassed the Hawks in Games 2 and 3. Dwyane? If you don’t want to be insulted, don’t let former slam dunk champions get breakaway layups.

The real down side for the Hawks wasn’t Josh missing a dunk where the Hawks retained possession, but it was losing Al Horford with a sprained ankle. If he’s out and if Marvin Williams still can’t play, the Heat are going to have the upper hand in Game 6 on Friday night in MIA.

• I don’t think Rajon Rondo should have been called for a flagrant foul against Brad Miller, but I do think the NBA should have upgraded it to a flagrant foul yesterday. When it happened, with the game on the line and the clock nearing zero and Miller staring down the barrel of a wide-open layup, I don’t think there’s any ref that would’ve called a flagrant right then. (Except for maybe Violet Palmer, because she’s not very good.) If Derrick Rose had done the same thing to Kendrick Perkins in the same situation, they wouldn’t have called that either.

And I’m not convinced Rondo was trying to injure Miller. Was he trying to foul him? Of course, and so was Kendrick Perkins. But Perk whiffed, and the only way for Rondo to stop him from making an open layup was to foul him. Now, if Rondo wanted to grab Miller’s face and slam him to the ground he could have, and that definitely would’ve drawn a flagrant foul. But he fouled him and didn’t deck him.

Now, I do think the NBA should’ve upped it to a flagrant one today, after the fact, just to kinda say, “OK, Bulls fans, we know we handed you Game 4 on a silver platter,  and there’s no way we can go back and change the call on Rondo, but if it makes you feel better now we’ll change it to a Flagrant 1, which won’t really matter.”

I don’t think the L didn’t call make it a flagrant because Rondo was a key player — they suspended Dwight Howard and cost Phoenix a series a few years ago when they suspended Amare/é/’e.

Whatever. Can’t wait for Game 6 tonight.

• Totally unrelated, but the Madden looks awesome.

• Spike’s Kobe documentary, not so much.

• Our man Joel Kimmel, illustrator extroidanaire, has just completed a new LeBron comic book that looks dope. Check that out here.

kerihilson3• In Twitter news, last night Kevin Durant made a few pleas to be connected with R&B songstress Keri Hilson. “Y’all think i can get Keri Hilson’s number? Be honest lol,” Kevin asked.

I asked Kev what he would do if he actually got her number — would he be too afraid to actually contact her? “Hell nah, ima text her as soon as i get it..den call her the next day…i got my game plan set out already lang…”

So he’s already got a plan in the works, which is the kind of forward-thinking I expect from such a talented player/playa. Now we all just need to get word to Ms. Hilson. If anyone out can hook this up, we need to make it happen. For Kevin.

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  • k.o.

    i hear what ur saying Lang, the announcers are hypocrits – but bottom line, it was classless and unneccessary for Josh to attempt between the legs. can’t wait for game 6

  • Tommy Patron

    I hope someone on the Heat fouls someone on your Hawks that same way in the next game. Then we’ll see what you have to say Lang. Go and read the rules about what is supposed to constitute a flagrant foul.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Will you be the go-between, Lang? You know, cuz Kev’s “your boy”?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQEmmgDl9I Boing Dynasty

    Whats the over/under for how many times Kevin Harlan will say “they conced the shot” in his next game?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    KD needs to holler at Kanye for the digits. Josh Smith is fresh.

  • riggs

    Why would kevin durant get lil wayne leftovers? ehhh

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Don’t be such a fuc*ing hypocrite Lang. No one was trying that okey doke s*it when the Heat blew out your squad in game 3 in Miami. I’m sure you’d be cool if Jamario Moon would have tried that stupid sh*t and then jumped around like a fuc*ing stuck pig with swine flu once he missed it. Be real. But… you can be sure as sh*t that your team will leave that game tomorrow looking for answers instead of figuring out ways to try and make themselves out to look like And1 rejects once it’s done. All I know is, the series didn’t end last night, the Hawks and their fans think it did. That’s their mistake.

  • Coach Master

    Josh was stupid clownface.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    oooooh! What Eboy said! Let the sh*t talking begin… Man, I wish we could all go to that game together.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Russ told me that he wished TNT wouldve replayed Chris unnecessarily going behind his back and dunking on Chuck while they were complaining. I agreed with him. Then I went back to watching LOST.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQEmmgDl9I Boing Dynasty

    @Eboy, Moon would never try that in a game. There just isnt enough time to put the strip of tape down on the floor.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Myles, Faraday is not dead.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Calm down, E. I don’t see anything wrong with Josh trying to go between the legs on an uncontested breakaway. I mean, it was dumb, but I don’t think it was meant to show up the Heat. I don’t think he would’ve done it on the road or in a close game, ATL fans were going crazy as soon as he got the ball in the open floor. He tried to show them something, but didn’t build up enough speed. CoSign Lang on the hypocrisy of blasting Josh for missing when the same people probably would’ve tried to make some $ off of him slamming that one home. Actually, Heat fans should be happy, they lost by 2 less points.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    That was a wild episode. It left me in a trance for at least ten minutes afterward. I dont care who’s playing, at this point in the storyline, LOST>NBA Playoffs.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I’ll calm down once the Heat, like the Spurs, are sitting at home for good this postseason.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    You know what my favorite thing is about Lost? Not watching it.

  • http://www.reacavsfans.com Anton

    Someone give that girl a hamburger, hold the swine flu.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    wow. Twitter sure is connecting people.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Hater. Though you might identify with it more if Al doesnt come back soon.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    ok, nobody spoil this lost season for me, ok? I beg ya. Waiting for the seasonfinale so i can buy the satellite package here in Asia, then watch all episodes in like 2 days straight. No spoiler alerts, puhleeze.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Eboy: So that’ll be about 10:30 tomorrow night?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    LOST = GARBAGE

  • Superman Osman

    Kenny the Jet is the biggest hypocrite by far. I didn’t even hear them but I know what you’re saying Lang. So check it out, K-Smoov really needs to drop to Keri some sh*t on her Myspace. Yes she is going to know who’s f*ckin’ with her. The only advice I’m givin’ to Kev is this in the words of KanYe: that’s some good p*ssy dawg please don’t waste it. haha

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Perhaps……..or about 2 weeks from now.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    here comes the funcooker!

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    wow, Lang’s trashtalking to whitehot this series has been entertaining.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    I like the Lang’s logic. Miller had a clear path to the basket, so it’s not a flagrant. I hope Joakim Noah freaking LAYS RONDO ON THE GROUND with 5 seconds left in the game tonight. Because, you know, no referee will call a flagrant at the end of the game.

  • Myung

    I’m not sure about 10:30 tomorrow, Lang…but about 4 PM Sunday sounds about right. BTW, eboy, this series ended Monday night when the Hawks took back homecourt advantage. No matter what happens tomorrow night (win or lose), it’ll be Atlanta vs. Cleveland in Round 2.

  • Myung

    I did see Commissioner Stern at the game in section 104 yesterday, punching some buttons into what APPEARED to be a phone… I’m guessing here, but I’m assuming he communicated to Dick Bavetta, via said device: “There’s about to be some shoving… make sure you hold #3 on Miami back so he doesn’t get involved in the fray, else we might have to suspend him… and then our dream 2nd round match up of Wade vs. LeBron won’t happen… why won’t these pesky Hawks go away?”

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi T

    Y’all know she’s up on twitter, right? you can catch her at @MissKeriBaby ; I am pretty sure that’s the real Keri.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Thanks Myungstradomus.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Strangely, for fans of two teams that will be demolished in the next round regardless….we sure are full of ourselves.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    True.

  • Max

    Didn’t have a problem with Josh’s dunk attempt, nor did I have a problem with the announcers talking about Wade (which was nowhere near as bad as Lang is making it out to be). Why not? Because the series has been a crushing bore filled with bad play — when Flip Murray is your MVP, you know you’re underachieving as a team. So Josh and the announcers are desperately trying to add some life to this series, but it’s been a big fail so far. I hope Lebron averages 40 when he puts away one of these sorry teams in 4 or 5 games the next round.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    LOL @ E.
    I’m still rooting for the Hawks but Al getting hurt makes me sad, this just hasn’t been his year. I actually kinda want it to go to 7 just to see how hard the arena gets rocking in the ATL. Joe stepped up last night, but he’ll need to be HUGE for the Hawks to advance in 6.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Lang, maybe you just ruined Kevin’s chance by posting he has a “gameplan”?

  • Myung

    I’m not sure Hawks fans are full of ourselves, Cliff. Sure, we expect to beat Miami, but isn’t that expected when your is the higher seed? It’s not like we’re playing the Celtics or Cavs here. Plus, there’s a matter of perspective involved. You guys got a ring 3 years ago. We just hosted our first playoff games last spring in 9 years. We’re taking baby steps. 13 wins. 26 wins. 37 wins. 47 wins. Make the playoffs one year. Try to get to the 2nd round the next. I just think for the past few months, you’ve talked as if the Heat will just waltz past the Hawks and face Cleveland (I’d copy and paste everything you’ve written here and on my Facebook page but I’ll refrain)… and we take a little exception to that. At least I do. You really think it’s that offensive for a fan base as long suffering as Hawks fans to finally show a little bravado and moxy (I hate the word “swagger” so I had to use other lame words in its place)? Dude, we’ve been down and out for a DECADE. Just let us enjoy our small moment in the Heat…er…sun.

  • Myung

    *your team

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Sure, sure, Myung……I think the fact your boys have sucked for so long makes it that much easier to overlook a third rate organization like their’s. Now their history of sucking at their biggest moments will show itself over the next 3 days and all will be right in the NBA world.

  • Max

    Is Hawks-Heat the) worst NBA playoff series (that’s gone over 5 games) ever? It’s got to be up there. I enjoyed the 58 point Nugget blowout probably ten times more than any single game of Hawks-Heat, and I don’t even like the Nuggets.

  • Myung

    Personally, I do tend to agree with you, eboy, that both of our teams would get beaten by the Cavs… but from a possibly delusional Hawks fan’s point of view… I think last year’s Celtics team was better than this year’s Cavs team… and this year’s Hawks team is better than last year’s Hawks team… and if last year’s Hawks team improbably took last year’s eventual champs to 7 games, is it really that crazy to assume they can at least make it a series?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Someone pissed on Eboy’s court documents.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Nah….just good natured ribbing TADly…..too many people take that sh*t personally most of the time. Myung can handle it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I’m just upset because I can’t talk any sh*t to anybody.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Is this series that bad? As a… neutral-ish party, I’m liking it. It’s competitive. The Boston-Celtics series is competitive. A 58 point blowout, unless you’re a die-hard Nuggets fan, is boring to me.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Bulls-Celtics I mean. Bleah what 4 hours of sleep, manic studying and rushing about town to meet income tax deadlines does to you.

  • Myung

    I’m not sure if I’d call this series competitive. I’m pretty sure Hawks fans knew after 5 minutes we’d win games 1 and 5. I’m sure the Heat fans knew after 30 seconds that they’d kill us in game 3. Games 2 and 4 had a little drama, but both home teams pretty much played terribly. The smallest margin of victory in any of the 5 games has been 10. This series is a gambler’s dream. I think they’re starting to hate each other more and more… and we’ve certainly had our share of entertaining plays… but in my opinion, it’s been a pretty uneventful series thus far.

  • Myung

    Is anyone in the running for that New Era cap? I hope Houston and Orlando can advance to round 2. Those were my 2 biggest question marks… especially Orlando.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    This is why I wish Shaq would have stayed with Miami. Him and Wade would combine for 60+ a game, add in some rookie fire and you got yourself a much better chance at winning the series. Plus, Diesel would show the Hawks what a real flagrant 2 looks like.

  • no id

    Gotta cosign wit Lang

  • Dionisio

    THANK YOU! All these people bad-mouthing Josh. Someone had to stick up for the man. He was trying to give the fans in the arena and viewers at home (me) a treat.

  • http://mindyourbusiness@getalife.com Allenp

    Fratello really sounded disgusted. It was funny.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Double R

    Lang, speaking about football, have you heard about Backbreaker? There are no animations, everything (tackling, hitting, etc) is done in real-time based on physics.

  • seppo

    Wade and Spoelstra are way too sensitive. It´s great that J-Smoove tried the dunk between his legs. If you´re winning, it´s ok to humiliate the opponent. It´s also perfectly ok to throw up a three on the last possesion of a game that has already been decided. These are the playoffs. This is not the place to be nice.

  • http://slamonline.com DON OC SA

    I GOT LOVE FOR KD BUT MISS KERI BABY IS TOO MUCH FOR THE BOY…LOL…HE SHOULD HOLLA AT CASSIE FROM BAD BOYS BETTER

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I gotta agree with the observation that this ATL v MIA series has not been great to watch. I was certainly expecting more from both teams. Neither team has played that well, IMO, well atleast not in the same game.

  • DIO

    It’s gotta be the first time ever Lang is missing the point…
    “So to criticize Josh for trying to be what we all want him to be is wrong”
    Hello???? He’s already that he just needs to grow up…

  • Andrew

    I, for one, wish he made the dunk. Lang, yr right on the money with your analysis. There was no gangsta jersey popping crap in his move, it was one of those times where he had the opportunity to do something mad, and had a crack at it. If he’d nailed it, it would’ve been right up there with VC over Freddy. If David Lee can bounce the ball off the backboard and dunk it on a break during the regular season and not cop sh!t for it, Josh Smith should be able to attempt what we all know he could pull off.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Uhm…..the Slow Witted Superstar missed the dunk. That is all.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Will Josh try that in the next round knowing Lebron would wipe that ish? Can’t wait to find out.

  • no id

    It was all about entertaining the hometown fans..if they were playing at Miami under the same situation, he wouldn’t even think of doing that..so all these people making a big deal of it need to get a grip for real

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Durant should send her the photo SLAM ran: “pick me”

  • http://www.galatasaray.org madamerica

    Man somebody should have been doing live game notes for all Boston-Chicago games. This is insane. 6th overtime of the series!

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    RAY ALLEN!!! Oh my goodness.

  • http://www.triplejuneartherd.com/dacre Dacre

    They going to put up a 2nd statue out the front there…

  • http://jakeandamir.com tealish

    Why don’t they run plays for Ray down the stretch. I don’t understand. Is Rondo the number one option with the game on the line? Please. Ray is NOT just a spot up shooter. His J is f*cking beautiful but the man can create and has created throughout his entire career. I don’t understand this……

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Tealish: Too true. A Rondo fadeaway can’t be the best option you have in that situation…

  • http://www.galatasaray.org madamerica

    What a series.. Great offensive plays, great defensive plays, blown layups, missed free throws, guys scoring 40, guys scoring 50, overtime, double overtime, triple overtime. And people still say first round series should be best of 5.

  • http://jakeandamir.com tealish

    It’s crazy how good Rondo is even with possibly the worst jumpshot in the entire league. I wonder what he’ll become if he can at least become a decent shooter.

  • http://www.galatasaray.org madamerica

    What’s the record for most OTs in a series?

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    GG, we’re working on creating an iTunes podcast. We haven’t been consistent enough in the past to warrant setting something up.

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    has anyone seen the broadcast of the Heat/Hawks game done by Atlanta’s broadcasters?? all they do is rip on Dwade. It’s one of the funniest things i’ve ever heard

  • Esco

    @madamerica: Boston – Chicago ’09.

  • http://galatasaray.org madamerica

    I thought so. Apparently this(4) is also a record for games that go to OT in a series.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    ROCKETS!!!!
    that is all.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    the record is 6 overtimes in 1968

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    the bulls celts series is so effin tight!
    im sure kevin wont get any.
    no offence, but he may be good at bball, but i dont think she wants a man who cant bench 180ibs.
    i mean im 16, 5’8 and can bench 205.
    idk how someone can be that weak…

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    again: Tracy who?

  • http://www.mynameinorange.blogspot.com Hisham

    What surprised me was that Josh missed the dunk pretty badly too. not enough lift on it, as if he found out too late that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do

  • Tavoris

    Durant, Keri aint’ checkin 4 u…but then again, ain’t she the new Khia?

  • Glenn

    The whole Heat team is a bunch of hypocrites. You know that picture of Wade dunking with his body a little twisted and his legs spread? Probably his most famous dunking picture. That came at the end of a game against the Pistons that was well over in the playoffs. Wade got the ball with a couple seconds left and instead of letting the clock run out sprinted down the floor for the wide open dunk. All the announcers just fell all over themselves saying how great a dunk it was and it was on all the highlight reels for the rest of the playoffs. And now they’re mad that someone’s showing them up? BS.

  • http://www.preferredseat.com/nba.html NBA Fan

    The NBA gets boring without players taking chances and showing off,nice try Josh.

  • Tyquan

    Good points in the article, Lang. That’s right the Hawks are back and I been tryin to tell everybody that but its all good. Down here in VA you got people who claim they watch basketball but forget that Atlanta finish 4th in the East or what not. Not riding coat tails or whatever I’m just taking notice. To this day I still don’t know how they pulled of that Mike Bibby trade Sacto must have really wanted him to get the hell out of town. Anyway people who wanna call themselves checkin Josh Smith for just missing an uncontested dunk need to check themselves, people put to much unnecessary emphasis on the playoffs. Would it have been any different if he did it the regular season, ya’ll. Joe Johnson reminds of Mitch Rich a lil bit with the scoring in bunches sort of thing but he is legit as they come.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    @Nate: I imagine its bacause your entire arm is about as long as Durant’s elbow to wrist. Short little guys with short arms are always able to push a bigger number becuase they don’t have to extend nearly as far.

  • http://mindyourbusiness@getalife.com Allenp

    Ciolk
    Too true. I used to hate those midgets.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Hi Lang.

  • Jacob

    keri hilson, holla at me…..I agree with you though lang, Kobes coc looks kinda lame, Lebron’s is looking awesome

  • Jacob

    *doc whoops lol

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    coc? whoa!

  • erik

    flagrant foul. Rondo intentionally fouled brad miller on the head. nowhere near the ball. flagrant.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    That girl looks like Michael Jackson. Sorry, she just does…at least with the pic, and her outstretched arm.
    Nate, I’ve got a 6’6 wingspan, and I’m only 6’3, but I can’t bench press 200. And Durant is thinner than I am by far… so its the muscle mass basically. He just doesn’t have any. My nickname used to be Tayshaun haha, because of my body composition. So, in short, f*ck you jks.

  • http://slamonline.com Nw09

    How you gone call the LeBron comic book dope and then Kobe’s documentary “Not so much”. Come on now man….

    And Kevin Durant needs to stop because Keri laready has a boyfriend, sorry Kevin maybe he can get Rihanna.

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