halfway through the NBA

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Bruce Nemnich

Jan 22, 1985, 12:48:56 AM1/22/85
What a race we have going in the Atlantic! The 76ers ran off 13
straight wins to catch (and pass, for two days) Boston before losing to
the Celtics at the Garden yesterday. Halfway through the season, both
teams have a shot at the all-time victory record (69 by the '71-2
Lakers); they are currently on a 68 win pace.

Round 3 yesterday was a relatively easy (considering the rivalry) Boston
win. Boston went on a 14-2 tear early in the 2nd quarter, and the
Sixers never recovered. Philly is a very good defensive team, but they
don't really have anyone to guard Bird (not many do). Julius usually
gets the job and has done pretty well on him in the past, but Bird has
been eating his lunch this year (outscoring him 114-39 in the three
games thusfar). The Sixers problem yesterday was turnovers (23). They
outrebounded the Celts by 50-33 but took one less shot. Quote of the
day, from Charles Barkley: "We can't beat them here. I honestly
believe that in my heart."

Boston is now 29-0 when ahead after three quarters. Philadelphia is 9-5
when *behind* after three quarters. Boston is 18-1 at home; Philly 17-4
on the road.

The Lakers had finally got themselves on a good roll until they came
east and lost consecutive games in Milwaukee, Detroit, and Boston.
Speaking of East vs. West, here are the cumulative division records so

Atlantic 122 84 .592
Midwest 121 124 .494
Central 112 129 .465
Pacific 115 133 .464

East 234 213 .523
West 236 257 .479

Given that about 28% of games are interconference, one can deduce that
the East has about a 79-58 .577 record v. the West.

The latest ballot tallies show that Larry Bird will probably not be
voted to start on the all-star team. That is completely absurd. My
personal picks: Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Bernard King, Michael Jordan,
Dennis Johnson. The guards are the hardest: Sidney Moncrief and Isiah
Thomas are right there, too.

This year's crop of rookies is the best since at least the '79 group
including Bird and Magic. Jordan is almost a shoe-in for
rookie-of-the-year. I can see why Houston was under local pressuse to
pick Akeem, but they would be better off with Jordan in the backcourt
and Sampson at center. Akeem is a very good athlete and will get better
as he learns the game, but he's no Pat Ewing. But Portland really blew
it by passing up Jordan, not to mention trading everyone to Denver for
Kiki. Barkley is a very impressive rebounder with Philadelphia (and a
definite improvement over Ivaroni).

Bird on Jordan: "He's the best player I've ever played against."
--Bruce Nemnich, Thinking Machines Corporation, Cambridge, MA
ihnp4!godot!bruce, b...@mit-mc.arpa ... soon to be br...@tm.arpa

Andrew V Royappa

Jan 23, 1985, 1:11:23 AM1/23/85

Argle, long awaited 76'er-Celtic matchup turns into
an embarrassing blowout .. I guess Boston is invincible
at home, after all. I thot Philly was going to win since
they've been playing reasonably well lately. Oh well,
I'll have to wait until they play at Philadelphia ..

I agree, it would be disgraceful if the best player
in the NBA (Larry Bird) doesn't get to be a starter in the all-star
game. About your other picks .. huh, only a Celtic fan would pick
Dennis Johnson over Isiah Thomas. Michael Jordan should be there
of course. Yow. A couple of games back he had 35 points, 15 rebounds,
and 14 assists.

Speaking of Portland, of course they blew it, but how's
Bowie doing ? I haven't heard much, and judging from the boxscores
he averages about 5 ppg (but rebounds well).

Andrew Royappa
{decvax, ucbvax, pur-ee, ihnp4}!purdue!avr

Fred Griffin

Jan 25, 1985, 12:14:25 PM1/25/85

Sam Bowie is averaging about 8 points and 6 or 7 rebounds, along with
about 2.5 blocks per game. He still looks pretty green but has shown
some improvement since the start of the season. His last two games
were good performances. (16 and 18 points and about 20 rebounds total)

On the whole the team looks lousy. Every televised game I watch has
them getting blown out. There is no one who is taking a firm
leadership role on the team. Although Kiki is among the leaders in
points per game his defensive skills are apparently non-existent.

I think they should change their name to the Portland
Trailing Bozos and hope for a bottom seven finish and
a chance at drafting Ewing.

Fred (please don't send mail 'cause this is my last day here) Griffin

Bob Garmise

Feb 1, 1985, 10:59:12 AM2/1/85
Why is the NBA so boring? Except for maybe Boston, Philadelphia, and LA, I
doubt whether most of the readers of this note can name 2 starters on any
other team. The interest in the NBA is minimal. Most of the people I know
(are they the wrong people?) have no idea who's in first, what the divisions
are, or even what the team nicknames are. Is that because we don't have a team
here in Columbus? or is prevalent throughout the country? So tell me...why
isn't the NBA making it?
...bob garmise...at&t bell labs, columbus...

Mark D. Tischler

Feb 2, 1985, 4:30:55 PM2/2/85

I'll tell you why the NBA is so boring!

1. Zone defenses are not allowed --> detracts from defense
2. 3-to-make-2 free throws --> thwarts comebacks
3. Bad shot selection
4. One-on-one play
5. 3-point shots --> further encourages bad shot selection
6. 24-second clock --> encourages bad shot selection and one-on-one play
7. No necessity for coaching, therefore there is none -- it's sandlot bball
8. Refs don't call charging --> discourages good defense
9. Refs don't call traveling (better this year I've heard)
--> allows for dunks from mid-court
10. 20-second timeouts --> to easy to get out of trap situations
11. too many playoff teams --> who cares about the regular season anymore

Of these, none were even thought of in the college ranks until a few years
back. Now, suddenly, they've adopted #11, a version of #6, and are thinking
of #5. The rest I feel have been reasonably avoided so far. Let's hope
college basketball doesn't sink into the muck that the NBA has, because it
sure looks like they're trying to emulate the NBA as hard as they can.

Mark Tischler
(312) 393-7199 (home)
(312) 979-5123 (work)

Jeff Offutt

Feb 6, 1985, 9:38:23 AM2/6/85
> Why is the NBA so boring? ...
> here in Columbus? or is prevalent throughout the country? So tell me...why
> isn't the NBA making it?
> ...bob garmise...at&t bell labs, columbus...

I've never cared much for pro basketball even though I love college basketball
and like to play myself. The main reason is because I simply can't empathise
with those guys -- they're too good. When I see Mark Price (Tech's point
guard) make a great play I say "wow, I wish I could do that!". When
Kareem makes something flat out impossible look easy, then I don't get
that same thrill. It's like a different sport.

Another point along the same lines is that I can learn things from the college
players whereas the NBA players are to far beyond me to learn from them. I
watched Mark Price go towards the basket and dish off underneath and tried it
myself. And Bruce Dalrymple showed me how to outrebound somebody four inches
taller. What can I learn from most pro players? How to shoot from any
position, any angle and still miss? Not quite!

It's rather sad to slight somebody for talent and skill, but there you have it.
At least in pro baseball they'll drop a ball now and again, the hitters will
strike out, and even the greatest pitcher will throw four straight balls.
Jeff Offutt
School of ICS, Georgia Tech, Atlanta Georgia, 30332

Carol Preston

Feb 6, 1985, 6:35:55 PM2/6/85
In article <1...@ihlpg.UUCP> tisc...@ihlpg.UUCP (Mark D. Tischler) writes:
>I'll tell you why the NBA is so boring!
> 2. 3-to-make-2 free throws --> thwarts comebacks

I can tell that you haven't watched a game in years.

> 3. Bad shot selection
> 4. One-on-one play

These are caused by poor coaching. Plays should be set up by the coaches
to encourage team play.

> 5. 3-point shots --> further encourages bad shot selection

3 point shots aren't the norm. They sometimes can make the game more
exciting if one team is down only a few points at the end.

> 6. 24-second clock --> encourages bad shot selection and one-on-one play

A counter arguement is that it removes "stalling". One team can catch up to
another because the teams that is ahead can't hold the ball. This though
has lead to the "only need to watch the last quarter" syndrome, since it is
difficult to get too far out of reach. There must be some compromise, but I
can't think of one of the top of my head.

> 7. No necessity for coaching, therefore there is none -- it's sandlot bball

I think the opposite. The good teams have the good coaches. While Fitch was
coach of the Celtics, their team play began to suffer. A good coach takes
advantage of the types of players on his team. I think a lot of how well the
Bullets do is based on Shue.

> 8. Refs don't call charging --> discourages good defense
> 9. Refs don't call traveling (better this year I've heard)
> --> allows for dunks from mid-court

Let's exaggerate. The main thing wrong with the refereeing is that they
rely on a players reputation too much, rather than what is actually happening.
Too many times you'll see a physical player get a foul, and a finesse player

> 10. 20-second timeouts --> to easy to get out of trap situations

Like I said, when was the last time you watched the NBA?

> 11. too many playoff teams --> who cares about the regular season anymore

Another problem is with the playoff structure. The top 2 teams in each
conference should top the list, not the top team of each division.
Each year only one of the Celtics or the Sixers gets the extra week off.

You make a lot of statements. Why don't you back them up with examples?
Especially on those that haven't been in affect for years.

If you think that there are only a few good teams, then parity is your answer.
It is beginning to take affect, but poorly managed seems to trade away there
top draft picks, and the 'rich get richer'. When a team is both poorly managed
and poorly coached, forget it.
Carol Preston
{hpda, ihnp4, allegra, ucbvax!dual}!fortune!preston
(415) 594-2891
Fortune Systems, 101 Twin Dolphin Pkwy, Redwood Shores, CA 94065


Feb 7, 1985, 12:41:37 AM2/7/85

I read an article in Sport that stated "America does not
want to see intelligent, articulate BLACK millionaires" playing.
For those who have played the game and can appreciate the talent
necessary to do seemingly simple things like fade-away Js and
no-look-assists, the game has never been better. But, basketball is
considered a black sport. Most of the audience wants to see someone
who they can perform vicariously through. Most of the audience is also
I'd like to see some NFL and Baseball fans name two starters
on teams other than the Cowboys, Yankees, etc.
Does anyone know if NBA attendance is down comparitively
with preceding years?



Feb 8, 1985, 4:50:34 PM2/8/85
I think the main problem with the NBA is that the season is just too long.
Most of the complaints Mark Tischler mentioned are intended to keep the
game fast moving and played underneath the hoop. Allow a zone defense in
the NBA and you'd never see a shot inside 15 feet.

I'm not sure that these rules are a good thing. I'm one of the few people
I know who enjoys watching a good four corners stall. The situation is
similar to the one the NFL finds itself in. Change the game to make it
faster and more spectacular, and suddenly find dropping attendance. A

Undoubtedly part of the problem is television coverage. I recently went to a
Lakers game, and while it was fun to be in the Forum to see the game, the
actual viewing was abysmal. True, we had seats in the serious nosebleed
section, but the point remains that watching a basketball game live isn't that
exciting unless you are within 30 rows of the court. I enjoy watching on TV
a lot more (and if the announcers are good, that only adds to my enjoyment.
Al McGuire leaps to mind.)

Scott R. Turner
UCLA Computer Science Department
3531 Boelter Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90024
UUCP: ...!{cepu,ihnp4,trwspp,ucbvax}!ucla-cs!srt


Feb 8, 1985, 6:10:51 PM2/8/85
Q: What's the most boring hour of sports?
A: The last two minutes of a basketball game.

(oh, oh, it's getting warm in here)
I never paid much attention to basketball until I moved to L.A. (basketball
is about as popular in Canada as hockey is in the States - ie. not very).
I have watched a few games (ya gotta watch the Bruins 'round here) but I
cannot believe how a fast paced game can come to a screeching halt near
the end. Between fouls and timeouts it takes *forever* to play out the end
of a game - and no one ever concedes victory ("they're only down 10 points
with 5 seconds to go, they have a chance with a three pointer, steal the
inbounds, another three pointer, ..."). I cannot believe there are people
who tune in a game just for the last two minutes. Here, you can have my

Rick Gillespie

"She turned me into a newt! . . . I got better."


Feb 9, 1985, 1:02:17 AM2/9/85

I can't believe the reasons you gave for the NBA being so boring!!

Zone Defenses make the league boring? Are you crazy? I can't imagine
how boring the game would be if team like Houston used a 2-1-2 zone.
The opposition wouldn't be able to take a shot closer than 25 feet.
That's why they don't allow a zone in the first place in the NBA.

The 24 second clock is boring? I'd take that over a Dean Smith
4 corner stall anyday. At least the crowd ( who the game is for anyway)
gets to see some action instead. It makes the offense perform.

Bad shot selection? What do you mean? The field goal percentages
for teams are probably up from a few decades ago.

How can you cite one on one play as boring? I, for one, look forward
to those little classic confrontations. I love to see Magic or Gus
Williams drive on a Bird or a Moncrief. It's like watching Goose
Gossage pitch to George Brett or Lester Hayes cover Mark Duper.
Comparing college hoops to the pros is like comparing apples and
nicer oranges. You cannot tell me there is more talent in college
hoops. I love college hoops, the way the crowd gets involved and
the emotions that are evident by the teams BUT, the other guys
are pros and half of the people who wow you in college will NEVER
be good enough to hack it in the NBA.

The 3-point shot is exciting, plain and simple. It does not `encourage'
a bad shot, it is just an option. A behind the back pass has become a
viable option for most of the guards today, but like the 3-point shot,
I don't think many pros attempt it in an unwarranted situation
where the risk outweighs the possible advantage.

The NBA has the most action to offer of any major sport PERIOD

Bruce Nemnich

Feb 11, 1985, 4:26:31 AM2/11/85
Interesting someone should ask why the NBA is so boring now; I find it
considerably less boring now than I did a few years ago. I can't be the
only one, since TV audiences are up by something like 7% leaguewide at a
time when other sports (e.g., pro football) are losing viewers in
significant numbers. The excellent rookie crop this year helps.

This is inherently a boring time of the season. The first third of the
season is interesting because it's a time for evaluation. The last
third is interesting to the extent that it sets up the playoffs, though
it only really matters the division winners (for the bye) and those who
may or may not make it.

There's also the question of whether one considers basketball itself to
be a boring sport. I don't think so, but neither do I find baseball
boring, and I know many do. One thing about basketball which is untrue
in the other major sports: there are very few really big plays. Since
teams score an average of about 50 times each, and even the best plays
can contribute maybe 3% of the score. Basketball is a game of momentum
and runs, not of the BIG PLAY. Until the last few minutes of the game,
it simply doesn't ride on making a given shot.

There are a few things I would change. I hate the "illegal defense"
rule; what on earth is wrong with zone defense? Everyone effectively
plays a zone much of the time anyway (frequent switches), so why this
silly restriction? I *like* good defense.

The all-inclusive playoffs contribute greatly to the boredom of the
regular season. That goes for hockey, too. Any playoff system which
includes sub-.500 teams is braindamaged.

I do like the 3-point field goal, though. It introduces another bit of
strategy without complicating the game too much.

Finally, a response to Carol's statement about Bill Fitch:

I disagree. Fitch took them from 29-53 to 60-22 in one year (of course
that was also Larry Bird's rookie year). The next three years they won
61, 62, and 56 games, as I recall. That last year ('83) was not so much
a breakdown in team play as in attitude. Fitch is a disciplinarian, and
from all accounts he becomes a pain to deal with after a while. I
consider Bill Fitch to be an excellent coach of fundamentals and team
play, and he is probably ideally suited to the young talent in Houston.
I am also really glad he left Boston; the chemistry just wasn't there
anymore, and no one was having fun. They are much looser under KC.


Feb 11, 1985, 2:57:37 PM2/11/85
Too bad that Dr. J is not articulate. I can also name a few baseball and
football players on almost EVERY team and even a few USFL players to boot.
And so can my officemate. Stick that in your hoop.

Better yet, slam dunk it. I bet your favorite sporting event is Superstars!

D. Wilkerson
(you can't get to me from there)

David Rubin

Feb 12, 1985, 9:15:16 AM2/12/85
I will humbly submit that I, a baseball fan and (to a lesser extent) a
basketball fan, can

(1) Name a starting lineup for each team in the National
League, name at least 80% of all its players (.80x12x25=240)
(though I'd recognize about 95% of them), and

(2) Name the starting five for each team in the Atlantic
Division, and at least 50% of all the players in the Eastern
Conference (.5x11x12=66) (although I'd recognize about 75%
of them).

David Rubin


Feb 13, 1985, 4:04:42 AM2/13/85
Heard that a new rule was going to be installed:
Fastbreaking teams that get fouled on the layup not only get
two free throws, but also get to keep possesion after that.

This rule, if instituted, will give the better teams a better chance
to win - unlike last year's NBA championship series, which the better
team did not win.

james armstrong

Feb 14, 1985, 7:27:39 AM2/14/85
> I'd like to see some NFL and Baseball fans name two starters
> on teams other than the Cowboys, Yankees, etc.

Washington Redskins: Jeff Bostic, Ken Huff :-)

The "black" arguement doesn't really work. Ever look at college hoops?
The white/black ratio is about the same there, yet it is much more
popular. (Or are you saying that it's OK so long as we don't pay them? :-)

The games really do not make difference in the NBA because so many teams do
make the playoffs. (Just like the NHL!) Plus, apart from a couple teams,
the NBA teams do not have the identities of the NCAA teams. UNC is UNC,
(The ACC is the best conference) but Golden State? New Jersey Nets? Who
Basingstoke this is Basingstoke. All change for trains to anywhere else
in the universe.


Feb 20, 1985, 12:59:43 AM2/20/85

Sure, UNC is UNC. I fail to see the logic in comparing a
popular college team with an unpopular NBA team. How about the
Los Angeles Lakers compared with Valley State or Chaminade?
As far as your black/white ratios being the same in college
and the pros, hah!

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