Sunday , Dec , 12 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Trash Talk: Volume V

Hi, all. For those of you wondering where Volume IV went, here’s your answer:

‘Melo Out

Let me say this before we begin: I love Carmelo. I loved finding highlights on the ‘net of this mystery talent who would put a hurting on his opposite number, then grin all the way back down the floor. I loved to watch him twenty and ten his way to win after win as a frosh, eventually bringing Coach Boeheim his first national championship. I loved to see him in the blue and gold, leading an eclectic squad of unheralded players to the postseason, and in the west no less. As I type I sit before a framed Olympic jersey signed by the man himself, around which the rest of the room is arranged. I love Carmelo, and I’m not ashamed to say it.

<b>NBA Trash Talk</b>: <I>Volume V</I>“/><I>What I don’t love, however, is what has happened to him this year. While superficially his numbers aren’t far off those of last season (19, 6 and 3 compared to 21, 6 and 3), it is elsewhere on the stat sheet that we see his weaknesses. Having forever been criticised for his shot selection, it is alarming to see that his field goal percentages have decreased, and by a noticeable…</I><BR><BR>At this point I had to make a mad dash for the bathroom as the suspect meat I’d eaten the night before came back to haunt me. I spent the next few days sleeping intermittently and clutching my stomach and never managed to get any further with the column. Worse still, by the time I was back on my feet, Carmelo had screwed his head back on and was putting up some nice numbers, rendering my article obsolete. Anyway, I’m off the injured list now, as is Allan Houston, bringing me conveniently to my first point. <BR><BR>Houston’s first night out after the injury may have been unremarkable (although not disappointing considering he’s been out so long), but it was special in that it gave rise to one of the frontrunners for quote of the year from Stephon Marbury. <BR><BR><I>“I think guys will be able to make certain moves they can’t make now because of how he spaces the court,” point guard Stephon Marbury said. “When I penetrate going to his side, watch how no one leaves him (to double-team). <BR><BR>“And that’s why he gets paid $100 million.” </I><BR><BR>Was that high praise from Steph or simply a sly jab at H20? Given the comments which followed it seems as if Marbles was being sincere, which makes it all the more funny. Houston has only twice averaged over twenty a night for a season and isn’t exactly what you’d call a solid defender. With career averages of about three boards and two-and-a-half assists a contest, I’d find it hard as a G.M. or owner to justify shelling out the sort of dough New York management felt he deserved. Houston would be best used as the second option to a big scorer, as he would have been had there not been “issues” with Grant Hill in MoTown. Nice shooter? Yes. Nine-figure superstar? No. <BR><BR>Tracy, Tracy, Tracy. There’s not much point in my covering this in any depth since you’ve all seen or at least heard what happened. You may never see a performance like that again, so think yourselves lucky you were around when it happened. I remember saying (as I usually do) that it would take Reggie Miller to get Houston out of their double-figure deficit, but it seems as if McGrady had been taking pointers from the old master. The four-point play was simply ridiculous – it still looks to me as if there’s no possible way he can hoist even a half-decent shot with the way he’s been fouled, but somehow he hits it. The three following that was nearly as improbable. Although he was nicely squared as he released it, his form was horrible, with his legs folding behind him and the shot coming from his shoulder, almost as a double-clutch. The game-winner was similarly awkward, as he floated from right to left with a hand in his face. I don’t think there has been any game in my lifetime decided by four such improbable shots down the stretch, let alone four by the same player. These are the sorts of moments that people tell their grandchildren about. <BR><BR>Keeping it in the family, we move to Vince Carter. His recent, much-publicised woes only increased as he suffered an injury to his A.T., the largest and strongest tendon in the body. While it’s only a strain, it’s still an injury which needs to be taken seriously. Remember what happened to LaPhonso Ellis? What looked to be a promising season for him ended abruptly thanks to a ruptured A.T., which hobbled him for something approaching a year. Having suffered injuries to that tendon myself, I can tell you all now that it’s no joke. I’ve torn both hamstrings (the left one playing rugby, the right one sprinting), damaged my A.C.L. severely (basketball), torn a back muscle (field hockey) and ruined my wrist (high-jump), but I can confidently say that the pain of those combined was roughly equal to simply trying to jog on an inflamed A.T. Let’s hope Vince can shake this off soon, or there’ll be even more questions for him to answer in Toronto. As it is, it looks as if management would trade him for a mop boy at the moment. <BR><BR>Here are just a few notes and thoughts I took down while watching NBA basketball over the past fortnight: <BR><BR>• Following a particularly strong performance by Phoenix: <I>Does this mean we can’t make fun of Nash’s hair any more? </I><BR>• On Stoudemire’s 36-15-8 night: <I>Eight dimes is nice for the kid, but it really shouldn’t be a career-high. <BR>• Who got into Carmelo’s head and reminded him he didn’t stink? <BR>• Randolph or Boozer? <BR>• Are the Sonics for real or are they just riding their momentum? <BR>• Karl Malone should retire and salvage what dignity he has left. <BR>• They should run a disclaimer when the ‘Cats are playing in that orange uni of theirs. Close-up shots of the jersey may trigger an allergic reaction. <BR>• Stevie Franchise dunks as much as any point guard I’ve seen.</I><BR>Anyway, that’s about enough for this week, folks. If any of you have any questions or suggestions, contact me through the box below or email me ( and I’ll get back to you. Make sure you don’t miss the Cleveland-Detroit game on Thursday or Denver @ Miami the night after. Both games will showcase young talent and potential eastern champions. More importantly, however, they should both be very entertaining. <BR><BR>Take it easy now, <BR><BR>Chuck. <BR><BR></p>