Monday, December 11, 2006

Leather Ball Back!

Its taken a while coming, but the NBA has decided to revert to the old leather ball -- the one that has been used in past seasons. For reasons that were not explained, the NBA brought in a new composite ball this season. The new ball has been reviled for having unpredictable bounce and acting weird overall. Sorry, that was the best way to put it. Sometimes it doesn't bounce hard off the rim, flops into the basket, makes paper cuts on players' palms and is either too slippery or too sticky.

Steve Nash, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Kidd are some of the bigger stars who've expresses their displeasure with the ball. The player's union decided to take legal action against the league last week , on two counts -- the new 'zero tolerance' policy and the composite ball.

Stern had to say this, about reverting to the old ball.
“Our players' response to this particular composite ball has been consistently negative and we are acting accordingly. Although testing performed by Spalding and the NBA demonstrated that the new composite basketball was more consistent than leather, and statistically there has been an improvement in shooting, scoring, and ball-related turnovers, the most important statistic is the view of our players.”

Boy, the man flat out can't admit he was wrong !

I really wonder why they've decided to switch to the old ball now, in the middle of the season. After all, the players have now got used to the new one's random behavior. Even the three point shooting has been getting better and from what I recall, the league shooting average is a few percentage points above last year's. Oh well, the players adjusted to the composite ball within a month, so they should be comfortable with the leather ball by Jan end. I hope.

I guess Stern did not want the 2007 Finals to be decided by some weird bounces. What would the refs do then?


Seth said...

How come the view of the players wasn't most important when he introduced the damn thing?

sunsonfire said...

sshhh! Stern reads this blog.
You don't want his cyborg slaves attacking you, do you?

Seth said...

Cyborg slaves!? Why that's preposter----AAAHHHH!!!

Anonymous said...

Pacers-Suns Preview
After suffering their only road loss to an Eastern Conference club, the Phoenix Suns hope a return home will help them regain their dominant form.

The Pacific Division leaders begin a five-game homestand Friday night against the streaky Indiana Pacers.

Phoenix (44-14) is 23-4 against the East, however it failed to become the first team in NBA history to sweep all 15 road games against the opposing conference with a 99-94 loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday.

"We just didn't make enough shots tonight," Suns point guard Steve Nash said. "They played a really good game and we played a sub-par game and they beat us. Someone out there wasn't going to let us win all 15-road games in the East (Conference). Tonight we had a lot of good looks and just couldn't make them."

The defeat also prevented the Suns from sweeping a four-game road trip and halted their five-game winning streak that included a 103-92 win at Indiana on Tuesday.

Phoenix rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit in that victory and allowed only 13 points over the final 15 minutes.

"It's disappointing, because we had a couple guys play exceptionally well," said Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, whose team has been idle since the loss. "You work so hard to get the lead, and they strike so quickly. It's just a tough team to play.

"I've never seen a team that is able to play their style of game at their level. Nash is certainly the key guy, but they've got the right players around him."

Nash, who left briefly in the first half against the 76ers to get a sore ankle taped, might have to do without starters Boris Diaw (back spasms) and Shawn Marion (left thigh bruise and hand injury). The duo did not play Wednesday after suffering the injuries at Indiana.

"Obviously we missed Marion. We missed Diaw, too," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "The focus wasn't there and we got a little sloppy at the end."

If the Suns continue to be without the pair, it likely would mean more playing time for reserves Leandro Barbosa and Kurt Thomas. Barbosa struggled, going 4-for-16 from the field and finishing with 11 points while Thomas had 10 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Despite the ankle trouble, Nash still finished with 23 points and nine assists Wednesday after getting 25 and 11, respectively, against the Pacers. He leads the league with 11.8 assists per game and the two-time reigning NBA MVP is averaging a career-high 18.9 points.

Nash has averaged 23.7 points and 11.0 assists in helping Phoenix win three straight games against Indiana. The Suns - the league's highest-scoring team with 110.7 points - have won six of the last seven home games against the Pacers, winning those games by an average of 17.5 points.

This is the second five-game homestand of the season for the Suns, who swept the first one from Jan. 5-13 and posted wins over three Eastern Conference teams.

The Pacers (29-27), whose last win at Phoenix came on Dec. 1, 2003, are hoping to avoid matching their season-high four-game slide from Jan. 12-20 as they open a four-contest road trip. They are 11-15 on the road with only one win in the last five games.

"It's an important stretch for us. We've got to get wins," Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy said of the swing that keeps the team on the road until a March 10 home meeting with Philadelphia.

Indiana has alternated three-game winning and losing streaks over the past 12 games.
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