Friday, December 31, 2010

Matador D (Bx3 #6)

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Lev doesn't seem to take too kindly to Chub's critique of his game!  Funny thing is, as we speak there are probably quite a few players in the NBA  that can't dribble with their left hand and play little D- so the percentage is probably a little higher than zero.  Anybody want to name names?

Some notes:
The website that Lev is looking at is FreeDarko, one of his (and mine) favorite b-ball sites. (Now defunct as of April 2011 sadly- J.O.) Check out their book(s) too,  a big influence on me wanting to start this comic project.

 I was trying to conjure up Kobe's playoff game-face in the last panel:

 That's what I think of when I think of scary intensity.  Well that and KG down on all fours or headbutting the basket support.  I'm hoping to come back in 2011 with that same kind of intensity here at Bx3.  We'll have at least 52 weekly editions- and probably more when I can squeeze 'em in.   So check back next year to see if Lev can get some revenge on the court, if Chub plays the game as good as he talks it,  some more cameos from current NBA players in the strip, and even some old-timers as well.  Looking forward to it!

In case you missed it- we already had a career highlight here on Bx3 when Steve Nash responded to my tweet about the "Ghosts of Season's past" strip.  Seems like he took it in good fun.  Pretty exciting!

See ya in 2011!  Happy New Year!

-J, Chub, Levi, and Nene (and all the future characters to come)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry X's and O's-mas! (Bx3 #5)

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It’s December 25th, and that can only mean one thing- marquee NBA match-ups!
The Christmas games this year are particularly promising.  We get the first showdown between the reigning champion Lakers and the LBJ era Heat.  Arguably the biggest game so far this (and maybe the whole) season.  Also of course the Celtics-Magic match-up, which gives us our first real chance to see if new-look Orlando is more or less of an East contender than the pre-shake up squad.  I know I’ll be watching.  (…and (!) Knicks-Bulls, Denver-OKC, Warriors-Blazers (well that one at least maybe I can pass on))

In case you weren’t aware, some in the NBA fraternity aren’t so hot about having to play on Christmas every year:
Phil Jackson doesn’t like it.  Can I suggest to him if he were to try coaching a young developing squad instead of a title contender he might get the day off!
Lebron similarly would like to have the day off.  It’s about the family! …And special Christmas edition shoes!

Honestly though I can see where they’re coming from.  I like the idea of one day a year where basically everyone has the day off (whether you celebrate Christmas or not.  It could be June 17th  for all I care, let’s just give everybody a vacation day!).  I don’t care much for the complaints of millionaires with off-seasons, but I do wonder about the concession workers and parking attendants and everyone else who isn’t off because of the games.

I’ll be watching though.  I’ll also be chatting with my family, making rounds back and forth to the holiday spread, passing out and receiving presents,  and generally enjoying the Holiday.  It’s all about balance.  (Are you listening Chub and Levi?)
Then again, it’s easy for me to say this- I don’t live or die with the results of any of these teams, and I don’t run a website where the readers expect a detailed analysis of the events.  If I did, I might feel differently about it.

Merry Christmas and Happy B-ball watching!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ghosts of Seasons Past - (Bx3 #4)

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The widow who turns to ask her husband a question before the moment of recognition that he won’t be there to answer.  The amputee who tries to scratch the itch of his ghost limb.  Me trying to flip on the light switch every time I enter a room even though I know there is a power outage.  The human mind might be readily adaptable, but once it has adapted to something- it habituates.  It holds on.  It repeats.

How long do you think it takes for two players whose games were as linked as Nash’s and Amare’s were in their five plus years in Phoenix to remove that mental conditioning?  Do you think Nash doesn’t sometimes still come down the floor looking for Amare at the top of the key setting up the pick and roll?  Amare, before spotting Raymond Felton with the ball, doesn’t turn from the block waiting for a pass from Nash?

I don’t know if this is a phenomenon that occurs on the reality that is a basketball court or not- I might be laying my dime-store psychology on too thick.
 What I do know is that I thought it would be funny to draw Nash yelling for Amare to bring him a towel before he remembers that they’re no longer running mates (or roommates apparently in Chub’s overactive imagination).

Anyways… here is an interesting article about how Amare’s and Nash’s games have faired post split.

Based on the analysis in the link- I think we owe it to both of them to recognize their individual talents.  Playing together gave them the advantage to utilize these talents more efficiently. (That might be an obvious statement- but even obvious statements can be lent credence by statistical backing.)  Nash didn’t make Amare Amare, but he did make it so that he didn’t need to go on his own so much.  Overusing iso’ brings down the efficiency of any team eventually- no matter how skilled the players.  (Iso-Joe anyone?)  

Of course the suns just revamped their roster with a big trade sending J-Rich, Turkey-glue and Earl Clark to the Magi- for Nell Carter’s loaf-about nephew Vince (gimme a break from that lame joke!), and the international men of mystery Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat (the mystery of course being how good will they be for the Suns.)

I’ll spare you my own weak-sauce predictive analysis of the trade's outcome- here’s another good article from the NYTime’s 'off the dribble' blog about that very subject.

All I have left to say is that it’s too bad that it wasn’t Nash himself that was traded to the Magic- not to undercut Jameer, but the Nash-Howard combo would be instant must see (…and such an intriguing match-up for the Heat!).

Friday, December 10, 2010

LBJ's newest advanced stat- (Bx3 #3)

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Despite the un-classiness of my (fictional) fans in today’s comic- the real Cav’s fans really brought it (mostly) clean and hard for LBJ’s return.  When I read about the ban- I thought it would tamper down the intensity- but I guess I had thought the rules were to be more draconian then they turned out.  There were plenty of fans with humorous signs, “quitness” and “Lyin’ King” t-shirts that got a chuckle out of me.  The boo-birds were out in Hitchcock-ian proportions.

Of course LBJ really brought it himself with a stat line of 38 points (on 60% shooting, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, +26 +/- in just 30 minutes).  Maybe we all forgot how comfortable he would be on that court- despite the crowd.

The one group that failed to bring it was the Cavs themselves.  You’d think the crowd’s intensity would have infected the players a bit- but it seemed like they pretty much sat-down.  Hard to root for a team that does that.  One can forgive a lack of talent, but a lack of heart?  They left their crowd out to dry.  The scrappy Cavs that took out Boston in game one and were briefly playing .500 basketball the first ten games of the season might have run out of steam already.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Like Mike (Jackson) - (Bx3 #2)

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Here is the original interview where Kobe discusses Michael Jackson’s mentor role to his career:

Also he has talked about the same thing in the past- here’s another article where Kobe talks about MJ being ‘extremely misunderstood’:

It’s an interesting series of articles- before reading it I suspected Kobe was engaging in a little personal myth-making- trying to distance himself from the Jordan comparisons.  How better to do this than claim that his model for work and success wasn’t even an athlete- It was the ‘King of Pop’!  But reading the articles you can see that he had a long relationship with Jackson that started when he was 18.

One wonders if Kobe feels a connection to MJ (again, Jackson, not Jordan) in the sense that once you reach a certain level of fame (or some would say notoriety), the people that you can best relate to are others that have reached a similar level of fame- no matter the otherwise seeming lack of similarities in career or eccentricity.  The other athletes surrounding him would then be an obvious choice- but In this case with Jackson, I think Kobe connects not only their work ethics and drive to be the best- but also probably their (self-perceived?) outsider status in the worlds they operate(d) in.  This is most evident in the quote: “He noticed I was getting a lot of [expletive] for being different.”  MJ was watching pretty closely!

Either way, I think our boy Chub might be misreading the lesson a bit here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Posterized (BX3 #1)

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Meet Chub and Lev.  They love basketball- but even to the most devoted of fans regular season games can sometimes drag.   Especially to someone like Chub (real name Charlie, i.e. Chuck., i.e. Chub) who'd probably rather be out working on his own game.
Lev (Real name Levi, i.e. Lever, i.e. Lev) tries to impart on Chub how to appreciate the finer points of the game.  Levi likes playing too of course, but is just as much a student of the game.   Chub isn't so impressed, until...

For a reference of what's going on in the 3rd panel, see the dunks B. Griffin put down on the Knicks recently:

Has anyone ever won rookie of the year and the dunk contest in the same year?

 'Bounce Bounce Bounce' is going to be about Levi and Chub's life with basketball-  watching and playing.   It's also going to cover the goings on in the NBA through their (and my) eyes.  Think of it as a free-flowing basketball blog told through a webcomic.  I'm hoping to publish a new strip at least once a week- but maybe more once I get my rhythm.

Any feedback (commentary, criticism, joke ideas!) in the comments or email ( is of course appreciated!

Hope you enjoy it!

-J. O. Applegate