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Let’s not talk about the game, let’s talk about the lameness of some hecklers

The Pistons were crushed by the Heat, which is not altogether surprising. Detroit missed several open shots in the first half, Miami used their superior speed to get up and down the court in the second quarter and 3-point shooters Eddie House and Mike Miller helped stretch the floor when the Heat weren’t getting wide-open dunks and layups, breaking open a semi-close game early with a 39-22 second quarter advantage.

But after a long day of dissecting the busiest day of Pistons news of the season between the Tom Gores speculation and the Dennis Rodman jersey retirement, who feels like breaking down a blowout loss only made respectable because Austin Daye got his jumper un-broke late and scored 15 of his 18 points in the final quarter after starting the game 1-for-6. I have a few other notes, but I’ll get to those in a bit.

Instead, let’s talk about heckling. LeBron James got into it with a fan during the game. The Heat Index has the explanation of the incident, which stemmed when the fan began insulting James’ mother:

“I don’t care what you say to me. I don’t give a [expletive] what you say,” James said to the fan. “But don’t be disrespectful.”

The exchange came during a break in action with 1.7 seconds left in the first quarter and was picked up by television microphones.

James responded to the fan, who shouted the comments within earshot of James’ two young sons who sat courtside near the Heat’s bench.

The fan, who declined to give his name to ESPN.com, said he was offended by James’ cursing.

See, I’m not the world’s biggest LeBron James fan, other than understanding that he’s clearly the best player in the league. I’m much more interested in watching guys who can’t bulldoze their way to the hoop or rely solely on physical gifts to produce. And I’m even less of a fan of James off the court, even if the vitriol over his summer media tour is a little over the top.

I’m also OK with heckling. It’s part of sports and at the end of the day, professional athletes can go cash their large checks and laugh at the schlubs who have the audacity to yell insults at them during games. But two things I hate when it comes to hecklers: a lack of creativity and whining.

First of all, it wasn’t reported exactly what was said about James’ mother. But making fun of a man’s mother, even if there is some internet-fueled fodder to do so, is classless, particularly with her grandkids within earshot.

And secondly, understand some ground rules: if you’re going to heckle, be prepared for the eventuality that someone at some point will probably say something back to you. Some athletes, I’m sure, are better than others when it comes to tuning it out. But don’t whine about profanity like Mr. Anonymous Q. Pistonfan did above. James no doubt has been heckled more than any player in the league in opposing arenas this season. So I’m sure whatever was said about his mother that caused him to react was not some harmless teasing. You dish it out, and then you get offended when it’s dished back, and not only that, you give a quote to a reporter about being offended? That’s Vince Carter soft. Onto a couple things that stood out about the game itself:

Why mess with something that’s working fine?

Not that I think it would’ve made much of a difference in the outcome, but I don’t understand why Rodney Stuckey was moved back into the starting lineup. Stuckey had played well coming off the bench lately. He said he didn’t mind coming off the bench and that he enjoyed being paired with Will Bynum more. Ben Gordon was still playing inconsistently, but he’s had some productive games since he moved back into the starting lineup and seemed to have decent chemistry with Tracy McGrady. So naturally, John Kuester started Stuckey and sent Gordon back to the bench.

The biggest benefits of a Bynum-Stuckey backourt are speed and aggression. They constantly put pressure on the defense to get back because both guys like to grab the ball right out of the basket and race down to try and get a quick shot. Against the Heat, the Pistons played with very little speed or aggression. Early in the season, changes to the lineups seemed to come at a glacial pace. Now, it seems, the lineup changes for no good reason at all.

Bynum still distributing

Just because I’m still annoyed at the Bynum comments after the San Antonio game, I’d like to point out that he has 12 assists and two turnovers in about 45 minutes over the last two games.


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  • Feb 12, 20115:47 am
    by gmehl1977


    About the heckling topic i agree. Nothing wrong with fan on player heckling but as long as its creative and if you say something you better be prepared to have something said back. If this guys was targeting LeBron’s mom then i am guessing it was something like which one of the Heat is doing her now that David West with Boston. The timing of a good heckle is important too.

  • Feb 12, 20118:33 am
    by acdctime


    Anyonelse worried bout tmac looking passive again . He looks  like he could use the allstar break badly granted he looked bit better last nigt though

    • Feb 12, 20111:58 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      You’re right, he has looked tired lately. But he’s also played a lot of minutes the last six weeks or so. It’s still a mystery whether his conditioning will hold up over an entire season.

  • Feb 12, 20119:23 am
    by Alan


    Good points about the heckling.  I think its best when fans keep it PG-13.  As for Stuckey/Gordon swap, Miami features a large starting 5 and Dwayne Wade is about as big a 2-guard as you’ll find in the NBA.  I thought the swap was a good one and I think Ben Gordon is better suited to the 6-man role anyhow.

    • Feb 12, 20111:53 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      No one was going to stay in front of Wade anyway. They could’ve started Gordon and had him guard Chalmers with McGrady on Wade, then brought Stuckey off the bench for T-Mac later. I don’t know. I get that Miami was a tough matchup regardless, but switching around a lineup that’s worked OK for a few games just to try and beat a team that every single thing would have to go right for the Pistons to even have a chance? I just don’t think that move had the most foresight.

      • Feb 12, 20112:48 pm
        by Alan


        That’s an interesting though; cross-matching McGrady & Gordon onto Wade and Chalmers would’ve been interesting.  In the end, we don’t have the firepower to play Miami even with some good fight.  I noticed the 14-day extended, exclusive negotiations end one day after the trade deadline.  Also, we play Indiana twice.  If we don’t win one (maybe two) it may be time to blow this up.  You think POR would give up Pryzbilla for McGrady and Maxiel?

  • Feb 12, 201111:34 am
    by Jason


    Bynum/Gordon should never be paired together, so naturally starting McGrady/Gordon would have been a better bet… They balance each other out, and would be best fit on the floor together.
    So sick of changing lineups, that don’t include letting our best SG on the court. I realize that’s subjective, but i’m still far from convinced that there’s another better option on the team… Gordon played a little better, but still not enough to justify Rip’s DNP’s… I’m just saying.. .
    F$%^ that heckler too, btw. What an idiot…

    • Feb 12, 20111:59 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Well, FWIW, Rip was still listed on the injury report last night with a pulled groing. It wasn’t a DNP-CD.

      • Feb 12, 20112:13 pm
        by Jason


        I don’t know if i’m buying the whole “Pulled groin” story.. That’s all i’m saying.. And either way, with Stuck back in the lineup, it’s doubtful he’d see the court anyways.

  • Feb 12, 20111:20 pm
    by rick


    The man paid ggod money to exercise his freedom of speech. When tickets start stating that you have to be subjective with your heckling then that is the day these cats stop getting paid. I thought being able to tune guys out was what made these guys premier athletes. Think about it” do you think football players keep it nice when going up against one another? I think not, and what about the things fans say. I just watched how the NFL’ s so called brotherhood ate Jay Cutler alive via twitter because he would not play on a torn mcl basically the same manhood questioning as if they were talking about his mother. So for James to get offended is laughable at best. The truth always hurts, and for those questioning the fan and saying he should know his kids are there, where on the ticket did it say watch what you say just in case LeBron’s kids are in the front row? Get a clue his problem was originality. LeBron is the king and the king should get over his own royal @$$! Super , hyper society gets offeneded when the agenda or pendulum does not swing their way in terms of results always get offended. I would be mad to if I was James and my 39year old mom slept with a scrub on the team. So instead of man up and ask my mom whats going I instead defend her honor,like she isn’t grown enough already, and then take a shot at someone who will never make what I make in day in a year. Laughable at best. What ever happened to thick skin? I have heard worst at high school basketball/football and even little league games so to me    this is not even newsworthy, but I forgot it has LeBron in the title.

    • Feb 12, 20111:45 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Lame Rick. Who said anything about not heckling? I just thought the fan was a baby by telling a reporter after the game that he was offended by James’ use of profanity. If you’re gonna heckle, prepare to be heckled back. Don’t act like a crybaby if someone responds back to you.

      Are you the heckler? If so, step ya game up.

      • Feb 12, 20118:06 pm
        by rick


        That is your best retort? Lame ? Lame is whining that he did not give a good enough response in order to please the masses. He was just saying what was on his mind right then and there. Lets be honest , did he really think LeBaby would respond to him? BTW  I do not heckle it does nothing for me. I just like to comment on situations where if the situation does not fit a persons particular agenda then they like to have negative undertone about situation that does not even need to be discussed. i hear Ben Wallace every game go up for a rebound and say ” OH SHIT” so for the lames who say their are children within earshot why does it not apply in that situation ? Can you hurry up and cover your kids ears when he says that on live television? I did not see, but I am reading about it, therefore it tells me it just was not something that was important. It is important because of who was involved I suppose. In this one LeBaby did not want to hear about how his momma got pounded by one of his ex coworkers so he got pissed. Big deal get over it, my favorite team is in shambles, and do you see anyone coming to our rescue or whining about anything? I like you guys and lets keep up the debate.

  • Feb 12, 20112:10 pm
    by Andrea


    Totally agree with Patrick about the heckler thing. Those were the exact same thoughts I had when reading about it earlier today. Well put.

  • Feb 12, 20113:49 pm
    by BIG MARV


    Classless act on heckling obviously those guys never played sports and they dont know how to draw the line btwn trash talking keep it pg-13. But on with this stuckey thing it don’t matter who you match this guy up with he is not getting the job done he has a good game once a week. The problem is not matching him up with t-mac or willy B the problem is stuckey cannot finish when he goes to the basket his only offense now is that when he drives to the hole he hopes he get fouled and go to the line. But that is dissapering now because the refs are picking up on what he’s doing so the fouls aint going his way. The reason why stuckey is better off the bench is because he’s a 6th man at best anyway, and he can be a quiet threat coming off the bench. my opinon the guy shouldn’t be resinged but if he do it shouldnt be for a large contract he doesnt deserve it, with the new CBA coming it wont allow it anyway.

  • Feb 12, 20117:29 pm
    by gmehl1977


    Instead of the heckler crying back to the media when LeBron said ‘i dont give a f@*k what you say to me, but don’t be disrespectful’. It was the fans perfect cue for the heckler to say ‘like the RESPECT that you showed the city of Cleveland’. You could only just imagine the reaction from the crowd (laughter). It would of been the perfect return serve to put the ball in LeBron’s court to see how he would react. I am guessing Lebron would either 1) shut up 2) get security to kick him out 3) start the malice in the palace 2.0. Creativity Patrick :-)

  • [...] Let’s not talk about the game, let’s talk about the lameness of some hecklers (Piston Powered) [...]

  • Feb 13, 20116:42 am
    by Mr Happy Mushroom


    (“I would be mad to if I was James and my 39 year old mom slept with a scrub on the team. So instead of man up and ask my mom whats going I instead defend her honor”)
    Why should LeBron be mad at his mom, regardless of whether this is true?  She’s a grown damned woman, and can make her own decisions.  Seems like your point has a little of the “stud/whore” dichotomy to it…

  • Feb 13, 20111:20 pm
    by Laser


    1) loved the pre-game bluster from york and blaha. york made a comment about being happy to face the heat at full strength, like this was some kind measuring stick we’ve been waiting for. “we all know the pistons are great, but how will they stack up against the best in the east? this could be an ECF preview!” and blaha called it a “marquee matchup.” the pistons, as constructed, can not be a part of such a matchup.
    2) the first 5.5 minutes (all i watched) were a fabulous demonstration of what’s wrong with our team and why there’s no limit to the extent to which i’d break it up and start over. i mean, yes, it’s just a bad team, and we executed particularly poorly against a very good team… but look at t-mac. he’s not taking this team anywhere. if he’s our first half mvp (and maybe he is) it’s only because he provides some playmaking we have needed badly for years now. almost nightly we’re just not good enough. what’s the upside to this starting five? a slow, lumbering half court team that pretty much stinks and isn’t especially good at either end.
    3) groaned loudly at the SG switch. there’s not a reason in the world to configure the team like this. bynum and stuckey are actually an intriguing and potentially deadly combo, whether starting or coming off the bench. my favorite guard combo we have, i’ve wanted to see more of them, they were playing great… so yes, naturally it was time for a change. if we don’t have any deadline activity and i quit this team, that move is a nice microcosm of why nobody could blame me. it’s not like keeping the previous rotation intact would upset things in terms of “seniority” or whatever. gordon’s good enough to get 11 million bucks a year, but not to start?? F this team. F this team in the A.
    4) the heckling was bynum’s fault. everyone knows it. stop making excuses for him.

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