How many times does a record-breaking accomplishment seem kind of pathetic? Such was the case this weekend when the Los Angeles Clippers moved 11 games over .500 for the first time. Not for the first time this season, mind you, but in team history. And if you had to guess how something like that would happen, wouldn't you assume it might occur in a close win against one of the worst teams in the league? Well, check and check, since they did it by beating the Raptors 115-113 in overtime. At what point did the Raptors become the Washington Generals of the NBA? Pretty soon "the Raptors" is going to replace "the Clippers" as the punchline of choice in every joke about bad basketball teams. In fact, I'm going to start keeping track of every occassion in which a season-high or all-time record comes at the Raptors' expense. And believe me, that's the only reason I could possibly come up with for tracking Raptors games. Oh, by the way, they shipped off Jalen Rose and got Antionio Davis back for a second go-around. Great. Now the Canadians can deal with Kendra.
Speaking of Davis, the Pacers originally traded him to Toronto in 1999 for draft rights to the straight-from-high-school-phenom Jonathan Bender. Davis, of course, went on to become an All-Star. And Bender? He announced this weekend what Pacers fans have already known for some time: that his career is officially over.
Now don't be surprised if you find yourself saying "Jonathan Who?" Bender only played in only 237 games over the course of his seven-year...well, whatever you want to call it. I'm not sure it qualifies as an actual "career," particularly since he only played nine games in the the last two years. He's yet another sign that God hates the Pacers. Bender was a player of limitless potential -- an athletic, seven-foot shot-blocker with ball-handling skills and three-point shooting ability -- who could never get healthy enough to, you know, play.In yet another statement that shocked maybe two or three people, Kobe Bryant has called out his teammates. Again. Not surprisingly, the Lakers' record is 2-4 since Kobe scored 81. Some other win/loss records of note include:
It's pretty sad that .500 is by far the best result of a major trade. Speaking of bad teams, the Bulls lost 118-101 to the Phoenix Suns despite a record 39 points (including nine three-pointers) from Ben Gordon. Am I the only person who's really soured on Gordon? Last year he looked like the Second Coming of Andrew Toney. He hasn't improved at all since last season. Coach Scott Skiles told Ben to work on his ball-handling skills in the off-season, and Gordon's response was "I already have the best ball-handling on the team, I just need the ball in my hands more."Gordon also said that he wanted to spend more time at the point, so he could "create for [his] teammates by taking the ball to the basket." But Gordon takes it to the cup less than any 2-guard in the league. He shoots jumpers almost exclusively, which means he's only dangerous when he's shooting well. He's too small to effectively defend other shooting guards, he's not a good passer, and he can't rebound. Basically, he's only good for a quick infusion of points, and even then only on occassion. Oh, and he sulks when he doesn't start or get enough playing time. Considering how much was expected of him this season, it's no wonder the Bulls are underachieving.The NBA announced the participants of the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. They are: This Guy, That Guy, What's-His-Face, and Some Dude. Let's face it, nobody cares about the dunk contest anymore. Guys like Kobe and Lebron James could save it, turn it into a marquee event again, but they aren't interested. For his part, James says he doesn't want to be defined by the dunk contest. And he's probably right, since it totally ruined Michael Jordan's career.