Al Horford: Yeah, I know it was an accident and everything, but Horford's foul on T.J. Ford looked pretty bad. Not only that, it ended with Ford -- who missed the entire 2004-05 season after neck surgery -- getting carried off the floor on a stretcher. Ford is going to be hospitalized overnight, so we'll know more tomorrow, but Raptors spokesman Jim LaBumbard confirmed that Ford "had feeling in his upper and lower extremities when he was taken off the floor." So let's keep our fingers and toes crossed for this kid.
Fun fact: I feel kind of like a jerk for saying this, but you know, Ford might not have gotten hurt if the refs had just made the call on what was a pretty obvious travel. I mean, he took three full steps after his last dribble.
Josh Smith: Maybe Smith had a hot date after the game or something, because his mind sure wasn't focused on playing basketball. The Hawks' second-leading scorer (18.4 PPG) had put up 28, 25, and 25 in his last three games, but tonight he scored only 5 points (2-11), committed 7 turnovers, and fouled out in 28 minutes of action.
Fun fact: Raptors rookie Jamario Moon hasn't attempted a freethrow since November 30. In fact, he's only gone to the line in 8 of the Hawks 21 games this season for a total of 18 freethrow attempts.
Indiana Pacers: These guys just can't seem to stay above .500. They were down 21 after the first quarter (37-16) and never seriously threatened after that. Lebron James finally returned from his
tender vagina sprained left index finger, but the real story was the return of Larry Hughes. In only his second game back from an 11-game absence (bruised leg), Hughes scored 36 points (13-17) in only 26 minutes of action. Said Pacers coach Jim O'Brien: "I thought they had two Lebron Jameses out there."
Fun fact: With Lebron and Hughes both out, Eric Snow had actually been getting some big minutes (for him). Now that those guys are back, I figured he'd be back on the bench, waving towels and passing out Gatorade during timeouts. Fortunately for him, Daniel Gibson missed the game with "a wisdom tooth problem," and so Snow was once again called upon to provide a warm body: 2 points (1-1) in 29 minutes. He's now scored a grand total of 10 points this season on 2-15 shooting.
Antoine Walker: I was tempted to bust on Minnesota's Chris Richard and his line of 9 minutes, 1 rebound, and 1 foul. But to be fair, the kid's a rookie who was drafted in the second round. But Walker -- who played 8 minutes, scored 2 points (1-6), grabbed 1 rebound, and committed 2 turnovers -- that guy's a three-time All-Star and a...a...a former NBA champion (yes, I just threw up in my mouth a little). Now he's playing garbage minutes on the worst team in the league. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Fun fact: On December 17, 2001, Walker shot 0-11 from three-point range, thus setting the record for most three-point attempts by a player in one game without a make.
New Jersey Nets: They shot 32 percent (26-81). Kidd had one of his patented triple-doubles -- 11 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists -- but he and the rest of the Nets' "Big Three" (Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson) shot a combined 14-46 from the floor. Think Kidd wants out? You'd better believe it.
Fun fact: Jason Collins went scoreless again, marking the 14th time in 23 games that he hasn't scored a single point. He has more than twice as many fouls (62) as points (26). Keep in mind, the man is seven feet tall, 260 pounds, and a starting center in the NBA. Even Greg Ostertag wasn't this bad.
Brevin Night: Remember how a few seasons ago he was averaging 12 points and 9 assists per game? Heck, he was second in the league in assists to Steve Nash during Nash's first MVP season. Now he's transformed into Eric Snow 2.0. His line against the Nets was: 29 minutes, zero points (0-3), 2 rebounds, 7 assists. He also had his first blocked shot of the season, which puts him only one blocked shot behind Zach Randolph.
Seattle Supersonics: You know, young, unproven teams are supposed to bring hustle and passion to every single game. That's how respect is earned. Well, apparently, the Sonics don't feel like they have much to prove. The whole team looked lethargic in their 27-point loss to the Bulls. After they were outscored 40-18 in the second quarter, they basically just gave up and went through the motions until the final buzzer. As an aside, Chicago is in the midst of a little mini-surge. They've won three of four and actually look like the Bulls of last season.
Fun fact: Some people have been leaving comments that I've been unfair in my criticism of Kevin Durant, so I decided to watch him very closely last night. And you know what? I wasn't that impressed. It's not all negative; he runs the floor well, has a real nose for the basket, and is generally able to get his shot off when he needs to. But he's completely one-dimensional; he's a scorer and that's it. He had one lonely rebound, and not once did he crash the boards or even commit himself to blocking out his man. He defense was substandard at best. And he really doesn't create for his teammates. I know this was only one game, and not one of his better games of the season. Even so, I'm just not seeing anything from this kid that I haven't seen before from volume shooters.
Utah Jazz: They lost their fourth straight game to the suddenly surging Blazers (9-12). To make matters worse, they lost at home (where they had been 8-1) to a lousy road team (they had been 1-9) that was missing their leading scorer (LaMarcus Aldridge). Most of the Jazz were misfiring all night: Deron Williams (4-14), Mehmet Okur (3-10), Matt Harpring (1-5), Gordan Giricek (1-8), Jason Hart (2-7), and C.J. Miles (2-7). But Utah's biggest problem was the fact that Andre Kirilenko transformed into the Invisible Man: 25 minutes, 3 points (1-3), 4 rebounds, zero assists, 2 turnovers. Yes, Carlos Boozer and Williams are the twin engines that run the Jazz, but Kirilenko is the catalyst, the game changer, the defensive stopper. When he's not doing what he does, the Jazz become a pretty mediocre team.
Fun fact: Jaron Collins must be having a Suck-Off Competition with his brother Jason. Jaron's line was 2 points (0-1), 2 rebounds, and 1 foul in 13 mintues of action. I don't know what's more pathetic, that stat line or the fact that it was vastly superior to Jason's line (see above).
San Antonio Spurs: Playing without Tim Duncan finally caught up with them. Pretty much everybody on the team sucked last night except...Matt Bonner?! Yes, that's right, Bonner was fantastic: 25 points (9-16) and 17 rebounds. But before you run off to pick him up for your fantasy team, keep in mind that those numbers are about 25 points and 17 rebounds higher than his season averages.
Fun fact: When Bonner was drafted in 2003, Jay Bilas referred to him as a "poor man's Brian Scalabrine." Three years later, in his NBA preview on ESPN.com, Chad Ford ironically called Scalabrine a "poor man's Matt Bonner." And life comes full circle.
Robert Horry: Hm, 8 minutes, zero points (0-1), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and several applications of Ben-Gay. Yeah, I'd say he's showing his age.
Troy Hudson: He went above and beyond the call of duty, notching the exceedingly rare two trillion.