The dirty birds' drive to miss the Eastern Conference playoffs continued on Friday night with their fourth loss in a row, courtesy of the Charlotte
Bobcats. For the record, all four of those losses were by double-digits (10, 17, 15, and 15). But a crappy conference will always have the last laugh, and Atlanta probably won't miss the playoffs no matter how hard they try, thanks to back-to-back wins against the Heat on Saturday (more on that below) and the fact that the teams behind them (New Jersey, Chicago, and Indiana) might be even worse than they are. If it's possible to make the playoffs by default, the Hawks might be the team to do it.Bonzi Wells and Mike James:
So much for beefing up the Hornets' bench. Bonzi missed both weekend games (bruised Achilles' tendon) and James totalled 3 points (1-for-6) and 1 turnover in just under 11 minutes of lack-tion. If it hasn't yet dawned on New Orleans GM Jeff Bower why the Rockets were so willing to go two-for-one on the Bobby Jackson trade, then somebody needs to check his pulse, and fast.Chris Duhon:
C-Du is the winner of this weekend's Golden Poopy award. He was fined and suspended for the Bulls' Sunday evening matchup against the Pistons after missing the team's morning shootaround. Now, you'd probably assume that a roleplayer who's trying desperately to cling to the tattered remains of his NBA career would be at least somewhat humble and apologetic after an incident like this. But you'd be totally wrong. Said Duhon: "It wasn't my fault. I didn't get my wakeup call." Now there's a heaping helping of personal responsibility for you. But it didn't stop there. "I haven't been playing the last six or seven games," said Duhon, conveniently forgetting the 25 minutes he played on Friday night against the Celtics. "Ususally, I don't play anyway, so it doesn't have that much of an effect on me." Of course, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordan both picked up two fouls in the first six minutes of the game, and Thabo Sefolosha is still out with a strained left groin. In other words, the Bulls needed Duhon, but Duhon wasn't available. Of course, he was available to fly to North Carolina to watch Saturday night's Duke-North Carolina game, which didn't end until 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. And the daylight-saving time changover made the night an hour shorter. Duhon chartered a flight to Detroit, but he still got in pretty late, which, you know, might have made him a little sleepy. Keep in mind, though, it's still not his fault. He didn't get his wakeup call. And he hasn't been playing anyway. So get off his back.DeSagana Diop:
Hmm, quite a weekend for Captain Senegal: He scored 1 point (0-for-3) and grabbed 7 rebounds in two games. That sound you just heard was a soft, self-satisfied chuckle from Mark Cuban.Devin Harris:
He sure showed the Mavs what they're missing, huh? With the chance at a revenge game
against his old team, Harris sunk to the occasion by scoring 9 points on 3-for-12 shooting and dishing out only 2 assists. As a team, the Nets had a total of 12 assists…one fewer than Jason Kidd had for the Mavs. When asked about the difference between playing point for the Nets, Harris said: "There’s a lot more freedom, I'm more off the leash." Uh, somebody better get that leash back on him. Quickly. Critics of the trade should probably note that Dirk Nowitzki has been on fire since Kidd joined the team.Devean George:
Captain Cockblock sure had a weekend to forget. He scored zero points (0-for-5), grabbed a couple rebounds, and had his shot blocked twice in just under 8 minutes of playing time against the Nets. Good thing he held onto those Larry Bird rights...The
I didn't think anybody could play worse defense against the Jazz than the Suns did on Friday. Leave it to the Nuggets to totally prove me wrong. Utah scored 132 points on 60 percent shooting, including 73 percent from beyond the arc. Once again, there's no D in Enver.Jason Kapono:
On Friday night, the NBA's reigning Three-point King failed to convert a three-pointer for the ninth straight game. In fact, he didn't even attempt one. Kapono finally broke the seal on Sunday by hitting 2-for-3 from beyond the arc against the Sonics, but before that he'd hit only two threes in the last 22 games. But look at the bright side: He was shooting 50 percent during that stretch (2-for-4). But seriously, when you're a three-point specialist, why would you suddenly stop doing what you do best? That would be like if Dwight Howard stopped dunking, or if Kwame Brown stopped sucking.Joakim Noah, quote machine:
After the Pistons held off the Bulls' second-half rally, the reckless rookie had this to say: "With our style of play, there's no reason we shouldn't have beaten that team. I think Detroit's a great team, but I still think we are better than them, really. I feel like we're a better team." Ooookay. I guess Joakim didn't learn very much in that extra year at college. No time for class. Too sleepy.Kobe Bryant:
The NBA's "best closer" got closed out in the second half of the Lakers' 114-113 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Mamba scored 26, but only 6 of those came in the second half, during which he shot 1-for-7. He also missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer. What's more, Pau Gasol and Sasha Vujacic got most of the shots down the stretch, prompting a little passive-aggressive agression from Kobe. "I'm okay. I'm moving on. We'll make adjustments offensively." In case you haven't brushed up on your Kobe-to-English translations, this means he'll be getting more shots next time.Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers went 0-for-the-weekend, and they did it in true Clipper fashion. On Friday, the Lakers beat them by 37 points, and even that losing margin doesn't do justice to the brutality of the groin-kicking they received. On Saturday, their ego-ectomy
was completed by a 99-96 home loss to the 14-win Timberwolves.Mario West:
After four straight games of at least one minute and three seconds of PT, Super Mario got only four seconds on Saturday night against the Heat.Miami Heat:
Wow. This was a catastrophic weekend, even by Heat standards. On Friday night, they lost by 35 points at home to the Golden State Warriors. (In honor of the Heat and their pooptastic season, I'm adding "35-point home loss" to the list of things that earn an automatic Worst of the Weekend bid.) Then, on Saturday night, they lost not once but twice to the Atlanta Hawks. And I'm not even exaggerating. First, they replayed the last 51.9 seconds of the "dispute game"
and lost 114-111 (and since they lost this game 117-111 the first time, that means they lost the same game on two differenct occasions). Then they went out and lost their regularly scheduled game to the Hawks 97-94. So that's three losses in two nights, including one game they got to lose for the second time. That could be considered a four-loss weekend, which has to be some kind of NBA record. Go Heat.Nate Robinson:
Nate the Great scored a career-high 45 points against the Portland Trailblazers. And he was pretty happy about it
. I mean really happy about it
. As in totally freaking the hell out about it
. As much as I hate to be a wet blanket, somebody should probably remind him that 1.
he still plays for the New York Knicks and 2.
his team didn't even win that game. Oh, wait, somebody did tell him. Said Robinson: "Forty-five pretty much washed away." Yep, that about sums it up.New York Knicks:
Normally, there's no shame in losing to the Detroit Pistons. But there is when Rasheed Wallace misses the game (sprained left ankle) and leading scorer Rip Hamilton gets ejected in the first half. And the Knicks were playing at home. What would it have taken for New York to come away with the win, for Detroit's entire starting five missing the game? Things both improved and didn't improve on Saturday: The Knicks played some of their best basketball of the season without Eddy Curry (sore right knee), Jamal Crawford (right hand), and Zach Randolph (bruised right foot), but they lost anyway. Note that the Knicks lost all four of their games at Madison Square Garden this week. Yikes.Phoenix Suns:
You know the drill. Their defense sucks. It sucks large, hairy ape testicles. The Jazz scored 126 points – including 41 in the final quarter – and shot 57 percent as a team. In Phoenix. My problem with the Suns remains the same. It's not that they can't play defense, which they proved against San Antonio on Sunday, it's that they won't. Look, they may not have a lot of great individual defenders, but defense is less about physical skill than it is about focus, determination, and all-out effort. The Suns' players and coaches all keep saying the right things about needing to stop people, but it's time to stop paying the lip service and start laying the wood on somebody. Not just once in a while, but every game. Their offense is fine, but they can't just hope to outscore their oppoents every night anymore. It's time to start stopping people.Oleksiy Pecherov:
He may sound like one of the red-shirted extras on Star Trek, but he actually plays – well, sometimes, and sparingly – for the Washington Wizards. Against the Raptors, he scored a one trillion for every vowel in his last name. (I can't count, and I don’t know what a "vowel" is, but I think it was three.)Sacramento Kings:
If back-to-back losses to the Clippers and Timberwolves – the latter of which happened in Sacramento – don't humble this team, then they've officially stopped caring. About anything. Those losses were rendered even more mystifying on Sunday night when they pulled off a big-time road win over the Lakers. Said Ron Artest: "Wow, we just stepped up against the good team. It's unfortunate we can’t step up against the bad teams." Pretty much, yeah.Seattle SuperSonics:
I know they suck, and I know that the 76ers have been playing great lately, but 34 point losses to sub-.500 teams always merit a mention in Worst of the Weekend. Especially when Samuel Dalembert dunks you into a bleary-eyed submission. On Sunday, the Sonics continued to get their junk handed to them by heretofore comatose big men when they were defeated by the Rasho Nesterovic-led Toronto Raptors. (Don't bother to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist; you read that correctly.)Wally Szczerbiak:
Everyone in Cleveland is still waiting for Wally to be the shooter they traded for. But he's hit only 27-for-85 (31 percent) since getting traded to the Cavs, including 8-for-25 this weekend versus the Bulls and Pacers. For the record, his PER has dropped from 15.8 to 9.0 since the trade. On the flipside, Larry Hughes' PER has gone from 11.8 to 15.3. So, ahem John Hollinger. You have some 'splaining to do.Yahoo box scores:
Check out this box score
from the Kings/Lakers game. I find it rather amazing, and amusing, that Yahoo has a picture of Beno available for their "Top Performers" box, but they didn't have one for Pau Gasol. Unless of course Pau had his face surgically altered to look like a Lakers logo. Which wouldn't totally surprise me, now that I think about it.
Labels: Atlanta Hawks, Chris Duhon, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Wally Szczerbiak