Note: I know the Bulls didn't play last night. But the world needed to see this picture, and I needed to be the one to show it to them. (Are they high-fiving or preparing to crush Ben Gordan's head? This answer may surprise you: They're going to crush Ben's head with a high-five. Crazy, huh?)
Andrea Bargnani: Mr. Former Number One Overall Draft Pick had a rather painful night off the bench: Zero points (0-for-2), 2 rebounds, and 1 foul in seven minutes. At this point, he can only dream of being as good as Rasho Nesterovic's alien clone (see below).
Atlanta Hawks: The dirty birds almost let the Memphis Grizzlies rally back from a 38-point deficit. That's not good. Now tell me again why these guys are so determined to make the playoffs?
ESPN's Daily Dimers: Another gem from ESPN's Daily Dime, as spotted by the eagle-eyed reader Josh from Dinosty: "Raptors. Bobcats. Chris Paul. Can you explain what the three of these things have in common? Another error in the Daily Dime? You win!" Take a look for yourself, or go here for a larger version. Update: An anonymous poster had this to say: "The ESPN Daily Dime had a picture of Chris Paul because that section was once about him and his record breaking assist month. The only issue...Deron Williams had 12 more assists than him in the month. So instead of switching over and giving Deron credit they changed it. Where's the love for Deron?" Well, we did know why the picture of Paul was there...we just thought it looked odd because of the lead-in. But you do make an excellent point. Deron gets no love. Why is that? 'Cause Jerry Sloan won't let him get jiggy with it, that's why.
Jason Kapono: Not only did he lose his starting job to Jamario Moon, he didn't even get off the bench against the Bobcats. Sadly, he now has more DNP-CDs in the last five games than points: One.
Enver Nuggets: The Nuggmiesters wasted a 22-point lead by allowing the Suns to go supernova on them. Phoenix blew up for 81 points in the second half and outscored Denver 46-25 in the fourth quarter...and the Suns did it with only seven men! And I know this team can put up points against anybody, but allowing a 37-point turnaround when you're trying to claw yourself into the playoffs isn't the sign of an playoff-quality defense. The key of the game: The Suns committed only 10 turnovers, and we all know that turnovers are the Nuggets' bread and butter. The bad news: The loss dropped Denver from a seventh-place tie to ninth and, effectively, out of the playoffs. For today, anyway. The good news: They get another shot at the Suns tonight in Denver. And, as I mentioned, the Suns only played seven men, and Grant Hill is in the repair shop this week.
Jermaine O'Neal: He's back! The question is: Why would he return now after missing 33 straight games with a bruised knee just to play the last handful of meaningless regular season games? I have no idea. Wait, what? He can use an Early Termination Option in his contract to become an unrestricted free agent this summer? Oooooh. I get it.
Jose Calderon: The way that Jose volunteered to come off the bench -- despite the fact that he'd been playing like an All-Star for months -- was both brave and selfless. And potentially damaging to his career, apparently. His line against the Bobcats was: 1 point (0-for-2), 1 assist, and 3 fouls in 17 minutes. But the Raptors won, so he has that going for him.
Kwame Brown: Last night, he collected his seventh consecutive DNP-CD. Funny how he got more PT on a better team when he was playing with the Lakers.
Los Angeles Clippers: As Matt from Hardwood Paroxysm said in an e-mail: "6:07 in the third quarter, the Clippers are shooting 30 percent. It's really hard to type with all this blood coming out of my eyes."
Miami Heat: It's a travesty. It's a mockery. It's a...wait for it...a traveshamockery. Let's just rename them the Washington Generals for the rest of the season and be done with it.
Mike D'Antoni: He managed to coach his team back from a 22-point deficit to a 15-point win over a conference rival and thus pulled his team into a tie for the division lead and within one game of the conference lead. Here's the "but." D'Antoni rode his starters hard and put them away wet to get 'er done, and they play again in Denver tonight. Technically, he used eight men against the Nuggets, but it was effectively seven men since D.J. Strawberry logged only 36 seconds of PT. I'm not saying they can't win, but I wouldn't want to drag a tired Shaq and company into Denver's thin air on the second night of back-to-backs when most of the main guys are sure to be exhausted.
Rasho Nesterovic's alien abductors: Check out his game log, and then check out his splits. Something fishy happened around the first of March, and I'm certain a Martian anal probe was involved. I mean, from 4 PPG and 3 RPG to 14 RPG and 7 RPG? We need to go kill this doppleganger before he has a chance to lay space pods.
The Monday Night Minutemen: Basketbawful reader Kevin Li pointed out that playing time for a certain group of "not-so-merry men." Said Kevin: "First we start off with our perpetual trillion-star Mario West, who logged one minute and 55 seconds of complete nothingness. Then we have Marcus Williams of the Dallas Mavericks, who somehow logged a grand total of three seconds. Finally we have the Denver Nuggets, who had THREE players post some epic stats: Yakhouba Diawara logged a dizzying 23 seconds on the hardwood, Steven Hunter "outperformed" him with a whopping 37 seconds, and leading the way for these two essential cogs of the Denver squad is Chucky Atkins with one minute and 19 seconds of on-court spectatorship."
Washington Wizards: Their 42-point loss to the Jazz is mitigated by the fact that they were finishing up a five-game Western Conference road trip without just one night after a tough overtime loss to the Lakers. Oh, and Caron Butler missed the game with a strained hammy. But they still lost by 42, the entire Jazz team went off (60 percent shooting, 57 percent from downtown, 40 assists on 50 baskets, and a 40-23 rebounding edge), and C.J. Miles walked all over them (29 points, 12-for-17 shooting). Worse yet, they're in real danger of slipping down to the 6th or 7th seed if they don't get their act together.
Yahoo edit checkers: Basketbawful reader Rob sent me an e-mail with the following subject line: "The MVP is a Dick." At first, I thought maybe the NBA had named Kobe the MVP a few weeks early, but I was wrong. Rob was talking about the following sentence from Yahoo's recap of the Mavs/Clippers game: "They’re also having difficulty putting away teams with losing records while reigning MVP Dick Nowitzki is out with an injury." Wow, what a boner, huh? You can also view the gaffe here in case they actually change it.