Avery Johnson: Did anybody notice Brandon Bass had a huge game (19 points on 8-for-13 shooting) against Phoenix on Sunday? Impressive, no? Perhaps Dallas would have been able to hold off the Lakers on Friday if The Little General had played Bass more than 12 seconds. If it had been me, I would have at least tried to see if Bass could stay in front of Lamar Odom. Nobody else on the Mavs could.
Byron Scott: Yes, his Hornets have the best record in the West and just matched a franchise record with 54 wins. But why isn't he playing Chris Anderson?! I wants me some Birdman, Byron! If you can find time for Ryan Bowen, you can find time for Anderson.
Charlotte Bobcats: The 'Cats have been playing hard lately, and they've pulled off a few surprising victories. But Saturday's loss to the Celtics was kind of embarrassing. They scored nine points in the fourth quarter and got blown out 101-78...and KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen didn't even play. Did I happen to mention this game took place in Charlotte? Zoikes.
Chucky Atkins: What a weekend for the Chuckmeister. Five trillion on Saturday, DNP-CD on Sunday. Do you think that was enough to make his mother cry? I do.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Don't look now, but this team is in trouble. And I don't just mean because of their back-to-back losses to Chicago and Orlando. Mike Brown has "created" an offense that pretty much begins and ends with "give LeBron the ball and let him create something." But The King is hurting. Who's going to pick up the slack? Oh, and look: If the playoffs started today, they'd be facing the Wizards. You know know DeShawn Stevenson is just licking his chops at the prospect of facing a gimpy LeBron.
DeSagana Diop: The Nets aren't even playing him anymore. He had two DNP-CDs over the weekend. He's finally entered what I am now calling The Kwame Brown Zone (TM).
Don Nelson: Hm. The Warriors: Their three-point shooting is spiraling downward, they're losing leads and struggling on the road against good teams...yeah, that whole "I'm gonna play my big guns around 40 minutes per game because that's just how I do things" strategy is starting to backfire a little bit. The ironic thing is that they actually have a better record right now than they finished with last year. So I guess his plan kinda worked, and kinda didn't.
Enver Nuggets: A few weeks ago, I blasted the Nuggets frightening lack of defense and got rebuked for it. The anti-me critics used John Hollinger's defensive efficiency rating -- which shows that Enver is a top ten defensive unit -- as evidence that I was way off base. And even though I thought that their rating was a little misleading when taken out of context, I agreed to keep an eye on the Nuggets defense and even said that I'd admit if I was wrong. Well...I wasn't wrong, and this weekend sort of proved my point. On Saturday, the Nuggets gave up 118 points in a tough home loss to the Sacramento Kings (36-41). On Sunday, they gave up 151 points (on 52 percent shooting) in a loss to the Seattle SuperSonics (18-59). Mind you, that game went into double overtime, but the Sonics had still scored 126 at the end of regulation. Oh, and rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green went off for career-highs of 37 and 35 points, respectively.
So, uh, does anybody else want to defend the Nuggets defense now? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
Random email of the day: This is from Basketbawful reader Panki. "OMG, there is absolutely and definitely no D in Enver. How can a playoff contender lose a game to Sonics (SONICS!)?! How can two rooks combine for 72 point in 25-45 shooting and 18-19 from the line?! How can six Sonics finish in double figures?! OMG, OMG, OMG! My brain is burning."
Gregg Popovich, quote machine: After watching his team get sliced and diced by the Jazz, Pop said: "They played well and beat us good." Thanks for the insight, coach.
J.R. Smith: Also from Odenized. Hey, J.R. The rim is still 10 feet high, yo!
Kwame Brown: He had his best game as a Grizzly on Wednesday, with 11 points (5-for-8) and 8 rebounds. Didn't lead to more PT, though. He had two DNP-CDs over the weekend. Do you realize that Kwame will probably be out of the league after this season? Has any other former number one overall pick ever been out of the league in six seasons or less since the inception of the draft lottery? It might be research time. Update: An anonymous poster (dude, leave your name next time so I can credit you) left the following comment: "If Kwame is out of the league next year he will be the first lottery #1 to ever be done that fast, and you have to go back to LaRue Martin (four seasons and done) in '72 to find any number one gone sooner."
Manu Ginobili, quote machine: He must be taking lessons from his coach. After his team matched a franchise record for futility (see below), Manu said: "When it’s good, I don't care about history. And when it's bad, I don't care either." Hasn't anybody ever told him that those who don't pay attention to history are doomed to repeat it? Because I learned that cliche in sixth grade Social Studies. (Speaking of which, why the hell do they call it "Social Studies" anyway? Maybe because students spend most of the class passing notes and talking to the people next to them.)
Mario West: Friday night, he played three seconds against the Sixers. Saturday night, he got a DNP-CD. Mario West...living the dream.
Memphis versus Minnesota: Exhibit's A through Z in the case against meaningless end-of-the-season games. Can't we just cancel them? Or maybe we just need to up the excitement. Like telling them before the game that a player will be randomly selected from the losing team for a public execution...now go! That would be fun.
Orlando Magic: Okay, uhm, what the hell, guys? Losing to the Knicks? The Knicks?! Even worse, the loss was at least partially the result of the fact that the Magic couldn't contain rookie Wilson Chandler, who went off for a game and career-high 23 points. Mind you, this is the same Wilson Chandler who played only 30 seconds in New York's Friday night loss to the Hornets. This is a perfect example of how not to prepare for the playoffs.
Phoenix Suns: The NBA's third highest scoring and best shooting team coughed up a 14-point lead by scoring only nine points in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks on Sunday, thus earning the dubious distinction of becoming The First Really Good Team That Dallas Beat Since Trading For Jason Kidd. Don't expect my congratulations.
Ryan Bowen: He had a DNP-CD against the Knicks and a one trillion against the Warriors. Also, his player profile page on Yahoo has exactly two pictures: Him getting scored on by Jarvis Hayes, and him being scored on by Jacque Vaughn. Nice highlight.
Sacramento Kings: I know they were exhausted from beating the Nuggets on Saturday night, so I can forgive their blowout loss to the Lakers. But letting Vladimir Radmanovic grab a career-high-tying 14 rebounds? You're telling me they were too tired to block out Radmanovic, whom Phil Jackson once referred to as a "space cadet" because of his lack of focus and concentration on the court? That's sad.
San Antonio Spurs: On Friday night, the Spurs shot 36 percent from the field and matched the franchise record for lowest point total in a single game (64) while getting their butts beaten by the Jazz ("Yes sir! May I have another?!"). On Saturday night, they shot 38 percent and scored only eight more points, but they managed to notch an ugly 72-65 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Maybe it's time for the aging Spurs to invest in some nice reading glasses. Hey, bifocals are totally sexy, right?
Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: Was Stan the Man a little upset about his team's flop-a-roo against the Knicks? Yeah, you could say that. And here's what he said: "It was our worst game of the year by far. Both ends of the floor, no energy. We did an awful job. I did an awful job leaving those guys in the game. I should have gone with some other people in a game like that because the guys out there either couldn't or wouldn't. We were awful. It was embarrassing. We shouldn't be tired. We played a game yesterday, so what? It's the NBA. You can't use that as an excuse. It was just an awful, awful night." Hey, you don't have to hold back, Stan. Tell us how you really feel.
Steve Nash: Captain Canada had a rough shooting game against Dallas, and it probably cost the Suns the game: 4-for-17 from the field, 0-for-9 in the second half, 0-for-6 in the fourth quarter. What happened?! Here are my theories: 1. Mike Breen stat cursed him before the game by commenting that Nash had been "on fire" lately. 2. Whatever shooting disease Jason Kidd has is catching. 3. Mike D'Antoni screwed up by leaving Nash on the bench -- well, laying on the floor by the bench -- to long between the third and fourth quarters. Yes, Nash needs rest, but the Suns offense became a rudderless ship the longer Nash wasn't in the game, and he was ice-cold by the time he finally checked back in. Have I mentioned I totally don't trust or believe in D'Antoni's rotation and time management skills?
The cruelty of fate: Joel "Vanilla Godzilla" Przybilla's season came to a premature end yesterday when he broke a bone in his hand in a game against the Spurs. As I've been noting over and over, Joel has been a beast on the boards lately. It's sad that his best season as a pro had to end this way, especially considering that he's likely to see his minutes reduced radically next season, unless Oden gets hurt playing pickup ball or something.
Toronto Raptors: Back-to-back losses to the Bobcats and Nets dropped them to game below .500. They should be so much better than this.
Miami Heat Washington Generals: Pat Riley should institute a new team goal for the final few games of the regular season: Lose by only single digits. Baby steps, you know?