Hey folks. Sorry for the delay on yesterday's WotN. Unforseen circumstances and all that.
The trade gang: Oh, if only they had Larry Hughes back. Cleveland's big mid-season trade continues to be a big-time failure. Delonte West was decent (12 points, 8 assists, zero turnovers), but he shot 4-for-11. Wally World shot 1-for-6 and had just as many turnovers as points (4). Ben Wallace had 2 points, 2 missed freethrows, 6 rebounds, and 3 fouls. Joe Smith scored 1 point, shot 0-for-6, and grabbed 4 rebounds (which means he was outrebounded by both of Washington's starting guards). When a blockbuster trade can't yield 20 points out of the four players involved...well, that's trouble.
LeBron James: King James led the Cavs with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists, and his 24 second-half points were the reason Cleveland had a shot at winning the game. But...he also shot 8-for-21, continued to jack up questionable threes (3-for-9), and committed a game-high 5 turnovers. Even worse, Caron Butler hit what ended up being the game-winning layup against LeBron's defense, and then LeBron failed to answer at the buzzer after Caron had trash-talked him. And just watch his reaction after the miss (from Odenized):
Look, I realize that I bring Larry Bird up way too often, but he's my gold standard for How Legends Should Act and React. I can remember back in the day when Bird would get hit at the end of a big game -- regular season or playoffs -- and not get the call. When that happened, he'd just stalk off the court with executioner's eyes, and everybody knew he was going to kill somebody in the next game. I know we're living in the Duncan Face Era in which everybody has to make their case to the refs, but let me ask you this: Wouldn't it have been much more badass if LeBron had just stalked off the court instead of making that all-too-familiar pleading gesture? I think so.
Darius Songaila: So not necessary (also from Odenized).
What I want to know is: Where's the ejection? Where's the suspension? Has David Stern been replaced by an alien doppleganger? It may be time to check his basement for body snatcher pods, because something's not right. Last season, Kobe Bryant got suspended twice during the regular season for clipping first Manu Ginobili and then Marko Jaric in the face with an elbow while he was trying to draw a foul, and we all remember the infamous Stoudemire/Diaw suspensions from the Spurs-Suns series. This year, it's okay to jump off the bench during an altercation. This year, it's okay to intentionally punch somebody in the face(ish). And I don't care what anybody says: That shot was intentional. I've played enough basketball to know the difference between "accident" and "on purpose."
Way to be consistent, David.
The cruelty of fate: Gilbert Arenas is officially done. Again. His surgically repaired knee has both a bone bruise and a pinched nerve. Serious bummer for Agent Zero fans.
Mike Bibby: He gave Beantown's bandwagonite something to laugh about: 2-for-8 shooting, 1 assist, 3 turnovers.
Al Horford: I've been Horford's biggest supporter all year. Still...the rook is starting to wear on me with all the taunting and rough play. And you know what that takedown of KG got him? Slapped by Ray Allen, that's what. I keed. But seriously, settle down, kid.
Jeremy Richardson:One trillion. Thank you for playing but not playing, Jeremy.
Mario West: A DNP-CD? He can't even get his accustomed 30 seconds in a blowout? Okay. Mike Woodson is just screwing with Mario at this point.
Philadelphia "fans": Despite all of the unexpected success, the Philly crowd booed the home team at the end of the third quarter. Sure, the Sixers were down by almost 30 points. But that's a pretty lousy "thank you" for a great run. Shame on you guy.
Samuel Dalembert: His team has lost by at least 17 points in every game since he got the new 'do. It can't be a coincidence.
Detroit Pistons: They've been utterly devastating the last two games. It makes you realize how tough they could be if they focused all the time. It also makes you wonder why they don't focus all the time.
Lindsey Hunter: He played a sum total of 3 seconds during a game in which his team spent a lot of the second half up by around 30 points. He and Mario West should form some sort of limited PT support group.
AOL Messenger: Here's another fan-submitted masterpiece: "Loyal reader Chris (Mavs fan, not the other one) here, found a great mis-print ad. 76ers and Magic next Tuesday? This ad showed up at the top of AOL Messenger when I logged on this morning. Not to mention that Kobe/Shaq have nothing to do with either team. I know the text looks a little un-centered anyway, but of course I didn't touch this in Photoshop." Thanks, Chris. Also note that the fact that Shaq is already out of the playoffs makes that two-face graphic pretty silly.