The Sixers' defense: Ruh roh, Raggy. As a team, Philly must have suffered damage to the part of the brain that tells the hand to get in the face of open shooters. (I think it's the parietal lobe, right?) The Raptors nearly started a wildfire with their three-point sniping (almost 63 percent from downtown) and they also got a number of uncontested buckets at the rim. Said Elton Brand: "It's disappointing. There's (game) tape in the background and I see these layups they got. It hurts." It might hurt a little less, Elton, if you contributed some blocked shots, Elton. Speaking of which...
Elton Brand: He had 14 points and 13 rebounds, but it took him 14 shots and six free throw attempts to get those points. He also turned the ball over 4 times without registering an assist. He suffered more blocked shots (1) than he doled out (0), and he committed 4 fouls. Quite the debut.
Theo Ratliff: Damn you, Theo. You just had to block a shot and ruin your four trillion, didn't you?
Philly fans: They were excited about the World Series. I get that. But I'm guessing the Sixers weren't exactly inspired by the fact that half of their arena was empty and the half that wasn't was rooting loudly for a baseball team. It would be like if the midget I pay to cheer me on during sex was raving about his favorite NASCAR driver or something.
Andrea Bargnani: Mr. Former Number One Draft Pick scored zero points (0-for-4) in almost 20 minutes. But at least he didn't commit any turnovers!
Update! Toronto's first quarter rebounding: From Basketbawful reader Colin: "Although I'm a Raptors fan, they have to be on there for WotN. From Doug Smith's Toronto Raptors in-game blog: 'We're just told by Media Relations czar Jim LaBumbard that the 22 rebounds that Toronto gave up in the first quarter equal the most given up in any quarter ever. So, we've seen history! Lucky us.' 22 rebounds? In the first quarter? Double-you-tee-eff?" Good thing they dealt for "big man" Jermaine O'Neal, huh?
Royal Ivey: He's on Philly's active roster, but he was ineligible to play last night (and Friday against the Knicks). Why, you ask? Because dude is still serving the three game suspension he received for punching Aaron Gray in the groin last season. Maybe you remember it...
Foul shooting in the Hawks-Magic game: Ugh. Atlanta missed 13 and Orlando missed 10. But, in all fairness to the Magic, Dwight Howard accounted for 7 of their misses. Speaking of which...
Dwight Howard: I could easily rag on Hedo (5-for-17) or Rashard (5-for-12, 6 fouls), but Superman not only missed all those 'throws, he also committed 4 turnovers and had his junk stuffed four times. Oh, and he almost fouled out. Kinda takes the shine off that 22 and 15, doesn't it?
J.J. Redick: Last week, I read an exited article about how J.J. was finally ready to break into Stan Van's rotation and actually contribute. Well, uhm, didn't happen last night: 2 points, 0-for-4 shooting, 1 rebound, zero assists, and 1 turnover in nearly 19 minutes of lack-tion. Don't worry, J.J. They saved your spot on the bench for you.
Mario West: He finally got some significant PT! For him, anyway. A whole two minutes and 48 seconds. Sadly, the only thing he managed to do was block a shot. He did have a +/- score of +8, though, which means he was more productive than Al Horford. Yay for Mario!
Mike Woodson, quote machine: "When you're on the road you have to come out and try to establish yourself and not get hit in the mouth."
Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison: Caron shto 3-for-11 and committed 4 turnovers, while Jamison shot 6-for-18 and grabbed only 3 rebounds...two fewer than the Nets' Devin Harris. I should also mention that Antawn was 1-for-8 from downtown. Dude, at some point you've gotta stop shooting them, feel me?
The Miami Heat: Oooooo. They got seduced into playing Mike D'Antoni's style, and they paid for it. Six Knicks dropped double-figures on them, and Chris Duhon was 1 point short of making it seven. The two teams combined to attempt almost 200 shots and nearly 50 freethrows. It's like D'Antoni's mere presence creates a giant No-Defense bubble that can only be punctured by the Spurs.
The Associated Press: Basketbawful reader barry drew my attention to this gem from the Heat-Knicks writeup: "And [the Knicks] did it without former coach Isiah Thomas' two prized acquisitions, Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry. D'Antoni kept both former starters on the bench, ignoring rather loud chants of 'We want Steph! We want Steph!' late in the third quarter." I might frame that paragraph and put it up in my bathroom.
Stephon Marbury, quote machine: "He should do whatever he feels he should do. I can't control what he does. He's the coach. If this is what it is, I mean there's always next year." Yeah, because what exactly is going to change between now and then? I seriously doubt somebody's going to hire Isiah to GM again.
Eddy Curry: It seems Baby Shaq was a little upset about his benching. Seems Curry spent the fourth quarter in the training room icing a sore right knee. How do you hurt your knee on the bench? I guess he must have been sitting in an uncomfortable position. "I want to stay here. I'm happy in New York. I just think it'll take some work, but I'm happy staying," said Eddy through what I'm assuming were gritted teeth. (Also, apparently Eddy hurt his knee in a "collision during practice." Which might become my new catch-all euphemism for when a player gets benched for arguing with his coach.
Kwame Brown: Mr. I Was Also Picked Number One Overall In The Draft played just a shade over three minutes in his Pistons debut, scoring zero points on 0-for-2 shooting and grabbing no rebounds. I think we should tattoo FAIL on his left butt cheek. We should also do that to Michael Jordan for drafting this stiff.
Kevin Love: Huhn...12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, 2 blocked shots, and by far the hightest +/- score on the team (+20). All in only 18 minutes! Not bad, rook. So why is he in Worst of the Night? Because if Love keeps playing like this, he's going to win Rookie of the Year and cost us a season's worth of Kevin McHale jokes.
Randy Wittman, quote machine: "Kevin Love played great for his first game as a rookie." Thanks, coach. Couldn't have figured that out without you.
Shaq: Remember how The Big Grumpy got all persnickety a couple weeks ago about Gregg Popovich's decision to Hack-A-Shaq him during last year's first round Suns-Spurs series? Well, Pops gave Diesel a little dose of it only seconds into last night's game. Note the look of complete and utter confusion on Shaq's face. It's like somebody asked him to spell thromboembolism or something. As for Popovich? Best thumbs up ever.
I should point out, though, that Pops did use the Hack-A-Shaq for real later in the game. But when Ime Udoka went to foul the Daddy, Shaq used his left arm to send Ime to the floor...just like swatting a fly.
Update! Shaq, quote machine: As noted, San Antonio went to the Hack-A-Shaq, for the final 97 seconds of the first half. But Shaq somewhat defied the strategy by going 5-for-8, after which he said: "You may win a game or two using a mathematical strategy, but in the long run it will never work." Right. And "a game or two" would never effect the outcome of a playoff series, would it, Shaq? Thanks to andrei for supplying the quotage.
O.J. Mayo: He helped make Kevin McHale look like a genius by scoring 10 points on 20 shots and notching more TOs (3) than assists (2). He was also 0-for-7 from Threeland and had the second-worst +/- score on his team (-15).
Quinton Ross: From Basketbawful reader Zimmerman: "Just wanted to ensure that Quintin Ross gets due credit for registering an 8 trillion and thereby matching the rest of the Grizzlies squad for 3 pointers made." Consider the credit given. Amusingly enough, Ross still had a butter +/- score (+2) than any of the Memphis starters. As for that three-point marksmanship...
The Grizzlies' three-point shooting: A gak-inducing 0-for-13. Where's Antoine Walker when you need him?!
People getting too excited about the Rockets: Look, people. They scored an 11-point home win over a truly dreadful Memphis squad. Yet I swear somebody on ESPN declared the "Ron Artest experiment" a "total success" last night. Oooookay, if you say so...
The whole Grizzlies-Rockets game: Zimmerman correctly dubbed this game a "festival of fail" and even Artest said "It was ugly." Both teams shot in the 30s: Memphis hit 38 percent (31-for-81) of their shots while Houston hit only 36 percent (28-for-76) of theirs. Both teams also registered more turnovers than assists: The Griz were 11/16 and the Rockets were 10/12. It was one of those slow-it-down, slog-it-out affairs that made me wonder if Houston had reinstated Jeff Van Gundy as the coach.
The Denver Nuggets: The Jazz were forced to start Ronnie Price in place of the injured Deron Williams, and Price spit in Jerry Sloan's face by shooting 1-for-9. Note also that the Jazz had only 4 assists in the first quarter, and none of them were dished out by a guard. Thanks, Ronnie. But the Nuggets couldn't take advantage of Utah's vulnerability. Most likely because of...
Carmelo Anthony: 'Melo couldn't play because he was serving the first of a two-game suspension from a DUI arrest over the summer. Wag of the finger, Carmelo. Wag of the finger.
Juwan Howard: Yes! He's still alive and playing for the Nuggets! Technically speaking, anyway. He spent seven minutes on the court last night and managed 1 lonely rebound and was zero-for-everything-else. But, you know, there's no way to measure what he gave the team in Veteran Leadership (TM).
Los Angeles Clippers: GOD. They were spanked so badly by the Lakers last night -- 117-79 -- that I think we should seriously consider moving them out of L.A. How does "The Gerber-Las Flores Clippers" sound to you? I think it has quite the nice ring to it. And I know what you're thinking, Baron, and the answer is: Nope, you cannot go back to the Warriors. Sorry, no takebacks.
Ricky Davis: He had more assists (6) than shot attempts (5). So I guess it's time to go check his basement for Body Snatcher pods...who's with me? Anyone? Bueller?
Update! Baron Davis, team leader: From Basketbawful reader Wild Yams: "This is probably WOTN-worthy as well: After the 38-point loss to the Lakers last night, the LA Times is reporting that Baron Davis held a closed door players only meeting with the rest of the Clippers. Has that ever happened following a team's home opener before? It's a bit early in the year to go to that isn't it?" Indeed it is. Even Baron seemed a little embarrassed about it afterward. From the same article: "I mean, no, it was kind of a get-together," Davis said, fumbling out the words. "It wasn't really like no team meeting, nothing special like that. It was just an understanding that that's a winning team over there." Uh huh.
Update! Baron Davis, quote machine: "All of the credit goes to them for smacking us upside the head that first game,. In the end, we're going to be able to look back at this game and thank the Lakers for this." YES SIR! MAY I HAVE ANOTHER, SIR!
Kobe Bryant: My sources tell me that the Dark Lord has completed construction of his very own Imperial Death Star. After successfully testing it last night against the hapless Clippers, Kobe was quoted as saying: "Fear will keep the other divisions in line. Fear of this battle station. And of my new nickname: The Doberman! Rarf! Rrrrrrarf!!"
Scot Pollard: This is a day late, but hey, Scot. You're a real class act. I hope Kevin Garnett kicked your ass for this.
Yes, Scot. We all know you're number one at sucking.
Update! Scot Pollard, interviewee: More from Wild Yams: "Does anyone have the video of the Scott Pollard 'interview' from the Celtics-Cavs game the other day? I say 'interview' because it was essentially a TNT sideline reporter sitting next to him and talking about his championship ring for maybe 30 seconds or so, and then right as Pollard started to say something they cut the interview off and went back to the game. You could practically feel the sideline reporter shooting him a 'shut up and just show off the ring, dummy' look." You're absolutely right. And here's the video. (What the hell is up with Craig's finger nail?!)
Adam Morrison: Ugh. More horrifying pictures of Adam Morrison have surfaced. Here he is in the middle of his Britney Spears moment. More on this cut-tastrophe at Bobcats Baseline.