Today's picture was provided by Shayan of Time Intact. Thanks again to everybody who sends in tips, comments, graphics, videos, etc. I'm sorry I don't get the chance to respond to everybody personally...but your contributions to the site are very much appreciated.
Home court disadvantage: Basketbawful reader Baguete made the following observation: "Last night, of 11 games, only three were won by the home team (Boston, Washington and Milwaukee) and all of them by a margin smaller than 10 points (Celts by 1, Wiz by 8 and Bucks by 4). I guess that was not one of the Fan Appreciation Nights."
Hassan Adams: He had a one trillion against the 76ers last night. Hassan has had quite the season so far. He's appeared in three games, earning a three trillion, a Mario and last night's one trillion. That makes his season average a one trillion. That's the textbook definition of FAIL. Seriously. Look it up.
Jermaine O'Neal: The Drain played pretty well (19 points, 11 rebounds). But I couldn't help but notice that, of the seven shots he missed, four of them were blocked. Who does he think he is? Yao Ming?
Update! Reggie Evans: Mercilessly owned. By Andrea Bargnani. I can think of few things more humiliating than being in Bargnani's poster. (Thanks to Shrugz and his friend for the link.)
The New Jersey Nets: Last night, the Pacers were without injured starters Mike Dunleavy Jr. (knee), Troy Murphy (flu-like symptoms!) and Danny Granger (quad). And they still beat the Nets in New Jersey. Sure, the Nets were without Devin Harris (sprained left ankle), but three missing starters should more than offset one missing starter, right? Unless you're New Jersey, I guess.
By the way, how 'bout T.J. Ford, huh? I've had more than a few unkind things to say about him on this site, but he's been playing his butt off for my Pacers. The dude is listed at 6'0" -- and I'd be willing to bet my collection of hand-knitted Larry Bird boxer shorts that he's at least two inches shorter than that -- and yet he's had three straight near triple-doubles: 13/9/9, 24/7/10 and last night's 18/8/9. Indiana won all three of those games, by the way. (Okay, two of those games were versus the Nets and one was against the Thunder. But still.)
I don't usually do this, but I'm officially taking back some of the things I've said about T.J. He's earned himself a temporary Basketbawful reprieve. Here's a candy bar, T.J. You...you've earned it.
Fun fact: According to the game notes, "[Vince] Carter was hit in the face by teammate [Sean] Williams in the fourth quarter while reaching for a rebound." Maybe it was an accident, maybe it wasn't. But it wouldn't be the first time a teammate has wanted to hit Vince in the face.
Atlanta versus Boston: WHAT. A. GAME. This contest was about as close as you're going to come to seeng an NBA playoff game in November. Two fired-up teams going balls out, clutch shots, a thrilling ending. There were still a few bad apples, though. Ray Allen's 1-for-9 three-point shooting show. Paul Pierce's 5 turnovers. Boston's bench "production" (13 points on 3-for-17 shooting). Eddie House's remorseless gunnery (2-for-10, including 1-for-7 in threes). Randolph Morris' 4 fouls in 4 minutes. Acie Law IV's 17-second Mario. And Mike Woodson's decision to go small in the second quarter, which wasn't lost on Basketbawful reader Garron: "Atlanta Hawks are up by 14 in the middle of the second. So what does Mike Woodson do? Go small. Very small. So what happens? Perkins, Garnett, Allen and Pierce all just toy with the inside and go on a 16-2 run to tie the game...in 4 minutes."
Quick note on our buddy Mario West. He doesn't get much PT, but he absolutely kills himself when Woodson lets him into the game. Last night, he played one minute and finished with 1 point, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 steal. That's not a bad minute's work. It's a real bummer that a guy who tries that hard can't get off the bench.
One last thing: Marvin Williams! Dude had 14 huuuuge points and some MAN-type three-pointers (he was 4-for-4 on the night, including a go-ahead bomb with seven seconds left). He's making the people of Atlanta forget all about Josh...what was his name again?
The fans speak: Basketbawful reader Baguete wrote in with the following note on Law's Mario: "Maybe someday he'll write a book called ':17 Seconds Or Less -- My NBA Career.'" You know, I think Mario West is already writing that book...
Kevin Garnett, quote machine: KG was his usual (and somewhat unintentionally) hilarious self in the post-game press conference. Seated next to Paul Pierce, who hit the game-winner with 0.5 seconds left, Garnett said: "The last play was drawn up: Get the ball to Pierce; get the hell out the way. Superman's in the booth. Let's go home. That was the play, and if you don’t believe that ask Doc Rivers and he'll say the same exact thing." It's worth noting that a somewhat humble-sounding Pierce claimed the play was designed for KG to drive to the hoop if the lane was open, but since it wasn't Garnett handed off to him and he took the shot.
The San Antonio Spurs: They lost to the Michael Redd-less Milwaukee Bucks and fell to 2-5...which represents their worst start since going 2-13 in 1996-97. The Bucks also lost Charlie Villanueva in the first half (left hamstring strain), and even that couldn't even things up for a Spurs team that scored 78 points and had only two players (Tim Duncan and Michael Finley) in double figures. As TD said: "The whole thing is frustrating, however you want to look at it."
Update! The Spurs' starting lineup: From Ace: "A whole Worst of the Night without a mention of the Spurs starting lineup? Duncan scored 24 points and the rest of the starters COMBINED for 14 points." Corrected.
Gregg Popovich, quote machine: "If we can hold somebody to 82 points, I'm thrilled. I'm jumping up and down." I would love to see this.
The Utah Jazz: They shot 43 percent, committed 18 turnovers, surrendered 16 offensive rebounds, scored only 87 points and gave the NBA's last winless team their first victory. Congratulations, Jazz. You have failed. Special recognition goes out to Deron Williams (3-for-7, 5 turnovers), Andrei Kirileko (1-for-7, 0-for-3 from downtown) and Paul Milsap (6 fouls, 4 turnovers).
Eddie Jordan, quote machine: "Pat Riley says there's winning and there's misery. Well, for us there's relief and there's misery. So we got relief."
Caron Butler, quote machine: Tough Juice ripped off his jersey in celebration of his team's first win of the season, and explained it thusly: "King Kong was on my back. Throw the jersey off. Sigh of relief."
MAN-type alert: Both Mintz... and AnacondaHL noted in the comments section that Dwight Howard had a MAN-type triple-double (also known as a dirty triple around these parts): 30 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. It was such a MAN-type display that several women in his general vicinity spontaneously grew testicles. Try explaining THAT to your boyfriend/husband/life partner.
Update! Fun fact: From Basketbawful reader Marc W: "10: Number of blocks Dwight Howard had in one game last night and also the number of blocks the Knicks have on the season." Actually, I just checked basketball-reference.com, and the Knicks have 11 blocks. But that's still sad.
Stan Van Gundy, stat monger: "I wish [Howard] would have had one more rebound. It would have looked really even on the stat sheet -- 30, 20 and 10."
Dwight Howard, flasher: "I want people to see who I am and not just this mean-looking basketball player. I love fun. I'll block some shots and get some rebounds, but I'll give you a smile and whatever else you want to see." Whatever else you want to see. That's quite an offer, Dwight.
J.J. Redick: The line: Three minutes, 0-for-2, and a suck differential of +2. Which sort of explains why he's gone from sixth man to 12th man. And he's barely holding on to that spot.
Trillion alert: Basketbawful reader Caseta said: "Just heard the trillion mentioned by the commentators of the Magic @ Thunder game. In reference to a semi-pro look-alike guy on the Thunder who just scored a basket." Here's the exchange:
Commentator #1: "Nice to get your name in the scorebox."
Commentator #2: "Yeah, no trillions tonight."
This is the second confirmed mention of the trillion by NBA broadcasters this season. AWESOME.
Russell Westbrook: Happy 20th birthday, Russell! You led the Thunder in field goal attempts (19)! Sadly, you hit only 3 of them. Oh, and you were 0-for-11 in the first half. [Insert saaaaaad saxophone music here.]
P.J. Carlesimo, Coaching Inspiration 101: "It's not fair...if I talk about some guys like they did something good. That implies I'm throwing the other guys under the bus. We're all under the bus tonight."
Dwyane Wade, the good and the bad: Dwyane Wade has been awesome in his first eight games. He's second in the NBA in scoring (28.3 PPG), tied for fourth in assists (7.6 APG), and he leads the league in PER (34.02). For reference, Michael Jordan's career PER was 27.91. Here's the "yeah, but...": He's also leading the league in turnovers at 4.3 per game. And as I recently mentioned in the comments section, this isn't a new thing for Wade; he also led the league last season (4.4) and the season before (4.2). And the season before that, he was second (with 3.6 TOs per) only to Gilbert Arenas (who turned it over 3.7 times a game). So Wade giveth, and Wade taketh away. I'm not trying to understate his overall greatness -- he's playing as well or better than anybody in the league -- but I sure wish he'd be a little more careful with the ball.
Greg Oden: Let me just say that I was thrilled to see Oden on the court last night. And he had a couple spiffy moments, like a nice block on Chris Quinn which he followed up with an offensive rebound/slam dunk less than a minute later. But his overall performance was shaky. He played 16 minutes and finished with 3 points (1-for-3), 2 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 2 turnovers. Moreover, he looked very awkward and out of synch. His footwork was terrible and he seemed to be having a lot of trouble holding onto the ball. He also looked nervous. Maybe he was just overly juiced up; you could tell he wanted very badly to come in and have a big impact. It was only one game, so I'm not going to make any grand pronouncements. But damn...he looked positively Ostertag-like.
Update! Raef LaFrentz: From Rainbow Brite: "No mention of Raef LaFrentz? He's like the white, European version of Starbury. It costs The Blazers nearly $13 million for him to hand out cups of Gatorade. That has to be the cushiest job ever, aside from AJ Daulerio's gig at Deadspin." Yeah...I haven't gotten around to bringing Raef up this year. Corrected. (But in all fairness, Raef is earning only $12,722,000. So we should also point out that Portland is paying Steve Francis $17,180,000 this season. Oh, and Darius Miles is getting $9 million. That's almost $40 million for two non-players and one cheerleader. Wow. Why am I not on the Blazers' payroll?!)
The Memphis Grizzlies' defense: They let the Knicks shoot almost 60 percent from the field (52-for-88) and 56 percent from downtown (19-for-34). And those 19 threes represent a Knicks franchise record. Good God, people. Have you even tried putting a hand in somebody's face? I guess not: The Griz have given up 100+ points in last five games. Glad to see coach Iavaroni imported the defensive strategies he used in Phoenix. Speaking of Mark...
Marc Iavaroni, Captain Obvious: "We did not guard the ball well." Noooooo...really?! In other news, water will make you wet and hunger can be cured by eating food.
The New Orleans Hornets: Spotting the Lakers that 23-point lead was awfully nice of them, but it's not exactly a game-winning strategy. Now, Basketbawful reader Trottsta said: "In your Worst of the Night post, make sure you put 'the Hornets not named Chris Paul.' CP3 had 13 FG and 13 assists...out of 34 FGs for the Hornets. So the rest of the team only made 8 FG without him having a direct hand in it. Oh and David West, thanks for spoiling CP3's comeback in the 4th by turning it over 2-3 times in the last two minutes with the Hornets within 4. Appreciate it." Yeah. West finished with 6 turnovers. Mo Pete went 0-for-5 from the field. Peja was 3-for-13. The bench (outside of James Posey) was helpless. As defeats go, this one was pretty disheartening. Yeah, you could point to the comeback, but as Kevin McHale once said after an unsuccessful Celtics rally: "Yeah. And the patient almost lived."
Kobe Bryant, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "I just wanted to shoot it in his face."
NBA highlight announcers: From Basketbawful reader Chad M: "At 1:35 of this NBA.com highlights package the announcer calls Pau Gasol 'Peja.'" Well, Chad, you know, all those soft Euro players look alike. How do you tell one bearded marshmallow from the other?
The Phoenix Suns: Steve Kerr and Terry Porter are trying to remake the Suns in the Spurs' image. And, uh, it hasn't been working that well the last few games. Last night, the new slow-it-down Suns scored 82 points on 37 percent shooting and had more turnovers (13) than assists (11). Look, I'm all for the Suns playing a little more defense, but stalling the offense is like owning a Mustang and never driving it faster than 35 MPH. What's the point?
Raja Bell: From Basketbawful reader Clifton: "After starting 6-2, Raja Bell has not stopped whining about his perceived lack of offensive chances. In the East Valley Tribune: 'Honestly, we are a running team. That's what we're built to do. You can see we are confused about what we're doing offensively, whether we want to run it or try to slow it down. And when there is uncertainty, there are turnovers.' He followed up those comments with the following performance tonight vs. Houston: 23 min, 0-6 FG (including 0-2 from three), no FT attempts, 3 rebounds, 0-for-everything else. Let me clear up that 'confusion' for you: That ball you're holding? It goes THROUGH the hoop."
Fashion faux pas: From Basketbawful reader Dave F: "Weird preview shots of Nash and Shaq arriving for their late game with Rockets last night. Weird because they were both wearing vests with jeans. Is that the new look?" I saw the same thing. And laughed. And vowed to bring it up in WotN. Done.
The Suns-Rockets Brawl: It was a catfight in Houston. And here's Slasher 14 with the call: "T-Mac set a screen on Nash where Nash appeared to hurt his shoulder. Next time down the floor Rafer Alston went to set a screen on Matt Barnes, who just pushed him out of the way. Alston ran over after Barnes and a scuffle broke out. When it looked like everything had been cleared up, Nash, who was running over to try and break the fight up, appeared to slip and fell into Alston. McGrady saw this and probably thought he was after Alston, so McGrady pushes an off-balance Nash to the floor. Then Shaq comes in and clears T-Mac out of the way and then gives Yao a push for good measure. It's kind of funny watching Yao fall over: He falls at about half the speed of a normal sized person. Maybe the laws of gravity have a different affect on Yao, which is why he is having trouble dunking this year?" Here's the video. And Slasher's right about Yao. Watch and laugh at his slow-motion fall. It kind of reminds me of Bela Lugosi's slow, stumbling Frankenstein monster in Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man.
Hubie Brown, unintentionally dirty quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Stephanie G: "During the Houston-Phoenix mini-brawl Hubie Brown said, paraphrasing: 'Alston gets it in two places, by Barnes and then from the rear by Nash, so naturally he's hot.' Mmm, I bet."
Yao Ming: On the subject of the Great Wall, our Yao Watch continues, courtesy of Chuck DeBruce: "Ming had 3 shots blocked last night -- on 14 FGA (all blocks by Shaq, by the way, none by the rim) -- including two 11-footers and a layup. On the bright side, he was able to dunk twice and retributed with two blocks on Amare Stoudemire. Then again, he's still moving like wearing concrete shoes. Is Yao really eight years younger and 15 pounds lighter then Shaq? They looked the same even in the box score."
Here's some more Yao fun, courtesy of Kazam92. Watch Yao get posterized and then push a guy down in frustration. Apparently he's not all Zen and peacefulness.
Ron Artest: That 1-for-12 shooting...wasn't good. Did somebody put snake eggs in his locker or something?
The Los Angeles Clippers: The Clips lost at home to a Kevin Martin-less Kings team...mostly because they let Beno Udrih go off for 30. And Ricky Davis was their 'top performer.' Yep. They are who we thought they were.
The Chicago Sun-Times: This is a day delayed, but too funny not to mention. In the recap from the Hawks-Bulls game, the Times managed to misspell not one but two player names in back-to-back paragraphs. Torus Thomas? Lull Dens?! Way to copy check, guys. (In response, I ran spell checker on this post and discovered that I had spelled "Sean" as "Seab"...so I guess we all make mistakes. But some of us correct them.) Update! I missed yet another name gaffe in the clip shown below...but Fifthrune didn't: "In that last post about the misspelled names: Who the hell is Mike Bobby for the Hawks? Cuz I'd rather take him than Mike Bibby if he keeps shooting that well. Seriously who wrote that article, Borat?"
Kobe Bryant: He drinks straight out of the milk carton. And he puts it back in the fridge even when it's empty.