The Philadelphia 76ers: The Cavaliers were without Zydrunas Ilgauskas (sprained ankle) and Boobie Gibson (sprained toe...no, really), but it didn't matter. The Deep Sixers -- who, in case you forgot, committed to $185 million worth of contracts last summer ($80 million a piece for Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala and $25 mil for Louis Williams) -- hit only one of their 12 three-point attempts, committed 17 turnovers, and scored only 72 points. And this was Iggy's take: "We didn't have the mental toughness down the stretch. We kind of gave in. I'm not saying that as a team we didn't play hard, but we didn't execute and we didn't get the stops we needed." Yeah. It's not that they didn't try, it's just that they quit. Ooookay. I tell ya, talk like that (and the disappointing 9-14 record) is the kind of thing that'll get a coach fired...
The New Jersey Nets: Let's see. How to describe the Nets' offensive performance against the Raptors? I'll put it this way:
Oh yes. It was that bad. NJ shot 28-for-83 (31 percent) in falling to 4-7 at home, which makes them the only team in the league with a winning record that is below .500 at home. And the dolloped of whipped poopy on top of this crap sundae was provided by...
Vince Carter: Remember how he tormented his former team earlier this season? Karma, poetic justice, call it what you will, this game was a complete reversal of fortune for Toronto's least favorite former adopted son: 3 points, 0-for-13 shooting. It was the worst shooting performance of his career and the first time that he failed to make a shot from the field when playing at least 10 minutes. "Fail" doesn't quite do this event justice does it?
Vinsanity pouted his way out of the postgame press conference, leaving his coach and teammates to make his excuses for him. Said Lawrence Frank: "Unfortunately, you have nights like that. It's just one of those things where they have everyone in the paint, so they're giving you the jump shot. It's not just him. We couldn't buy a shot." Added Devin Harris: "He had a tough night. I know he probably takes this a little bit harder against his former team. We're all going to have those nights." Exactly. Everybody had a worst game of their career. Best to just get it out of his system.
Oh, and check out Vince's "Run away! Run awaaaay!!" defense on Joey Graham, courtesy of Shayan from Time Intact.
Okay. Maybe he's actually saying "Not in the face!"
The Miami Heat: The fireballs got off to their best start of the season, outscoring the Atlanteans 11-0 coming out of the gate. The Hawks then went on an 87-62 run to finish the game. The Heat missed nine straight shots during one second-half stretch. They also got outscored 23-4 in fastbreak points and hit only four of their 10 foul shots. Meanwhile, the dirty birds got 32 freethrow attempts. In Miami. How's that for home court disadvantage?
Michael Beasely: Missed the game with...flu-like symptoms! I guess Mike had too many, uh, flu shots. And hey, it gets better. Here's Beasely's theory on how he got sick: "The only thing I can think of was it's from my dogs. I've had them for like seven or eight months, though. But I think it might have come from them. I've been around them a lot (lately)."
Minnesota Timberwolves: Their 98-86 home loss to the Spurs was the team's eighth straight loss and the third in a row since Kevin McHale took over coaching duties. So, you know, he coaches pretty much the same way he general manages: Poorly. Said McHale: "There are times when it's tough out there, man. Anybody's who has played a lot of years knows that it gets tough. You've got to work your way through it. That's what I keep on telling them." Know what else he's telling them? "You can't get much better than layups and we were missing them. Some of those will go in, but the hanging the head is what we can't have and that's what happened. I think we started feeling sorry for ourselves...and that's unacceptable." So, you know, you can do it guys! Even though you sort of quit. Go team!
Speaking of McHale quotage, on Thursday, McHale had this to say about San Antonio's early-season win against his team, in which Tony Parker dropped the double-nickel. "It took a superhuman performance by Tony for those guys to win that game. Hopefully (Friday night) he'll just be a normal human." The inference was that, sans a career game for Parker, the Wolves should win. Well, TP had a human game but Minny lost anyway. So, uhm, stat curse.
Randy Foye, excuse machine: "I still had that in my head, that Tony Parker scored 55 here. I wasn't as aggressive going to the basket and stuff because I was trying to focus on containing him." Wait a sec, Randy. You were trying to contain TP while you were on offense? Well, that certainly explains a lot...
The Indiana Pacers: They once again squandered a fourth quarter lead -- not to mention 57 percent shooting and a career-high 42 points from Danny Granger -- in losing 114-110 to the Pistons. Said Granger: "I don't know what to tell you. This is very agonizing, because we watch the films and work on stuff, and then we go out and do the same thing to lose the game." Yeah, well, that'll happen. Especially when you commit 20 turnovers and let your opponent shoot 56 percent. Said Pacers coach Jim O'Brien: "We lost tonight, but we've got another game tomorrow. That's the only way to look at it." Gosh. In that case, it would be really sad if they lost that one too...
The Chicago Bulls: They squandered a 14-point lead and lost to the Memphis Grizzlies. [Slaps forehead.] Speaking of the Griz...
The Memphis Grizzlies: Their win over the Bulls was the first time the Grizzlies have won three games in a row under Marc Iavaroni. Said Hakim Warrick: "I think this whole run has been a total team effort. It's been a different guy stepping up at different key points of the game and making big plays." Huh. Your amazing three-game run isn't exactly inspiring my awe, Hakim, but congrats and all that.
Doc Rivers, quote machine: Regarding James Posey, who made his first return to Boston since signing on with the Hornets. "He's up to those same tricks. Last year, I loved what he did, setting flops, charges, grabbing, holding, getting away with hitting on the arm. Today I think I complained about Posey the entire game. He's a pain in the butt; he really is. Now I know why I loved him on our team." Funny how he never mentioned any of that LAST year.
Chris Paul, quote machine: The Celtics pretty much controlled the second half of their game against the Hornets before winning by 12. But the way CP3 was talking, you'd think that Boston won on a last-second shot or something. "We felt like we could have got this one. I'll tell you right now that I'm not about any moral victory." Not sure how a double-digit loss could have been considered a moral victory, but okay, Chris. Whatever you say.
Hedo Turkoglu, God Machine: The Turkish Assassin gave the Magic a 1-point lead against the Suns -- which they squandered, but whatever -- by hitting a running 22-footer with 7.2 ticks on the clock. When asked about the shot after the game, Turkoglu, who was 3-for-17 from the field at that point, said: "God is always with me in those situations, making those shots." I'm glad that Our Lord takes coffee breaks from stopping volcanos and making the Virgin Mary appear in pieces of toast
Hubie Brown, unintentionally dirty quote machine: From Afiq said: "In the Hornets-Cetics game, Hubie Brown said: 'Rajon Rondo likes to steal the ball from the rear.' Is it unintentionally dirty, or am I just over-scrutinizing the mummy's words?" Well, it depends. Did he say it in a throaty, wheezing rasp? Oh, wait. Hubie says everything in a throaty, wheezing rasp. Let's assume you're just over-analyzing. I don't think they had double-entendres back when Hubie was embalmed (around 2,000 B.C.).
Robin Lopez: He started at center for the Suns owing to Shaq's absence. He had 1 rebound in 20 minutes. That is only one more rebound than Stephen Hawking, Gary Coleman and that guy who had to cut off his own arm. I'm just sayin'.
The Portland Trail Blazers: Losing at home in double-overtime to the Clippers?! Yup. Brandon Roy's career-high 38 points was not enough to prevent his team from falling to the team with the second-worst record in the Western Conference (5-17). This was in large part due to...
Steve Blake: Dude missed four of five free throw attempts down the stretch. Mind you, he entered the game 31-for-33 this season. Said the Yipper: "Yeah, I'm taking it personally, of course. The game was on my shoulders and I let them down." Yes, yes you did.
Here's the breakdown from Alex D: "I don't know if the Clippers' TV commentators did a stat curse on Steve Blake, saying that he was shooting 94 percent from the free throw line, but Blake missed three (!) consecutive free throws with less than 20 seconds remaining with the Blazers holding on to a two-point lead. Then he stole the ball from the Clippers and was fouled. He missed one more with less than 10 seconds remaining. Blazers ahead by three, Baron Davis made a three-pointer beating the buzzer...and the Clippers won after the second overtime. Sad and painful loss."
Zach Randolph: He led his new team to a victory over his old team with 38 points and 11 rebounds. But Basketbawful reader Lindsay noticed something odd going on with the Clipper's "big" man: "I think it is time to start another 'player watch.' While Emeka Okafor is busy NOT racking up assists, Zach Randolph is busy racking up blocks...against him. Now, this is a guy who is 6'9 that started as center on the Knicks and now power forward on the Clippers. His career blocks per game is a staggering 0.2. So far this season Randolph has had his shot blocked a total of 29 times and has blocked a whopping 6 (!!) this season. The majority (64%) of his shots are jumpers. Last night against the Blazers, he had his shot blocked by 6'6" Brandon Roy (who had a ridiculous game, by the way.) But really Zach, it's called defense. You should try it sometime. That and jumping. He is what I have always thought he was...lazy." To be fair, Lindsay, he's totally motivated when shooting the ball. But you've got it my friend: The Randolph Watch has officially begun. Speaking of watches...
The Yao Watch: From Alex K: "For the next WotN, you need to bring back the Yao Watch. I was watching the end of the Rockets-Warriors game and in the fourth quarter, from the time of about five minutes to around 2:30 minutes left, Yao got blocked three times, one of them by Rob Kurz. The Rockets also got outblocked by the Warriors, 10-4. But I think the Yao Watch should be fully revived." Let's go ahead and restart it on at least a temporary basis. Oh, and here's that block by Kurz. There might have been a little tap on Yao's hand involved...
Reality checks: As in, we need 'em. A lot of people were ooing and ahing about T-Mac's big game (24 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists). But, c'mon people, it happened against the defensive menace that is the Golden State Warriors. I'm not quite ready to pronounce him "back" just yet. Oh and speaking of the Warriors' D...
Anthony Randolph: Here's Randy employing the fundamentally sound "hand in the crotch" defense against McGrady. Thanks to Quinton for the pic.
Jamal Crawford and Stephen Jackson: They were a combined 3-for-21 against the Rockets. A classic case of "Gun shoots owner." Captain Jack, who has sprained left hand, missed all seven of his shot attempts and Golden State fell to 0-11 when he fails to score at least 20 points.
The Pistons: Yeah, they won. But they barely held on after building a 22-point lead against the Bobcats, who outscored the Pistons 30-12 in the fourth quarter...during which the Motowners shot 3-for-16 and committed 6 turnovers. And Allen Iverson was quick to dump on the Detroit reserves, who let the 'Cats out of their cage. "Honestly, I didn't want to go back in. I felt that our second team should have closed that thing out." Nice. AI also added: "It's a feeling of disgust, but it's some happiness in there, too, because you won the game. You feel bad, but it could have been worse." When this was brought up to Pistons coach Michael Curry, he wigged out. "Why would you ask me that about Allen? Why don't you ask me about the group of guys that played poorly?" Saucer of milk, table two, please.
Boris Diaw and Raja Bell: Charlotte's newcomers shot 5-for-19 for 11 points. Good trade, Mr. Jordan. (Was it MJ's decision? I don't care. I'm blaming him anyway.) On the Bobcats' second possession, Diaw ran into Raymond Felton on a blown pick-and-roll. Diaw also picked up two fouls only four minutes into the game. Bell? He was called for traveling twice in the first quarter and threw the ball away on an inbounds play, which led to a fast break layup for Detroit. Said Diaw: "It mostly was because we didn't know any of the plays. We kind of slowed the team because of us. We didn't know where to go."
The Atlanta and Cleveland benches: Atlanta's reserves contributed 13 points on 3-for-11 shooting, 8 rebounds, zero assists, 2 turnovers, and 7 fouls. As for Cleveland's pine riders, Sasha Pavlovic played okay (8 points, 3-for-5, 5 boards), but Wally Szczerbiak went 0-for-5, Darnell Jackson committed 2 fouls and went zero-for-everything else and J.J. Hickson went 0-for-1 and finished with a foul.
Delonte West: From Vinny Gorgeous: "The scene: Cavs down two in Atlanta. LeBron's drive is blocked, rebounded, and kicked to West in the corner for a dagger three...except Josh Smith comes out of nowhere and delivers the biggest eco-ectomy I've seen this year, smacking the attempt into the 15 or 16th row with only a second left on the shot clock. I think Delonte is WotW material after that." Done.
Ben Wallace: He had a chance to step it up with Zydrunas Ilgauskas out for a second straight game. But he didn't. Unless you consider zero points (0-for-2), 6 rebounds, a block and 3 fouls in 25 minutes "stepping up." I think it's time to send the 15 Million Dollar Man to the glue factory. After all, he's already as slow and motionless as paste.
The Philadelphia 76ers: They enjoyed a dead coach bounce, winning by 15 points. Of course, it was against the 4-17 Wizards, so you can take it for what it's worth. But still, I'm a little mystified by the decision to replace Mo Cheeks with Assistant General Manager Tony DiLeo. DiLeo hasn't been a head coach since he left the West German national team in 1990. He wasn't even an assistant in Philly. Weird. Sixers chairman Ed Snider explained the move thusly: "Once you're a coach, you're always a coach. That doesn't concern me at all." If you say so, Ed.
The Dallas Mavericks' supporting cast: An anonymous commenter made the following request: "Can we PLEASE have the WotN include the entire Mavericks supporting cast? Or everyone who isn't named Dirk or Jason Terry? This game should go as a loss, regardless of what the final score was. Hell, make it a loss for both teams. Neither deserved the win." Here's what Mr. Anonymous meant: The non-Dirk starters combined for 18 points (including Erick Dampiers' goose egg) and had more fouls (7) than field goals (6). The non-Terry reserves chipped in with 11 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Fortunately for the Mavs, they were playing...
The Klahma City Thunder: They led for most of the game but couldn't stop the Flying Dutchman (season-high 46 points, 17-for-30) or the JET (28 points, 13-for-21). Thus the whole worst-in-the-league 2-22 record. Said Desmond Mason: "We played a solid basketball game. You can't fault our effort." I have no comment.
The Indiana Pacers: Let's hark back to Pacers coach Jim O'Brien's words after Indy's Friday night defeat: "We lost tonight, but we've got another game tomorrow. That's the only way to look at it." Fair enough. Unfortunately, things got worse, as the Pacers lost to the Bucks by 18. But it's worse than that, even. They outscored Milwaukee 37-22 in the third to overcome a 21-point deficit only to fall apart in the fourth...getting outscored 19-0 to finish the game.
Michael Redd, quote machine: Regarding teammate Andy Bogut, who had 20 points and 20 rebounds: "Call him Barbara Walters tonight. 20/20." Barbara Walters it is, Mike.
Jim O'Brien, ref busting machine: O'Brien got T'd up during the third quarter for complaiing about an offensive foul called on T.J. Ford. But he did it in an awesome way: "Why don't you give [Bucks coach Scott] Skiles a whistle?"
The Nets' bench: Vince Carter bounced back from Friday night's 0-for-13 performance by dropping 39 on the Bulls. Too bad the Nets shot 38 percent, "led" by the reserves, who scored 12 points on 5-for-20 shooting.
Larry Hughes: "Big Shot Larry" was 3-for-10. Now THAT'S the Larry Hughes we know and mock around here.
The Utah Jazz: They committed 22 turnovers and got outscored 34-12 in the third quarter, thus squandering a 10-point halftime lead and losing their fourth home game of the season. They lost only four games at home all of last year.
Stephen Jackson: Captain Jack was 1-for-13 against the Nuggets, capping off a winless weekend that saw him shoot a combined 3-for-27 from the field. In fact, he had more TOs this weekend (5) than FGs (3). I guess THAT'S why the rum's always gone.
Chauncey Billups' hands-free D: Thanks to Michael H for the picture, which explins why Crawford -- a 41 percent shooter on the season -- went 11-for-19 against the Nuggets.
The Sacramento Kings: They got roasted on defense (surrendering 114 points) while stinking it up on offense (scoring only 90 points on 36 percent shooting). Losing by 24 to the Knicks in Sactown? Bad. Oh, and their 3 first-quarter rebounds tied the franchise record for spaghetti-armed board work.
The Houston Rockets: Remember how I scoffed at T-Mac's Friday night success against the Warriors? I did so with good reason: He shot 5-for-17 on Saturday. In fact, as a team the Rockets shot 35 percent, leading to a double-digit beatdown. To the Clippers.
Marcus Camby, quote machine: Regarding teammate Zach Randolph, who had 30 points and 13 rebounds: "Man, I can't see a flaw or name one negative thing in his game." Oh? How 'bout only 6 blocks versus 29 blocks against on the season? What about that?
Foreign relations: George W. Bush's reign as commander of the free world has been marked by such popular decision making that, during his farewell trip to Baghdad, an Iraqi journalist said, "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog!" and then threw not one but two shoes at him. No, really. Note the classic Bushian reaction: "It's like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers." Yup. He's an Ivy league graduate, folks.
Not sure Dubya realizes that, in the Middle East, throwing a shoe is a serious insult. I'm also not sure he ever learned to pronounce nuclear correctly.
The Miami Heat: What a weekend for the Heat -- two games, two double-digit losses, the second of which was a 16-point setback to...the Memphis Grizzlies, who themselves have now won four games in a row. Dwyane Wade played more like Dwayne Wayne (5-for-16, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls) and Miami shot 36 percent for the game. The Heat also got outscored 35-20 in the third quarter. And in case you were wondering, that was the most points scored by the Griz in a single quarter this season. Regarding the loss, Heat center Joel Anthony (12 points, 13 rebounds) said: "It's always tough when you have some individual production and you're not able to win." To which D-Wade would like to say, "Welcome to MY world, kid."
O.J. Mayo: Mayo (28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) actually outplayed Pookie last night, but Wade still provided a classic ego-ectomy that had the rooke "tumbling like a bowling pin." Watch:
Jamaal Magloire: Mags earned an early trip to the locker room for for head-butting Darko Milicic during a battle for position as the Grizzlies were trying to inbound the ball. Magloire better be careful. He wouldn't like Darko when he's angry.
The San Antonio Spurs: They almost let the Thunder come back and steal one in San Antonio after building a 26-point lead. Technically, it's not a loss, but I still don't think it should be put in the win column. Maybe there should be a column for "Wins That Aren't As Good As Others"?
The Klahma City Thunder: They almost earned an O for their performance against the Spurs -- 104 points on 52 percent shooting -- but, alas, they still fell to 2-23. So, you know, fail.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: The line: 36 percent shooting, nine straight losses and a 4-19 record. I hope everybody realizes they're watching the end of the Kevin McHale Era in Minnesota. Speaking of Kevin...
Kevin McHale, justification machine: Regarding rookie Kevin Love: "He's getting better all the time. He really brings a lot of energy, a great basketball feel. I think he's been tremendous, he's played very well." Uh huh. Love had 2 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes against the Lakers. We've already talked about what O.J. Mayo has been doing for the Grizzlies...
The Lakers: Yeah, they're winning...but they aren't looking very good doing it. It's a good thing they're playing all these crappy teams. Said Lamar Odom: "We can't hold a lead. These guys (Bryant and Gasol) have to come back into the game (in the fourth quarter). That's awful." Pretty much, yeah.
Kobe Bryant: Mamba made Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic stand at the press conference podium so he could re-enact Dubya's shoe-throwing incident. Only he wouldn't let Luke dodge the shoe. Said Mamba: "None of that Matrix [expletive}, Walton."
Mario Brothers: Kevin Ollie (Timberwolves) had a three-second Super Mario against the Spurs; Steve Novak (Clippers) had a seven-second Super Mario against the Clippers; Joe Alexander (Bucks) had a 59-second Mario against the Pacers; Josh McRoberts (Pacers) had a 59-second Mario against the Bucks.
Suck Differentialists: Mark Blount (Heat) + against the Hawks; Mario "The Mario" West (Hawks) +1 against the Heat; Greg Buckner (Grizzlies) +3 against the Bulls; Mo Peterson (Hornets) +1 against the Celtics; Jared Dudley (Suns) +1 against the Magic; Walter Herrmann (Pistons) +3 against the Bobcats; Darnell Jackson (Cavs) +2 against the Hawks; J.J. Hickson (Cavs) +2 against the Hawks; Nick Young (Wizards) +1 against the Sixers; Josh McRoberts (Pacers) +1 against the Bucks.
Trillionaires: Marreese Speights (Sixers) had a two trillion against the Cavaliers; Solomon Jones (Hawks) had a one trillion against the Heat; Greg Buckner (Grizzlies) had a five trillion against the Heat; Vladimir Radmanovic (Lakers) had a two trillion against the Grizzlies