Thanks to Ruben for today's picture.

The New Jersey Nets: Another night, another loss at home for the Nets, who are now 9-13 at the Izod Center. And the seldom-used Jerryd Bayless -- who's collected 20 DNP-CDs so far this season -- put them into the basketball-equivalent of the testicular claw by dropping in a career-high 23 points. A 30 percent shooter, Bayless went 6-for-9 from the floor and 11-for-11 fromt he line. Prior to last night, he had never scored more than 8 points in a game.

The Nets were actually in pretty good position to win the game until they got outscored 37-28 in the fourth quarter. Yeah. Defense: It's still pretty important. The loss was particularly bitter, coming as it did following a 32-point loss in Boston. Said Devin Harris: "It's frustrating. This is one we could have won and we let ourselves down in the end. It's tough defensively when we don't get stops and they get a high percentage of their shots to go in."

LeBrick James: His line -- 28 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists -- looks pretty good...until you look a little more closely. King Crab also bricked 20 shots, clanked five free throws, and committed 8 turnovers. And let's talk about that 8-for-28 shooting. He missed four layups (three of which were blocked) and hit only three of his 16 jump shots. He also bricked his final 12 field goal attempts in regulation, including a 21-foot bailout shot that would have won it at the buzzer. (Thanks to Stephanie G. for the following graphic.)


On the subject of his shooting, broadcasters absolutely freak out when 'Bron nails an outside shot, but according to, he's hitting only 41 percent of his outside shots compared to 74 percent of his inside attempts. So instead of crowding him, as the Bulls did for most of the game last night, wouldn't teams be better served to just back way off and let him fire away at will from the outside? Not only would that deny him the high-percentage chances he thrives off of, but it would help reduce the need for defenses to double-team and/or collapse him off of drives, which is how LeBron gets most of his assists (and how his teammates get most of their wide-open shots). I'm just sayin'...that's how I'd do it. And if he gets on a roll from outside, well, kudos to him. But the King and his Craboliers are much less dangerous when LeBron is jacking 'em up from distance.

Oh, and I guess you can kill all the Michael Jordan comparisons for a moment or too, since LeBron blamed his poor performance on his stuffy head and runny nose: "I absolutely had no lift tonight. Every time that happens, when I get sick, I miss layups -- layup after layup, things I usually make." So we finally know what can stop LeBron: The common cold. Just like those aliens in War of the Worlds! Wait...could James be part of the upcoming alien invasion?! Klaatu barada nikto, LeBron!

The Chicago Bulls: Big, huge, enormous win over the Cavs. No question about it. BUT...they needed a complete meltdown by LeBron and a couple "where did THOSE come from?!" threes from Luol Deng -- including one that bounced up five feet at least before dropping straight back down into the hoop -- to pull out an overtime win at home. (On the subject of Deng's two triples: He was only 4-for-13 from downtown this season coming into last night's game.) And the Cavs were without Zydrunas Ilgauskas (fractured left ankle), Ben Wallace (flu-like symptoms!) and Delonte West, who broke his right wrist in a collision with Derrick Rose in the first quarter. So give them credit for some scrappy play, but take note of the unusual circumstances.

Derrick Rose: I don't want to crack on the rookie too hard, since he had two huge three-point plays -- one with 4:50 left in regulation and another 52 seconds into overtime that gave the Bulls the lead for good. However, he also shot 6-for-20 and, even worse, he botched a chance to tie the game at 87 with 1:32 left...but bricked two free throws. And those misses could have cost his team the game.

The NBA Cares program: During last night's game, NBA Cares decided to highlight Larry Hughes' charitible work in the Chicago community, leaving the broadcast team in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why Big Shot Larry was rooted firmly to the Bulls bench. Thanks for everything you've done for Chicagoland, Larry. I hope you're as giving in the city you'll soon be traded to!

Reggie Miller, quote machine: I got the following email from Jeff R.: "Hey man, not sure if you caught the Cavs/Bulls last night, but Reggie Miller continued to baffle with his inability to speak English. Late in the game after LeBron beat Deng on a jump ball, he slipped retrieving the ball. They showed the replay and zoomed in on a two-foot long black skid mark Bron's shoe left on the floor. To which Reggie said: 'You can see the skid mark from his shoe calling the time out.' Now the Bulls did call a time out after LeBron fell and lost the ball, but it certainly wasn't LeBron's shoe or skid mark calling it." What can I say? I love Reggie Miller.

Chauncey Billups: Mr. Big Shot scored five of his game-high 26 points in overtime to lead the 'Melo-less Nuggets to a win over the Shaq-less Suns. And he did it, apparently, despite a flu bug he's been fighting since...the end of December?! Said Billups: "Just trying to get through it. Once the game starts you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do." Uh, Chauncey, last time I checked, it's not normal for the flu to last more than two weeks. (But, according to one source, the "malaise" from the flu can "persist for more than two weeks.") I guess it just seems like Billups is being a little dramatic about being sick at a time of the year when pretty much everybody is suffering from flu-like symptoms. I'm sorry about the malaise, though, Chauncey.

Shaq: The Big Coffee Break had what Suns coach Terry Porter referred to as a "routine night off" and Robin Lopez (4 points, 2-for-5, 2 rebounds, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls in 22 minutes) didn't exactly fill his pretty pink tutu. His absence opened up the paint for Nene, who critically wounded the Suns with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

The Phoenix defense: In addition to Chauncey Billups' plague-ridden mastery and Nene's dominance in the paint, the Suns' D revived Linas Kleiza, who was 1-for-12 in his previous two games. Kleiza nailed his first five shots -- four of which were dunks -- and finished with 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting off the bench.

Terry Porter: I already mentioned Robin Lopez's 'bawful game. What I didn't mention was that Louis Amundson logged eight fewer minutes than Lopez but played much better: 6 points (2-for-3), 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. He even went 2-for-2 from the line! Which begs the following question: Why didn't Amundson start, and why didn't he get more PT than Lopez? At this point, Big Lou is the better player. How can Porter not see that?

Leandro Barbosa: This guy never fails to confound me. Some nights he's brilliant, some nights he plays like a special needs child. Last night was one of the latter occurences, as Leandro went 1-for-11.

Home cookin': It's reached the point where crying foul for the Suns earns people the "creepy leper" treatment. But really: Grant Hill was fouled on the final play of regulation and didn't get the call, putting a dirty cigarette butt into the skunky beer of a night in which the Nuggets enjoyed a 43-31 advantage at the line. Said Grant Hill: "Dahntay stuck his leg out and tripped me and I lost my balance. I ran into Nene at the same time. It was pretty obvious there was something there, but I guess the officials were scared to make that call. It's really disheartening for a team to go out and play hard as we did and it comes down to a play like that where an official has the right angle. He kind of swallowed his whistle."

The standard argument in these situations is that game-deciding calls aren't made in game-deciding moments. But it sure happened with Roger Mason the other night. Point is, a fouls is a foul is a foul. And they should be called equally at all times, not selectively based on the situation. And leastways, if anybody deserves some justice, it's Grant Hill. Hasn't the poor guy been through enough over the years?

Lacktion report: Looks like Chris got off easy last night...but a couple unfortunate players did not.

Blazers-Nets: Chris Douglas-Roberts is starting to become a rather predictable face in the lacktion report, throwing one brick for +1 in 3:40 of unproductivity for New Jersey.

Cavs-Bulls: Even in an overtime game, there's still room for fire flowers, fungi, and gold coins, as evidenced by the Crabaliers' Tarence Kinsey and his 19-second Mario.
Mark Cuban: This is a few days late, but, still...what a douche.

Kobe Bryant: Damn him for making me laugh against my will. (Thanks to Reef for the link.)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I have no sympathy for Grant Hill after he took the Magic's cash (and Orlando's good will during his endless rehab) and then bailed for the MLE to 'contend for a championship' with the Suns.

I love thinking about how he'd have a much better shot of a championship if he'd just signed with Orlando for the same amount.

Blogger chris said...
With twenty missed shots, did King Crab have a double-bumble? (I know the "triple bumble" page specifically states turnovers as the one negative statistic, but I would think that racking up double digits in a negative statistic along with double digits with any other statistic qualifies for a bumble.)

Blogger chris said...
Okay, now that I see those 14 rebounds...yeah, King Crab went ALL the way for a triple bumble, if being so adept with the masonry counts!

Anonymous Digz said...
Uh.. Brook lopez doesnt play for the Suns.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That's a great theory on how to defend against LeBron. Even better, I can tell you for sure that it works since the Spurs used it against him in sweeping the Cavs in the 2007 Finals.
But don't let that dissuade you... you have a brilliant mind for basketball.

Anonymous undcvrsm said...
Just wanna point out that it should be Robin Lopez who plays for Suns.

Blogger starang said...
Yes, Grant was obviously fouled. Yes, a foul is a foul is a fould. And YES, I, as everyone else, am tired of the NBA's inconsistancy in play calling (from traveling, to fouling, to home court advantage, to superstar advantage, to the "let them play rougher" mentality that seems to take place during playoffs). DAMMIT, CALL IT 1 WAY, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR PLAYERS AND FANS!! WE WON'T STOP WATCHING JUST BECAUSE KOBE AND LEBRON HAVE A FEW MORE FOULS OR GET CALLED FOR TRAVELING ONCE OR TWICE MORE A GAME...THE PLAYERS WILL ADJUST...JUST MAKE THE CORRECT CALLS!!!! point is...Grant should know better than that. To not even get a shot off? That is sorry. He has been in this league to long not to know he would not get a foul called.

At least put the ball on the rim for gods sake, give us a chance!

Anonymous EdoAi said...
Mamba broke Shane Battier's ankle at least twice on TV as far as I remember. I wonder why he is considered a good defender. He should learn from Jalen Rose, who just stand there and let Mamba scored 81.

Anonymous plonden said...
Suns fan here. Amundson probably won't start for the Suns ever. He is obviously currently better than Lopez but Lou's role on the Suns is an energy guy off the bench. He is brought in as a game changer based on hustle, toughness and will.

He is wildly popular in PHX btw.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Would it be wrong to make a joke about Grant Hill looking up at Nene's enormous singular testicle?

Blogger bsdrat said...
Don't rag on Hill, he's a good guy...unlike some people in the league. Wait, make that A LOT of people

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like remembering the old Spike Lee commercial where he's holding two bricks saying "How do you shoot these things?" isn't wrong.

Blogger chris said...
Klahma may not have much O on the court, but for the all-star ballot box, they certainly provide plenty of (futile) numbers:

Anonymous AK Dave said...
KLATTU...BARATA...NIaah(mumble mumble)

WOW, Army of Darkness reference- this blog just reached the pinnacle of awesomeness. I shall read no further- it can only go down from here...

Anonymous Wormboy said...
I want to see Mark Cuban and Clay Bennett compete head to head on some humiliating Japanese-style game show.

I really hate those guys.

Blogger David said...
Your entry on Lebron doesn't nearly do justice to how awful he was last night.

He didn't just fail to execute. He regressed to the offense of the last few years, in which he spends the first 18 seconds of the shot clock dribbling a hole in the court 25 feet from the basket. He spun into double teams, travelled (shocking, I know), passed into the stands, slipped, and missed shots when teammates who can shoot were open. It's like he completely forgot how to play basketball.

And what was up with that skidmark? I've never seen that before. Does he use tires for shoes?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i think from now on Robin Lopez should be referred to as Sideshow Bob

THe remblance is uncanny

and Mamba video... Huh-larious

"Y Jefe" comedy gold

Blogger Moose said...
Anyone hear that Shaq said that he should be called 'Shaq-ovic' because "All the good shooters' names end with "-ovic"?

Blogger KneeJerkNBA said...
The only ankles the new Kobe shoe will be breaking are those of the player wearing them. They're like running shoes- no support, no padding. Might as well be balling with thick socks on.

Blogger lordhenry said...
I wanted to leave a link to Kobe sells ankle insurance, but I was sure bawful was a truehoop reader already and knew about it. Nice to know that Mamba can still make bawful laugh even though he's the root of all evil.

"Excellent," says Lord Mamba, "when all else fails I can giggle basketbawful to death."

Anonymous tony.bluntana said...
But... klaatu barada... necktie? Alien invasion? You're mixing your metaphors. I'm confused.

...unless it's a zombie-alien invasion? Skeletaliens?

Anonymous tony.bluntana said...
'bawful, I suggest you respond to my last comment with this:

"Everything I do is a big deal. It's easy for people who don't blog the game of basketball to say something about a certain quotation. You hear all the people in the comments talk about it, but they've never touched a blog in their lives. They just report about it."

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
Special mention needs to be made of Josh McRoberts. In 5:24 against the Raptors he got six personal fouls AND a technical.

He did get two rebounds, but he also threw in two missed shots and two turnovers to add spice to the crap sandwich that was his game. He's like Jake Voskhul with Tourette's Syndrome.

Blogger Clifton said...
According to the tidbits after the AP recap of the Suns-Wolves game, the Suns submitted tape of the Grant Hill non-call to the league office, "...but even a possible admission of error means little. 'That doesn’t help the coach when he gets that yellow slip on the way out the door,' Porter said before Friday’s game."

Yeesh, Terry! We put up with SSOL for two seasons longer than we should have... I don't think you need to worry about getting the ol' heave-ho just yet.

And thanks for the nod towards the Lopez-Amundson debate. Interesting how when Shaq's out, Lopez starts, but when Shaq's playing, Lopez gets a DNP. Ehh. Al McCoy is calling him "Lightning Lou" now. I think I may have liked 'Sweet Lou' better. He didn't go to the line, but his 2-for-2 Thursday night seems to be an indicator that he's making progress. Now, we just need him to work on his pass-catching. Three or four times last night, in the first half alone, the radio call went something like, "Nash out front, here's Amundson slashing to the hoop, and... ohhh! Amundson couldn't handle the pass and it's picked up by Minnesota." ...or, "Barbosa in the corner, fires it in down low to Amundson, and... ohhh! Amundson couldn't hang on to the hard pass and it falls out of bounds." ...or, ... you get the picture. And he got two offensive 3-second violations while I was listening. His teammates are really trying to get him the ball now, especially in these last 5 or 6 games, and like I said about his FTs, it almost seems like he's slightly jittery about it. When someone's fixing to pass it to him down low, he's already starting to turn towards the hoop before the ball's securely in his mitts. Just seems like he needs to slow down just a beat and get a flow working.

Again, though, my disclaimer: That criticism sounds a little nitpicky. The guy's TRYING, trying so hard that he's making a few overaggressive mistakes, but playing like a guy that's truly thankful of the opportunity he's been presented with. Refreshing, isn't it? ...unlike these prima donnas who arrive in the league with a $30mil contract already stuffed in their shorts.

It's kinda fun to watch this guy develop, isn't it? He's grown so much since the preseason. He's a fan fave like Pat Burke, just with more actual talent and less human-victory-cigar-ing.

Rough game, though. The Suns just absolutely yakked it up in the 4th quarter. Another one of those "scrappy bunch!" nights. They can't hang this one on the refs or on free-throw differential (Minny 19 FTAs, Suns 21)... for Pete's sake, Minny scored the go-ahead bucket with like 1:59 to go, and from there both teams could only muster 5 more total points. However, not to be the ultimate homer, but the Denver game (which was a run-'n-gun game played at altitude, remember) DID end nearly at midnight, then the Suns flew home after the game and didn't turn in until 4:00- or 5:00-ish, according to Al McCoy. So, for them to completely run out of gas late is maybe somewhat understandable.

Sigh. I AM a homer, aren't I? Anyway, now for the big road trip. NOW we really get to see what these guys are made of. No, the games aren't all against the créme of the East, but it'll be a grind nonetheless.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
tony.bluntana -- I appreciate the suggestion, but I'm going to respond to your initial comment thusly: Klatuu Barada Nikto did not originate with "Army of Darkness." It was, in fact, first used in a movie about what was thought to be an alien invasion. Look it up. You'll see that my use of the phrase actually made sense...

Anonymous tony.bluntana said...
'bawful, I feel like I should be salty that you put me in my place; but, I'm just so damn excited you responded to me by name... I finally made it!

Anyway, I might as well admit it, now that you already know: I've never seen The Day the Earth Stood Still (and I sure as hell will never see the remake).

Anonymous Ruben said...
Joel Anthony. (heat)
17 minutes, one miss, one rebound, one block, one steal, one turnover and one awesome play to start the game. Ah, senseless violence...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
for the record i'm still feeling some of the symptoms from the flu i caught a week before christmas.

Blogger eljpeman said...
I'm going to be supremely disappointed if Joel Anthony didn't make WotW. Aside from 17 minutes of lacktion and, I am assuming, crap D on Yao (26-10 on 12/12 shooting), he sent a referee to the showers early via an elbow to the nose... immediately after the opening tip!

Blogger Clifton said...
Nothing much to report on the Amundson Watch from this afternoon's game. He ran around a lot and was energetic in 11 minutes of action but wasn't much of a factor. As usual, since Shaq played, Lopez rode the pine all day. It's sad when J-Dud gets in, but you don't (by the by, J-Dud 2 trillion, Alando Tucker 4 trillion -- I'm sure Chris will be all up on that, though).

You'll have to forgive me for only having listened to/watched bits and pieces of the game, as I was prepping the grill and boiling a pot of beer and onions for bratwurst as part of our epic feast to be consumed during the Cardinals game, but here's a big note-- when did the Suns suddenly stop showing up for the opening tip? They've gotten down big (or at least semi-big) early in the last few games.

Jason Kapono missed the contest due to... flu-like symptoms! And/or a cah-RAZY Saturday night on the town in Toronto... eh? And while everything I've read online suggests that The Drain sat to rest his "sore knee," prior to tip-off Al McCoy said he heard that O'Neal informed his coaches that he wasn't going to play thanks to all of the public trade rumors. You decide. Odd that O'Neal (Jermaine, that is) sat out with a vaguely-described "sore knee" or "knee injury," while Shawn Marion sat out for the Heat today as well with a "strained groin." Things that make you go hmmm...

Sometime during the road trip, the Suns will have to sign someone to get back to the league-minimum 13 players under contract. I'm not sure when the deadline falls, precisely, but it's something like the 20th-23rd or so. They had x-number of days to do so after cutting Dee Brown. Our consensus here at the condo is that the Suns had to cut either Dudley or Brown because they're practically twins (down to the headband), and Terry Porter had trouble telling them apart in practice.

And, finally, O'Neal (Shaquille, that is) went 4-for-4 from the free-throw stripe. Jeesh. Shaq suddenly becoming a proficient FT shooter? Next thing you know, the Cardinals will be playing in the Super Bowl!! Oh wait.

Blogger Jundi said...
i thought u could use these photos for ur next wotn post .. al thornton with a classic "get out of the way run for your life" pose while none other than dan gadzuric goes up for the monster slam ..

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