The Memphis Grizzlies: Despite the temptation, I'm not going to crack on them for letting the Bobcats shoot for the game. I will, however, laugh mockingly at the following facts: They got choke-slammed on the boards (44-28), missed 10 foul shots (25-for-35) and committed 21 turnovers (which led to 23 points for the 'Cats). That combination of flubups sure makes it hard to win. Or, you know, lose with dignity.
Rudy Gay: He recovered from a brutal three-game stretch in which he went 13-for-39 from the field to score 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting. BUT...he had 7 of his team's 21 lost balls. That's a lot of balls to lose. I said balls. Said Gay: "I know personally I turned the ball over a couple of useless times. We just have to play more solid." Notice how quickly he went from "I" to "We"?
Emeka Okafor: I haven't forgotten about The Okafor Watch! Last night, the mighty Oak went off for 20 and 15 to go along with 3 steals and 3 blocked shots. But, of course, he had zero assists. It was the eighth time the last 13 games that he had a goose egg in the assist column. In the other five games, he had 1 assist. So far on the season, he has 25 zero-assist outings and 14 others in which he notched only 1 assist. And that accounts for all but three games! In that other trio of games, he had 2, 3, and 4 assists, respectively. The current Watch standings: 404 shot attempts, 199 free throw attempts, 23 assists and 83 turnovers. His mother obviously didn't teach him to share.
The Toronto Craptors: Bad shooting? Check (42 percent). Beaten on the boards? Check (40-28). Ineffective defense? Check (3 steals, 1 block and an opponent field goal percentage of 50+ percent). Another double-digit road loss? Check (95-76). Seven straight losses? Very check (and 28 overall). Said Raptors coach Jay Triano: "We need to do a better job of fighting through adversity. I don't know why, but when we get down, we seem to lose confidence and hang our heads a little." I'm not a sports psychologist or anything, but not being very good doesn't usually do much to boost team confidence.
Kwame Brown: Basketbawful reader jhaig left the following comment: "Originally from The Raptors Blog by Doug Smith: 'Action: A halftime stroll. Reaction: A strange, telling sight. Maybe this tells you everything you need to know about a guy. Walking down a hallway by the Pistons locker room at halftime, spied Kwame Brown coming out of the press room with a full bag of popcorn. Seems he'd ducked in to grab some food put out for the grunts and others.'"
The Phoenix Suns: Battered by a jillion in Boston and then neutered in New York? That's a sorry two-game stretch for a team that, in theory, has the talent to contend for a title. The Suns have now lost four of five, a slump that includes a home loss to the Timberwolves. Said Steve Nash: "Before this five-game stretch, I was feeling pretty good about our team and I felt like we had turned a corner, and so to take two steps back here lately has been frustrating. I'm not sure I have the answers for it."
Amare Stoudemire: Okay, STAT needs to spend less time filming cutsie videos to convince people he's an All-Star and more time playing like one. He followed up his stinker against the Celtics (3 points on 0-for-7 shooting) by shooting 6-for-17 against one of the league's worst defenses. Oh, and he got posterized by David Lee...
Shaq: The Big Geritol dropped 18 points on the Knicks in the first half but was held to a single field goal in the second as David Lee (25 points, 16 boards) soundly outplayed him. Said Lee: "When [O'Neal] was rested more in the first half, there's nothing I can obviously do to keep him from going where he wants to go. In the second half, I think he got a little worn down. That's what it's like sometimes on a road trip. I was able to keep running up and down a little bit." It sorta seems like teams can game plan for Shaq to quiet down as the game progresses. That's...great. Oh, and Shaq-ovic was only 5-for-13 from the line as the Suns missed 14 free throws in the 5-point loss. I'm just sayin'.
The Miami Heat defense: The fact that the Celtics shot 51 percent and dominated the boards (48-30) isn't all that surprising, I guess. But Eddie House set season-high by scoring 20 points in the second quarter! House finished with 25 on 9-for-15 from the field, which included 7-for-11 shooting accuracy from downtown. (It was Eddie's first 20-point game since -- you guessed it! -- he did it against the Heat in Miami on January 29, 2008.) Speaking of three-point shooting, Ray Allen was 5-for-6 from distance and the Celtics finished a season-best 15-for-25 from beyond the arc. Memo to the Heat: It's called "hand in the face." Try it. You'll like it. I think.
Shawn Marion: I think this snippet from the AP recap says it all: "Shawn Marion, who was limited to eight minutes -- he took treatment for a sore left groin throughout the day but wound up starting -- missed an easy dunk, perhaps the ultimate lowlight for Miami." No wonder Pat Riley's considering trading Marion for Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal. That, in and of itself, tells you how far Marion has fallen of the "Most-coveted NBA Players" chart. Speaking of signs...
The Dallas Mavericks: A 33-point road loss to a sub-.500 team is a sure sign that this team is so far past it's freshness date that it's time to throw it away and buy a new box of Twinkies. The offense was putrid (36 percent shooting), sure, but the defense, oh dear lord in heaven, the defense! Milwaukee scored 133 points while hitting almost 58 [!!] percent of their shots for the game. Welcome to the NBA, Allas Mavericks! Said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle: "The second quarter they shot 83 percent from the field. The third quarter they shot 74. I am just disappointed particularly in the way the second and third quarters came down. We're better than that, and we should be better than that." Added Dirk Nowitzki: "It's just embarrassing, really. They got whatever they wanted—wide-open shots, drives, layups." Hey, Dirk, here's a copy of that memo I sent the Heat...
Basketbawful reader Mladen added: "The Mavs starters' Plus-Minus scores were: -14, -19, -10, -12, and -22. Mark Cuban might just injure his neck soon. Oh, and in case you were wondering how did Cuban's prized possession Dampier did: 2 points (0-for-3 shooting), 8 rebounds, 1 turnover and 3 fouls. Although, he did get two blocks and he didn't miss a free throw. (The -10 belongs to him, so I guess that makes him the best starter last night.) Certainly worth the money they chose not to invest in Steve Nash."
Mark Cuban: Basketbawful reader Mladen sent this in: "And here's my favorite quote from the AP recap: '...but Dallas never made a run leaving Mavs owner Mark Cuban shaking his head just behind the bench.'" Mladen also noted that the headline on NBA.com was "Bucks Run Past Mavericks In Laugher." I don't think Marky Mark was laughing very much.
Comcast: Basketbawful reader Sam writes in: "I just hope no one from Seattle was watching in the Philly area..."
Update! Comcast, unintentionally dirty cable provider: AK Dave, regarding the above graphic, noted: "Comcast should get an unintentionally dirty mention for the 'Sports Packages' they have listed on that graphic." Seriously. And, uh, doesn't Comcast usually charge $5.99 for those special viewings? That's what I've heard, anyway...
The New Jersey Nets: The Hornets were without David West (back spasms), Tyson Chandler (left ankle) and Chandler's backup Hilton Armstrong (left knee). And, mind you, New Orleans is NOT a deep team. But they still dropped the Nets by double-digits as Chris Paul barely missed a triple-double (29 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists). Nets coach Lawrence Frank said: "In the third quarter, frustration took over. We missed some easy shots, we got some fouls called against us. At times we did not take great shots."
Vince Carter: Despite the loss, New Jersey's fourth straight defeat, Vinsane was feeling good. "We let one slip away. But the positive I take out of it is that we were able to fight back and not lay down. We lost by 10 points or so, but I think guys continued to fight, continued to play hard just to chip away and try to get ourselves back in it. They just did a great job of closing us out." That's right, Vince! The glass is half full! (Of crap.)
Carlos Boozer: Yes, the Jazz lost, but here was Milsap's line: 20 points (9-for-15) and 12 rebounds despite limited minutes due to foul trouble. So, uh, Carlos who?
The Portland Trail Blazer defense: Rolling over for LeBron James (34 points and 14 assists) is one thing, but giving up a season-high 33 points -- including a career-high six 3-pointers -- to Mo Williams is a little less excusable. The Cavaliers shot almost 53 percent for the game and hit 11-for-19 from the Land of Three. Said Portland coach Nate McMillan: "When you're opposing players like LeBron James and Mo Williams, especially at their best, you've got to be more aggressive." Gee, Nate, ya think?! Can I get that memo I made for the Heat back from Dirk and the Mavs so I can give it to the Blazers? Thanks.
The Sacramento Kings: A few days ago, I named the Kings the Worst Team in the League. And, as if to prove me right, they immediately dropped a home game against the worst team in the East. Way to step down to the challenge, Sacramento! The Kings, by the way, have yet to defeat an Eastern Conference team. It was bad enough that they let the Wiz score 110 points on 52 percent shooting, but here's some added perspective for you from the AP recap: "Having failed to score 100 or more points in 11 of the past 12 games, the Wizards went over the 100-point mark on a Darius Songaila basket with 5:04 left in the game." Wow, huh?
The Los Angeles Clippers: Oh, they are SO who we thought they were. Minus their four best players -- Baron Davis (bruised tailbone), Chris Kaman (strained left arch), Zach Randolph (sore left knee) and Marcus Camby (sprained left ankle) -- the Clippers were forced to let Brian Skinner man the middle with predictably disastrous results: Andrew Bynum scored career-high 42 points (on 17-for-24 shooting) to go along with 15 rebounds. That made Bynum the first Laker other than Kobe Bryant to drop 40 since Shaq had 48 against Boston on March 21, 2003. Speaking of Kobe, he had his second triple-double in three games (18 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists). It might be time to change the Clippers team name to "The Los Angeles Props."
The Golden State Warriors: It's never good to lose at home. It's even worse to lose to the worst team (record-wise) in the NBA. And it's even WORSTER to do it the way the Warriors did it: After scoring 121 points (which included a mind-boggling 38-for-40 from the charity stripe) on 52 percent shooting. Of course, that'll happen when you give up 122 points, the last 2 of which came on a buzzer-beater from Jeff Green. It was the Thunder's third road win of the season.
Don Nelson, quote machine: Alex B noted a little grumpiness in Nelson's post-game comments: "Not sure if you've seen this one, but here's what Nellie had to say about Jeff Green's buzzer beater that won the game for the Thunder against that lousy team of his. 'I don't believe (Green) called bank on the shot. I believe he shot it so poorly it went in. It was one of those shots.' Now I don't know if that's WotN material, but it sure sounds like a combination of sour grapes and desperately sad trombone to me. Especially since the Warriors had allowed 120 points prior to that game-winning shot. From the Thunder. At home." Alex, that is most definitely WotN material. Thank you.
NBA.com: Thanks to Josh, Gab V. and Pabjor for passing this along. Apparently, Derrick Rose is the most prolific rookie scoring machine in, like, forever. You'd think the Bulls would have a better record with rose averaging more than 1,600 points per game...
Grizzlies-Bobcats: It looks like the Grizzlies will definitely have a starter for the All-Lacktion Team as Greg Buckner has honed the art of being a regular non-factor, showing up tonight with +1 (turnover) in 3:12. For Charlotte, Mark Cuban's Folly, er, DeSagana Diop proved why he recently earned a one-way ticket out of the Mavs, by grabbing a rebound that interfered with a solid three minutes of mediocrity (where he fouled twice).
Suns-Knicks: The matchup of the two Mike 'antoni squads past and present was full of offense and efense (yep, no D!) with both teams breaking the century mark. So could there still be some stunningly bland statlines? Oh yes -- Alando Tucker gave the ball away once for +1 in 4:02 for Phoenix.
Celtics-Heat: Patrick O'Bryant served as tonight's human victory cigar for Boston, netting Doc Rivers and his squad a solid 2.5 trillion fortune. But this one-time creation of wealth doesn't compare to the consistency of another probable All-Lacktion superstar, Yakhouba Diawara, who keeps the Heat's spot on the lacktion reports nice and warm. Diawara bricked thricely from past the arc for +3 in 7:44, while apparently Jamaal Magloire has become his apprentice, matching his teammate's +3 (in 6:21) via foul, missed shot, and turnover. Since the Heat are still in some way under Pat Riley's watch, the "ffense" approach (no O!) was only fitting, except that that also required a defensive effort that didn't happen, as the Celtics' run through slumpbusting teams continues.
Raptors-Pistons: With Jake Voskuhl not getting any court time this evening in Auburn Hills, Toronto needed a fresh face to live down to low expectations, and they got it in rookie Nathan Jawai, whose first game in the Association saw him losing the ball to the Pistons once for a +1 in 3:05. Jawai, originally picked by the Pacers but then sent along to the Raptors as a traveling companion for The Drain, was until tonight in the NBA D-League. This apparently gave him time to be interviewed by AOL Fanhouse about nearly being eaten by a crocodile. I wonder how many rookies over the years have racked lacktion in their first ever appearance, and how many of those folks have gone the extra mile to take home a bonus trillion. You only get one chance to make an unimpressive first impression after all!
Jazz-Rockets: Jarron Collins bricked once and took a foul to give Utah +2 in 5:20.
Wizards-Kings: Suckramento's Bobby Jackson missed two shots (once from downtown) for +2 in 5:50.
Cavs-Blazers: Tarence Kinsey is to lacktion what King Crab is to scoring - truly elite. And when called upon to do absolutely nothing in the name of bawful, Kinsey delivered this evening at the Rose Garden. He knocked in a 26 second Mario, a fine nonperformance alongside the equally brave effort of fellow Crabolier Darnell Jackson who earned a mention in the lacktion report with two fouls and a brick for +3 in 9:48. This is Kinsey's fourth unproductive game in six days, a very effective way to make a case that he unquestionably should be chosen for the Basketbawful All-Lacktion team. His combined stats in those four appearances? One foul in five minutes and four seconds spread out over 192 minutes of game time. I'm not sure we've ever witnessed a sustained run of pure nothingness like this before, but it is glorious.
Kobe Bryant: Mamba invited all the Lakers over to Luke Walton's place for an after-game party. At one point, he pretended to go to the bathroom but instead filled Luke's underwear drawer with women's panties. He then yelled out, "Hey, everybody! Luke's drawers! They're filled with lady's undies! Come look!" Now the rest of the team believes Luke likes to crossdress.