Barnes
Nick Young: He aggressively pursue balls.

The Washington Generals: Henry Abbott was saying yesterday that there are three tiers of teams in the East: The Celtics, Craboilers and Magic are at the top, every other team in the East except Washington is in the middle, and the Wizards are alone on their own tier at the bottom. And last night's game was a prime example of why this is. For starters, the Wizards allowed Shaq to finish with a game-high 29 points despite it being the second night of a back-to-back for The Big Contract. Apparently Phoenix is beginning to realize they're in danger of missing the playoffs this year, so it looks like Shaq being able to take games off is no longer part of the game plan. On top of letting Shaq eat them up, after trailing by only two at home entering the fourth quarter, the Wiz made only 6 field goals the rest of the way, letting Phoenix outscore them 28-14 to finish out the game. The loss combined with the Thunder's win (see below) made them, officially, the worst team in the NBA. But, to be fair, you can't be expected to win many games when your starting point guard is...

Mike James: 36 minutes, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, zero points. Either Terry Porter's supposed commitment to D has turned Steve Nash into a defensive juggernaut, or Mike James is who we thought he was. I'm not sensing much seller's remorse from New Orleans on the trade they made to unload him awhile back.

The Big Cactus and Tough Juice Man Love: You just have to kiss a head that cute.


The Atlanta Hawks: Fresh off losing to the Suns the previous night, the Dirty Birds came out and laid an egg in Miami, trailing for all but 23 seconds of last night's game. After Marvin Williams hit a three-point shot to give the Hawks their only lead at 12-11 with 6 minutes to go in the first, Atlanta didn't hit another field goal till only 4:30 remained in the half, a span of over 13 minutes. That kind of futility can lead to some record lows, and that's exactly what happened last night as the Hawks set a franchise record for fewest first-half points with 27.

Mike Bibby: Apparently trying to one-up Mike James for Worst PG of the Night honors, Bibby put up a truly awful stat line for a point guard: 32 minutes, 5 turnovers, no assists, 2 points. And to think there's been minor rumblings about Bibby deserving an All-Star spot this year.

Joe Johnson, quote machine: "We just weren't playing hard." You know what? He's right. Here's a tip: Next game, try playing hard. I guarantee you'll give your team a better chance of success if you do.

The Houston Rockets: Yao missed his second straight game with a knee injury, thus depriving Nate Robinson of another chance to block one of his shots, so the Rockets were forced to play sans center yet again. Against a team like the Knicks that wants to do everything they can to lure you into a game of high-speed small ball, losing the one guy on your team who's taller than 6'9 can be a dangerous proposition (I know Mutombo is taller than 6'9, but he received a DNP-CD, most likely because he's roughly mummy age). Houston is a team that normally shoots fewer than 20 three-pointers per game, but last night they fell under D'Antoni's spell, firing up 33 shots from deep, bricking all but 10. The blame for this falls pretty squarely on...

Ron Artest, Rafer Alston and Tracy McGrady: Crazy Pills, Skip to my Lou and Knee-Mac fell right into the Knicks' trap and got suckered into bombing away, finishing the night a combined 5-22 from distance. The trigger-happy Knicks as a team only attempted 21 threes (hitting 6). I wonder if Kenny Smith is rethinking his prediction that Houston will win it all this year?

The Milwaukee M.A.S.H. Unit Bucks three-point Shooting: Losing your best shooter can really hurt a team's chances of scoring from deep. So can missing your starting center and his ability to let the team go inside out for open perimeter shots. Just ask the Bucks, who only shot 7 percent from downtown last night without Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut in the lineup.

Richard Jefferson
: With Bogut out for the 7th straight game with back spasms and now with Redd out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, Richard Jefferson is the lone Milwaukee player with a contract worth over $10m a year; but you wouldn't know it based on last night's game: 3-for-15 shooting (including 0-5 from beyond the arc) for 10 points in 34 minutes won't get it done. If the Bucks wanted that kind of production, they wouldn't have traded away Yi Jianlian.

The "Brand new" 76ers: Elton Brand made his return to the 76ers last night in New Orleans, and Philly responded by posting their lowest point total in three weeks. Brand was limited to zero points on three shots in 18 minutes of play, despite New Orleans missing both Tyson Chandler and David West. The 76er defense allowed New Orleans to shoot 14-31 from downtown, including a four-minute span from the end of the third quarter till early in the fourth when the Hornets hit 6 threes to push the lead from 3 to 16. Philly was clearly not learning by watching either, shooting only 2-14 from deep themselves.

The New Jersey Nets: This game was nowhere near as close as the 9-point margin would lead you to believe, as the Nets got their butts kicked up and down the floor for the first 40 minutes of the game, trailing by 28 with 7 minutes to play. Only a furious rally by New Jersey made the game look somewhat respectable, but you know it's bad when you outscore the opposition by 19 in the 4th quarter and still lose by 9. P.S. THEY WERE PLAYING THE THUNDER.

Vince Carter and Devin Harris: You might think a torrid New Jersey comeback would be fueled by the Nets' two All-Star hopefuls, but if you did you'd be wrong. Nope, neither of these players were even on the floor in the fourth quarter, with Lawrence Frank having long pulled the plug on this one (and who can blame him, down 28 to start the final 12 minutes). Being yanked early isn't why these two are being mentioned here though. No, it's because they combined to shoot 6--for-29 for 18 total points. That and the fact that they were -18 (Vince) and -25 (Devin) for the night, while Trenton Hassell, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Maurice Ager were +19, +21 and +11 off the bench, respectively.

Klahoma City fans: Their team stinks all year, and when they finally put on a clinic to become only the second-worst team in pro ball, a mere 5,000 people were there to see it due to bad weather. That faint sound you hear in the distance is the basketball fans in Seattle cursing in unison.

The L.A. Clippers: As always, the Clips were missing their four best players (Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman), as well as Mardy Collins (strained left calf) and Mike Taylor (broken thumb), but on the plus side, at least Brian Skinner seems to have recovered from the flu-like symptoms that kept him out of L.A.'s last game, so they had that going for them, which is nice. Nevertheless, the Clips at home had the game all tied up with less than 13 minutes go to before the wheels came off. Maybe with that patched-together group that Mike Dunleavy, Sr. had to throw out on the floor, 35 minutes of quality ball is all one can expect. Too bad the remaining 13 minutes were so miserable as the Blazers finished the game on a 42-17 run.

Ricky Davis: Looking through the Clipper lineup, it's tough to find too much fault with many of those guys. Most are rookies,second-year guys or fringe journeymen like Cheikh Samb. But not Ricky Davis. No, Ricky Davis is a basketball name that will live in infamy, and this game didn't help to clear any of the mud off his name. That he had no points on one missed shot with one turnover and one rebound are somewhat excusable since he only played six minutes. What can't be excused is that he only was able to get six minutes of playing time on such a depleted roster. In fact, outside of Steve Novak, the whole Clipper bench only played 19 minutes. Which brings us to...

Mike Dunleavy, Sr.: Hey Mike, if you're wondering why your team got outscored by 25 points in the last 13 minutes of the game, maybe it's because they were on the second night of a back-to-back and you decided to only go with a six-man rotation. Mike D'Antoni even thinks you didn't use your bench enough last night. Did you really need to give Eric Gordon and Fred Jones, a 20-year old rookie and a guy the clippers waived and then resigned three days later to a 10-day contract, 41 and 43 minutes last night? Surely Ricky Davis and Jason Hart could have contributed more than 14 combined minutes tonight, right?

The Portland Trailblazers: Shame on them for letting such a woefully understaffed Clipper team hang with them for 35 minutes!

NBA Marketing Geniuses: The NBA's online store is selling a Laker T-shirt in Celtic green, complete with a three-leaf clover on the sleeve. Who is more likely to want to own this: Laker fans or Celtic fans? Would fans of either team wear it? Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

Kobe Byrant: Lord Mamba snuck into Luke Walton's house and short-sheeted his bed, then waited till Luke fell asleep and placed his hand in a bowl of warm water.

Update! Bonus Bawful: Here's some other Bawful tidbits from ESPN today:

- Ron Artest made only one of his 10 three-point field-goal attempts in Houston's loss to the Knicks on Monday night. It was only the third time this season than an NBA player took at least 10 shots from beyond the arc and made no more than one.

- The Rockets led the Knicks 80-74 at the end of the third quarter on Monday night, but New York rallied to win, 104-98. The Knicks had been 0-21 this season in games in which they trailed heading into the fourth quarter. Prior to Monday night they were the only team in the league that had not won a game in which it was behind entering the final period.

- Minnesota defeated Milwaukee 90-83 on Monday night, overcoming a rough night for Sebastian Telfair, who was 3-for-13 (.231) from the field, with six turnovers. Only one other player in Timberwolves history had such a low field-goal percentage (min: 10 FGA) and at least that many turnovers in one game. That was Christian Laettner, who was 2-for-13 (.154), with six turnovers in a loss at Orlando in April 1994.

- Also, apparently Dwyane Wade is taking up two starting spots in the All Star Game.

About the author: Wild Yams is a frequent reader of Basketbawful and many other basketball blogs, and is just as much a pain in the ass here as he is on those other sites. Like LeBron James, he likes to refer to himself in the third person, but unlike LeBron James, he has not mastered the crab dribble.

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28 Comments:
Blogger Dan said...
Heads up -- Starbury chat at 4pm ET on ESPN.com!! http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=24817 This could be interesting...

-Dan B.

Blogger Jeri said...
"Did you really need to give Eric Gordon and Fred Jones, a 20-year old rookie and an undrafted signee who's been with the team less than a month, 41 and 43 minutes last night?"

Dude, Jones was drafted by the Pacers! He was their rookie back in...2003? Or was it 2004? Either way, he was a first round pick. And yes, I care this much about an ex-Pacer/former dunk champ/for-a-few-days-in-2005-was-a-shining-beacon-of-hope-for-Pacers-fans-after-the-brawl. And no, I am not lobbying for a job on 'Bawful.

Anyway, that's all. Felt like I needed to speak up for Jones. You do an amazing job by the way. Rest assured, you've got at least one fan from the Philippines.

- Jeri, from the Philippines

Blogger chris said...
I'm not so sure that Shaq starting (and scoring) against Washington doesn't count as one of his Contractual Rest Days...unless it really takes that much physical exertion to take advantage of the Generals' efense.

Anonymous Manute Bowel said...
some idiotic lacker fan will love that shirt! C'mon, do you over-estimate them?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Oops, my bad on Fred Jones. I just looked and saw he was a 29 year old player who's only been with the Clips for the last month or so and is signed for less than $50K for the season, so I'm guessing he's on some kind of non-guaranteed contract.

Here's some other Bawful tidbits from ESPN today:

- Ron Artest made only one of his 10 three-point field-goal attempts in Houston's loss to the Knicks on Monday night. It was only the third time this season than an NBA player took at least 10 shots from beyond the arc and made no more than one.

- The Rockets led the Knicks 80-74 at the end of the third quarter on Monday night, but New York rallied to win, 104-98. The Knicks had been 0-21 this season in games in which they trailed heading into the fourth quarter. Prior to Monday night they were the only team in the league that had not won a game in which it was behind entering the final period.

- Minnesota defeated Milwaukee 90-83 on Monday night, overcoming a rough night for Sebastian Telfair, who was 3-for-13 (.231) from the field, with six turnovers. Only one other player in Timberwolves history had such a low field-goal percentage (min: 10 FGA) and at least that many turnovers in one game. That was Christian Laettner, who was 2-for-13 (.154), with six turnovers in a loss at Orlando in April 1994.

Also, apparently Dwyane Wade is taking up two starting spots in the All Star Game.

Blogger chris said...
Wild Yams: With this dubious Wolves achievement firmly placed upon his gun cabinet, is Bassy now guaranteed a spot on the next Olympic team, as his forebear Mr. Laettner was?

Blogger chris said...
And now up on Deadspin: Cheikh Samb gets posterized!

http://deadspin.com/5140123/please-stand-clear-of-brandon-roy

Anonymous La Dolce Vita said...
A thought that occurred to me during last night's Rockets/Knicks game...

Remember when Tracy McLady would have just completely taken over a game that? Playing against a non-existent Knicks (d)efense? What does he do now? Sit at the three point line and chuck threes (9 of his 20 shots were 3 point attempts).

It's kind of sad to watch. I really think the guy is done.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
I think the basket and free-throw-stripe should get WoTN mentions for allowing Shaq to shoot 9/10 on free throws (What??)

Seriously, that is awful defense by the twine, rim, and backboard. Usually they hold him to sub-50% shooting from the line.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Nice post Yams. Generally reading your comments is a pain in the ass because of all the wall-o'-text, but this article was brilliant. Keep working on that crab dribble.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Chris, my favorite thing about Christian Laettner making the 1992 Dream Team was that he beat out Shaq for that spot because apparently he was considered to be the better player. That team was required to have at least one player who'd just graduated from college, and it came down to Laettner and Shaq. That's a pretty good illustration of the difference between playing in college and the NBA, I guess.

To answer your question, since Laettner had that historically bad game after making the Dream Team, I would guess that Bassy probably won't be on the 2012 Olympic squad, but you never know :)

T-Mac and the Rockets were spectacularly bad at the end of that Knicks game last night. McGrady, Alston and Artest combined to go 0-10 from 3-pt range in the last five minutes of the game, turning a 4 point lead into a 6 point loss. Way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, guys! The only two baskets Houston scored in those last 5 minutes were layups from Scola, which goes to show you that in crunch time it's usually better to go for the higher percentage shot than that knockout punch three pointer.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
AK Dave - You're right, Washington's free throw defense was awful last night. Shaqavich was definitely in the house.

AnacondaHL - Thanks :) My long-windedness finally worked to my advantage, I guess.

Blogger chris said...
Wow, 0-10? You think they could have used those bricks as a chance to burn off clock, instead of jacking it up from the perimeter without thinking. Clutch The Bear would have done a better job holding on to the league (but unlike Knee-Mac, Clutch isn't apathetic to the fourth quarter).

---

Looks like a Kings columnist at the Bee is practically praying for the Crabs to give up one of their better bench presences (Wally Sczerbiak) for either the overrated Brad Miller, or ex-trillionaire champion John Salmons. Wow, I think it's safe to say that times in California's capital are getting desperate, and that's not just because of the budget crisis:

http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/sports/kings/archives/018963.html

Blogger chris said...
Wild Yams: Maybe there was a free throw contest to determine whether Shaq or C.L. would be that last Dream Teamer? Except that, IIRC, Shaq wasn't as bawful at the charity stripe until his pro years from 93 to 08, save for those random runs where he'd get coaching here and there after public criticism.

It's the only thing I can think of where Laettner would have been a better option.

Anonymous flip said...
WotN honors should go to Cheik Samb for nearly causing a riot while being posterized by Brandon Roy. Don't have the YouTube link here, but the internets should be brimming with that video.

Blogger chris said...
flip: Thankfully, the video was up on Deadspin this morning:

http://deadspin.com/5140123/please-stand-clear-of-brandon-roy

Blogger chris said...
flip: Lemme update, it's now also in my lacktion report for today!

http://basketbawful.blogspot.com/2009/01/tuesday-morning-lacktion-report.html

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Brad Miller for Wally World would probably be a quality pickup for the Crabs, especially in terms of their ability to match up with Boston and the Lakers. That would give Cleveland another solid big to help out against those teams and their big front lines. Miller would also be another shooter for LBJ to pass to when he's double and triple teamed. I think John Salmons is somewhat underrated, but I don't think that the Crabs really need another guy who's game mainly consists of slashing to the rim.

Blogger chris said...
Meanwhile (and I hope this gets added to my lacktion report), Bill Simmons now declares Marreese Speights underrated, in the same breath with Millsap, Durant, and...Man-Ram!?!?

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3863472

CAPTCHA: "nadoushe" LOL

Anonymous kazam92 said...
As much as I hated ricky buckets last year, he shot the ball very well and has skills. I really dont know why he isn't the clippers leading scorer as of now. He's still in his prime

Blogger lordhenry said...
Wild Yams posted this? Uh-oh, will the bawful gods strike us down for a laker fan writing an article for this site? Hope not, cuz it was pretty good. And the other day I noticed a debate on whether God is a laker fan:

At the end of a long and productive life, Larry Bird dies and goes to heaven. When he gets there, God greets him at the gates and says "Come here Larry, there's something I want to show you." God takes Larry Bird to a green house with Celtics memerobilia everywhere and says, "this is your house Larry, your home in heaven forever." Awed, Larry begins to thank God for his generosity when he spies a huge mansion next door covered in yellow and purple, and through the window he can see the inside is filled with Lakers paraphanelia, "So who lives next door, Magic?" God grins, turns to Larry and says: "No, Larry, that's not Magic's house, it's mine."

Blogger nbakid23 said...
hey nice post. check out my blog too on the NBA...

http://nbatalkonthespot.blogspot.com/

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Just checking the scores on my way out of the office... what in the name of Ronny Seikaly is Orlando DOING to Indiana??? 80-57 in the third? Somebody is going to need to scrape them off the floor with a spatula by the time this one's over. Mike Dunleavy Jr 0-8, 2pts. The Dukeies are AWESOME, BABY!!

Blogger shayan said...
"The Milwaukee M.A.S.H. Unit" HAHAHAHAHAHahahahahhahaah that is toooooo funny!!!

Blogger Drake said...
Actually, if you read Simmons' column carefully, you would have noticed that he said Speights 'may be underrated, but who cares'. As in, he's pretty much a non-factor no matter how you slice it.

He also said Millsap was underrated only like Richard Jefferson, Ben Wallace, and Josh Howard are underrated - everyone keeps talking about how underrated these players are that they're no longer actually underrated. In fact, they're usually being grossly overpaid for being, at best, borderline All-Stars.

As for whom Simmons actually considers to be underrated:

Durant - I can sorta believe because he plays in such a shitty market and on such a shitty team. But I honestly don't know if he's the kinda guy who's actually going to help a team win, or a guy who puts up gaudy stats on shitty teams a la Mitch Ritchmond on the Kings. Simmons does make a good point - Durant's averaging 26-8 at 48% shooting since Thanksgiving, and he's still only 20 years old at this point.

As for Man-Ram. Nobody really underrates him, talent-wise and hitting-wise. But they underrate his talents in comparison against his supposed clubhouse chemistry problems and its impact on their team. Remember - during Boston's first championship season, Man-Ram was actually put on waivers for any team who wanted him to pick up. Nobody did. Sure, his contract was extremely intimidating, but still - these teams could have gotten one of the best, perhaps the best, hitter in baseball without having to give up any prospects or decent players.

Blogger chris said...
Drake: Being that we're on bawful, where Scalabrine and Ostertag are revered...if Simmons has declared Speights to not be worth caring about, he immediately needs to be keyed on as a potential lacktion superstar for the near future!

Blogger Drake said...
You make a good point Chris - I forget we're in a sort of Bizarro world sometimes here. Then again, some of the arguments on the comments page tell me otherwise, but whatever.

And in a way, just the fact that Simmons mentioned Speights - in whatever context - means that Speights can no longer be considered underrated. Or something like that.

Blogger Ry said...
Sweet Baby Jesus ... Did I just read that the Dirt Bombs just went over a freaking quarter without a field goal? They've just made the local eighth grade girl's team look like Seven Seconds or Less.

Bawful, you need a proofreader. I do it professionally. I love your column. I'd do it for free. Hit me.

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