Patrick O'Bryant: Seems that Patty 'O thumped Brian Scalabrine in the noggin during practice on Tuesday and gave Scal a concussion. It was Veal's second concussion in three days (the first was suffered during the Celtics' thrashing of the Mavericks on Sunday). And it looks like Brian will be out indefinitely.
Said Ray Allen: "It just looked like he got hit in the head. I know he got hit last game in the head. He went down and just stayed down and looked disoriented." Added Doc Rivers: "He got hit in the head and he just had a mild concussion. I don't know if he was out but he was close. He'll be out probably for quite some time because of that, would be my guess, for quite some time."
I'm tempted to laugh this injury off -- I mean, we're talking about Brian Scalabrine here -- but, for whatever reason, Scal has actually seemed to play a big part in Boston's recovery from that 2-9 stretch...even if his numbers might not have shown it. This might be a bigger blow to the C's than it looks like on paper.
The Indiana Pacers: Let's see: 111 points, 50 percent shooting, 21 assists...the raw numbers are enough to make you think the Pacers had a pretty good night. But those stats are damn, dirty liars. Shame on them.
Now, mind you, the Pacers came into last night's game having lost nine of 14 games that have been decided by 3 points or less. But they made sure that whole "close loss" thing wouldn't be a problem against the Magic, since they were down 18 after one quarter and the rest of the game was played only because there's no mercy rule in the NBA.
The Pacers ended up surrendering 135 points on 55 percent shooting. They also got pounded on the boards 50-29. Oh, and Mickael Pietrus, who missed the Magic's last 12 games with a broken wrist, came back and played like an All-Star off the bench (27 points, 8-for-13, 10 rebounds, 4 assists). Yeah...that kind of stuff will happen when you're the league's 28th ranked defensive unit. (Only the Kings and Warriors spread their legs wider to give up more points.)
Danny Granger, hyperbole machine: Regarding the Magic: "They are the best team in the East. Two words -- Dwight Howard -- explain it. He is the most dominant player since Shaquille O'Neal -- hands down." I know that blowouts can sometimes scramble a player's brain, so I'll give Danny a mulligan on that statement. Because unless I'm misremembering, the Celtics went into Orlando last week and dealt with the Magic pretty handily. As for the Dwight-Shaq comparison, I'll assume he means "frontcourt player" and not just "player" and leave it at that.
The Sacramento Kings: It's a sad statement when losing by only 7 points to the Craboliers is a major moral victory for a team. But then, the Kings have lost sixth straight games, dropping to 10-36 on the season and 0-19 against Eastern Conference opponents. Hell, when the Kings finish within 20 points of anybody, that game should fall into the "Losses That Aren't As Bad As Others" column I'm lobbying to have added to the NBA season standings.
As an aside, Sacramento's defense rolled over like a cockroach somebody just doused with Raid and several industrial strength kitchen cleaners, giving up a career-high 43 points with 11 assists to Mo Williams and a way-too-casual triple-double (23 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists) to LeBron James.
The Cleveland Craboliers: The Crabs seemed to sense they could come out and crush the Kings with little more than a halfhearted effort. And they were right...which is probably why they decided to sleepwalk through their defensive assignments. The Kings, who usually put up 99 PPG on 44 percent shooting, were playing in Cleveland against a Crabs squad that's giving up a league-best 90 PPG on 42 percent shooting. So why did Sacramento finish with 110 on 50 percent shooting? I think we all know the answer to that one. Mostly 'cause I gave it in the second sentence of this paragraph.
Meaningless stats: This is what the AP recap had to say about the Mo-LeBron tag-team effort against the Kings: "It was the first time two teammates have recorded at least 23 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in the same NBA game since Cleveland’s Butch Beard and John Johnson on Dec. 23, 1971, at Atlanta." Not sure what that tells us, but it's sort of interesting. By the way, "Butch Beard" and "John Johnson" are now my two most favorite names ever.
The Memphis Grizzlies: Still no dead coach bounce in Memphis, where the Grizzlies got blown out last night by the visiting Nuggets despite forcing Denver into a season-high 27 turnovers. It was the Grizzlies' 10th straight loss and 18th in their last 20 games. Said new coach/warden Lionel Hollins: "I can't speak for anything before I got here. But what it looks like to me is the guys aren't in good shape and, as soon as there is a little bit of adversity, we tend to start going our own way and doing our own thing. We have to develop some discipline to stay with what we are doing and play together." Wow. Way to throw both the previous coaching staff AND your players under the bus, Lionel. That should get you inside the circle of trust really quickly.
Oh, and in case you're at all interested in numbers, the Griz scored only 85 points on 37 percent shooting and, like the Nuggets, had a season-high in turnovers with 26.
Bob Delaney: You can file this one under "Joey Crawford Specials." While he was plopped down on the bench in the final minute of the first quarter, Chauncey Billups waved a towel at official Michael Smith after Nuggets center Chris Andersen was called for charging. And he got T'd up for it. Said Mr. Big Shot: "I thought it was a horrible call, and I just waved a towel and said, 'It's terrible,' to the ref way down there. Bob (Delaney) from over there somewhere called a technical."
Here's my theory on cheap T's: The refs get jaw music all game long, every game, from coaches, players, fans. And at some point they just snap. Wouldn't you?
The Utah Jazz "bench": Sure, it's been shortened by injuries to Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko. But they were outscored 25-6 by San Antonio's pine riders and, in addition to shooting 2-for-9, finished with almost as many fouls (5) as points. By the way, regardless of whether the Russian Rifle ends up missing the rest of the season, the Jazz are officially snakebitten this season. They're never going to recover from all these injuries and mount a serious threat in the West. Gah! So irritating.
The Los Angeles Lakers: It seems like every time that Laker Mania starts to reach epic proportions, they suffer a stupid loss or two. It happened back in December against the Pacers and Kings, and it happened again last night. At home. Against the Bobcats.
Look, I know the 'Cats have been playing better lately. But there was no excuse for this loss. I mean, the Lakeshow and their "improved defense" gave up two near-triple-doubles to Boris Diaw (23 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists) and Raymond Felton (21 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists) and let bench jockey Shannon Brown -- who scored 5 of his 14 points in the second overtime -- do a pretty good Gerald Wallace imitation after Wallace left the game due to injury (see below). That's in addition to Raja Bell's 17 points and Emeka Okafor's double-double (18 points, 11 boards). Okafor even had 2 assists!
Now, the Bobcats, no doubt, were pumped up to play the Lakers, but it sure seems like the Lakers weren't exactly roused to play back. Which I guess worked out for the fans, since the many people who voted for this game to be shown on NBATV were rewarded by two extra periods and plenty of drama. Of course, this game wouldn't have gone to even one overtime if not for...
Boris Diaw and Raja Bell: Man oh man would the Charlotte players be kicking themselves today if they'd lost last night's game. And by "themselves" I mean "Boris and Raja." Why? Because they combined to miss five free throws in the final 2:08 of the fourth quarter (two clanks by Raja and three clunks by Boris). So much for veteran poise. I guess they had a bad case of the OHMYGODWEMIGHTACTUALLYBEATTHELAKERS-itis.
Andrew Bynum: Hey, Andy, pick on somebody your own size, okay?
Steve Nash, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Several people sent in this quote from Nash, which was too good to omit. Regarding the many Phoenix players who require touches and shots: "A lot of mouths to feed. I'm willing to just feed and feed. ... So trying to get Amare off, getting, Shaq off...getting [Jason Richardson], Grant [Hill], Leandro [Barbosa]. ... A lot of mouths to feed."
Wow. Kind of sounds like what I'd expect to hear during an interview with a gay porn stars. Do those guys ever get interviewed? Or even straight porn stars for that matter? And if so, what insight could they possibly provide? "Yes, Jenna, could you please tell us what it's like having so many mouths to feed, what it's like having to get several men off at the same time...?"
The ultra rare Basketbawful mea culpa: In yesterday's Worst of the Night post, Wild Yams chided the Oklahoma City fans for not coming out in force to see their Thunder actually win a game. So Basketbawful reader Sami wrote in to set the record straight:
"I just read in your blog about how you put down the Thunder fans for not showing up merely because of 'bad weather.' That's a cheap shot. The ice storm we got was really bad; the governor declared a state of emergency for every county in the state, and numerous people have crashed and died. My school has been canceled twice (Whoo!), and Bedlam was on the same night, which A) is a big deal for all Oklahomans and B) Oklahoma State gave free admission to Bedlam because of the bad weather. I know Seattle people probably get that more than we do, but that alone makes it worse for us; we are not used to it. Add the fact that it was drizzling all day with the temperature under freezing, and you get a whole lot of ice."
Fair enough, Sami. Our bad. No Thunder game is worth risking life and limb, that's for sure.
Stephon Marbury: Yesterday, during his live chat on ESPN, Starbury was asked if, given the chance and knowing what he knows now, he'd go back and sign with the Knicks again. AND HE SAID YES. But wait until you read why: "The first day I came back it was a [sic] rebrith for me from a basketball perspective. I was playing in my hometown. I would do it all over again, because I have learned so much and grown so much because of the move. I was able to build Starbury.com. There have been a lot of things that has allowed me to build a successful sneaker and clothing line and made me a better person and helped me grow."
Yowsers. As chris said in an email: "So let's see, if he came back to the Knicks and did it all over again, he'd feel the most important part would be to build an Internet.com brand? I thought that 'winning a championship' or 'not causing locker room spats' were more critical for a basketball rebirth...." Not to mention "not banging a team intern in an SUV after a group outing to a strip club." You know, for example.
Kobe Bryant: In addition to fouling out of the Lakers double-OT loss to the Bobcats last night, Mamba has, apparently, gotten to the people serving Tim Duncan's Gatorade...
(Thanks to everybody who sent this video in, and reuben for inspiring me to use it for my Daily Kobe. It appeared on TrueHoop yesterday, but it's actually been around for a while. In fact, I back-linked to it on Deadspin last year.)