Violent murders: Several readers emailed me or commented about this, but in case you hadn't heard: A woman found shot to death in a Chicago apartment was a former girlfriend of Eddy Curry and the mother of his 3-year-old son, according to Curry's attorney. Nova Henry and her nine-month-old daughter, Ava, were found dead in their apartment near the South Side on Saturday. Both died from multiple gunshot wounds. Yes, some evil bastard (or bastardette, I guess) shot a woman and an infant MULTIPLE TIMES. Curry's son was found at the scene, unharmed but covered in blood. According to Nova's great-aunt Dorothy Luvert: "...the [3-year-old] baby was sitting on the couch, covered in blood. He was alone. We don't know for how long. All he's doing is crying for his mama. That's what's killing me dead."
The police have a man "who had a romantic relationship" with Henry in custody. The details are a little sketchy, but turns out it might be an ex-boyfriend against whom Nova had a restraining order. According to a relative who asked not to be identified: "[The ex-boyfriend] said there was only one way out of this relationship." Talk about putting the "senseless" into "senseless tragedy."
Yao Ming: On Friday, the Great Wall had two of his bricks blocked by the Pacers before being forced out of the game with a sore knee. According to Yao himself: "X-ray pictures show everything is fine, no cracks. I think I will be fine." Still, he ended up missing Houston's win over the Pistons on Sunday. Could this be the precursor to Yao's annual season-ending injury? I guess we'll see...
The Phoenix Suns: Phoenix fell victim to a classic revenge game, as Boris Diaw went off (26 points, 10-for-16, 11 rebounds, 4 assists) and the Bobcats beat the Suns by 22 points. The Suns shot 36 percent, committed 24 turnovers, scored a season-low 13 points in the first quarter and were behind 59-37 at halftime. Steve Nash even missed a free throw for the first time in a month. In other words: Total meltdown. Like a marshmallowpeeps in a microwave.
Grant Hill, quote machine: Basketbawful reader Cam sent in this quote from Hill regarding Boris Diaw's relocation to Charlotte: "He's a better bride than a bridesmaid. Here he has a chance to be a bride." I'm pretty secure in my masculinity, but that's not an analogy I'd ever want a friend using about my basketball career. Then again, Boris IS French...
Amare Stoudemire: His post-All-Star vote-in malaise continued against the Bobcats: STAT's stats: 12 points (5-for-14) and 6 turnovers. Is it too late to give his spot to Bruce Bowen?
The Detroit Pistons: Holy freaking crap. Two nights after a 34-point loss in Milwaukee, the Pistons lost by 21 at home to the Dallas Mavericks. THEN they lost on Sunday (bad day for them) to the Yao Ming-less Rockets. They are now 2-6 since Hamilton returned from a groin injury and are 20-19 since trading for Allen Iverson. Said Antonio McDyess: "It's sickening." Pretty much. And just think, Dice: Danny Ainge tried really, really hard to bring you to Boston. I bet you'd like a mulligan on that decision, wouldn't you?
The Memphis Grizzlies: They fired head coach Marc Iavaroni and replaced him with Lionel Hollins. The result? Back-to-back double-digit losses in New York (108-88) and at home against the Nets (99-88). So much for the dead coach bounce.
The Milwaukee Bucks: Their 30-point loss in Atlanta on Friday night was lowlighted by Andrew Bogut's fifth straight absence with back spasms and a seven-minute first-half stretch in which they went field goal-less. At one point, during a 3-on-1 fast break in which the Hawks' lone defender chose to concede the basket, Richard Jefferson blew a layup and Michael Redd gonged the follow-up. Things got even worse for the Bucks on Saturday night despite a 2-point win over the Kings: They lost Michael Redd for the rest of the year. Redd tore ligaments in his left knee when he came down on teammate Luke Ridnour's foot after missing a third-quarter shot. So, you know, you can go ahead and stamp "Finished" on Milwaukee's season.
The New Orleans Hornets: They angry buzzers fell victim to the suddenly unstoppable Timberwolves, who dropped 37 points on them in the fourth quarter to pull out a 116-108 win. By the numbers, New Orleans has the league's best interior defense, but the Wolves scored 52 points in the paint and posted a 42-26 rebounding advantage. It's worth noting that the Hornets were without Tyson Chandler and David West, and were thus forced to rely on Melvin Ely and Ryan Bowen for in-the-paint protection. And that...didn't work. A lot.
The Chicago Bulls: Let's see, they lost their last home game until February 10th by 20 points to the Toronto Craptors and then they kicked off their seven-game road trip by blowing a 16-point lead en route to a come-from-ahead overtime loss to the Timberwolves. Sigh. It's a depressing time to be a Bulls blogger...
The Golden State Warriors: They came THIS CLOSE to pulling out a nearly-unthinkable win at home over the Cleveland Craboliers. Then this happened...
I guess sometimes four seconds is too much time for a team to play defense. Assuming that team is the Warriors.
The Klahoma City Thunder: The Clippers were, per usual, missing Zach Randolph (left knee), Baron Davis (bruised tailbone) Marcus Camby (left ankle), Chris Kaman (left arch) and Mike Taylor (broken right thumb). Then they lost Brian Skinner to flu-like symptoms. Fortunately, they were playing the Thunder. Eric Gordon, a rookie who was slated for, like, 10 backup minutes at the point this season, dropped a career-high 41 points on the defenseless Thunder and Ricky Davis had 11 assists. Yes, that Ricky Davis. (Although Davis did score only 1 point on 0-for-6 shooting.) Memo to the Thunder: When you make Ricky freaking Davis look like the second coming of John Stockton, you have failed. Very much.
The Orlando Magic: They Magicians followed up that decisive home loss to the Celtics by losing to the Heat in Miami. Dwyane Wade and company built a 15-point lead before holding on to win 103-97 on the strength of their backcourt (Wade and Mario Chalmers combined for 47 points on 19-for-33 shooting plus 12 assists) and a franchise-low 4 turnovers.
Anthony Johnson: Okay, so the vet fouled Chris Quinn three times in a 15-second span early in the fourth quarter and then got a technical foul for arguing the last call. Uh, Anthony, I'm pretty sure Stan Van Gundy didn't call for Hack-A-Quinn.
Mark Blount: Erik Spoelstra dusted off Blount and actually played him 19 minutes against the Magic. Blount logged more PT in the first half -- 8 minutes, 38 seconds -- than he had in Miami’s last 26 games combined. Blount's last appearance was on December 14...which means he'd been DNP-CD'd for 18 straight games. The result of the expected usage: 7 points on 8 shots and 1 rebound. Hope you enjoyed the daylight, Mark.
The Utah Jazz: On Saturday night, they lost for the first time in eight games at home (to the Crabs) despite Deron Williams' season-high 16 assists and Paul Millsap's double-double (24 points, 15 rebounds). It was Utah's fifth loss at home this season, which is one more defeat than they suffered in Salt Lake City all of last year. Then, on Sunday, they capped off a winless weekend by losing 117-97 to the Nuggets in Denver. The low point of that loss was Nene's 12-for-12 shooting, which made him the third player since the Nuggets joined the NBA in 1976-77 to make 10 or more shots without a miss. HISTORIC FAIL. Man. Jerry Sloan is wondering whether he can revoke that one-year extension he just signed...
Chauncey Billups, quote machine: Regarding Nene and his 12-for-12 sniping against the Jazz: "I don't think I'll ever go 12-for-12 because I'm going to shoot until I miss." I'm tempted to laugh, but he's not kidding.
The Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs became the second team in the last week (along with the Heat) to get "Housed" by the Celtics: Eddie House tied for team honors in scoring by dropping 23 points on the strength of 7 three-pointers. Take away Eddie's points, though, and Dallas still would have lost by a point. Boston hit almost 54 percent of their field goals -- and almost 60 percent of their three-point shots -- and the Mavericks were blown the hell out despite owning an incredible 36-12 advantage on free throw attempts ON THE ROAD. Things got so out of hand that none of the Celtics' starters logged a single minute in the fourth quarter. The Mavs have now lost six of their last nine. Pretty soon, Mark Cuban is going to have permenant facepalm marks on his face.
Dirk Nowitzki: Shooting 4-for-17 is bad. Being seven feet tall and getting your shot blocked by Eddie House -- who's 6'1" on a really good day -- is much worse.
The San Antonio Spurs: I know it's only one game out of 82, but their loss in L.A. made it look like teh Spurs are waaaaay behind a healthy Lakers squad. And yes, as Wild Yams pointed out in a comment, I called it.
Now, at first, Odom denied it even happened, saying that "somebody's wrong" and that it was "too bad the Clippers feel like that" because he simply "hung on the rim." Then he kinda-sorta-maybe said he's sorry. "My intention is not to offend anybody, especially when I'm playing basketball. I wish [the Clippers] well -- everyone from the players to everyone in the front office. I'm being dead serious, man. I played for the Clippers six years ago. I don't even know how to respond, but, no that wasn't my intention at all."
Mike Miller: It's bad enough he looks like he belongs in the WNBA, but the dude has developed a rather severe case of scaredtoshootit-itis. I mean, dude was straight up afraid to launch the ball against the Bulls on Sunday. He's a shooter, right? Shooting is what he does. It's all he does. That would be like if I suddenly developed an allergy to sarcasm.
The Atlanta Hawks: Their 5-point home loss to the Suns was marked by bad O (41 percent shooting) and even worse D (the Suns shot 55 percent and scored 104 points despite committing 19 turnovers). Mind you, this was a Phoenix team that had lost five of six and were coming off a season-worst 22-point loss at Charlotte.
The Los Angeles Clippers: They may have beaten the Thunder, but they also got blown out by the Warriors, who got nearly perfect shooting out of Corey "Bad Porn" Maggette (who scored 20 points on 7-for-8 from the field). After the game, Maggette -- who was positively glowing -- said: "It's just special to get a win. I know they were undermanned over there and we just wanted to go out there and get us a win. Just coming off the bench trying to give the team a lift, that's my job right now." Who is this guy and what did he do with Corey Maggette??
The Lord our God: An anonymous reader posted this amusing comment: "I nominate God for WoW for playing favorites. Said Nene after going 12-12: 'All the glory I give to God.' Said Redd after a season ending injury: 'I'm deeply disappointed but everything in life happens for a reason and this is God's plan for me.' God bless Americans?" Hey, you left one out. After the Timberwolves beat the Bulls to win for the ninth time in 11 games, Wolves coach Kevin McHale said: "The players have bought into each other. It's 98 percent players and prayer." If all this is true, and God is mucking around with the NBA as much as the players and coaches seem to think, does that mean...He's a Lakers fan?! [shudders]
Friday lactivity report: Chris and his famous lacktion update are back:
Mavs-Pistons: Mark Cuban will be pleased with his understudy Matt Carroll, who showed prowess in creating wealth out of nothing via good timing (the same skill that turned Mr. Cuban from a mere Internet loudmouth into a billionaire Internet loudmouth). Carroll gave the Mavs a 1.66 trillion, which unlike his team owner's methods is a profit not requiring SEC approval.
Bucks-Hawks: Randolph Morris arrived in Atlanta this year after surviving a stint in the dark world of Isiah Thomas, and it's rather apparent that he gained a bawful skillset from his days in the Garden. At Phillips Arena, he gave the home team a +2 via brick and giveaway in 2:09, picking up the slack from a disappointingly passable appearance from THE Mario West, who ruined his own brick -and-giveaway run with an unwelcome board and assist.
Grizzlies-Knicks: Anthony Roberson may be playing on Mike 'antoni's efense-first Knicks, but he went for the anti-scoring route and nicely dropped a brick from downtown for a solid +1 in 1:50.
Hornets-Wolves: Despite all his best efforts, Kevin McFail's Navy won again, forcing him to reluctantly unleash a human victory cigar - something that one doesn't usually associate with Minnesota. So he called the clear centerpece of the OJ Mayo deal, one Brian Cardinal, who abundantly produced 4.9 trillion for the team treasury.
Raptors-Bulls: Night in and night out, Jake Voskuhl makes sure to bring his least to the court when he can, a sign of someone who has put in the years of work to become a reliable sedentary presence on the hardwood. His one foul for +1 in 1:11 reflects his status as Toronto's go-to guy for pointlessly eating up seconds on the court when asked. This compares to the not so stellar showing of Chicago's Joakim Noah, who had everything in his favor -- locker room dissension, non-existant chemistry, Vinny Del Negro's questionable coaching, and a team so bad that it was losing to the Craptors. All those bawful factors couldn't prevent himself from ruining over fourteen minutes of fail (including two bricked free throws and three giveaways) with three rebounds before fouling out. There's a reason Noah is not making the All-Lacktion Team.
BTW, as I feared, just as Tarence Kinsey got hot with four straight games of lacktion, he melted down at the Oracle this evening. Tempted so much by efensive opposition, Kinsey went against form to score multiple times (thus ending his brilliant run of non-contribution). Still, Kinsey should be applauded for making it to the report in that many contests in a row, overcoming three near-miss appearances of slight production to provide us an all-time streak of unremarkability.
Saturday lacktivity report: More Chris! More lacktion! Kind of...
First off, I was at a monster truck show at Arco Arena on Saturday night, and the event was sold out, prompting the announcer to say: "Nice that we can sell out this place since there are some other events that come here that aren't able to."
Gee, I'm sure the Maloofs were happy to see their prized possession smacked down like that, but when you have a one-time trillionaire champion as one of your starters...that speaks for itself.
Anyways, Sobering Saturday was a night of incredible NON-lacktion, as several players let down the principles of bawful with barely measurable contributions, most not noteworthy enough for mention here. But some of these were either surprisingly mediocre starting performances - where achieving lacktion is much more difficult - or shocking missed opportunites from the superstars of lacktivity. The evening's results remind us how much we Bawful readers need to never take blank statlines and negative numbers for granted, as even the greatest grifters of the bench can have an off night...er...an "on" night, once in a while.
Magic-Heat: HUH? YAKHOUBA DIAWARA A STARTER? Injuries must be taking their toll on the Heat, as putting him in a position to back into positive statistics strikes me as a reckless, career-changing maneuver. Not only did he start, but he got a full 24 minutes of floor time, over half the match actually. Still, it wasn't an absence of effort that prevented him from officially racking lacktion; he did foul and brick three times each and would have put in a historic non-performance. Except somehow, he managed to make a shot, and also stand in the right spot of the court for a board, thus relegating his start to obscurity.
Nets-Grizzlies: Marko Jaric is a former Clipper, a good place to hone the art of not contributing anything when on the floor. And, in four and a half minutes, two fouls were pointing the way -- but for the fact that the ball fell in his hands for a demoralizing board. He probably also was rueing his luck that the ball he threw at a random teammate turned into an assist, too.
Kings-Bucks: Dan Gadzuric, as a starter for the Bucks, found himself between a rock and a hard place -- being one of the first five to take the hardwood, at some point, the luck of the draw would go against him and place the ball in his hands. One brick, two fouls, and a giveaway in ten minutes would be spectacular even for a bench guy. Only that lacktion stars try to avoid the ball landing in their hands off the glass, or worse, giving the ball to a compatriot who can make a shot, two things that Gadzuric was guilty of tonight.
Cavs-Jazz: The Craboliers' Tarence Kinsey must be clenching his claws right now in frustration, after he botched a chance to get back to his all-lacktion form by taking the ball out of the air after it left a Utah player's hands - this despite two perfectly missed shots! While he did have that recent four-game streak that still arouses extremely loud chatter from the vaunted fraternity of lacktion enthusiasts worldwide, he has now choked 4 chances at stat line snoozing in the last 9 games as well, in addition to giving in to the desire to play non-bawfully against the Warriors. Shows you how difficult attaining the highest standards of suckiness can be.
Wizards-Blazers: Joel Przybilla picked a strange team to attempt to play lacktively against - the Generals. Yet he showed a surprising set of catatonic skills at his home court: not attempting a shot at all, and fouling three times in nine minutes. However, he could not avoid catching the ball for a rebound. The clumsiness of the Generals also ensured that shying away from potential physical contact was impossible, creating a situation in which the Vanilla Gorilla was forced to accept charity stripe time. And as anyone knows, free throws are pure kryptonite to lacktion, in this case resulting in two unwanted points.
Sunday lactivity report: Chris recovered from his monstrous truck experience to fulfill our lacktive needs.
Celtics-Mavs: Dallas -- facing the spotlights of the ESPN-on-ABC cameras -- demonstrated quite a bit of efense and ffense (as opposed to defense and offense of course), giving up 100 points in 2.9 quarters of bawful.
A reminder graphic: The Mavs are the 4th-oldest team in the NBA, meaning that they've already wasted their potential! LOL, in the 3rd, the broadcast team just showed Brian Scalabrine facepalming for about 30 seconds after he took a foul. Now the ABC cameras move on to Staples Center for a second, to the locker room...where we witness the TIM DUNCAN FACE!
Okay, the lacktivity rundown from this groaner: after James Singleton was forced back on in garbage time in the 4th to ruin a Mario he had developed in the first half, Leon Powe came in for the Celtics to attempt to show his waste disposal abilities, bricking twice and fouling once. (One of his bricks went to the netting, not even ABOVE the rim!) But then he unfortunately stood close enough to a Dallas player to be forced into successful defense, being the recepient of an unsolicited turnover - a steal on the statline, and the end of a strong run.
Dallas, er, Allas (at this rate) thus have brought out Matt Carroll to score some lacktion, and in five minutes, he was in fact responsible for the above giveaway - a smart move to ruin the other team's quest for lacktivity, while maintaining your own. Clutch! This power move led to a solid performance of +1 in 6:18.
Suns-Hawks: Louis Amundson and Jared Dudley were brothers in lacktion for Phoenix, respectively putting up +4 in 7:40 (three fouls, one giveaway) and +1 in 5:22 (one foul). (And this was a close game too, a 5 point win by the Suns!) Mario West did not make an appearance for the Hawks, but his craft of clumsiness was executed well by teammate Othello Hunter, who enviously chose to join the ranks of these writeups by tossing a brick for +1 in 1:04.
Rockets-Pistons: Kwame Brown is known for living down from expectations, and while he was given the chance to revolutionize the starting center job as a source of lacktivity, he let the ball fly off from the masonry into his arms, invalidating the paycheck to a 5 trillion profit.
Aubrey Coleman: This isn't NBA-related, but Aubrey Coleman of the Houston Cougars got ejected for stomping on Arizona's Chase Budinger's face after a charging call went against him in the second half of his team's game against the Wildcats.
As you could probably tell, it was one of those accidentally-on-purpose incidents that made you kind of hope that someday, somewhere, an grand piano will fall out of the sky and land on Coleman when he least expects it. But in the short term, the Basketball Gods had their revenge: Arizona scored 8 points in the final 1:30 of regulation to force overtime, during which they won the game 96-90.
Afterward, Coleman naturally issued a fake apology: "I want to apologize to Chase Budinger for what happened. I never meant to step on him. I have never been in an incident like this before, and I have nothing but respect for him as a great player. I love the game too much to do something like that intentionally. I want to say I am sorry from the bottom of my heart."
I'm sorry, Aubrey, but I've played a lot of basketball over the years. That head stomp wasn't an oopsie. Maybe you didn't mean to step on his face, but you weren't walking over him on accident. And your complete and total lack of remorse immediately following the incident kind of bears that out.
Micah Grimes: On Friday, I mentioned that high school girls basketball game in which Covenant School needlessly brutalized Dallas Academy 100-to-nothing. On Thursday, Covenant posted a statement on its Web site that said it "regrets...the outcome of the game with the Dallas Academy Varsity Girls Basketball team. It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christ-like and honorable approach to competition." It was signed by Kyle Queal, the school's headmaster, and Todd Doshier, chairman of the school's board of trustees.
That would have been an excellent time for Grimes, Covenant's head coach, to issue his own mea culpa. But a man who would willingly preside over a Cobra Kai-like beatdown of a group of instructionally-challenged girls -- Dallas Academy specializes in working with girls who have learning disabilities -- obviously doesn't believe in showing any human mercy. So here's the statement he posted on the Flight Academy Web site: "I respectfully disagree with the apology, especially the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel 'embarrassed' or 'ashamed.' We played the game as it was meant to be played and would not intentionally run up the score on any opponent. Although a wide-margin victory is never evidence of compassion, my girls played with honor and integrity and showed respect to Dallas Academy." He then concluded: "So if I lose my job over these statements, I will walk away with my integrity." (The statement has since been removed from Flight Academy's site.)
Well...he'll definitely be walking away: Covenant fired his pitiless ass. Let this be a lesson Grimes and anybody else who chooses to run up the score on a defeated foe (coughNewEnglandPatriotscough): It will always come back to haunt you. Maybe sooner. Maybe later. But always.
Update! Kobe Bryant: Mamba printed up several hundred copies of a flier that said: "GWM living with mommy looking for daddy. Prefer big hairy men, long walks on the beach, and being spanked. Call me anytime." At the end of the text was Luke Walton's phone number. Mamba then paid a homeless man $5 to pass out the flier all over L.A.