Memo to Al Thornton: Welcome to Dan Gadzuric's poster. Population: You.
Happy MLK Day, everybody. I'm taking advantage of a rare day off to lounge around and watch the NBA...just like Dr. King would have wanted. But since I know some of you poor fools are stuck at work, here's an abbreviated Worst of the Weekend. And thanks to Jundi for today's pic.
The San Antonio Spurs: They got blown out by 22 in Philly as the Sixers shot 57 percent from downtown and Thaddeus Young scored a career-high 27 points. Said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "We're supposed to be a pretty good defensive team and it hasn't looked like it for a while. We're not the team we've been in the past couple years on the defensive end. It's really troubling." So troubling, in fact, that Gregg amended that statement prior to playing the Bulls on Saturday night to: "We suck at defense."
Elton Brand: The Sixers have won seven in a row and clawed their way back to .500...all without Brand. Memo to Elton: Your team is obviously much better without you. Sorry 'bout that.
The New York Knicks: They were up 87-81 against the worst-in-the-Eastern-Conference Wizards with 4:35 to play...then watched Washington go on a 15-0 run as they themselves missed nine straight shots. Fail. Said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni: "It felt like somebody hit me in the stomach." Don't worry about Mike, though. After what the Suns went through against the Spurs during his tenure, he's used to that feeling.
Chris Bosh: The Craptors were down by only one point with just over a minute to go against the Pacers in Indy when Mike Dunleavy Jr. -- yup, you read that correctly -- suckered Bosh into fouling him on a three-point attempt. Funleavy then sank the free throws to force the dinos into extinction.
Jermaine O'Neal: The Drain returned from injury to face his old team and finished with 2 points (0-for-3), 7 rebounds, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls in a 111-104 loss. Wish I could say we miss you, J.O.
Whistle-happy officiating: Chris Paul got the old heave-ho in the final minutes of the Hornets' 92-78 loss to the Craboliers in Cleveland. What happened? I'll let CP3 tell the tale: "It's funn. I'm here in Cleveland a lot all summer. The two guys sitting courtside are two guys I'm with pretty often. They asked me what happened. I said, 'They called an offensive foul, ain't that a trip?' The referee heard me tell them that and he threw me out. I ain't got no reason to lie. I didn't say any curse words, but I got ejected. Do you think thats a reason to get ejected from a game?" Nope. Many thanks to the crew of Derek Richardson, Steve Javie, Tony Brothers for putting themselves ahead of the game.
The Detroit Pistons: Oh how the formerly mighty have fallen. In losing to the Thunder on Friday night, the Pistons suffered their first four-game losing streak since January of 2005. I mean, only 79 points against the Thunder? Really, guys?! And they followed up that most humiliating loss with a home defeat on Saturday to the Hornets. Said Allen Iverson: "Am I frustrated? Is there something beyond frustrated? That's where I am." Think how the Detroit fans feel, Allen.
The Phoenix Suns: Terry Porter spent so much time berating the league for the rotten officiating in Thursday night's loss to the Nuggets that he must have forgotten to prepare his team for Friday night's game against the Timberwolves. And Minnesota won it, in Phoenix no less. But, on the bright side, the Suns have scored 100 or more in a season-high nine straight games! Kevin Love dominated the paint with 17 points and 14 boards and the T-Wolves? They own the Suns for some reason.
Shaq: After rather infamously asking Kobe how his ass tastes over the summer, The Big I'm Sorry has spent most of the season kissing Kobe's butt-steak, going on and on about how they were the Lakers' best-ever one-two punch and openly pining for his days in L.A. The latest in Shaq's public apology mission was claiming on his Twitter that Kobe, not LeBron, should be this season's MVP. I wonder if Shaq actually watches any basketball when he comes to these decisions. I guess he's been spending too much time lately practicing his free throws (he was 8-for-11 over the weekend and is hitting a career-best 62.8 percent on the season).
The Sacramento Kings: Okay. With the Thunder on a little hot streak, I'm willing to go out on a creaky limb and pronounce the Kings to be the worst team in pro ball right now. I mean, how do you score 122 points on 52 percent shooting and lose to a sub-.500 team at home? Better ask the Kings. They know.
The Atlanta Hawks: Oh, hey, the gave up 119 points and lost to the then 11-win Golden State Warriors? They're now 3-6 since that eight-game homestand. And yes, I predicted this would happen and got mocked for it. By, like, two people, but still...I'm just sayin'.
Andrew Bynum: I'm still waiting for this kid to become the all-world center everybody claimed he was going to be after last season's amazing pre-injury start...of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Even at his best, he wasn't even putting up 36-year-old Shaq numbers. Again, just sayin'. But whatever. He's still "recovering." Okay. Sure. But that still doesn't excuse his getting outrebounded 20-3 by Dwight Howard in the Lakers 109-103 home loss to the Magic.
The New Jersey Nets: As bad signs go, a coach benching his two best players for the entire second half of a 20-point blowout is pretty bad. Said Nets coach Lawrence Frank, who sat Vince Carter and Devin Harris for the final two quarters: "I was totally embarrassed by our performance. It starts with me and goes on to our main players. It was an embarrassing start to the game I decided to go in another direction." Vinsane, for his part, seemed rather apathetic. What a surprise. Said Carter: "He made the call so I have to live with it. It's not easy to do but he felt like we weren't giving much to the team and he made a decision to go with a different unit. It's like that sometimes." It is?!
Gred Oden: Emeka Okafor (22 points, 11 rebounds) gobbled up The Next Great Center (8 points, 3 rebounds) who also got posterized by Gerald Wallace before fouling out. Wanna see?
The Miami Heat big men: Yao Ming set a franchise record by going 12-for-12 from the field and looked like he was running a layup drill against his Heat defenders. At this point, Pat Riley is probably ready to beg Alonzo Mourning to come back...even if 'Zo could only play five minutes per game.
The Milwaukee Bucks: Marcus Camby got added to the Clippers list of injured non-players, which already included Zach Randolph, Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Mike Taylor and Jason Hart, but Brian Skinner -- yes, Brian Skinner -- stepped in with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots to help L.A. break their 12-game skid at the Bucks' expense.
Friday lactivity report: Chris comes through yet again.
Spurs-Sixers: Kareem Rush gave Philly a +1 in 4:40 via missed three.
Knicks-Wizards: It's not often that the Generals can unleash an lavish human victory cigar, but a 15-2 run to close out the Knickerbockers certainly provided the right moment for Juan Dixon to step in and bring home a 4 trillion fortune.
Hornets-Cavs: As the "New Orleans Bucs" (or so those alternate jerseys would have you believe) put up anemic offensive nombers at the Q all evening, the Crabaliers were able to bring out not one, or two, but FOUR human victory cigars! Lorenzen Wright scored himself a 3 trillion jackpot, while Darnell Jackson and Jaward Williams became Mario Brothers for 20 seconds. Tarence Kinsey made yet another appearance with one foul for +1 in 3:19 of walking celebration time on the floor. Oh, and despite the extreme stack of lacktion from Cleveland's bench, their bench outscored the "Bucs" reserves 21-10 (mostly powered by Wally Szczerbiak and his 14 bench points, still more than the Hornets' pine-riders combined.) Maybe Byron Scott's squad should've really gone retro and asked for the ABA tri-color ball as well? That could've helped them make a few more baskets on a rather painful night.
Bucks-Kings: Bobby Brown's scoreline was almost as empty as the seats at Arco Arena's upper deck: in 3:05, he gave the home team a +2 via two pieces of masonry from downtown.
Hawks-Warriors: THE Mario West managed to be productive in his usual excessively short stint, getting a field goal and a an offensive rebound out of his seven seconds of floor time. (If he had as much playing time as Mike Bibby, this would average out to a 782 point performance with 356 rebounds, so yeah, MAYBE Mr. West should get more playing time.) But never fear, someone else actually did notch some measurable lacktion for Atlanta, in this case Randolph Morris, who took a foul for +1 in only 55 seconds.
Saturday lacktivity report: More from Chris:
Celtics-Nets: In a game where Vinsanity saw bench time after scoring only 5 points...Josh Boone provided the only lacktion, giving the residents of Jimmy Hoffa's final resting place a +2 (giveaway and foul) in 4:12.
Blazers-Bobcats: Nazr Mohammed played a forgettable enough game in order to hopefully avoid being the next reason for a Larry Brown meltdown, missing three shots and fouling twice for +5 in 7:04.
Hornets-Pistons: 6:40 of floor time for Detroit's Arron Affalo netted a +1 (missed three).
Sixers-Knicks: The Sixers' Theo Ratliff is known by most long-time readers of Bill Simmons articles for his expiring contract, but he decided to acquire wealth a little differently tonight at Madison Square Garden, via a 3.75 trillion.
Heat-Rockets: Yakhouba Diawara is making a case to be on this season's Basketbawful All-Lacktion Team, with another unremarkable stint on the floor. In a full 7:03, he took +3 via a brick, a giveaway, and a foul.
Sunday lactivity report: Chris weighs lacktion-lite schedule:
Suns-Raptors: Alando Tucker and Jared Dudley were trillionaire twins for Phoenix, earning themselves quite a bit of revenue at the Air Canada Centre with 3.75 trillion and 2 trillion respectively. On the other hand, Toronto's Jake Voskuhl (a likely selection for a Basketbawful All-Lacktion Team) went against form and ruined his unproductive statline of two giveaways and a foul in nearly six and a half minutes by giving out one assist.