The Washington Wizards Generals: Here's the title of the AP recap: "Bobcats starters pound undermanned Wizards." That probably tells you all you need to know, but I'll expound anyway. Charlotte's starting five toyed with the Wizards Generals the way the Roadrunner used to toy with Wile E. Coytoe: Rookie D.J. Augustin scored 24 points on 7-for-12 shooting. Vladimir Radmanovic dropped 21 points on 8-for-14. (Those two guys also combined to shoot 9-for-17 from downtown). Emeka Okafor pwned the pain (16 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks) and even had 2 assists! Raymond Felton almost had his first career triple-double (15 points, 8 boards, 9 dimes) and pilfered the ball 5 times. Boris Diaw added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 7 blocked shots (plus 7 turnovers). It was a familiar theme for the Wiz Generals, who have now lost 10 of their last 12 games.
Said Antawn Jamison: "Groundhog Day. Defensively we're not getting stops and there were a couple of times we didn't even get a chance to shoot the ball." Not that it really mattered; Washington hit only 41 percent of the shots they did take. Random fact: The Wizards Generals are now 0-12 against the Southeast Division
Caron Butler, delusions of grandeur machine: With the league's second-worst record (11-42), pretty much all that's left for the Wizards Generals to do is look forward to next season. Which is exactly what Tough Juice is doing. "You get us all healthy, we can beat anybody, hands down. You get our core together, get a couple guys. Obviously it's trade time, lottery picks. We'll see what happens. We can be great next year." Whatever helps you sleep at night, Caron.
Mike James: The Amityville Scorer finished with 6 points (2-for-5), 5 assists and 4 turnovers. Best trade ever.
Elton Brand: The Sixers are on another winning streak without him. Just sayin'.
San Antonio Spurs: I've called it The Wounded Tiger Theory (as coined by Dick Motta). Bill Simmons stole that concept and renamed it The Ewing Theory. Whichever term you want to use, it applies to last night's Spurs-Craptors game, which Toronto won without Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon. In fact, the Craptors were reduced to nine available players when forward Joey Graham -- who had a career-high-tying 24 points in Tuesday's win over Minnesota -- left with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter because of a bruised right shin.
The loss was in part due to rookie Roko Ukic's career-high 22 points (on 9-for-13 shooting). It was also partly due to the fact that Matt Bonner -- who scored a combined 45 points (on 18-for-27 shooting) against the Celtics and Nets -- had zero points on 0-for-4 shooting. Look, Bonner was the X-Factor in those two wins, especially against the Celtics (who basically dared Bonner to beat them). So the people getting excited about San Antonio's resurgence should be reminded that much of their hope rests on the Red Rocket. Think about that.
Manu Ginobili, sore loser machine: "We shouldn't have lost this one. It's important to go into the break feeling good about yourself and on a good stretch. We were playing a team that isn't doing so well and has two injured players, so we should have done much better."
Matt Bonner, Canadian machine:From the game notes: "San Antonio's Matt Bonner, who spent the first two years of his career with the Raptors, is in the process of becoming a Canadian citizen and hopes to play for Canada's national team. Born in New Hampshire, Bonner has a grandfather from Newfoundland and his wife is from Toronto. 'I feel very strongly about representing Canada,' Bonner said. 'I feel like I'm part Canadian. It just feels right.'" Insert your own joke here.
The Phoenix Suns: The Suns were forced to face the Craboliers without Steve Nash, who "didn't dress to get extra rest for numerous sore spots." And it showed. Phoenix committed 26 turnovers which were converted into 34 points by the Crabs. They also let Mo Williams erupt for a career-high 44 on 18-for-26 from the field and 7-for-9 from beyond the arc. (Huh. I thought Nash was the reason the Suns can't guard opposing PGs....)
Anybody notice how Shaq has quieted down lately. He attempted only seven shots last night (of which he hit five) compared to 21 for Amare Stoudemire (of which he hit 9). Hm. I wonder if they're trying to show STAT off to increase his trade value. Note that, minus Nash, Amare had zero dunks and zero layups. He also missed two shots from one foot away, another two from only three feet and one from four feet. I'm just sayin'.
The Orlando Magic: Not only did the Nuggets end a 15-game losing streak in Orlando, they held the Magic to a season-low in points (73) and field goal percentage (30.4) while forcing them into a season-high in turnovers (24). Orlando's previous high in turnovers this season was 19 (against Minnesota on December 3), and their previous low shooting percentage was 36.8 percent (versus Atlanta on October 29). Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "We got absolutely dominated. Not one guy had a decent night offensively. Our starters, every single guy had three turnovers. We couldn't even keep from getting the ball taken out of our hands. It was an embarrassing night for our players, for me, for everybody." Agreed. Even I'm embarrassed. So's my purple unicorn sidekick, Sabra. Her whinny has been off all day.
J.J. Redick's D: Way to use the old 7-11 defense there, J.J.
The Detroit Pistons/Joe Dumars/Allen Iverson: With last night's 99-95 home loss to the Hawks, Detroit has lost three straight, 12 of 17 and fell to 23-24 since Iverson joined the team in what will go down in Pistons history as "The Infamous Chauncey Billups Trade." If the playoffs started today, they'd face Atlanta in the first round. and lose. Said The Not-Answer: "It's not a good feeling. The whole thing is to stay positive, stay together, not to point fingers and play the blame game. You don't win a championship at the All-Star break." Don't you just love rationalizations?
The Indiana Pacers: Well, this just epitomizes Indy's season-to-date. They had already beaten the Celtics and Lakers, and the previous night they beat the Crabs in what will probably become known as Makeup-Callgate. Then the Pacers followed up that inspiring win by getting blown out by the Milwaukee M.A.S.H. unit. The Bucks scored 122 points and shot nearly 54 percent from the field. Ramon Sessions scored 15 points and added a season-high 17 assists. The Pacers have now lost nine straight on the road are 6-22 outside of the Hoosier State.
But how 'bout those Bucks? Milwaukee reached 26-29, tying its win total from last season. They also improved to 2-1 without Michael Redd (knee), Andrew Bogut (back) and Luke Ridnour (thumb). And they're averaging 124 PPG in those three games, and freaking Sessions is averaging 28.3 points per game and 12 assists since being inserted into the starting lineup. Who knew?
The plus-minus score: I received this email from Basketbawful reader Matthew G.: "Proof that adjusted +/- is a total joke! Ramon Sessions was given a +/- of 0 when he had 15 points on 6 shots, 17 assists, and 7 boards in 33 minutes. The only real blemish was the five personal fouls." Yet another reason why I hate the so-called "advanced stats."
The New Orleans Hornets: The Celtics, probably steaming over back-to-back home losses to the Lakers and Spurs, traveled to 'Nawlins and put the Hornets in a vice...then started squeezing. Despite the return of Chris Paul (13 points, 6-for-15, 5 assists, 3 turnovers) and David West (15 points, 3-for-13, 8 boards), the Hornets were held to 77 points on 40 percent shooting and committed 18 TOs. And the C's did that without Ray Allen, who left the game after hyperextending his right thumb in the first half.
Dave Matthews: Saw this in the Celtics-Hornets game notes: "Recording artist Dave Matthews sat in the front row at midcourt, next to Hornets owner George Shinn." So I have to tell this story about a college buddy who moved to Seattle a few years back. He just drove out there with almost everything he owned in his car. (Remember when you could fit all your worldly possessions in a car?) After he got to the place he was staying temporarily, he moved a few things out of his car but left it pretty much full. The next day he came out and the car had been robbed. The thieves took everything, including a box of pens and pencils and a sandwich bag filled with condiments. The only thing left in the entire car was a Dave Matthews CD, which had been removed from the CD player after the thieves ripped it from the dash and left on the driver's seat. I kid you not. The robbers took a baggie filled with old ketchup and salt packets but left the Matthews CD. The best part is after my buddy called me from Seattle to tell me this, I said: "Dude. You listen to Dave Matthews?!"
The Sacramento Kings: Not much to say here except that, by losing to the Rockets, the Kings took sole possession of the worst record in basketball: 11-43.
Kobe Bryant: From Wild Yams: "Mr. Bawful, you'll definitely want to include this in tomorrow's WOTN: once again Kobe cursed the Lakers by doing the big balls dance too early, this time after nailing a three-point shot to give L.A. its first lead in 18 minutes with 90 seconds left in the game. So what happened? The Jazz went on to win by four. It's certainly becoming a big no-no to do the big balls dance, as that's now three times in a row that a player has done it and wound up losing. Also, not to take anything away from Utah, but I can't help but wonder if the Lakers might have won this game if they'd been able to rest their starters a bit yesterday by taking care of the Thunder early...I'm just sayin'." Here's the clip:
Oh, and of those three times the big balls dance has backfirerd this season, Kobe was responsible for two of 'em. Heed my warning, NBA players: Do the big balls dance at your own peril. (Unless you're Sam Cassell.) And Yams might have a point about that "lack of rest for the Lakers starters" thing. The Jazz shot almost 60 percent from the field. Seemed like L.A. didn't have a lot of energy on the defensive end (Utah hit 15 layups and got 5 dunks.)
More Lakers: I got this email from Basketbawful reader Hellshocked: "I don't know if you watched this game, but after Paul Milsap flew through the lane for a dunk and got touch fouled by Pau Gasol in the process the normally stoic Phil Jackson (who judging from his expression throughout the game had been battling a severe case of constipation) looked like he was positively about to cry. It may have been just me, but I could swear I saw his eyes moisten and his lip quiver ever so slightly. The game also presented us with yet another example of Kobe's poor sense of timing. After hitting a bit three to tie the game, he again chose to express his manly masculine manhood manosity basketball manness via the big balls dance. Needless to say, the Lakers wound up losing the game a few minutes later. It is made all the more hilarious by the fact that Mehmet Okur, after hitting a bit three of his own not long after, performed what could, politely, be referred to as an impersonation of Richard Simmons doing the big balls dance. Now this could very well just be how Okur gets his rocks off, but I prefer to think of it as making fun of purple and god's #24. All in all, I think the Lakers deserve a worst of the night for not playing a lick of defense and losing to a team that has 2 of its major contributors out and the rest are battling injuries, and Kobe for his antics." Done.
The people who dropped Greg Oden in their fantasy league: Greg's hot streak continued last night: 16 points (8-for-10), 10 rebounds, 3 blocked shots.
The New York Knicks: They lost to the Clippers in overtime, 128-124. Can you say: "Defense optional." Hell, I'm not even sure it WAS optional. The teams combined for 207 shots, including 70 three-point attempts. Clippers rookie Erik Gordon scored 30 points (10-for-16). Steve Novak added a career-high 23 points (8-for-10). Zach Randolph had a double-double (22 points and 15 rebounds). Baron Davis 13 points and a career-high 20 assists. I think I'm in the box score for 10 or 12 points, I can't be sure. Crazy. Fun to watch, I guess. But crazy. It was enough to make Novak give Gordan a little man lovin' from behind. And yes, the look on Gordon's face is priceless.
Lacktion report:Chris once again proves that lacktion stops for no man.
Spurs-Raptors: As San Antonio played down to the level of the diminished dinos - resulting in a surprising loss for the Spurs -- two very familiar lacktators successfully integrated themselves into the broadcast background without being useful. Jake Voskuhl makes it two nights of lackvity in a row with two missed shots in 6:52 for a suck differential of +2, while Fabricio Oberto seems to love collecting gold coins, in this instance giving Greg Popovich's team a 38-second Mario.
Bobcats-Wizards: Roto-Rooter should've gone to downtown Charlotte to look for new recruits, as two men answered the call to become overalled plumbers for the night: Juan Dixon with a 13 second Mario (that somehow garnered him an assist) for the Generals, and the Bobcats' Alexis Ajinca, who racked up a board in a mere 54 second Mario of his own.
Lakers-Jazz: Kosta Koufos bricked once in 2:47 to give Utah a +1.
Clippers-Knicks: One night after the 271-point affront to defensive fundamentals at the Garden, the Knicks took Mike 'antoni's shoot-and-pray approach on the road to Staples Center, where they got beat at their own game by the Clippers in overtime. Ouch. Yet somehow, in the midst of a busy night for the scorekeepers, one standout lacktator abstained from the free-for-all to get onto this ledger. DeAndre Jordan was the only player on both squads to not factor into the 262-point explosion, tossing a brick for +1 in 1:21. (He also managed to be the only Clipper with a negative +/- with -4!)
Corey Maggette:Wild Yams (via TrueHoop) left a link to this awesome video in yesterday's comments. Watch as Bad Porn manages to travel six times on a single possession.
John Hollinger: Via Wild Yams from ESPN's Daily Dime: "'Loss due to attrition in scheduling' is the term Phil Jackson likes to use for games like this, but he wouldn't go there Wednesday. I will. Playing their eighth game in eight cities in 14 days, Jackson tried every trick in the book to get one last gasp from his troops heading into the All-Star break. Ultimately L.A. couldn't cash in, missing three potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final 29 seconds. And the fact it came down to those shots was a result of their lethargy at the other end. The fatigue showed in other ways too. When some calls didn't go their way and the typical Things That Happen in Utah started happening -- shoving off the ball, contact around the rim and the like -- L.A. uncharacteristically got too focused on the refs and not enough on the game. Meanwhile, Gasol picked up some of that flu Kobe had in Cleveland. He had just three defensive boards to go with his 16 points and lost Okur on a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left that put the Jazz ahead for good. Gasol has also played far too many minutes since Andrew Bynum went out -- he's played at least 41 in all six contests, averaging 43.3."
As Yams said: "It goes on and on. Man, I guess Utah doesn't get any credit for beating the Lakers despite missing AK-47 and Boozer? When did the Lakers put Hollinger on their payroll?" Oh, and as Yams also said, you should scroll down to the bottom of today's Dime. You'll see some quotage from a blogger of some renown...