When Rafer Alston is The Face of the NBA's trade deadline,well, you know not much of anything went down.The NBA trade deadline:
Last year's headline-grabbing before-the-deadline trades -- Shaq to Phoenix, Jason Kidd to Dallas -- changed everything without really changing anything. That is, neither player pushed his team over the championship hump (or even out of the first round) and so neither deal convinced GMs around the league to break their salary cap piggy bank in order to acquire a superstar. Between those blockbuster busts (not to mention the way the early-season Not-Answer trade has crippled the Pistons) and the sagging economy, GMs have become more interested in shedding salary than improving their teams in any meaningful way. (Although if anything can bring Larry Hughes' corpse back to life, it's Dr. D'Antonistein.) So: Snap, fizzle, pop. The trade deadline came and went with the best player moved being...Rafer Alston. Zowie! As Dan L. wrote in to say: "I'm sure you've seen this picture that ESPN is using for their trade deadline story. It sure says a lot about the bawfulness of this trade deadline that Rafear Alston is the centerpiece of their coverage."
I think Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports
put it best: "The San Antonio Spurs thought they had a deal all but done for Los Angeles Clippers center Marcus Camby only to see it unravel at the deadline. The Portland Trail Blazers boasted for weeks about how Raef LaFrentz's 'super' expiring contract could land them a top-level player. LaFrentz’s contract was so super, in fact, that Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard decided to put it under his pillow at the deadline. ... Even Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t pull the trigger on a move. Out East, the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers also stood pat. Among the contenders, only the Orlando Magic made a basketball trade, acquiring Houston Rockets point guard Rafer Alston. Too many teams were too reluctant to take on money. The Mavericks and Spurs both had interest in Sacramento’s John Salmons, but the Kings were unwilling to assume even the partial $2 million guarantees of Jerry Stackhouse and Bruce Bowen."
Why get better when you can save money? Speaking of which...The Detroit Pistons:
Allen Iverson led the Pistons with 31 points and 7 assists, but Detroit lost at home yet again, this time to the Manu Ginobili-less Spurs. They are now 14-15 at the Palace of Auburn Hills this season...and 2-10 at home in the past six weeks. And now they're looking at a road trip that includes games at Boston, Cleveland, New Orleans and Orlando. It's pretty doubtful they'll return from that little excursion on the plus side of the .500 mark. And right now they're clinging to the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which means -- gulp -- Detroit could fail to reach the playoffs. I mean, it's a possibility that's becoming more real with each passing game.
And I'm telling you, the Pistons looked flat, lifeless, out of sync. The Not-Answer's good game seemed to suck all the awesome right out of his teammates. Rodney Stuckey finished with 2 points. Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton combined to score 12 points on 5-for-20 shooting. Rasheed Wallace put up 11 on 17 shots. The depth the team boasted last year with their vaunted Zoo Crew was all but forgotten as coach Michael Curry played only seven men.
Yes, I know the Spurs are good and all, but the Pistons are in disarray...and have been for most of the season. Said Stuckey: "We lost again. I don't know. I really can't explain anything anymore. We just keep losing, and now we've got some great teams to play." That's one seriously bummed out player. Joe Dumars apologists insist that this is all part of a bigger plan to keep Detroit competitive in future seasons. But it sure does suck right now.Update! Reggie Miller, lousy analysis machine:
From Wild Yams
: "The highlight of last night for me was definitely when Reggie Miller tried to refute the idea that Allen Iverson has hurt the Pistons this year while simultaneously trying to assert that it's just a coincidence that the Nuggets have been so good with Chauncey Billups, only to have Marv Albert verbally bitch slap him into submission for it. Reggie Miller's insane 'reasoning' for why the Nuggets have been better this year than Detroit has is because Chauncey has a better supporting cast in Denver than Iverson does in Detroit. OK, I'm not even sure if that's true or not, but that aside, Marv pointed out that Chauncey had that same supporting cast in Detroit last year and took them to the Conference Finals (for the 6th straight time), while Iverson had arguably a better supporting cast in Denver last year than Chauncey does this year (Camby & Najera were there last year), yet Iverson only helped the Nuggets to an 8th seed and a 1st round sweep. Reggie's response was to then point out (paraphrasing) 'Yeah, but Chauncey plays with Carmello Anthony...' Speaking of Reggie Miller, I was really struck recently by thinking about what I used to think of the guy when he was a player, particularly in the mid-90s, and how shockingly different he seems now. Miller was the guy who killed the Knicks, taunted Spike Lee with a choking gesture, hit game winners over Jordan, and threw Kobe Bryant over a scorer's table in a brawl. Now he sounds like he's doing commercials for Disney or something. Is there a goofier former player out there? I don't think so."The Duncan Face:
You all remember the Duncan Face
, right? Well, as you can see in the picture above, Timmy made it again last night against the Pistons. Dan B. sent in the pic and asked: "Why does Tim Duncan look scared/surprised in this picture?" Here's the answer: At this point, the Duncan Face is an unconcious, instinctive reaction. He can't even control it anymore, just like I can't control the damn eye twitch I get every time somebody brings up Kobe Bryant. (And by "eye twitch" I mean "uncontrollable vomiting.")Injuries:
Boston Celtics fans had to deal with a stomach-clencher last night: Kevin "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!" Garnett strained his right knee going for an alley-oop late in the second quarter and had to hop on his left foot into the locker room. He did not play in the second half. There's been no indication so far how serious the injury may or may not be, but the Celtics are downplaying it. At halftime, Danny Ainge told TNT sideline reporter Cheryl Miller: "He's resting right now. It's been bothering him for a couple of weeks." (A couple of weeks?! That's news.) After the game, Doc Rivers added
: "He wanted to run but we have a long season and I'm not taking a risk by putting him on the floor. We would have loved to have him, obviously, it probably would have made a difference. Unless he's close to 100 percent, I'd rather have him healthy for the playoffs. That's how I look at it."
KG didn't stick around to talk to the media, but he did issue the following statement: "As you know, I suffered an injury, a strain to my right knee, during the game and I really don't have any comment about it. I will have the knee re-examined [Friday] and we should have more information at that time. Obviously, I would much rather be playing instead of providing this statement." Obviously. On the bright side, he'll have plenty of time to quest for G
. But you know what "No KG" means...The Boston Celtics:
They held up pretty well without KG...for a while. But after building an 11-point third-quarter lead, things fell apart. The C's committed 19 turnovers (off which the Jazz scored 24 points) and missed 10 free throws. Those two things make it pretty hard to win on the road against a reasonably strong team, especially when you're missing your best player (no offense to Paul Pierce). Plus, to be frank, Boston got pushed around a little without KG. Which had to please Jerry Sloan. Speaking of which...Jerry Sloan, unintentionally dirty quote machine:
Sent in by Basketbawful reader SN from Germany: "Utah coach Jerry Sloan was uncharacteristically complimentary of his team after the Jazz beat the Celtics 90-85. Utah did it with the kind of style the coach just loves—nasty. 'They put a body on you. They knock you around,' Sloan said of the defending NBA champion. 'Our guys, sometimes we want to play in a tuxedo. And when you’re playing against those guys, you better get it off and get ready to get nasty.'" Wow. Sounds like Jerry needs a bottle of lotion, a box of tissues and a little time alone. From the sound of it, two, maybe three minutes should do it.Paul Pierce:
Without Garnett, Boston turned to the self-proclaimed best player in the world and he...didn't come through. Sure, Pierce scored 20 points, but he committed a game-high 5 turnovers and got shut down by Matt Harpring down the stretch. No, really. Harpring drew a charge and forced Truth into 2-for-9 shooting in the fourth quarter.Brian Scalabrine:
Veal started the third quarter in place of KG drew four fouls in the first 3:30. Obviously, he was channeling the spirit of Greg Kite. (Yes, I know Kite's still alive. That's what makes it so creepy.) Scal ended up fouling out in just under 12 minutes of PT.Lacktion report:
Have you met Chris
? Then here, let me introduce you to him...Spurs-Pistons:
San Antonio's Malik Hairston quietly put up a suck differential
of +2 in 4:09 via one foul and one missed shot.
Celtics-Jazz: Brevin Knight may have given the Jazz a sold +3 in a full 8:03 via brick, foul, and misplacing the rock into the hands of a Boston player...but Jerry Sloan's commitment to Nintendo technology has increased, with Ronnie Price's 4-second Super Mario providing an upgrade to the 16-bit era!Jason Williams:
And while many point to the non-retention of James Posey as one potential reason for the Celtics being just a little bit less of a sure thing to repeat...the trade that sent Patrick O'Bryant to the stone age of bawful in Toronto proves that Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge don't think that this year's team is worthy of multiple human victory cigars, especially with Scalabrine starting to sop up actual productive minutes against his previous championship-winning lacktivity.
(BTW...O'Bryant, Jawai, and Voskuhl: Will they become Toronto's "Little Three" of the lacktator ranks for months to come? Stay tuned! I guess the next step for them is a cheesy public access sports recap show commercial, followed by a preschool paegant-level ad promoting a lemonade stand. AND YES -- one local piece on the trade has already mentioned the three experts at non-contribution as "competing" for a job! Certainly O'Bryant's previous experience as human victory cigar won't be much of an advantage north of the border.)
The rotting carcass once known as White Chocolate has reached a bony claw from behind the black veil of death to request immediate reinstatement into the NBA. According to an internal league memo
. Apparently some dark necromancer noticed that certain teams (such as the Celtics and Rockets) were scrambling around for point guard help and thought: "Teams are seriously considering Stephon Marbury? A cadaver would be a better option at the point. And I'm gonna prove it..."Kobe Bryant:
Mamba walked up to Adam Morrison during practice, grabbed a large hunk of his mustache and tore it out. After Adam stopped crying -- and it took a while -- he asked: "W-w-w-why?!" Replied Kobe: "Because I can." He then put the 'stache chunk up for sale on eBay.Bonus:
Nothing bawful here, but these items are worth a look anyway: Check out one fan's Twitter-assisted run-in with Shaq
and go bask in the glory of dunking cheerleaders
Labels: Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Duncan face, Jason Williams, Kevin Garnett, trade deadline, zombies