The Philadelphia 76ers: What a painful way to lose a game...or an amazing way to win it, depending on which team you're on. This is easily the most amazing/improbable/ridiculous buzzer-beating game-winner I've ever seen.
The closest comparison I can come up with is the Jerry West's halfcourt shot in Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals. But West had a whole three seconds, whereas Harris had only 1.8 seconds. And it's not like the Sixers were playing prevent defense; Andre Iguodala actually managed to deflect the ball, but Harris immediately recovered and hit the shot. Incredible. In fact...
Izod Center timekeepers: Some of the Sixers think Devin's shot was a little TOO incredible. As one story put it: "They didn't understand how Harris had time to dribble once, get the ball knocked loose by Andre Iguodala and still have time to nail a 45-foot shot [in 1.8 seconds]." That's a pretty fair point. Andre Iguodala, for his part, thinks the clock started late. "That was a big issue. That gave them a few tenths of a second. That pretty much decided it right there. There was a lot going on in 1.8 seconds. I thought for sure it wasn't good and still don't think it was good. For us to lose a game like that, it seems like that's the way the season's been. We just don't get it to go our way" Iggy also thought Harris traveled on the play.
Personally, I agree with Andre. No way all that could have happened in 1.8 seconds, not unless some kind of freaky time warp was involved. In which case: Sweet! But I kinda doubt that's the case. Still, even though the fix was in from on high, some (or, rather, a lot) of the blame for this loss goes to...
Philly's free throw shooting: The Sixers were 23-for-37 from the line. For those of you who enjoy simple mathemology, that means they bonked 14 freebies. It's pretty hard to shoot that poorly from the line and win on the road. Even in New Jersey. As Sixers coach Tony DiLeo put it: "We have to make those so it doesn't come down to a circus shot at the end."
Pacers versus Knicks: This game might as well be billed "Dr. Frankenstein versus Dr. Herbert West," with Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni playing the role of Frankenstein and Pacers headman Jim O'Brien as West. There was so little defense played in this one that I think a few of the Pacers were credited for assists on some of the Knicks' baskets. The two teams combined for 190 shots, 54 three-point attempts and 79 free throws. And Nate Robinson continued his scorching ways, putting up a career-high 41 points, which [POINTLESS STAT ALERT!!] matched Bob McAdoo's franchise record for most points in a game by a reserve.
Of course, shame on the Knicks for letting this one come down to the final seconds. I mean, the Pacers are without All-Star Danny Granger (their best player and the league's sixth-best scorer) and Mike Dunleavy Jr. (who's more important to this team than you'd think). As David Lee put it: "That should have been a game that we should have won handily tonight with them having their two best players out, but any time you keep it close like that they have some shotmakers on their team. So it was too close for comfort tonight, but I'm just glad we got a win."
Speaking of Lee, this was a great postscript to the "David Lee versus Troy Murphy" debate I started last week. Lee had 20 points (8-for-17) and 13 rebounds. Murphy finished with 19 points (8-for-16) and 21 boards. I will assume that everybody can see my point now?
Larry Hughes:From the AP: "Larry Hughes continued a miserable start to his Knicks career by missing all five shots in the first half. After going 1-for-9 for three points in 16 minutes Sunday in a loss at Toronto, he had a corner jumper hit the side of the backboard, and threw up an air ball on another jumper. Acquired Thursday at the trade deadline, he was already hearing boos by late in the second quarter, and the boos resumed when he checked in again in the third." FAIL.
The Denver Nuggets: Uhm...who are these guys and what have they done with the Nuggets? Denver was the second-best team in the Western Conference less than a week ago. But they've given up 116, 120 and 114 points in their last three games, all losses. The first two defeats came against sub-.500 teams and last night's 114-76 beatdown happened at home against the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics. The Nuggets shot 34 percent, missed 18 of their 21 three-point attempts and even bonked 11 free throws. Quick history lesson: It was the Nuggets' worst home loss since February 2, 1998, when the Bulls crushed them 111-72. And those Nuggets weren't contenders...they won only 11 games! Bonus footnote: The 38-point margin of defeat tied for the second-biggest home loss since Denver joined the NBA in 1976. I know they didn't have Nene, but still.
But despite the fact that his team has jumped headfirst into "WTF?!" territory, Carmelo Anthony isn't sweating it. "We lost. Ain't really that much you can say about that. They came in and made shots, played well. We can make a lot of excuses about being fatigued, been on the road a long time, (playing) back to back, just getting home. There are a lot of things that can play into it. But we lost tonight. We'll take it on our chin and get ready for Wednesday." 'Melo sure is more mellow than he was last season...
Chauncey Billups: Hey, since we keep cracking on Detroit for giving up Mr. Big Shot in the trade for Allen Iverson, I feel compelled to point out Chauncey's putrid line: 3 points, 1-for-8, zero rebounds, 5 assists, a game-high 4 turnovers, 4 fouls and a team-worst plus-minus score of -38. Maybe Joe Dumars was right? (But not really.)
The Atlanta Hawks: The Dirty Birds were thumped 108-89 last night in Utah. They've now lost three of their last four games and have been playing sub-.500 ball (11-14) since they were a headline grabbing 21-10 back in December. I must once again point out that I predicted this and was openly scoffed at. I just love saying "toldja so." Believe it or not, the Hawks shot 50 percent for the game. That's good. But they also committed 20 turnovers for 21 Jazz points. That's not as good. Mike Bibby, who was supposedly sick, finished with zero points (0-for-3) and one lonely assist. Joe Johnson scored 15 on 7-for-12 shooting, but he had 4 turnovers and 4 fouls versus zero rebounds and zero assists. Said Al Horford: "They completely took it to us. They were making all of the hustle plays. Right now we are going through a little struggle."
Carlos Boozer: He returned from a 44-game absence and was inserted by Jerry Sloan right into the starting lineup. Sadly for Carlos and his dreams of a signing max contract this summer, he put in a performance that was worthy of a demotion to the D-League: 2 points (1-for-5), 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls and a block against in 21 minutes. Meanwhile, Paul Milsap had his usual double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) despite a slight decrease in playing time. I just can't wait to see who overpays for Boozer this July!
The Sacramento Kings: I'm not going to be too hard on them, since they played pretty well and had a reasonable shot at beating the Hornets in New Orleans. But it's still another loss for the team with the league's worst record (12-46). I can't NOT mention that. As an aside, Andres Nocioni followed up his stinker of a first game with the Kings by scoring 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting to go along with 3 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals. Of course, he also committed a team-high 4 turnovers and three of his four misses were blocked. So to the people of Sacramento, I say: Welcome to the Nocioni Roller Coaster. Fasten your seatbelts and please keep your hands inside the car.
The Golden State Warriors: A double-digit loss to the Clippers, huh? Ouch. Golden State, defenseless as always, conceded the inside to Zach Randolph (27 points) and conceded the three-pointer to pretty much everybody (The Other L.A. Team was 13-for-24 from distance). You know how some people say that if you left a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters, they'd eventually write a book? I sort of thought that if these Warriors saw enough faces, they'd eventually put a hand in one. But I was wrong. So very wrong.
Pacers-Knicks: In 27:49, Indiana's Jeff Foster racked up a slight Voskuhl at 10:9 -- 5 each of fouls and turnovers against 6 rebounds and 1 made field goal from behind the arc.
Hawks-Jazz: Jarron Collins and Ronnie Price provided Jerry Sloan some synchronized lacktion with one-brick +1 suck differentials in 4:03. Price however made sure to stylishly play the role of human victory cigar, making his one miss come from downtown.
Celtics-Nuggets: J.R. Giddens learned tonight that to be a star lacktator, one must learn from the best. Too much enthusiasm from his career-starting trillion encouraged this human victory cigar to start aiming for the basket, resulting in the rookie actually scoring more points tonight than fellow Celtic Kendrick Perkins! Giddens's giddiness contrasted starkly with Sonny Weems stoically solidifying his place on the All-Lacktion team via a single brick for +1 in 4:33.
Hornets-Kings: Cedric Simmons's acquisition by the purple paupers signaled a new urgency in the potato suck race to a #1 draft pick, and his +1 via brick in 5:50 no doubt will boost the cause. On the other hand, bawful poet laureate Rashad McCants hustled his way out of a double-brick performance with a pretentious blocked shot and two assists.
Warriors-Clippers: In the B-Dizzle Revenge Game, Los Angeles's Other Team actually received so many points through the efensive approach of Nellieball that Dunleavy and Sterling were able to put out a human victory cigar for a rare moment! Mike Taylor can now be played by Bob Hoskins in a sparsely-attended feature film, after posting a 21 second Mario on the board with a foul.
Okay. No big deal. Whatever. But just one thing...
Kobe Bryant: Mamba bet Adam Morrison he could beat him in a game of HORSE after practice. He threw the game, and when a jubilant Morrison asked Kobe to pay up, Mamba paid him in these. Speaking of tormenting teammates...
Update! LeBron James, fart machine: This is a bit late, but awesome. Thanks to Pat from Spain for sending it in.