The New York
Knicks Basketball Props:
Two nights after passively watching Kobe Bryant set a Madison Square Garden record by scoring 61 points (on 19-for-31 shooting), the
Basketball Props let LeBron James torch them with one of the highest-scoring triple-doubles in NBA history: 52 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. King Crab -- who had 20 points by the end of the first quarter -- joined Michael Jordan as the only visiting players with multiple 50-point games at the present MSG. (He also had 50 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists there on March 5, 2008
, causing a fan wearing a LeBron jersey to lose his mind and rush the floor
.) The feat also made James the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (in 1975) to have a triple-double in a 50-point game.
I know the
Basketball Props have been down -- like, waaaay down -- the last several years, but that's not the kind of history a team should be setting. I mean, think about it: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller. You know what those guys have in common? All four of them have had more historic performances in New York in the last 20 years than ANY
Props player. Have some pride, guys. STOP SOMEBODY.LeBron James, "liar, liar, pants on fire" machine:
There was a lot of speculation that King Crab would try to one-up Mamba's 61-point game. And that's exactly what happened: 'Bron's 52 plus a triple-double was much bigger. (Kobe, by comparison, finished with zero rebounds and 3 assists in his big game.) Of course, LeBron was playing all coy and stuff before the game: "We go out and try to win ball games. Myself and Kobe go out and win ball games and sometimes we make games like that. It just so happens where we get high numbers or we make an unbelievable play. It just happens that way. But we're out there first of all trying to win the basketball game. I never go into a game saying I'm going to try to put up a decent amount of numbers or anything like that. I've never been that type of player." Suuuuure.
I'm sorry, but I will never believe that this game "just happened" by coincidence right after Kobe got his 61. And honestly, I have no problem with that. I enjoy these little games within the game. They've been a part of the NBA since forever, and they make the experience a lot more fun. Back on April 9, 1978
, George Gervin edged David Thompson for the regular season scoring crown by dropping 63 points on the Denver Nuggets. Earlier that same day, Thompson had put up 73 points against the Detroit Pistons. They didn't deny it, either. They reveled in it
! In 1985, Kevin McHale set the Celtics' single-season scoring record with 56 points (versus the Pistons). Near the end of the game, Larry Bird warned Kevin that he'd better go for 60. McHale didn't, and nine days later, Bird scored 60 against the Atlanta Hawks. And let's not forget how David Robinson scored 71 against the Clippers (to go along with 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks) on the final day of the 1993-94 season to steal the scoring title from Shaq
. (Shaq, who remains bitter about that to this day, had 32 points and 22 boards later that night.)
Look, we are talking about seriously great players here. And, frankly, these guys can have ginormous games virtually any time they want. When they choose to do so, it makes the NBA 100 percent more interesting for fans, bloggers, the media, and whoever else you want to name
. So don't hold back, LeBron! Admit that you think of Madison Square Garden as your home away from home and that Kobe's not welcome there. Start a duel, stoke a rivalry. The fans want that. They need it.
As a sidenote, Mr. "I decided to start playing defense this year" might have secured this win a little earlier if he'd spent less time chasing history and more time stopping Al Harrington (39 points, 13 rebounds). If, you know, winning was all that really mattered...Wally Szczerbiak, quote machine:
Regarding LeBron's gaudy stats: "A pretty impressive triple-double. I bet his fantasy owners are pretty happy."Austin Carr (Crabs color commentator), unintentionally dirty quote machine:
Basketbawful reader Bateman's Legal Counsel wrote in: "After attempting another I'm-gonna-slow-my-pace-and-let-you-worry-about-my-teammate-before-kicking-it-into-high-gear-and-coming-from-behind-to-spike-your-weak-layup-attempt-off-the-glass-and-thereby-deliver-an-ego-ectomy shot block on Al Harrington, LeBrizzle collides with Al Harrington and both players fall to the ground. Said Carr: 'That's a whole lotta manhood crashing on the hardwood.' Alright, so maybe he said 'floor' and not 'hardwood,' but the latter was clearly implied."The Washington
It's tough to continually prove that you're the worst team in the league. But -- somehow, some way -- the
General keep doing it. This time, confirmation came in the form of a 27-point home loss to the New Jersey Nets. The Nets scored 115 points by shooting 61 percent from the field and almost 55 percent from distance. It was New Jersey's best shooting night since a 62-percent performance on March 28, 2003
against (you guessed it!) the
Basketball Props in New York. Did someone cut off the
Generals' hands? Can they not put them in people's faces?
How bad was it? This bad: The Washington fans started chanting "Edd-ie Jor-dan! Edd-ie Jor-dan!" during the fourth quarter. Of course, there are circumstances. The
Generals were without Caron Butler (flu), Gilbert Arenas (knee), Brendan Haywood (wrist), Etan Thomas (knee), DeShawn Stevenson (back), Juan Dixon (elbow) and Andray Blatche (knee). But that doesn't make the 10-39 record any easier to deal with.Antawn Jamison:
Before the game,
Generals coach Ed Tapscott said his team's offensive game plan would be: "AJ left, AJ right, AJ up the middle." How it actually turned out was "AJ down the toilet." Jamison finished with 10 points on 4-for-20 shooting.The Los Angeles Clippers:
Hey, speaking of "worst teams in the league," the Clips tried to one-up the
General, losing by 29 to the Jameer Nelson-less Magic. The key to this loss -- besides the general defenselessness (Orlando shot almost 57 percent from the field and nearly 62 percent from downtown) -- was giving up a season-high 25 points (on 9-for-11 shooting) to the ancient Anthony Johnson, who was starting his first game in place of the injured Nelson. Said Johnson: "The Clippers were allowing us wide-open jumpers. It's just a matter of stepping into them. ... It made it very easy for myself to step into wide-open shots and knock them down." Translation: They Clippers couldn't guard an out-of-order fire hydrant. They, like the
Generals, are now 10-39.The Los Angeles Lakers:
Jose Calderon sat out with a sore right hammy and Chris Bosh left the game with 8:50 remaining in the fourth because of a sprained right knee. But L.A. still barely beat the lowly Craptors. Toronto's Joey Graham had a career-high 24 points, and Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal added 22 points and 9 blocks. Looking ahead to Boston, were we, Lakers?The Detroit Pistons, Part I:
They held on for a crucial 93-90 home win over the Heat, but just barely. And, to be frank, they nearly blew it. Detroit was up 89-87 with 32 seconds left when Allen Iverson stole the ball from Michael Beasley. But instead of wisely chewing up some time, Rasheed Wallace jacked up a three with 14 seconds left on the shot clock. Sure, he hit the shot, pushing the Pistons' lead to 92-87. But it also left Miami with a lot of time. Of course...Dwyane Wade:
After 'Sheed splashed home that three-pointer, Pookie got T'd up for throwing the ball into the stands. Not a very veteran-ly
play (nor was it exactly MVP-like). Fortunately for Wade and the Heat...The Detroit Pistons, Part II:
Tayshaun Prince bonked the technical free throw and Wade immediately hit a triple to pull the Heat to within 92-90 with 18 seconds left. Miami was forced to foul Richard Hamilton, an 87-percent foul shooter, but Rip missed BOTH free throws. The Heat called timeout to draw up a play, but Wade missed clanked an ugly baseline J and Miami was forced to foul again. But Arron Afflalo missed one of his two 'throws, which gave the Heat a chance to tie the game with a last-second shot. Prince tried to foul Wade to prevent him from launching a potentially game-tying three, but when the refs didn't call it, Prince STOPPED TO ARGUE as Wade scampered downcourt squeeze off his last-second attempt...which just bounced of the rim at the buzzer.
So let's file this victory under "Wins That Aren't As Good As Others." Still, it is a win...The "New Orleans Hornets":
Feel free to read all about this game at By The Horns
, but here's some 'bawful-specific data: The Hornets were without Mo Pete, Tyson Chandler, and (most importantly) Chris Paul. And so, not surprisingly, the Bulls gored them into grisly submission. The Hornets shot only 36 percent and committed 15 turnovers. But without Chris Paul to guide them, offensive woes were to be expected. But what was up with the defense? The Bulls hit 13 of their first 16 shots and were up 31-20 by the end of the first quarter.
The bulge grew to 18 by halftime (62-44), and those first 24 minutes were like a pregame shootaround: Chicago hit 63.4 percent of their field goal attempts, converting seven layups and seven dunks in the process. The 62 points represented the most the Hornets have given up in a half this season. And the Bulls' 56 percent shooting for the game was the highest field-goal percentage by a New Orleans opponent during this season. Simply put, they could not stop the Bulls. And at times, it was like they weren’t even trying. And don't think Byron Scott didn't notice.
Said Scott: "Guys getting to the paint for layups and dunks -- I don't think that has a lot to do with Chris Paul. It has more to do with us and toughness and pride more than anything. ...It's got to get to a point where you say, 'Enough is enough.' Then you start taking some pride on the defensive end. We've got to really take pride in that end where we're not allowing guys to get down the lane for layups and dunks that are uncontested. It's got to be different than that."The Denver Nuggets:
One night after barely beating the Spurs' B-Team, they barely beat the Thunders' B-Team, which, as it happens, is just their regular team. But still. And it took a driving runner from Carmelo Anthony with 5.3 seconds to give the Nuggets the win. Mostly because Enver's efense gave up 113 points on 50 percent shooting. Of course, the Thunder gave up 114 points and that last second shot...The Minnesota Timberwolves:
They rallied from a 17-point third-quarter hole...and the patient almost lived. Almost. The T-Wolves were done in by turnovers (18) and really bad shooting: Sebastian Telfair was 0-for-9, Randy Foye was 4-for-19 and Al Jefferson was 7-for-17. Oddly enough, Minnesota's rogue poet, Rashad McCants -- who hadn't played in 13 long games -- scored 10 points in 15 minutes of daylight. Said Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale: "Rashad was a bright spot tonight and there weren't many."The Houston Rockets:
One night after barely holding off the Bulls at home, the Rockets got mauled on the road by the Grizzlies. Houston is ranked in the league's top 10 in defensive efficiency
, but they let the Griz shoot 53 percent for the game (plus 50 percent from Three-Land) and outscore them 48-32 in the paint. Said Knee-Mac
: "I think there is something wrong." Ya think?The Phoenix Suns:
Well, then. I guess they aren't okay after all. Apparently, the Suns were so disappointed the league wouldn't let them carry over any of those extra 48 points they scored against the Kings that they decided to play even less defense than usual against the Warriors. And it showed. Stephen Jackson had a triple-double (30 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists), Jamal Crawford added 27 on 10-for-18 shooting, and "Mr. Undrafted" Kelenna Azubuike shot 9-for-12 for his 25 points. Phoenix fell behind 43-30 after the first quarter and that might as well have been the ball game. Said should-really-be-fired-soon Suns coach Terry Porter: "We just never really recovered from that first quarter. They just came out gave us a TKO punch. They were knocking down everything from the perimeter, hitting three's. ... It concerns me, the level that we're playing at right now." Oh, he's concerned, is he? Well, he should be.Amare Stoudemire:
Huh...13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 turnovers don't look like All-Star numbers to me. But what do I know? Also, who was guarding Azubuike? Nobody, of course. But it was supposed to be STAT.Jamal Crawford:
Despite their win over the Suns, it seems there's some internal dissent in Golden State. Basketbawful reader Reid drew my attention to this soon-to-be classic quote from Jamal "I like to shoot it, shoot it" Crawford
: Jamal apparently yelled at Corey "Bad Porn" Maggette to "contribute something other than scoring." Not only is that a laughable case of the pot calling the kettle black, it's also like asking Aquaman to contribute something to the Super Friends other than chatting with their pet goldfish and getting captured.Lacktion report:
There's no rest for the wicked around here, nor is there any respite for Chris
from another night of intense lactivity.
Lakers-Raptors: All-Lacktion hero Jake Voskuhl pulls down a 3 second Super Mario, unremembered as briefly as the CD-i system!Tiffany Cox, Carmelita Hall, Miesha Nelson, and Roslind Ball:
Nets-Wizards: Chris Douglas-Roberts actually made a shot so Maurice Ager entered the court as New Jersey's lacktator of choice for the night, bricking once for +1 in a clean 4:09.
Heat-Pistons: Chris Quinn of Miami fouled twice and missed a shot for +3 in 8:27.
Rockets-Grizzlies: Memphis's Quinton Ross had a +1 (foul) in 2:04.
Blazers-Mavs: James Singleton started out having a three second Super Mario, but ultimately chose to expand it to 8-bit NES levels with a second quick on-court spell. After the additional hardwood non-production, Singleton ended up with a 19 second regular Mario for Dallas which included a giveaway!
Talk about "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." These four Chicago women chased a man down, beat him, stabbed him more than 20 times, then dug through his pockets and took his coat. I suppose it goes without saying that he didn't survive
. His crime? Well, he "disrespected" them. And that is, apparently, punishable by death in whatever Bizarro world these ladies came from. The whole thing started after the dead man broke one of their cigarettes. And no, I'm not kidding.Kobe Bryant:
Mamba sent Tiffany Cox, Carmelita Hall, Miesha Nelson, and Roslind Ball a fake letter from Luke Walton that said Luke wanted to help them out in any way he could. The letter included Luke's bank account and credit card numbers.
Labels: Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, don't mess with a woman's cigarette, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards