Okay, here's the deal. Some of my closest friends are coming to Chicago tonight for our annual two-day St. Patrick's Day mega-celebration. (Thank Zeus for 5-Hour Energy.) Plus, Resident Evil 5 just came out today, so I'm not going to have a lot of (read that: "any") time for the NBA this weekend. (As Stephon Marbury might put it, I'm "caught up in life.") So, here's the deal: I want to publish Basketbawful's first-ever 100 percent fan submission Worst of the Weekend.
That's right, Monday's Worst of the Weekend post will be written by you, dear readers. Here's how you can take part in this historic event: Pick one or two (or more if you're plum loco) of your favorite teams, summarize their various worsties, and then submit them to me via comment (on this post) or e-mail (to email@example.com). Make sure that you specify the day (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) and the name/alias you want to go by (along with any Web site links), and please try to adhere to the basic rules of grammar, spelling and human decency (although I'm more concerned about the grammar and spelling parts). Bonus points will be awarded for subtle (or not-so-subtle) video game, professional wrestling and/or zombie references.
Now, on to Worst of the Night...
Update! Donté Greene: Via Ball Don't lie: After Green, a rookie on the Sacramento Kings, had his car filled with popcorns, he went for revenge by, as Sam Amick of The Sacramento Bee put it, "dousing the outside of [Bobby] Jackson's white Mercedes with a mixture of dog food, soy sauce and condiments that sent a stench emanating from the car and sent Jackson into a locker room rant not likely to go unresolved."
Will this end well? Not even remotely.
The San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs aren't offensive juggernauts -- they currently rank 11th in offensive efficiency -- but they regularly beat opponents with the following championship-proven formula: Defense + Ball Control + Rebounding + Clutch Execution. However, last night they couldn't defend (52 percent field goal percentage against), couldn't hang onto the ball (10 first-half turnovers), couldn't control the boards (outrebounded 42-33 overall and 11-3 on the offensive glass), and there were out-executed down the stretch.
Mostly because of those first-half turnovers I mentioned, the Spurs fell face-first into an 18-point first-quarter hole they couldn't get out of. Said Tony Parker: "We couldn't get anything done offensively, and defensively they made every shot. After that we were in a big hole, and against the Lakers it's tough to come back."
San Antonio fans: "As Bryant left the court, a few dozen fans chanted 'M-V-P! M-V-P!' in what is usually hostile territory for the Lakers." HOME COURT FAIL.
That damn "can't get up off the bench" rule: From the game notes: "Coach Phil Jackson said if Odom feels any guilt for getting suspended for leaving the bench against Portland, he shouldn't. 'Those instincts are just sometimes stronger than rationale,' Jackson said. 'It's just a cockamamie rule. It's a rule has some sense in it, but doesn't stand up all the time. It just doesn't.'" Somewhere every member of the 2007 Phoenix Suns are nodding in agreement. Speaking of the Suns...
The Phoenix Suns: The Suns have now lost six games in a row. Not only is that their longest skid mark of the season, it's their longest fail streak in the last SIX seasons. Mind you, they were at home and shot nearly 55 percent from the field...but still lost anyway. It always stuns me when a team shoots that well and loses. But that's what these Suns do. Seriously, check this out: They shot nearly 56 percent when they lost in Miami and 55 percent in Tuesday's home loss to the Mavericks.
But, as always, it was their defenselessness that killed them, and you have to think that somewhere Terry Porter is feeling validated. Sasha Pavlovic scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a trio of triples. And while we're on that subject, the Cavs tied a franchise record by nailing 17 three (in 33 attempts). Mind you, they went 3-for-20 from downtown against the Clippers a couple nights ago.
The Suns are now a mere three games above .500 (34-31) and six full games behind the Mavericks for the last playoff spot in the West...and their playoff odds are looking increasingly grim.
Jason Richardson: With his team down only two points (97-95) just under nine minutes left in the game, Richardson was sprinting downcourt for what should have been a breakaway layup or an easy flush...but for some reason he attempted 360-degree spin dunk that was stuffed from behind (more on that below) by King Crab himself.
The Crabs grabbed the rebound and shortly thereafter Sasha Pavlovic hit a dagger three to put Cleveland up 100-95. As if that wasn't damaging enough, Richardson objected so strenuously that he was fouled on the play that he got T'd up. Mo Williams happily knocked down the free throw to make it 101-95. So, instead of tying it up, Richardson basically put his team down by 6 points. That was a huge swing and pretty much decided the game.
Said Suns coach Alvin Gentry: "Against a quality team like that, 51 wins they have, you can't afford to make mistakes like that."
LeBron James: Regarding King Crab's block, J-Rich said: "Clearly a foul, I don't care how you look at it. It's still a foul and that's bad and that a guys going up like that, especially trying to do something to get the fans going, to get hammered like that and there's no call at all, that's terrible." And you know what? He's right -- 'Bron fouled him:
So not only did he commit and uncalled foul that swung the game, LeBron made from-behind contact with an airborne player, ala Trevor Ariza, which as we've all learned is the most dangerous, reckless thing that a player can do to another player. So...where's the outrage? Where are the calls for LeBron's suspension? Anyone...? Anyone...? Bueller...?
Nope. There was no anti-LeBron indignation (outside of the Suns locker room, anyway), but there was plenty of praise. The AP game recap said: "Foul or not, it was a remarkable athletic play." And the TNT broadcasters, well, I'll let an anonymous commenter tell the tale: "I can't believe what I'm hearing...wait, yes I can. The announcers (I think it was Reggie Miller) essentially just complemented LeBron for fouling J-Rich. It was something along the lines of "LeBron didn't give up on the play and the refs awarded him by not blowing the whistle." Wow. What's even better is the foul was almost like the infamous Ariza-Rudy foul, only LeBron caught Richardson on the arm. I'm not even a Suns fan. In fact, as a Lakers fan, I kinda hate the Suns, but that's just ridiculous. I wonder what would have happened if Richardson had fallen to the ground (pretty sure the answer is "not a Flagrant 2 call)."
I guess it's only "dirty" or "reckless" when a non-superstar does it, right? You think I'm kidding. Let's watch what Dwyane Wade did to Grant Hill a couple weeks ago (thanks to DKH for the link):
Taking down an airborne player from behind -- and a player with a history of extreme fragility, no less -- is dangerous, right? Funny, but I don't remember a media storm directed Wade's way after the game. Grant Hill is made out of glass, remember, so Pookie could have killed him.
Look, I understand that opinions are going to differ, and that's fine. But all I ask from the people who have been going after Ariza -- and I'm talking about the pros and the experts as well as the fans -- is a little consistency. If you're going to blast a scrappy, hustling role player, then go after everybody who does the same thing.
Laction report: Here's a brief lacktion update from our good buddy Chris:
Cavs-Suns: With both Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson and Tarence Kinsey ordered to stay in their shells tonight, JJ Hickson was called in a pinch to be the evening's human victory cigar. Hickson's own skills of solitude were rewarded with a 1.95 trillion!
On the other hand, Phoenix's Jared Dudley did right for lacktion followers everywhere with a brick-from-downtown +1 suck differential in 7:04.
Jim Cramer: The "Mad Money" host got pwned by John Stewart last night. Here's one part of Cramer's on-the-air emasculation.
The moral of this story: Don't trust CNBC.
Value Village: A couch they sold to a woman, one Vickie Mendenhall, had what we call in the software industry "an undocumented feature." The UF was...a live cat. According to the story: "Mendenhall contacted Value Village, where she bought the couch, but the store had no information on who donated it." Okay, so maybe this WotN should have been aimed at the mysterious donator. Whoever you are, there are easier ways to get rid of unwanted pets. They involve burlap sacks and nearby bodies of water. Or donate them to the government, where they will be implanted with bionics and used to fight crime.
Candadian jails:True story: "Six high-risk prisoners escaped a Canadian jail last summer after spending four months chipping a path to freedom with nail clippers and other makeshift tools, according to a government report released on Thursday. ... While some inmates played cards at a carefully positioned table to block the guards' view, others chipped away at the wall, finally breaking through with a steel shower rod. They then used braided blankets and bed sheets to scale a wall of the compound and escape. 'Idle hands are the Devil's tools,' said the Saskatchewan government report, referring to the fact that prisoners at the Regina Correctional Centre had little to do in the unit, which was built in 1964 and housed prisoners awaiting court dates. 'They tend to gravitate towards doing whatever they can get away with.'" You mean like ESCAPING FROM PRISON?!
But here's the money shot: "The report said at least 87 prison workers had supervised the six prisoners' unit without detecting the escape preparations. Some guards had suspected something was being planned, but they did not interview the prisoners." If all it takes for high-risk inmates to escape a Canadian prison is some nail clippers and a shower rod, they could probably take over the country with some garden tools and a Rainbow Brite doll.
Kobe Bryant: From Basketbawful reader Rich M.: "For your next Daily Kobe, may I suggest to quote NBA.com's Rob Peterson on his Daily R2MVP Blog? 'On Wednesday, Kobe cured his boredom by stealing Ron Artest's lunch money. Then Kobe handed Artest his lunch. And then Kobe knocked the tray out of Artest's hands. He's a mean one, that Kobe, on the court.' Maybe he's been reading your blog for inspiration?" The Basketbawful movement continues to to move along, like a creeping rash...