Editor's note: My good buddy and co-Basketbawful founder Statbuster did me a ginormous favor by writing the first seven entries for today's post. Thanks, dude! Also, make sure you take a look at our last word on Rudy...
Shawn Marion: The Sixers' Thaddeus Young dropped a career-high 29 on the Matrix tonight, and Marion topped it off with a game-worst plus/minus of -27. This is on top of 20 points from Kyle Korver and 31 from Al Harrington in the last 3 weeks. And for you advanced statologists, Marion's D-Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) is at a career-worst this year. His scoring slide is no secret at this point, but whether it's age or apathy, Marion is not clamping down like he used to. If the 2005 version was The Matrix, the 2009 Shawn Marion is Matrix Revolutions.
Coaches who are dead inside: The secret to coaching a 15-win team is to never get your hopes up. Chris Paul had a triple-double against the Wizards, which included a Throw-Your-Hands-Up-In-Futility-style shot in the second half. After which, coach Ed Tapscott said: "I think he was saying to me, 'Keep trying, Coach. You might find something that'll stop me.' I'm looking in my pocket, thinking to myself, 'It’s just about empty right now, Chris.'" But, aw shucks, these front row seats are swell.
Sean Marks: The Wizards center received a DNP, but it's not the flu. It's flu-like symptoms, Which may or may not include beersomnia, excessive gas, laziness, and/or mud butt.
Andrei Kirilenko: Was the 2004 All-Star Game that long ago? Andrei spent most of the Jazz-Hawks game watching second-round pick CJ Miles steal his PT. And even when he did play, he didn't play. 4 points and 3 boards in 20 minutes, and the second-worst plus/minus of the night (-11). It could be worse. If they let him sing the Russian National Anthem before the game, Hacksaw Jim Duggan would have attacked him midway through the second verse.
Allen Iverson's legacy: Escaped another nut punch on Wednesday, thanks to the Pistons not winning again while he's out. Detroit lost to the Knicks despite having 4 starters with +20 points. AI's best years were when he was surrounded with role players that were perfectly content playing selfless defense and not shooting. The Pistons aren't that team. If we later find out that the Pistons hired that lady from Misery to "treat" AI's injury with Novril and a sledgehammer, don't be surprised.
The Starbury Comeback Tour: Rajon Rondo is out with a sore ankle, so Starbury got the start against the Heat. He lived down to expectations by going 0-for-6 with zero points in 24 minutes. That brings his five game total to 3 FGs, 9 turnovers and 9 fouls in 88 minutes. Much like the Steve and Barry's stores that used to sell his shoes, Starbury's box scores are now just empty and sad.
The Chicago Bulls: They were beaten about as soundly as a team can be beaten. They barely avoided season-lows in scoring (79) and field goal percentage (31.4). They bumbled the ball away 18 times that the Magic turned into 21 bonus points. Mind you, Rashard Lewis (Orlando's second-leading scorer) went 0-for-9 and Hedo Turkoglu (the Magic’s third-leading scorer) didn't even play. And the Bulls lost by 28. Yeah. It was that bad.
Things actually looked pretty good for Chicago when Dwight Howard got benched in the first quarter after two quick fouls. But his sub, Marcin Gortat, OWNED the Bulls over the last five minutes and 19 seconds of the quarter. I'm being completely serious. He scored 8 points on a tip-in, two layups and a nine-foot jumper. He grabbed 5 rebounds. Three of those boards were on the offensive end; one led to his tip-in and he tossed another out to J.J. Redick for a 28-foot three-pointer that gave the Magic a 24-11 lead with 59 seconds left in the quarter. It's like the Bulls forget he was on the floor.
Said Gortat: "I really don't care if they respect me or not. I'm just going to try to punish them and do my job. If that was one of the reasons why, if they disrespected me today, that was one of the reasons they lost." He's not wrong. Gortat finished with 13 points (6-for-8) and a game-high 15 rebounds (not to mention a game-high 5 offensive boards). Keep in mind that he averages 3.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Oh, and Orlando's bench contributed 56 points...only 23 fewer than the Bulls scored in the entire game. Ugly, awful, dreadful game.
Tyrus Thomas: Two of his 13 shots were attempted in his range, by which I mean, at the basket. The other 11 were jumpers from 23 feet, 20 feet, 19 feet, etc. WHY IS TYRUS THOMAS SHOOTING JUMP SHOTS?! This man is driving me crazy. He's having a love affair with his jump shot, only his jump shot is like a secret girlfriend who doesn't really exist. In addition to going 4-for-13 from the field -- and his 13 shots were a team-high, by the way -- Tyrus finished with only 5 rebounds (none of which were offensive) despite playing a game-high 37 minutes. At one point in the third quarter, he lofted yet another balky jumper (from 20 feet) and immediately started lazily backpedaling despite the fact that the shot was pretty clearly off target. He never crashed the boards. He was totally lost on defense, particularly in pick and roll situations. Derrick Rose got picked by Ty's man three times in the third. Not once did Tyrus switch off, and Rose's guy, Rafer Alston, strolled in for three uncontested layups. Each time, Derrick turned, disgusted, to the sidelines and held up his hands in a "Are you watching this crap?" gesture to Vinny Del Negro.
I wonder if there's any way John Paxson can trade Thomas for Gortat, straight up.
The Memphis Grizzlies: Fail, noun, a word that describes what it means to lose by 25 to a team that had been riding the awesome wave of a 10-game losing streak.
Kevin Love, spread-the-wealth machine: Check out this juicy bit from the AP recap: "Love had 19 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high four assists..."
A career-high? Really? Remember, this is the guy who's NBA.com Draft Report said: "...his vision and willingness to pass out of the post are unparalleled for a player his age, making him one of the best passing big men at any level." Considering his rep for distributing the rock, 4 assists seems a little low for his career-high. But I checked the game log, and that number is correct (although he also had 4 dimes against the Pistons on January 28).
Still, I'll eat a little crow and admit that Love is turning out to be much better than I gave him credit for earlier this season. And he sure showed up O.J. Mayo last night.
Ron Artest:Wild Yams, who had quite the busy day commenting on Blockfrombehindgate at TrueHoop yesterday, had this to say about Ron-Ron: "Ron Artest deserves a mention in tomorrow's WotN. Not only was he horrendous on offense (4-for-16 for 11 points, including 0-for-8 from three-point range, along with 5 fouls and 6 TOs), but he got into Kobe's face in the fourth quarter and trash talked him, and this seemed to spur Kobe on to taking over the game and eventually giving the Lakers the win. Kobe was predictably humble after the game: "It wasn't much of a battle. I kicked his ass tonight. We've had some battles in the past and he's gotten the best of me a few times. Tonight, I got the best of him." He also said Artest had never talked trash to him before and that "he should know better." Probably even worse than just getting Kobe mad though, Artest tried to do way too much on offense, and this ended up taking the ball out of the hands of flamethrower-hot Von Wafer, who made all six shots he took in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, Artest was 1-5 in the fourth quarter, along with 3 fouls, 1 technical and 2 turnovers (also all in the 4th quarter). On the other end of the floor, during the game's final seven minutes, Artest let Kobe score 18 of the Lakers last 23 points, thus enabling the Lakers to overcome a 14 point 2nd half deficit to win. Way to single-handedly sink your team, Ron-Ron."
This entry would not be complete without a little video:
George Karl, history buster: From the AP recap of the Thunder-Nuggets game: "Denver's win guaranteed Karl his 17th straight non-losing season. He surpassed Red Auerbach and Jerry Sloan for the third-longest such streak in NBA history, trailing only Pat Riley (19) and Phil Jackson (18-active)." Okay. Red Auerbach, Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, George Karl. One of these things is NOT like the others...
By the way, typing out "Thunder-Nuggets" made me chuckle. Say it out loud. It's fun.
Robert Swift versus Chris Andersen: Basketbawful reader Eric G. wrote in to say: "Wow. Robert Swift and the Birdman are in the Thunder-Nuggets game and they're guarding each other! Has there even been a more tattooed scrawny, lanky, tall, white guy matchup in NBA history? Maybe they look less ridiculous because they're standing next to each other?" I cannot find a picture of this epic duel. Please, somebody help me out!
By the way, neither man could contain the other: Birdzilla scored 10 on 5-for-6 shooting (to go with 5 rebounds and 4 blocked shots) and Swift erupted for 10 too (on 4-for-5 from the field). You can't stop them, you can only hope to contain them they go to a tanning bed.
Bonus lulz from the AP recap: "That left the Nuggets without much of a bench beyond swingman Chris Andersen, who strained his right calf when Robert Swift toppled over him while they were going for a loose ball with 9:37 left before halftime." I love this game!
Vince Carter: I losing to the Warriors in Golden State, the Nets failed to make a move in the standings and remain two spots out of the playoffs despite the recent struggles of the Bucks and Bulls. And I'm going to put this 4-point setback on Vince Carters saggy shoulders. He scored 14 points on 5-for-18 shooting against a team that hasn't played defense in, what, three or four years? Vinsanity was 1-for-4 on layups and 4-for-13 on his jumpers. He also had more fouls (4) and turnovers (3) than rebounds (2) or assists (2). Dude, if you can't pad your stats against the Warriors...
Lacktion report: Speaking of helping me out, Chris continues to provide his daily lacktion expertise:
Raptors-Sixers: Two of the Little Three of Lacktivity finally were told to dress in game clothes for the Craptors, yet only one delivered. Patrick O'Bryant was well on his way to a three trillion, only to make his prehistoric check (in tablet format!) worthless with a board. Jake Voskuhl on the other hand professed his love for Princess Peach with a 2-second Super Mario -- which both ESPN and Yahoo claim was worth a +/- mark of a staggering -15!!!!
Kareem Rush did give the Sixers some lacktion of his own, giving up the rock once and tossing a brick for a suck differential of +2 in 2:26. (Speaking of Philadelphia-based part-time lacktators, Royal Ivey apparently admits that his current role with the team isn't "glamorous" at all. Well, this is what happens when you slump into contributory basketball and out of the Internet-wide recognition of a All-Lacktion roster spot...)
Hornets-Wizards: Hilton Armstrong loved the accommodations at the Verizon Center, actually scoring one field goal. However, with a giveaway and two fouls in 8:12, that was not enough to avoid being billed for a 3:2 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Knicks-Pistons: Arron Affalo can't wait for his never-been-opened copy of Paperboy to arrive at an Oakland County mailbox, as he gave the home team a 7-second Super Mario! And in good news for the lacktion enthusiasts of the world, according to ESPN.com, Mike D'Antoni has picked up Cheikh Samb in his quest for 7 seconds or less of contributory ball -- so does that mean he will be sporting a Knicks jersey for the All-Lacktion Game? Stay tuned.
Grizzlies-Wolves: Chris Mihm may no longer be near the glitzy world of Hollywood, but his life amongst the rich and famous has prepared him for wealth acquisition like none other, as he gave the bear cubs a 1.2 trillion bounty!
Paul Pierce: This is a little retroactive but worth it: The Truth high fives some Celtic fans and then abruptly stops when he gets to the kid in the LeBron jersey. Cold. (From Barstool Sports via Ball Don't Lie.)