The Toronto Craptors: They're called "motions," and the Craptors are going through them. Remember, it was less than a month ago that Chris Bosh tried to light a fire under his team by "mixing it up" with Brian Cardinal, after which Bosh said: "You have to realize nice guys sit at home and watch the playoffs. That's just how I feel, maybe I'm wrong. But if you play with intensity you're more likely to win, and you're more likely to play better basketball." Sadly, Brian Cardinal still plays for only one team -- last time I checked, anyway -- so inspiration has been hard to find. Like last night in Charlotte, for example, where the Craptors shot 38 percent and committed 24 turnovers (giving up 28 points in the process).
So here are some quick Craptor facts: First, they have lost six straight and nine of their last 10 road games. Second, they fell to 16-35 since Jay Triano took over as head coach. (Sam Mitchell, for the record, was 8-9. So, you know, maybe he wasn't the problem after all.) Third, a year after going 41-41 and finishing 6th in the Eastern Conference, they have already lost 44 games and are currently 14th in the East...30 games back of the first-place Crabs.
Jay Triano, Captain Obvious: "We just seemed to lack a lot of zip from the opening tip tonight." Well no sh*t, coach.
Marcus Banks:From the Toronto Star: "Marcus Banks is likely done for the year. Obtained in the Shawn Marion-Jermaine O'Neal trade less than a month ago, Banks is going to get some time off because of a nagging toe injury. Banks appeared in six games for a total of 40 minutes with Toronto and did not accompany the team to Charlotte for last night's game. There are no plans to replace him."
The Memphis Grizzlies: A day after halting their latest fail streak with a stunning win at Detroit, the Griz returned home and began a fresh, new skid by slipping on a few well-placed banana peels coming out of the gate. From the AP recap: "Portland built an early double-digit lead hitting nine of its first 10 shots in the game. When the Trail Blazers finally missed their second shot, it only delayed the scoring as Przybilla grabbed the offensive rebound for a dunk. The sequence dropped Portland's shooting to 83 percent."
To their credit, the Baby Bears clawed their way back into the game and got to within striking distance in the fourth, but, much like the Clippers, they are who we thought they were. And that is a team that will probably lose about 60 games by the time everything is said and done.
Darko Milicic: Okay. We all know when and where he was drafted, as well as the players who got drafted after him (one of whom leads the league in scoring and dropped 50 on the Jazz last Saturday). So I'm not going to go into all that again. What I am going to mention is his line from last night's game: 2 points (0-for-2), zero rebounds and 1 personal foul in one minute, 20 seconds worth of daylight. Okay, seriously, this isn't Bowie over Jordan, but it's pretty damn close, right? Update! From Andrei: "Just a quick addition to the Milicic bawfulness. The guy didn't get any PT last night because within a minute of being in the game he streaked to the hoop on a fast break and then strained his back on the lay-up attempt without being touched. He of course missed the lay-up as well."
The San Antonio Spurs: When you're the Spurs, and you hold your opponent to 78 points on 35 percent shooting and that opponent is the Thunder (19-48), you're supposed to WIN the game, right? I mean, San Antonio went up by 17 points in the first 10 minutes. But this is the NBA, where they continue to play four full quarters of basketball no matter how much one of the teams is behind. And you know what they say: Everybody makes a run. Gregg Popovich -- who was denied victory his 1,000th game as Spurs coach -- said: "Oftentimes, it's a coach's worst nightmare. We've all had the leads. We've all lost them because it's a game. It's 48 minutes long. There are a lot of possessions. It can happen and it does happen often. It's called basketball. It's a basketball game. It happens all the time." Yes, my friends. It's called basketball. That is why Gregg is a coaching genius.
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan: Sometimes superstars giveth, and sometimes they taketh away. Last night Parker (28 points, 7 assists) and Duncan (14 points, 12 boards) did a little of both. TP and TD combined for 7 turnovers in the second quarter, which helped field the 17-2 run that the Thunder used to get back into the game. The two of them finished with 9 TOs (5 for Tony and 4 for Tim). The Thunder, as a team, finished with 11.
The New Orleans Hornets: From super hot to super cold just like that. The Hornets had won six of eight games this month before getting hammered by the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday night. But things looked pretty good for them heading into a home matchup with the Yao Ming-less (flu-like symptoms!) Rockets. But a funny thing happened on their way to an easy win: Houston turned the tables on New Orleans, beating them by 11 points behind Luis Scola (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Ron Artest (18 points). Chris Paul was his usual spectacular self -- 29 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists, 6 steals -- but he didn't get a lot of support from his 'mates. David West managed only 16 points (on 17 shots), Tyson Chandler fouled out with 4 points (2-for-5) and barely managed to snare more rebounds (7) than Paul. Guess we need to retract all those "The Hornets Are Starting To Assert Themselves" articles that were running a week or so ago.
Julian Wright: He finished with as many field goals (3) as blocked shots against, each of which was sent back by Dikembe Mutumbo, who at this point would make a mummy look healthy and youthful. And since I can't find any of those swats on YouTube yet, here's some bonus 'bawful from Julian's college days...
Dikembe Mutombo, quote machine: It's amazing this guy is still playing basketball. Seriously, there are "Dikembo is so old..." jokes that are older than half the guys in the league. But that didn't stop him from blocking shots and grabbing almost as many rebounds (6) in 24 minutes as Tyson Chandler nabbed in 37 minutes. And you'd better believe that finger was wagging when he returned Julian Wright's shots to sender. But Deke wasn't trying to hotdog or anything. He was trying to survive. "I've got to stop and take a breath. I'm old. I don't need to be running up and down." I guess sense of humor is one of the last things to go.
Ron Artest: Yes, he scored a team-high 18 points...on 23 shots. In point of fact, Ron-Ron missed his first 11 shots, 9 in the first half, and bonked on all 9 of his three-point attempts. That, dear readers, is textbook SWAC-ism.
And here's some bonus megalomania from Artest: "There's nobody at my position that can keep me from getting to the basket, so I have to keep that in mind." File that away with that time Ron described LeBron James as a "new and improved version of myself."
The New Jersey Nets: Giving up 38-point fourth quarter en route to a 25-point loss was bad enough, but it dropped the Nets to 12th in the Eastern Conference. They now trail the Bucks, Bulls Bobcats and even the Knicks in the (rather pathetic) battle for the East's eighth sacrificial lamb playoff spot. And now it's time for the update -- the Nets are 17-31 since Devin Harris said: "We knew we were going to be a playoff team."
Believe it or not, the Nets outshot the Nuggets 49 percent to 45. So what happened? They were murdalized on the boards (51-31) and gave up a mind-boggling 25 offensive rebounds. No, really, my mind is boggled. Chris Andersen had more offensive boards by himself (8) than anybody on the Nets had total (Brook Lopez "led" New Jersey with 6 rebounds). I understand that the Nets were missing Devin Harris, but I doubt he would have solved their problems on the boards.
Sean Williams: In addition to missing Harris, the Nets were without Williams, who was "arrested Monday at a cell phone store in a mall in suburban Denver on accusations he got into an argument with a clerk and threw a computer monitor." Oh yes he did. The monitor was broken and a printer and signature pad were damaged at a cost of between $1,200 to $1,300. Mind you, Williams was arrested on February 15th for violating a no trespass order at Boston College, from which "he had been barred in May for reasons that BDD has declined to publically release." I have a feeling this guy isn't long for the NBA.
Lacktion report: Give me back that Filet of Chris, Gimme that Chris! (Sorry. I'm mildly obsessed with this McDonald's commercial.)
Raptors-Bobcats: With Jake Voskuhl forced to leave his warmups on tonight, the newest member of the Little Three of Lacktivity, Patrick O'Bryant, stepped on for the Craptors and delivered a suck differential of +2 in 2:52 via brick and foul, also noted as a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl!
Charlotte's Nazr Mohammed did make a field goal, but a lack of rebounds led to a 4:2 Voskuhl via three fouls and a giveaway in 3:06.
Spurs-Thunder: Bruce Bowen's recent resurgence in lacktivity continues with a one-foul +1 in 3:59 for Gregg Popovich's squad. Apparently this was how Popovich wanted to celebrate his 1000th game as coach, by putting Bowen back into his vintage role -- instead of actually, you know, trying to beat Klahma!?
Blazers-Grizzlies: Darius Miles definitely learned well from his early days under Donald Sterling's tutelage, as he managed to score exactly one trillion (at least by Yahoo's boxscore) for the Tennessee-based bear cubs! (According to ESPN, this acquisition of wealth never occurred.)