NBA sob stories: Those NBA players, they sure have it rough sometimes: "Al Horford watched two DVDs of 'Desperate Housewives,' took a nap, woke up and played cards with some teammates. And the plane was still on the tarmac. 'Just sitting there,' the Atlanta Hawks center said. 'I was going crazy.' Some four or five hours late, after waiting in a long line to be de-iced because of an East Coast storm, the Atlanta Hawks plane finally took off for the nation's capital. The team didn't check into its hotel until 6 a.m. or so, hardly the ideal itinerary for a slumping squad in need of a break after a disheartening one-point loss at home." I know, I know. A real tear-jerker.
But dry those eyes, dear readers! This story has a happy ending. Because, you see, the long-suffering Hawks were playing...
The Washington Wizards Generals: The Generals began the season with a team slogan of "Character, Commitment, Connection." I think they should change it to "The beatings will continue until morale improves." Another depressing home loss to a slumping team dropped Washington to a second-worst-in-the-league 14-46. And it's once again time to mention the fact that they committed to more than $160 million worth of salary over the summer, $111 million of which will be going to a guy who hasn't even played this season. Seriously, Abe Pollin has to feel like the NASA administrator responsible for green-lighting the Challenger launch. All the information was there -- with Gilbert's knee playing the part of the Challenger's O-ring -- but it was ignored. And, of course, disaster has ensued.
Back to the game, though. Washington was probably doomed before tipoff because Caron Butler missed the game with tightness in his left hamstring. The Generals are now 0-13 against fellow Southeast Division-ites...and only three games away from becoming the first NBA team ever to finish the season winless within its division. Said interim coach Ed Tapscott: "Sometimes you hit upon the inexplicable. I thought we should have been the team with more energy tonight, considering they played a tough game against Cleveland, got in late. I guess that's what happens when you have a terrific player like Joe Johnson, he tends to bail you out." It's also what happens when you're a hopelessly terrible team, Ed.
Added Antawn Jamison: "It's frustrating. We can't get a win, period. It's pretty much how it's been going all year. Tap brought it to our attention, I think it's never happened in history, a team not getting a win against it's division -- that's the least of our worries right now. I think eventually we'll get it done, but it's 'Groundhog Day' once again." And again. And again. And again. As a side note, attendance for the game was listed at a season-low 10,189. I know, I know. Snowstorms, yadda, yadda, yadda. But still.
Update! Javale McGee: From the Game Log at Bullets Forever: "Weird...JaVale McGee slams in a Mike Bibby miss...he went for the rebound and just jammed the damn ball right in the Hawks' basket." It's just been that kind of season in Washington. (Thanks to the anonymous commenter who brought this to my attention.) You can watch it here (go to the 1:40 mark). Thanks to Mark L. for the link.
What makes the play even worse is that Javale was supposed to help on the penetration, but he showed (and weakly at that) and then backed right off, which allowed Bibby to slide in for an uncontested layup attempt. I was thinking about this, and I've decided that McGee's boner was like being out with your buddy's girlfriend -- on a night in which he specifically asked you to watch out for her -- and then accidentally dirty-dancing her from behind before realizing who it was.
Associated Press headline writers: Here's the AP headline from the Atlanta-Washington recap: "Hawks overcome tarmac tedium, beat Wizards 98-89." I'm not kidding. Tarmac tedium? Seriously?
Al Horford: Two DVDs of "Desperate Housewives," Al? Two?! You just lost cool points, my friend.
David West, unintentionally dirty quote machine: After he broasted the Sixers with 30 points, 10 boards and 5 assists, West wanted to talk a little man love about teammate Chris Paul. "With Paul penetrating and probing, we've got guys who can make shots. That's what's been happening." As Basketbawful reader Robert M. put it: "Wow...I think the phrase 'with Paul penetrating and probing' has to be one of the dirtiest Basketball quotes I've ever heard." Honestly, I'd probably feel more scandalized by that quote if Hubie Brown hadn't uttered the words "...got it off with the defender coming in his face" on Sunday.
The Miami Heat: They went up 91-80 with 7:52 left after a Dwyane Wade threw down a jazzy dunk. And they cruised in for an easy victory, right? Bwah. Ha. Ha. Nope. The Heat shot 2-for-17, committed four turnovers and got outscored 27-9 in those final, fateful less-than-eight minutes. Crabs win. As Heat coach Erik Spoelestra (somewhat unintentionally dirt-ily) put it: "That's a tough one to swallow."
Jamario Moon and Jermaine O'Neal, prop and poster boy: King Crab sealed the Crabolier victory by casually walking past Moon and then jamming it home on The Drain's oddly-shaped noggin. ("That dunk had GRACE and POWER! It had me jumping OUT of my seat!") Here's the ego-ectomizing video:
Mike Brown, mumble machine: Regarding LeBron's game-breaking dunk: "I thought, I didn't think, I don't know, I don't know how he did it." Well said, Mike. Who writes your copy? Mushmouth?
Butter fingers: The James versus Wade duel was everything we, as fans, could have asked for. But it was a pretty sloppy game, with the Crabs and Heat combining for 41 turnovers that resulted in 51 points of turnovers. Pookie had 8 of those TOs, and King Crab had 6 of them.
The Dallas Mavericks: Last Friday, the Mavs barely pulled out a two-point overtime victory against the Kevin Durant-less Thunder. That was nearly an Epic Fail, right? Well, last night they DID lose to the Thunder, who were missing both Durant (their leading scorer) AND Jeff Green (their second-leading scorer). Simply put, Dallas couldn't contain rookie Russell Westbrook (who had his first career triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) and OKC's midseason pickup Nenad Krstic (who had a season-high 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting). And the Mavericks, who fell behind by as many as 23 points, had to outscore the Thunder 28-17 in the fourth quarter just to pull the final score (96-87) to within single digits.
Said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle: "I just thought that the first three quarters were just a pitiful display for a team that has aspirations to be in the playoffs and try to move up in the standings. We've seen this before, too many times. We (mess) around for two to three quarters and then we want Jason Kidd to bail us out with steals and hustle plays and fast-break opportunities. It's just too much to ask." Yes: Expecting Kidd's mummy to bail you out really IS too much to ask. Although don't mummies usually have cool undead powers, like poison breath and eye beams?
Random note: In the last three games, now that he's getting some actual PT, Thabo Sefolosha has scored 12, 15 and 15 points on 16-for-33 shooting. He's also averaged almost 9 boards over those three contests. I guess all he needed was a chance...
The Los Angeles Clippers: Zach Randolph missed the game to travel to Indianapolis so he could be with his seriously ill father. Meanwhile, Eric Gordon, the league's top-scoring rookie (15.1 PPG), missed his third straight game with a bruised left shoulder. And although the Clips were at home, they were playing the Spurs, making it a battle of the Ultimate Franchise versus the Ultimate Anti-Franchise. So, of course, the 106-78 loss was all too predictable. The Clips shot 36 percent and were outrebounded 52-37. The Clips have now have lost 11 straight and 19 of the last 20 against the Spurs. Let's face it: Both teams are who we thought they were.
Al Thornton: He missed 10 of his first 11 shots and finished 5-for-19. But he was all "whatever" about it after the game. "I have a bad shooting night, then a good shooting night. That's what I do. I got the looks I wanted. Every shot I took was a good shot. I just missed." Can you blame him for his lack of conscience? He plays with Baron Davis AND he's a Clipper.
Lacktion report: Chris continues to put an ironic amount of effort into reporting a lack of effort...
Hawks-WizardsGenerals: With few exceptions, any night against the Generals serves as the visiting team's chance to goof off like the Globetrotters, and in this case the visitors were the lacktator-heavy Atlanta Hawks. Maurice Evans made full use of his 12:11 with a brick from downtown and two fouls for a suck differential of +3, but the real story came in a pair of familiar MARIO BROTHERS! THE Mario West eschewed gold coins by a mere six seconds to earn his namesake stat, a 54 second Mario, while Randolph Morris ran into the invisibility, er, invincibility star for an 18-second Mario of his own.
Cavs-Heat: Sasha Pavlovic saw all the print that Tarence and JJ were getting here in the ledger and decided to try out being a lacktator for this particular crab bake, fouling and pinching the rock out of his hands as well for a +2 in 6:36. Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson lived up to his moniker by crawling to a brick-and-foul in 2:29 for +2.
Spurs-Clippers: Donald Sterling got to see his Clippers crap out again at home like they have almost every single time since they left San Diego, and he probably derived plenty of enjoyment from the minting of more than millions tonight from both teams. Jacque Vaughn was the Spurs' metal detector for the night, sounding out a 2.95 trillion, while Brian Skinner returned to the righteousness of receiving revenue with a 4 trillion for the Clips!
The Sri Lankan cricket team attackers: From CNN International: "At least six security personnel were killed and eight members of Sri Lanka's cricket team hurt -- including two with gunshot wounds -- in an attack Tuesday on the team's bus by gunmen in Lahore, Pakistan. The Sri Lankan players were traveling to the city's Gaddafi Stadium for the third day of the second test match against Pakistan at around 9 a.m. local time (11 p.m. ET) when the attack occurred. Video footage showed several gunmen with automatic weapons opening firing on the convoy from a roundabout, Liberty Square, close to the stadium. Police said at least 12 gunmen were involved. Pakistani Information Minister Sherry Rahman told CNN the attackers were still at large. Witnesses described the scene as 'pandemonium.' Images showed police vehicles with their windscreens punctured by bullets and their front seats stained with blood. A body lies in the road in front of one bullet-shattered van."
PayPal: They mistakenly charged Juan Zamora $81,400,836,908 after he paid $26 for a tank of gas. That's right: $81 billion! From the official story: "Obviously that wasn't right, so a bemused Zamora called the company to try and straighten it out. He was met with a wall of resistance from the rep on the other end of the line, who argued with him for 15 minutes in broken English that since he bought the gas, he had to pay the bill. He hung up and eventually called a supervisor, convincing the person on the other end of the line that his '94 Camaro just doesn't hold $81 billion worth of gas, even if he drives it until it's on fumes. So how did the accident happen? It turns out a glitch caused PayPal to use the vendor's I.D. as the charge, transferring it to the billing amount instead. To add insult to injury, they debited him $90 in overdraft charges, when his account was unable to cover the original amount."
Kobe Bryant: After hearing about the PayPal story, he handed Adam Morrison a Gatorade and then charged him $81 billion for it, claiming "no takebacks" when Adam tried to protest. Adam's children's children's children will likely be paying off that debt by selling their own children to what I'm assuming will be our baby-eating robot overlords.