The New Jersey Nets: The Nets had the faintly-beating heart violently ripped out of the chest of their postseason hopes by last night's 107-78 HOME LOSS to the Milwaukee Bucks. I put "home loss" in all caps there to not only highlight the fact that the Nets were blown out by 29 points at home in a must-win game against a team that began the night 12 games below .500, but also because the defeat dropped them to 15-22 at the Izod Center this season. That gives them the second-worst home record in the Eastern Conference, ahead of only -- you guessed it! -- the Washington Wizards Generals. The Nets are now 19-36 since Devin Harris said: "We knew we were going to be a playoff team." John Hollinger's playoff odds now give them a 0.2 percent chance of making it to the second season.
Bonus bawful! The Nets shot 26-for-70 (37 percent), missed 10 free throws and finished with more turnovers (16) than assists (15). Oh, and those turnovers led to 21 bonus points for the Bucks. Furthermore, the game was never close: The Bucks went on an 18-0 run in the final 4:51 of the first quarter to take a 32-13 lead that was the mathemological equivalent of "Game Over." New Jersey has lost five in a row and nine of its last 11 games and 17 of 23 overall. Plus, they lost to a team that has itself won only five of its last 10 games. PLAYOFF RUN FAIL.
Even more bonus bawful! From the AP game recap: "The Nets futility was never more evident than early in the third quarter when Bucks center Dan Gadzuric stole the ball from Trenton Hassell under the Milwaukee basket, dribbled behind his back and dunked."
Devin Harris and Vince Carter: The dual rudders of this ship that be sinking combined to score 19 points on 6-for-22 from the field. And their combined fouls/turnovers (10) barely surpassed their total rebounds/assists (11).
The Miami Heat: They kept it close, thanks mostly to Dwyane Wade's 42-point performance, but the Heat still dropped a home game to the Magic on the night of Alonzo Mourning's jersey retirement ceremony. That cut Miami's lead over the Sixers for the fifth seed to a single game. But it gets worse: Backup point guard Luther Head broke his left hand during the game and will miss four to six weeks...which essentially means he's a scratch for the playoffs. Fun fact: The Magic have now won 12 of their last 13 matchups against the Heat.
J.J. Redick: Basketbawful reader Kaan -- who is one letter away from having the world's most awesome name (Khan or Kahn) -- said: "Hey I think J.J. Redick deserves a special WOTN award for this. He is a free soul you know. Boundaries cannot limit him. From the AP recap: 'Redick turned the ball over twice because he stood out of bounds while receiving passes for what would’ve been wide-open jumpers.'"
Superfluous and mildly deceptive stats:From the AP: "Dwight Howard scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, passing Wilt Chamberlain as the youngest NBA player to reach the 5,000-board mark. ... Howard reached the 5,000-rebound mark—he now has 5,006 -- at the age of 23 years, 112 days. Chamberlain was 25 years, 128 days old when he got his 5,000th rebound." What the writer conspicuously failed to mention was that Wilt was 23 years, 65 days old on the day of his very first NBA game...only 57 days younger than Dwight is RIGHT NOW. So, sorry, Howard may be today's Basketball Superman, but Wilt was yesterday's Basketball God.
The New York Knicks: More great defense (the Jazz shot almost 55 percent), more great ball-handling (the Knicks committed 20 turnovers for 32 points going the other way), and the 14th loss in the last 20 games. Also, the Knicks blocked 2 shots, putting their season total at 175...a full 38 behind last season's "Worst Ever For An 82-Game Season" total. Which begs the question: How did the Knicks dump Zach Randolph and become a WORSE shot-blocking team? That's like dumping your guild's "Leeroy Jenkins" and then running face-first into MORE hopeless, team-crushing battles.
And then there was...
Al Harrington:So sayeth the AP: "Al Harrington scored 24 to lead the Knicks before getting ejected with two technicals for arguing a foul call with 22 seconds left. The Knicks were down six before Harrington's tirade allowed Korver to put away the game with two free throws for the technical fouls." And mind you, those techs were called AFTER he had committed an offensive foul. Coupled with his bizarre antics against the Clippers and it seems like dude has gone straight up crazy.
The Golden State Warriors: No Stephen Jackson (scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on his left big toe), Andris Biedrins (sprained left ankle), Corey Maggette (head contusion), Marco Belinelli (right ankle) or Brandan Wright (left shoulder). Ronny Turiaf fouled out after being called for back-to-back fouls in a 2-second span. The Warriors coughed up a 9-point fourth-quarter lead to lose 114-109 to the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that, prior to this season, they had beaten seven straight times. But last night, the Griz administered their first season sweep of the Golden Staters since 2005-06. Note also the Memphis scored 114 points (on 50 percent shooting) after being held to 66 in Portland on Saturday night. Said Don Nelson: "I'm not going to take questions because I don't want to get fined. We missed a lot of shots in the fourth quarter and they made a lot of free throws, and that's all I have to say."
Corey Maggette: Wait, what...head contusion?! Really?! According to FreeMD: "A person with a head contusion has a bruise to the head." So "Bad Porn" sat out with a bruised head? You know what that means...EPIC DOUBLE-FACEPALM.
Lacktion report: The final race to the playoffs has not in any ray reduced Chris's laction workload:
Magic-Heat: Luther Head smartly spent 9:36 on the court tonight accruing a suck differential of +5 via two bricks (one from downtown), one giveaway and two fouls.
Bucks-Nets: Damon Jones has amped up his anti-game since being left off of the All-Lacktion roster, earning a +3 in 6:08 by tossing a brick from downtown, giving the rock up once, and taking a foul.
Grizzlies-Warriors: Marco Belinelli paid tribute to a fellow Italian who is well known in the video gaming community, notching a 15-second Mario for Don Nelson's squad.
The Steel Soundtrack: From Dan B: "The other day I was browsing the bargain CDs at Half Price Book & Music Exchange. (You know it's the bargain rack when the first CD you see is Creed). And what did I see plastered above it? Yep, Shaq in a goofy-ass metal outfit. (What his picture is doing hanging out next to Joni Mitchell, I don't know.)"
My favorite part is, if you look really closely, the top of the CD says: "Music From And Inspired By The Motion Picture." As someone who was unfortunate enough to actually SEE this particular motion picture, I can assure you that the only thing it will inspire is projectile vomiting.
Update! From Wild Yams: "Ah yes, the Steel Soundtrack. I too saw that movie, and I have to say it's way up there on the unintentional comedy scale. I don't think Judd Nelson's career ever recovered after that. Speaking of Shaq's musical career, from time to time I like to go check and see what his CDs are selling for over on Amazon because it's always good for a laugh. I see now that they've all been discontinued by the manufacturer, but you can still purchase them used; and they are priced to move, with none of them selling for more than $3, and with most of them going for one penny (yes, you read that right)."
What I find most amazing is that Shaq even released The Best of Shaquille O'Neal. And if the following review isn't proof that Shaq is, in fact, writing his own Amazon.com reviews, I don't know what would be: "As my thesis for my doctorate in Music Theory, I found this album to be a priceless treasure in the history of music. Never have so many lives been touched and so many artists influenced by such a piece of work. 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Wu Tang all owe a debt to Shaq, the master of form and function. His arrangement of the notes and the Fu-Schnickens are incredible! He is on level with every (and I mean EVERY) classical genius in my studies." The best part: The reviewer, one blackmosesi2, supposedly hails from Salt Lake City. And I'm pretty sure it's against the law to play Shaq's music there.
The new Guitar Hero commercial: Just what I've always wanted to see: Bobby Knight in his underwear. I will now procure a spork and jam it without hesitation directly into my eyes. An exceedingly sarcastic and bitter "thanks" goes out to Evil Ted and AnacondaHL, who (presumably unintentionally) conspired to force this horror upon me not once but twice.
Todd MacCulloch, pinball wizard: Possibly the most depressing "Where Are They Now?" segment I have ever seen, and that includes the one in which Meat Loaf looked like an old, fat lesbian. Seriously, if he'd been wearing a sleeveless flannel shirt and singing something by the Indigo Girls, I would not have known it was Meat Loaf. The only Paradise by the Dashboard Lights he's seeing these days is the MoonPie he picked up at the Shell Station.
ANYway...here's the clip, from Chris via Can't Stop The Bleeding. Key quote: "I had some free time and found myself playing a lot of pinball and thinking, 'I must be sick, there must be something wrong with me, 'cause this is all I really wanna do...and it wasn't until later I realized I wasn't alone." And he's not. But, as you can see, sometimes being alone is the right choice.
Update! According to AnacondaHL: "That could have only been worse if we found some washed-up NBA player at a Magic The Gathering tournament, or playing Pixie Hollow competitively, or cosplaying the new Queen's Blade at some anime convention." Or maybe playing Pokemon with a group of 10-year-old kids he doesn't even know. But that really is about it.
Kobe Bryant: Mamba texted Todd just to tell him "Pinball sux" and then sent him a copy of the Steel Soundtrack.