Justin T sent in today's pic and noted: "The Nets aren't going to make the playoffs. Devin Harris thought they were a shoe-in. But you can't blame a man with an arm-dick." If only I had the luxury of being speechless...
The Orlando Magic: Hmm. Seems like the Magicians might be slipping into late-season "Coast Mode." At least, I hope that's the case, because it would explain their half-hearted effort in last night's 99-95 home loss to the Craptors: 40 percent shooting, outrebounded 49-35 and 15 missed free throws (11 by Dwight Howard). Said Stan Van Gundy: "You try to talk about it and warn, but we've gotten away with this kind of play in just playing the fourth quarter too many times and our guys keep thinking they can bail out the game that way and then they didn't. It's disappointing because we didn't bring a full enough effort and focus." The loss combined with Boston's double-overtime win over the Bobcats put the Magic a game behind the Celtics in the race for the East's second seed.
Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon, delusions of grandeur machines: The Craptors are 29-45 and six games out of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot...with only eight games remaining. But Chris and Jose have NOT given up. Said Bosh: "It's not over. It's not over yet. We're going to keep playing, see what happens. We still have a chance." Added Calderon: "We're in a great situation. We're just playing. We've got five (wins) in a row now and we've got to keep working until the last day." Regarding that "great situation" Jose is talking about: John Hollinger's playoff odds give them a zero percent chance of making the postseason. But don't let that get you down, guys. Follow Your Dreams. You can Reach your Goals. I'm Living Proof. Beefcake! BEEFCAKE!!!
The Detroit Pistons: No 'Sheed, who was suspended for picking his 16th tech of the season the night before. The sucking cancer that is Allen Iverson shot 1-for-8 in 17 minutes off the bench. Kwame Brown started at center and finished with more fouls/turnovers (4/2) than points/rebounds/assists (0/3/0) in 17 minutes of lacktion. Every single one of their starters had a negative plus-minus score, "led" by Antonio McDyess (-21). The end result was a 111-98 loss in New Jersey, where the Nets were only 15-22 coming into the game. I would point out that New Jersey has won only seven times in its last 24 games, but the Pistons have lost eight of 11 and are now only half a game up on the Bulls for the playoff spot numero siete...and only two games up on the Bobcats.
Said Rip Hamilton: "It's very surprising. Tonight was a game that we had to get. It was a big game and we lost. Especially when we're playing for our dear lives. It's totally different from what we're used to here. Our record is not good and we're not playing well. I can't compare this to anything else. We just have to find a way to win and it's just not happening. We have to come out and win games." Don't worry, Rip. This is all part of Joe Dumars' plan. YOU JUST HAVE TO BELIEVE. (Suckers.)
Allen Iverson, unintentionally ironic quote machine: The Not Answer -- who, as I mentioned, shot 1-for-8 last night -- said: "Time is running out and it's not getting better. Other teams are elevating their games at the right time and we're not. I'm definitely surprised by that." And yet, strangely, no one else is at this point. Especially now that you're back, Allen.
Update! I missed this one, but Wild Yams caught me up: A.I. said that he would rather walk away from the sport than come off the bench: "I'm in a position now that I've never been in my whole life. It's harder than I thought it would be. With the back injury, I have to sit out at the start, then go in, then sit again. It's tough to really get going. I take my hat off to the guys who can come off the bench and be effective. It's tough for me. I'm struggling with it. I'd rather retire before I do this again. I can't be effective playing this way. I'm not used to it. It's tough for me both mentally and physically." Allen Iverson: Putting the "MMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" in "Team."
The Boston Celtics: Okay, what the hell's up with the Charlotte Bobcats?! Were they exposed to Gamma Rays and nobody told us about it? A night after beating the Lakers -- whom they apparently OWN by the way -- the 'Cats pushed the Celtics to double-overtime in Boston before finally succumbing to a 111-109 defeat. Crazy. And the C's pulled this one out only because Ray Allen nailed a wide open (see below) three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in the second overtime. (Plus he drilled another triple to tie it up at the end of the first overtime.) It's crazy, because Boston outshot Charlotte 53 percent to 46 and enjoyed a 26-7 edge in free throw attempts (more on that below). But the Bobcats countered by pounding them on the offensive glass (20-11). Seriously, the Celtics probably deserved to lose this one, and they might have if not for...
Gerald Wallace: Remember when I said "see below" after noting that Ray-Ray's game-winning three was wide open? Guess who left him:
When will NBA players learn that when you're up by two, don't leave your man open for a last-second triple...especially when that man is one of the league's all-time greats from behind the arc?! Oh, Gerald, why? Said Allen: "I really didn't expect (Gerald) Wallace to leave me." No kidding. To make things even worse: Charlotte had a foul to give and didn't take it. Said Larry Brown: "We didn't handle it. We had a foul to give. We're going to smother everything -- no threes and we give up a three."
Home cookin': From the AP game notes: "The Bobcats made a franchise-low five free throws and tied a franchise low with seven attempts." In TWO overtimes? Hmmmm. I smell fish. So did Larry Brown (via Junior): "I think we may have set a record with the fewest free throws in a double-overtime game. You don't get to the free throw line and you shoot 102 shots (from the field). There is something wrong." Did Gerald Wallace feel his team got jobbed? "I think so. Especially when you're playing a team as physical as the Celtics. A double-OT game and you only take seven free throws? There's got to be something." Yeah, that "something" is Red Auerbach's ghost doing its job.
The Los Angeles Lakers: Much has been made about L.A.'s "grueling" seven-game road trip, but less has made about the fact that six of their seven opponents on the journey are below .500. Shouldn't that be a walk in the park for a presumptive NBA Finalist? They won, sure but they let the Bucks shoot almost 57 percent in the first half and Milwaukee led by a point going into the fourth quarter before the Lakers woke up a little. And even then they had to fend off a mini-rally at the end. Kobe Bryant -- who went 7-for-7 in the first half and 3-for-12 in the second -- said: "It was tough. The first three and a half quarters, something like that, it seemed like we were kind of stuck in the mud a little bit. We were able to hang in there with them and got something going." They've actually been stuck in the mud for like three and a half games...but you know, they did go 5-2 on the trip, so I'm sure everything's fine.
The Washington Wizards Generals: The Wizards Generals were down 110-107 with a little less than four ticks left on the clock, but they had possession of the ball and therefore one last chance to tie the game. Or so it seemed until Mike Conley stole Javaris Crittenton’s inbounds pass, got fouled and then knocked down two foul shots that sealed the deal. That bumble spoiled Washington's comeback from an 88-73 deficit. Said interim coach Ed Tapscott: "When we were good, we were good. When we were bad, we were bad. We were digging out of a 15-point hole coming out of the third quarter. Just a few miscues turned it around. We need to value the ball and make sure we get quality possessions. Too many times tonight we didn't, and that's why we lost the game."
Gilbert Arenas: From the AP recap: "The Wizards were without guard Gilbert Arenas, who continues to play in selected games resting his surgically repaired knee." I must now once again remind you of what Gil had to say back when he had his before-the-season knee surgery: "Why's everybody tripping out? Big picture, if I start rehabbing now and get through the pain that prevented me from running or jumping this summer, I'll be back on the court sooner. How's that a bad thing? I wasn't going to play in training camp or preseason anyway, so I don't know why it's such a big deal. They cleaned the knee out. I can't walk on it for three days. Monday I can start rehabbing. I knew this was going to happen. Dwyane Wade will probably have a debris clean-out next summer. People are making it much worse than it is." And the money shot: At 17-59, the Wizards Generals are now only a half-game up on Sacramento for the worst record in the league.
Mario Chalmers: With the Heat down by only one point in the closing seconds, Chalmers went all "Super Mario," choosing not to call timeout or give the ball to teammate and MVP candidate Dwyane Wade and instead sprinted down court and ran over Josh Howard with 2.3 seconds left. Offensive foul. Game over. Said Wade: "There was a lot of miscommunication going on. It was in between calling timeout, but we also had numbers. Some people wanted to call timeout, some others thought we had numbers, and they called an offensive foul. Tough call at that time. It went fast. If we could do it over it'd be different." Way to dance around blasting the rookie, Dwyane.
The Associated Press: Thanks to the many of you who commented or emailed about this fubar from the Heat-Mavs recap: "Miami began to pull away in the third quarter as Dallas went more than 6 months without a field goal. Even after Nowitzki ended the drought, the Heat still kept stretching the lead, getting up 62-51." Wow. That's quite the drought.
The Phoenix Suns: They shot 54 percent from the field and 50 from beyond the arc, they won the rebounding battle and -- despite missing 15 of their 35 free throw attempts -- they held on for a 114-109 home victory over the Rockets to keep their fading playoff hopes alive. Yeah. Right. The Suns are still four games behind Dallas with just seven to play. Said Jason Richardson: "We're not eliminated yet. We're going to continue to play and we still believe we have a chance." Whatever. You should have had that attitude a few nights ago when you lost to the Kings.
Alvin Gentry, motivational gimmick machine: The Suns' coach called last night's win over Houston Game 1 of an eight-game season. I kid you not. "We're 1-0 in our season. We're trying to become the first team to go undefeated in the season. Whatever Dallas does is what Dallas does. It doesn't matter to us." You've got to be kidding me. Is he going to arrange a special "Loser's Only Playoff Bracket" after his team's final, mathematical elimination?
The Los Angeles Clippers: The Hornets were without Tyson Chandler, Peja Stojakovic and James Posey, and David West was hobbling around on a sore left ankle. That's minus two starters, a sixth man, and an injured All-Star...but they still shot 53 percent from the field and won the game. The joke that is the Clippers continues. They are the Deadly Towers of NBA teams.
Kings-Warriors: While no doubt jotting down notes for his nightly lacktion report, Chris took a few minutes to document some of last night's 143-141 defenseless classic:
Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds are covering the last seconds of an efensive battle at the Oracle between the Kings and Warriors, two teams who are firmly in the potato suck race for draft picks.
One missed free throw by Monta Ellis and the Kings now have a slim chance to tie it up, with the Warriors ahead 132-130. "Now Nellie's team is going to have to play honest defense," says one of the Kings' commentators.
But...well...the tying layup by Beno Udrih is best exemplified in these booth reactions that are best served with a face palm: "Nellie's team just let him walk right through the paint!" Yep, the home jerseys just all stood in the key watching Udrih run in for the easiest basket of his life.
"That is just PATHETIC defense by the Golden State Warriors! You gotta be kidding me! Allowing an uncontested layup with a 2 point lead with 2.9 seconds remaining? Nellie must be beside himself! Can you believe how bad this defense was? Come on now!"
To which I would say...how could Nellie be beside himself? Isn't his goal to prove that defense ISN'T required in the Association? Hard to accomplish that goal with a constantly injured roster and a lack of talent...
Oh, and just before that, Nellie had Crawford foul Kevin Martin (and send Martin to the line successfully) with a full 10 seconds remaining on the clock, while leading AND with the Kings lacking in timeouts. Gee, I wonder if that gave enough time for Udrih's heroics.
We're in OT now and K-Mart has just accrued a 50-point blue light special. Only the fifth 50-point game in Kings history since they first took that moniker in Kansas City. Nocioni just fouled out with 42 seconds left in overtime after being bowled over hard by Monta Ellis in the Kings' halfcourt. Huh?
And the Kings got a huge steal away from Monta Ellis...only to blow a 3-on-2 fastbreak with several bricks before Jason Thompson took a foul! "We're not going to take this game and make a defensive video out of it" as Napear admits the extreme entertainment value of this comedy of errors.
Udrih misses on the very last drive as the Warriors surprisingly forgot how to play efense for one possession, thus sealing the game 143-141. As fun as that was to watch, it's exceedingly obvious why the only NorCal championship in the Association occurred in an era of 8-tracks, Tower of Power, and Howard Cosell.
This was the kind of game that drives coaches crazy, and it apparently made the players a little nutty too. Jamal Crawford said it was "like Game 7 of the playoffs" (not that "Mr. Zero Career Playoff Games" would know) and Monta Ellis added: "We played great basketball, and that's why we won the game." I hope Monta never looks up "great" in the dictionary. It woud break his motor-scooting heart.
Box score madness: Okay, let me start off by saying that I sometimes get duplicate emails/comments about this or that, but I have never gotten as many duplicate submissions as I did last night over this bizarre Grant Hill box score snafu. Seriously, the first two and a half pages of my email inbox contained nothing but links and screen shots...and there were more after that. So, seriously, thanks to everybody who wrote in, because this is a doozy.
Okay. What happened? It seems that some genius behind compiling online box scores put Grant Hill -- who, as you probably know, plays for the Suns -- on Golden State's half of the Kings-Warriors box score. As a DNP-CD. For "Old Age / Lack of Talent." No, I'm not kidding.
That's a screen capture of the official NBA.com box score, which has been fixed. But prior to the change, I can confirm that clicking on "G.Hill" did take you to Yahoo! box -- which hasn't been fixed -- shows that Grant scored 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting in 39 minutes off the Golden State bench...while he was doing the exact same thing as a starter for Phoenix. Amazing.
Lacktion report: Chris continues to document the doings of the lacktion faction:
Raptors-Magic: Jake Voskuhl earned the Madsen-level version of his namesake stat, a 3:2 Voskuhl (fouls against rebounds), while also throwing two bricks and taking a rejection in the midst. Pops Mensah-Bonsu meanwhile fathered a +5 suck differential in 5:43 via two bricks, two fouls, and a block against -- one of the few folks this year who has scored lacktion for multiple teams! (Mensah-Bonsu also racked up a 2:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl out of all of that lacktivity.)
Pistons-Nets: When you're fighting for a playoff spot, the last thing you need is a starting center who provides non-contributions. But when Kwame Brown is your starting center for a full 16:44 after Yet Another Unnecessary Sheed Suspension After Getting T'd Up, the following must be the inevitable result: a Voskuhl of 6:3 after fouling four times, giving up the rock twice, and bricking twice against three rebounds. Did I also mention that Mr. #1 Overall himself also took a rejection?
Somewhere, Sam Bowie is thanking his lucky stars that Brown has officially become the biggest draft-lottery bust in history, allowing the former to live the rest of his life without the "worst pick evar" label he had been burdened with for so long.
Bobcats-Celtics: Cartier Martin has discovered that the best way for a bench player to game some renown is to search for lost treasure, and a 4.95 trillion no doubt could buy him a few Air Jordans. He wasn't the only rich man on the night -- in an double-overtime game no less! -- as Bill Walker became a human tribute to Red Auerbach with a tightly rolled 2.65 trillion.
Wizards-Grizzlies: Javale McGee's blocked shot and two rebounds in 2:58 wasn't enough to overcome 3 fouls for the Madsen-level 3:2 Voskuhl; also not being a hero tonight was Brendan Haywood, whose 24:04 run off the bench earned him a slight Voskuhl of 5:4 (three fouls and two giveaways with five bricks against one field goal and two boards) despite a steal and three blocks.
Rockets-Suns: Chuck Hayes dialed into the expensive world of slow DOS-based online services at the rate of 2.5 trillion a night.
Meanwhile, solar power is alive and well for at least one game, with three different lacktators to confirm victory. Stromile Swift rapidly stacked his 4:46 stint with two bricks, one foul, and a giveaway for a +4, and Alando Tucker had a +1 via brick in 2:44. More importantly, Robin Lopez grew a fire flower in a one-foul 45 second Mario, which also earned him a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl! (This may be one of the few times so far that one has scored both a Mario and a Voskuhl in the same stint. Amazing.)
New York Yankees fans: This is a day late but totally worth including. Thanks to Basketbawful reader bizarro for the head's up...not that we needed more evidence that Yankees fans are douchebags. Except for those who read this site, of course.
Wild Yams, however, questions the veracity of this incident: "I dunno, it kinda looks staged to me. The only thing that makes me think it wasn't staged is that supposedly the mascot gets all upset (though it's hard to see if that's the case on the video). Lots of times they'll have staged stuff go on in the stands with the mascot and 'fans of the opposing team' (who are actually plants)." Yeah, and if you watch closely, you'll notice that Rocky lowers his head right before the guy dumps his beer...
Kile Wygle: He's the guy being referred to in this totally awesome headline: "Ohio man charged with drunken driving on bar stool." No, I'm not kidding.
I thought the Segway was the future of idiot non-car travel...
The full story: "Authorities in Ohio say a man has been charged with drunken driving after crashing his motorized bar stool. Police in Newark, 30 miles east of Columbus, say when they responded to a report of a crash with injuries on March 4, they found a man who had wrecked a bar stool powered by a deconstructed lawn mower. Twenty-eight-year Kile Wygle was hospitalized for minor injuries. Police say he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he told an officer at the hospital that he had consumed 15 beers. Wygle told police his motorized bar stool can go up to 38 mph. Wygle has pleaded not guilty and has requested a jury trial."
The strangest part of this story is that, although the motorized bar stool in question was of the homemade variety, there is, in fact, a market for these things. And no, I'm still not kidding.