Pacers Fans: For starters, they learned that Mike Dunleavy's knee surgery nearly ended his career, and he is already expected to miss most of the 2010 season. Coach Jim O'Brien stated his intentions to give Brandon Rush the starting SG spot next season. A quick look shows Rush logged 1,731 minutes this season and came up with 64 assists, 34 steals, and a PER of 8.4. So I see absolutely no reason to be concerned with that announcement.
Then on Monday, the Pacers turned a 17-point first half clubbering into a semi-respectable 8-point curb-stomp at the hands of the Craboliers, losing 109-117. During that game, the Pacers' NBA regular season double-double record was broken by former Golden State castoff Troy Murphy, beating out guys like Jermaine O'Neal, Clark Kellogg, Dale Davis, Rik Smits, Antonio Davis, Herb Williams, Detlef Schrempf, and Wayman Tisdale. Wait...what?
Any Detroit Piston not named Rip Hamilton: In a "must not lose" game, the Pistons fumbled away a 8 point halftime lead at home against the Bulls, losing 91-88. The non-Rip Hamilton Pistons shot 36%, including an anemic 4 FGs, 4 turnovers and 6 fouls from the benches. Is Coach Michael Curry gonna hafta choke a bench? This loss guaranteed the Pistons a first-round matchup against a little-known Cleveland team that has picked up a few wins as of late.
Juan Dixon: The Wizards Generals gave away a scalper's-night-off special against the Raptors, losing 97-96. This was mostly thanks to this, which set up a game winning three from Chris Bosh. My guess is that Dixon recently watched "The Sixth Man" and saw a wide-open yet very ghost-like Kadeem Hardison in the frontcourt. And, yes, they did make a "basketball player dies of a heart attack" comedy only a few years after Reggie Lewis died. Which was only slightly worse than...
Brendan Haywood: Brendan Haywood made Patrick O'Bryant and Pops Mensa-Bonsu look like Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. O'Popsu combined for 17 points, 13 boards, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Haywood finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 4 blocks allowed, and the lowest plus-minus of the game (-19). Immediately after the game, a crowd of single, 40 year old overweight women lined up outside the Wizards' locker room, because they heard that Brendan Haywood can make any ass look good.
Wins That Make You Look Pathetic, Part I: Remember that time when you had to try really hard to not lose to your 12-year old niece in air hockey? The Bobcats-Nets game was exactly like that. With the Bobcats out of the playoffs, Larry Brown rewarded his bench by spreading out the playing time. Most of the Charlotte bench, including duds like DeSagana Diop and Dontell Jefferson, logged 20 minutes or more. Which makes the Nets 91-87 win, which their starters logged 30+ minutes each, kinda sad. The Nets did not want to lose to these guys, and were quick to downplay the Charlotte bench-clearization. Jarvis Hayes said, "I don't know what he was trying to do. We wanted to win." Vince Carter said, "Coach asked me three or four times if I wanted to come out. I wasn't coming out. If I had taken my shoe off I would not have been able to return...We just wanted to win the game."
Life in Milwaukee: It's no secret that Milwaukee -- a.k.a., the town that gave us bowties and patriotic fireman hats made of cheese -- kind of sucks. Unless, of course, you like snowstorms in the middle of April. But at least the people there get an occasional break from the drudgery of their daily lives when superstars like Dwight Howard come to town as part of the NBA's traveling road show. Only Superman didn't jump center for the Magic last night. Instead, Marcin "The Polish Hammer" Gortat did. And by the way: His game is NOT the Hammer...
The Orlando Magic: Did I mention that Marcin Gortat was their starting center last night? Courtney Lee, Mickael Pietrus, Tony Battie and Rafer Alston filled out Orlando's starting lineup, so it should come as no surprise that they shot 31 percent, missed 16 of their 18 three-point attempts and lost by 18 in what was their third straight loss to a non-playoff team.
The NBA Fashion Police: Howard may not have been in uniform, but he was on the Magic bench, joking with teammates and joshing with the fans. Until halftime, that is, when Dwight was informed that he was in violation of the league's dress code...despite being decked out in "a sweater and dress shirt, dress pants and shoes, and a sparkling diamond-studded watch." But, of course, the NBA requires non-playing players to wear a dress coat while on the bench. I'm sure the letter of their law was much more important than having one of their most popular players interacting with the crowd, though.
Wins That Make You Look Pathetic, Part II: The Mavs are desperately trying to move up, up and away from any possibility of a first-round matchup with the Lakers, so you would have expected them to put an early smack down on the Timberwolves. Instead, Minny almost put the smack down on them...in Dallas. Craig Smith came off the T-Wolves' bench to score a season-high 24 points and Sebastian Telfair tied his season high with 12 assists, and Dallas Trailing had to crawl out of a 7-point hole with 3:13 left and needed an 18-footer from Jason Terry with 0.2 seconds left to win the game.
Losses That Makes You Look Pathetic: With the playoff seed secure, Hornets coach Byron Scott gave his starters the night off...wait, what? He didn't? Nope. They just played like it. Chris Paul went 3-for-8, Rasual Butler was 1-for-9, Melvin Ely hit 2-for-7, Peja Stojakovic finished 1-for-7 and David West, the best of the bunch, ended up 6-for-15. As a team, the Hornets shot 34 percent, scored a season-low 66 points and got crushed like their namesakes, blowing a chance to clinch the West's sixth seed in the process. Said Byron Scott: "It is very disappointing. I think most of our guys in that locker room think that it's like a light switch, that you can just turn on when the playoffs start. It's not going to happen, it's just not." Scott then dramatically flipped the locker room light switch on and off several times and added: "THAT DIDN'T DO ANYTHING, NOW DID IT?!" To which one reporter replied: "Well, it is kinda dark in here now..."
The Guys That Are Who We Thought They Were: As bad as the Jazz have been playing lately, they're still good enough to blow out the Clippers, who got abused on the boards (50-36) and went a Shaq-like 10-for-18 from the foul line. Oh, and Baron Davis was 1-for-13. Speaking of which...
The Man Everyone Hates: B-Diddy got into a shoving match with Matt Harpring in the third quarter and, well, things didn't go so well for him after that.
The Worst Team In The League: When last we saw them, they were losing on a last-second three that shouldn't have counted. Last night they lost in much more pathetic fashion, when J.R. Smith abused them with a career-high 45 points and Nuggets franchise-best 11 three-pointers. The only drama left is finding out whether the Kings will surpass the worst season in franchise history by three games or only two. Stay tuned.
The Phoenix "Sad Face" Suns: From the AP recap: "In winning their 45th game of the season, the Suns became only the third team in NBA history to reach that total and not earn a playoff berth." It hurts.
Allen Iverson city-wide cancer: Basketbawful reader Stephanie G sent in this link:
Allen Iverson has gone from being a one-man economic stimulus plan for the city's downtown casinos to persona non grata. He has spent a ton of money down there, but recently he's been banned from both MGM and Greektown casinos.
The NBA is looking into a disturbance at Greektown that involved one of Iverson's body guards. Iverson may have been trying to act as a peacemaker but his body guard was involved in some kind of tussle.
Iverson, though, has been banned mostly for his boorish behavior. He is a bad loser, and he loses a lot, often throwing his chips or cards at the dealer. He has been warned about improper behavior at the tables repeatedly. He is often loud and disruptive, according to witnesses, rude to dealers, other players and the wait staff.
Earlier this season, Iverson caused a disturbance at a casino outside of Minneapolis. He's also earned a bad reputation at Atlantic City.
You know Iverson's behavior has to be really bad for a casino to ban him. As much money has he spends and losses, and with the casinos all fighting bankruptcy, wow, he had to be a nightmare.
Lacktion report: More lacktion from Chris "The Sacramento Sledgehammer."
Cavs-Pacers: All-Lacktion selection Tarence Kinsey maintained his beautifully unproductive form through pinching out an appropriate tribute to Shigeru Miyamoto tonight -- a well-executed 32-second Mario.
Raptors-Wizards: Jake Voskuhl's self-named stat once again effectively describes the leader of the Little Three of Lacktivity, as despite two made free throws in 3:53, he fouled once and gave up the rock twice for a Madsen-level 3:2 ratio. (And teammate Roko Ukic failed to rock out by canceling out a four-brick performance with a needless assist.)
Bulls-Pistons: Walter Hermmann was in the money tonight, getting ready to buy a mansion in Grosse Pointe Shores soon with a 7.05 trillion! (Even more amazing, he was able to rake in the dough on a night where the final deficit the Pistons buried themselves with was a mere three points!)
Wolves-Mavs: Yahoo and CBSSports.com do not confirm this, but both NBA.com and ESPN.com claim (with backing from Foxsports.com) that Ryan Hollins has just earned the rarely-seen-in-the-Association Super Mario Galaxy, with a zero-second stint!!!!!
Clippers-Jazz: Kyrylo Fesenko returns after a bit of an absence to post up a foul for a +1 suck differential (and 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl) in 3:11. Meanwhile, one block from Brian Skinner was not enough in 4:00 to overcome two bricks, one giveaway, and a foul, giving himself a 2:0 Voskuhl.
Kings-Nuggets: Cedric Simmons makes it two nights of lacktion in a row with a +2 suck differential in 2:36 via brick and foul, also good for a Madsen-level Voskuhl of 1:0.
Grizzlies-Suns: Darko Milicic freely fouled three times in 7:00 and bricked once for a 3:0 Voskuhl (despite three assists). Fellow baby cub Hamed Haddadi also scored a Voskuhl of his own in 7:38, fouling three times and bricking twice for a 3:2 ratio against two rebounds (and an assist and two blocks).