Thanks to Basketbawful reader Anf for today's pic.
Scalpers night off in Atlanta: From Basketbawful reader Vinny Gorgeous: "Hopefully you didn't actually watch Heat-Hawks, but the AP recap was golden. Among the highlights: Mario West, for the first time ever, saw his name leading off a game recap...unfortunately, it was immediately followed by 'blew a dunk' A little more snark: 'Speedy Claxton, a $25 million free-agent bust, actually played for the first time in more than two years. ... Claxton played 7 minutes, missing his only two shots, doling out one assist, and put up an airball on a free throw attempt, drawing groans from fans who still wonder why the Hawks gave him so much money. But he swished the second for his first point of the season, which averages out to $5.7 million per point.' Congratulations, Mr. AP NBA Recap guy; this Bud's for you." Speaking of which...
Speedy Claxton, quote machine: More from the AP recap: "Claxton was the main attraction on this night. He signed a four-year deal in 2006 to be the Hawks' starting point guard, but injuries and poor play made him persona non grata in Atlanta. He had not played since March 3, 2007, when he turned in 15 scoreless minutes against the New York Knicks. 'I was so nervous,' Claxton said. 'After I airballed the first one, I knew I had to make that second one.'"
The Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers haven't won a game since April 4th, when they qualified for the NBA playoffs. Since then, they've suffered six straight defeats, including losses to the Nets (34-37), Bobcats (35-46) and Raptors (32-49). And last night, they lost to the " Boston Celtics," who were playing sans Kevin Garnett (mysterious never-ending knee injury) and Ray Allen (suspended for delivering that sac shot to Anderson Varejao). Despite logging only 30 minutes and sitting out most of the fourth quarter, Paul Pierce still lit up Philly's defense for 31 points (12-for-16). Truth also drilled seven of his nine three-point attempts. The Celtics leaned heavily on their reserves -- Glen Davis (34 minutes), Eddie House (24 minutes), Stephon Marbury (22 minutes) -- but still shot 52 percent and won the rebounding battle (41-38). Mind you, Boston had nothing to play for...while Philadelphia had plenty on the line.
The loss will almost certainly cost the Sixers the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs (unless the Bulls lose at home to the Craptors AND they manage to beat the Crabs in Cleveland), which will force them to face the actual Boston Celtics in the first round. So, you know, uh oh.
Andre Iguodala: An anonymous commenter noted: "Iggy (ego-dala) committed a horribly shameless and blatantly fake flop after missing an ugly looking runner that would've given the Sixers the lead at the end of the game." He sure did. He found the nearest Celtic and just fell over him. Are coaches now teaching "shoot and fall down"?
Samuel Dalembert: Yet another game without an assist for Sammy Selfish. He now has 1 assist in his last 28 games (versus 166 field goal attempts and 40 turnovers).
Joey Crawford: Mr. "DO NOT LAUGH AT ME" Crawford was up to his old tricks last night. Apparently, he has it in for the Celtics. Maybe he hates the color green, or maybe the village he grew up in was destroyed by a hoard of rampaging leprechauns. Who knows? But last night he levied not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five technical fouls against Boston. Joey T'd up Mikki Moore and Doc Rivers in the second quarter, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins in the third, and then assistant coach Armond Hill in the fourth. The five techs were, indeed, a season-high for the Celtics. Rumor has it he almost called additional technicals on a Gatorade bottle and a wadded up towel at the end of the Boston bench. Dude was so quick with the whistle I started thinking that the government should give him a whistle-activated laser weapon and then force him to fight pirates.
The Utah Jazz: Yet another case of a former NBA Finalist with nothing to play for versus a lower seed with mucho to play for...and guess what happened? Kobe Bryant played only 26 minutes but L.A. still shot nearly 56 percent (and over 61 percent from downtown) to beat the Jazz 125-112. The Lakers are now 16-3 all-time against Utah at Staples Center, where they've beaten the Jazz six times in a row. Did I mention these teams are facing each other in the first round now? Yikes. Said Jerry Sloan: "We didn't give them much of a battle and knowing that we're going to have to play them again, it looks pretty bleak. Hate to say that, but it's one of those things."
Brad Miller, unintentionally dirty quote machine:Miller said: "All I want to do is grab somebody and bang nowadays...Kirk always has been known to get up into somebody's backside." He's actually talking about the physical nature of playoff basketball. As far as you know.
Update! Vinny Del Negro, unintentionally dirty quote machine: AK Dave noticed this Vinny quote from the same article Brad's was in: "It's going to be physical. You have to get used to that. ... You have to go in there and get into bodies." As AK said: "These guys make it sound like playoff basketball is a 10-man angry orgy or something. They should really tone it down, you know. Kids read this stuff!"
Joe Tobjy, sore/evil loser: Here's the description for this YouTube video: "Joe Tobjy was picked to be in the halftime contest of basketball musical chairs. Realizing he was going to lose, he throws his basketball at the kid whos going to win, takes him out and turns what could have been one of the most memorable event in this kid's college life to one of the worst...he also makes him bleed from the fall."
More advanced statistical fail: Chris in Cleveland writes: "I thought you'd enjoy this. Not sure what Don Nelson did to make this happen but evidently it worked." He then provided a recent screen capture of John Hollinger's playoff odds:
So, the Lakers and Jazz are out while the Suns and Warriors are in? I love math!
Lacktion report: Chris reports shocking anti-lacktion development...
Heat-Hawks: Not lacktion, but something else: Mario West scoring a WARIO! From the original "Mario" article -- that term was given for Mr. West actually scoring significant playing time, and he had the most playing time of anyone on court, with a 39:14 stint. Wow. (And that three quarters' worth of non-lacktivity still managed to net him only three points!)
Celtics-Sixers: Despite an assist in 10:09, Theo Ratliff fouled and bricked once each for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
NASA: As you may or may not know, NASA held an online contest to name a room at the international space station. Thanks to countless writein votes, the name "Colbert" -- as in Stephen Colbert -- beat out NASA's four suggested options (Serenity, Legacy, Earthrise and Venture). But instead of honoring the contest they initiated, NASA wimped out and bypassed "Colbert" for the eighth most popular response submitted by respondents: Tranquility (which is an allusion to the Sea of Tranquility, where Apollo 11 landed on the moon). Lame. NASA did throw Colbert Nation a bone, though, naming a treadmill after their hero. The new COLBERT treadmill stands for "Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill." The resolution is kind of cool, but still pretty balless.
Kobe Bryant: Mamba texted Steve Nash that he had named his master bathroom "NASH"...for "Nicely Accoutered Shit House."