The Detroit Pistons: I'll get to their "amazing comeback" in a minute. The Pistons are in way over their heads against the Crabs. The series is a joke. Nobody's giving them a chance. All anybody can talk about is how far this squad has fallen from what they were. Their defense is average at best, and the offensive execution that has been their hallmark for the last several years just isn't there anymore. (Turns out it's in Denver...inside Chauncey Billups.) "Total disarray" doesn't begin to touch upon the disappointment that is the Pistons. For a team that isn't suffering from any major injuries or any serious internal dissent (that we know of), this collapse is just depressing. Basically, it took the Cavs collectively hitting the snooze button for them to finish within a dozen points.
Iverson's cap-munching contract comes off the books this summer. So they're gonna have cap space. Joe Dumars can still turn this thing back around. But if he doesn't, he could go down in Detroit history as the second-coming of Matt Millen...which is crazy.
The Cleveland Cavaliers: Way to fall asleep in the fourth quarter, guys. The Crabs were up by 29 points in the fourth quarter when LeBron and, apparently, everybody else checked out of the game. Detroit then went on an improbable 27-5 run, pulling to within 7 points with 3:51 left. King Crab and the rest of the Cleveland starters were forced back into service to pull out the win. Memo to the Craboliers: Despite your stunning dominance, David Stern still requires you to play a full 48 minutes per game. Thank you. Said Mo Williams: "We're getting out of here with a sour taste in our mouths." Yeah, that's called vomit, Mo.
The Cavs' bench: Cleveland's pine jockeys combined for exactly one field goal. Not in the fourth quarter...FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. The reserves went 1-for-11 in 61 minutes of truly craptastic lacktion.
On the subject of the Crabs, Jamali Jack sent in a link to this video, via Slam Online: "Remember how serious the Celtics were during the Playoffs? That sort of concentration could drive a player to insanity! Well, the Cavs found a way to alleviate the pressure that comes with having the League’s best record. Although it’s not a closet full of cold ones, this isn't a bad remedy either."
Ron Artest: With Greg Oden and the Vanilla Godzilla dropping a steel net over Yao Ming (11 points, 4 fouls), Ron-Ron stepped in to pick up the slack...by chucking it up without conscience. Artest went 8-for-20 from the field yet somehow attempted only two free throws. That's probably because 18 of his 20 attempts were jump shots. That included a 1-for-8 effort from beyond the arc.
But it doesn't stop there. Brandon Roy went supernova, blowing up for 42 points (15-for-27 from the field, 10-for-12 from the line) and committing zero turnovers against the combined defense of Artest and Shane Battier. Roy also drilled a late-game three right in Ron's mug to push Portland's lead to 7 with 2:27 left. Not exactly a proud performance for a former Defensive Player of the Year. Maybe next time Artest can just pants Roy and then sing him a jaunty tune...
Still, despite the win, Wild Yams doesn't sound sold on the Blazers: "If I was Portland, I'd be most scared of the fact that their main advantage supposedly is their home court edge, and yet at home they got blown out in one game and barely won a second game in which their two stars had monster games while the opposing team's star hardly did anything. Portland's gonna get hammered in Houston."
Greg Oden: From AnacondaHL: "Just wanted to make sure you didn't miss Greg Oden's outstanding 24.75 PF/48min performance last night (his season average was 8.7 (link says FT per 36, but it's PF per 48). Obviously we're going to have to invent the Oden metric of bawful." Sounds like a challenge...get on it, people!
Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo said his lengthy career is finished after a knee injury knocked him out of the Rockets' playoff game Tuesday night against the Trail Blazers.
"For me, basketball is over," he said.
Mutombo, an 18-year NBA veteran, appeared to get tangled with Portland center Greg Oden and came down hard on his left leg late in the first quarter of Game 2 and did not return.
He stayed prone on the court under the Blazers’ basket for several moments before he was taken away by stretcher. A preliminary examination revealed a knee strain.
Afterward in Houston's locker room, the 7-foot-2 veteran was on crutches and fighting back tears.
"Nobody ever thought they'd be carrying the big guy out like a wounded soldier," he said.
Mutombo, the league's oldest player at 42, will be examined by doctors in Houston on Wednesday.
"Dikembe is one of the statesmen of this league," teammate Shane Battier said. "There's not a better guy. To see him in pain is tough to see. He cares so much about this game that he doesn’t want to end his career like that. That's the tragedy of it, too."
Goddamn it, Greg Oden! It's bad enough you can't keep your own body from breaking down, did you really have to destroy Dikembe, too? I guess Greg just wanted to officially become the oldest player in the NBA, and only Mutumbo was in his way. Anyway, since I'm way too bummed to write a proper tribute, here's one of my all-time favorite Mutumbo commercials:
The Utah Jazz: What can I say? The Jazz gave it there all and still came up woefully short. As Radical Rex put it: "Letting Shannon Brown, yes the Shannon Brown who has this for his NBA.com profile picture, score 12 points on you in the playoffs = fail. Fail! Fail! Fail! Also don't forget Jarron Collins the anti-Midas, everything he touches turns to sh*t. He was back to his old ways last night. As usual he showed a marked preference for fouling (4) over rebounding (2). Why Coach Jerry Sloan chose to start Collins over a lukewarm pail of dishwater is beyond me."
Frankly, I'm less concerned about Collins than I am about Utah's defense. L.A. shot 60 percent from the field (45-for-75) and 55 percent from beyond the arc (11-for-20). Deron Williams scored a playoff career-high 35 points, Carlos Boozer had a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) and the Jazz forced 21 turnovers...yet none of that mattered. They looked overwhelmed and overmatched against a well-balanced Lakers team that had seven players in double figures. But keep in mind, Utah is a terrible road team and a pretty good home team. So I want to see how they play in Game 3 before I officially write them off. (I'm kidding. I've already written them off.)
Fox News: Utah's injury problems have gotten so out of hand that players who aren't even on the team are listed in their injury report. Thanks to DL for the screen capture:
Lacktion report: Chris is serving up some yummy playoff lacktion.
Pistons-Cavs: Another double-digit loss in the toughest home aquarium in the Association provides the scene for a routine night of basketball lacktivity. Michael Curry spiced up the bench through the appearance of Mr. #1 Overall himself, Kwame Brown, whose three rebounds in 18:38 were negated by three bricks, two giveaways, one rejection and five fouls for a massive Voskuhl of 7:3! Ouch.
Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson continues to pinch out pointlessness with a three-brick and two-foul stint in 6:20 - two of those three missed shots at the charity stripe! - resulting in a nice suck differential of +5, the top mark so far this postseason in his second straight showing of somnambulence.
Jazz-Lakers: Ronnie Price spent two minutes flat working on a one-brick appearance from the Santa Ana Freeway, resulting in a +1.
Ericka Dampier: Most of you already know that Ms. Dampier is envoking "Parker Rules" for Game 3 of the Mavs-Spurs series, but here's what Basketbawful reader Sturla had to say about it: "So Erick Dampier was a little pissed that Mr. Longoria used the last game as a layup drill and has promised to 'put him on his back' the first time he drives to the basket in their next game. Ok, I'm all good with that, growing up watching the Knicks beating the shit out of everybody in their way (and sometimes going out of their way to do so), so that’s my kind of basketball. But after watching this video, my question to Dampier is: How the hell are you going to do that when you haven't even crossed the !"#$%@ middle when he's finishing his layup?!?" That's a reasonable question, I'd say.
Hulk Hogan: This is a few days late. I meant to include it in Worst of the Weekend, but here it is: Hogan, otherwise known as the creator of Hulkamania, one of mankind's most pervasive and influential social movements, currently is going through a turbulent and bitter divorce. So bitter, in fact, that the Hulk recently said he...gets why O.J. Simpson slaughtered his ex-wife?! Oh yes he did: "I could've turned everything into a crime scene, like O.J., cutting everybody's throat. You see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, sleeping in your bed, with your wife. I mean, I totally understand O.J." This statement, naturally, prompted the expected backlash, after which his wife, Linda, said through her rep that she's taking Hulk's "homocidal comments seriously." Of course, Hogan's rep let everybody know that his client "in no way condones the O.J. situation." Hulk himself said his comments were taken out of context, and his daughter, Brook, agrees.
What a mess. Know who I blame? Hulk's evil alter ego, "Hollywood Hogan." If Hulk spray paints a fake beard on his face, we'll know for sure what's going on.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome: In case you haven't brushed up on little-known autoimmune diseases lately, GBS is a rare condition that occurs when immune system cells mistakenly attack nerve cells that support the muscles...and it has hospitalized William "The Refrigerator" Perry. The Fridge currently is in serious condition at a South Carolina hospital. On the bright side, Perry's agent has said that he'll be okay.
That's a relief, but it's still rather jarring to imagine the Fridge -- one of NFL history's truly indomitable figures -- laying prone and nearly helpless in a hospital bed. If you grew up in or around the Chicagoland area, then the legend of Perry and the 1985 Chicago Bears are probably forever burned into your subconscious. Those players were immortals, and still are around these parts. And the Fridge was probably the second-most loved of them, after (of course) the great, great Walter Payton. Let's hope he feels better very soon.
Crazy freaking strippers: Basketbawful reader James wrote: "I know how we have these stories some times like the Scranton chicken wings lady...well this one is from King James' town and involves a fight to the death (almost) between two 50-year-old strippers." Yes, this warrants reprinting the entire story:
A 52-year-old woman who took a job as an exotic dancer to help make ends meet was attacked on her first day by a jealous co-worker armed with a stiletto shoe, police said.
The altercation occurred Friday night at Club 1245 at 1245 E. Tallmadge Ave., according to Akron police.
The victim received multiple cuts to her face that were treated at a local hospital with seven staples, police said. She has refused to discuss the incident with detectives.
Police said the victim needed extra money and got the job with the help of a friend. Friday was her first day, and as she walked into the basement dressing room, she was attacked by a co-worker armed with the shoe, police said.
"The other girls were upset she was there and said, 'We don't need any more dancers around here,'" Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards said.
A dancer then took her high-heeled shoe and began striking the rookie stripper in the face, police said. The victim was taken to Akron General Medical Center, where nurses contacted police.
The victim left the emergency room before police arrived. Edwards said the dancer did not want to make a report. However, hospital officials are obligated under Ohio law to report the assault.
The suspect is described only as a black female in her late 40s.
I want this to serve as an object lesson, guys. Strippers are insane. I'm talking pure, dagnasty crazy. If you frequent strip clubs, or even go just on the random occasion, chances are you may actually get hit on by a stripper. Trust me, it happens more than you'd think. It's happened to me. It's happened to my friends. And it NEVER ends well. Don't be fooled. Just hand over your money and walk away. Don't be tricked into thinking "I'm the freaking man! This stripper totally wants to go out with me!" Just remember the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar. I'll leave it at that.