Welcome to a Shaqtastic Edition of Worst of the Night! Yes, that's right, the Shaq that's been collecting the "best" "Your Mom" jokes from his 2.5 million Twitter followers for the past month. The Shaq who's been employed by all four teams that played tonight on TNT in the past 5 years. And the Shaq who has finally come to the point that ESPN announcers openly admit to his decline and attribute his departure to greater team success. (This happened the night before during the Suns's beatdown of the Hornets, subsequently getting Byron Scott fired.) So then, Sir Shaq shall lord over today's Worst of the Night.
This game was OK.
NBA twitter: ShaBron. Seriously. ShaBron. This is the NBA era that we live in.
Anderson Varejao's feelings: The battle between King Crab and Wade was fierce, further emphasized by this sequence of missed dunk and dunk in the first quarter:
Wow. When you get posterized so badly that you prompt a standing ovation from the usually lifeless South Beach crowd, that's something. (Honestly, it took them almost all of the 3rd quarter to get back from the halftime break. Did they stop by the beach mid-game, or were the lines to the toilet just that bad?)
Anyways, while scanning the crowd for reactions, the cameras happen to find Michael Jordan in the crowd. That cues up cameras cutting back to him like four times, and one shot of Wade's new shoes in 4.7 seconds.
A few plays later, things got testy as Varejao and Wade start jawing after a rebound and steal attempt. Reggie Miller used his maternal instincts to correctly assess that Varejao's feelings were hurt, as Varejao continues to talk after double technicals are thrown. I guess that's one way to double your air time on ESPN.
Pat Riley's subtlety: Speaking of MJ, he was chillin' next to Pat Riley for the game, not a mere day after LeBron proclaimed he didn't want to talk about free agency anymore. With Scottie Pippin also in the house. You know, nothing big, just maybe a reminder of one of the great Shooting Guard and Forward duos of all time. Cough. Just let that simmer on medium heat. Later, Riley slipped LeBron a statistics sheet, showing the 1,000,000% increase of hot bikini clad girls if one were to move from Ohio to Florida.
LeBron James: Speaking of which, during Craig Sager's postgame interview, LeBron revealed that he would be changing his number next year from 23 to 6 out of respect for Michael Jordan. Of course Sager had to ask which team the 6 would be playing for, and LeBron gave his best forced media smile. Later, King Crab made another shocking moral decision, declaring all future games of tag would be played with no tag backs.
Also, with 6:07 left in the third, for some reason the jump ball was taking longer than expected. LeBron and Quentin Richardson were engaged in a fiercy battle of footsies, causing an official to come over and point out where to correctly stand. Jump ball fail.
NBA announcing: ...which has now become legendary, after hearing Marv Albert's "hug it out" play by play between Shaq and Wade pregame meeting, followed by Reggie's analysis that would describe the hug as "frosty". This is the NBA era that we live in.
The frosty hug it out.
Ice bags: (channeling inner Jerry Seinfeld) What is the deal with the ice bags? It seems the latest fashion for the 2009-10 NBA season is sporting the ice bag on the bench during the game. Knees, chest, feet, ice bags everywhere. May as well hire personal massage therapists, even professional poker players get those during tournaments.
Sammy Sosa: The night started out with an often seen picture comparing Sarah Palin to Tina Fey. But then they showed a comparison of old and new Sammy Sosa. Oh boy, did the night begin. Charles calling out Sammy Sosa for "going white to get into the Hall of Fame". Amazing. If anyone has a full list of foods mentioned at halftime by Charles, wondering if he was allowed to have them while white, I will need them reported to me with references. And because there's no way the NBA or TNT would republish these pictures, here's some screengrabs:
You complete me.
Update! Reggie Miller, unintentionally dirty quote machine: From RyeNO: "In case you missed it...Reggie Miller during tonight's Heat-Crabs game: 'It was hard going up and soft coming down' -- during a play when Jamario Moon apparently blocked a shot by Michael Beasley that somehow still went in."
Wow, this sucks huh.
The Phoenix Suns: Let me quickly rattle off the biased homer excuses. 2nd game of a back to back on the road, 4th game in 5 nights, 7th game in 10 nights. A 37 year old is our leading rebounder. Robin Lopez out. Blah blah. Most Suns fans knew this was a throwaway game, but come on, at least make the Lakers work for it so they'd lose in Denver the next night. The Suns kept it sorta close for a while, but it's kinda hard to get the W when no starter other than Nash gets to double figure scoring. One starter in particular...
Amar'''''''''e Stoudemire: In the Suns's hot 8-1 start, one thing stuck out in their only loss to Orlando. It's the only game Goggles played this season with over 20 FGA, finishing 10-21 from the field. So why not bang it inside for Stoudemire against Bynum, Artest and Odom? Amare went a paltry 2-11 in the 1st quarter.
By the way, the Suns are 33-36 in games where Stoudamire attempts at least 20 shots. Thankfully he stopped tonight at 2-15. But bang it on the inside you say? Prior to this game this season, 42% of Stat's shots were jumpers, at 42.9% eFG%. Finally:
2NDQ, 3:12 PHO - A. Stoudemire misses a slam dunk
Of course, this was trumped later by Dragic's dead ball open lane missed dunk.
Sasha Vujacic: THE MACHINE apparently mistook Kobe for his new girlfriend, (Tangent: The jealousy burns deep in this author's heart. Okay, back to the bawful.) and rushed to protect him when things got testy with Jason Richardson. This is all too easy, that even Reggie picked up immediately on an emasculation joke. If you see a replay, be sure to check out Jared Dudley's face, which expresses a perfect "wow, this was the worst fight prevent ever".
Free Throw shooting: Only fitting for such economic problems in these two states that both teams would squander so many free points. Ughh. 18-29 (62.1%) for the Suns, 7-18 (38.9%) for the Lakers.
Officials: #29 S. Javie, #12 V. Palmer, #38 M. Smith. I'm just sayin'. Even Nash had to bust out the hand goggles at Violet Palmer's bawful.
If you have a higher res version of this picture, please for the love of all things bawful post it.
Update! Here's the video. Apparently the gesure is a Junior Birdman thing, which was totally new to me. But it opened up a new world of understanding. Remember that scene in the 1989 Batman flick when Batman/Michael Keaton had just blown up the Joker's/Jack Nicholson's chemical factory, only Joker was hovering overhead in a helicoptor? Joker taunted Bats by singing, "Up in the air Junior Birdman! Missed me!" Well, "Up in the air Junior Birdman" are song lyrics. Who knew? Not me. Anyway, onto the video. -Basketbawful
Lou Amundson: A basketbawsome shout out to benchman Lou, destroyer of the free tacos. Down 116-98 with about a minute to go, Amundson steps upto the line, sinks the first, but misses the second! The suckface Hollywood crowd starts rumbling electricity in the building with the "WE WANT TACOS! WE WANT TACOS!" chant. With the ball back and 35 seconds, Lou puts up the layup...and misses! But he gathers the offensive rebound (his 6th on the night), goes for the putback, YES! AND ONE! I spilled a bit of my Guinness cheering. That was the most exciting stretch of Suns offense tonight.
Lacktion report: Only 2 games? Lacktion can't be defeated that easily. chris never fails to non-deliver the un-suck.
Crabs-Heat: Danny Green and Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson each put on the plumbers' overalls for Mike Brown - but while Green's spent 31 seconds thwacking the POW box in Mario Bros., Jackson took only eight seconds to eat a mushroom and transform into Super Mario!