Sad Al
Sometimes 146 -- as in points given up -- really is the lonliest number.

The Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers got what seemed like a pretty favorable matchup last night: the Suns on the second game of back-to-backs at the tail end of a five-game Eastern Conference road trip. Phill even built what looked like a reasonably comfortable 12-point halftime after the Suns came out flat for the first two quarters. Enter Steve Nash, who registered the first 20-20 in points and assists (21 points, 20 assists) since January 2, 2006...when he did it against the Knicks in New York with 28 points and 22 assists. But of course, Mike D'Antoni -- who's currently coaching the Knicks -- made Nash. Nash was nothing before D'Antoni coached him. Why, Chris Duhon put up Nash-like numbers last season. Okay, was my sarcasm obvious? I hope so.

Anyway, Phoenix outscored the Sixers 65-49 in the second half to take a 119-115 victory. So much for fatigue, huh? Nash, of course, ran the rally, scoring 9 of his points in the third quarter and then dishing two critical assists to Jason Richardson (who converted a three-point play and dropped in a layup) to turn a 106-106 tie to a 113-108 lead with about a minute and a half left to go. That was pretty much the game.

Said Andre Iguodala: "We should have had it. We were up and couldn't hold it."

Bawful note: Jared Dudley helped burn Philly with 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting (4-for-5 from downtown). Not to keep blowing Nash or anything, but Jared Dudely scored 18 critical points. But I suppose Mike D'Antoni is responsible for that, too.

Elton Brand: The 80 Million Dollar Man contributed 10 points, 2 rebounds and a plus-minus score of -5 in 21 minutes of PT. Sadly (for Philly fans), the Sixers might have won if Elton had only played as well as Jared Dudley (who also had 5 boards and 3 steals). And how's this for a damning statistic: the 76ers fell to 16-20 in games in Elton Brand has played...whereas they're 28-25 in the games he's missed. A bargain at just under $14 million per year. Clippers fans rejoice!

More from Brand-themed bawful from Clifton:

From the AP recap of the Suns-Sixers game:

...Elton Brand also had 10 for Philadelphia.

"It's a little frustrating not to get the win," Brand said. "We need W's."

Brand: 21 minutes, 4-of-8 from the field and 2 FT's for 10 big points, 2 boards, 1 assist; he left the game with 4:30 to go in the 3rd, never to return. I'm sure it's "a little frustrating" to the rest of the team when your "star" puts up numbers like that.
The New York Knicks: Despite being coached by The Man Who Made Steve Nash, the Bricks fell to 1-7 after losing at home to a struggling Utah Jazz squad that floundered into Madison Square Garden at 2-4. New York shot only 43 percent for the game, shanked eight free throws and missed 21 of their 29 three point attempts. Notable non-contributors included Chris "I'm no Steve Nash" Duhon (8 points, 2-for-7, 4 assists, -15) and Big Shot Larry Hughes (3-for-12). The win snapped Utah's five-game losing streak at MSG. Said Carlos Boozer: "I don't think I'd won here since I've been in a Jazz uniform. It's good to get a win here." I bet Boozer also enjoys beating little girls at Candy Land, which is only slightly harder than beat the Knicks at home these days.

Said D'Antoni: "We just tried to make them play a different game. Kirilenko got hot and that's something that hurt us. But I thought we tried. We had energy and we were active." The New York Knicks: Leading the League in Moral Victories! Not to be confused with actual victories.

Statistical note: D'Antoni's "Run 'N Gun" Bricks have scored only 90 PPG over their last four games.

The Toronto Raptors: Not only have the Spurs kinda-sorta sucked this season, they were without the services of Tim Duncan (ankle, extreme old age) and Tony Parker (ankle, extreme Frenchness). Never fear...the Craptors are here! Despite shooting 60 percent from the field and 64 percent (11-for-17) from downtown, the Mighty Dinos lost by giving up 131 points to a San Antonio squad missing its two best players. The Spurs shot 44 free throws (mmmm, home cookin'!) and got 18 points out of...Matt Bonner?! Hell, right before halftime, Bonner swooped in for a two-handed jam. Yes, failing to defend the Red Rocket helped croak the Craptors. DEFENSIVE FAIL.

Said Chris Bosh: "You can't give them any confidence. We did the opposite, we gave them confidence." You also did the opposite of winning, Chris. I'm just sayin'.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: To say the Golden State Warriors have been struggling lately is kind of like saying that Michael Bay could benefit from a Movie Making 101 class. (Seriously, Michael, you gave Devastator a nutsack in Transformers II? Really?! Oh ha fucking ha. Balls are always funny! Would you like to take a huge, steaming dump on any more of my childhood memories? God, I hate you, Michael Bay.) Anyway, considering the circumstances -- playing a truly craptastic team that was fresh off humilating beatdowns by the Clippers and Kings -- you'd have thought the T-Pups had a chance in this one. And if by "chance" you meant "giving up 146 points and losing by 41," you would have been 100 percent correct. This smackdown was so torturous that President Obama is considering canceling the rest of Minnesota's games forever.

sadder al
It hurts...

The Warriors blistered Minny with 57 percent shooting (52 from beyond the arc) and earned 38 foul shots. Golden State scored 42 points off the fast break and notched 66 points in the paint. Moreover, the Warriors scored 47 points off the 28 turnovers the Timberpups committed. Seriously, this beating was so bad, I half-expected an ancient-looking Al Jefferson to drive up in a DeLorean with Christopher Lloyd and say, "Oh no, Doc! We were too late! WE WERE TOO LATE!"

sadder al
It really hurts...

For the record, the 146 points is the most by Golden State since April Fool's Day in 1994 when the Warriors also had 146 points...against the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Historical note: The T-Wolves' starting lineup back then was Isaiah Rider, Christian Laettner, Chuck Person, Michael Williams and Stacey King. Doug West and Thurl Baily were coming off the bench. The team went 20-62. So, really, Minnesota fans...things have been worse! Sort of!) The Warriors also snatched 22 steals, which was the team's most in a single game since 1989.

sadder al
Please, just make it stop...

Said Minny coach Kurt "Clothelined" Rambis: "We've maintained from the beginning this is going to be a process, this is not something that's going to turn around in the first 10 games of the regular season. We knew we were going to take some lumps. Until we have an idea of a nice starting unit and a set rotation where guys can feel comfortable and when they're going to play, we're probably going to continue to play up and down and be inconsistent." Wow. That's like General Custer saying he knew he was going to be slaughtered at the Little Big Horn.

sadder al
No, really, are we done yet...?

Don Nelson, cold, hard reality machine: It's safe to say Nellie wasn't exactly impressed by his team's merciless thrashing of a helpless opponent: "You have to understand that our two wins were against teams that are struggling so I wouldn't make too much out of it."

Stephen Jackson: Even some unnamed teammates want Captain Jack out of Oakland. Important question, though: does any other NBA team want the headache? Maybe he and Allen Iverson can retire together.

The Los Angeles Clippers: Whew! And here I was starting to wonder if they were who we thought they were. After scraping up a couple surprising victories -- and let's face it, every Clippers win is a surprise -- the Other L.A. Team returned to their losing ways, falling by 28 at home to a bawful Hornets team that, lately, has been getting dissected more cruelly than a Michael Bay movie. (By the way, Pearl Harbor sucked ass.) And it's not like the Hornets played great. The Clippers just sucked.

Said Chris Kaman: "We didn't come mentally prepared for this game, and that's why we lost. ... Nobody played great for us." Well, that's a prime candidate for Understatement of the Year. Or the decade. Or the last-half century.

Added Mike Dunleavy (a.k.a. the predicted 2009-10 Coach of the Year): "We stopped doing the things that have been so good for us so far. We've been moving the ball and getting good shots for ourselves, but we missed some guys that were open, and didn't share the ball as well." Translation: "We suck long and hard. Fire me. Please, God, fire me."

More Clippers-related bawfulry from NarSARSsist:

Let's not neglect to give a shout out to the Clippers' bawesome, bawesome defense, as they held Devin Brown to a mere 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting. This is Brown's highest output since April 10, 2007, when he played -- you guessed it -- the Clippers. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Lacktion Report: There were some lacktating NBAers who had a real case of the Chris points out:

Suns-Sixers: As the post-Shaq, post-Marion, post-D'Antoni Suns keep rolling, the important contributions of non-contributors become more key in an effort to preserve leads and confirm victories. Jarron Collins's 1.95 trillion serves as the first piece of evidence that Phoenix IS for real this season! Could he be this year's Jud Buechler!?

Jazz-Knicks: Jordan Hill's 1.9 trillion may be enough for him to finally afford a nosebleed seat at MSG.

Raptors-Spurs: Gregg Popovich will be in the Hall of Fame due to his tendency to mostly avoid winning Coach of the Year awards, and tossing the Paperboy cartridge to Malik Hairston is one example of his successful coaching style, as that led Hairston to a 54-second Mario.

Wolves-Warriors: Minnesota's Ryan Hollins repudiated lacktivity on the surface by making one out of two field goal attempts in 18:36; however, five fouls and a giveaway against those two points and a couple of boards led to a 6:4 Voskuhl.

Hornets-Clippers: DeAndre Jordan attempted to go AWOL on the ledger with a one-shot 100% shooting percentage in 14:13, but the addition of two boards could not ultimately stop the negative momentum of fouling four times and giving up the rock thricely for a 7:4 Voskuhl. (Conversely, fellow Clipper Kareem Rush ruined a potential suck differential score by somehow jumping into the path of a New Orleans field goal attempt.)

DeAndre thus is the fourth player in the Association this season to rack up multiple Voskuhls, after Jarron Collins, Hasheem Thabeet, and Nazr Mohammed.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Let's not neglect to give a shout out to the Clippers' bawesome bawesome defense, as they held Devin Brown to a mere 25 points on 8/14 shooting. This is Brown's highest output since 4/10/2006, when he guessed it, the Clippers. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Kareem Rush, who has blocked all of 71 shots previously in his career, had a block to save him from a suck differential. Mini black hole Julian Wright had an assist to ruin his suck differential. Black hole shooter Jason Kapono lost 6.03 trillion when he decided to pass the ball to Marreese Speights. Booooooo

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Things were going so well. I knew the Clippers would make their inevitable fail eventually.

Blogger Dan B. said...
If Michael Bay were to in fact take a huge, steaming dump on any more of your childhood memories, I'd be willing to put down $50 that it'd be done in slow-motion with random explosions going on in the background. Possibly with Megan Fox somehow unnecessarily involved.

But even if that did happen, you still couldn't possibly as sad and totally depressed as anybody shown in those T-Wolves game photos. Not even just the facepalming player action -- look at the faces of those poor suckers in the stands. They're roughly fifteen seconds away from going to the bathroom to hang themselves with their belts.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
NarSARSsist -- That actually happened in 2007...but it was well worth adding to the post.

Dan B. -- "If Michael Bay were to in fact take a huge, steaming dump on any more of your childhood memories, I'd be willing to put down $50 that it'd be done in slow-motion with random explosions going on in the background. Possibly with Megan Fox somehow unnecessarily involved."


Blogger chris said...
To expand on Kaman's seems like the Association was unprepared nearly a half-century ago for that expansion team at the Aud when the Buffalo Braves were born, the genesis of today's continuing bawful.

Franchises are supposed to luck into success at some time in their history, right? Hey, the Warriors DO have a title in the Bay Area!11!1!

Blogger chris said...
Of course, said Warriors title occurred in the Mid-Market Mid-Seventies, at a juncture where the Association was so important, it couldn't book the Finals at what is now named The Oracle, so they had to go to the ancient Cow Palace for that ratings draw known as Golden State vs. Washington.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Why harsh on the Michael Bay? Everyone already knows his limit. The real destroyer of childhood memories is Google Image Search. Don't say I didn't warn you.

If we could take a second to remove our lips from the Praise Nash cock, I'd like to point out that heading into the game, the Suns were dropping a league-worst 17.1 TOs per game, so a game with only 12 TOs I'll take it. But Nash alone had 7 of those, bringing his average to 4.6 on the season. It irks me when announcers say crap like "a rare turnover/mistake by Nash". I guess it could have been worse if Shaq was still on the team, but still.

Nash has 2 career triple bumbles.

Blogger Dunpizzle said...
Knee-Mac is back!?

Blogger Unknown said...
Maybe Steve Nash, in fact, made D'Antoni. He sure looks like a fool for chasing some more moolah. Serves him right for signing with the Knicks.

Perhaps that will be King Crab in 2010?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bawful - Whoops, typo. Thanks for catching that.

AnacondaHL - I don't watch much Suns basketball, but I noticed that lately Amar'''''''''e has been fouling a lot. Is this the result of more effort and aggressiveness on the defensive end, or the opposite and picking up lazy fouls after letting his man by?

Blogger mg said...
D'Antoni will make LeBron next year.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- Okay, yes, Nash has a lot of TOs. But he's still dishing almost three assists for every turnover. When you adjust for the pace at which the Suns play, his TOs aren't as bawful as the raw number suggests. I mean, he's 8th in the league in A/TO ratio, and I'd take him over anybody ahead of him other than maybe CP3.

Ironic sidenote: When looking at A/TO ratio, I couldn't help but notice that Nash's is identical to Chris Duhon's. coincidence.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
NarS: It doesn't even matter. Henceforth, his name shall no longer be written with less than 9 's.

Unless speaking in plural possessive, which should remain the proper Amar'es's.

(He may have a grudge from all the media saying he's a defensive liability with no actual offense, in his Contract Year TM.)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
mg -- LeBron will never -- I repeat, never -- go to that crappy team.

Blogger Will said...
AnacondaHL- getting 10 TOs is obviously a bad thing to do, but of the players who have "achieved" a triple bumble, they are almost all stars/superstars.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Bawful: Don't scare me like that! Now I have to out-advanced-statistics you.

From 82games,
Nash Passer Rating: 18.5
CP3 Passer Rating: 18.0
Chris Duhon Passer Rating: 8.6

Whew. Also, check out the Suns's current Roland Ratings, it's pretty lol.

Random Nash fact: Since his return to the Suns in 2004, the Suns are a perfect 17-0 in games where Nash had 0 turnovers.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- Who knew that Goran Dragic was lifting the team even while Steve Nash was bringing it down...? Thank the gods for advanced stats, without which we might think that Nash didn't secretly suck.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
AnacondaHL - I'm really surprised by the On Court/Off Court column. I always thought that the Suns' starters were absolutely smoking teams. The one column I wish they had along with the counterpart performance is the opponent's normal performance not playing against said player. Do you know of a place that has that information?

Bawful - Wait till you see Veal's Roland Rating. You take back everything bad you said about him!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Jared "JYD" Dudley is about athletic as a 5 year old, but man, the guy knows how to play ball and stay on the court.

I give him props too because he has turned into a defensive presence.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
You know, Candy Land is a game of complete chance: it involves no skill or stragety- only dice rolling and luck. So beating anyone of any age is somewhat of an accomplishment.

And nothing pisses me off more than landing on the chocolate swamp monster-thing and getting stuck there for 5 turns while my little cousin blasts through on the rainbow road. It's total bullshit. I hate that game! But I digress...

(another) Random aside: Chris Kaman is having a phenomenal year. Is this a contract year for him? He looks like a (gasp) real basketball player or something. Must be the short hair.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
NarS: Sure, just ask Roland for the raw data and extract it from the On/Off data yourself. =p

Seriously though, basketball reference has a head2head finder, but that's about it.

And of course, clicking on 5-man units will show the atrocious defensive numbers of the Suns starting 5 and the surprising job done by our still underrated bench.

But just for Bawful, no, Dragic isn't doing better than Nash. He's doing twice as good as Nash and we should replace Nash ASAP because one interdependent advanced stat on limited data points said so! Channel your inner Mark Cuban!

Blogger Dan B. said...
A nice unrelated aside... Here are a couple of amazing pictures from the SI Vault. Absolute must-see stuff:

Blogger Murcy said...
Bawful: Amar'e is playsing better D this year. as are all Suns. We're still not a good defensive team by any means, but at least there is effort and some result. and in all fairness: Dudley has been awesome for us this year, a real sparkplug and important contributor. I know you wouldn't expect, but he is.

WV: hioloing. Okay guys, I'm gone hioloing. could that unnecessarily involve megan fox somehow?

Blogger Murcy said...
@ Dan B. : those pictures are the definition of awesomeness. especially the first

Anonymous Tex Johnstone said...
Say what you must about Michael Bay, but "The Rock" is the best god damned movie in the history of the world.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - You're all over D'Antoni today, feeling he apparently deserves no credit for how good Nash has been playing ever since returning to the Suns 5 years ago; but if D'Antoni really had nothing to do with the subsequent Nash Explosion, then why did it take Nash so long into his career to go off like he has? I think to say that D'Antoni "made" Nash is clearly oversimplifying things (and is not really accurate), but more that D'Antoni's system allowed Nash to become the player he is; and even though D'Antoni has moved on, his system is back in place and that is why Nash is flourishing. You could see that last year when that system was not being used that Nash floundered.

At the same time, D'Antoni is attempting to use that same system with the Knicks, but the personnel there is not at all suited to running it, so the Knicks are getting rocked. But D'Antoni didn't make Nash any more than Nash made D'Antoni, I think they were really just a perfect mix of player and coach (and his system). Once the Knicks can take off the shackles on their spending this summer and actually go out and try to get some players that could work in D'Antoni's system, they may be a great team; though IMO unless they're able to somehow steal CP3 away from New Orleans then they'll probably never match what the Suns did under D'Antoni, since that system works best when you've got a player like Nash (or CP3, I would guess) running things. You can't just plug anyone in there and expect them to suddenly become Steve Nash.

The Suns were very impressive on offense last night, and they know how to execute at the end of a game (Philly clearly didn't know what to do down the stretch, and that's why they lost). However, defensively the Suns left a lot to be desired last night, as they made the Sixers look like a pretty dominant offensive team as well, right up till the last 3 minutes or so. I still think that Phoenix is going to have trouble with the few teams out there who have much of a post presence (their blowout loss to the Magic supports this). Ironically the Celtics have fantastic post defense, but don't really have a reliable scorer from the pivot, so Boston was ill-equipped to defend the Suns (who don't really score from inside unless it's on quick strike layups), and Boston wasn't able to punish the Suns lack of interior D. Next time those teams play, Sheed should camp out in the paint, rather than behind the 3-pt line, and Kendrick Perkins should get limited minutes since he's really got no one to body up on D, and isn't someone Boston can go to over and over to score inside.

I predict that in the West the Spurs, Lakers and Blazers will probably all give the Suns problems simply because they can and will score from the interior. The fact that there are so few teams who can score inside these days should work in Phoenix's favor this year though; but I suspect it'll be what eventually undoes them in the playoffs, when they run into one of those few teams that do have that ability.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
BTW, I do want to say that I think the Suns are "for real" this year, and will ultimately be one of the top teams in the West (barring injuries, of course). I don't think they're a championship contender though, for the reasons I listed above, but I definitely no longer think this hot start of theirs is some kind of fluke or something. I think they'll be good all year and will probably finish in the 50-60 win area. I don't know how well they'll do in the playoffs (that'll depend on who they get matched up with, I would guess), but I think they're definitely good (not that my opinion means anything, naturally).

Blogger Unknown said...
All-star ballots are out! I think our pity votes this year should goto Elton Brand.

Anonymous Matt said...
@Wild Yams Yes, Sheed should camp out in the paint, but he hasn't done that since...well...ever, I think. He certainly never did it with the Pistons and I can't imagine that he'll suddenly start doing it now. Also, I thought that Garnett went off* in that game, which obviously supports your theory that the Suns don't have much in the way of interior defense (unless Garnett was hitting a bunch of 19-foot fadeaways. I didn't see the game).

*may or may not qualify as an unintentionally dirty quote

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Matt - KG was 3/7 from outside the paint (all 18 footers or further) and 10/13 inside the paint. Curiously, he did not get to the line once.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"...but if D'Antoni really had nothing to do with the subsequent Nash Explosion, then why did it take Nash so long into his career to go off like he has? I think to say that D'Antoni 'made' Nash is clearly oversimplifying things (and is not really accurate), but more that D'Antoni's system allowed Nash to become the player he is..."

See, that last part really is the key. It's funny, too, because putting Nash into a system that allows him to flourish and dominate has actually been used as an argument against Nash's greatness. If you listen to Bill Simmons (and please don't), Nash is simply a product of rule changes and the D'Antoni system, which magically transformed Chris Duhon into a comparable player (even though it really didn't come close).

And really, putting players into a system that maximizes their talents is what's supposed to happen, right? I mean, let's say that Coach X took over the Lakers and said, "Okay, Kobe, I'm cutting all of your isolations and one-on-one play out of the offense. I want you to be available to bring the ball upcourt, set screens, move without the ball, and spot up in the corners while Gasol and Bynum and maybe Odom get most of the offensive looks."

How great do you think Kobe would seem then? Would he still be Kobe Bryant? Yup. But it would greatly diminish his value and impact as a player.

That's what happened to Nash in Dallas. He carried out his coach's wishes even though it didn't maximize his potential. Now, Kobe would never stand for something like that. He's pout, ignore the coach, demand a trade, whatever. In Dallas, Nash obeyed. Last year was the closest you'll ever come to seeing Nash rebel.

Anonymous Barry said...
That picture; the guy in the white shirt is about to get a heart-attack and the guy behind him is praying to the Lord....that Minny crowd definitely needs some Pat Morita.

Blogger Nick Flynt said...

Kaman has been a solid 15-10 guy in the past. He's been injured for stretches the last two seasons.

Also, thanks for the stat curse, dick. More horror awaits the Clippers because of you!

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: Thinking about your last sentence...can you come up with a comparable example for an overly obedient player like Nash choosing to sacrifice his potential for the system (even when the system isn't ideal)? It's not the same thing as being a "team player" because that usually is designed to make the best use of everyone's skills, something that Nash didn't experience in Dallas.

Blogger Will said...
Anthony- no way. i'd vote AI for the All-Star Game, especially if he retires.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
chris -- You could tell that Dwyane Wade held back in his first couple seasons, and only really started taking over during the 2006 NBA Finals.

I'll try to come up with more examples later. It's been a long day at work.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Taco Bell Nash.

Only if Jennifer went on to win consecutive Country Music Awards or something similar.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful - So the secret for Nash to truly make it big find himself at the charity stripe on a regular basis in the Finals? ;)

AnacondaHL - Taco Bell Jennifer's celebrity doppelganger on your chart NEEDS to be on the Bawful banner. STAT.

Blogger Dooj said...

Another reminder is that included in Hairston's 1 minute cameo. He had a -7 +/- score. That puts him on pace for -336 per 48 minutes

Blogger chris said...
Dooj: Actually, if I make it a more exact comparison (-7 in 54 seconds) Hairston was on pace for a -373 in 48 minutes!!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
So the Suns are for real, but the Spurs are extremely old and suck?

Um, OK