Anyway, live game-related activities kept me away from the TV and my computer, so today's WotN will be short and sour.
The Philadelphia 76ers: They really couldn't have asked for a better situation: a home game against the Celtics in which a) Kevin Garnett went 1-for-7 and finished with more turnovers (5) than points (3) and b) Ray Allen scored only 5 points on 2-for-8 shooting. So why, then, did the Sixers lose by 31 points?! Probably because they went broke on offense (36 percent shooting as a team, 1-for-16 on threes) and defense (Boston shot 57 percent from the field and a blistering 14-for-20 on threes). Uh, hand in the face, anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
I suppose there's no shame in coming up short -- make that way short -- against a superior force. However, I can't help but think back to last season when the acquisition of Elton Brand (6 points, 2-for-6, 4 rebounds) was supposed to transform Philly into a contender. If there's anybody who thought the return of a healthy Brand this season was going to fulfill the promise of those failed expectations had better rethink their misguided optimism.
Elton Brand: See above. Worth $80 million? Eh...not so much. Again, I can't help but feel like the Clippers really dodged a bullet when he left L.A.
Bucks-Bulls: Remember what I said about the doorknob up there? Well, that pretty much sums it up. The Bulls played like ass in the first half and fell behind by 18 points midway through the third quarter. For the game, the Windy City Stags shot 39 percent, bricked nine free throws (including six in the fourth quarter), and gave up 23 points off 19 turnovers. And they won. Milwuakee simply would not be out-sucked.
Even when Joakim Noah blew a chance to ice the game by bricking two free throws with 13 seconds left, the Bucks were determined to make their fans throw up in their own mouths. I'll let Joe describe Milwaukee's final possession: "Anyone watch the Bulls-Bucks game? Last two Milaukee possessions feature a Brandon Jennings no jump fadeaway blocked by Derrick Rose and an airball three-pointer by Ersan Ilyasova. If thats not Bawful, what is? Shout out to NBA Broadbrand preview so I could watch that but not Celts-Sixers or Lakers-Thunder."
The Chicago Bulls' inside game: The Bulls sure would be a lot better if they could hit a few layups. The Bulls were 5-for-16 (31 percent) on layup attempts against the Bucks. That makes them 37-for-85 (43 percent) for the season.
The Chicago Bulls' in-game entertainment:I've posted before about some of my Bawful experiences at the United Center. Well, last night wasn't quite that bad, but it was close. I got to watch the Swingin' Seniors gyrate for the crowd's displeasure. I got to listen to a fat guy sing "My Girl" for a Big Mac. And I got to watch two guys play Tic Tac Toe, which was actually hilarious, because the X guy was so intent on winning that he left an opening for the O guy to win, only the O guy was to intent on blocking the X guy that he missed a chance to complete his three Os in a row. And after he boned it -- realizing it only after the crowd moaned -- he stood there, staring at his mistake, than spasmed toward his last O as if to move it, only to be waved off by the people running the game. The game finished without a winner...just 15,000-plus losers.
The worst part of the game was the halftime show, an act called "Quick Change." Despite the act's incredible lameness, here's a glowing review from Slate:
The No. 1 [NBA halftime] act, however, is David & Dania, a married couple who put on a spectacle that's one part magic show, one part ballroom-dancing exhibition. Popularly known as "Quick Change," the performance features nearly a dozen costume changes in the span of a few minutes, as Dania sheds one dress for another quicker than the average human can remove a single sock. It's an astounding example of precision artistry, and one that the NBA's game-operations directors have voted the league's most requested halftime attraction.
Really?! People desperately want to see...this?
I don't know. Maybe it's just me. I'm not sure this act would even win a high school talent competition, but people apparently love it. Admittedly, it was kinda interesting for the first minute. But it ran for 10 minutes. And, not to spoil anything for you, but Dania doesn't get naked at the end, which might have been the tipping point for me.
I had just settled into my seat at the United Center when Chicago's starting lineup was announced. And starting at power forward was…Taj Gibson? Whaaaaaa…?! It took a few minutes of furious texting to discover that Tyrus Thomas was out with -- you guessed it! -- flu-like symptoms.
The Miami Heat: They were almost single-handedly destroyed by Steve Nash (30 points, 11-for-15, 8 assists). I say "almost" because the Suns also hit the Heat with a zone defense that rendered their offense less than usesless. Miami shot 35 percent in the second half, 23 percent in the fourth quarter. Phoenix missed fewer shots (15) in the entire second half than the Heat did (18) in the final quarter.
Random aside: Steve Nash! The dude is averaging 21.5 PPG, 12.5 APG and shooting 54 percent from the field and 55 from three. And the Suns -- sans Shaq -- are undefeated. I'm not going to say the Suns wont' come back down to earth, because they will. They simply don't have a lot of talent. But Nash is amazing. And people who claimed that Mike D'Antoni made Nash need to think again. Those people like to point at Nash's reduced numbers last season as proof, but check his splits. The month after Terry Porter was fired, Nash averaged 20.7 PPG and 9.3 APG while shooting 53 from the floor and 44 in threes. The following month, he averaged 16.4/10.3 while shooting 60 percent from the field and 58 percent from downtown. Let's just admit that Nash is a great player and be done with it, okay? The whole "D'Antoni's system made Nash" myth is a big, heaping pile.
Sour grapes: After letting the Suns' zone make them look silly, Quentin Richardson complained: "I thought the zone was for college, personally. I thought that was the difference between the NBA and college." You know, Quentin, admitting your team got pwned by a college tactic doesn't really make you guys look any better.
The Orlando Magic: The Pistons beat the previously unbeaten Magic despite missing Tayshaun Prince (back) and Rip Hamilton (ankle). As Basketbawful reader Jarron put it: "I know you will trash Orlando, but you need to mention the fact that they lost to a team starting a guy named Jerebko. I just thought that was funny."
Dwight Howard: Superman was outplayed by Old Man (Ben Wallace). No, really. Howard, who fouled out in only 17 minutes of playing time, finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Big Ben scored only 2 points, but he also had 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocked shots...and only 2 personal fouls.
Here's an extra tidbit from Basketbawful reader Mladen: "And also, please DO check out the NBA.com video recap of the Magic's failure against the Pistons for this juicy sound bite: "So, D. Howard: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 6 fouls against a frontcourt featuring Ben Wallace, Charlie Villanueva and Jonas Jerebko!? This does not make sense...." (All this is followed by the other commentetors chuckling.) FAIL."
Kerry Eggers, sportswriter: From Gert-Jan: "From the NBA.com recap of the Atlanta-Portland game, written by Kerry Eggers: 'In Portland's other two losses, Denver's Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points and Houston's Trevor Arizona had 33.' Trevor Arizona. That's bad, if you're a NBA writer you shoulnd't get this stuff wrong, don't you think?"
Utah Jazz: From AnacondaHL: "After holding the Mavs to three sub-18 point quarters, the Jazz decided that winning wasn't on the meeting agenda, allowing Dirk to go off for 29 of Dallas's 44 4th quarter points, only scoring 18 of their own en route to an 11-point loss. Special bawful mention to Carlos Boozer, for obtaining a +/- of -27 in just 24 minutes."
Mehmet Okur: Guess who was guarding Dirk during that fourth-quarter romp?
Poor Mehmet ended up in so many Dirk Nowitzki posters last night that if you ever see him anywhere else at any time, it probably isn't him. In fact, I'm hereby changing Mehmet's nickname from "The Turkish Assassin" to "The Prop."
Lacktion report: Brilliance from Chris, as always.
Nuggets-Pacers: Renaldo Balkman panned a payout of 4.05 trillion!
Wizards-Crabs: Dominic McGuire is having a stupendously sucktacular start for the ages, giving Washington continued coinage with a 1.7 trillion!!!!! Matching him in mediocrity was Cleveland's crustacean cleanup crew, however. Jawad Williams fouled once in 1:38 for a +1 suck differential, while Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson took home some serious dough with a 1.35 trillion.
Magic-Pistons: Detroit's Chucky Atkins believes in a diet high in precious metals and low in carbohydrates, as demonstrated by his 2.1 trillion, a paycheck no doubt helping him truly feel at home in Oakland County.
Suns-Heat: Joel Anthony's saving his pennies for someday, as he avoided wealth in 6:15 via four fouls, one rejection, one brick and a giveaway -- an effort resulting in the spectacular sucktitude score of +7!!!!! Meanwhile, Phoenix's Alando Tucker unmasked Samus Aran in a mere 35 seconds for a celebratory Mario.
Bucks-Bulls: Milwaukee's Roko Ukic capitalized on a 6:12 stint with +4 via foul and three bricks, the latter coming twice from inside the Chicago Loop.
Lakers-Thunder: DJ Mbenga scratched out a foul for a +1 in 1:42, also counting as a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl. For Oklahoma City, Nick Collison crashed out of lacktivity by boarding thricely despite one brick, only to foul twice and contribute three turnovers for a 5:3 Voskuhl in 16:11.
Jazz-Mavs: For Utah, Kosta Koufos collected plenty of gold coins and somehow accrued a steal in a 3-second Super Mario!!!! Dallas's Quinton Ross started tonight's game but earned a +3 in only 7:27 of playing time, via brick, rejection, and foul.
Hawks-Blazers: Maurice Evans seems to have taken Mario West's old spot as Atlanta's primary lacktator, flying into two fouls for a +2 in 5:48.