The Denver Nuggets: This is what I had to say about the Nuggets a few days ago:

Nuggets fans want to believe their team has what it takes to overthrow the Lakers in the West. Really, Nuggets fans? Really? Because looking at Denver's schedule, I see only a few legit wins (against the Blazers, Lakers and maybe the Spurs), victories against a bunch of bums (versus the Craptors, Grizzlies, Knicks, Nyets, Pacers, and Warriors) and some head-scratching losses (to the Bucks, Clippers, Timberwolves). And now they've suffered a double-digit loss to a team that gave the 0-18 Nyets their first win just last Friday.

It makes you wonder.

Maybe it was one of those "second night of back-to-back" things. The Nuggets weren't crisp (18 turnovers for 21 points going the other way), and their slap-happiness led to 37 free throw attempts for the Bobcats (which is about 10 more than Charlotte's season average). But somehow, given the circumstances, they just don't seem very contender-y to me.
So how did the Nuggets follow up their fail against the 'Cats after a day of fitful rest? By losing to the Detroit M.A.S.H. unit, of course! The Pistons were already without three of their best players (Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince) and then they had to sit Will Bynum because of a sprained left ankle.

That means Detroit was mising four, four rotations guys, ah, ah, ah.

Despite the lack of fresh bodies -- and the fact that the Pistons gave up a whopping 24 points off only 15 turnovers -- Detroit won after trotting out a starting lineup of Jason Maxiell, Jonas Jerebko, Ben Wallace, Chucky Atkins and Rodney Stuckey and getting 38 key minutes out of Austin Daye and Kwame Brown.

Like I said: not very contender-y.

Said Chauncey Billups: "We're not a great team. We're a good team. We should be winning games like this, and the Charlotte game."

Added Denver coach George Karl: "We did what we've consistently done in losses -- we give young teams hope and confidence early. I didn't think we took them seriously in the first half. Our scouting report was focused on Stuckey and Charlie, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that they were the ones scoring."

Young team? The Ghost of Ben Wallace's Shriveled Husk had 16 rebounds and 3 steals, George! (Speaking of which, isn't Wallace playing a helluva lot better than Shaq this season? Who knew that the Crabs got the worst of that trade?)

Chauncey Billups: Mr. Big Shot actually could have tied it with a layup at the buzzer, but he was mugging too much for the refs' attention. And he knows it. Said Billups: "I got what I wanted. But I tried to get the foul too much."

The Washington Wizards Generals second quarter: They put of a surprisingly feisty fight against a much better team. But, despite a spirited comeback in the second half, the Generals lost this game in the second quarter, during which they let the Celtics outscore them 37-22 (on 62 percent shooting) and -- get ready for this -- they failed to pull down a single rebound. I repeate: the Generals had zero rebounds in the second quarter. I'm...I'm stunned. As Stephanie G. would say, my gast is flabbered.

According to STATS Inc., that hasn't happened in the seven years it's been keeping records. I wonder if it's ever happened.

Update! Gilbert Arenas: From NarSARSsist: "Bawful, no love for Agent Zero? Hibachi fired up his woks for this game with a solid 11/23 shooting day, but went 1/6 from the line, including shanking both free throws with 26 seconds left and down by two." Love earned, love given. Here's some bonus bawful from the AP recap: "Arenas was embarrassed about his poor free-throw shooting. Entering this season, he was a career 81 percent foul shooter. Now, he's shooting nearly 10 percentage points lower than that, and jokingly said his team might soon be called the 'Hack-A-Wizards.'"

Reggie Miller, All-Star Announcer: Our old buddy Reggie kicked things off (as Will pointed out) by describing Rasheed Wallace as being "very long down low". But Miller wasn't finished, oh no. As The Dude Abides said:

Guess who elicited a minute of stunned silence from Marv Albert and Mike Fratello tonight by asking an asinine question? Yes, it was Reggie Miller. What prompted him was the flagrant foul called on DeShawn Stevenson when he shoved Kendrick Perkins on a fast-break layup. After Perkins missed the first flagrant foul free throw, Reggie asked, "Why is Perkins shooting? Doesn't Boston get to pick who it wants to shoot these free throws?"

...crickets from Marv and the Czar.
The "Let's get this done and go home" Celtics: Really, the Generals never should have made it such a close game. Doc Rivers has noted that his team -- despite leading the league in point differential heading into last night's game -- hasn't exactly been killing itself against lesser teams. Last night felt like a "let's just get it done" affair. Even KG didn't have his usual intensity. (It's impossible not to compare last night's showing with his "Fuck the beast!" performance against the Spurs last week.)

I dunno. Boston just seemed very going-through-the-motions-y to me. Oh, and their 11 missed free throws -- including four shanks from Paul "I think I'm the best player in the world" Pierce -- kept things more exciting than they needed to be.

Kendrick Perkins Caron Butler: Welcome to Caron Butler's poster, population: you. Kendrick Perkins will not be in your poster, Caron.

Celtics Wizards Basketball
Throw it down, little man!

The Orlando Magic: Beware the obviously talented but just as obviously underachieving team that got smacked in the mouth during its last game and then gets a chance to redeem itself at home. That's what happened with the Jazz last night. The previous night, the Lakers embarrassed them into a 6-point fourth quarter that started when Deron Williams was getting a much-deserved breather.

Well, Williams didn't get much of a break last night, logging 42 minutes and responding with a season-high 32 points, 15 assists (one shy of season high), and 8 rebounds. And 21 and 11 of those points and assists came in the second half.

Mind you, Utah was jogging along on weary legs in the first half, and ended up falling into an 18-point hole during the second quarter. Amazingly, the Jazz committed only 6 turnoverss -- 4 in the first half and 2 in the second -- on the night. Which kind of exposes one of the weaknesses of the Orlando D: they rank 27th in forced turnovers ast 12.5 per game.

Even more damning, though, was the fact that Mehmet Okur's defense -- which has been legally declared "statuesque" by many leading statue scientists -- seemed to really bother Dwight Howard after the first quarter. It might help if Howard learned a few post moves, but I digress.

Look, Orlando had the Jazz practically down for the count in the second quarter...and they let up. And it's not the first time that's happened with the Magic this season. Said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy: "We jump out well, then relax and let everybody back in the game. The difference is Utah is a better team."


Tracy McGrady, would-be All-Star: An anonymous commenter said: "I don't proclaim to know much about basketball, but why does Knee-Mac have 281,545 votes when he hasn't played a single game this year? For that matter, when was the last time he actually played a game?"

Well, as Wild Yams pointed out: "According to BDL: 'His hundreds of thousands of votes are presumably coming from China, where fans of Yao Ming tend to also back other Rockets on the ballot. (Case in point: Aaron Brooks has more votes than Chauncey Billups, Brandon Roy and Deron Williams.)' So there you go."

The Pittsburgh Steelers: Footbawful crossover! From the AP recap:

The defending NFL champions lost their fifth straight and had their playoff hopes thrown for a loss by the lowly Cleveland Browns, who ended a 12-game skid against their bitter rival by beating the Steelers 13-6 on Thursday night in subzero wind chills.

Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times and lost for the first time in 11 career games against the Browns (2-11), who extended Pittsburgh's longest losing streak in six years and defeated the Steelers (6-7) at home for the first time since 2000.

"To lose five straight coming off a Super Bowl from last year is embarrassing," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "There's nothing fun about losing games, especially five in a row. We're better than that. We should play better than that. With three games left, you're going to see who really wants to go out here and play for the pride of this organization and this city and who doesn't want to be around here."
It's probably not healthy for me to enjoy Pitt's misery so much...but who wants to live forever?

Here's some bonus bawful from ESPN Stats and Information: "The Steelers are in the midst of the longest losing streak by a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history. Their current five-game slide ties the 1987 Giants' previous mark."

Lacktion report: Here's Chris' (mostly) nationally televised lacktion report:

Nuggets-Pistons: Johan Petro took down two boards in 10:55, only to foul thricely and lose the rock once for a 4:2 Voskuhl.

Celtics-Generals: Despite an assist, Fabricio Oberto had the cameras shining on his fabulously bawful sole appearance in the 2nd quarter, in which he fouled three times in 1:59 for a 3:0 Voskuhl before being exiled to the pine for the rest of the night!!!! His immediate replacement JaVale McGee (the first man to join the lacktion ledger in the Association this season) didn't fare much better, taking one foul and giving away the ball once for a +2 in 3:21 that counts as a 2:0 Voskuhl. Can someone amongst our readership tell me if we've had two players in a row commit Voskuhls before in such a short period of time?!?!?

Magic-Jazz: In this come-from-ahead loss for Orlando, Brandon Bass played a perfect baritone to earn a banknote of 1.6 trillion (1:37), while fellow illusionist Marcin Gortat earned a 3:2 Voskuhl in exactly 4 minutes by negating two boards with three fouls. The real rise in Stan Van Gundy's blood pressure tonight though came from Mickael Pietrus, whose starting stint at forward led to a 12:33 of surprising suck: three fouls, one giveaway, and two bricks (one from the ZCMI store) for a +6!!!!!!!

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Blogger Unknown said...
Would it absolutely kill Perkins to not look like such a sourpuss ALL the time? Winning or losing, making big shots or being dunked on, his expression is stuck in such a solid state of disgust that it's almost like a cartoon.

It's like his own version of Duncan's near-constant expression of "no expression".

And yeah, the Celtics had no fire burning for them last night. Even though I was kind of hoping for an upset I wasn't expecting it, but the fact that Washington kept it so close for so long kept me watching. Had Boston lost, it would have completed the "lesser teams beating better teams" trifecta for the night.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
...Footbawful...Did you just abandon that site?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
8 sacks. That's more than I saw on Jersey Shore last night ZING!

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
This is a couple of days late, but I thought it was pretty funny. The same Toronto defense Bawful compared to a necromancer, Bucksketball compared them to performance enhancing drugs.
The Raptors are possibly the worst defensive team I’ve witnessed this year, with only Golden State competing with them for that title. I’m almost thinking the Toronto Raptors defense should fall into the category of performance enhancing drug and therefore not be allowed on the court or associated with the NBA.

Bawful, no love for Agent Zero? Hibachi fired up his woks for this game with a solid 11/23 shooting day, but went 1/6 from the line, including shanking both free throws with 26 seconds left and down by two.

Anonymous the Oden Apologist said...
The Lakers look to be 3 steps ahead of anyone else in the west. Pretty hard to see them not repeating unless Boston somehow makes to the finals without getting a key guy hurt.

Maybe if I squint I could see Dallas pulling together.
Denver - Ageing billups, random play from Smith and the front court.
SAS - Age
Balzers - 9 healthy players, which includes 3 point guards and juwanna man.
Rockets - No Yao - 8 ok dudes
Utah - Matches up horribly with the lakeshow
Thunder - I guess because someone has to make the playoffs
PHX - Built for the regular season, plus over 82 games nash will become last years nash

Blogger Dan B. said...
AnacondaHL -- I am so anxious to get the hell out of work today (only 6 more hours! Ugh) so I can go home and fire up the DVR and watch Jersey Shore. I need to get caught up immediately it sounds like. At worst, it's gotta be better than watching the Steelers last night. It was almost like a funeral, only less fun, and I think a corpse could play secondary coverage better than anyone the Steelers right now.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Unintentional dirty quote machine (via ESPN): "We just kept grinding. We made plays. We got stops we capitalized on our stops by getting some transition buckets," Boozer said.
Perhaps all that grinding is what distracted the Magic into a poor 3rd quarter.

Blogger David Landon said...
Why does Reggie Miller even share a mike with Marv and the Czar? That's got to be the worst idea since they put Christian Laettner on the Dream Team.

Seriously, I wonder who Reggie fellated to get that job?

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
the Oden apologist - In addition to Utah matching up horribly with the lakeshow. They are a horrid road team overall. Last year they were an amazing 1-19 against teams above .500 at the end of the season. This year, they've played six teams above .500, and they're 1-5 (win over the Spurs, losses to the Cavs, the Lakers, the Nuggets, the Mavs, and the Celtics). Granted, that's a tough slate, but honestly, they're probably making it to the playoffs as a 6-8 seed, and guess what, the top three western teams are the three they lost to on the road.

Blogger John said...
That Caron Butler picture, if I'm not mistaken, is of a missed dunk, one on which the refs decided that the ball didn't even hit the rim (and re-setting the shot clock).

Nice D Perk!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I thought that Perkins picture was from when Butler missed the dunk?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
...Footbawful...Did you just abandon that site?

Yes, sadly. It was a time thing. My site partner started law school and had to drop off the map. And I simply couldn't do BBawful, FBawful and the By The Horns blog. My fingers already bleed daily as it is.

Footbawful may come back next season. We'll see.

NarSARSsist -- CRAP! I honestly thought I put an entry for Sub-Zero. I'll add your bit...

Blogger brooke said...
The ZCMI comment made my morning! Thanks!

Blogger Will said...
After seeing 'bawful's last comment i couldn't resist sharing my WV
Debar: I hope basketbawful's site partner is not being debarred.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Btw, you guys were right. I misread the caption, which said Butler "tries a dunk over Kendrick Perkins" instead of just "dunks." Blurry Friday eyes.

Post updated.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Tmac a starting allstar? it's so weird. How is basketball so popular in China if nobody watches it?

Anonymous Axe Head said...
David Stern's crowning achievement will be when the All-Star game is renamed "The Team Yao Ming Plays On Vs. The All-Stars of the Other Conference."

Blogger Cortez said...
"I don't proclaim to know much about basketball, but why does Knee-Mac have 281,545 votes when he hasn't played a single game this year? For that matter, when was the last time he actually played a game?"

Which perfectly explains my minimal reliance on "all-star" game appearances when comparing players.

Blogger UZ said...
The Nuggets never win in Detroit, it's like a curse... which you could have found out with about 3 seconds of googleing.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Axe Head - No no. His crowning achievement will be when the All-Star Game is renamed "The Team Yao Ming Plays On Vs. The Team Yi Jianlian Plays On". Rockets! Nets! ABC! The NBA, it's faaaaaaaaaaantastic!

Blogger Unknown said...
In the second half of last night's Celtics Wizards game, DeShawn Stevensen hit a three and proceeded to do his ultra-lame face palming move. A stunned Marv Albert commented that somebody who is shooting 36% from the field and 12% from 3pt land (!!!) has absolutely no business showboating when he actually hits a shot. I had no luck finding a video, but if anybody has it please share because it's pretty funny. Oh, and my word verification is "Worstio," which is appropriate.

Blogger chris said...
brooke: Thanks. It's always nice when someone gets my localized euphemisms for "downtown"!!!!

Mind you, I've only been through Salt Lake once or twice, in 04...

NarSARSist: When THAT happens, I am hoping Apple Daily provides an animated recap of the voting!!!!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
The Nuggets never win in Detroit, it's like a curse... which you could have found out with about 3 seconds of googleing.

I'm sorry, but "Team A does not win in City X" is not an acceptable excuse for a "contender" with an "MVP candidate" (which I used quotes for only because it's WAY to early to start talking about MVP) to lose to a team as injury-plagued as the Pistons.

Blogger Dan B. said...
UZ -- Historically, the Nuggets don't win on the road much period. However, also take into account the fact that the Pistons are a shell of their former selves. That seemed like an easy Nuggets win to me, even if they only performed at 50%. However, they still managed to live down to expectations.

Blogger MC Welk said...
Pietrus got elbowed in the face early and had to leave, wasn't the same after his return. Your write-up had me and his face in stitches.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
The curse is a pretty small sample size, considering the Nuggets only travel over to Detroit once a year. Prior to last season, the Nuggets were not all that good, while the Pistons were still the Eastern Conference Finals Every Year team. Last year's loss came in a game where Melo was suspended, and they still only lost by 5. This year, by contrast, they're looking good [if inconsistent] and they're healthy, whereas the Pistons were all kinds of beat up. If they can't win this game...they're kinda just bad.

Fun random fact: A quarter of the way through the season, the Nyets have not seen their win percentage go into double digits.

WV: ovenon: Oven On?

Anonymous Karc said...
Bawful - Save that line, you'll probably need it when the Lakers lose to Charlotte, again.

Blogger Austen said...
Watching the way Orlando played last night, I'd give a personal Worst of the Night to them for thuggish behavior: Matt Barnes throwing Deron Williams to the ground, Dwight Howard flattening CJ Miles, etc. C'mon, there's good, hard play and then there's just being a thug.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
As I mentioned in yesterday's comments, according to ESPN the Nuggets have had the #1 easiest schedule so far this season (based on Strength of Schedule), and in fact it's been considerably easier than anyone else's. So maybe Mr. Bawful is really on the money when raising questions about how good the Nuggets really are if they're only 16-7 against a bunch of creampuffs. One real telltale sign that Denver may not be all its cracked up to be is their Defensive Rating of 106.2, which is good for only 16th best in the league.

Speaking of Defensive Ratings, I see that the Celtics have now slipped to #2 in that category behind my beloved Lakers. I also see that after last night's game the Celtics are also now #2 (again behind LA) in point differential for the season. Just sayin :)

Since Mr. Bawful brought up how badly Ben Wallace is outperforming Shaq this year, I thought I'd link to an article I saw on the Wages of Wins website which shows just how poor Shaq is playing this year. You'll note that Big Z is also playing truly awful this season, and I can't help but wonder if some of the reason for that is because he's coming off the bench and playing limited minutes behind Shaq. For me the funniest thing about that article is how it compares what Shaq and Z are doing to what Kareem did in the final years of his career, before coming to the conclusion that Shaq is basically playing like Kareem did when he was 40 while Z is playing like Kareem did when he was 41. That's not good, people. Not if you're a Crabs fan, anyway.

Charles Barkley was right last night when talking about that Orlando-Utah game. 35 three point attempts vs only 11 shots for Dwight Howard says all you need to know about why the Magic lost that game. I mean, Dwight had either Boozer or Okur on him, and they still only got him 11 shots for the game? And I know at least two of those shots were on offensive rebound putbacks, so it's really more like 8-9 shots. Fail.

Blogger Andrei said...
Just to clarify the Wizards rebounding stats. The Wizards didn't pull down an individual rebound in the second quarter. They did get some team rebounds. I'm not sure how the difference is counted between an individual and a team rebound. They did manage to get 3 offensive rebounds in the quarter, but no defensive ones.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I got some basketbawful for you- according to the "Weekend Dime", Amare Stoudamire says about his beard:

Q: Is that why you're going with the beard now? Tell me the story.

A: Just want to give a fierce defensive look out there...(etc.), (etc.).

That explains quite a bit about the Suns defense, doesn't it? If you got a beard, there's really no reason to put your hands up.

What a dumb league. Just give L.A. the trophy so we can move on.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
The sad thing is, that beard represents a 79 percent increase in his defensive prowess.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
"That explains quite a bit about the Suns defense, doesn't it? If you got a beard, there's really no reason to put your hands up."
Actually, I offer a different explanation. Ever heard of teams disguising their defense? After all, if their opponents can't spot Amar'''''''e, they can't exploit him, right?

Blogger stephanie g said...
Maybe Amare will get his "gorilla game" going again. Remember that? Or maybe it was guerilla game, I'm not sure. Running for the hills and blending into the civilian population would certainly describe the Phoenix D.

Some weird stats on the season:

- Dwight taking 9.5 FGA/gm
- Rondo 47.5% FT (this has to be a record for a guard, right?)
- Arenas 18 FGA @ 40% FG (50% TS)
- Granger was averaging 8.6 threes a game before his heel injury

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Ariza is nipping at Arenas' heels with 17 FGA at 39% FG (48% TS). He has produced 0.1 offensive win shares so far, so if the season keeps going for about another 500 games or so, his wins produced would actually be somewhat respectable.

Anonymous NarSARSsist said...
Andrei - Team rebounds are those where your team retains possession, but nobody clearly grabbed it. In particular, think those rebounds where two players jump for a brick and the ball gets tipped out of bounds.