The New Jersey Nyets: Despite giving up almost 58+ percent shooting -- Cleveland's best shooting performance of the season -- the Nyets played the Crabs pretty close. But David Stern still hasn't put a "Moral Victory" column in the NBA standings, so the end result is still the same: 2-23.
If only Devin Harris had realized the kind of dystopian future he was creating when he said "We knew we were going to be a playoff team" last December. The Nyets are now 25-63 since then. Speaking of Harris...
Devin Harris: Harris is frustrated. That's obvious. I mean, players don't start jawing with the team owner during games unless they're frustrated, right? Well, the frustration seemed to get to Harris last night when -- after getting picked clean by a lumbering Shaq -- Devin clubbed Jamario Moon on a layup attempt.
Shaq, quote machine: On his role in getting things calmed down: "I just wanted to make sure nobody got into a squabble. A grab here, grab there, everywhere a grab-grab."
Fun fact:From the AP game notes: "The Cavaliers have reached a deal to sell Tsingtao, a popular Chinese beer, inside Quicken Loans Arena. The team is close to finalizing a sale of 15 percent of the franchise to Chinese investors."
The San Antonio Spurs: For years, it seemed like the Suns were destined to play "bitch" to the Spurs' "pimp hand." Well, the roles finally reversed, for one night at least. Amar''''''e Stoudemire (28 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals) played Tim Duncan (34 and 14) to a standstill, Steve Nash (25 points, 11-for-20 13 assists) showed up Tony Parker (15 points, 4-for-11, 3 assists) and the Suns hit 61 percent of their treys (11-for-18) in a double-digit win over their former nemesis.
The real problem for the Spurs, though, was that they got Dragic'd! Goran Dragic -- dubbed Goran Tragic by this site last season -- scored a career-high 18 points (7-for-9) and hit a career-best 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. That's right: Goran Dragic shot down the Spurs. Said Timmy D: "Steve and Amare did what they do. They played well. Dragic kind of shocked us."
He shocked us all, Tim. He shocked us all.
Here's some bonus bawful from NarSARSsist:
The Spurs are showing some absolutely embarrassing examples of how not to defend the pick and roll, and it's only 10-5.
1. Nash gets a pick at the top of the arc from Frye, goes right. McDyess comes out and shows, but doesn't really get there in time. Nash ends up going right past him. Parker? He got picked off by McDyess. Fail.
2. Nash gets a pick from STAT, and drives. Duncan shows, but is blown right past. Parker takes waaaay too wide of an angle, and Nash gets a layup with nobody within 5 feet of him.
3. Nash gets a pick again from Amar'''''e from the same position. This time when he drives, Duncan decides to stay back. Parker, though, doesn't seal off the passing lane, and sticks around too close to Nash, who passes it to a freed up Sun Tzu for an open dunk.
Timeout. Clinic is open.
More clinic-ry from the Suns. Nash gets a pick from Frye up high, and Duncan retreats all the way to inside the FT line. Nash drives, Parker follows, and Nash drops it back for Frye, who hits an open 3. Seriously guys, read your scouting reports; only one guy has hit more 3s than Frye.
Gregg Popovich, tough love machine: "I thought Phoenix did a great job coming out aggressively and keeping the aggressiveness for 48 minutes. We had too many pathetic games from too many people. You can't do that against a team like Phoenix."
The Sacramento Kings: The Sactowners were apparently so juiced about their performance through three quarters that they forgot one important little thing: basketball games are still four quarters long. By the time the Kings realized this, it was too late. The Portland M.A.S.H. unit outscored their Queenly counterparts 29-15 in the final 12 minutes to eke out a 95-88 win. Afterward, LaMarcus Aldridge accused the Kings of forgetting about him too, which might explain why he had 19 points and 8 boards in the Ail Blazers' second-half comeback.
Said Sactown coach Paul Westphal: "I'm just extremely disappointed. We did not play smart basketball in the fourth quarter. We didn't do anything we had been doing the first three quarters to get that lead." Hey Paul, remind me again, who's responsible for making sure the team plays smart basketball...?
The New York Knicks: Charlotte coach Larry Brown described his team thusly after their first three quarters against the Bricks: "acting like spoiled children trying to wish and hope our way back in the game."
Don't hold back, Larry. Tell us how you really feel?
Well, the Bobcats outscored New York 28-13 in the fourth quarter -- and 15-2 in the last 2:32 -- to win 94-87. So much for the Bricks' four-game win streak. And now it was Mike D'Antoni's chance to rip his team: "We win four in a row and we had a chance to win five. I think that's probably the most important thing in the world at that point. We didn't play like it was."
I'm won't go so far as to say "they are who we thought they were," but, you know?
Seriously, though, it was a sloppy game that neither team deserved to win. Somebody must have coated the basketball with baby oil, because the Bricks and 'Cats combined to give up 53 points off 43 turnovers. Maybe going shirts and skins would have helped keep these guys from passing to the wrong team.
Eddy Curry sighting: Fat Shaq showed up for a game, finishing with 2 points and a rebound in a six-minute stint. I now expect him to miss another 10 games or so with a sore [insert body part here].
Nate Robinson: Remember all the drama the Bricks went through about re-signing this guy? And now he can't get out of D'Antoni's doghouse. Last night was another DNP-CD for Krypto-Nate.
The Chicago Bulls: It's hard to fault the Bulls -- who really aren't any good this season -- for coming up short in a game against the defending champs. I mean, they gave one hell of an effort last night, especially Joakim Noah, who got his hands on a mind-boggling 14 offensive boards. The Lakers still have Andy Bynum and Pau Gasol, right? Those guys played, didn't they? That said, a team that shoots as badly as the Bulls do from outside -- they went 2-for-11 from downtown -- absolutely has to hit their in-close shots. Too bad Chicago went 11-for-29 on layups/tip-ins. Think about that: 18 misses right at the bucket.
The Toronto Raptors: I was asked to pass this message along:
Thanks for giving me the fourth quarter off. It'll really help me prepare for Thursday's game against the Magic. You guys rock!
Toronto's fast-paced offense managed only 95 points on 45 percent shooting. That's not terrible, but it was the first time in seven games that the Heat managed to hold an opponent under 100 points. Past that, the Craptors' defense did their usual Dance of Fail, allowing Miami to hit 52 percent of their field goals and drop 115 points on the night. Said Jarret Jack: "When a team gets 60 in the first half, they are in a pretty good offensive rhythm. And it's tough to knock guys out of that rhythm." Oh, I dunno, Jarret. I hear "hand in the face" can help with that.
Update!AnacondaHL with some rather ugly (for the Craptors) perspective: "Raptors still holding a scintillating 115.8 DRtg. Historic Fail."
Wait, wait, wait. The Craptors have a worse defensive rating than the legendary 1990-91 Denver Nuggets?! Remember, that Nuggets squad they never -- not once in 82 games -- held an opponent under 100 points. In fact, they held an opponent under 110 points only four times. And these Craptors might be even worse defensively? I...I don't know what to say.
Note also that the Craptors were outscored 52-30 in the paint. Said Chris Bosh: "It was a key part of the game, but everybody outscores us in the paint. What makes it disappointing is we have been talking about it for so long. ... We have to take the attitude that it's not going to happen anymore. Until that happens, we are going to be a so-so team." Speaking of Bosh...
Chris Bosh: On the one hand, the RuPaul of Big Men scored a team-high 28 points (9-for-13 from the field, 10-for-11 from the line). On the other, the man he was ostensibly guarding (Michael Beasley) matched his career-high with 28 points (11-for-19). And while Beasley was snagging 11 boards, Bosh grabbed a season-low 2 rebounds in 32 minutes. Who does Chris think he is, Amar''''''e Stoudemire?!
The Detroit Pistons: Holy crap! A Knee-Mac sighting! Tracy McGrady showed up to the game last night probably expecting to shoot around, do some stretching, maybe get some treatment from the Rockets' medical staff. But after being exiled for most of the season, McGrady was in for a shock: PT.
Said Knee-Mac: "It surprised me. I went in there and talked to [coach Rick Adelman], he said he was going to play me about seven minutes and just try to work our way through this. Tonight was that night."
Of course, I'm sure it's only a coincidence that McGrady's return coincided with Trevor Ariza's one-game suspension for trying to DeCapitate DeMar DeRozen.
Maybe Knee-Mac's return inspired the Rockets, because they shot a season-high 54.7 percent from the field (including a season-best 60 percent in the first half) and Houston scored 100+ points for the first time in five games. Meanwhile, Detroit had to kind of pour it on in the fourth quarter just to reach 96 points. Of course, the Pistons are still without Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince. Man, if this team can ever get healthy, they might actually be dangerous. Too bad it looks like they'll never be healthy.
By the way, it was Brick-a-Palooza from beyond the arc last night, as Detroit and Houston went 6-for-37 from three-point range. You know, if you're not hitting 'em, you guys can stop shooting them. Really.
Ben Wallace: Somewhere Chris Dudley is following Big Ben's final seasons and praying that certain downward trends continue so that Wallace can earn the dubious distinction of being the Wost Free Throw Shooter in NBA History. Wallace -- who's hitting an above-average (for him) 53.7 percent at the line -- went 1-for-4 from the charity stripe last night, including two hella ugly air balls.
Head coach Rick Adelman is not happy about the Rockets schedule in December and he vented Monday.
"We have a horrendous stretch here," Adelman told the Houston Chronicle. "I don't know if the league really understands that they gave us four back-to-backs. It's awful.
"And it's not just the back-to-backs. We play at home (tonight), then travel to Denver for the next one. Then the next week we play at home, then travel to Orlando for the next one. To me, it's just utterly ridiculous. But that's the schedule we have."
Adelman also is frustrated at the lack of time players and coaches will be at home around Christmas.
"I just think every team should have a chance when they're home a little bit to spend time with their families, and we have no chance," Adelman said. "This is the most ridiculous schedule I've ever seen. I wouldn't even know Christmas was coming unless someone told me, because that's all we're doing is traveling and playing games."
Gee, Rick, I'm sorry David Stern can't schedule all home games for every team in December. I'm also sorry we can't all live in the giant vagina you crawled out of. It must be fearsome to behold.
"If a guy was doing the Riverdance like that, coach would come over and say, 'Who's got the fewest amount of fouls of my big fellas?' " said ex-Celtic and TNT analyst Kevin McHale. "If you raised your hand, he would say, 'We will let him drive and then we will throw him on the ground.'
"When he is laying there we would say, 'Do you feel like dancing now?'
"And that pretty much solved the dancing problem."
My name is Basketbawful, and I approve this message.
Lacktion report: One last lacktion report before Chris drinks the golden nectar that is $1 beer...
Nets-Crabs: Jawad Williams earned a date with Princess Peach in just 26 seconds of courtship, scoring yet another Mario - his third in a week!!!!
Knicks-Bobcats: DJ Augustin took a singular foul for His Airness's pet project, resulting in a +1 suck differential in 10:33.
Spurs-Suns: Earl Clark used solar power to melt 2 trillion (2:02) in gold bars for Alvin Gentry!