Human words cannot possibly do this picture justice.The Chicago Bulls:
In a season full of embarrassing storylines -- a history-making 0-18 for the New Jersey Nyets, crazy stats that suggest the 3-18 Minnesota Timberwolves might be even worse than those Nyets, and of course the ongoing comic drama that is Greg Oden's ancient and injury-riddled body -- the Bulls are trying their level best to trump them all. Remember, this is a team that got everybody's panties in a bunch last season by squeaking into the playoffs and pushing an injury-depleted Celtics team to seven exciting but ultimately meaningless games. I say meaningless because the Bulls have taken all the good vibes from their playoff run, set them on fire, and are currently dancing around the ashes.
Let's review Chicago's last three games. First, they got destroyed by the Crabs in Cleveland, prompting King Crab to dance a jig and make Joakim Noah cry
. Then they suffered a 32-point blowout loss at home in which they managed to score only 78 points against the worst defensive team in the league. That humiliating defeat was made further shameful by the fact that one of their opponents paused to tie his shoe while he had the ball
and the Bulls simply let him do it
And just when you thought the Bulls could sink no lower...they lose a second straight home game. To the Nyets. And they let those Nyets -- who came into the game scoring a league-worst 87.6 PPG -- drop 103 points on them. It was New Jersey's first road win in 19 games, stretching back to last season. The worst part is, they wasted Derrick Rose's best game of the season (27 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists), and a career-high 20 points off the bench by Taj Gibson. Actually, I take that back. The worst part is how badly they suck right now. That other stuff is a close second.
Maybe if the Bulls could defend the paint (where the Nyets scored 54 points) or hold onto the ball (20 points given up off 19 turnovers), they could have actually gotten a home win over the worst team in the league. But they couldn't, so they didn't.Vinny Del Negro:
With his team in a tailspin, the Notorious VDN decided to shake things up by...inserting Brad Miller into the starting lineup. That was his big coaching adjustment. 'Nuff said.The Minnesota Timberwolves:
Can you sense their dread? Because after beating the Bulls in Chicago, the Nyets are sneaking up on the T-Wolves. It could turn out to be a real slapfight for "Worst Team in the League" dishonors, especially if Minny keeps playing the way they played against the Craptors. Bad teams find a way to lose, and that's what the Timberwolves did against Toronto. I mean, how else can you explain a team holding their opponent to 32 percent shooting -- including 2-for-21 from three-point range -- and still losing?
Of course, there maybe mighta kinda-sorta been a little home cooking going on, considering the brain-scrambling 48 free throws that were gifted to the Craptors. And yeah, that's a season high. The Timberwolves got to the line 23 times. As Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said: "It's awful tough to beat teams whenever there's a wide margin in the free throws like that." I'll agree with the "awful" part.Jonny Flynn:
Minny actually came back from behind to tie the game at 84-all with less than two minutes left. Then, with a chance to potentially take the lead, Flynn attempted a "sloppy" behind-the-back pass that immediately turned into a steal and dunk by Hedo Turkoglu. Way to throw the game, rookie. Not suprisingly, Flynn refused to speak to the media, but coach Rambis said: "It wasn't the greatest pass in the world. It was the appropriate decision, it just wasn't the greatest pass." Uh, sorry, Kurt. Attempting a completely pointless behind-the-back pass when a simple bounce or chest pass would have accomplished the same goal without the crippling turnover is not an "appropriate decision." Unless you're using a different dictionary than I do and you think "appropriate" means "short bus stupid."The Denver Nuggets:
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.Chauncey Billups, captain obvious:
Denver finished with more turnovers (18) than assists (11), thanks in large part to Mr. Big Shot's mastery of miscues (5 turnovers versus one measely assist). Said Billups: "We turned the ball over too much, mainly myself. Anytime we have more turnovers than assists, chances are we're not going to look too good." In related news, any time you suck, chances are, you suck.Rajon Rondo:
Rondo (11 points, 9 rebounds, 13 assists) came up one rebound short of his third career regular-season triple-double, but became the first Celtics player with at least 10 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and five steals in a game since Larry Bird did it in a 132-103 win
over the Phoenix Suns on January 4, 1991. But that's where the Larry Bird comparisons should end, because Rondo started out 1-for-7 before hitting his last two shots. And, at times, the Bucks were simply daring -- in fact, even begging him -- to shoot the ball. In fact, Rondo didn't even score until early in the fourth quarter. To his credit, he did make the Bucks pay down the stretch. But his general lack of scoring touch continues to be a concern for Celtics fans. Or it should be.
Of even more concern is his dubious foul shooting, which is still sub-Shaq-like. The Bucks were aware of this, and even started to intentionally foul Rondo down the stretch...although Rajon made 'em pay by hitting three of four. I guess he hits them when the count, right? Said Boston coach Doc Rivers: "Tonight was the first time I saw 'Hack-a-Rondo." Unless he starts knocking them down with regularity, it won't be the last.Tommy Heinsohn:
An anonymous commenter writes: "If we are going to mention Sean Elliot for being biased, then should we have a running staple that is the Tommy Heinsohn quote of the night? My favorite from tonights game was Tony Allen charging over Illasova of the Bucks. Tommy exclaimed: 'Terrible call! Awful!' As he gets ready to scream more as the replay goes, it shows a blatant charge and Tommy doesn't speak for the next 5 possesions. Classic."The Sacramento Kings / Andres Nocioni:
Man, I'm sorely tempted to break out a "they are who we thought they were" for the Sactowners. I really am. To their credit, they played the Hornets tough on the road, and the game was knotted at 94-all when Darius "Can you believe I'm still in the league?! What a country!" Songaila hit a layup to put the Hornets up by two. On the other end, Tyreke Evans bonked a layup, but Nocioni snared the offensive board and drew a foul on the putback attempt with only three ticks left on the clock. With a chance to tie the game, Noc bricked the first 'throw and then intentionally missed the second so his team could try for a game-tying tip-in. Only...Noc jumped the line to go after the ball, committing a lane violation (and game-ending) turnover.
Said Songaila (who fouled out on the play that sent Noc to the line): "I knew he was going to miss it. I played with Noc in Chicago so I knew he wasn't a good free throw shooter. I told one of my teammates he was going to give us one [miss] and it turned out he gave us two. Obviously, it wasn't the play I was going for but it turned out lucky."
Fun facts: The Kings shot 50 percent from the field, outscored the Hornets 56-34 in the paint and 22-8 in fast break points, committed fewer turnovers and were +5 in points off turnovers...and they lost.Darius Songaila, quote machine:
Regarding his go-ahead bucket of a sweet dish from James Posey: "It was one of those plays where you get it and you make the shot and then you're like, 'What just happened? How did I make that? Can I do it again? I don't know.'"The Cleveland Cavaliers:
LeBron might have had a high-powered double-double (43 points and 13 boards), but he didn't do any dancing. Oh no, not with his Crabs losing in overtime to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Griz scored 111 points on the defensive-minded Crabs despite getting only 7 total points on 3-for-12 shooting from their bench. And King Crab wasn't exactly a crunch-time assassin. He went 5-for-13 in the fourth quarter and overtime, including 1-for-5 from downtown. Cleveland actually had the last possession of regulation, but James over-dribbled and lost the ball. Then, with a chance to win he game at the buzzer in overtime, 'Bron airballed a three. Game over. Of that final shot, a non-dancing James said: "With three seconds left in the game, that was for the most part the only shot I could take."Shaq:
People forget this, but the Crabs traded for Shaq not only for another inside scoring threat, but because they desperately needed to improve their interior defense. I can only assume they hadn't watched Shaq in a game since the early 2000s, which was the last time (to my knowledge) he actually played any interior defense. Not surprisingly, the Grizzlies scored 50 points in the paint and earned 32 free throws. Memphis hit more layups and dunks (19 and 3) than jump shots (18).
Oh, they also got Shaq because the Magic killed them on pick and rolls during the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. And, again, they must not have done any scouting, because -- even moreso than free throws -- pick and rolls are Shaq's kryptonite. He cannot defend them. At all. Case in point: Mike Conley walked past The Big Statue for the go-ahead layup with three seconds left in overtime. Said Shaq: "He gave me the Allen Iverson, carry-hessy move, and he got me." Shaq, he could have bent over, tied his shoe, finished a crossword puzzle, balanced his checkbook, solved Rubik's cube, and still
would have been able to waltz past you for a layup. That's how slow you are. I mean, we should change that children's story to "The Shaq and the Hare."Dirk Nowitzki:
I'm sorry, Dirk. But the headband/long hair thing you've got going makes you look like a WNBA player. Seriously.I know, right?The Los Angeles Clippers:
Huh. A double-digit home loss to the Orlando Magic in which Jason Williams -- who signed as a free agent with the Clippers in summer 2008 only to immediately retire and then later attempt to return to the league with another team that very season -- hit four treys and scored 16 points against them. Yeah...they are who we thought they were.Lacktion report:
Today Chris ponders whether, if lacktion happened in a forest and nobody was around to see it...would it make a sound? (The answer: yes. A horrible, mewling, bleating sound.)
Nuggets-Bobcats: Tyson Chandler got friendly with the ref's whistle tonight, as despite two boards and one made free throw, his 13:27 stint as starting big man also included two bricked field goals, four turnovers, one rejection AND an Oden-like five fouls for a 9:3 Voskuhl!!!! Despite this, Larry Brown and His Airness were able to celebrate a victory with DeSagana Diop, who fouled once in 2:07 for a +1 suck differential and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Bucks-Celtics: In the highly unanticipated rematch of the 1974 Kareem vs. Dave Cowens Finals, Brian Scalabrine put up big man numbers worthy of neither, counting two steals, one made field goal and one assist in 14:54 with 4 fouls and 1 turnover for a 5:2 Voskuhl. Shelden Williams served as Boston's human victory cigar de jour, losing the rock once in 3:46 for a +1.
Nyets-Bulls: Trenton Hassell served as the SECOND human victory cigar for the Nyets' season, earning a 3 trillion (2:59) after taxes! The Notorious VDN tried to cash in with Lindsey Hunter's 1.1 trillion (1:06) but that wasn't enough currency to appease the spirits of the scoreboard.
Crabs-Grizzlies: In an overtime shocker, the Crabs found themselves muddied in the Mississippi River, as the baby cubs trotted out one celebratory video-gamer from the bench. DeMarre Carroll took a trip to Hogan's Alley and blasted off a 21 second Mario!
Suns-Mavs: Erick Dampier was one board away from a near-7 trillion, but Rodrigue Beaubois gave Mark Cuban a present, piledriving his way through Super Smash Brothers in only four seconds for a Super Mario!!!!!
Magic-Clippers: DeAndre Jordan negated a board and field goal in 10:13 with four bricks (twice from the charity stripe!), two turnovers, and three fouls for a 5:3 Voskuhl, but the real story tonight was the RETURN OF STEVE NOVAK! Novak put down a 1.5 trillion (1:31) for lacktive appearance #11 this season for Donald Sterling and Mike Dunleavy, meaning that he has now gone 20 consecutive days without a positive contribution, and a full three weeks without a point!!!!!!!!
Labels: Worst of the Night