Welcome to Worst of the Night: What I watched/What I expected/What I got -- NBA edition! The concept is simple: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then three pictures and some glib comments can sufficiently describe the bawful. Lets get this party started.

What I watched: Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets.
What I expected: Can Artest defend LeBron? TNT WE KNOW DRAMA.
What I got: Von "I'm not a German cookie" Wafer stealing the show. Oh, and Cleveland's bawful failure at stopping Yao (28-8 on 13-15 shooting), leading to a 93-74 loss.

(DVD Bonus!: The original picture for the third frame was Footbawful's "Potato Sack Party" with the word "suck" photoshop'd on all the sacks, until I realized how wrong it looked and would probably get me busted by Chris Hansen.)

What a complete brickfest devoid of basketball. The Craboliers went 3-17 (17%) and the Kneeless Houstonians made just 5-18 (28%). The first two possessions of the game were traveling, traveling. It was almost as if the officials wanted to set the tone for a certain crustacean of ours...

The Ohioan King Crab led the brick-laying masonry, cooked by three early fouls, including two charges, Yao in the paint, and the Artest/Battier combo getting their hands on his carapace. He finished with 21-1-0 on 7-for-21 shooting, and a complete smother chicken in the 4th courtesy of C-3PYao. James promptly limped off the floor from the resulting ego-ectomy, which is unfortunately bitter since earlier, teammate Ben Wallace continued playing with a broken leg for a quarter before finally getting crutches.

Artest explained his views of defending LeBron in a TNT interview: "The only, the only difference between LeBron, he's just so much more athletic than what I am. He reminds me of uhh, of a new improve, uh, you know a new improved Ron Artest" Oh Ron. Just when I thought you couldn't leave me speechless ever again. And talking in fragmented. Sentences.

Didn't even blink. Violet Palmer delivers inconsistency with Tim Duncan-esque consistency. Other obligatory actions on the night included a Scola vs Varejao face-off that ended with a flop and a LeBron travelling call.

(DVD Bonus!: GIS'ing "Violet Palmer" with SafeSearch off reveals some NSFW pictures of an amateur with the unfortunate same name. It's pretty surreal to see pictures of NBA players and coaches arguing right next to screencaps of a girl deep in "thought".)

What I watched: Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers.
What I expected: Kobe and Shaq together again TNT WE KNOW DRAMA.
What I got: Craig Sager with a cross-section of an eyeball teaching us about the retina injuries. Oh, and a basketball game that was done before it even started.


The Suns gave up 70 first-half points, and with too many "I'll play hero and try to fill Nash's shoes" stupid plays and turnovers, I would have been satisfied if the Suns just brought out an actual fence for more effective D.

I was misinformed (but the Internet never lies!) thinking that Barkley was in jail, but turns out Sir Charles will serve five days starting March 21st. It's great to see him back on TV, and I hope he can make it for the 26th's games, because he really makes watching Phoenix's bawful far less turrible.

TNT/Comcast/whoever screwed up: For letting 2+ minutes of video blackout and 7+ minutes worth audio blackout occur during garbage time of the blowout. I'm trying to watch the lacktion here for a blog!

Kobe Bryant: He convinced Luke to download Antivirus 2009, then used the backdoor to spam Luke's computer with popups for pills that can increase his size. And then planted fake love letters from Adam Morrison on his Desktop. And then ate a bunny. Without taters.

Special Thanks: The goons of SomethingAwful and ADTRW, for the current watch/expected/got format.

Lacktion report: A brief lacktion update from Chris:

Cavs-Rockets: Looks like the crustaceans didn't manage their lacktators correctly, in a 19 point loss to Clutch The Bear's squad. Tarence Kinsey returned to the bench but is still shaking off the devestating effects of his starting stint, reflexively aiming for the net and sadly succeeding with a field goal that negated a brick-and-foul special.

Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson was baked by a board, cooking away a one-brick performance. Thus Mike Brown lacktivated JJ Hickson for an unremarkable +1 (foul) in 4:03 - and when the Crabs have to rely on their third-in-command off the sand, it's not surprising that Houston cracked them on the scoreboard.
About the author: AnacondaHL is a grizzled Internet veteran who watches in despair as his favorite team, the Phoenix Suns, struggles towards June 2010. When not wasting time at his Clark Kent job to read BasketBawful, he can be found playing the Internet computer game du jour, learning how to make small talk at said job by watching some other TV shows, wondering why the Diamonbacks have seven team colors, and browsing other obscure things on the Internet. He hopes someday to learn four languages, discover the Higgs boson (UPDATE: Go America! Tevatron, represent!), name the largest number in the world after himself, have an intelligent conversation about anime with someone, and to eat a crab grown in Akron.

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Basketbawful reader Kevin L. writes: "Give Mikki Moore credit; trying to block a shot and get a big grope at the same time." But even though it looks like Mikki's hand is down B-Diddy's shorts, I've been informed by Timmothy that "it's more like an intimate petting of his rock-flabby abs, pre-coitus. Or something like that."

Mikki love

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The super-ultra-rare double facefist: When a double
facepalm just can't express all the wonderful misery.

Andre Iguodala: Glass half full: Iggy almost had a triple-double last night (22 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists). Glass half empty: He almost had a triple-bumble, too, thanks to his season-high 7 turnovers. Fortunately for Andre, his team was playing...

The Washington Wizards Generals: The Generals lined up for another loss, this time at the hands of the heretofore struggling 76ers, who snapped their four-game losing streak in Washington last night. And Generals interim coach Ed Tapscott was pissed. After the game, he said his team lacked "focus, concentration, effort and execution," emphasizing each failing by slamming his fist down on the lectern. He even suggested he might have to warm up with his team to shake them out of their funk. "If that means I'm out there on the floor in my sweats, we'll do that." Hmm. Ed Tapscott in sweats. I'm sure that'll be a real big motivator. Bonus stats: The Wizards had more turnovers (21) than free throw attempts (18).

The Memphis Grizzlies: Make it six in a row, as in games lost, for the Grizzlies of Memphis, who were beaten by the Danny Granger-less (and Mike Dunleavy Jr.-less) Pacers in Indy. More accurately, they were beaten by T.J. Ford, who scored 8 of his 20 points in the decisive fourth quarter despite flu-like symptoms! Seriously, the dude didn't start and almost didn't play. But even though he hadn't even been eating, he had enough in the tank to beat the Grizzlies. Of course, that sort of goes without saying, doesn't it? More bonus stats: The Griz lost despite shooting almost 50 percent and forcing 20 turnovers.

Rasho Nesterovic: From Basketbawful reader Junior:

Truly Bawful.

2:36 IND - R. Nesterovic misses a layup
2:36 IND - R. Nesterovic offensive rebound
2:36 IND - R. Nesterovic misses a 3-foot jumper in the lane
2:36 IND - R. Nesterovic offensive rebound
2:36 IND - Team rebound
2:20 IND - R. Nesterovic misses a 17-foot jumper along the right baseline
2:18 MEM - M. Conley defensive rebound

Memo to Nesterovic: if you missed a 3-foot jumper, you will miss a 17-foot
The Chicago Bulls: Well, I'll give the Bulls this much: They didn't allow Devin Harris beat them with a 60-foot miracle shot as time expired. Instead, they let Harris shoot them down by scoring 19 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter. Devin shot 7-for-9 from the field, and four of those makes were layups of the "Hot damn he just blew by his guy!" variety. It was like Dr. Horrible zapped the Bulls with his Freeze Ray. (It's not a Death Ray. Or an Ice Beam...that's all "Johnny Snow.") Not that Chicago's problems were all on the defensive end. They entered the fourth with a 4-point lead, then proceeded to miss 10 of their first 11 field goal attempts and ended up shooting 7-for-25 for the quarter.

Ben Gordon, who "led" the Bulls with 17 points, was miffed afterwards. "We were doing stupid stuff the whole game and kind of shot ourselves in the foot. Stupid shots, stupid decisions, bad defense. We lost this one tonight, if you ask me. We shouldn't play like this, so it is definitely disappointing. This is a beatable team. We beat them twice already this season. The game was there. The game was there for us if we wanted it. We just didn't play the way we needed to." And the person primarily at fault for that is...

Vinny Del Negro: Was their any way to stop Devin Harris from hitting the Bulls in the eye with the NBA-equivalent of "the money shot"? Derrick Rose thought so: "Zone and trap; that's what I think you do when somebody is going off like that. Just trap him. But we didn't." Not that Rose could have participated in a zone-and-trap scheme against Harris, because HE WAS ON THE BENCH DURING CRUNCH TIME. AGAIN. Sorry for yelling, but COME ON. The Notorious V.D.N. sat Derrick for the final 4:52 because he apparently thought Kirk Hinrich would do a better job stopping Harris than Rose did. Mind you, Harris scored 9 of his fourth-quarter points against Rose...and 10 of them when Hinrich was Devin's primary defender. So that worked in a way that totally didn't. Like AK Dave pointed out the other day, Hinrich does his best defenive work against big, athletic guards like Dwyane Wade. He struggles against the quick guys like T.J. Ford and Harris. Hasn't Vinny figured that out? And yes: That question was completely rhetorical.

Vinny's clutch play calling -- if you can call it that -- was even worse. Rose only had one fourt-quarter shot attempt before he was exiled to the bench. One. Meanwhile, Tyrus Thomas took four jumpers -- two on on possession -- from from 18, 7, 20 and 16 feet out. And a couple of those came after timeouts! Are you telling me Vinny is writing up plays to get Tyrus "The Brick" Thomas jump shots out of timeouts? Say it ain't so! Please. I'm begging you.

Update! Larry Hughes: ghostlygerbils noticed this egregious oversight on my part: "How could you miss Larry '0' Hughes going 1-6 with no assists or rebounds and 3 fouls? The crowd at MSG was booing him by his second miss."

The Detroit Pistons: Eight. Eight losses in a row. Ah, ha, ha. Not that the Pistons didn't make a game of it against, because they did. But the end result was the same, another black mark in the loss column of the season standings. It's the team's longest slide into oblivion since 1995, a span of 14 seasons.

There was plenty of 'bawful, despite their valiant effort. The Not-Answer had to leave the game in the first quarter after aggravating a back strain. Rasheed Wallace got ejected with 7:55 in the fourth quarter after getting T'd up twice in 27 seconds. (More on that below.) And still the Pistons were down by only a point in the final minute, but David West grabbed two offensive rebounds on the Hornets' final possession, the second of which forced the Pistons to foul to stop the clock. Even then they could have tied it, but their final shot was a three-pointer by Walter Herrmann. And it's pretty hard for me to believe that that was the shot they wanted.

Bonus stats: Tyson Chandler had a season-high 17 rebounds. He and West combined for 13 of the Hornets 17 offensive boards. And their rebounding was the difference in the game. Who knew blocking out was such a lost art?

Rasheed Wallace: From ESPN's Daily Dime (via Wild Yams): "On Wed., the Pistons seemed poised to end their losing streak, leading the Hornets early in the fourth quarter, but Wallace suffered the kind of meltdown that's punctuated his career. With the game tied 71-71, Wallace gave up an offensive rebound to Hornets reserve forward Sean Marks, allowing New Orleans to score the basket that put them ahead to stay in a game they would win by just three points. After the Marks play, Wallace complained demonstratively to get technical foul No. 15, and shortly thereafter angrily knocked a towel from a Hornets ball boy's hand into the crowd for technical foul No. 16. He followed that by throwing a towel in the direction of his coach, Michael Curry, who had just seconds before removed him from the game. All of this raises the possibility that Wallace will face what would probably be the NBA's first-ever triple suspension -- the automatic suspension for his 16th technical foul of the season, a league suspension for knocking a towel into the crowd and a team suspension for his actions toward his coach. Or might the Pistons just release him now, with only 26 games remaining on his contract? In any case, Sheed's tenure in Detroit, which began in spectacular fashion in 2004 with an NBA title (remember his championship belt?), is reaching an ignominious end."

And in case you wanted to watch the towel incident...

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Due to the unfortunate absence of Al Jefferson, Kevin McHale has been forced to employ and uptempo offense so his team can, you know, score points...which is sort of what basketball is all about. But the downside of pushing the ball is that it allows teams to push back. Which is what the Jazz did last night: Utah scored 120 points on 53 percent shooting as seven Jazz players scored in double-digits. Said McHale "We just have got to get better defensively." Dude, seriously, your team can play offense OR defense, not both. So if they're going to lose anyway -- and they are -- you might as well let them entertain their fans by putting up points.

The Portland Trail Blazers: Man, these guys have been Odenized. And I don't mean that in a good way. Last night, they suffered a 15-point road loss to the San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker and his French Foreign Legion. Parker, forced to play without franchise cornerstone Tim Duncan (right quad tendonosis) and sixth man extraordinaire Manu Ginobili -- exploded for 39 points and 9 assists. It was Portland's second straight road loss to a playoff-bound Western Conference team. The Blazers shot 37 percent and had only 12 assists on 32 field goals...so you know the ball movement wasn't there. Of course, San Antonio's defense will do that to you. Fun fact: The Spurs just signed forward Pops Menah-Bonsu to a 10-day contract. That's a fun name.

Steve Blake: Here's a case of a reader with an offensive rebound off my miss. Brendan K said: "Steve Blake went 0-9 from the floor and 0-2 from the line last night. EPIC FAIL."

The Milwaukee Bucks: On January 21, Milwaukee beat Dallas 133-99. It was and is the Mavs' worst loss of the season. And you know what that means: Revenge game! The 116-96 retribution was highlighted by 53 percent shooting (including 50 percent from downtown) and a 51-25 edge on the boards. Dallas committed 22 turnovers and STILL won by 20.

Hawks versus Nuggets: So the Hawks lost for the fourth time in five games, with their only victory in that stretch being a 5-point win over the worst-in-the-league Kings. On the other hand, the Nuggets barely escaped with a 1-point home win over a depleted Hawks team -- starters Mike Bibby (flu) and Josh Smith (family matter) were both out and Zaza Pachulia STARTED -- when Flip Murray's 14-footer bounced off the rim at the buzzer. Said Chauncey Billups: "I was angry. I'm happy that we won, but I'm just disappointed in how we won. When you lose three games in a row, any kind of win is great. But I think the disappointment that we have in the way that we finished the game is just a sign of how good of a team that we are: We're happy with the win, but we're not happy with how we finished the game."

Speaking of long faces, Murray was all down on himself for missing a semi-gimmie that would have allowed his team to steal one. "It was a shot I should have made. I had a chance to win the game with my last shot and I short-armed it. But it was a shot I should have made. ... It was wide open, I should have made it. It was an easy little chipper and I should have made it." Okay, okay. We get it, Flip. You should have made it. But you didn't.

The Sacramento Kings: Man, I don't know what to say about this team, other than they are retroactively erasing all the good memories I have of them from the C-Webb Era. It's like that movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I guess it's not all bad, though. At least I'll be able to forget (hopefully) that Game 6 against the Lakers. Anyway, here's a recap of Sacramento's ongoing 'bawful from the Associated Press: "It was another in a long line of lackluster games for the Kings, who have the NBA's worst record (12-47) and are on track to have their losingest season in franchise history. The Kings have lost three straight and 17 of 19. The game drew the smallest crowd (10,439) in the current arena, which surprised [Gerald] Wallace, who was accustomed to boisterous sellout crowds when he was a King. 'It hurts, it hurts real bad,' Wallace said. 'I was here in the glory days when the energy was totally different. It's upside down now.'" And now, the coup de grace:

Kings fan

The Boston Celtics: It seems fitting somehow that on a day in which the latest batch of Marbury-to-Boston rumors dominated the headlines, the Celtics -- without Kevin Garnett (muscle strain in his right knee) and Brian Scalabrine (neck injury) -- lost to the Los Angeles Clippers. The loss itself was highlighted by Paul Pierce dislocating his right thumb in the third quarter and then again in the fourth, while Gabe Pruitt's arrest for DUI -- in Hollywood, after 3 a.m. -- served as a dark epilogue.

So can we all just agree that The Marbury Effect goes beyond basketball and is bordering on the supernatural? The last time everybody started talking about Marbury becoming a Celtic, the team lost seven times in nine games. Now they're losing to the Clippers while stars are getting injured and a petty roleplayer is acting the fool. Starbury is walking chaos, a shadow of doom to everything he touches...nay, everything he looks at or is even associated with in passing. If Danny Ainge signs him, this season will not end well for the Celtics. Mark my words.

Baron Davis, quote machine: This one is from Basketbawful reader Colin G.: "Said Baron Davis after the Clippers beat Boston: 'It's good to start getting everyone healthy. That's going to help us be a threat as the end of the season approaches.' Threat? Clippers? ... LOL! The Clippers are as threatening as a pink plush teddy bear. The quote was so bad I thought it was a joke." It is, Colin. Unintentional jokes are still jokes. You know?

Lacktion report: Chris continues to hone the art form of describing lacktivity:

Magic-Knicks: New York's starting big man Jared Jeffries blocked one shot in 17:27 to avoid a staggering suck differential, but still provided so little of benefit to his statline that he ended up with a true Voskuhl of 5:0, his five fouls being rated against one brick from downtown. Jazz-Wolves: Jarron Collins took a board in an attempt to hide from the lacktion ledger, but his Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl in 4:56 (via foul) after a brick keeps him firmly in the lacktator's limelight. (And, somehow, the Worldwide Leader refuses to acknowledge this negative performance, according to their boxscore which assigned Jarron a DNP-CD.)

Bucks-Mavs: Joe Alexander - Milwaukee's most recent first-round draft pick -- gave up the rock once and took three fouls for +4 in 5:14.

Blazers-Spurs: Malik Hairston and Pops Mensah-Bonsu can now put on overalls and eat spaghetti together, as 34-second Mario Brothers for Greg Popovich! Pops, in his first NBA start this season, managed to string together a board in his unextended stint.

Hawks-Nuggets: Atlanta's Solomon Jones doesn't have to call his broker tonight, as a near six-and-a-half trillion was reduced to a mere +1 suck differential (in 6:33) due to a foul.

Bobcats-Kings: The Bobcats lacktivated Alex Ajinca off the bench, and he head-butted the question marks out of the way by nearly collecting a trillion in gold coins. Nearly, that is, because he instead tossed up a building block and once offered the leather sphere as a gift to the purple paupers. And because by skipping out on three extra seconds on the Arco Arena floor, he earned himself a 57 second Mario! That powerup mushroom also entitled him to a 1:0 Voskuhl, though he wasn't the only one honoring the centerpiece of Toronto's Little Three, as DeSagana Diop racked a Voskuhl of his own in 9:38, getting a ratio of 3:2 (three fouls against two rebounds and two bricks).

Celtics-Clippers: Emboldened by the recent need for a human victory cigar, Mike Dunleavy Sr. forgot that you need to be actually sure of a win before bringing one of those out. So in the midst of a nailbiter against the defending champs of the Association, Mike Taylor went to Staples and brought home a 15-second Mario! But that wasn't the end of the story.

Five seconds left in the game, TAYLOR GETS BACK OUT ON THE COURT! As his Mario gets more precious seconds added to it...the Clippers hang on for a dramatic win! So was Dunleavy clairvoyant...or, did he just fall plain into dumb luck? Actually, that's a rhetorical question.
Kobe Bryant: Mamba lured Luke Walton and Adam Morrison in the Lakers locker room by telling them he was starting a "secret team." Once they were alone, Kobe said: "Now, our operation is small, but there's a lot of potential for aggressive...expansion. So, which of our fine gentlemen would like to join the team? Oh! There's only one spot open right now, so we're gonna have [breaks a cue stick in half]...tryouts. [Throws one half in between Luke and Adam] Make it fast."

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I guess everybody wants to be like Kobe. Thanks to Basketbawful reader Hannah L. for sending in the picture, which I'm hoping sets off a new round of Street Fighter II discussions. Because, seriously, if that's not the beginning of a flash kick, I don't know what is...


Update! Thanks to AnacondaHL for the Photoshoppery:

flash kick
Yes, this is the beginning of a flash kick.

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bosh vs cardinal

The wussification of the league: Chris Bosh is apparently trying to inspire his team to make a (don't laugh) playoff run (okay go ahead and laugh) by getting all rough and tumble. Said Bosh: "We have to realize nice guys sit at home and watch the playoffs. That's just how I feel. Maybe I'm wrong, but if you play with more intensity you're more likely to win and you're more likely to play better basketball." To further enhance his new tough guy persona, Bosh got all up in the face of...Brian Cardinal. Oooooo.

Explained Bosh: "I don't accept people yelling in my face. I don't do that to other people so I expect the same thing in return. I'm going to turn it up and, if guys do that, I hope they're ready to handle where it's going to go." And where's it going to go, Chris? I mean, really. You're going to, what, throw down with Brian Cardinal for yelling at you? I kinda doubt it.

While Chris was hyping a potential "Bosh versus Cardinal" fight Muhammad Ali-style, Brian was all, like, whatever. "I don't think I poked the bear. It's just two guys trying to get their teams a win, trying to survive. Little old me out there, he's much taller than me (6-foot-10 to Cardinal's 6-foot-8). That's the only way I can survive is be out there scrapping and playing hard. That's all that was. And then he (started) making his shots. God love him, he played well."

T-Wolves coach Kevin McHale, who I'm compelled to mention once clotheslined Kurt Rambis during the NBA Finals and was only called for a regular personal foul, sounded semi-disgusted that Bosh's panties getting a little bunched up was even noteworthy. Said McHale: In our league if two guys aren't kissing it's an altercation. There's no altercations anymore. Go back 30 years and you'll see some altercations."

The Associated Press: Check out what the AP had to say about the Grizzlies-Crabs game: "Playing short-handed is nothing new for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With starting shooting guard Delonte West inactive two days after returning from the right wrist fracture that sidelined him for 16 games, the Cavaliers relied on a team effort to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 94-79 on Tuesday night." Were they being serious? Did they honestly think that the loss of Delonte West was going to make a difference in this one? The Griz are 15-41 overall have the second-worst road record in the league (3-22). Meanwhile, the Craboliers are 26-1 at home and have this guy named LeBron James. Maybe you've heard of him? I understand they need to find a storyline for every game, but some on. That's a real stretch.

The Detroit Pistons: Their 12-point defeat in Miami was their seventh straight not-win. And in case you're not an amateur NBA historian, this is the first time they've dropped seven in a row since December 28, 2001. And if they don't beat the Hornets in New Orleans tonight, they'll match their longest fail-streak since 1995.

The whole mess has left the Not-Answer talkin' 'bout DEFENSE, man. "Our whole thing is not on the offensive end. We can't stop anybody. The way we're playing we have to shoot 60 percent to win a basketball game. Everybody's always going to look at the offensive end and scoring points. We scored enough points to win the basketball game. But we just can't get stops consistently. We can't get stops when we need them." For the record, A.I. is currently giving up 108 points per 100 possessions. That's three points worse than his career average. I'm just sayin'.

Random note: Did anybody else find it interesting that one game after scoring a career-high 50 points, D-Wade had a career-best 16 assists?

The Orlando Magic: When you're trying to catch the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics in the race for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, you probably shouldn't get thwacked by 18 points against teams hovering outside of the playoff bubble. But that's what happened to the Magic last night against the Bulls. And their rather defenseless loss -- Chicago shot over 56 percent for the game -- is best summed up by the following play:

Raged Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "Our starting lineup brought nothing to the game. I'm embarrassed and disgusted by what I saw. I don't know if our players are, but they should be. Our guys want to talk about being a contending team. We're still not tough enough and we don't play hard enough" Van Gundy then ate a live kitten, despite its frantic and persistent mewing.

The Dallas Mavericks: Normally, the Mavs getting kicked around by the Spurs in San Antonio wouldn't be that big of a deal. But the "Spurs" were playing without Tim Duncan (sore right knee) and Manu Ginobili (flop practice). Dallas should have won this one, or at least been competitive. But they were not. Tony Parker (37 points, 12 assists) absolutely destroyed Jason Kidd (2 points, 4 assists) -- remember when the Spurs almost traded Parker to get Kidd? -- and Kurt Thomas (10 points, 15 boards) almost outrebounded the Mavs' starting frontcourt (Erick Dampier, Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard) by himself. Dallas shot 34 percent and had only 10 assists (compared to 12 turnovers). Truly bawful. Said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle: "I can only shudder to think what would happen had (Duncan and Ginobili) played."

Tracy McGrady: The Rockets have won eight straight at home and five straight overall. Both streaks are season-highs. It's...it's like they don't even miss him.

Bobcats-Suns: From Basketbawful reader DKH:

A few revenge games: Diaw: 10 of 12 for 27 points to go with 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Bell: 9 of 14 for 23 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists. J-Rich: started slow but had 20 points on 10 FGA to go with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. But, he fouled out. Still pretty efficient. Doesn't really quality as a "revenge game", but Dudley had 2 point, 4 boards, an assist, and 2 steals.

WoTN nomination to Emeka Okafor. I'm not sure he ever passed the ball back out (0 assists); he spent the whole game in foul trouble and was pretty much schooled by Shaq.

I also wanted to nominate Terry Porter for a developing "worst of" situation: Goran Dragic has improved rapidly since Gentry took over. He is playing with much more confidence, shoots the ball more, doesn't dribble into as many worthless situations. Gentry is treating him differently than Porter did, and it seems to be helping him develop.

On the other hand, SSOL is to the NBA what the spread offense is to college football. It lets mediocre players put up stellar numbers. However, Dragic is a rookie, and now we'll get to see how he develops.

Additionally, the broadcasters commented early on that Bell and Diaw were happier in Charlotte. Which shouldn't be true, considering Charlotte is 10 games worse than Phoenix. So, I'm not sure what Porter was doing, but the amount of player discontent would be incredibly disturbing to me, and if I were a general manager looking for a head coach, I would steer clear of Porter.
Lacktion report: Take it away, Chris...

Grizzlies-Cavs: With this game pretty much decided at the opening tipoff, Adonal Foyle - who the Warriors chose 8th overall in the 1997 draft - walked on the court for Memphis and delivered a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl via foul-and-nothing-else in 2:59, also good enough for a +1. The crustacean clique has seen a major personnel shift as of late, with Tarence Kinsey having to say goodbye to his life as a lacktator these days, coming out of his shell to be a starter tonight. Confused by his All-Lacktion teammate's transition, Darnell Jackson also provided contributory basketball, forcing King Crab and Mike Brown to crown Trey Johnson as the royal landfill crawler. Johnson skillfully managed garbage time by clenching out a +1 in 1:33 via foul.

Pistons-Heat: In 1:41, Detroit's Amir Johnson merely milled two fouls for a +2. Joel Anthony for Miami continues his consistency in creating lacktivity with a one-foul +1 in 3:22, which also counted for a Madsen-level Voskul of 1:0.

Lakers-Thunder: Clay Bennett believes that greed is good. So he must be relieved that the Tyson Chandler trade didn't go through, as the focal point of the deal - an aging Joe Smith, another mid-90s Warriors first-rounder -- pilfered a freshly shrinkwrapped copy of WiiFit off the shelves tonight with a 14-second Mario! (Interestingly, like Dikembe Mutombo's Mario from a few weeks ago, ESPN disagrees and claims on its box score that this never happened! Bias against elderly lacktators from the Worldwide Leader?!)

Mavs-Spurs: Devean George and Matt Carroll have kept Dallas in the lacktion reports the same way Mark Cuban keeps his big ego in front of the cameras over the years, and this game at AT&T Center was no exception. George probably has a good view of the Alamo by now, due to two bricks coming from downtown; couple that with two fouls and that produces +4 in 10:08. Carroll's statline made him look like a Mini-Me compared to Devean, with half-sized numbers -- 5:12 on the floor, with one foul and one missed shot each for +2. Teammate Erick Dampier downright delivered as well by managing a slight 4:3 Voskuhl in 8:59 (one foul and three turnovers against one rebound and made field goal each), more impressive considering Dampier's role as a starter!
Kobe Bryant: Mamba handed Adam Morrison a huge laundry bag full of dirty jock straps along with instructions to wash them by hand. Adam dutifully complied, but when he tried to return them, Kobe said: "Huh? You can do whatever with 'em. I don't even know who they belong to."

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The Philadelphia 76ers: What a painful way to lose a game...or an amazing way to win it, depending on which team you're on. This is easily the most amazing/improbable/ridiculous buzzer-beating game-winner I've ever seen.

The closest comparison I can come up with is the Jerry West's halfcourt shot in Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals. But West had a whole three seconds, whereas Harris had only 1.8 seconds. And it's not like the Sixers were playing prevent defense; Andre Iguodala actually managed to deflect the ball, but Harris immediately recovered and hit the shot. Incredible. In fact...

Izod Center timekeepers: Some of the Sixers think Devin's shot was a little TOO incredible. As one story put it: "They didn't understand how Harris had time to dribble once, get the ball knocked loose by Andre Iguodala and still have time to nail a 45-foot shot [in 1.8 seconds]." That's a pretty fair point. Andre Iguodala, for his part, thinks the clock started late. "That was a big issue. That gave them a few tenths of a second. That pretty much decided it right there. There was a lot going on in 1.8 seconds. I thought for sure it wasn't good and still don't think it was good. For us to lose a game like that, it seems like that's the way the season's been. We just don't get it to go our way" Iggy also thought Harris traveled on the play.

Personally, I agree with Andre. No way all that could have happened in 1.8 seconds, not unless some kind of freaky time warp was involved. In which case: Sweet! But I kinda doubt that's the case. Still, even though the fix was in from on high, some (or, rather, a lot) of the blame for this loss goes to...

Philly's free throw shooting: The Sixers were 23-for-37 from the line. For those of you who enjoy simple mathemology, that means they bonked 14 freebies. It's pretty hard to shoot that poorly from the line and win on the road. Even in New Jersey. As Sixers coach Tony DiLeo put it: "We have to make those so it doesn't come down to a circus shot at the end."

Pacers versus Knicks: This game might as well be billed "Dr. Frankenstein versus Dr. Herbert West," with Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni playing the role of Frankenstein and Pacers headman Jim O'Brien as West. There was so little defense played in this one that I think a few of the Pacers were credited for assists on some of the Knicks' baskets. The two teams combined for 190 shots, 54 three-point attempts and 79 free throws. And Nate Robinson continued his scorching ways, putting up a career-high 41 points, which [POINTLESS STAT ALERT!!] matched Bob McAdoo's franchise record for most points in a game by a reserve.

Of course, shame on the Knicks for letting this one come down to the final seconds. I mean, the Pacers are without All-Star Danny Granger (their best player and the league's sixth-best scorer) and Mike Dunleavy Jr. (who's more important to this team than you'd think). As David Lee put it: "That should have been a game that we should have won handily tonight with them having their two best players out, but any time you keep it close like that they have some shotmakers on their team. So it was too close for comfort tonight, but I'm just glad we got a win."

Speaking of Lee, this was a great postscript to the "David Lee versus Troy Murphy" debate I started last week. Lee had 20 points (8-for-17) and 13 rebounds. Murphy finished with 19 points (8-for-16) and 21 boards. I will assume that everybody can see my point now?

Larry Hughes: From the AP: "Larry Hughes continued a miserable start to his Knicks career by missing all five shots in the first half. After going 1-for-9 for three points in 16 minutes Sunday in a loss at Toronto, he had a corner jumper hit the side of the backboard, and threw up an air ball on another jumper. Acquired Thursday at the trade deadline, he was already hearing boos by late in the second quarter, and the boos resumed when he checked in again in the third." FAIL.

The Denver Nuggets: Uhm...who are these guys and what have they done with the Nuggets? Denver was the second-best team in the Western Conference less than a week ago. But they've given up 116, 120 and 114 points in their last three games, all losses. The first two defeats came against sub-.500 teams and last night's 114-76 beatdown happened at home against the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics. The Nuggets shot 34 percent, missed 18 of their 21 three-point attempts and even bonked 11 free throws. Quick history lesson: It was the Nuggets' worst home loss since February 2, 1998, when the Bulls crushed them 111-72. And those Nuggets weren't contenders...they won only 11 games! Bonus footnote: The 38-point margin of defeat tied for the second-biggest home loss since Denver joined the NBA in 1976. I know they didn't have Nene, but still.

But despite the fact that his team has jumped headfirst into "WTF?!" territory, Carmelo Anthony isn't sweating it. "We lost. Ain't really that much you can say about that. They came in and made shots, played well. We can make a lot of excuses about being fatigued, been on the road a long time, (playing) back to back, just getting home. There are a lot of things that can play into it. But we lost tonight. We'll take it on our chin and get ready for Wednesday." 'Melo sure is more mellow than he was last season...

Chauncey Billups: Hey, since we keep cracking on Detroit for giving up Mr. Big Shot in the trade for Allen Iverson, I feel compelled to point out Chauncey's putrid line: 3 points, 1-for-8, zero rebounds, 5 assists, a game-high 4 turnovers, 4 fouls and a team-worst plus-minus score of -38. Maybe Joe Dumars was right? (But not really.)

The Atlanta Hawks: The Dirty Birds were thumped 108-89 last night in Utah. They've now lost three of their last four games and have been playing sub-.500 ball (11-14) since they were a headline grabbing 21-10 back in December. I must once again point out that I predicted this and was openly scoffed at. I just love saying "toldja so." Believe it or not, the Hawks shot 50 percent for the game. That's good. But they also committed 20 turnovers for 21 Jazz points. That's not as good. Mike Bibby, who was supposedly sick, finished with zero points (0-for-3) and one lonely assist. Joe Johnson scored 15 on 7-for-12 shooting, but he had 4 turnovers and 4 fouls versus zero rebounds and zero assists. Said Al Horford: "They completely took it to us. They were making all of the hustle plays. Right now we are going through a little struggle."

Carlos Boozer: He returned from a 44-game absence and was inserted by Jerry Sloan right into the starting lineup. Sadly for Carlos and his dreams of a signing max contract this summer, he put in a performance that was worthy of a demotion to the D-League: 2 points (1-for-5), 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls and a block against in 21 minutes. Meanwhile, Paul Milsap had his usual double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) despite a slight decrease in playing time. I just can't wait to see who overpays for Boozer this July!

The Sacramento Kings: I'm not going to be too hard on them, since they played pretty well and had a reasonable shot at beating the Hornets in New Orleans. But it's still another loss for the team with the league's worst record (12-46). I can't NOT mention that. As an aside, Andres Nocioni followed up his stinker of a first game with the Kings by scoring 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting to go along with 3 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals. Of course, he also committed a team-high 4 turnovers and three of his four misses were blocked. So to the people of Sacramento, I say: Welcome to the Nocioni Roller Coaster. Fasten your seatbelts and please keep your hands inside the car.

The Golden State Warriors: A double-digit loss to the Clippers, huh? Ouch. Golden State, defenseless as always, conceded the inside to Zach Randolph (27 points) and conceded the three-pointer to pretty much everybody (The Other L.A. Team was 13-for-24 from distance). You know how some people say that if you left a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters, they'd eventually write a book? I sort of thought that if these Warriors saw enough faces, they'd eventually put a hand in one. But I was wrong. So very wrong.

Lacktion report: Chris! Lacktion! Now!

Pacers-Knicks: In 27:49, Indiana's Jeff Foster racked up a slight Voskuhl at 10:9 -- 5 each of fouls and turnovers against 6 rebounds and 1 made field goal from behind the arc.

Hawks-Jazz: Jarron Collins and Ronnie Price provided Jerry Sloan some synchronized lacktion with one-brick +1 suck differentials in 4:03. Price however made sure to stylishly play the role of human victory cigar, making his one miss come from downtown.

Celtics-Nuggets: J.R. Giddens learned tonight that to be a star lacktator, one must learn from the best. Too much enthusiasm from his career-starting trillion encouraged this human victory cigar to start aiming for the basket, resulting in the rookie actually scoring more points tonight than fellow Celtic Kendrick Perkins! Giddens's giddiness contrasted starkly with Sonny Weems stoically solidifying his place on the All-Lacktion team via a single brick for +1 in 4:33.

Hornets-Kings: Cedric Simmons's acquisition by the purple paupers signaled a new urgency in the potato suck race to a #1 draft pick, and his +1 via brick in 5:50 no doubt will boost the cause. On the other hand, bawful poet laureate Rashad McCants hustled his way out of a double-brick performance with a pretentious blocked shot and two assists.

Warriors-Clippers: In the B-Dizzle Revenge Game, Los Angeles's Other Team actually received so many points through the efensive approach of Nellieball that Dunleavy and Sterling were able to put out a human victory cigar for a rare moment! Mike Taylor can now be played by Bob Hoskins in a sparsely-attended feature film, after posting a 21 second Mario on the board with a foul.
Adriana Lima: It's official. She...


...married him.


Okay. No big deal. Whatever. But just one thing...

Kobe Bryant: Mamba bet Adam Morrison he could beat him in a game of HORSE after practice. He threw the game, and when a jubilant Morrison asked Kobe to pay up, Mamba paid him in these. Speaking of tormenting teammates...

Update! LeBron James, fart machine: This is a bit late, but awesome. Thanks to Pat from Spain for sending it in.

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Thanks to Stephanie G, who provided the picture and caption for this post.

"Sorry Kobe, I'm already carrying the
Hornets franchise, no room for you!"

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Death: From the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (via TrueHoop): "Larry H. Miller, husband, father, grandfather, a well-known entrepreneur, community advocate and humanitarian, died from complications due to type 2 diabetes today, at home, surrounded by his family. He was 64." Read more here, here and here. The NBA lost a great owner and a real class act. Epic sad face.

The Charlotte Bobcats: It's not so much that they shot 37 percent and lost at home to the Orlando Magic. It's that their offense devolved into a lot of selfish, one-on-one junk...so much so that their self-indulgence made Rafer Alston look like Father Christmas. And that fact wasn't lost on Larry Brown: "We had so many possessions where it was one pass and a shot or no passes and a shot. Even when we stole the ball and we're on a break, we wouldn't pass the ball." Yep. I just checked. There's only one set of prints on that ball.

Rafer Alston, dissing his old team machine: Skip To My Lou left a squad that included once and (maybe) future All-Stars Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest. But, after dishing out a game-high 8 assists in his first outing with the Magic, you can infer his feelings for that trio from these postgame comments: "Everywhere I looked, I had a weapon to pass it to. I think point guards in this league would love to be in that situation. Everywhere you turn, you've got a guy who can flat-out shoot it or can drive it and finish." I guess Rafer got tired of passing the ball to Knee-Mac or Ron-Ron, and then watching them spend 15 seconds dribbling their way into a shot.

The Toronto Craptors: Talk about never even in the game. The Knicks scored the game's first 9 points and were up 42-22 by the end of the first quarter. New York led by as many as 30 in the first half and went up 98-60 with 4:27 left in the third before coasting in for a comfy-cozy 127-97 win. Said Craptors coach Jay Triano: "They were in one of those modes where everything they shot was going in early in the game. We just dug ourselves a big hole." I dunno, Jay. It seemed to me like your team skipped the grave digging and went straight to cremation.

Update! Chris Bosh: From Basketbawful reader Colin G.: "I'm not sure that being emphatically blocked by a guy more than a foot shorter than you qualifies, but I found this pretty 'bawful."

Nate block

The Minnesota Timberwolves: The Al Jefferson-less T-Wolves lost to the Danny Granger-less Pacers at home in a game that can best be described as scalpers night off. And while we shouldn't expect too much from Minny without Big Al, I'm still going to have to file this defeat under "Losses That Are Worse Than Others" since the Timberwolves missed 18 [!!] of their 41 free throw attempts. Which, you know, is a lot...especially in a 7-point loss. Oh, and you know what else hurt? The 19 turnovers.

But the multitude of miscues isn't all that surprising; if the postgame comments are any indication, Minnesota's players and coaching staff aren't exactly on the same page. Said Randy Foye: "We ain't going to be able to find our way without Al." Countered Kevin McHale: "We're going to have to find our way how to play without Al." The Minnesota Timberwolves: Seeing eye-to-eye like Manute Bol and Mugsy Bogues.

The Memphis Grizzlies: The Kings, otherwise known as "The Team With The Worst Record in the Entire League," were playing their first game without John Salmons and Brad Miller. And Andres Nocioni and the other spare parts they got from the Bulls weren't available because their physicals hadn't been finalized. Didn't matter, though. The Griz played the part of gracious host and let the Kings break their latest losing streak -- a six-gamer -- in impressive fashion: Of the eight Sacramento players who logged PT, seven of them scored in double figures. Said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins: "It started early. It was a lack of energy and effort. It's humbling. We see the Sacramento Kings 11-34, but we can never disrespect anybody. Not in our position." Apparently not.

The game itself was such a stinker, here's what the always-objective Associated Press had to say: "There was plenty of sloppy play in this matchup of teams at the bottom of their respective divisions. Players fumbled passes, there were shot clock violations and turnovers that came fast enough that the racing up-and-down the floor was reminiscent of a tennis match." A tennis match between blind children maybe. Assuming they were playing in the middle of a tsunami.

Jason Kidd: He got his revenge game against the Nets last week and then transformed back into, well, The old Jason Kidd (as opposed to "The Jason Kidd of old"). Kidd finished with 3 points (1-for-4) and 5 assists in the Mavs' 93-86 loss to the Rockets. Worse, he was thoroughly outplayed by Houston's fill-in point guard, Aaron Brooks, who scored 19 points, dished out a game-high 8 assists (eat THAT Rafer!), and hit the game-breaking three-pointer with 24 ticks left in the game. But as bad as Kidd's night was, at least he wasn't as craptastic as...

Dirk Nowtizki: We often discuss the notion of offensive efficiency 'round these parts, and the general consensus is that a player did okay as long as he finished with more points than shot attempts. Well, Dirk scored 9 on 18 tries. Apparently somebody replaced his fingers with soggy egg bratwursts.

The New Jersey Nets: They suffered a double-digit home loss to the Washington Wizards Generals, otherwise known as "The Worst Team in the Eastern Conference." They are now 11-17 at the Izod Center, 24-32 on the season and 13-24 since Devin Harris said: "We knew we were going to be a playoff team." And, as a sad postscript to New Jersey's defeat, they let Mike "The Amityville Scorer" James pimpslap them with 19 points. Said Nets coach Lawrence Frank: "I'm just doing poor job because I'm not getting these guys to play and compete as hard as we need to. I am going to figure it out." Uh, yeah. Good luck with that.

Mike Brown, coaching philosopher: Regarding LeBron's 55-point game, in which King Crab hit eight of his 11 three-point attempts, some of which were truly, truly, truly outrageous: "I've just got to coach myself. I've got to make sure that I'm not overcoaching. And I just need to sit down, be quiet, and watch the show like everybody else."

As for what LeBron did to the Bucks, well, let me put it this way: If that happened to me during a game of NBA Live, I would chuck the game out the window and never look back. Insanity.

Charlie Villanueva: If you're going to get ejected, you might as well get some good licks in. And Charlie sure did that, "bodyslamming" flopster Anderson Varejao and then choking Zydrunas Ilguaskas when the Z-Man came over to protect his floundering teammate. Chuck, if David Stern suspends you for a few games, I bet Vince McMahon has some part time work for you.

Scott Skiles, quote machine: It seems that Scott felt that Sideshow Andy might have, ahem, taken a fall against Villanueva: "I hope they'll launch an investigation to find the sniper that shot Varejao. I thought there was some acting involved." Some. Or a lot. Yeah.

The Denver Nuggets: They entered their game against the Bulls with the West's second-best record, but they left the United Center in third place in the Western Conference. Ben Gordon scored a season-high 37 against them, Carmelo Anthony finished with only 12 (on 18 shots) and Chauncey Billups got shut down by Kirk Hinrich in the second half as the Bulls won going away, 116-99. And Denver's play left coach George Karl singing the same tune as Larry Brown: "In the second half, our offense was too individualistic, 'me' basketball. For most of the year, we've been playing unselfish basketball. We had opportunities to attack the rim, but tonight we chose to play one-on-one basketball."

The Oklahoma City Thunder: They became the latest victim of the new-look-which-is-actually-their-old-look Suns, who became the first team in 18 seasons to score 140 points in three straight games. That's one helluva dead coach bounce.

Steve Nash, dramatic overstatement machine: Regarding Leandro Barbosa's career-high 41 points on 16-for-21 shooting: "Incredible performance. What can you say? That's Jordan-like numbers." He did not just make a Jordan comparison, did he? Seriously?

Channing Frye: Uhm...what's he doing to Mike Bibby?!


Chris Paul's sixth foul: Paul fouled out with 1:32 left in OT of what was a really exciting game between the Hornets and Lakers. It was the first time Paul has ever fouled out. Now, I'm not going to get into the specifics of the call -- maybe Kobe pushed off, maybe Paul was overacting -- but I will say this: It was cheesy no matter how you look at it. And it tainted a great game. Man, I hate that.

Chris Paul: From Wild Yams: "Paul completely cost his team the game on Friday with that stupid charge on Fisher. When you're up 3 and you have the ball with 20 seconds to go and the shot clock turned off, why shoot it at all? Even worse, why get into a position where you might could get called for an offensive foul? At that point running time off the clock is more important than scoring points. All he had to do was dribble it out or wait till he was intentionally fouled and if he'd made one of the two free throws New Orleans would have won. That was one of the stupidest plays I've seen all year, and it ended up costing his team a win."

Friday lacktivity report: Chris continues to let the lacktators have it:

Magic-Bobcats: Juwan Howard may share the same first initial and last name as Josh Howard, but unlike Josh, he has faded into the smoky haze of lacktivity. Tonight Juwan gave Charlotte 2:43 of non-contribution with a suck differential of +2 via brick and foul.

Kings-Grizzlies: The purple paupers may have sent ex-trillionaire champion John Salmons to Chicago, but the Maloofs' commitment to non-excellence continues with Kenny Thomas's stint at the FedEx Forum, 5:12 of nothingness with a brick-and-foul +2.

Mavs-Rockets: Mark Cuban's most known for his ability to become extraordinarily wealthy in the tech boom, so it should come as no surprise that he has an eye for burgeoning innovations. Tonight, he put his support behind a motion-sensing wireless controller, by having Matt Carroll earn a 24-second Mario! Ryan Hollins also brought Dallas a slight Voskuhl of 4:3 (4 fouls and 1 giveaway against 3 rebounds and three bricks, two of them misses from the charity stripe!) in a stint of 10:21.

Pacers-Wolves: Josh McRoberts was actually very contributory in a 26-second Mario for Indiana, managing one made field goal and one offensive board.

Nuggets-Bulls: On the same day that tony.bluntana nominated Sonny Weems as an All-Lacktion selection, he showed the world exactly why he was a prudent choice to be recognized, earning some decent bling with a 1.25 trillion! But he wasn't the only rich man on the evening, with 1.1 trillion going to one of Bill Simmons' favorites, Lindsey Hunter of the Bulls. Hunter's teammate Aaron Gray earned a bit of a Voskuhl in his 18:58 of playing time off the bench, taking 5 fouls and giving the rock to Denver twice against 2 made field goals and 2 rebounds for a ratio of 7:6.

Cavs-Bucks: In Tarence Kinsey's absence, fellow All-Lacktion candidate Darnell Jackson has kept his claws sharp to pinch out some small stints of insignifance for the Crabs, tonight fouling once for +1 in 2:10. Milwaukee's Malik Allen wanted in on the fun of forgettability and found himself a one-time bricklayer for +1 in 4:39.

Hawks-Blazers: Mario West's career so far has already put him on the fast track to the Lacktion Hall of Lame, and 31 seconds was short enough of a Mario to impress Princess Peach with his namesake stat! However, Ms. Peach probably then started flirting with Portland's Michael Ruffin, who got himself a 17 second Mario of his own. Mario West's compatriot on the Atlanta bench, Zaza Pachulia, earned a Madsen-level Voskuhl in 14:58 with a foul and turnover against one rebound and a brick for a ratio of 2:1.

The Philadelphi 76ers: They shot only 37 percent in a 97-91 loss to the Heat in Miami. It was Philly's third straight defeat. Not to be alarmist, but the Sixers have been playing poorly the last couple weeks...pretty much ever since they were named "Andre Iguodala's team." (Iggy scored 14 on 4-for-16 shooting, FWIW.) And they're only a few more losses away from falling out of the playoffs. I'm just sayin'.

The Washington Wizards Generals: One night after that hope-lifting win against the Nets in New Jersey, the Generals got mashed into paste at home by the Spurs. Washington shot 33 percent from the field, missed all nine of their three-point attempts and even bonked nine free throws. And here's some more lulz from the ever-unbiased AP: "Oh, the humiliation! The player that got away, Roger Mason, comes back with the San Antonio Spurs and drops 25 points—on a night the awful Washington Wizards post their lowest points total in six years. A season of embarrassment for president Ernie Grunfield's front office hit another low Saturday as the travel-weary Spurs beat the Wizards 98-67. San Antonio wrapped up its annual rodeo road stretch with a 5-3 record, while Washington was left to wonder how much better than 30 games under .500 it would be if Mason were still playing in his hometown."

The Sacramento Kings: A night after a rare win, order was restored to the NBA universe as the Kings got punched in their communal groin by the Mavericks. And what made that crushing even more, uh, crushing was that the Dallas bench jockeys scored 32 of their team's 40 second-quarter points as the Mavs cruised to a 70-50 halftime lead. And yes, those were the most points Dallas has scored in the first half this season. As a sidenote, Andres Nocioni scored 10 points on 2-for-11 shooting in his first game as a King. Great trade. Speaking of the Bulls' castoffs...

Thabo Sefolosha: He went scoreless (0-for-3) and committed five fouls in just under 18 minutes of lacktion during his first game for...

The Oklahoma City Thun-er: Just a month after getting their O's back, the Thun-er lost their "D" by giving up 273 points in back-to-back games this weekend. One night after the Suns dropped 140 on them (while shooting almost 60 percent), the Warriors put up 133 on 56 percent accuracy. And since this is becoming something of a theme, here's what the AP had to say about the game: "[Golden State's] 133-120 win over Oklahoma City was pure, vintage Nellieball. Golden State played indifferent defense and made 17 turnovers, yet produced more than enough relentless offense to counterbalance the mistakes. Nelson lost his temper and nearly got kicked out in the first quarter, but calmed down enough to watch a superb fourth-quarter surge in the Warriors' fifth win in seven games overall." In addition to the rather stunning defenselessness, the Thun-er committed 22 turnovers.

My retina injury anecdote: Since Henry Abbott was sharing them on Friday, I figured I'd add my own story to the growing list. A couple years ago, I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras with a small group of my closest friends. We were in the process of wiping the previous night's grime off -- and trust me, there was a lot -- when my buddy Brett asked somebody to hand him his overnight bag. I chucked it to him, but he didn't react at all, and the bag hit him right in the stomach, causing him to let out a comical "OOF!"

The room broke up. Brett's clumsiness was a running joke amongst our little group, mostly because it seemed to defy reason. He was something of a prodigious amateur athlete: He'd run Boston, done the Iron Man, he participated in competitive bike races throughout the world...yet he couldn't catch a football or shoot a basketball. In fact, on those rare occasions when we were able to lure him into a pickup game, he was more likely to run into his own teammates or catch a pass with his face than do anything remotely helpful. Thus, as his friends, it was our duty to mock him.

As the laughter was dying down, I said: "Geez, Brett, it's like you're blind or something." To which he replied: "Well, I am. In one eye, anyway." The laughter stopped immediately. "Brett," I said, "I've known you for over 10 years. How is it you've never mentioned the fact that you're blind in one eye?" He replied: "Don't you remember back in college when I had surgery for that partially detached retina?"

It took me a minute, but I was able to conjure the foggy memory of a period in which Brett wore an eye patch for, like, a couple months. So I asked: "Was that why you wore an eye patch for, like, a couple months?" He said: "Yeah. That was it." Oops. I guess guys can be pretty clueless. Anyway, short story long, Brett's vision never healed and he is blind in one eye to this day. Let's hope that doesn't happen with Amare.

Ken Mink: You might not recognize the name, but Ken is that 73-year-old dude who inspired literally ones of people by walking on to Roane State Community College's varsity basketball team. But a wet blanket was thrown over this moving tale when Mink was kicked off the team...because he flunked Spanish and was therefore declared academically ineligible to play. Amazingly, Mind came off as kind of indignant about the whole mess: "I feel like I'm suffering the slings and arrows of administrative injustice just like I did 50 years ago." You can read the rest of the sad tale here, but the saddest part is that it looks like Mink could miss the team's home finale on Wednesday 25, at which he planned to dress in a retro jersey and perform rap song he had written about this season's team. I'll let you decided which part(s) of that last sentence were the "sad" ones.

Saturday lacktivity report: More Chris, more lacktion.

Sixers-Heat: Royal Ivey slumped into contributory basketball lately, precluding a candidacy to All-Lacktion status...but made up for that slight nicely with a three-brick special in 13:30 for +3, including two building blocks from downtown. On the other hand, Joel Anthony justified his selection to the squad of star sleepers with a +1 (foul) in 3:50 for Miami, which also represented a Madsen-level Voskuhl of 1:0.

Hornets-Jazz: Melvin Ely -- a former Clippers' 1st-rounder -- gave up the rock and took a foul for +2 in 4:06 for the bayou insects, good for a 2:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl. All-Lacktion candidate Jarron Collins nearly put his Stanford education into good use, edging close to a four trillion, only to get a rejection and miss a shot for +2 in 3:59, providing his own 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl as well!

Thunder-Warriors: In a battle of truly efensive basketball (where the Warriors never scored fewer than 31 in a quarter), Nenad Krstic avoided rebounding in 13:08 for a Voskuhl of 5:2 (four fouls and one giveaway against one made field goal in two attempts), proving he is a man possessed to give Clay Bennett some love in the lacktion report!

The Chicago Bulls: After a bigtime win over the then-second-best in the West Denver Nuggets on Friday, Chicago's new guys -- Brad Miller, John Salmons and Tim Thomas -- were available for Sunday's game against the Danny Granger-less Pacers. It should have been a gimme, but what the Bulls got was a tough loss that knocked them another half-game behind the Bucks for the final playoff spot in the East. Troy "See?! I'm just as effective as David Lee!" Murphy had a season-high 27 points to go along with 14 rebounds. The Bulls were also victimized by T.J. Ford, who burned them for 9 points in the final four minutes to close things out.

Mike D'Antoni, quote machine: According to the AP recap, Dr. D'Antonistein said his team's defense "wasn't firing on all cylinders" in the second half of their 111-100 loss to the Craptors, then added: "I was just a little disappointed in our getting back on defense. Maybe we were surprised by them but we lost the theme of the game right in the middle of the third quarter." It never ceases to amuse me when Mike bemoans his team's defensive indifference. It's like a butcher getting upset about a cow jumping into a meat grinder.

The Phoenix Suns: I just knew the new "Offense first" attitude was going to get the Suns into trouble at some point...I just didn't think it would be against the KG-less Celtics. Talk about awful D. Rajon Rondo -- who scored a career-high 32 points (13-for-18) to go along with 10 assists -- was basically running a layup drill. And Ray Allen (31 points, 10-for-15, 4-for-8 from downtown) probably wouldn't be able to identify the hands of any Phoenix player in a police lineup even if the lives of his wife and children depended on it. Boston shot 63 percent for the game and won by 20 despite missing 12 free throws and committing 19 turnovers.

Update! Pointless stats: Basketbawful reader Ricky emailed in to say the following: "Sometimes the guys at ESPN Research really have nothing better to do than to fill our life with completely pointless stats. Today they've analysed guys achieving career highs in points on their birthdays, ostensibly because of Rajon Rondo's performance but most likely because someone had already done the research and it was just lying around on their desk. Did you know that Myles Patrick had a career high 3 points on his 26th birthday in 1980, that George Brown had a career high 1 point on his 22nd birthday in 1957 or that George McLeod had 4 points on his 22nd birthday in 1953? Don't you feel better with this information? Just out of curiosity I checked these douches out (thanks Basketball-Reference!) and it turns out Myles's career consists of 3 games played for the Lakers (career average 1.7 pts), G. Brown 'played' one game in his career (on his birthday, maybe someone bribed the coach for him to play his 6 minutes), and G. McLeod is the Kareem Abdul-Jabar of this lot, having participated in 10 games for the Baltimore Bullets. The conclusions: (1) ESPN Research couldn't recognise good research if it turned up at their office and sang a Christmas carol and (2) I care too much."

Tracy McGrady: Not to dogpile on Knee-Mac or anything, but after their 99-78 road win over the Charlotte Bobcats, the Rockets ran their record without McGrady to 15-6. Compare that to their 20-15 record WITH him in the lineup and, well, yeah.

Charlotte Bobcats: The heretofore "rapidly improving Bobcats" capped off a winless weekend with their second straight home loss. They shot 36 percent and bumbled the ball away 21 times...which was one away from their season-high. Said 'Cats coach Larry Brown: "Our offense was awful."

Enver Nuggets: Welcome back to the ranks of the defenseless, Enver! Their 120-117 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks was low point of a weekend that saw them give up 236 points and go 0-2 against two sub-.500 Eastern Conference teams. That doubled the number of losses the Nuggets have suffered to sub-.500 teams this season.

The Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade scored a career-high 50 points and the Heat STILL lost by 23. If some magical force suddenly transformed all Miami fans into Kobe followers, they'd be calling for everybody else on the Heat roster to be banished to the Negative Zone. I wonder: Will the same people who said Mamba should have won the MVP in 2006 for leading the Lakers to the playoffs despite a substandard supporting cast be giving D-Wade their vote this season? Somehow I doubt it.

More from Wild Yams: "[ESPN's Daily Dime] had Wade up for yesterday's best performance for that 50 point game in a 20+ point loss, yet had this to say about him elsewhere in the piece: 'Wade, the first player to outscore all his teammates combined in one game this season, became only the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 50 points in a loss by 20 or more points.' Mr. Bawful, since you called out Kobe lovers by saying they're probably hypocritical for presumably not wanting to give Wade their MVP votes, I'd like to point out the slight hypocrisy of the media (yet again) for praising Wade for a performance that if Kobe had had would no doubt call for a whole week's worth of hand wringing and outrage from sports media outlets from coast to coast. Considering the controversy Kobe got for scoring 61 in an easy win a couple weeks back, imagine what would have happened if the Lakers had lost that game by more than 20 and Kobe had outscored the rest of his team. But, good job, Dwyane."

Update! Larry Hughes: When the Knicks cut a deal for Larry Hughes right before the trade deadline, it was suggested the Mike D'Antoni was just the man to bring the best out of Hughes. This was not the case in Big Shot Larry's debut game: Hughes scored 3 points on 1-for-9 shooting. He put up those 9 shots in only 15 minutes of lacktion, by the way.

Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: Regarding Pookie's 50-pointer: "My concern is when Dwyane goes into the Hall of Fame and they start putting off his top career games, it's going to be like 50 versus Orlando. We're going to fill up the entire screen. So, I don't know what to tell you. When I coached Dwyane I really liked him, but I'm not so sure anymore. Our relationship is strained." I love this guy. I hope Satan makes Pat Riley's fire pit extra fiery for canning this guy so he could go for another title.

The Los Angeles Clippers: An anonymous commenter said: "Nomination for the L.A. Clippers already after the first quarter. Down by 22. Steve Blake has 14 assists in the first 12 minutes! Aldridge has 18 points on 9-for-10 shooting. Blazers shooting is a touch under 70 percent (0.692). Granted it's only the first quarter. But what a quarter indeed." No kidding. It allowed Blake to tie the NBA record for assists in one quarter. (San Antonio’s John Lucas set the record of 14 assists during the second quarter against Denver on April 15, 1984.)

Mind you, the Clippers were without Zach Randolph (serving the second game of two-game suspension), Al Thornton (sore right foot), Marcus Camby (ear infection), Chris Kaman (left foot), Brian Skinner (right foot) and Mike Taylor (right thumb). And Baron Davis was playing with a "painful toe injury." So that sort of explains why The Other L.A. Team went into "roll over and die" mode. And Daniel T. sent in the following picture, which provides the perfect graphical representation of the Clipper -efense:

Clipper D
New defensive strategy: It's called "Stand and Watch."

The Los Angeles Lakers: Barely beating the Al Jefferson-less Timberwolves is kind of like me nearly losing a spelling bee to a head wound patient. The Wolves shot 50 percent, hit 10 threes and finished with 108 points against L.A.'s "improved" defense. It's gotta drive Lakers fans crazy, the way they play down to their competition.

Kobe Bryant: Basketbawful reader Mick Dundee said: "Did you see Kobe nearly blow that game against the Timberwolves? Missed an open layup in the crunch and then nearly got stripped before launching a stupid, stupid leaning three that Lamar Odom cleaned up with a tip-in. His teammates really bailed him out of that one. I think for nearly every great final quarter Kobe has, there is an equally boneheaded one." I officially have no comment.

The Detroit Pistons: Yesterday's blowout loss in Cleveland was the Pistons' sixth straight and the 15th in their last 20 games. They're now .500 (27-27), barely clinging to the East's seventh playoff spot and they just started a five-game road trip that also includes matchups in Miami, New Orleans, Orlando and Boston. In other words: Trouble. Said the Not-Answer: "We stunk the gym out. We acted like strangers out there tonight." Is their a scale out there that can measure how much Joe Dumars would love to have Chauncey Billups back? I doubt it.

Update! Allen Iverson: (Found via TrueHoop) First A.I. has a King Crab dunk blasted off his noggin...

...then LeBron gives him an atom smasher-style ego-ectomy. Ouch.

Sunday lacktivity report: Chris wraps up a weekend of extreme lacktion.

Celtics-Suns: With Patrick O'Bryant being sent off to Toronto to form the Little Three of Lacktivity, the Celtics appeared to be shying away from having an extra human victory cigar on hand, an early analysis bolstered by KG's ankle problems. Yet this monumental trade (which assembled a force not to be reckoned with for the Craptors) may have taken place because of a hidden gem up Danny Ainge's sleeve! J.R. Giddens, the 2008 first-round pick for the Celtics, was recently recalled from Boston's D-League affiliate (the Utah Flash!) and wasted no time making a non-impact by beginning a wealthy career in the Association with a nationally televised 1.4 trillion cashout! This impressive debut no doubt will put him in the running for the lacktator rookie of the year award, as an even stronger stat line of snooze than Nathan Jawai's first NBA minutes! And Gabe Pruitt stepped up to the plate in a bigger role of boredom for Boston by bricking a three and giving Phoenix the rock for a +2 suck differential in 5:19.

Solar power however wasn't exempt from the ledger today as Alando Tucker and Courtney Sims spent 1:59 on the court together, each putting out a +1 via turnover in an interesting example of synchronized lacktion. Courtney's turnover also guaranteed him a Madsen-level Voskuhl of 1:0.

Bobcats-Rockets: Dikembe Mutumbo's days as a defensive force in the Association are long gone, but that doesn't mean he can't be recycled as a human victory cigar, smoking out a Madsen-level Voskuhl of 3:1 (2 giveaways and a singular foul against 1 rebound) in his failtacular 4:12 on the hardwood.

Nuggets-Bucks: Eddie Gill got to enjoy a new privilege tonight at the M.A.S.H. Unit: a dusty old Famicom to pass the time during his inpatient stay, with a 54 second Mario!

Heat-Magic: Sure, D-Wade's 50 points took the headlines, but hidden underneath that performance was another semi-notable storyline: the failure of Joel Anthony to produce any meaningless lacktion, ruining a three-foul run with productivity on the glass and successful defense. Thus their Miami teammate Jamaal Magloire had to do the not-so-dirty work in garbage time, cleanly spending 3:31 on the floor with a foul and missed shot for +2 (which also counted as a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl!). Orlando's Jeremy Richardson gave the home team their human victory cigar, missing his only shot attempt for +1 in 1:38.

Lakers-Wolves: DJ Mbenga got in the way of a shot the same way he recently served as an obstacle to Chris Mihm's fist. This block denied him a suck differential. However, with no boards or shot attempts, his 3:08 at the Target Center punched his ticket into the world of mediocrity with a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl via foul.

Pistons-Cavs: With 4:12 left in the nationally televised late game, JJ Hickson was crawling nicely into an on-court coma when he attempted to ruin it with a basket - only to accrue a suck-saving 24 second violation! Then he threw the rock at Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson who nervously came close to an assist; Jackson smartly aimed for the rim to prevent Hickson from pinching out a productive statistic.

Unfortunately, a minute or two later, Hickson then grabbed the ball from the rim for a debilitating offensive board, boiling out any last chance at non-notability. Compounding the disappointment was the ultimate stat curse: The ESPN commentators mentioned the fans' free taco excitement (with Cleveland at 99 points) on the last possession RIGHT before Mike Brown ordered Hickson to deny the crustacean crowd their reimbursable dinner. With this extended lacktivity lost, the Crabs looked down the bench and luckily located Lorenzen Wright, whose undersea exploration unlocked a treasure chest of 2.4 trillion as the game ended!


I would have loved this play just as much even if Mamba hadn't been the victim. Okay, not really. But seriously, this is awesome.

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Artoo says the chances of T-Mac staying healthy
are seven hundred seventy-five...to one.

The Basketbawful readers have spoken! (Well, mostly AnacondaHL with a little AK Dave.) And now, I proudly (and very geekily) present: The Official NBA/Star Wars Machinery Crossover List! Many thanks to Evil Ted for the super-quick Photoshoppin'. He could totally Photoshop the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. (And don't even start in with me about how "parsec" is a unit of measurement...)

AT-ST: Paul Pierce
AT-AT: Tyson Chandler
Landspeeder: Brandon Roy
Snowspeeder: Deron Williams
X-Wing: Dwyane Wade
A-Wing: Chris Paul
B-Wing: Chauncey Billups
Y-Wing: Jason Kidd
Jedi Starfighter: Kevin Durant
Millenium Falcon: LeBron James
Slave I: Dwayne Wade
TIE Fighter: Bruce Bowen
TIE Interceptor: Tony Parker
TIE Bomber: Ron Artest
TIE advanced x1: Kobe Bryant
Tantive IV: Dirk Nowitzki
Mon Calamari Cruiser: Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Rebel Medical Frigate: Tracy McGrady
Star Destroyer: Tim Duncan
Super Star Destroyer: Dwight Howard
Death Star: Shaq
Speeder Bike: Mario West
Lambda Shuttle: Jake Voshkul
R2-D2: Nate Robinson
C-3PO: Yao

BadDave and AK Dave also provided the following non-machinery crossovers:

Tauntaun: Brad Miller. Just cut him open for a nice warm nap.
Wampa: Joel Przybilla
Sandcrawler: Glen Davis
Bantha: Kendrik Perkins
Mynock: Kirk Hinrich (...chewing on the power cables...)
Rankor: Joakim Noah

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Amare Stoudemire. Could be out for the rest of the season. Seriously: "The beleaguered Suns announced Friday that Amare Stoudemire was forced to undergo eye surgery to repair a partially detached retina suffered in a Wednesday night rout of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is Stoudemire's second eye injury since October and the All-Star forward could miss the rest of the regular season."

More detailed info: "Dr. Pravin Dugel performed the procedure to repair a partially detached retina in Stoudemire's right eye. The doctor indicated that recovering from such a surgery varies on a case-by-case basis, though the forward's return to physical activity is estimated to be eight weeks."

The official reaction: "We are very glad to hear that Amare should have a 100 percent recovery relative to his vision and his long-term prognosis is excellent," Suns president Steve Kerr said in a statement after Stoudemire had surgery. "Obviously, it is very disappointing to lose him at this time. We are all very excited about the progress the team is making, but Amare's health and the health of all our players is our No. 1 concern." Translation: "F***********K!!" That's pretty much how I feel...

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Trade deadline
When Rafer Alston is The Face of the NBA's trade deadline,
well, you know not much of anything went down.

The NBA trade deadline: Last year's headline-grabbing before-the-deadline trades -- Shaq to Phoenix, Jason Kidd to Dallas -- changed everything without really changing anything. That is, neither player pushed his team over the championship hump (or even out of the first round) and so neither deal convinced GMs around the league to break their salary cap piggy bank in order to acquire a superstar. Between those blockbuster busts (not to mention the way the early-season Not-Answer trade has crippled the Pistons) and the sagging economy, GMs have become more interested in shedding salary than improving their teams in any meaningful way. (Although if anything can bring Larry Hughes' corpse back to life, it's Dr. D'Antonistein.) So: Snap, fizzle, pop. The trade deadline came and went with the best player moved being...Rafer Alston. Zowie! As Dan L. wrote in to say: "I'm sure you've seen this picture that ESPN is using for their trade deadline story. It sure says a lot about the bawfulness of this trade deadline that Rafear Alston is the centerpiece of their coverage."

I think Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports put it best: "The San Antonio Spurs thought they had a deal all but done for Los Angeles Clippers center Marcus Camby only to see it unravel at the deadline. The Portland Trail Blazers boasted for weeks about how Raef LaFrentz's 'super' expiring contract could land them a top-level player. LaFrentz’s contract was so super, in fact, that Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard decided to put it under his pillow at the deadline. ... Even Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t pull the trigger on a move. Out East, the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers also stood pat. Among the contenders, only the Orlando Magic made a basketball trade, acquiring Houston Rockets point guard Rafer Alston. Too many teams were too reluctant to take on money. The Mavericks and Spurs both had interest in Sacramento’s John Salmons, but the Kings were unwilling to assume even the partial $2 million guarantees of Jerry Stackhouse and Bruce Bowen."

Why get better when you can save money? Speaking of which...

The Detroit Pistons: Allen Iverson led the Pistons with 31 points and 7 assists, but Detroit lost at home yet again, this time to the Manu Ginobili-less Spurs. They are now 14-15 at the Palace of Auburn Hills this season...and 2-10 at home in the past six weeks. And now they're looking at a road trip that includes games at Boston, Cleveland, New Orleans and Orlando. It's pretty doubtful they'll return from that little excursion on the plus side of the .500 mark. And right now they're clinging to the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which means -- gulp -- Detroit could fail to reach the playoffs. I mean, it's a possibility that's becoming more real with each passing game.

And I'm telling you, the Pistons looked flat, lifeless, out of sync. The Not-Answer's good game seemed to suck all the awesome right out of his teammates. Rodney Stuckey finished with 2 points. Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton combined to score 12 points on 5-for-20 shooting. Rasheed Wallace put up 11 on 17 shots. The depth the team boasted last year with their vaunted Zoo Crew was all but forgotten as coach Michael Curry played only seven men.

Yes, I know the Spurs are good and all, but the Pistons are in disarray...and have been for most of the season. Said Stuckey: "We lost again. I don't know. I really can't explain anything anymore. We just keep losing, and now we've got some great teams to play." That's one seriously bummed out player. Joe Dumars apologists insist that this is all part of a bigger plan to keep Detroit competitive in future seasons. But it sure does suck right now.

Update! Reggie Miller, lousy analysis machine: From Wild Yams: "The highlight of last night for me was definitely when Reggie Miller tried to refute the idea that Allen Iverson has hurt the Pistons this year while simultaneously trying to assert that it's just a coincidence that the Nuggets have been so good with Chauncey Billups, only to have Marv Albert verbally bitch slap him into submission for it. Reggie Miller's insane 'reasoning' for why the Nuggets have been better this year than Detroit has is because Chauncey has a better supporting cast in Denver than Iverson does in Detroit. OK, I'm not even sure if that's true or not, but that aside, Marv pointed out that Chauncey had that same supporting cast in Detroit last year and took them to the Conference Finals (for the 6th straight time), while Iverson had arguably a better supporting cast in Denver last year than Chauncey does this year (Camby & Najera were there last year), yet Iverson only helped the Nuggets to an 8th seed and a 1st round sweep. Reggie's response was to then point out (paraphrasing) 'Yeah, but Chauncey plays with Carmello Anthony...' Speaking of Reggie Miller, I was really struck recently by thinking about what I used to think of the guy when he was a player, particularly in the mid-90s, and how shockingly different he seems now. Miller was the guy who killed the Knicks, taunted Spike Lee with a choking gesture, hit game winners over Jordan, and threw Kobe Bryant over a scorer's table in a brawl. Now he sounds like he's doing commercials for Disney or something. Is there a goofier former player out there? I don't think so."

another duncan face

The Duncan Face: You all remember the Duncan Face, right? Well, as you can see in the picture above, Timmy made it again last night against the Pistons. Dan B. sent in the pic and asked: "Why does Tim Duncan look scared/surprised in this picture?" Here's the answer: At this point, the Duncan Face is an unconcious, instinctive reaction. He can't even control it anymore, just like I can't control the damn eye twitch I get every time somebody brings up Kobe Bryant. (And by "eye twitch" I mean "uncontrollable vomiting.")

Injuries: Boston Celtics fans had to deal with a stomach-clencher last night: Kevin "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!" Garnett strained his right knee going for an alley-oop late in the second quarter and had to hop on his left foot into the locker room. He did not play in the second half. There's been no indication so far how serious the injury may or may not be, but the Celtics are downplaying it. At halftime, Danny Ainge told TNT sideline reporter Cheryl Miller: "He's resting right now. It's been bothering him for a couple of weeks." (A couple of weeks?! That's news.) After the game, Doc Rivers added: "He wanted to run but we have a long season and I'm not taking a risk by putting him on the floor. We would have loved to have him, obviously, it probably would have made a difference. Unless he's close to 100 percent, I'd rather have him healthy for the playoffs. That's how I look at it."

KG didn't stick around to talk to the media, but he did issue the following statement: "As you know, I suffered an injury, a strain to my right knee, during the game and I really don't have any comment about it. I will have the knee re-examined [Friday] and we should have more information at that time. Obviously, I would much rather be playing instead of providing this statement." Obviously. On the bright side, he'll have plenty of time to quest for G. But you know what "No KG" means...

The Boston Celtics: They held up pretty well without KG...for a while. But after building an 11-point third-quarter lead, things fell apart. The C's committed 19 turnovers (off which the Jazz scored 24 points) and missed 10 free throws. Those two things make it pretty hard to win on the road against a reasonably strong team, especially when you're missing your best player (no offense to Paul Pierce). Plus, to be frank, Boston got pushed around a little without KG. Which had to please Jerry Sloan. Speaking of which...

Jerry Sloan, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Sent in by Basketbawful reader SN from Germany: "Utah coach Jerry Sloan was uncharacteristically complimentary of his team after the Jazz beat the Celtics 90-85. Utah did it with the kind of style the coach just loves—nasty. 'They put a body on you. They knock you around,' Sloan said of the defending NBA champion. 'Our guys, sometimes we want to play in a tuxedo. And when you’re playing against those guys, you better get it off and get ready to get nasty.'" Wow. Sounds like Jerry needs a bottle of lotion, a box of tissues and a little time alone. From the sound of it, two, maybe three minutes should do it.

Paul Pierce: Without Garnett, Boston turned to the self-proclaimed best player in the world and he...didn't come through. Sure, Pierce scored 20 points, but he committed a game-high 5 turnovers and got shut down by Matt Harpring down the stretch. No, really. Harpring drew a charge and forced Truth into 2-for-9 shooting in the fourth quarter.

Brian Scalabrine: Veal started the third quarter in place of KG drew four fouls in the first 3:30. Obviously, he was channeling the spirit of Greg Kite. (Yes, I know Kite's still alive. That's what makes it so creepy.) Scal ended up fouling out in just under 12 minutes of PT.

Lacktion report: Have you met Chris? Then here, let me introduce you to him...

Spurs-Pistons: San Antonio's Malik Hairston quietly put up a suck differential of +2 in 4:09 via one foul and one missed shot.

Celtics-Jazz: Brevin Knight may have given the Jazz a sold +3 in a full 8:03 via brick, foul, and misplacing the rock into the hands of a Boston player...but Jerry Sloan's commitment to Nintendo technology has increased, with Ronnie Price's 4-second Super Mario providing an upgrade to the 16-bit era!

And while many point to the non-retention of James Posey as one potential reason for the Celtics being just a little bit less of a sure thing to repeat...the trade that sent Patrick O'Bryant to the stone age of bawful in Toronto proves that Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge don't think that this year's team is worthy of multiple human victory cigars, especially with Scalabrine starting to sop up actual productive minutes against his previous championship-winning lacktivity.

(BTW...O'Bryant, Jawai, and Voskuhl: Will they become Toronto's "Little Three" of the lacktator ranks for months to come? Stay tuned! I guess the next step for them is a cheesy public access sports recap show commercial, followed by a preschool paegant-level ad promoting a lemonade stand. AND YES -- one local piece on the trade has already mentioned the three experts at non-contribution as "competing" for a job! Certainly O'Bryant's previous experience as human victory cigar won't be much of an advantage north of the border.)
Jason Williams: The rotting carcass once known as White Chocolate has reached a bony claw from behind the black veil of death to request immediate reinstatement into the NBA. According to an internal league memo. Apparently some dark necromancer noticed that certain teams (such as the Celtics and Rockets) were scrambling around for point guard help and thought: "Teams are seriously considering Stephon Marbury? A cadaver would be a better option at the point. And I'm gonna prove it..."

Kobe Bryant: Mamba walked up to Adam Morrison during practice, grabbed a large hunk of his mustache and tore it out. After Adam stopped crying -- and it took a while -- he asked: "W-w-w-why?!" Replied Kobe: "Because I can." He then put the 'stache chunk up for sale on eBay.

Bonus: Nothing bawful here, but these items are worth a look anyway: Check out one fan's Twitter-assisted run-in with Shaq and go bask in the glory of dunking cheerleaders.

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