The recent hot play of the Grizzlies [!] and Clippers [!!]
caused a state of emergency at venerable FedEx Forum.
FedEx Forum: The Clippers-Grizzlies game featured two of the hottest team in the NBA. I bet you never expected to read that sentence on Basketbawful unless is was dripping with mockery and sarcasm. Seriously, I keep hoping I'll wake up from a coma and find out this is all a dream. But, alas, it's true. (Unless that coma thing works out for me. Go coma!) Memphis had won five straight at home, and The Other L.A. Team had taken four games overall.
So what happens when a suddenly irresistible force meets an inexplicably immovable object? The very forces of nature try to restore balance to the universe. Which is exactly what happened when FedEx Forum itself tried to bring this abomination to a halt. From the AP recap: "A broken water line in the fire sprinkler system triggered the arena's alarm system, forcing players, fans and officials outside for approximately 20 minutes."
According to Ball Don't Lie: "The building was completely evacuated. The Clippers hung out in the team bus. The media and others were shipped across the frozen street. Eventually, the teams were ordered back, and the game resumed -- with about 90 percent of what was already a pretty slim crowd. " BDL also posted video of the evacuation:
This event prompted the following comment from Basketbawful reader Hobbs:
"We are committed to providing our fans a world-class championship experience each night at FedExForum. With this in mind, we are inviting all fans who came to tonight's game to exchange their ticket for select locations based on availability for this Friday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the FedExForum Box Office."
This was part of the statement released by the Griz after they had to evacuate fans during the Clippers game (why anyone was even there is still a mystery to me) after something went wrong with the sprinkler system.
I fail to see how exactly the Grizzlies' management expect to provide fans a "world-class championship experience" by giving them free tickets to Grizzlies vs Timberwolves...
Seriously. I mean, at one time, those two squads would have been duking it out for the title of Worst Team in the Western Confernece. But the Griz are too good for that now. Which, again, is what I think led to this whole fiasco. The universe demands a balance. This won't be the last "incident."
O.J. Mayo, quote machine: "It was a little bit of adversity, something a little different. I just wanted to get back and start hoopin.' I didn't want them to call the game or postpone it. For some reason, it just seemed like it gave us a second chance. We were down 12 at the time. But this team has been through a lot of adversity so it was nothing new for us. We just had to stick together, go out there and play hard."
The Los Angeles Clippers: The evacuation must have rattled them. The Other L.A. Team led 89-77 with 47 seconds left in the third quarter when the building was cleared...and ended up losing 104-102 after play resumed.
Of course, Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. thinks that's a bunch of bullpoopy: "[The delay] had nothing to do with us losing. We came back in the fourth quarter. We got beat to loose balls and offensive rebounds." That last part might have something to do with...
Chris Kaman: The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week finished with zero points, zero rebounds, zero assists in zero minutes after he aggravated a sore back...during pregame warmups. That might partly explain why Marc Gasol -- who wasn't even supposed to play last night -- ended up with a co-team-high 24 points (10-for-14) and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Crazy-ass Stat of the Night: Memphis is 9-2 in games following a defeat since opening the season with a 1-8 record. Seriously.
The Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets: The Detroit Pistons entered last night's game losers of 13 straight. They were without Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum. Plus, they were playing their second road games on back-to-back nights, having lost by 33 points in Chicago the previous night. And the Washington players actually made it their mission to win this game. Said Nick Young: "We talked about it. We didn't want to be the team they beat."
How could the Bullets not pull this one out? Simple: 'cause they're the Bullets.
I mean, I guess there were a few tangible reasons. Three players missed the morning shootaround because they were being questioned in Agent Zero's gun investigation. Javaris "locked and loaded" Crittenton -- the teammate whose fight with Arenas led to the whole gun mess -- has been excused from attending practices or games until the legal issues are resolved. Andray Blatch was suspended from last night's game for being a dumbass. Mike Miller has been doing his best Greg Oden impression all season. Oh, and of course Gilbert Arenas didn't play. In fact, Washington management has fired up the Ultimate Nullifier in an attempt to wipe Gilbert's very memory out of existence.
What a mess.
"It's been a little chaotic around here for the most part the last couple days," said Caron Butler in what may be an early candidate for Understatement of the Year. "That's something that you don't want to have to keep revisiting. As a player, you want to focus on basketball and basketball only."
Translation: Please, God, let it end.
Added coach Flip Saunders: "We just weren't mentally alert." You know, as opposed to the other kinds of alert you can be.
Well, that's one sign, anyway. One among a great many.
The Houston Rockets: The Pluckiest Underdogs in the West had their pluck plucked away by Stephen Jackson and his Charlotte Bobcats. Although, to be honest, it was mostly just Jackson, who shot 15-for-22 and scored 16 of his career-high 46 points in the decisive fourth quarter.
Said Trevor Ariza: "He hurt us. He's a really good player that can get hot at any time. Once he got going, we couldn't find a way to slow him down." Really? A hand in his face might have helped. Or maybe even a double team or two. I mean, we're still talking about Captain Jack, right? Did he drink a bottle of Kobe Bryant juice before the game or something?
Beyond their inability to defend the unstoppable-against-them Stephen Jackson, the Rockets committed five turnovers (including two shot clock violations) and missed nine three-pointers in the fourth quarter...which should tell you a few things about Houston's shot selection down the stretch. You don't win road games against good defensive teams by playing bombs away from deep.
The Los Angeles Lakers: Well...Mamba didn't play the fourth quarter because of back spasms, and Pau Gasol missed his fifth game because of a strained hamstring. I'm sure you see where this is going.
The Spurs rolled to a 105-85 victory -- their eighth win in the last 10 games -- while Lakers dropped their fourth straight road game, their longest road losing streak since they failed in five straight during March of 2007.
See?! The Spurs are contenders! Or...something.
Said Timmy D: "Obviously they're dealing with some injuries, and Kobe doesn't play in the fourth quarter or whatever it may be, but it's a great win for us. We'll take it where we can get it." Added Tony Parker: "Obviously Kobe didn't play the fourth, but a win is a win. We'll take it." You'll have to, guys. Your team is only 4-11 this season against teams that aren't sub-.500.
As for Lakers fans, they must be feeling a little twitchy after watching Kobe "I don't get injured, I get better" Bryant voluntarily left a game due to injury. Said Kobe: "I could barely move. I tried to orchestrate some things for my team, couldn't walk. I literally couldn't walk. It's the only way I don't play."
And that's the only way he'd ever attempt a season-low 10 field goals. But I digress. Mamba said he's "pretty sure" he'll play tonight in Dallas, then added "and I'll probably drop 50 on their asses" under his breath.
At any rate, the Lakers' real problem wasn't Kobe (who, after all, had 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting through three quarters), it was their defense, which allowed San Antonio to shoot nearly 57 percent. Oh, then there was the 27 points they gave up off 15 turnovers. You know, as I look at the circumstance and the stats, shouldn't the Spurs be a little worried they didn't win by 30 or more?
The Sacramento Kings: How does a team go from being up two points entering the final quarter to losing 109-88 at home? Well, by getting outscored 33-10 in the final 12 minutes for starters. But that's just simple mathematology, and math can't do justice to the 4-for-22 brick party the Kings held in the fourth quarter. Never have the words "It's like watching a bunch of retards try to hump a doorknob" been more appropriate.
Of course, Dwight Howard (30 points, 16 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocked shots) formed an unbreakable wall between the Kings and the hoop, which probably explains why the Sactowners got outscored 52-26 in the paint.
Said Beno Udrih: "They took advantage of everything we did wrong. We shot bad shots, missed good shots and they took advantage of that. They went on some fast breaks and got some buckets. We just cannot win like that."
Matt Painter, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Basketbawful reader Clifton submitted this quote by the coach of the Team That Shall Not Be Named: "Evan Turner had his way with all of our guys." Wow. Turner must be truly insatiable.
The NBA: Two teams were fined $10,000 each for standing in front of the bench. No, I'm not kidding.
Brandon Jennings: The rook made himself look silly by getting into a slap fight via Twitter with a fake Jordan Farmar. No, I'm still not kidding.
Best quote by the fake Farmar: "You started with the smack talking, and I ended it with the 2 threes. We even? Cool." Best response by the real Jennings: "but I'm not going to beef with you. See you should be worried about your spot. Shannon Brown(notes)??? That's all imma say."
You can expect "that's all imma say" to become a new tagline here.
Lacktion report: And now a brief lacktion report from Chris, who is no doubt still mourning the miserable loss by his Purple Paupers.
Lakers-Spurs: Sasha Vujacic machined himself a slab of gold worth 3.1 trillion (3:06) while Josh Powell baked a brick for a +1 suck differential in 4:21. Meanwhile, San Antonio's Theo Ratliff negated a block and two assists in 3:54 with a foul for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Clippers-Grizzlies: In a game bawful enough to be delayed by a loading bay getting flooded, former Boston lacktator Lester Hudson immediately proved his worth in his Grizzlies debut by providing a celebratory +3 in 2:49 via foul and two bricks (one from Beale Street)!!!