The Indiana Pacers: What was the worst part of this game from Indy's perspective? Take you're pick: Was it that they a) fell behind 36-18 after one quarter, b) scored a mere 9 points in the fourth, c) finished the game with only 72 points on 33 percent shooting, d) ended up with a 44-5 disadvantage in free throw attempts while playing at home, e) lost by 21 despite the fact that Cleveland went 23-for-44 from the foul line (including 10-for-17 for King Crab), or f) BALL.
The Detroit Pistons: Well, Joe Dumars finally realized his dream of fielding all four of his big guns (Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince). The result was...a 92-65 home loss to the Miami Heat in which the Pistons shot 39 percent and got outrebounded 52-25. By the way, that point total was only one above the franchise record for fewest points in a game. Gak.
Said Hamilton (8 points, 4-for-14): "There is no way we should score like this with the offensive guys we've got on this team. We've got to get better. This was a bad night in all aspects of the game."
He's not wrong.
Detroit fell to 1-4 on their current home stand and have now scored below 100 points in 21 of their last 22 games. And they've lost 18 of those games.
The Los Angeles Clippers: It's hard to believe that a few short games ago, The Other L.A. Team was actually threatening to reach .500. But back-to-back double-digit losses to the New Jersey Nyets and Minnesota Timberpoops -- a.k.a. the two worst teams in the league -- have proven, once again, the Clippers are indeed who we thought they were.
The best part is that the Clips held a players-only meeting after getting their butts whupped by the Nyets...and the result was a 14-point loss to the Timberpoops? What the hell did they talk about in that meeting?!
Said Marcus Camby: "We just talked about salvaging the rest of this season and this thing's not over for us and to put Wednesday's loss behind us. Hopefully we could come out and respond the right way, but we didn't."
Added Baron Davis: "We let two games get away that we should have won, had we played with the effort, had we played with the freedom and the mentality that we need to play with in order to be successful. It only gets tougher from this point."
Can we just go ahead and pronounce the Clippers' season dead?
By the way, thanks to Basketbawful reader Wouter for submitting this useless stat of the night from the ESPN Weekend Dime: "The Clippers' Chris Kaman, edged out of an All-Star berth by Randolph, recently became just the fifth center in the league to post two 20-point games in the same season in head-to-head starts against Washington's Brendan Haywood. The others: Shaquille O'Neal (2004-05 season and 2005-06), Orlando's Dwight Howard (2006-07), Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut (2007-08) and Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire (2007-2008)."
Remember: People get paid to look this stuff up. As Wouter said: "Seriously, I had to read that four times before it actually made sense. Then I realized they were talking about Brendan Haywood. Then it didn't make sense again."
The Boston Celtics: Let's say that you're a wanna-be championship contender who's struggling with injury problems, dealing with shaky chemistry, and facing the second night of back-to-back road games against two of your three biggest Eastern Conference rivals. Oh, and you lost the first of those two games in heartbreaking fashion after choking away a 16-point lead. If you were that team, the last thing you'd want to do is provide the second team any additional motivation, especially considering you were already 0-3 against them this season.
After the Hawks scored only seven points in the first nine minutes, Crawford came off the bench and immediately turned the tide. His half court shot to end the first quarter gave Atlanta its first lead, and he clinched the win with two huge plays late. The first was a long 2-point jumper that banked in -- unintentionally -- as Rajon Rondo fouled him, giving the Hawks a commanding 10-point lead with 3:26 left.
"I didn't yell bank," he admitted, "I think the bank's closed now."
Then, with Boston closing the margin and having the ball, he stole a pass from Rondo and cruised in for a dunk to put Atlanta up 97-88 with 1:05 left and effectively end the proceedings.
In winning, Atlanta swept the season series from a conference foe that has been reluctant to acknowledge them as a rival. ...The win moved Atlanta into sole possession of second place in the East, setting the stage for an uncomfortable possibility for the Celtics -- having to play a second-round series without home-court advantage against an Atlanta squad that owned them in the regular season. Atlanta leads Boston by a half a game and owns the tiebreaker.
Yep. It's really, really official now. The Celtics are in trouble.
Doc Rivers, non-motivational speaker: Regarding his team's chances against the Hawks: "I don't really know if we could have won the game tonight, the way the Hawks were playing. Especially coming off a back-to-back, this is a tough team to play." When a coach of a champion wanna-be states flatly that he doesn't know if his team even had a chance to win a critical game against a heated rival...that's a bad sign.
The New Jersey Nyets: The tragic comedy of the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets continued with an 81-79 home loss to the lowly Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets. And the dagger to New Jersey's heart was the go-ahead jumper by Earl Boykins with 0.4 seconds left. Whew! Back-to-back victories totally would have knocked the Nyets off course in their bid for the worst record in NBA history. Thanks, Earl!
(And thanks to the Nyets for giving up 15 offensive boards and missing 8 free throws.)
The Denver Nuggets: It would have been a pretty tall order for the Nuggets to beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City without 'Melo, but it's worth noting that the 17-point loss was Denver's second-largest defeat of the season.
Said Nuggets coach George Karl: "Our offense at the end of the third quarter just destroyed us. J.R.'s shot selection and turnovers just took a possible comeback and took it to a 20-point game."
J.R. Smith: It's never good when your ooach calls you out like that.
Arron Afflalo Basketbawful reader zyth nominated Afflalo for getting his junk swatted by a one-shoed Kevin Durant. And because we here at Basketbawful aim to please...
Portland's interior defense: The Rockets hit 17 layups, dunked three times and finished with 52 points in the paint in their 104-100 win over the Frail Blazers. You think Portland is missing Greg "Yes, I have a giant schlong, okay?!" Oden and the Vanilla Godzilla?
The Sacramento Kings: After their 101-94 loss to the Jazz in Utah, the Kings are 3-15 since their historic 35-point comeback in Chicago. Meanwhile, after their 106-104 overtime victory over the Hornets in Charlotte, the Bulls are 13-6 during that same stretch and went above .500 (23-22) for the first time since they were 6-5 in late November. Weird, huh?
By the way, did the Sactowners forget Paul Milsap plays for Utah? Sappy almost had a triple double, finishing with 32 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists while starting in place of the injured Carlos Boozer. By the way, if anybody out there had any doubt whether Boozer was finished as a member of the Jazz after this season, well, there's your answer.
The Gol_en State Warriors: Stephen Jackson returned to Oakland and finally benefited from his old team's complete and utter lack of D. Captain Jack scored 30 of Charlotte's 121 points in the Bobcats' double-digit road win over the second-worst team in the West.
Guess that trade didn't work out so well.
From the AP recap: "Since the trade that also included Acie Law going to the Bobcats in exchange for Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic, Charlotte has gone 20-16, improved its scoring average by more than 15 points and moved into a tie with Chicago for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Golden State, on the other hand, is just 10-26 since sending Jackson away -- and scoring 5.2 fewer points."
Friday lacktion report: There's no joy for Chris in Sactown...but there is, as always, lacktion.
Lakers-Sixers: Josh Powell briefly added mushrooms to his diet in a 4 second Super Mario, while Jason Kapono buttoned his overalls for a 45 second Mario of his own!
Celtics-Hawks: YES! MARIO WEST SCORED A 26 SECOND MARIO TO EARN HIS FIRST NAMESAKE STAT OF THE YEAR! Meanwhile, Brian Scalabrine bricked once in 5:21 for a +1 suck differential.
Heat-Pistons: Detroit's Jason Maxiell fouled twice and tossed a brick in 7:33 for a +3.
Bullets-Nyets: Fabricio Oberto fabulously fouled out in 19:06 and lost the rock as well for a 7:2 Voskuhl (against one field goal)!
Frail Blazers-Rockets: Jeff Pendergraph wired two fouls in 2:49 for a +2 suck differential and 2:0 Voskuhl! In non-lacktive news, Steve Blake earned a Calvin Murphy via 14 points and 9 assists!!!
Kings-Jazz: Donte Greene, as the purple paupers' starting forward, bricked once in 4:24 for a +1, while Jon Brockman negated two boards in 12:10 with 5 fouls and a loss of the rock for a 6:2 Voskuhl!
Not lacktion, but still noteworthy: Tyreke "The Freak" Evans with a Dantley by scoring 13 of 25 points from the stripe. (And in the Bobcats-Warriors game, Ronald Murray scored 8 of 12 points in charity for his own Dantley as well.)
The Atlanta Hawks: Hmm...second night of back-to-backs...playing on the road against a good team...and the result is a 104-86 blowout. Where have we heard this one before? Dwight Howard finished with 31 points and 19 rebounds, J.J. Redick dished out a career-high 7 assists, and Jamal Crawford came back down to earth by shooting 6-for-17 from the field. The Hawks have now lost six straight times to the Magic, including all three games this season.
Said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson: "We haven't figured [Orlando] out, that's all I can tell you." Thanks for the words of wisdom, coach.
Time for the official "sad bench" photo.
The New York Knicks: The latest humiliation in the latest season full of humiliations: a 10-point loss to the WizardsGenerals Bullets. And they resurrected Mike Miller in the process. Miller scored a season-high 25 points -- including 17 in the third quarter -- and hit seven three-pointers.
HAND. IN. THE. FACE.
Of course, it's not all the players' fault. Bricks coach Mike 'Antoni ordered up a zone defense. Said 'Antoni: "You roll the dice a little bit, and this time it got us. I just didn't have a good feeling about us guarding them man-to-man."
You thought man-to-man would turn out worse than Mike Miller returning from the dead to drill seven threes?!
The Memphis Grizzlies: The Griz had their 11-game home winning streak snapped and blew holes in my theory about what happens to teams playing on the road on the second night of back-to-backs against a good team. The Hornets -- who were without Chris Paul, by the way -- were coming off a tough OT loss at home to the Bulls but managed to pull out a 109-102 OT win in Memphis. After the Grizzlies built a 21-point lead in the third quarter? And New Orleans rookie Darren Collison stepped in for CP3 and delivered a Collison a 17-point, 18 assist performance?
Maybe I was a little too forgiving of that 7-point loss in San Antonio on Friday.
The Miami Heat: Hey, the East's leading candidate for "Bipolar Girlfriend Team of the Year" struck again! One night after almost holding the Pistons to a new franchise low for points scored in a game, the Heat lost 95-84 to the Bucks. Normally, I'd blame the supporting cast, but on this night we turn a hairy eyeball toward...
Dwayne Wade: The line: 6-for-20 from the field, 0-for-6 from downtown and a co-game-high 4 turnovers. Plus, he was limited to 31 minutes due to foul trouble. (He finished with 5 personals.)
Brandon Jennings, quote machine: Regarding Charlie Bell, who spent most of the game guarding Pookie: "I guess we got the D-Wade stopper on the team right now."
I wouldn't want to be Charlie Bell next time the Bucks play the Heat. I'm just sayin'.
The Sacramento Kings: Ugh. Make it 3-16 since their historic 35-point comeback in Chicago. And now, the obligatory facepalm picture, courtesy of Dan. B.
The Dallas Mavericks: After a recent 1-point win over the WizardsGenerals Bullets -- in which Shawn Marion blocked Caron Butler's last-second shot attempt -- Jason Kidd said:
"Winning on a defensive possession, you wouldn't say that in the past about the Mavericks. It would be us trying to get a basket on the other end. This year, we've really focused on playing defense. We looked at the last champions and said, 'Hey, they all played defense.' So that's what we're focused on right now, and Shawn really made a great play on Caron at the end."
So...this is a new era of defense in Dallas, eh? Then please explain to me, Jason, why you guys lost 114-112 in overtime at home to the Portland Frail Blazers after letting Andre Miller score a career-high 52 points, including 25 in the fourth quarter and the OT?
Yeah. That's what I thought.
Bad timing: Basketbawful reader gordon gartrelle asked: "Have you all commented on this Kobe/Lebron gun-themed "controversy?" ESPN and the NBA get the gasface for this nonsense." No, I haven't. This is just another sign of the general wussification of our society in general and the NBA in particular.
Saturday lacktion report: More lacktion from Chris, who has already started planning for the next NBA draft.
Hawks-Magic: Jason Collins took down an offensive rebound in 5:28, but fouled four times and lost the rock once for a 5:1 Voskuhl.
Knicks-Bullets: Dominic McGuire seems intent on beating Steve Novak in an Excite Bike race for most lacktive baller, as evidenced by blasting off a celebratory 3 second Super Mario!!!!
Hornets-Grizzlies: Aaron Gray countered a couple of boards in 6:24 with a trio of fouls to give New Orleans a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Heat-Bucks: Jodie Meeks became Starfox's wingman for a brief 52 seconds, earning himself a Mario!
Frail Blazers-Mavs: Erick Dampier once again lived up to his share of the Mark Cuban fortune by negating a trio of boards with three fouls in 24:53 and a giveaway for a 4:3 Voskuhl.
The San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs were playing at home, and the Nuggets were without Carmelo Anthony. That should have more than balanced out the fact that Tony Parker was also MIA, particularly since George Hill stepped in for TP and stepped up with 17 points (8-for-16) and 4 assists. Sadly, San Antonio still got handled as Kenyon Martin (27/11/4) totally outplayed Tim Duncan (16/10/1). The final score (103-89) wouldn't have even been that close if the Nuggets hadn't had a case of bumble-itis (19 turnovers for 27 points going the other way).
By the way, Martin's 27 points was a season-high. Moreover, Denver shot 53.6 percent from the field...and only three teams have had a better single-game FGP against the Spurs this season. Oddly enough, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was more grumpy about his team's offense than its defense. The Spurs shot 43 percent for the game and missed 14 of their 17 three-point attempts.
Said Pops: "People need to step up and start making shots."
Are we all finally comfortable shutting and locking SA's championship window? The draft is really starting to annoy me. Speaking of which...
The Boston Celtics: After losing tough back-to-back road games against the Magic and Hawks -- the latter of which they helped facilitate with the "Tanya Harding" they took out on Jamal Crawford -- the Celtics were looking to salvage a little pride by winning their only regular season home game against the hated Lakers.
Didn't happen...despite the fact that they were up by 11 points (81-70) with just under nine minutes to go. The defining moment of the Celtics' collapse was when Paul Pierce got called for an obvious one-armed pushoff on a very floppery Ron Artest with 27 seconds left and the Leprechauns clinging to a 1-point lead. Ironically, that move is Kobe Classic, by which I actually mean it's a Michael Jordan Classic from back in the day. And Doc Rivers knows it: "At that point, I think it's got to be unbelievable, but I didn't see it so I really can't give an opinion on it. You know, I do know Kobe pushes off a lot."
That, of course, set up a dagger by Kobe. Boston's last shot was an ugly three-pointer by Ray Allen, who was forced to shoot over Lamar Odom. I couldn't help but think: You know, guys, you only needed a two-pointer for the win.
The thing that really struck me watching this game was that Rajon Rondo is, by far, Boston's best player. Like, it's not even close. KG ended up with 10 points, 9 boards and 5 turnovers. Pierce went 4-for-11 and had more fouls (5) than rebounds and assists (4). And Ray Allen finished with 7 points on 2-for-10 shooting. Heck, Tony Allen (14 points, 6-for-9, 3 boards, 2 steals and a block in only 25 minutes) was Boston's second-best player. In fact, the C's might have gotten blown out in the first half if not for him.
At this point, the only hope the Celtics have is...BALL.
By the way, with everybody creaming themselves over Kobe's game-winner, it's worth noting that the Lakers needed that shot from Mamba in part because he was 8-for-20 and took five or six of the worst shots known to man during the second half. Leaning, fading, falling away from deep...the dude was forcing some terrible percentage shots. That garbage may work against an obviously slumping Boston squad, but it probably won't cut it against, say, the Craboliers. Something to think about. Speaking of crustaceans...
The Los Angeles Clippers: After back-to-back losses to the league's two worst teams, what d'you suppose happened when The Other L.A. Team had to play the league's best team on the road?
The Clippers fell behind 46-20 in the first 12 minutes -- during which the Crabs tied an NBA record for three-pointers made in one quarter (11) -- and the game was basically a lost cause from that point on. The three-point barrage, which included two by LeBron from, like, 30 feet out, left Mike Dunleavey, well, stunned.
"I've got money that I'll put them in the gym naked, nobody else on them, and they probably can't make 11 out of 13 again from the same spots. They hit some shots in that first quarter that I know in 30 years of being in the NBA that I've [never] seen a team make."
Wait, wait, wait. Why naked, Mike?! Basketbawful Marc S. has a theory: "I can only assume that by 'naked,' Dumbleavy meant that nobody would guard the Cavaliers in question, but on second thought, maybe this is a little-known Clippers practice technique, which would explain a lot."
Anyway, clearly things got out of hand, and fast. It was so bad that, in the second period, L.A.'s Rasual Butler deflected a pass by Jamario Moon right into his own bucket. That play was so Clippery it should be put on the frachise's all-time lowlight reel. By the way, that 46-point first quarter tied a Crabs' franchise mark for the most points in a single period, and Cleveland's 16 three-pointers missed the team record for threes in a game by one.
Let's face it: The Clippers are who we thought they were.
The Detroit Pistons: Make it 1-5 on their home stand. And they lost to the Magic -- who were playing the second game of back-to-backs -- despite the fact that Orlando lost Jameer Nelson (knee) and Mickael Pietrus (ankle) to injury and had Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis in foul trouble. Oh, and Dwight Howard missed 10 free throws.
How many breaks do the Pistons need?
A few more, apparently. They were down only three points (89-86) and had the ball with nine seconds left, but Ben Gordon opted to pass instead of shoot and the ball was intercepted by Anthony Johnson. Said BG: "I just made a bad decision. I was in the corner and tried to get it to Tayshaun, but Anthony Johnson made a great play. I have to make better decisions with the ball."
No wonder Gordon never wants to pass.
The New Jersey Nyets: The tragic comedy of the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets continued with an 83-79 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Nyets actually had a chance to tie the game with eight seconds left, but New Jersey coach Kiki Vandeweghe called what may be the dumbest play known to man, judging solely by how it looked and what it resulted in...which was an awful miss by Jarvis Hayes from about 30 feet from the hoop.
And here is Kiki's post-game quote, as provided by AnacondaHL (with his commentary in brackets): "Last play... I'm gonna take responsibility for that [really now]... We tried to run something that was perhaps a little tricky [so you AND the players were too stupid to pull it off. Got it.]... It was basically a series of flairs is what it ends up, uhm, but, it was a play you typically run from the full court, and we tried to run it at the half court [you are all awful]..."
The saddest postscript on this game comes from former Clipper and current $80 million failure Elton Brand: "No disrespect to the Nets franchise, but [we] couldn't lose this game today. They do have talent over there and they've been in games. I've been on some poor teams, but none so poor that we had only four [wins] more than halfway through." Remember: BRAND WAS A CLIPPER!! Plus, he was on a Chicago Bulls squad that won 17 and 15 games in back-to-back seasons.
Ouch, baby. Major ouch.
The New York Knicks: I honestly thought the Knicks had hit the low point of their season when they got torched by Mike Miller in a loss to the WizardsGenerals Bullets. (For further reading, see several paragraphs ago.) Well, I was wrong, okay? I was so very, very wrong...thanks to New York's 112-91 loss to the Minnesota Timberpoops, who I must once again remind you are the second-worst team in the league.
I know playing back-to-back games is rough, but is it that rough? Apparently so. I mean, Minny's bench outscored the Bricks' reserves 51-8. Eek.
After the game, New York coach Mike 'Antoni had to insist that his team hasn't, you know, quit and stuff. "They care. They're trying. No excuses, but a little short-handed. Playing 8 o'clock last night, flying here and playing 6 o'clock doesn't help. We've had a tough schedule last weekend and this weekend and the guys are showing a little bit of it."
Uh huh. Again I say: Does anybody still think LeBron is gonna want to join this team next season?
Sunday lacktion report: Why does Chris love Sunday? Because not only did he get to eat at his favorite Sactown restaraunt, the Kings didn't play...which meant they couldn't lose for a change! Now, onto the lacktivity:
Nuggets-Spurs: Keith Bogans pocketed a 5 trillion for Team Popovich (5:01) while Ian Mahinmi was also in the mood for gold coins, as seen with a 52 second Mario! In a semi-contributory update, Manu Ginobili earned a Calvin Murphy with 14 points and 9 assists.
Lakers-Celtics: Sasha Vujacic bricked once at the (TD)Gaaahden for a +1 in 6:11.
Clippers-Crabs: The Lacktion Brothers are IN THE HOUSE once again at the Q, as Darnell "The Original Lacktion" Jackson tossed a brick from Euclid Avenue for a +1 in 2:28, while Cedric "Lacktion II: Electric Boogaloo" Jackson pinched out a 2.45 trillion in that same timespan!!! For the Team That Is Who We Thought They Were, former Hornet Bobby Brown missed one shot in 2:28 for a +1.
Sixers-Nyets: Philadelphia's Jason Smith earned a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl in 3:23 by countering an assist with a brick and foul.
Suns-Rockets: Jarron Collins took a foul and tossed a brick in 1:41 for a +2 that also earned a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl! (Steve Nash, in non-lacktive news, scored a Dantley by tossing no bricks from 6 attempts at the stripe, as opposed to 8 bricks in the field.)
Knicks-Wolves: In this not-so-eagrly-awaited pillow fight, Toney Douglas bricked once from St. Anthony Falls for a +1 in 2:47, a suck differential matched by Minnesota's Alexsandar Pavlovic in 1:50 with a brick of his own.
Warriors-Thunder: Vladimir Radmanovic lost the rock once in 2:39 and added a miss from the field for a +2, while ERIC MAYNOR makes his maiden appearance in the ledger with a rather large +6 in 10:34 via brick, two fouls, and three celebratory giveaways!!!!!