Warning: Looking directly at this picture may cause temporary vision loss.The Chicago Bulls:
Just last week, the Bulls made NBA history by becoming the first team to ever win five consecutive games against winning teams on a single road trip. I repeat: No other team in the history of this grand league has ever accomplished that feat. Not the 60s era Celtics who won 11 championships in 13 seasons. Not the 1971-72 Lakers who won 33 straight games. No Larry Bird team did it, no Magic Johnson team did it, not even the Michael Jordan-led Bulls squad that won a league record 72 games did it.
That's damn impressive...which is why seeing them follow up that achievement by losing at home to the Los Angeles Clippers felt like watching my grandma have sex with Bigfoot. It was nauseating and mind-bending, but I could not look away. Chicago shot 38 percent from the field and gave up 26 points on 20 turnovers. And those numbers cannot do justice to the ugly-ass basketball the Bulls played. The play that best epitomized this gak-fest was when Luol Deng dribbled the ball for 10 seconds and then tried to shoot over an "in-his-face" Marcus Camby, who of course swatted the shot.
What happened to that "us against the world" mentality
that carried them through a tough seven-game Western Conference road trip? The Bulls came out flat and, at times, looked intimidated by the Clippers' 18th ranked defense
. Camby (11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks) was an impenetrable wall. Chris Kaman (21 points, 11 boards) was a bully. And the Chicago players apparently needed a map to locate Eric Goron (a game-high 24 points, including 18 in the first half). Ditto for Rasual Butler (16 points, 6-for-8, 3-for-3 from downtown).
Said Derick Rose: "We were just making bad plays, making bad decisions. It was tough the whole night."
Added Captain Kirk: "We were doing what it takes to win on the road. Tonight we lacked intensity and got beat for it."
Admitted Joakim Noah: "We didn't come with the right energy."
Concluded Vinny Del Negro: "We're not a team that can take anyone lightly. When your top players don't play well, it's hard to beat good teams. It's hard to beat any team, for that matter."
Thanks, co-captains obvious. As Basketbawful reader mguard put it: "For the Bulls dismal performance against the Clippers, I think they deserve a 'we are who they thought they were.' I mean WTF BULLS? They pulls off this miraculous five-game road winning streak to come home flat like this against the CLIPPERS? Someone please explain how the potent team chemistry of the Clippers has the Bulls number? It's just really disappointing."
No kidding. If you want more fun facts from this not-so-fun loss, I know of this great Bulls blog
...The Memphis Grizzlies:
Hm. Second night of back-to-backs...on the road against the league's best team...you know where I'm going with this right? The Griz fell behind by 12 points after one quarter, by 18 at halftime, and by 24 after three quarters and eventually lost 105-89.
Led by Zach Randolph's 3-for-14 stink bomb, Memphis shot 38 percent for the game and missed 12 of their 14 three-point attempts. Z-Bo also managed only 4 rebounds and had a game-high 5 turnovers (versus zero assists).
To Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins' credit, he refused to blame his team's weary legs: "Last night had nothing to do with tonight. Tonight had to do with the Cleveland Cavaliers and what they did defensively and what they did offensively."
"What they did offensively"...yes...King Crab had 15 assists and The Big Geritol (13 points, 13 boards, 4 blocked shots) dominated Randolph and Marc Gasol during a second-quarter stretch in which he scored seven straight points and then found LeBron for a layup. Tired teams sure do have a way of turning back the hands of time. Or was Shaq laying like a giant, bloated snake in the grass all along...LeBron James, quote machine:
"[Shaq] looks great. He's motivated. When Mo and Delonte went down he decided to step his game up, which we knew he could do. He's just playing with a little bounce in his step that he didn't have at the start. But he had a different mindset than we all thought. We all thought he was playing slow, he was just saving himself for the second half of the season. He tricked all of us, I guess."
Wait...was that a compliment? Or a backhanded dis? I can't quite tell.The Toronto Craptors:
are the Craptors we know and love...to make fun of. The Dinos gave up 130 points on 52+ percent shooting to one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Huzzah! Huzzah, I say!
By the way, those 130 points represented a season high in scoring for the Pacers, who had notched fewer than 100 points in six of their previous nine games. Their 50 points in the paint were also a season-best. Oh, and this game was just the fifth time the Indy shot better than 50 percent this season. Wait, wait, one more. The Pacers shot 76 percent and scored 42 points in the third, one point short of their season high for a single period.
Craptors = Defensive Fail.
What a way to waste Andrea Bargnani's career-high 34 points.Jarrett Jack, explanation machine:
On why his team played so craptastically against the usually craptastic Pacers: "The reason we came out the way we did, I don't know exactly why." Well, thanks for clearing that up.Pictured: A facepalm of puzzlement.Jim O'Brien (??):
The Pacers coach had to miss the game due to a family funeral, and the team inexplicably rallied around assistant coach Lester Connor.
Said Connor: "The guys gave me all they wanted, and I said, 'Hey, you guys are telling me congratulations, it's congratulations to you because you guys needed this more than I did.' When the substitute teacher is around, you want to try to do good or try to test him to see what he has. Those guys went out and played their hearts out."
Meanwhile, the players said they wanted to win for Conner.
Said Troy Murphy: "Les is a lot of fun, he's a great assistant coach. He's a guy you can always talk to and he's a good dude. We're happy he got the win."
Uhm...shouldn't the Pacers always want to win, both for their head coach and for themselves?The Milwaukee Bucks:
Hm. Second night of back-to-backs...on the road against one of the league's best teams...you know where I'm going with this right? The Bucks clobberated the Heat in Miami on Monday and then got clobberated themselves against the Magic in Orlando.
The "storyline" of this game was the "return" of Vinsanity, who had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists while going 7-for-15 from the field. That's not a great shooting night by normal standards, but it's great based on what Carter did in January...when he shot 28 percent from the field.
Said Vince: "Maybe January just wasn't my month."
Carter wasn't done. When asked if he was motivated to play well because of his recent slumpiness, Vince said: "Yeah, to keep you guys off my back. ... Most of the frustration comes from everybody always harping on it. And I understand that, the different facets of the game and what comes with it. I just say keep playing."Stan Van Gundy, fluff machine:
Ron Jeremy's evil twin was almost ready to blow Vince for having his firt good game in, what, forever? Said Stan: "He has to remember who he is. He's had one bad month, but he has had an unbelievable career."
Unbelievable? Really?! What does he have on his resume other than "Former Slan Dunk Champ"? Heck, Nate Robinson's resume looks almost as good.The New Jersey Nyets:
The tragic comedy of the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets
continued with a 97-93 home loss to the Detroit Pistons, who had lost five in a row and looked like the worst team in the league doing so. Mind you, the Pistons have scored fewer than 100 points in 23 of their last 24 games, and they've shot under 50 percent in 24 straight games. But the Nyets proved that there's only one worst team in the league...and its located in New Jersey.
It was yet another kick in the balls for what may end up being the worst team in NBA history. Brook Lopez finished with 27 points (11-of-16) and Devin Harris returned from a four-game layoff to score 24 points and dish out a season-high 14 assists, but the Nyets missed six of their last seven shots and were outscored 10-2 in the final 2:22.
Said Jarvis Hayes: "We definitely have to learn how to win."
Yeah. Definitely.Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace, hope machines:
The Pistons "improved" their record to a lowly 16-31 last night, and, amazingly, they actually sounded hope-y afterwards.
Said The Phantom of Auburn Hills: "We're far from done. This is not over. We just have to get healthy. When you have all your guys, it takes a load off your shoulders. Now, we just have to play together a little, get some chemistry and we'll be all right."
Added Big Ben: "We just need to get a couple of wins to get us going. This is a good start. If we play at a high level, good things will happen. We're still searching for a rhythm and still building that chemistry. Once we get on the same page, we'll be fine."
Reality check: You guys needed a series of clutch plays and a complete shooting meltdown by your opponents to pull out a last-minute win over a team that's 4-43. Am I missing something?The Atlanta Hawks:
Yes, the Hawks are a good team this season. Some nights, they're even very good. But last night's 106-99 loss to the Thunder in Oklahoma City was the sixth loss in their last eight road games. On the season, they're 11-12 outside of Atlanta. Legit contenders can win on the road...and that's where the Hawks are still pretty shaky.
Said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson: "We just couldn't get stops. Defensively right now and rebounding the basketball, we're struggling in those two areas and those are the main two areas that you've got to be clicking to win games, especially on the road."
By the way, Kevin Durant (33 points, 9-for-18 from the field, 14-for-14 from the line) became the first player since Allen Iverson nine seasons ago to score at least 25 points in 22 consecutive games. Sorry, Frail Blazer fans.The Gol_en State Warriors:
After going 7-9 in their previous 16 games -- all of which were decided by 10 points or less -- the Rockets shot 50 percent from the field, scored 56 points in the paint, led by as many as 28 and ended up winning 119-97.
Man, it must feel great to match up against a team that wouldn't play defense if the fate of their wives and mistresses depended on it.
Said Stephen Curry: "We couldn't find it offensively. For us to be competitive, we have to be able to make plays and we didn't."
Uh, Stephen, offense
is not your team's problem, okay? Letting the Rockets score 39 points in the first quarter...now that's
a problem.The Insanity of the ESPN Trade Machine: Crazy, stuff...just crazy
Chris took a short break from generating trades to report the Tuesday night lacktion:
Raptors-Pacers: Patrick O'Bryant has had fewer opportunities to lack it up lately in the land before time, but this time tossed a brick in 1:25 for a +1. (To put it in perspective how rarely he has been out there to avoid contribution, O'Bryant - who was supposed to lead Toronto's Little Three of Lacktivity last year with Jake Voskuhl and Nathan Jawai - is the 182nd player in the Association this year to make the ledger, and the 155th to record a suck differential!)
Pistons-Nyets: Kwame Brown negated a steal and board in 6:26 with a foul and giveaway for a 2:1 Voskuhl.
Clippers-Bulls: Bobby Brown crooned a tune in Mario Paint in just 43 seconds!
Warriors-Rockets: With Clutch the Bear dancing in celebration tonight, Joey Dorsey lost the rock once in 2:33 for a +1 (and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl) while Brian Cook also earned the same suck differential in the same timespan via brick.
Labels: Chicago Bulls, Lebron James, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, Toronto Raptors, Worst of the Night