Do you think they would have celebrated this way if they'd known in
advance how it would look? And that it would be caught on film?
The Los Angeles Clippers: Facing the Hawks in Atlanta, The Other L.A. Team actually built a a 70-57 in the third quarter and led by as many as nine in the fourth. This despite the fact that they were at the end of an eight-game road trip and had played (and won) the previous night in Chicago. But, well, they are who we thought they were, you know? Joe Johnson (34 points, 11-for-21) caught fire and the Dirty Birds took control down the stretch of their 103-97 win. Atlanta improved to 20-5 at home while the Clippers finished thier road trip 2-6 and have dripped 13 of their last 15 games away from home.
Fun fact: The Other L.A. Team is 13-39 all-time in Atlanta.
And while this was, as always, a team loss, a special Boner of the Night award goes to...
Marcus Camby: The Camby Man (6 points, 20 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) stood tall in defeat. Of course, the dude's huge, so he'd stand tall even if he was picking up garbage or unclogging toilets for a living. Come to think of it, being a Clippers kind of is like picking up trash and unclogging toilets for a living. But I digress.
Despite the reasonably strong play -- especially for an old guy of the second night of back-to-backs -- Camby had a brain fart that proved costly in more ways than one. From the AP recap:
Marcs Camby, the NBA's third-leading rebounder, had 20 rebounds for Los Angeles, but a miscommunication with Baron Davis caused the point guard to call the Clippers' final timeout with 2:16 remaining.
Camby apparently didn't break free soon enough to help Davis move the ball away from two defenders that had him pinned near the midcourt sideline.
Because he feared committing a 5-second turnover, Davis called timeout. He complained to Camby, who nodded his head in agreement, as the two teammates walked to Los Angeles' bench.
The possession ended as Davis badly missed a layup from the right side.
Mind you, the Clippers were down only 94-90 at the time. That was a pretty big fail on a pretty critical possession. So I guess Camby is who we thought he was, too.
The New Jersey Nyets: The tragic comedy of the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets continued with a 108-99 road loss to the Craptors. Oh, and I love the AP headline for this one: "Red-hot Raptors drop Nets to fourth consecutive loss." Dude, the Nyets are 4-44 and on pace to potentially become the worst team in league history. A fourth consecutive defeat is the least of their concerns.
Believe it or not, the Nyets were actually up by as many as 12 points in the second quarter...before Sonny Weems took over. That's right: Sonny Weems. He scored 8 points in period numero dos, including a crazy-ass alley-oop dunk that nearly brought the dead back to life. Of an inbounds play, by the way. Nice defense, New Jersey.
Weems ended up setting new career highs with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Said Toronto coach Jay Triano: "Sonny was energy and beyond tonight. Open drives to the basket and he finished and made plays for other people too." Added Nyets' prisoner Kris Humphries: "Weems came in and was the difference-maker for them. The big dunk got the crowd going. They were actually booing them for a while."
Said Jarret Jack: "Tonight was his first double-double, which he was very happy about. He told me he was going to go home and frame the boxscore." Added Weems: "It feels good to finally get a chance to get out there and play and showcase what I can do."
So thank you, New Jersey Nyets, for helping a young man's dreams come true. For one night, anyway.
Halftime entertainment: From Shayan of the Toronto Raptors blog Mediocre Forever: "How's this for a random WTF: At the Raptors-Nets game in Toronto, the Raptors rewarded their fans by having a performance from...VANILLA ICE! I kid you not. I think the other question this answers is, yes, Vanilla Ice is still alive. Best part, just go to the Raptors Fan Night page, and the song AUTO-PLAYS in the background, a little bit remixed for 2010!"
I will admit I'm a bit stunned because, in the immortal words of Stu Price in The Hangover, I thought Vanilla Ice was probably face down in a ditch somewhee with a meth head butt-fucking his corpse. That said, I can think of no better song than "Ice Ice Baby" to describe the Nyets.
The Chicago Bulls: It's time to rip off some of my own analysis from By The Horns:
As Derrick Rose goes, so go the Bulls. Well, Rose had a fantastic game last night against the Sixers: 30 points (10-for-22 from the field, 9-for-10 from the line), 4 rebounds, 9 assists. His scoring and assist totals were both game highs. He scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. And yet the Bulls lost their second consecutive game to a sub-.500 team…which in fact dropped them back below .500 in the process. So what happened?
Defense. Or rather the lack thereof.
Philly typically connects on about 45 percent of their field goals (20th in the league), and their average Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) is 48.6 (23rd in the league). Meanwhile, the Bulls usually hold their opponents to 43.6 percent shooting (3rd in the league) and an eFG% of 48.0 (6th in the league). So, all things being equal, Chicago should have shut the the Sixers down. With authoritah.
But they did not.
Philadelphia connected on 52.3 percent of their shots and finished with an eFG% of 55.2. Not only did those numbers exceed what the Sixers normally do and far surpass how Bulls opponents perform on average, they're also significantly above what the league’s best team do on a nightly basis. The Utah Jazz currently lead the league in FGP (49.2) and the Phoenix Suns are tops in eFG% (54.1).
It was a classic defensive fail.
And mind you, the Sixers missed 11 of their 16 three-point attempts (31 percent) and hit only 11 of thier 19 fouls shots (58 percent). But the Bulls — who usually hold their foes to 55.8 percent shooting around the basket (2nd in the league) — allowed Philly to connect on 15 of their 20 shots at the rim (75 percent). For comparison’s sake, the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the league in at-the-rim FGP at 66.8.
Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah rank 1st and 2nd on the Bulls in both Defensive Rating and Blocked Shot Percentage. And yet Noah (6 points, 8 rebounds) logged only 27 minutes while Thomas (12 points, 6 boards, 1 steal) played a mere 15. And mind you, this game included an overtime session. Neither player blocked a single shot. In fact, as a team, the Bulls finished with zero swats. Since neither man was in foul trouble — Joakim finished with 2 personals while Tyrus had only 1 — we have to assume Noah was limited by his plantar fasciitis and that Thomas remains outside of coach Vinny Del Negro's circle of trust.
Meanwhile, Brad Miller played 33 minutes and contributed 8 points and 1 lonely rebound. I have no idea how a seven-footer could log that many minutes and yet finish with a single board.
I should also point out that the Bulls were playing the second game of back-to-backs, an area in which they've struggled all season, and a situation that was made worse because both Noah and Taj Gibson were limited due to foot problems.
Brad Miller: See above.
The Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets: Losing to the lowly Bricks is one thing. Losing to their bench is another, sadder, much more pathetic thing. New York's reserves -- led by Krypto-Nate (23 points, 10-for-15, 8 assists) and Big Shot Larry Hughes (11 points, 5-for-10) nearly outscored Washington's starters. The final tally on that little battle was 50-49. Not surprisingly, the Caron Butler-less Bullets lost in a 107-85 blowout.
Said Big Shot Larry: "We (the reserves) picked it up. We were pushing the ball up the court, putting pressure on the defense. There was a stretch there we were making shots and they were making shots, but for the most part we kept the energy and kept the pressure on. And once they start missing, we continued to make shots, so we pulled away."
In the second half, the Bricks outscored the Bullets 66-40.
Said Washington coach Flip "My Shit" Saunders: "When you're not a very good team, which right now we're not, it's like you can hang around, hang around, but in the fourth quarter the game is determined. And when we fall behind, we melt right now."
The Miami Heat: D-Wade (27 points, 13 assists) set a season-high for assists, but that didn't stop the Heat (24-25) from falling below .500 for the first time this season. Still, as good as he was, Pookie made one of the biggest mitakes of Miami's night...
Dwyane Wade: Toney Allen -- who started in place of the injured Paul Pierce -- was victimized by Pookie for most of his 28 minutes of PT. But, with the Heat down only three points (97-94) with 37 seconds left, Allen picked Wade's pocket near Miami's free-throw line. He was fouled and made both freebies, giving Boston a 99-94 lead. That forced the Heat to foul and the Celtics closed the Heat out at the charity stripe.
Said Allen: "I just reached my left hand out there and got the steal, hit the two free throws, and that was the game." Thanks for the recap, Tony. Real gripping stuff, there.
Wade finished with a game-high 6 turnovers...almost half of Miami's total (13).
The Gol_en State Warriors: The bad news: They lost again, falling to 13-35 in the process. The good news: Despite playing on the road against a good team, they gave up only 110 points on 54 percent shooting...which is actually pretty good by the Warriors' usual defensive standards.
Gol_en State has now lost seven in a row, which is the second time this season that's happened. Said Monta Ellis: "There's a lot we could have done to win this game. We did everything we could to get back into it." You know, when a team gives up 54 percent shooting, I'm not sure that team really did "everything" they could to get back into it.
By the way, Ellis scored 46 points (17-for-23), which I guess is the highest point total this season in a losing effort. But on that subject...
The _allas _efense: Allow me, if you will, to once again quote Jason Kidd from back on January 20 when Dallas beat the woeful Bullets: "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."
Aaaaaaand...four days after Andre Miller dropped 52 on them, the Mavs give up 46 to Monta "Moped" Ellis? No word as of yet what J-Kidd thinks of the _allas _efense right now. But here's what Dirk thinks: "That's what we do. We give guys contract extensions."
The Sacramento Kings: Thought fought. They scrapped. They made a valiant comeback attempt. But they still dropped to 3-19 since The Comeback in Chicago.
But wait, there's more. Sacramento has lost 15 of 17 since beating Denver on December 28. And they've dropped seven of their last 10 games at Arco Arena after winning 10 of their first 13 at home.
Said Tyreke the Freak: "I don't know what it is. We go out and play hard but at the end of the game we just don't find a way to pull it out. Our execution is terrible."
The Portland Frail Blazers: Damn. Ever since I declared them the West's top "Bipolar Girlfriend Team," the Jazz have been on fire. Make it seven straight wins for the Mormon Musicians, who shot over 70 percent (24-for-34) in the second half, finished with 32 assists on 42 field goals, and set a new season-high for field goal percentage (62.7).
Said Utah coach Jerry Sloan: "We passed the ball real well tonight."
Countered Portland coach Nate McMmillan: "We weren't even close to stopping these guys. It was poor defense all around. We didn't control the ball, which allowed them to get into the paint and then drop it for easy baskets."
The Jazz outscored the Blazers 62-38 in the paint. Again I say: Portland is really missing Greg Oden's giant schlong and the Vanilla Godzilla. They might as well draw a welcome mat under their basket.
Chauncey Billups:Back on April 2, 2006, Chauncey Billups lit the Suns up for 35 points on 12-for-23 shooting and Detroit beat Phoenix 109-102. Many people used this as Exhibit A in the Case Against Steve Nash Winning Back-To-Back MVPs. "Chauncey Billups owns Steve Nash! That proves Nash is a defensive liability and therefore not the MVP!"
I can't tell you how many times I read that, or how many times somebody commented or e-mailed that little factoid to me back when I was defending Nash's back-to-back MVPs. It's not like Billups was a bum. In 2005-06, he scored 30+ points seven times, and notched between 20-29 points another 30 times. At any rate, Nash and Billups have taken turns lighting each other up over the years. Yet I still occasionally receive a straggling message out of the blue (usually from somebody combing through the Basketbawful archives) about how Chauncey owns Steve.
I guess that's why I get some sadistic glee whenever Nash (17 points, 8-for-15, 10 assists) outplays Billups (11 points, 5-for-14 4 assists).
The Los Angeles Lakers: Yes, they won. But it was an ugly win against a Charlotte team that was missing its best player (Gerald Wallace) and finishing up a six-game road trip. And did I mention the Bobcats came into the game 6-18 away from home? The Lakers should have wiped the floor with these guys. Why didn't they? Well...
Kobe Bryant: Mamba hurt his injured left foot when Lamar Odom stepped on it late in the first half. Bryant went on to have one of his worst games ever. He was scoreless in the fourth quarter and scored a season-low 5 points. But that total wasn't just a season worst...it was the fewest points Kobe has ever scored when logging 30+ minutes of PT. Not only did the injury force Mamba into a crappy game, it also led to...
Kobe Bryant, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "It was just stiff -- stiff and tight." Quick question: Did the word "Colorado" pop into your head after you read that sentence but before you read this one?
Giant-sized Lacktion Report: Chris is clearly drowning his Kings-related sorrow in NBA lacktion:
Clippers-Hawks: Steve Novak and Bobby Brown decided to pop in the video games of their youth, but while Novak put on a Tanooki suit for a 9.6 second Super Mario to close out the game, Bobby Brown went one better by upgrading from 8-bit to 64-bit technology in a 0.8 second SUPER MARIO GALAXY late in the fourth quarter - Brown's second straight night in tribute to Shigeru Miyamoto!!!!!!!
For the dirty birds, Zaza Pachulia negated two boards with two giveaways and a foul in 9:52 for a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Bullets-Knicks: Fabricio Oberto, Dominic McGuire, and Mike James provided Washington a trilogy of revolving lacktion in 2:39 tonight! Oberto fabulously fidgeted to fill his finances with 2.65 trillion; McGuire fired off a brick for a +1 suck differential, and James also chambered a foul alongside a brick of his own for a +2.
Heat-Celtics: Carlos Arroyo fouled once in 7:25 for a +1, matching the suck differential that Brian Scalabrine acquired in 5:05 (which also garnerd the latter a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl!). Bill Walker had a pedestrian penny-pinching session worth 1.75 trillion (1:46). (In other statistical news, Kevin Garnett scored 14 points and 9 assists for a Calvin Murphy!)
Warriors-Mavs: Quinton Ross stomped on several Goombas in 48 seconds for a Mario, while Eduardo Najera countered a board in 13:41 with two bricks and three fouls for a 3:1 Voskuhl.
Frail Blazers-Jazz: EnergySolutions Arena apparently had enough power for three seperate Nintendo consoles, as Patrick Mills and Sundiata Gaines served as opposing-team Mario Twins with 47 second non-lacktive stints that featured a field goal, while Kosta Koufos also entered the drainpipe of lack with a 31 second Mario of his own!!!!
Spurs-Kings: Matt Bonner bricked twice from the Cesar Chavez Plaza farmer's market in 6:59 and also fouled for a +3 that doubled as a 2:0 Voskuhl! For the purple paupers, Sean May can now afford the chicken strips at Arco Arena due to his collection of 1.7 trillion (1:44) in wealth.
Suns-Nuggets: Johan Petro panned a fortune of 2.4 trillion (2:24) in a losing effort.
Bobcats-Lakers: In celebration of Phil Jackson's record as winningest Laker coach ever, Sasha Vujacic jumped on an end-of-level flag eagerly during a 12 second Mario.