The Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars' master plan continued with a 107-83 loss to the Pacers in Indianapolis. Ben Gordon had a game-high 26 points on 10-for-17 shooting, but Charlie Villaneuva missed the game with a sore back, while Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince combined to shoot 5-for-20 and finished with more turnovers (4) than assists. The result: a 24-point loss to one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
Eh. What else could you expect from a team that "hoped to build momentum after beating New Jersey on Tuesday."
Mind you, the Pacers had allowed at least 100 points in 12 of their last 15 games, yet they held Detroit to 83 points on 39 percent shooting. Indy also set a season high for margin of victory. If only the Pistons had more games against the Nyets...
The Orlando Magic: The Magicians are playing leap frog with the Celtics and Hawks for the second-best record in the East. When the dust settles at the end of the season, they might end up regretting their one-point home loss to the Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets...especially considering the fact that Washington fell behind 32-13 after the first 12 minutes. But the Bullets rallied and won on Caron Butler's 19-footer with 0.5 seconds left.
It didn't help that Orlando let the Bullets outscore them 39-17 in the third quarter. Or that they shot 38 percent for the game. Or that they were outrebouned 52-41.
Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "Quite honestly, we deserved to lose. The way we came out and played in the third quarter, defensively, put nothing into it. A sign of real immaturity and very, very disappointing. And there you go, exactly what I've been talking about, you start to think, 'Oh, we've turned the corner or whatever.' There's no corners to turn. We need to keep playing hard."
The New Jersey Nyets: The tragic comedy of the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets continued with a 96-87 loss to the Paul Pierce-less Celtics in Boston. Sadly, the Nyets led 55-51 at the half and 73-72 after three quarters, but they shot 5-for-20 in the fourth...during which they were outscored 24-14.
"I think we played 33 or 34 minutes of really good basketball," said Nets coach Kiki Vandeweghe, who broke into tears after an assistant reminded him that NBA games still last for 48 minutes.
The Boston Celtics: A come-from-behind win over the Nyets? At home? Really?!
The New York Knicks: Going into the 2009 NBA Draft, the Bricks needed a point guard who could run Mike D'Antoni's Seven Seconds or Less offense. Brandon Jennings was that point guard. New York could have selected him with the 8th pick. Instead, they chose Jordan Hill. Milwaukee gleefully took Jennings with the 10th pick and had themselves a young firecracker.
Well, Jennings had himself a revenge game on Friday night, by dishing 8 assists and scoring 19 of his 22 points in the second half while leading the Bucks to a 114-107 win in Madison Square Garden.
Jennings, for his part, insists there are no hard feelings. "It's over and done with and we're moving on. That's life. Everybody makes mistakes. Of course it's always good to come here and get a win against New York. It's not personal anymore. The main thing is I did want to win this game because right now we are close to getting back in the playoff race. It's not personal because I'm over it now. I'm in a great situation."
According to the AP recap, D'Antoni "was clearly uncomfortable talking about Jennings," saying things like, "I like him, he's fine" and "[Ersan] Ilyasova's the one that killed us." And the rest of the Bricks were spouting the same B.S. their coach was.
Said David Lee: "Ilyasova (26 points, 10-for-18) is the one that made a difference. Jennings didn't shoot a great percentage, Ilyasova did."
Mike D'Antoni, quote machine: "For whatever reason we just got, I don't know if their pressure wore us down to where we just got I don't want to say lazy, but we just weren't very good at details."
The Chicago Bulls: Considering the fact that Joakim Noah -- who's been Chicago's second-best player this season -- missed the game with planta fasciitis, the Bulls played pretty well for three quarters. They even entered the fourth with a six-point lead.
Here's what they did in the fourth quarter:
Kirk Hinrich turnover (pass stolen by Josh Smith); Devin Brown missed 17-footer; John Salmons missed layup; Taj Gibson turnover (traveling); Taj Gibson missed 20-footer; Offensive rebound; Salmons missed 14-footer; Salmons made jumper (Brad Miller assist); Miller missed three-pointer; Salmons missed three-pointer; Luol Deng missed three-pointer; Rose missed 19-footer; Deng made 17-footer; Rose made 18-footer Hinrich missed 8-footer; Rose made layup; Rose missed three-pointer; Hinrich missed 21-footer; Offensive rebound; Deng missed jumper; Deng missed jumper; Rose drew a fouls (1-for-2).
So...the Bulls went 4-for-18 (mostly on long jump shots), committed a couple turnovers and made only one trip to the line (with 24 seconds left in the game). And lost by 10. Ugly.
The New Orleans Hornets: Now that Chris Paul is out for 4-6 weeks due to arthroscopic knee surgery, you can probably expect several more losses like their 101-94 home flameout to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Said David West: "We just don't have a good rhythm. We're going to have to work our way out of it. We're using different lineups and different guys in different positions, just trying to find a way to play the next month with [Paul] out."
Yeah...good luck with that, Dave.
The _allas Mavericks: After a one-point win over the woeful Bullets on January 20, 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."
This quote leads nicely into this e-mail I received from Mike F.:
I would like to nominate the Dallas Mavericks for a WoTN. And you can even draw stat curse comparisons between Jason Kidd and Devin "We knew we we're going to be a playoff team," Harris. The last five games, the Mavs have given up 107, 112, 114, 104, 101 and most recently 117...at home...to the Timberwolves. They are 2-4 in that stretch and their two victories were a one-point victory at home against a Michael Redd-less Bucks team and nine-pointer over the Gol_en State Warriors. I know Dirk wasn't starting and all, but the game was at home against the worst team in the Western Conference. Johnny Flynn and Kevin Love beat them like I beat my scrambled eggs every morning. Minnesota beat the Mavs for the first time since Jan 4, 2006. The Mavs were outscored 32-19 in the third quarter. Dallas: 3-5 since Kidd's comments. 100+ points given up in 6 straight games. Next couple of games: @ Golden State; @ Denver; @OKC; Phoneix; @Orlando.
Bonus: Minnesota had six players in double figures.
I should also note that Minny shot 53 percent from the field and 54 percent from three-point range.
Nice stat curse, Jason.
Said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle: "We need to dig down and find some pride. It's as simple as that."
The Memphis Grizzlies: Uh oh. The Griz's 101-83 home loss to the Houston Rockets was their fourth defeat in the last five games. And make no mistake: This was a real bitch slap. Houston outrebounded Memphis 50-35 and scored 22 points by forcing the Grizzlies into 18 turnovers.
Said Rudy Gay: "They out-toughed us. Every statistical category they beat us in, and you're not going to win like that."
Although Gay was totally right, that was only the second-best quote generated by this loss...
Zach Randolph, quote machine: "We played soft. They did what they wanted to. It was very disappointing. They treated us like little girls."
The Sacramento Kings: The Purple Paupers' 114-102 home loss to the Phoenix Suns was their 19th loss in the 22 games they've played since the 35-point comeback in Chicago.
Kevin Martin: K-Mart finished with 5 points on 2-for-9 shooting. And you can consider that a trend. Martin is shooting 35.6 percent since returning from a left injury last month. The Paupers have lost 11 of 12 games since his return to the lineup. Uh oh.
Said Martin: "I don't know what it is. It's not me out there. I've never been in a situation like this before."
The Los Angeles Lakers: If the Lakers had a "D" in their team name I could take away, that's what I'd do after they let the Carmelo Anthony-less Nuggets come into their house and score 126 points on 57 percent shooting. And did I mention Chauncey Billups -- who was held to 11 points on 5-for-14 by the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday -- scored a career-high 39 points and drilled nine three-pointers against the Lakers?
Mr. Big Shot scored 21 points in the third quarter, which were the most points scored against the Lakers in one period since Wilt Chamberlain notched 23 points against them in 1966. Mind you, Chauncey did a lot of that damage on a sprained ankle.
And in case you weren't a fan of WWF wrestling back in the late-80s/early-90s and therefore don't get the Ted DiBiase reference, here's your education:
Friday lacktion report: Chris brings home a little Friday night lactivity:
Bullets-Magic: In a celebratory explosion of lack (after the alchemists blew a 20 point lead), Nick Young launched a brick and foul in 5:20 for a +2 suck differential, the same mark that DeShawn Stevenson triggered for himself in 6:21 via foul and giveaway.
Nyets-Celtics: With the guests from New Jersey leaving themselves wide open for late-game pwnage (DESPITE LEADING AT THE END OF THE 3RD) by the residents of the TD Banknorth Convalescent Home, Brian Scalabrine pocketed 5.3 (5:19) trillion in rubles!!!
Bucks-Knicks: Jodie Meeks tossed a brick from the Rockefeller Center and also earned a foul for a +2 in 2:32.
Bulls-Hawks: Joe Smith negated a board with a giveaway, foul, and three bricks in 5:21 for a 3:1 Voskuhl, while THE Mario West had TWO separate attempts at fixing the drainage system within Philips Arena - 23 seconds subbing for Mike Bibby to conclude the 2nd quarter, and 25 seconds in place of Joe Johnson to close out the game - each individually earning him his namesake video game status, but combined, STILL putting him in Mario territory tonight!!!!
Suns-Kings: Earl Clark crunched his way into non-contribution tonight by throwing up two nougat covered bricks in 2:24 and adding on a delectable foul for a +3 in 2:24, while Ime Udoka missed one shot in 1:34 for a +1.
The Charlotte Bobcats: Remember how I said you could expect the Hornets to have a lot more bad games without Chris Paul? Well, I must have pulled off a reverse stat curse, because New Orleans pulled off an impressive 104-99 road win over the Bobcats...on the second night of back-to-backs no less. Filling in for CP3, rookie Darren Collison scored a career-high 24 points as the former Charlotte team beat the current Charlotte team. Not exactly a strong way for the 'Cats to return home from a six-game road trip.
Said Larry Brown: "Everybody's talking that we're a playoff team. That just shows you how far away we really are. There's a difference between being good and hoping to be good."
The New York Knicks: Why would LeBron James want to join the Bricks next summer when they always play the role of his favorite punching bag? King Crab saves some of his best annual performances for the New Yorkers, and this was no exception. LeBron reintroduced the Knicks to his pimp hand by scoring 23 points in the first quarter, notching a franchise record 35 in the first half, and finishing with 47 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals.
But wait, there's more. During a stretch of 5:29, 'Bron scored 24 straight points: 16 in a row to end the first quarter and 8 straight to start the second. He wrapped up the first quarter -- which ended Crabs 44, Bricks 24 -- by drilling four three-pointers, including two from over 30 feet out in the final 37 seconds. His final trey of the first quarter was launched from the "A" in the Cavaliers' half-court logo. At the buzzer.
Talk about a heat check.
Said Chris Duhon: "You sometimes become a fan because he's taking 3-point shots way beyond the arc. Sometimes you get star-struck and you just start to get in a daze."
Added Mike D'Antoni: "My God."
Of course, it sure didn't hurt that the Bricks don't play defense. Of course, I need to point out that a WotW also goes out to...
The Cleveland Cavaliers: Despite playing at home and getting one of "those games" from LeBron, the Crabs let the Bricks almost climb all the way out of a 24-point hole. New York cut the deficit to 109-106 on a basket by Jordan "I'm sorry I'm not Brandon Jennings!" Hill with 2:19 to play before James kicked their sorry butts back into that hole.
LeBron James, ego machine: Regarding his big game: "I could really go for 50 a lot of nights if I wanted to. But I feel like if I have my teammates involved, it's ultimately going to help us in the long run."
Regarding his regular punishment of the Bricks: "It's nothing personal. It's strictly business." Oddly enough, he used the "business" line the other day after beating Dwyane Wade and the Heat, not to mention several other times this season.
The New Jersey Nyets: Remember how, several paragraphs ago, I said: "If only the Pistons had more games against the Nyets"? Well, the tragic comedy of the 2009-10 New Jersey Nyets continued with a 99-92 loss to the Pistons in Detroit...thanks to the flawless play of Jonas Jerebko. That's right. Jerebko -- the NBA's first Swedish player -- scored 20 points on 9-for-9 shooting as the Pistons snapped a five-game home losing streak, dropping the poor Nyets to 4-46 in the process.
And just when you thought things couldn't get any worst for the Nyets, they got worse. In the last minute of this latest loss, New Jersey lost two starters -- Devin Harris and Jarvis Hayes -- after they ran the hell into each other while chasing a loose ball. Seriously, watch the video. Hayes sustained a badly bruised left shin and Harris sprained his left shoulder. X-rays were negative on both, and neither is expected to miss significant time...but still. Other than the Clippers, is there any other team in the league that kind of craziness would be more likely to happen to this season?
Said Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro: "It's an internal matter. [Bulls GM] Gar [Forman] and myself will handle it. … It's unfortunate timing, but in the short run there’s a responsibility. No one player is bigger than the team, and there’s a responsibility to do things right. And I think by handling the situation the right way, which I think we are, I know we are. It’s not one person. It's a group. And you have to be committed to your teammates, your coaches, the organization. That doesn’t go just for Tyrus. It goes for everybody. The guys know how things run around here. That’s how it’s going to be."
Shouldn't we have seen this coming? After all, Tyrus had sky high hopes for this season. In case you don't remember, Thomas believed he had a very real chance to become a 20-10 guy this year. This is what he had to say about that possibility last October: "First, I have to figure out my role as far as the offensive end. I have to figure out where I’m going to get my shots. But on the defensive end, definitely 10 (rebounds a game)."
Ty's current averages: 8.5 PPG and 6.2 RPG. I guess you could say things haven't quite gone according to plan.
Since that bold prediction, Thomas has fractured the radius bone in his left forearm during a weightlifting session at practice, missed 23 games, lost his starting job to rookie Taj Gibson, endured a constant stream of trade rumors, and watched his minutes slowly dwindle to the point that -- even with Noah shut down until some time after the All-Star break -- he logged only 16 minutes of PT in a loss to the Hawks in Atlanta.
Make no mistake: Thomas has the physical tools necessary to be an All-Star-caliber player. However, whenever his future is discussed, words like "enigmatic" and "mercurial" always pop up. Tyrus has over halfway through his fourth season as a pro, but the Bulls still have no idea what he's going to give them on a nightly basis. He might score 20 points and grab 15 boards. He might go 2-for-13 from the field and finish with more turnovers and rebounds.
If it seems as though the coaching staff has lost faith in him, it's probably because they have. There simply is no other way to explain his sporadic appearances. And losing his shit over playing time isn't to help his standing with his teammates, coaches or management.
The Memphis Grizzlies: That sound you heard was the Grizzlies bandwagon running off the road and right into the moving train known as the Minnesota Timberpoops! Minny has now won five straight while Memphis has lost five of six.
Said Rudy Gay: "We're in a funk. Every team goes through it."
The Grizzlies are this close from "they are who we thought they were" status. Let's hope they can turn things around. Speaking of turning things around...
The Houston Rockets: One night after blowing out a plus-.500 team on the road, the Rockets choked up a 13-point fourth-quarter lead and lost at home to a sub-.500 team. Of course, the Sixers are on fire and have won four in a row for the first time since last March. Oddly enough, Philly's hot streak just so happens to be coinciding with Allen Iverson taking time off to be with his sick child. I'm just sayin'.
The Denver Nuggets: Hm. Second night of back-to-backs, playing on the road against a red-hot Jazz team...you know where I'm going with this, right? Actually, this game was lost the night before, when Chauncey Billups sprained his ankle in the middle of scoring a career-high 39 points against the Lakers. When the Nuggets -- who were already without Carmelo Anthony -- lost Mr. Big Shot too, well, was there any question about how this would turn out? Minus their starting point guard, Denver gave up 22 points off 20 turnovers. Kinda hard to win that way.
With the win, Utah pulled within two games of the Nuggets in the Northwest Division.
The Gol_en State Warriors: Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook almost had a quadruple double, and the Warriors surrendered 100+ points in yet another loss. And trust me, the Thunder would have put up more than 104 points if they hadn't built a huge lead and then fallen asleep at the end. Gol_en State has now lost eight straight and eight of their last 11 home games. In many ways, the Warriors were their own worst enemy in this contest, considering they committed 22 turnovers for 29 points going the other way. In fact, Westbrook had a career-high 8 steals...which also happens to be the most steals by one player in a game this season.
Said Nellie: "We just didn't look like a team. A lot of guys didn't play well at the same time."
Monta Ellis: Moped gets special mention for attempting a game-high 22 field goals but still ending up with more turnovers (7) than buckets (6).
The Los Angeles Clippers: If The Other L.A. Team's 98-81 home loss to the Spurs taught us anything, it's that you can take the Clippers away from Mike Dunleavy, but you can't take Mike Dunleavy out of the Clippers. George Hill scored 17 points in the first quarter as San Antonio took a 28-10 lead, and the Spurs ended up scoring 31 points off the Clips' 21 turnovers. Donald Sterling's red-headed stepchild of a team has now lost 11 of their last 15 games. In other words...
Kim Hughes, quote machine: On following in Mike Dunleavy's footsteps: "It's tough, but it's my choice. You have to let the losses go. They hurt and they tear at your heart. It's awful. If I don't like the pressure and the fire, then it's on me. No one forced me to do this. I wasn't coerced into it. I was presented with it and I said, 'OK, I'll take it.' Mike ascertained the situation pretty accurately -- that they needed a new voice. That's no detriment to Mike, it's just that this group really kind of tuned him out."
On the fact that Donald Sterling refused to let other clubs interview him for a head coaching position: "I was told by one GM that he wanted to interview me and wasn't given permission. I thought that was wrong, initially. I choose to think that you should always let someone try to better themselves. But I understand that now. I mean, why lose an asset to another team?" Yeah. Satan uses the same management philosophy as Owner of Hell.
The Portland Frail Blazers: On Friday, Basketbawful reader reader Hajt said:
Thanks for the shout out to Pioneer Place. We Portlanders love being noticed. In other news, this weekend gives us another "Why the fuck can't the Lakers win in Portland?" game to enjoy. Kobe is 4-21 in Portland during the regular season.
To which I said:
Dude, NO!! Don't tempt the fates by stat cursing your team! The Lakers don't need the help.
To which NarSARSsist replied:
Too late. In all likelihood, both parties will be screwed. Kobe will probably tweak something against Denver tonight, and not play against Portland, who subsequently loses to the Mamba-less Lakers.
And, damn, that's exactly what happened. Before I start planning my trip to Vegas with NarSARSsist, let me explain that the still Brandon Roy-less Frail Blazers were dominated by Ron Artest (21 points, 9-for-12) and Lamar Odom (22 rebounds, 6 assists). L.A. led by as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter before coaching in for a 99-82 win.
Mind you, the Lakers had not won at the Rose Garden since Feb. 23, 2005.
The worst part of the loss -- yes, worse even than getting whupped by the hated Lakers -- was that the Blazers were celebrating their 40th anniversary. Portland was awarded an NBA franchise on February 6, 1970.
Saturday lacktion report: Chris supplies some more spicy Saturday lacktivity:
Grizzlies-Wolves: Hasheem Thabeet fouled twice to negate a board in 4:32, resulting in a 2:1 Voskuhl.
Heat-Bulls: Janeero Pargo must've diagnosed whatever ailed the heifers against sub-500 teams, as evidenced by the 31 seconds tonight he had a labcoat on as Dr. Mario!
Sixers-Rockets: Jermaine Taylor played a 23-second round of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for a Mario!
Nuggets-Jazz: Johan Petro piled on the currency with a 2.8 trillion (2:47) for Denver, his second successful pan for gold in 4 days!
Lakers-Blazers: Luke Walton fouled once in 6:44 and also missed three shots (once from the Ross Island Bridge)for a +4 suck differential.
Thunder-Warriors: Kevin Ollie pulled some strings to parlay himself a 1.95 trillion (1:58) banknote, while Byron Mullens bricked once in 1:43 for a celebratory +1.
The Sacramento Kings: Another late-game collapse -- not to mention 11 bricked free throws -- dropped the Paupers to 3-20 since the 35-point comeback in Chicago. Also, Sacto is 3-22 on the road this season.
Said Paul "I'm no Vinny Del Negro" Westphal: "It was about 42 or 44 minutes of really good basketball for us." When a reporter tried to explain the game lasts 48 minutes, well, it was about as comfortable as this conversation:
The Boston Celtics: It was last weekend's Lakers game all over again, only this time the Celtics collapsed in the third quarter instead of the fourth. Boston was up 11 at halftime before getting falling victim to a 19-0 run and getting outscored 36-11 in the third period...and their attempt at a fourth-quarter comeback came up short.
And remember: The Magic were coming off a one-point home loss to the Bullets.
Doc Rivers had some pretty harsh words for his squad after this loss: "We were getting what we deserved. I love our team on paper, but we tend to be front-runners. When we get a good lead we relax and teams take advantage of it and then you're caught and it's tough to turn it back on. One of the guys said, 'We're better than Orlando,' and I said, 'No, you're not.' They knocked you out of the playoffs last year. Orlando's better than us right now. Atlanta's better than us right now. L.A. [Lakers are] better than us right now."
He's not wrong.
The guy who approved running this add on every ESPN recap: Rock out with your glock out? Really?! Yet another reason to hate buddy cop movies. I'm going to put on my Mark Jackson mask and say, "Bruce Willis, you're better than this."
Fuck you, ad designer guy.
Super Bowl Sunday lacktion report: After watching his team fall again, Chris squeezed out another lacktion report between beers and tears. Okay, I can't back that up. But that's how I imagined it.
Kings-Raptors: Ime Udoka earned himself a non-lacktive Mario in 36 seconds by mushrooming into a 100% shooting percentage (after one shot) and a board.
Magic-Celtics: Kendrick Perkins negated a trio of boards and a field goal in 21:43 with four fouls and two turnovers for a 6:5 Voskuhl.