"Sit the hell down, Joe Alexander!"The New York Knicks:
As an organization, the Bricks have made no secret about their desire to lure LeBron James to the Big Apple. They want LeBron the same way a fat person wants a giant sandwich covered in gravy, frosting and other, smaller sandwiches.
But rather than building a competitive team for King Crab to push over the top, the Bricks -- now 20-39 on the season -- seem content to be LeBron's bitch.
James barely broke a sweat on his way to a 22-7-7 night in which he spent the entire fourth quarter dancing around and putting teammates in good-natured headlocks. The Crabs scored 74 points in the first half and led by as many as 49 points in the second half before settling for a 124-93 win.
Bugs put up more of a fight when you squash them.
The Crabs set a new season-high for margin of victory (31) and tied their season-high for first-half points...which they set three weeks ago against the Knicks. Cleveland shot nearly 57 percent for the game, outscored New York 66-32 in the paint, and outrebounded them 60-31. According to the AP game notes, that rebounding edge was the Crabs' largest margin since November 9, 2005 when they outrebounded the Seattle Super Sonics by 35.
By the end of the game, most of the Crabs were acting like it was an outing at Dave & Busters rather than a professional basketball game.
Knee-Mac -- who finished with 6 points on 3-for-7 shooting -- said: "They have a lot of fun here at home. It's tough to beat them at home. I'd have fun, too. If it's that easy, why not have fun? I don't blame them for celebrating. We have to do something about it."
The max contract dollar question: Is all this humiliation worth just a chance
Said Mike 'Antoni: "I'll tell you next year. Right now it's pretty frustrating for everybody, but it's what we're doing. ... They outclassed us, outmatched us, outplayed us. They're just a lot better than us."
So are most YMCA teams, Mike.The Philadelphia 76ers:
That's what the Philly fans -- well, the ones who stuck around for the end of this bloodbath -- were chanting by the end of Orlando's 126-105 road victory over the Sixers. The only thing we don't know for sure is which "Eddie" they were referring to: coach Eddie Jordan or team president Ed Stefanski.
Jordan, for his part, decided to point his freaky finger at Andre Iguodala. In his own special, you know, passive-aggressive way: "We lost the passion to compete. We saw some poor body language and there were a couple of timeouts where we addressed it. I wasn't going to have it. I addressed it a couple of times, I addressed just now [postgame]. It's leadership, or lack thereof. It's contagious where one guy's miserable and it's contagious throughout the team. Someone has to stand up and try and rally the troops, your teammates."
Could Eddie be talking about the team captain?
Give Iggy credit. He didn't take the bait: "You start to play the blame game and it really leads to a dead end, it really doesn't go anywhere. I'll just go out there and keep doing what I've been doing my whole career, which is playing basketball the right way. ... It's kind of a few things. Losing Andre Miller was definitely one of those things. Bringing in a new system could be one of those things. Changing the style up could be another. I don't think we need to have excuses every night why we're losing."
The Magic shot 58.4 percent from the field and 65.2 percent from downtown.Elton Brand:
I'll stick with Iggy's "no excuses" policy and not point out what a huge, $80 million disappointment Brand has been. What I will point out is that Brand missed the game with right Achilles tendinitis. What made this extra funny is that it was "Elton Brand Night"
in Philly. Here's the description:
The Sixers tip-off the month by showing their appreciation to Elton Brand for his significant contribution to the team's Community Assist Ticket Program. Lucky fans will have the opportunity to win Elton Brand prizes throughout the night, courtesy of Converse.
Additionally, all Elton Brand merchandise will be discounted 25% at all fan gear locations.
Too bad he Sixers can't get 25 percent off his contract.The Chicago Bulls:
I was taking part in the ESPN Daily Dime
chat last night -- which I've been doing a lot lately, so feel free to show up and chew the rag with me -- and somebody asked me if I thought Joe Alexander was going to see any time against the Hawks. My response: "Only in a nightmare scenario."
Well, Joe earned a three trillion
and got posterized by Mario West (as brutally depicted in today's top pic). I'd say that qualifies as a nightmare scenario, wouldn't you?
In all reality, the Bulls probably lost this one before tipoff. Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) is out indefinitely, and Luol Deng (sore left knee) was a late scratch. Those guys are Chicago's top two rebounders, so of course the Bulls were outrebounded 63-37, including 22-8 on the offensive glass.
I should also point out that Noah is Chicago's best defender, and Deng (based on defensive rating) is currently their third best defender. Oh, and Deng is their second-leading scorer too. To make matters worse, Derrick Rose -- who already had a bruised left knee -- banged knees with Mike Bibby and spent several minutes writing on the ground in pain. When Rose hobbled to the locker room, there was a mass pants-shitting in the greater Chicago-land area.
Rose returned, thank Zeus, and he even scored a game-high 24 points. Unfortunately, it took him 24 shots to get there. And the Bulls lost by 24. So I guess 24 was the magic number. Actually, Chiago pulled to within six points with about eight and a half minutes to go in the fourth...but then they just ran out of gas.
Said Vinny Del Negro: "We have to get Joakim and Luol back. Atlanta is a very athletic, strong front line. They are young and they have hurt us before. Obviously, that was the difference in the game. They would miss and go get it and control the tempo of the game."Joe Alexander:
See above. Why the hell are people asking for this guy's autograph
?!The Toronto Raptors:
The Bulls weren't the only team suffering from an absentee problem. The Craptors -- who were already playing their sixth game without Chris Bosh (sprained left ankle) -- had to scratch Jose Calderon (bum elbow) and then got only 15 minutes out of Hedo Turkododo because he injured his left ankle after his foot was stepped on by Jared Jeffries early in the second quarter.
Final score: Rockets 116, Craptors 92. Oh, and Houston's 68 first-half points were a season high for points in the first half.
Said Rockets coach Rick Adelman: "We caught a team that was short-handed."
Added Toronto coach Jay Triano: "Let's be a little bit realistic, three of our top four players are not playing. I don't care who you're playing against, if three of your top four guys aren't out there and playing, you're going to have a hard time winning games. ... Without Chris and Jose, two big scorers, we've got to manufacture points somewhere and I think everybody tried to take it upon themselves and we played selfish basketball."
In related news, Marcus Banks led the Craptors with 15 points. Banks also had season-highs in assists and steals (4 each).The New Orleans Hornets:
Let's begin with this awesome picture of the game's top performers:
As for the Hornets, well, I guess it's safe to say the Darren Collison honeymoon is over. The rookie played pretty well -- 10 points, 15 assists, 2 steals -- and Marcus Thornton came off the bench to drop 30 points in 27 minutes, but New Orleans looked totally overmatched. This was a throwback win for the Spurs, who shot over 50 percent and went up by 20 in the third quarter, beat back a mini-comeback by the Hornets, and eased their way into a 106-92 win.
Said Thornton: "We're not matching the intensity of the opponent. Good teams are going to go on runs. We just have to find a way to be more aggressive on defense." You do realize Peja Stojakovic is your starting SF, right, Marcus?The San Antonio Spurs:
Despite a slight uptick in their last few games, Michael Finley still asked to be waived so he could try to find "a more prominent role on another team." Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he was surprised Finley asked to leave...but is it really that shocking? Why rot away on the bench of a team that's not going to win it all when you could possibly rot away while playing more minutes for some other team that's not going to win it all?
Still: being dismissed by Zombie Finley reflects kinda poorly on the Spurs.The Charlotte Bobcats:
It looks as though Michael Jordan will soon be the new owner of the Bobcats, whom I expect will be renamed to the "Charlotte Eff You Bryon Russells." Or something like that. But MJ's magic touch really only ever applied to shooting basketballs, which is why it didn't exactly blow the socks off my feet when the 'Cats shot 39 percent as a team and scored only 31 points in the second half of an 89-84 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Said Captain Jack: "We played scared.
Added Charlotte taskmaster Larry Brown: "I think I did a bad job. I was looking out there and I didn't know what we were doing." Based on how they played -- giving up 20 points off 20 turnovers -- neither did your players, Larry.
But Dallas ooach Rick Carlisle thinks Jordan's ownership will totally push the Bobcats (28-30) to the next level. Which is .500 I guess. "Great things will happen to the franchise," said Carlisle. "I've been around iconic guys like [Larry] Bird and I've seen what his presence did in Indiana when we first went there back in '97. Michael will the same things here for Charlotte."
Uh huh. You do remember this is the same guy who blew the first overall draft pick on Kwame Brown for one team and then the third overall draft pick on Adam Morrison for his current team, right?Dirk Nowitzki, captain obvious:
"To hold that team to 31 points in the second half really was the key to our success."The Denver Nuggets:
Ah, the latest victims of the dreaded "second night of back-to-backs" curse. Sure, the Nuggets played on Sunday afternoon rather than Sunday evening, but they still had a knock-down, drag-out slap fight with the Lakers in L.A. Then they had to Phoenix, where the Suns were 22-7.
You know where I'm going with this, I'm sure.
Denver actually started the game on fire and led 33-24 after 12 minutes. But Phoenix outscored the Nuggets 33-11 in the second quarter...and 24 of those points were scored by the Suns' pine riders. Goran Dragic scored 10 points, Channing Frye added 7, and Louis Amundson chipped inw with 5 points, 5 boards and 2 blocked shots as the Phoenix bench transformed a 13-point first quarter deficit into a 57-44 halftime lead.
Carmelo Anthony -- who scored only 17 points on 7-for-21 shooting -- said: "It happened so fast." Yeah, well, so did the Hindenburg, 'Melo.
The Nuggets tired legs were pretty apparent as Phoenix earned a 33-16 advantage in FTAs and scored 23 points off 19 forced turnovers. The Suns' lead never dropped below double digits for the rest of the game.
Said Nuggets coach George Karl: "If you watched the way we played on the beginning of this trip you'd be happy if we were able to go 2-2. We're not happy now but a week from now, hopefully after we win a few home games, we will be happy."The Utah Jazz:
As well as the Jazz played in February, they're still suspect on the road...which is where they'll be for most of the next few weeks
. It's probably a bad sign that they fell behind by 17 points to the Clippers in L.A. before rallying to lose by only four points.Jerry Sloan, quote machine:
According to the AP recap
: "The Jazz (38-22) have lost seven games this season by margins of four points or less. Had they won those games, they would be only one game behind the Lakers for the Western Conference lead -- and just 2 1/2 behind Cleveland for the NBA's best record. Instead, they find themselves trying to hang onto fourth place and secure home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs."
This is what Sloan had to say about that: "I realize those things, but that'll eat you alive and drive yourself crazy and make you jump off a building. And I've been around too long to want to do that. You're going to have 10 or 15 games that you look back on after the season and say maybe you should have won those. But the other teams have those games as well, so you can't worry about those games once they're over. I automatically forget -- because I can't remember."
I so love Jerry Sloan and his old, mummy face.The Los Angeles Clippers:
Just because no WotN post feels complete without cracking on The Other L.A. Team, I had to point out that their near collapse after building a 17-point lead is kind of a patter. As noted in the recap: "The Clippers already lost games in which they led Toronto by 22 points, New York by 20 and Memphis by 18. Just three weeks ago, they lost to the Jazz 109-99 at Staples Center after leading by 11 points with 8 minutes remaining."Lacktion report:
Even as he reports the daily lacktion, chris
would like to remind you all to celebrate Clutch the Bear's upcoming birthday
Hawks-Bulls: Chicago's Joe Alexander can make it on the Miracle Mile, after a windfall of 2.95 trillion (2:58).
Spurs-Hornets: Roger Mason bricked once from the French Quarter for a +1 suck differential in 5:30, while fellow Spur Malik Hairston took home a celebratory cache of 2 trillion (2:02). New Orleans's Sean Marks buzzed a bank for a 1.2 trillion (1:12).
Raptors-Rockets: Jared Jeffries has brought sucktacularity from Houston Street to the City of Houston, fouling thricely in 10:15 and adding a turnover and brick for a +5 that doubled as a 4:0 Voskuhl!!!!
Hilton Armstrong has now booked a stay at the Voskuhl suite in a third different city (previously doing so in New Orleans and Sacramento), negating two steals in 6:23 with four bricks, three rejections, and a foul and giveaway each for a 2:0 ratio of recidivism.
Nuggets-Suns: In 1:44, Earl Clark minted himself a bar worth 1.7 trillion, while in the same time period, Taylor Griffin continued his start-of-career lacktion with a +1 via brick.
Jazz-Clippers: Brian Skinner jumped into overalls briefly for a 23 second Mario.
Labels: Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, Worst of the Night