The sad Celtics bench photo has officially replaced the
sad Nyets bench photo. That's where we're at, people.
The Boston Celtics: And now, courtesy of the classic American horror movie Basket Case, I give you a videographic representation of the Celtics' awkward but ridiculously epic transformation from presumed championship contender to jobber:
One night after Big Baby's hard foul inspired the Bucks to rally past them in Milwaukee, the Celtics returned home and promptly fell behind 27-12 after 12 minutes. They never challenged again. The Griz led by 22 at the half, by 19 after three quarters and by 29 in the fourth before settling for a 111-91 win.
The fans who were left serenaded the team with boos as they left the court.
Said Kevin Garnett: "They just came in and totally annihilated us. We're not looking down to May and April right now, right now we need to be taking care of March. That's the mindset. We've got to do it soon, and do it immediately."
Old. Slow. Tired. Desperately in need of the Hot Tub Time Machine. All those things described the Celtics last night, as they allowed Memphis to shoot 55 percent from the field and 56 percent from three-point range. What, did Mike 'Antoni start coaching the Celtics and nobody told me about it?
Nope. Doc Rivers is still the coach. This is what he had to say: "The disappointing thing about tonight and other games is our lack of offense is dictating how we play defense. They get an offensive rebound and make a 3, and you can see the heads hanging again. ... We just didn't seem like we had the fight to fight through that."
The Philadelphia 76ers: Their unflushable season continued last night with a hapless 102-87 home loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. Philly was down 62-44 after two quarters and 85-58 after three. The arena was barely at 50 percent capacity, but the fans still booed 'em at halftime and they booed them before the end of the third quarater while fleeing for their sanity.
The Sixers tied a season-worst with 21 turnovers, to which Andre "80 Million Dollar Man Number 1" said: "We need to pay better attention to detail." Yeah, you could say that. I bet Iggy's the kind of dude who doesn't even run spell check. Note to self: Run spell check before publishing this post.
Elton Brand, quote machine: Regarding the fans' extreme displeasure with how badly their team sucks: "We'll keep fighting for them. We'll keep playing hard. I've been in this league a long time and I believe in our talent." And I believe in my magical unicorn friend, Sabra. But that's probably a bad example, because she's totally real. Philly, meanwhile, is currently 23-41. Sadly, that's "good" for 10th in the Leastern Conference.
The Detroit Pistons: The Pistons scored 61 second-half points but still never really threatened in a 115-104 home loss to the Utah Jazz, who were playing the second of back-to-back road games. That'll happen when you let your opponent outscore you 35-14 in the second quarter.
Said Charlie V: "It's tough to take anything positive out of a game you lose. We just can't dig ourselves into a hole like that."
Added Pistons coach John Kuester: "You go up 29-28 after the first quarter, and then they go on a 14-0 run, and within four or five minutes, you are working uphill just to get close. We don't have a large margin for error right now, especially against an outstanding team."
Detroit has now lost 10 straight games to the Jazz -- Deron Williams is 9-0 against the Pistons -- and seven of eight overall.
Deron Williams, quote machine: Regarding his perfect record against the Pistons: "I've never lost to them? I guess I'll have to keep that going."
Jerry Sloan, cranky old coach: Despite the fact that his team scored 247 points in back-to-back road games on back-to-back nights, Sloan wasn't happy. He's never happy. "I'm not focused on our scoring, I'm worried about our defense. It's a matter of concentration, and there's no excuse for losing focus like we did in the second half tonight. I thought we played awfully well in the second quarter, but they put us back on our heels in the second half. I had to make some substitutions because we had people trying to get cute instead of just winning the game."
The Los Angeles Clippers: About the only remarkable aspect of the Clips' 108-97 loss to the Heat in Miami was the home team's 35-13 advantage in free throw attempts, including 17 for Dywane Wade, who was partying like it was 2006.
Said interim coach Kim "Yes, I'm a dude!" Hughes: "We have to get better every day. We have to work and try to find that chemistry. There are no excuses for not continuing to finish it out. The season is not done and every game is a learning process."
By the way, here's a belated salute to the recently canned Mike Dunleavy, who was fired in classic Clippers fashion. Said Dunleavy: "I come back to my locker around 7 p.m. and there's a million messages on my phone. This guy comes up to me and said, 'What's going on? They just said on TV that the Clippers severed ties with you?' ... I had no idea what they were talking about. I'm like, 'Wow. I haven't even talked to the Clippers.' I left a message saying, 'I have no idea what caused this. I'm disappointed I don't get to finish the job, but I want to thank you for the opportunity you've given me. I had a great time in L.A."
Clearly, I have a much different definition of "a great time" than Mike Dunleavy. Although I, personally, have had a great time covering his mismanagement of The Other L.A. Team. Thanks, Mike.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Speaking of unremarkable losses, last night's 110-102 home defeat by the Nuggets was Minny's 51st on the season.
One notable aspect was coach Kurt Rambis' insistence on changing nothing even as Denver went to a small ball lineup in the second half. Kevin Love guarding Carmelo Anthony? Really, Kurt?
Said Al Jefferson: "I love Kevin Love, but I don't think he can guard 'Melo one-on-one."
Added Love: "Not many people can."
Can somebody please check Kurt's pulse on the sidelines? Are we absolutely sure he's still alive? Anybody?
Kurt Rambis, quote machine: Okay, I guess he's still alive, unless this was a stock quote: "Losing, it weighs on you. Everybody's frustrated. This is where you look at people's character and see what they do. Your options are to roll over or to fight." Whaaaaaat?! C'mon, Kurt. Those two things aren't mutually exclusive. You defined "rolling over and fighting" back in the day.
The New Orleans Hornets: No CP3. No Peja. And rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton combined to shoot 7-for-27 from the field. The result was a 98-83 loss to the Thunder in Oklahoma City Thunder that dropped New Orleans five and a half games behind the Frail Blazers for the eighth playoff spot in the West.
The New Jersey Nyets: The Dallas Mavericks hadn't lost at home to the New Jersey Nyets since March 2, 2000, when Stephon Marbury (25 points, 11 assists) led the Nyets to a 103-102 victory. But -- despite being one of the worst team's in history -- New Jersey took it to the hottest team in the league. In fact, the Nyets went up by as many as 18 points in the first half...
...but eventually lost 96-87.
What can you expect? The best part is this win -- in which the Mavs scored only 39 points and struggled to put away a truly, historically bawful team -- was punctuated by some major noise by the talking heads about how Dallas has shed their "soft" label and that they're The Team To Beat The Lakers this postseason.
Let's just say I remain skeptical.
Dirk Nowitzki: I hope the Nyets send Dirk a fruit basket for helping them keep the game close. Nowitzkie went 3-for-16 from the field and committed a team-high 5 turnovers (former teammate Devin Harris kept that from being a game high by bumbling the rock away 6 times). Said Der Blond Bomber: "My jump shot was all over the place." Don't forget about your handle, Dirk.
The New York Knicks: Quick quiz: What's orange, blue and sucks all over? Oh, and has no chance of landing LeBron James this summer? The Bricks...who clinched a franchise-record ninth consecutive losing season with a 97-87 road loss to the Tony Parker-less Spurs.
On the bright side, they need only two more wins to beat their franchise-worse victory total (23) achieved in both 2005-06 and 2007-08.
Richard Jefferson: San Antonio's "difference maker" finished with zero points in 18 minutes off the bench. It was the first time Richardson has gone scoreless since January 8, 2006. And he played only two minutes in that game.
The Toronto Raptors: This has to be pretty disturbing for the Craptors: the recent return of Chris Bosh has done nothing to alter their cadaverous play. Yes, they came one incident of fan interference away from potentially knocking off the Lakers in L.A., but they've also suffered double-digit losses to the Sixers and now the Kings. And rookie Tyreke Evans destroyed them with his first career triple-double (19-10-10).
According to the AP recap: "The triple-double was the first for a rookie in the franchise since Norm Van Lier of the Cincinnati Royals recorded one on Nov. 5, 1969, against the San Diego Clippers." What's more, Reke the Freak is close to joining Oscar Robertson, LeBron James and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists as a rookie.
Of course, this is where I can't stop myself from mentioning that the one thing all these guys have in common is that they got to dominate the ball on a crappy team. The year before drafting Oscar, the Cincinnati Royals won 19 games (they got 33 wins when The Big O was a rook). The Bulls won 27 games the year before MJ came to town (and 38 in his rookie season), and the Crabs won 17 the season before King Crab's rookie campaign (improving to 35 wins in his first year).
Ah, but this is about the Craptors, not the Kings. The loss dropped Toronto into a seventh-place tie with the Bobcats in the Eastern Conference...only one game ahead of ninth-place Chicago.
Said Jose Calderon: "We have to get back to winning games."
UPDATE! Chris: Better to win games, Jose, than to play in the backcourt as sloppily as in the following allegorical video clip...
Nike: Some evil Nike executive -- and let's face it, they're all evil -- had evil's most brilliant idea since Lex Luthor created a ray gun that would replace Superman's genitals with random side dishes from Olive Garden: The LeBron James "Rumor Pack." You want shoes that will potentially match the team colors for whatever team King Crab picks this summer? YOU GOT IT. [From Ball Don't Lie via Basketbawful reader Wiri P.]
The WNBA:Their newest player: disgraced Olympic stripped gold medalist Marion Jones...who hasn't played competitive basketball since 1997. [Also via Wiri P.]
Update! From AnacondaHL: "More Hollinger hate: His "Combined Shooting Rating is spreading on the 'Net like wildfire. What the fuck Hollinger, straight up adding percentages together, only restricted to 10,000 minutes? This isn't like OBP+Slugging, ugh. By this metric, Eddy Curry should be at the top, who in 13002 career minutes posted a 54.5%/100.0%/64.2% for a 2.186 score!"
Lacktion report: To celebrate Sacto's rookie phenom, chris provides a triple-double of lacktion:
Bobcats-Sixers: Stephen Graham cracked a treasure box worth 1.2 trillion (1:11).
Grizzlies-Celtics: DeMarre Carroll visited the wonderland of wealth with a celebratory 2.5 trillion (2:29), at the same time that Darrell Arthur threw up a brick for a +1 suck differential. Also joining the lifestyles of the rich and famous (and victorious) tonight was Hamed Haddadi, with a 2.05 trillion (2:03)!
Jazz-Pistons: Kyrylo Fesenko and Sundiata Gaines diagnosed a few clogged pipes in 23 seconds as MARIO BROTHERS! (Fesenko also fouled once for a +1 that counted as a 1:0 Voskuhl.)
Chucky Atkins had a diet of one foul and one turnover in 4:45, leading to a +2.
Nuggets-Wolves: Malik Allen countered a board and field goal in 4:43 with three fouls and one loss of the rock for a 4:3 Voskuhl. Meanwhile, after a season entirely devoid of dinero, Nathan Jawai hopped into the ledger with a 1.3 trillion (1:18)!
Nyets-Mavs: Josh Boone farmed out a field goal and board in 10:50, only to cultivate four fouls for a 4:3 Voskuhl.
Raptors-Kings: Garrett Temple dedicated a piece of masonry tonight for a +1 in 1:21.