The Boston Celtics: When last we saw the Celtics, they got owned by the New Jersey Nyets in Boston. As bad signs go, that's right up there with the Titanic sticking straight up out of the water or the nasty, pimply rash in your nether regions that just won't go away. (Seriously, get that checked out. Immediately.) So what better way to restablish their presumed championship dominance than by dropping the shillelagh on a Pistons team headed for their first 50-loss season in a decade?
Only Detroit (21-39) was up 77-73 early in the fourth quarter.
The Luckless Leprechauns were saved by a trio of treys by Nate Robinson -- who scored 14 points (5-for-7) in 15 minutes -- but the end result still smells pretty fishy. After all, Boston allowed 100+ points for the fifth straight game...which is their longest streak in the Kevin Garnett era. Meanwhile, the Celtics were 9-for-18 from downtown while the Pistons shot 15 percent (3-for-20) from long distance, which was their worst three-point percentage of athe season (with a minimum of 20 attempts).
I'm just sayin'...the C's were a few missed or made shots from losing this one, so Boston fans shouldn't get too excited over this one.
Ben Wallace: When last we saw Big Ben, he was going 1-for-9 from the free throw line, which included consecutive airballs. Last night, he went 0-for-5. But it's even worse than that.
With just over a minute left, Paul Pierce seemingly committed a foul on Pistons rookie Jonas Jerebko. Only the Celtics bitched and bitched until the refs sent Wallace to the line instead. He missed them both, obviously, and then left the game almost immediately with a "knee injury" (it's a shame he didn't claim flu-like symptoms.)
Wallace is now 2-for-20 from the line in Detroit's last five games. And opposing coaches have gone to the Hack-a-Ben strategy twice during that stretch.
Said Pistons coach John Kuester: "Ben has been in this league for a long time, and he knows that he has to work his way out of this. It's certainly not a question of effort -- he's the first one in the gym and the last one out. He hits 70 percent in practice, but he's got to go to the line and make them in the games."
I love it. First one to the gym and the last one out. I swear, every player is described like that these days. Guy must never leave practice. I hope Detroit's practice facility is filled with cots.
The Miami Heat: The Human Torches snapped their four-game losing streak behind 56 points in the paint, a 50-35 rebounding advantage, and a huge game from Dwyane Wade (35 points, 12 assists, 5 boards, 4 steals). But they also missed 10 free throws and barely pulled out a four-point home victory over a crappy Golden State Warriors team that was without Monta Ellis (strained lower back), Andris Biedrins (athletic pubalgia...heh) and Corey Maggette (ham sandwich).
Said Pookie: "There's no easy wins in the NBA."
Yeah, but there should be, Dwyane. There really should be. I mean, the Warriors had only eight players in costume -- which barely met the league minimum, and they had to call up a D-Leaguer to even do that -- and six of them scored in double figures. Plus, Golden State hit better than 51 percent of their field goal attempts.
Said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: "Where we are, any win is a good win for us. It wasn't a great game for us, but we got the win, so we'll take it. The only thing that matters right now is that we stay in this fight. However. By whatever means to get it done, we just need to stay in the fight and keep on swinging."
As always, good luck with that, Erik.
The Golden State Warriors: After the loss -- the Warriors' 14th in their last 18 games -- Nellie said: "We made them play, didn't we? We've got no complaints. We played our behinds off. We were able to stay in the game and have a chance to win. We'll take it."
When you're 25 games under .500, you've got to enjoy the little things.
The Sacramento Kings: Good news: The Purple Paupers shot 53+ percent for just the fifth time this season! What's more, Sacto became only the seventh team this season to make more than half of its shots against the Oklahoma City D. In fact, their FGP of 53.9 was the second highest shooting percentage this season against the Thunder, who entered the game with a league-best Opponents FGP of 43.7.
Bad news: They lost anyway, falling to 5-26 on the road and 20-40 overall.
The Thunder's 17 offensive rebounds might have had something to do with the outcome. Sacramento coach Paul Westphal sure thinks so: "To me, we came in against a top level, playoff team in their gym in a game that they really wanted and we played a great game. We played good enough to win, except we couldn't keep them off the glass, so we lost."
Thanks for the stirring analysis, coach. Speaking of Westphal...
Paul Westphal: The Paupers pulled to within 111-107 on a Carl Landry dunk with 34 seconds left, but Westphal instructed his team not to foul. The Thunder then used the entire 24-second shot clock before Kevin Durant missed a baseline jumper. The Best Sacto could manage was an ugly, forced and contested trey by Francisco Garcia in the final five seconds. And, uh, yeah...it didn't go in.
The Indiana Pacers: Kobe Bryant continues to struggle with his shooting -- last night Mamba went 5-for-14 from the field and 0-for-4 from downtown -- but the Pacers are so bad that Bryant could have gone 0-for-40 and the Lakers probably still would have won by double-digits. As it was, L.A. outscored Indy 38-17 in the third quarter to transform a mildly competitive game into the kind of ridiculous joke you'd expect from a ridiculous joke team like the Pacers.
During that third quarter, Indy shot 7-for-20 and committed 7 turnovers for 10 points going the other way. In related news, the Pacers haven't beaten the Lakers in Los Angeles since February 14, 1999. Reggie Miller led the Pacers with 26 points in the win, while Shaq lit up poor Rik Smits for 36 points and 17 rebounds (including 8 offensive).
Bruce Bowen, fashionista: From Basketbawful reader Emmett S.: "Tucker Carlson and Bruce Bowen: Almost universally disliked, renowned for their ackery...and now they have bowties in common, too. Wow."
Bruce Bowen: Too sexy for his pants.
And he isn't wearing any.
Questionable Promotions Part 1: Go to a Nyets game! Please! We're begging you! We'll even have your taxes done for free if you do!
The best part of this promotion? Roni Deutch -- the tax attorney who's willing to crunch numbers for anybody brave enough to sit through two-plus hours of horrifying basketball -- said: "The hallmark of a strong company is one that aligns with young companies. I'm a betting woman, and I think the Nets are going to win a championship this decade."
I wonder if Roni knows what a "decade" is? Mental note: Do not let Roni Deutch do my taxes. Or balance my checkbook. Or count my loose change.
Questionable Promotions Part 2: I'm guessing the Memphis Grizzlies are going to remove "Fan Trampoline Dunk" from their in-game promotional series. Of course, they're doing it about one near-decapitation too late. [Thanks to chris for the link.]
Michael Jordan: The Greatest Player of All Time just lost two games of H-O-R-S-E to a rookie who's shooting less than 34 percent from the field. Oh yes he did. Maybe MJ should stick to picking on old, sick people. And Bryon Russell.
Clutch the Bear: Belated but worth it: Clutch gets nekkid to disrupt a free throw. This Bear will do anything to win! [Thanks again to chris for the link.]
Laction report: Despite the Paupers' near miss in OKC, chris still found the will to give us our daily lacktion fix:
Celtics-Pistons: Brian Scalabrine was spooked after only 8 seconds in Castlevania, leading to a Super Mario! Meanwhile, DaJuan Summers bounced around a level of Araknoid in 24 seconds for a regular Mario. (In non-lacktion related news, Kevin Garnett was clearly *word that KG mouths on the sidelines*-ing around with 9 boards and 14 points for a Calvin Murphy.)
Kings-Thunder: Ime Udoka rescued Princess Peach and earned a 30-second speed date that counted as a Mario, while Dominic McGuire continues to make his case for the All-Lacktion Team with tonight's cashout of 2.45 trillion (2:27), his first non-productive moment for the Paupers!!!