An entire team of Clippers versus one senior citizen?
Smart money's on the senior citizen.
The Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets: The Bullets pushed a much better Bobcats team to overtime -- yeah, wrap your head around the notion that the 'Cats are a "much better" team than anybody -- but still stuffered a 95-86 home loss. It was Washington's 12th consecutive defeat. Washington's last victory? An 89-85 win over the New Jersey Nyets on February 28.
This is the saddest group of Wizards I've seen since, well, this guy:
Pictured: Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, Duke and First Marquess of
Talisker and Unofficial Wizard and Sorcerer-in-Residence unto the
Mortalfolk of the City, County and State of New York! No, really.
And here's where this historic fail starts to come in: the Bullets will tie the franchise record for longest losing streak if they don't beat the Pacers in Indiana tonight. Of course, it might never have come to this if the Bullets had gotten more than seven and a half minutes out of...
Andray Blatch: During the first quarter of the Bullets loss to the Bobcats, Washington coach Flip Saunders tried to give Blatch a little pep talk about defense. Apparently, Andray would have been more open to the idea of swallowing a bag of bot flies than laying a little D on somebody.
Said Saunders: "He didn't want to hear it. I told him, 'If you don't come and talk, if you don't want to be coached, you're not going to play.' We had coaches go up to him three different times, they said he didn't want to play. Fifteen years, never seen anything like it. He can be [mad] at me, whatever, but you never leave your teammates out to dry like that. Not when you've lost 11 games in a row and you've got a chance to win a game. Uncalled-for. We'll deal with it."
Saunders continued: "You know what I'm disappointed in? I'm disappointed that since we've started him, he gets 60 percent of the offense run through him. Coaches aren't wrong, no matter what. When a coach wants to teach you something, and you think you're above that, because you've played 16 games, good games? I had Kevin Garnett, that guy you could say one thing, he's up there, 'What do you want, Coach? I want to get better every time.' He never copped that type of attitude. That's ridiculous, it really is."
Remember: Flip also coached Rasheed Wallace and never go this jacked up. Think about that.
And Blatch better not look to his teammates for sympathy. Said Nick Young: "It's a disappointing situation from both ends. We really could've used Dray tonight. I told him, 'You're playing well -- you don't want to mess it up.' ... You've got to man up sometimes."
Oh, and as for that possible historic fail in Indiana tonight? It will probably happen without Blatch. Asked if Blatch will play against the Pacers, Saunders said: "I would doubt it. I don't know, but I would doubt it."
I guess I can already start on one of tomorrow's entries...
Reunitings: Former Bull Larry Hughes got to play with former Bull Tyrus Thomas again...and it was just like old times, as Big Shot Larry scored 4 points on 1-for-5 shooting while T-Time finished with 7 points on 3-for-8 shooting. Who says you can't go back again?
The Detroit Pistons: The Indiana Pacers hadn't won a road game since a 125-115 victory over the Houston Rockets on February 20. In all, Indy had suffered through a stretch of nine straight road court fails. Who knew that returning to the scene of the brawl that doomed them forever would allow them to finally break that streak?
Anybody who's watched the Pistons this year, that's who.
And here are some fun facts for Detroit fans to chew up and choke on. The Pacers are 4-0 against the Pistons this season...and 20-46 against the rest of the league. And this season marked the first time that Indy had ever swept Detroit in a season series. Wait, wait, not done yet! The Pacers have taken six straight games against the Pistons, which represents their longest streak over Detroit since a six-gameer spanning the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons.
And since I've just given them the blogging equivalent of the papercut from hell, let's go ahead and squirt a little battery acid into the wound: The loss -- again, to a team that came into the Palace of Auburn Hills on a nine-game road losing streak -- mathematically eliminated the Pistons from playoff contention.
$90 million for Ben Gordon (12 points, 5-for-14) and Charlie Villanueva (11 points, 4-for-12). Freaking Kwame Brown (15 rebounds) played better than those guys! Sorry. Just had to get that out.
John Kuester: Of course, soon-to-be-former Pistons coach John Kuester felt like there was a little road cookin' going on. Kuester, whom the Associated Press describes as "normally one of the league's calmer coaches," earned himself the broze boot in the third quarter for rushing the court after Ben Gordon got called for an offensive foul.
Said Kuester: "I was trying to fight for our team. The foul differential was 26-14 tonight, and that isn't even giving us a chance to win."
Let's recap: Kuester felt that the Pacers -- the Indiana Pacers -- were getting preferntial treatment from the officials in Detroit and his grand plan to turn the tide was to get himself tossed out of the game. So, uh, anybody have any predictions about who's going to be coaching the Pistons next season?
The Denver Nuggets: When people start ticking off the Western Conference teams who could possible dethrone the Lakers, the list usually includes the Nuggets, the Nuggets and, as a dark horse, the Nuggets. And yet when I browse over their schedule, I can't help but notice nagging little losses to teams like the Bucks (both before and after they were good), Clippers, Timberwolves, Pistons, Kings (twice), Sixers and Wizards. (And if Brad Miller had been a microsecond quicker, the Bulls would be included in that group.) I mean, if you're a Denver fan, that's a troubling list, right?
Well, you can add the Knicks to the lineup of hapless teams that have beaten the Nuggets this season. And as if the loss itself wasn't embarrassing enough, Danilo Gallinari (17 of his 28 points in the third quarter) won a little shooting-slash-smacktalking duel with Carmelo Anthony. I shit you not. The little back-and-forth got so testy that the officials had to step in and tell both players to shut it.
Said Gallinari: "That's the challenge. That's basketball. Talking is a great part of basketball. If you don't talk in basketball, you cannot play basketball. You've got to talk."
Replied 'Melo: "Actually it was kind of fun for me to see him hold his ground and not back down. He was kind of talking back to me out there, too, which I was kind of surprised."
You know, Anthony is a fantastic player. He really is. But don't you get the feeling that most of the all-time greats would have absolutely destroyed Gallinari in the same situation? Like, all that should be left of the kid is a smoldering crater or maybe a bucket of chum with shredded bits of Knick jersey. Ah well.
By the way, this was the first game of a five-game road trip for the Nuggets. And they still have stops in Boston, Orlando and Dallas. Oh, and Toronto, which I would have said was a gimmie until watching this game.
Said Chauncey Billups: "I think this is probably our most disappointing loss this season because it just means so much."
Yep. I bet the Lakers are shaking in their purple and gold undies.
Cheerleading fail: Since we're talking about this Knicks, check out this video sent in by Basketbawful reader Brian (whose profile photo looks like it came from a WotN post):
The Los Angeles Clippers: Dirk Nowitzki got himself ejected from the game (see below) and the Clippers crawled out of a 16-point hole to take a 4-point lead. The only thing The Other L.A. Team had to do to avoid an 11-game road losing streak was not get their asses handed to them by someone who qualifies for the senior citizen discount at McDonald's.
BUT...the Clips are who we thought they were.
Jason Kidd -- who was celebrating his 37th birthday -- scored a season-high 26 points (10-for-21 from the field, 6-for-11 from downtown) to go along with 12 assists as the Mavericks re-rallied for a 106-96 win.
Said Kidd: "Since Dirk was gone, I thought I would play Dirk today. I had some great looks early on that went in and out. Earlier in my career, I would've stopped shooting because I missed a couple. But I thought the team needed some scoring so I stepped up."
The Other L.A. Team shot just under 38 percent from the field and missed 18 three-pointers. And the Clipper's pine riders were awful, as the bench went 2-for-10 and contributed more fouls (8) and almost as many turnovers (4) as points (5).
Said Clippers coach/prisoner Kim Hughes: "I was disappointed that our bench didn't help us. I think if our bench would have performed we would have won the game."
Wait...is he being serious?
The Mad German: His team was ahead (65-56) and he was in fire (18 points in 19 minutes on 8-for-11 shooting), but Dirk Nowitzki just couldn't keep his mouth shut after Drew Gooden gave him a little shove in the back en route to an offensive rebound with a little over nine minutes to go in the third quarter.
Dirk had to hack Gooden to prevent a layup, then yelled at referee Bill Kennedy: "Bill, that's a two-hand push!" Nowitzki kept it up until Kennedy yelled back, "Bam! Right there!" That was tech number one. Dirk had retort. That was tech number two...and an automatic ejection.
It was only the third ejection of Nowitzki's 12-year career. After the game, he was unavailable for comment, which is kind of ironic since he was so available for comment during the game.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle had some post-game comments tho': "That was a bad decision by Dirk. It puts the team in a terrible situation, and he knows it was wrong. If you get a technical, you get one and make your point, then you've got to let it go. He's too important to us."
Of course, Mark Cuban couldn't be quiet, either. According to ESPN Dallas: "Mavs owner Mark Cuban spent much of the third quarter screaming at Kennedy from his courtside seat. Cuban acknowledged that he 'absolutely, positively' would have made comments that would have drawn a fine from the NBA office if the Mavs lost the game, but he avoided specifically discussing Kennedy's call and decision to eject Nowitzki."
The ABA: From chris: "The ABA Western Conference Finals: canceled due to the Bay Area team not wanting to pay travel expenses. Epic."
Stephone Marbury: From AnacondaHL: "Starbury! MVP of the Chinese Baketball AllStar Game!!!!" It's true. And how appropriate is this part of the story: "Marbury was named MVP of the Chinese Basketball Association All-Star game with a 30-point, 10-assist outing. In 15 games with the Shanxi Zhongyu Kylins he also set a CBA record by averaging 9.6 assists, although the team fell short of the playoffs."
Anthony Tolliver: This is a day late, but there has been some demand for it. Thanks to Basketbawful reader manic for the link: