Bring Chris Bosh To Chicago This Summer foundation.
The Excremento Kings: Thank you so much, Purple Paupers, for possibly helping to screw up Basketbawful's dream season by giving the New Jersey Nyets their eighth win. No, really. Thanks. You can expect a gift basket filled with gorilla feces and biting insects to arrive by courier van pretty much any minute. And no, I don't want to hear about how this was your third straight game without Tyreke Evans. You really should have been able to get your freak on against the Nyets even without The Freak.
Said Excremento coach Paul Westphal: "I would say it's not even really close, so far, by miles and miles our worst game of the year in every way." Hey, maybe you should bench Spencer Hawes again, Paul. Because that so worked before. Or maybe some other random act of stupidity. Bitch slap Andres Nocioni, maybe? Ooo, or maybe knock on Omri Casspi's hotel room door and then run away. That would be coaching genius.
Added Carl Landry: "You really don't want to lose to this team. They are facing the worst record of all-time in NBA history and this is a team you just don't want to lose to. It will be a game I will remember forever, the rest of my life."
Devin Harris, quote machine: "It's always a nice feeling to win. It's been a rough year for all of us. It's a good feeling to see guys cheerful back in the locker room and excited about coming to work tomorrow. Hopefully, we can hang onto this and carry it into the next game." For the record, the Nyets are now 31-103 since Devin Harris said "We knew we were going to be a playoff team" back in December of 2008.
The Orlando Magic: The Magicians lead the league in Defensive Rebounding Percentage (.772) and -- going into the final play of last night's game in Atlanta -- had outrebounded the Hawks 48-37 (including a 9-2 advantage in offensive rebounds). Too bad they forgot to block out on the final and most important play of the game...
I've seen crippled garden gnomes with better last-second reflexes. How does a garden gnome become crippled? That's not for you to know, mortal fool.
Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy Ron Jeremy: "On the weak side, we just stood and watched. The guys on the court are doing the same thing the guys on the bench are doing: just standing there watching." So in a way...the Magic have become their coach. Only without the super-sexy t-shirt-and-blazer combo. Weird.
This win clinched a playoff berth for the Hawks and the very first postseason appearance for Jamal Crawford, who began the night having played [insert scary music here] 666 games without making it to the postseason. That was the third-longest drought in NBA history, and also a sign that Crawford must have done something truly unspeakable to make it happen.
"I finally got it," Crawford said, breaking into a big smile and trying to wipe the virgin goat blood off his sacrificial dagger.
The Denver Nuggets: Speaking of clinching playoff berths, the Celtics did that last night at the expense of the Nuggets. Denver had second-night-of-back-to-backs-itis, missing 12 free throws, getting outrebounded 45-36 (including 17-8 on the offensive glass), getting outscored in the paint 58-28, and giving up 28 points off 17 turnovers. Obviously, getting outplayed in most of the significant categories will get you beat.
The loss -- make it three straight, by the way -- dropped the Nuggets a half-game behind the Dallas Mavericks and into a third-place tie with Utah in the Western Conference. Remember: This is the team that's supposed to challenge the Lakers in the playoffs. And yet despite the fact that they've been the second-best team in the West most of the season, they're only 17-19 outside of Denver. That's the eighth-best road record in their conference. If elite teams usually win on the road and the Nuggets do not win on the road, then...
Of course, the excuse parade is marching down Nuggets street because coach George Karl missed his ninth straight game (cancer treatment) while Kenyon Martin missed his 11th in a row (left knee tendinitis). Said Chauncey Billups: "It's tough playing without your head coach and the guy [Martin] that has the biggest presence and the biggest voice on the team. There is nobody stressing on it. We just have to man up and get ourselves through it."
The Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets: One night after Andray Blatch decided listening to his coach was purely optional, and Flip Saunders benched him and declared he probably wouldn't see court time against the Pacers, Saunders totally caved and played Blatch 39 minutes. The result? A 99-82 loss that allowed Washington to tie the franchise record for consecutive defeats (13).
Karma really is a bitch.
I mean, remember what Saunders said after Blatch refused to D up and then also refused to listen to Flip tell him to play defense? Here. Allow me to remind you: "Fifteen years, I've never seen anything like it, never. He can be pissed at me or whatever, but you never leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that, no matter what, especially 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." I like to imagine he punctuated that statement by running a finger across his neck, executioner-style.
Apparently, Flip's method of "dealing with it" was letting Blatch log game highs in minutes and shot attempts. If there's a team in this league that needs discipline and leadership, it's the Bullets. But this was an epic fail in those categories, and several others that haven't even been discoverd by earth science yet.
"There's a lot of misunderstandings," Blatche said on 106.7 The Fan's Mike Wise Show. "I'd say out of 100 percent of the situation, I'd say blame me 25 percent. They took me out of the game, I heard [Flip Saunders] say something to me but I just sat down on the bench. I was frustrated, I didn't want to make things worse, so I just sat down. And after that he just sat me down for the rest of the game, and I didn't come back in."
"We had a meeting today at breakfast, and one of the coaches said I owe my teammates an apology. And I said, 'Actually, I don't, because I still don't feel that I'm wrong.' Because I never said I don't want to play....
"It was Randy Wittman, because Flip, he has a migraine, he didn't come to the meeting. So I guess he had randy speak for him, and when Randy said that I felt once again disrespected again, because I didn't say the word that they said I'm saying. And I'm not gonna just roll with the punches and be looked at as a bad person when I didn't do something wrong. If I do something wrong, I don't have a problem with saying I was wrong and I owe you an apology. But I don't, because I never said I don't want to play."
"He said that in the meeting after the game. Coaches are never wrong. And that's the problem. That's the problem right there. I mean, as a man, everybody makes mistakes. But as a man, you have to learn how to apologize, and therefore he needs to apologize, because he was wrong, because I never said that."
"This situation, I wish it never occurred, but you know it's gonna blow over after a while. To me, I think this will all go away if I receive an apology, because to abuse my name like that, that's disrespectful and that's hurtful. And you want me to play for you after you made all these stories about me in the paper and after the game? That's crazy."
You know, everybody's always looking for the next Bird, the next Jordan, the next Magic...nobody's ever looking for the next Dennis Rodman or next Ron Artest. Well, I think we found one of the next of those last two guys. Now if he would only release a rap CD and ask for a mid-season vacation so he could do a publicity tour...
Oh, and by the way, here's an extra special (and totally sarcastic) double thumb's up to the Pacers. As BadDave put it: "For you Royalty double-timers, you can always offer this consolation. Bawful (and I) are Pacers fans. Our team doesn't start winning until it hurts their draft..."
As always, Approval Guy approves.
The Toronto Craptors: This is your birthday song! It isn't very long! [polite applause] That's about how long Chris Bosh's 26th birthday celebration lasted against the Jazz last night. Utah raced out to a 33-17 lead after one quarter and then pretty much just coasted in for a 113-87 win. In Toronto of course.
And the RuPaul of Big Men wasn't happy. Said Bosh: "[The Jazz are] good, they're one of the best teams in the West. But that's still no excuse. We didn't come to play. "Yeah, they're good, but we have to [say], 'Who cares? We're still going to win this game.' And I don't think we have that fire right now."
Is it teammate blaming time? Yep, it's teammate blaming time.
Said Bosh: "I can't instill it in guys. You have to have it on your own. As much as I would like to do everything, I can't do everything. Personally, you have to bring something to the plate. Whatever gets guys going, we have to find it."
Mmmm. Smells like leadership. The bad kind, but it's still leadership, right?
Jarret Jack, quote machine: "We got our butts kicked, bottom line. I don't think anybody in here is into moral victories. We fought hard and got blown out. That's just the way I feel about it."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: My favorite quote from the AP recap of the Timberpoops-Bobcats game: "It took a trip to the weight room, some special exercises and a ball of tape to help Stephen Jackson overcome a painful finger injury and break out of his shooting slump." Let's just rewrite that to: "It took a trip to the weight room, some special exercises and a ball of tape to help Stephen Jackson overcome a painful case of poisonous werewolf cramps." I like that version better.
Blah, blah, blah, Minnesota blown out, blah, blah, blah, 14-58 on the year and 5-32 on the road, blah, blah, blah. Minny let Charlotte shoot nearly 54 percent. Now here's some blah, blah, blah from Kurt Rambis.
"Our team has difficulty sustaining their defense. They lose focus," Rambis said. "They get away from their defensive game plan. It's inexcusable for us as a team to turn the basketball over as much as we do and also give up 66 points in the paint. That number is just ridiculous."
And believe you me, anybody who coaches in Minnesota knows ridiculous.
Stephen Jackson, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "I do a lot of stuff with my left hand, so it's been frustrating."
The New Orleans Hornets: Last night's 105-92 home loss to the Craboliers made me think, man, what if Chris Paul was pla...wait, what? He did play? For, like, 31 minutes?
Said Paul: "I have to get back into the flow and understand what we're doing. Hopefully that will come sooner than later." Yeah, especially since your team is one loss away from playoff elimination, Chris. No pressure, tho'.
The Milwaukee Bucks: Chugchugchugchugchugchug...CHOO CHOO!! That's the Bucks Train comin' at ya, baby! 15-2 in their last 17 games! Unstoppable! A friggin' force of nature! Fear the deer! They're the Juggernaut bitch! So their 101-86 home win over the Sixers isn't all that surpr...
...wait, they lost by that score? At home? To the Sixers?! That's like a boot to the head from, like, Aquaman.
You knew it was coming, right?
Jerry Stackhouse, who recently got into the best shape of his life using P90X, said: "We've got to understand, we haven't clinched anything yet. We've still got to win games to make sure we secure ourselves a spot."
Added Andy Bogut: "We're [not] past that point where we look at teams that are below us and expect an easy win. We're not that good yet. Definitely not. We just came out and didn't play well tonight."
Concluded Milwauke coach Scott Skiles: "In three months, two teams are going to be playing in the NBA finals, so if you're fatigued right now you're probably not up to that challenge. That's the reality of it, but I can't deny what I see with my own eyes."
Damn. Those are some pretty sour grapes from a team that's 15-3 in their last 18 games. I think expectations for the Bucks have gotten a little out of control.
Elton Brand: Damn. Even when his team shoots nearly 53 percent from the field and scores over 100 points in a blowout win, Brand still sucks. The 80 Million Dollar Man finished with 6 rebounds and 3 points on 1-for-7 shooting.
The Houston Rockets: Team Scrappy fell behind 39-25 by the end of the first quarter and then spent the rest of the game making fishin' plans. After all, the 122-104 loss in Oklahoma City knocked them 5 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Frail Blazers in the Western Conference. And the Money Ballers have only 12 games left to make up that ground.
Huh. I guess teams need stars after all. And no, Trevor Ariza does not count as a star, no matter what Ron Artest says. Niether, apparently, does Kevin Martin (8 points in 28 minutes) or Aaron Brooks (3-for-12).
(Okay, okay. The Houston bench was a little bare, as the Rockets were missing Shane Battier, Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries, and had to call up D-Leaguers Jermaine Taylor and Mike Harris. But I honestly didn't get the feeling Battier, Hill and Jeffries would have made the difference last night.)
The San Antonio Spurs: I know last night's 92-83 home loss to the Lakers -- during which they were outscored 51-35 in the second half -- looked bad. I'll grant you that. But the Spurs are a second half of the season tea...wait, this is the second half of the season? Eh, no matter. The Spurs will kick it into gear for the stretch ru...wait, this is the stretch run? Oh, and did I mention the Lakers were without Andrew Bynum?
The Memphis Grizzlies: It seems worth noting that the Grizzlies are still in the hunt for a playoff spot out West. Mathematically speaking, they're right there in the chase, which means games against, let's say, the second-worst team in the conference are ones Memphis kinda-sorta has to win. Right...?
Only the Warriors scored almost 80 first-half points, shot nearly 55 percent from the field, and won 128-110. Man, I bet Zach Randolph was having flashbacks to his days with the [insert crappy team name here].
Said O.J. Mayo: "We didn't play any defense, nobody. It's not about the offense. We gave up 78 points in the first half -- enough said."
Added Mike Conley: "We were sleepwalking the first half. They were being aggressive and making shots. We just didn't play defense in the first half."
Who knew Marc Gasol was the linchpin of the Grizzlies' defense? The ninth-place Grizzlies are now 4 1/2 games behind the Frail Blazers in the Western Conference with 10 games remaining.
Dubious records and historic fails from the AP game notes: "The Warriors had their highest-scoring first half of the season, including a season-best 44 in the second quarter. ... The 78 points allowed were a Grizzlies opponent franchise record."
Lacktion report: If you note a hint of sadness in chris's lacktion report, please refer to the entry above titled "Excremento Kings."
Hawks-Magic: Josh Smith's monster slam may be the story of the night, but how about Dwight Howard going 11 for 16 at the stripe and earning a DANTLEY?!?!?
Back to lacktion - Marcin Gortat countered a board with a trio of fouls in 4:16 for a 3:1 Voskuhl, while THE Mario West ran into a Goomba for a foul in 36 seconds, resulting in a +1 suck differential and his namesake stat, the Mario! (This also happens to be the 4th time in 8 days that Mario West has donned the plumber's overalls, making the term even more appropriate than ever!)
Nuggets-Celtics: Marquis Daniels bricked once from the Big Dig and fouled thricely in 6:01 for a +4 - his second suck differential of that score in five days! Shelden Williams tossed a brick once in 54 seconds to complete a Tetris puzzle, which earned him a +1 and a Mario.
Wolves-Bobcats: Ryan Hollins negated a steal in 7:26 with a brick, foul, rejection and giveaway for a 2:0 Voskuhl. For Charlotte, Gerald Henderson tossed a piece of masonry in 2:22 for a +1.
Jazz-Raptors: Marcus Banks deposited a pair of bricks from Yonge Street in 3:03, also fouling and losing the rock once each for a +4!
Kings-Nyets: Okay. The Paupers gave the Nyets their 8th win of the year.
Now that that's taken care of...Dominic McGuire got 6 seconds of Nintendo DS time tonight in a Super Mario at Brendan Byrne Arena, while the Kings broadcast crew noted that Devin Harris actually took a foul with 35 seconds to go to give Chris Quinn a stint worthy of the Famicom, finishing out the game for a celebratory Mario! Trenton Hassell capitalized on Kiki Vanderweghe's generosity and bricked once in 4:16 for a +1.
Sixers-Bucks: In a rare losing effort during this John Salmons Era, Kurt Thomas wasted away two boards and a block in 12:18 with four fouls for a 4:2 Voskuhl.
Crabs-Hornets: With Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson no longer on the roster, Jawad Williams stepped up in a pinch and tossed a brick for a +1 in 1:20.
Lakers-Spurs: DJ Mbenga made one free throw in 4:42, but fouled and gave up the rock once each for a 2:1 Voskuhl; Josh Powell also made the Voskuhl ranks tonight in 6:03 by negating two boards with four bricks, two fouls, and a giveaway for a 3:2. Sasha Vujacic provided Jerry Buss with more funds for his weekly poker rendezvous with a 2.7 trillion (2:44).
For the Spurs, Malik Hairston and Ian Mahinmi made 1.2 trillion each together (1:11) for Gregg Popovich.
Grizzlies-Warriors: Anthony Morrow, our latest addition to the season-long lacktion ledger, gave Team Nellieball a +2 in 2:24 via foul and giveaway.