The Detroit Pistons: What...what...what happened? The New Jersey Nyets shot nearly 60 percent from the field. They got career-high scoring nights from both Brook Lopez (37 points, 14-for-17 from the field) and Ji Jianlian (31 points, 12-for-16), and they scored 38 points in the fourth quarter to earn a 118-110 win over the Pistons. It was New Jersey's ninth win of the season.
They will not be the worst team in NBA history.
My nose. It's bleeding. Why won't it stop bleeding. I...everything's getting black. Am I fainting? Is this what fainting feels like?!
DAMN YOU, JOE DUMARS!!!
There are some great responses to the Nyets bubble-bursting win in Friday's BAD comments section. Here's the best, via an anonymous commenter:
Seriously Detroit, what's your deal? You were so worried about the Nets becoming the worse team in NBA history that you had to tank the game just so they couldn't get in the history books. It's almost like you want people to remember that your football team ran the table in reverse (0-16), your home state college team (Michigan State) gagged last year in the NCAA title game hosted in your city, the Red Wings caved in the Stanley Cup Finals last year, The Tigers were blitzed in the 2006 World Series or that your vaunted Michigan Wolverines invalidated their college football card by losing to a Division 2 school. We get it. Your city sucks, your state sucks. It has for years. But now that another state has threatened to take the mantle of "worst in America" via a god-awful basketball team and some a-hole called "The Situation," you step up and ruin their hopes and dreams by proving that no matter how much they suck, you suck worse. Thanks. If Jerome Bettis started to claim that he was from Pittsburgh, I don't think anyone would complain at this point.
Well...that was deserved.
Said Devin Harris: "We're smiling. It's good to get two wins in a row, but we're not satisfied. We want to continue to be better and finish the season on a high note."
Yeah, well, we'll see about that, Devin.
The Utah Jazz: So the Jazz went from leading the Pacers 70-58 in the third quarter to losing 122-106 as Indy shot 51 percent from the field and got a career-high 44 points from Danny Granger. Mind you, Utah is currently fighting for the second-best record in the Western Conference. To which I say...
Grumped Jazz coach Jerry Sloan: "Our defense was non-existent. ... I just thought we would come with more energy. They seemed to have tremendous energy. They seemed to get stronger and more determined as the game wore on."
Reminder: The Pacers have nothing left to play for. Except, you know, fucking up their draft position. Good job, Jazz. Top notch.
The Minnesota Timberpoops: Despite a career-best performance from Darko Milicic (14 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals), Minny lost 106-97 to the Magic in Orlando, meaning they now have more consecutive losses (15) than total wins on the season (14). Somewhere, Kevin McHale is rewatching his famous clotheslines of Kurt Rambis and silently fist-pumping.
By the way, can I just say that Kurt's use of Kevin Love mystifies me. Love is Minnesota's best all-around player -- as evidenced by his team-best PER of 21.2 -- but Darko started over him and got more minutes (31 to 27)! It makes no sense. None. As long as he wasn't in foul trouble, I would be playing Love at least 35 minutes per game, no question. But hey, the Timberpoops are the second-worst team in the league for a reason.
The Atlanta Hawks: Have I made it clear that I think the Dirty Birds are a second-round loss waiting to happen? If not, please allow their 105-98 loss to the Sixers and sub-.500 road record (17-19) to make it clear for me. Philly scored 58 points in the paint and 28 points in transition. And if they hadn't bricked 10 free throws, the score might have been more lopsided than it was.
By the way, this win was only the Sixers' 12th in Philadelphia this season. That's the third-fewest home wins behind Minnesota (nine) and New Jersey (five). As always, I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
Said Atlanta coach Mike Woodson: "I'm very disappointed in the way we played. Our offense wasn't that bad, but we made a lot of mental mistakes."
Added Joe Johnson: "We just didn't show up to play."
The loss dropped the Hawks 4 1/2 games behind first-place Orlando in the Southeast Division. In other words: They can pretty much pucker up and kiss their shot at a higher playoff seed goodbye.
The Toronto Craptors: The Craptors -- who have lost eight of their last 11 games, with two of the wins coming against the Nyets and Timberpoops -- are desperately trying to hold onto the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race...because getting swept by the Craboliers would be much better than a lottery pick. I guess. And they sort of played like the game mattered, outshooting the Nuggets 47 percent to 41 percent and outrebounding them 58-38. Too bad Carmelo Anthony's beat them with a buzzer-beating 18-footer.
It was Toronto's first loss in the 21 games they've held an opponent under 100 points this season. So even when they do play defense they lose. Fail.
Bosh finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, which, on the surface, was no disgrace. But while Anthony and Billups shone with the game on the line, Bosh wilted. It was Bosh who fumbled a rebound of Anthony's missed free throw with 38 seconds left to give Billups that chance at a game-tying trey. (And okay, call that a bad bounce.) It was Bosh who missed his first of two free throws with 16 seconds left. (And okay, misses happen.)
But the truth is, Bosh could have lifted the Raptors to a win with even the slightest of fourth-quarter effort. Instead, while he was given the ball repeatedly down the stretch, he chose every option but aggression. He missed four of the five shots he deigned to attempt in the fourth quarter, most of them jumpers. And he got to the free-throw line for all of four attempts all night, making good on only two.
This spoke to a larger and troubling trend. Bosh is averaging 6.2 free-throw attempts per game in March, this when he was getting to the line more than 10 times a game in October. There are enthusiasts of teen abstinence with less aversion to body contact. One can't help but conclude that the impending free agent is saving himself for (another) marriage.
"They're crowding the lane a lot more," Bosh said, explaining himself. But anyone who watches can tell you the defenses haven't changed, Bosh's approach has.
Perhaps he is opting for jump shots to limit his risk of injury with a $130 million (all figures U.S.) payday looming in July. But don't the Raptors, desperate to make the playoffs, deserve honest effort for the $15.8 million they are paying him this season? Perhaps he doesn't want to continue to expose the startling lack of explosiveness he's been showing in his rare sorties to the goal, what with the health of his brace-sheathed knees.
And what to make of Bosh's game-high five turnovers, which brought his tally of giveaways to 19 in the past four games?
"I have no idea. I turn the ball over, I turn the ball over," Bosh said. "I really don't pay attention to that statistic too much. I don't care."
It was nice to hear some post-game truth, at last. Denver's stars made plays. Toronto's star doesn't care about giving the ball away -- or, judging by the way he's playing, anything but his next contract.
Am I sniffing too much glue, or is Bosh putting his tippy toes into Vince Carter territory? The Toronto press sure seems to think so.
Said Blatche: "We're happy the judge was a little lenient on him. But that's not something that right now I'm in a mood to talk about. We just had a game we lost."
Oh, now he cares.
Andray continued: "It's getting to a point where some guys have got to take this more serious. It's got to hurt. If it doesn't hurt you, then you don't care. I think that's what our problem is."
Added soon-to-be-ex-coach Saunders: "I told our guys we can't look behind us and say we've lost 13, 14. We've got to look at the next game as a way to get better. Whether you like it or not, we haven't been favored to win any games in the 14 games that we've played."
The Excremento Kings: Coming off Wednesday's loss to the Nyets -- during which they set a new season low for points scored with 79 -- the Purple Paupers went ahead and lost to the Celtics. It was their fifth defeat in the last six tries. Are we surprised? Do we care? No and mayb...uh, no.
The Los Angeles Lakers: "Mmmm. Lakers sleepy. Wake us for the playoffs." L.A. fans have to hope that's what was going on during their team's 91-75 loss to the Thunder. I mean, the Lakers were partying like it was 2005. L.A. shot 39 percent and gave up 21 points off 18 turnovers while getting outscored 44-30 in the paint. The Lakers also set a new season-low by dishing out only 7 assists. But hey, they're just killing time until the postseason. Right guys?
Said Mamba: "It's disappointing we didn't respond to the challenge. That being said, when the playoffs start it's a different situation."
Added Pau Gasol: "It was a tough game for us. I think we really don't have to make a huge deal about it. ... We don't want to search too deep into it because there's nothing to search for."
This was L.A.'s third-worst defeat of the season, behind a 26-point loss at Denver and a 20-point defeat against San Antonio. But, again, whatever, you know?
Said Mamba: "We want to play better. There's things that we have to do, that we have to shore up. But I know what we can do. I know what our identity is. That's the part that you don't want to be second-guessing. We had beaten this team, what, 12 straight times?"
See? Nothing to worry about.
Kobe Bryant: Mamba (11 points on 4-for-11 shooting) had more than twice as many turnovers (9) as field goals. It was the second time this month Kobe lost the ball nine times (including a March 15 game against the Warriors).
For the record, back on January 20 when the Miami Heat scored a season-low 65 points, I said: "The Heat are stuck in that '2005 Lakers' zone where Wade (playing the part of Kobe Bryant) can lead them to victory if he absolutely kills himself, but anything less than a great game can spell Miami's doom. Pat Riley should be very, very worried about what Wade is going to do in the offseason."
Basketbawful reader Hillsolo replied: "Well except Wade is not Kobe. Looking at all these comparisions between Wade and Kobe, I don't think Kobe would ever allow a team to score this low even with hands being cut off."
I fail to see much distinction between the Heat scoring 65 points with a bunch of crappy crap and the Lakers -- who, supposedly, are one of two teams to beat right now -- notching only 75 points. As always...just sayin'.
Phil Jackson, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "I thought Pau was soft inside." [Thanks to the anonymous reader for this nomination.]
The Milwaukee Bucks: Scary moment in this game when Udonis Haslem stepped on the back of Carlos Delfino's head. Delfino had to be taken out on a stretcher. As it turned out, the rest of the Bucks probably should have been carried out with him. Milwaukee shot 31 percent from the field and missed 17 of their 20 three-point attempts. Dudes were more broke than a college student who has to donate plasma three or four times in a week just to scrape up some beer money for Saturday night. Assuming he or she wakes up from their coma in time.
Jermaine "The Drain" O'Neal: In case you don't know why we call him "The Drain" and mock the stained glass-like nature of his creaky body, here's why:
O'Neal left in the first quarter after hyperextending his right knee.
"He's feeling OK but really none of us will know for sure until we get back to Miami and we re-evaluate," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
O'Neal had to be helped off the court when he hurt himself in what appeared to be a non-contact situation after being whistled for traveling. He hopped awkwardly, took a half-step and fell to the court midway through the first quarter.
The entire team and coaching staff surrounded O'Neal while a trainer bent and stretched O'Neal's right knee. O'Neal walked gingerly to the bench and did not return.
The Cleveland Cavaliers: I can only assume that the Crabs and Fakers lost tonight to make up for New Jersey's win. Thanks, Basketball Gods.
The New York Knicks: I'll leave this entry to Basketbawful reader Steve:
Despite the Nyets news, the Bricks need some attention for how extremely thoroughly they got beaten down last night:
- Every Sun played, every Sun scored, every Sun except Dragic got at least 1 rebound (starters all got between 5 and 9).
- Channing Freaking Frye tied his season high for rebounds (11).
- The Suns (THE SUNS) out-rebounded New York 56-38 and shot 55% from the field (NYK: 38%).
- Earl Clark (who'd been shooting 36% from the field) made 3-of-4, with 3 rebounds and an assist in six minutes, being a barely above D-League player thus far this season.
- The Suns' defense held the not-shabby 101.6-points-per-game Kicks to under 100 points.
- The Suns scored at least 30 points every quarter.
- The score would've been higher if the Suns hadn't basically stopped playing with 2 minutes left, even going to the point of giving themselves a shot-clock violation when they got the ball with 25 seconds left in the game.
- Did I mention the Suns won by 36?
There was a really poetic justice to how well the bench played in this game, since Mike "Seven Players or Less" 'Antoni refuses to play a bench, and especially rookies (just ask Jordan Hill), and many fans consider this a big reason the Suns didn't go all the way.
- Nobody played more than 27 minutes, and nobody played less than 6. Most played about 20.
- The Suns' starters started coming out of the game with 6:33 left in the third, and were all out at 1:43. None returned.
- The very end of the bench (Collins and Clark) played half of the fourth.
- Mike had 3 starters (Gallinari, Lee, and Douglas) STILL IN THE GAME at the end of the 4th. They all came back in the game at about 6:20 left in the fourth, down by twenty-nine. "OK guys, go win it!"
Friday lacktion report: Despite his shock at New Jersey's victory, chris came through with tonight's mega lactivity update:
Bullets-Bobcats: Fabulous Fabricio Oberto fabricated a brick in just 47 seconds to earn a garden variety Mario AND a +1 suck differential, the same suck score that Derrick Brown gave His Airness in 2:10 via foul.
Jazz-Pacers: Kyrylo Fesenko fouled once in 1:20 for a +1 that also earned a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl ratio.
Wolves-Magic: Damien Wilkins can now buy an autographed rookie card of his father's after a 3.9 trillion take (3:53), while Ryan Hollins countered a block in 5:33 with a brick and foul for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Hawks-Sixers: As the dirty birds found themselves grounded in Philly, Joe Smith bricked and fouled twice each in 3:34 for a 2:0 Voskuhl and a +4, while THE Mario West really likes blasting the fire flower on a regular basis, with a 17 second stint to earn his 5th Mario in ten days! For the Sixers, Jodie Meeks tossed one brick from Milord la Chamarre for a +1 in 3:16.
Nuggets-Raptors: Ty Lawson laid down a brick from the Eaton Centre as well as a foul in 3:13 for a +2 - the 200th player in the Association this season to earn a suck differential score!!!!
Kings-Celtics: Spencer Hawes charaded a pair of turnovers and fouls each against two boards and a free throw for a 4:3 Voskuhl in 7:46, while Joey Dorsey mouthed a tune in Mario Paint in just 26 seconds!
Pistons-Nyets: Ugh. TWO GAME WINNING STREAK FOR TEAM HOFFALAND? HUH!? THIS CANNOT BE.
Well, the only good thing about this was Kwame Brown living down to expectations with a 4:2 Voskuhl in 10:12 by neutralizing two boards with two fouls, two giveaways, and a brick.
Lakers-Thunder: Etan Thomas stupendously lost the rock twice, fouled once, and missed twice for a +5 in 3:56 that also counts as a 3:0 Voskuhl! In that same time period, teammate Kyle Weaver bricked once from (yay, I get to use THIS tired center-city meme AGAIN!) Bricktown for a +1.
Crabs-Spurs: In what apparently was Turn Back The Clock To 2007 Night (where the Crabs could only get to wading pool depth in Texas!), Jawad Williams pinched out a foul and brick in 3:39 for a +2, while Daniel "Boobie" Gibson (1.1 trillion/1:08) and Leon Powe (4.3 trillion/4:21) clawed the lock of a washed up treasure chest successfully!
The Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets: Make it a franchise-worst 15 losses in a row. As the AP recap put it: "[They are now] 0-for-March. The last victory came on Feb. 28 against NBA-worst New Jersey."
Speaking of worsts, the Bullets set a new season-worst for field goal defense as the Jazz shot 59 percent from the field and scored 50 points in the paint behind a combined 44 points for the Booze Man and the Turkish Assassin. Said Washington "coach" Flip Saunders: "Their bigs mauled our guys."
Mike Miller, quote machine: Regarding his team's 15-game losing streak: "Obviously, it's not any fun. It's frustrating, but no one feels sorry for us. I don't think you'll see Houston or New Orleans feel sorry for us and let us win."
The New Orleans Hornets: Rookie Darren Collison had a perfect night -- 10-for-10 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line -- but the Hornets' 112-101 home loss to the Frail Blazers mathematically eliminated them from playoff contention. This defeat came in spite of the New Orleans shooting better than 58 percent from the field.
Said David West: "We just didn't have a good enough effort defensively. They hit some pretty tough shots (but) we decided tonight, I guess, to not give much resistance."
The New Jersey Nyets: And order is restored. The Bulls -- who were themselves coming off a 29-point home loss to the Miami Heat -- crushed the Nyets and their two-game winning streak with a 106-83 blowout.
I guess Devin Harris isn't smiling anymore.
And you know who shot New Jersey full of holes? No, not Gilbert Arenas. It was Jannero Pargo, who led the Bulls with a game-high 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Pargo’s previous high in points this season had been 20 in the infamous Kirk Hinrich Meltdown Game. The last time Jannero scored 27 or better was for the New Orleans Hornets in a first round playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks on April 25, 2008. The last time before that was when Pargo put up 34 off the bench during his first stint with the Bulls on March 26, 2004. That’s it. That’s the entire list of Jannero’s 27-plus point games.
I know you know this, but, as always, I am just sayin'.
Said New Jersey's lame duck Kiki Vandeweghe: "We just did not come out to play tonight. We didn't have the energy we the past few games. We didn't have the drive or the intensity. Everybody struggled. I don't think there was too many exceptions tonight."
Added Jarvis Hayes: "We just didn't come with the intensity from last night. It didn't carry over. It's frustrating. We just couldn't get a stop. We fought to get their lead back to a reasonable, to seven. They made plays, and kind of got back out ahead."
The Houston Rockets: As of their 109-101 home loss to the Lakers, the Money Ballers have lost five of their last six, with the sole win a 116-112 victory over the hapless Bricks. Although it's worth noting that the Rockets almost came back from a 20-point deficit and might have won if they hadn't gotten outscored 35-11 in the second quarter.
Said Houston coach Rick Adelman: "It's pretty simple. We just had a bad second quarter. They turned up their defense. They got very physical. We fell into the trap." Who does Rick think he is? Admiral Ackbar?
The Gol_en State Warriors: In a season full of defensive lows, the Warriors -- amazingly -- hit a new extra low-y low in a 111-90 home loss to the Mavericks. Obviously it's not the point total, since Gol_en State could easily give up 111 in only three quarters. Nope, it was the career-high 40 points scored by...Rodrigue Beaubois! Mind you, Beaubois played just 48 seconds and went scoreless in Wednesday night's loss to the Frail Blazers.
Man, players love playing against the Warriors.
Said Beaubois: "I felt great. I thought I couldn't miss so I kept shooting. ... When the coach called me I just tried to play my game, be aggressive. Just tried to energize the team. Some nights you just feel your shot and keep shooting."
Added Warriors coach Don Nelson: "What a performance by Beaubois. Unbelievable. We left him open a couple of times but it didn't matter. He made shots when we covered him, when he was open. Nine 3s, what a performance. I didn't expect that."
Update! Late addition from the Yahoo! game notes, courtesy of Basketbawful reader jim: "Roddy Beaubois joined Brandon Jennings as the only rookies with at least 40 points in a game this season.... Beaubois set career highs in points (40), made field goals (15), made 3-pointers (9), rebounds (8) and blocks (3). Both Beaubois and Jennings, ironically, had their career nights against Golden State. Jennings scored 55 against the Warriors in November."
Dirk Nowitzki, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Regarding Beaubois' scoring explosion: "We see it a lot in practice. ... He's long."
Okay, okay. That's me cheating a little. Here's the full quote as sent in by Basketbawful reader Phil H.: "We see it a lot in practice," he said. "He's a very, very explosive scorer. He's long. If he makes his shot he's tough to guard because he's so good at penetrating."
Monta Ellis: Moped, who might be the least efficient player in the NBA, finished with 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting to go along with 2 rebounds and 4 assists. That would be a great all-around game for, say, Jannero Pargo, but not for a dude with a $66 million dollar contract...especially when that dude thinks he's the second-best player in the league. And no, I'm not making this up:
When asked about a recent Rolling Stone article, which declared Kevin Durant better than Kobe Bryant, Monta Ellis raised eyebrows with comments of his own.
"I'm going to say LeBron James," Ellis said when asked about the league's three best players. "He can do it all, pass, score, defend, block shots. No. 2, I would have to say, me. I can do a whole lot of things: defend, score, make passes, do whatever I need to do.
"No. 1, I'd say Kobe Bryant. There isn't one player that can stop Kobe one-on-one. He has a lot of stuff. He can defend. And of course, he won four championships."
He can't be serious. No, really. He cannot be serious...can he?! [Thanks to the anonymous commenter for the head's up.]
Saturday lacktion report: And now for your super short lactivity update:
Jazz-Bullets: Othyus Jeffers jacked up a foul and giveaway in 3:24 for a +2 suck differential, while the fabulous Fabricio Oberto fouled once in 6:21 (despite an assist) for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Frail Blazers-Hornets: Jeff Pendergraph wired himself 3.65 trillion (3:40) this evening!
The Excremento Kings: I'll give the Paupers this much: They were scrappy! And Beno Udrih even had his first-ever career triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists). But no amount of scrap and triple-doublage could prevent Excremento from suffering their 50th loss of the season. They now have back-to-back 50-loss seasons for the first time since 1992-93 and 1993-94.
Oh, and they're 2-8 without Tyreke Evans, by the way.
The Memphis Grizzlies: Fear the deer! Despite a big game from Z-Bo (31 points, 15 boards), the Griz couldn't do anything about the three-headed deer monster of John Salmons (10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and OT), Brandon Jennings (29 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals) and Andy Bogut (18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocked shots).
Remember when the bears' season looked so promising?
Said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins: "I have no problems or worries about how we are going to finish the season. But I told them if you have this kind of focus and effort, you are going to win a lot of games and we are going to have a good finish."
Huh? Your team was all fouls, missed shots and turnovers down the stretch, Lionel. But, uh, good luck with that "winning a lot of games" thing.
The Indiana Pacers: It was nice to see them go to Atlanta and get back on track for the NBA Draft lottery. That five-game winning streak was really wigging me out. The exclamation point on this beating happened during the fourth quarter when Zaza Pachulia actually led a fast break and finished it by dishing a behind-the-back pass to Josh Smith for the jam.
Said Smith: "Zaza likes to do his thing a little bit in the open court, so I'm not going to hate on his shine."
Added Joe Johnson: "That was a great pass. I think he should have been a guard, anyway."
"Magic" Pachulia? Oooooh yeeeeah.
The Toronto Craptors: Remember: The Craptors are (supposedly) fighting to hold onto the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Of course, after their 97-94 loss to the Heat, they've now lost nine of their last 12 games. And two of their three wins during that stretch came against the Nyets and Timberpoops.
That said, the Craptors played this game like they wanted to win, building a 17-point lead (72-55) with a little over five minutes left in the third quarter. But they couldn't do anything about Dwyane Wade (32 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocked shots) or Udonis "I'm all about winning" Haslem (11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter). Miami ended up outscoring Toronto 32-17 in the final 12 minutes.
It was the Heat's biggest comeback of the season, one-upping their 13-point comeback win at Phoenix back on January 8. Afterwards, the Craptors seemed a little confused about what happened.
Explained Toronto coach Jay Triano: "We had a hard time getting open looks. ... They cranked it up in the fourth."
Countered Jose Calderon: "We had some open looks at the end and the ball just didn't want to go in."
At least everybody's on the same page, right?
Vince Carter: Vinsanity left 95 seconds into Orlando's home game against the Denver Nuggets. The reason: A sprained right big toe. Jesus, Vince, rub some Vagisil on it and get back into the game. And some people wonder why I think the Magic are going to have problems in the playoffs. Well, this is why, people. This is why. Freaking Carter makes Hedo Turkoglu look like a piece of iron.
The Denver Nuggets: The Magic lost Vag Carter, so it was J.J. Redick to the rescue. No, seriously. Redick scored 23 points and set career highs in minutes (46), assists (8) and rebounds (7). And there was nothing the Nuggets could do about it. Again, seriously.
Denver has now lost four of their last five games despite the playoff positioning dogfight they're in with the Jazz and Mavericks. But hey, why worry?
Said 'Melo: "I don't think that it's cause for concern. It's just that it's happening right now, the last nine or 10 games of the season. But I don't think anybody on our team should be concerned about anything."
Nope. No problems here. Going into the playoffs ice cold should work out fine.
Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: Regarding Redick's big night: "I thought the key to J.J.'s performance was that rest I gave him at the beginning of the game, that 1:35, so he could be fresh."
Stan Van Gundy, inintentionally dirty quote machine: This nomination comes from Basketbawful reader zaldysciple:
SVG expressing some man love for J.J. Redick's butt:
"He was tremendous. What you have to know, and what see every day and appreciate, he is one of the best-conditioned guys in the league. He works his butt of year-round to be in great shape." -- Didn't know NBA players needed to get their butts in shape also. And SVG cherishes them.
"He usually gets no more than 24-25 minutes [but] you need him for 46 and he's able to do it." – Wow, talk about stamina...his butt is in shape, alright.
The Minnesota Timberpoops: I'll give the T-Poops this: They did themselves proud in coming back from a 25-point second quarter deficit to make the Suns sweat a little. Wait. Wait a tick. Minny tied a franchise record by losing their 16th game in a row, thereby surpassing the 15-game skid they suffered earlier this season. Okay, so go ahead and strike that "did themselves proud" part from the record. Damn, this team sucks.
Said Timberpoops coach Kurt Rambis: "Everybody's frustrated. I'm frustrated. The coaches are. The players are. The front office is. The fans are."
Added Ramon Sessions: "It wears on you."
By the way, the Suns have won seven games in a row and 21 of their last 26. Yet nobody is talking about them, and that feels kind of right, which is weird...isn't it?
The Detroit Pistons: The Bulls basically toyed with the Pistons all night, building a double-digit lead pretty much any time the decided to pay attention. In the process, Chicago swept the Motor City Mistakes for the first time since 1995-96...when Michael Jordan led the Bulls to an NBA record 72 wins. Detroit has now lost eight in a row, 15 of 17, and, apparently, the will to live.
Jason Maxiell: Welcome to Joakim Noah's poster, Jason.
This jam had Bulls broadcaster Stacey King freaking the hell out. Screamed King: "Get that man an Advil! He got a headache! A headache!" Or something like that.
The Oklahoma City Thunder: I guess I could talk about how the Thunder -- who are trying to clinch a playoff spot -- choked at home, or about how Kevin Durant was the key element to that choke (0-for-3 in the fourth, a shanked fourth quarter foul shot despite entering the game having made 97 of his last 100 free throw attempts, two shanked treys in the final two and a half minutes). But forget about all that. How 'bout dem Frail Blazers? They've win 11 of their last 13 games and need only three wins in their last eight to clinch a playoff spot. Although, IMHO, they've pretty much locked it up already.
Oh, and check this out, courtesy of the AP recap: "Portland improved to 14-3 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season and has won its last eight, dating to a loss on Jan. 5 against Memphis."
Considering all the injuries and their record (45-29), I'm thinking Nate McMillan deserves some serious buzz for CotY.
The Boston Celtics: The C's had been pretty thoroughly outplayed during the third quarter, but they had managed to pull to within 11 in the final minute. I'm not sure you could say they were poised for a fourth quarter run exactly, but it looked like they were at least within striking distance. Then George Hill hit an uncontested three-pointer and Manu Ginobili was allowed to race downcourt and toss up a running, one-handed bank shot that pushed the San Antonio lead to 17. And that, my friends, was the ball game. Insert booing and an early exit by the Boston crowd here.
The Leprechauns shot 37 percent as a team, missed 13 of 14 three-pointers and got outrebounded 48-37. But those numbers don't tell the story of how badly the Celtics were outworked, outhustled, and straight up outplayed. When Matt Bonner is streaking to the hoop, hitting hooks over Kevin Garnett, and knocking down run-killing treys, you know there's a problem.
Said Doc Rivers: "It was one of those nights we were awful."
Rationalized Ray Allen: "This does not change our progress. You trip up a little here, but it doesn't change the mission we're on or the direction we're heading."
He's right. The Celtics are still heading in the same direction. Down.
Update! Kevin Garnett: Think this would have happened in 2008? You know, when KG had two knees. [Thanks to the anonymous commenter who sent in the link.]
The Los Angeles Clippers: Despite the fact that Monta Ellis -- the self-proclaimed second-best player in the league -- missed the game with flu-like symptoms, the Warriors still ran the Clippers off their own court, winning 121-103.
Said The Other L.A. Team's interim coach Kim Hughes: "Golden State can do that to you. They can trick you into playing a ragtag game, which they are very adept at. We really went to pieces. I don't know if it was just a bad combination of guys, or whether we didn't guard, or whether their speed shocked us."
How 'bout "all of the above," Kim? Or my personal favorite: your team is who we thought they were.
Sunday lacktion report: Let's wrap up this weekend with one last lacktivity update from chris:
Nuggets-Magic: Johan Petro countered a field goal and board in 20:16 with 5 fouls and a giveaway for a 6:5 Voskuhl!
For Orlando, Brandon Bass played a low note in Mario Paint that lasted a whole 41 seconds!
Suns-Wolves: Jarron Collins made two boards in 10:41, but bricked once and lost the rock thricely for a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Spurs-Celtics: Garrett Temple may be the only man to lack it up for three teams this year, and appropriately he gave San Antonio a celebratory +3 suck differential in 3:19 by bricking once from Exchange Place and adding a foul and giveaway to the list as well.