Ball!The Los Angeles Clippers:
The Exremento Kings entered last night's game with 24 wins and an eight-game losing streak. And, frankly, they might not even be that
good. But sometimes the Basketball Gods smile down on bad teams. Well, okay, maybe it's less of a smile and more of a wry smirk. You know, the kind you get after watching somebody slip on a patch of ice
or step in dog poo
. Or, of course, when a fatty falls in a hole
At any rate, that smirk from the Gods represented a home game against the historically hapless Clippers. The result was a 116-94 smackdown that served as Exhibit 52 -- as in losses -- in the case of The People versus They Are Who We Thought They Were.
Speaking of which, let's look at some numbers. The Purple Paupers shot better than 54 percent and outrebounded The Other L.A. Team 47-34, including 29-13 in the first half. So, no defense, no toughness. Classic Clippers.
But wait, there's more big picture-y bawfulness: "[The Clippers] have lost seven straight and are 3-19 since Feb. 24. ... The Clippers finished with a road record of 8-33 this season and have just three wins outside of Los Angeles since Dec. 19. Hughes is 6-23 since replacing Mike Dunleavy on Feb. 6."
The worst part is these numbers feel like stock statistics. They could literally be from almost any Clippers season ever.
Said Drew Gooden: "We didn't compete tonight. I don't know as far as our future and how we are going to play the rest of the games, but we didn't compete tonight. We competed last game. Tonight we competed only in stretches."
Same deal. That quote could be from almost any Clippers game that has ever been played. Bill Walton could have said that back in the 80s. Danny Manning could have said that in the 90s. Elton Brand could have said that four or five seasons ago.
Isn't there anything that can be done to save this bawfulest of franchises?!Baron Davis, rebranding machine:
B-Dizzle thinks he has the answer to that question:
Baron Davis doesn't claim to have figured out why the Clippers have only won 46 games over the past two seasons … or why the franchise seems so perpetually unlucky … or why Mike Dunleavy couldn't make it work … or Kim Hughes …
But he does have ideas about the changes he'd like to see made heading into next year.
"Hopefully in the offseason I'll sit down with the coach and the management, with the owner, and just let them know how committed I am to rebranding this whole Clipper franchise," Davis said in a wide-ranging interview before the team's game Wednesday night against the Blazers.
"I thought I'd just be able to come in, plug in and play, do what I do. It hasn't been that. It hasn't really been my personality being infectious on the organization. It was more like, 'You come here, you adapt to what we're doing.' Kind of, 'Sit and wait your turn.' So hopefully my turn is this next year."
He...he can't possibly be serious, can he? I mean, this is just another skit, like Step Brothers
or Booms Beard
, right? I mean, it has to be...doesn't it? Because the only other two possibilities are that 1) Davis has finally cracked, or 2) "Baron" is actually Zrrdaxxon from Planet Greelorx, and this is his method of infiltrating human society for his planet's eventual assault on Earth. Let's hope it's the former and not the latter.Tyreke Evans, quote machine:
After finishing with 28 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists against the Clips, The Freak is on the verge of joining The Big O, Air Jordan, and King Crab as the only players to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists as a rookie. And 'Reke would like 'Reke to know that he has his vote for Rookie of the Year. Said Evans: "Of course I would, why wouldn't I [vote for myself]?"
Oh, I dunno. Maybe because you're one of the league's biggest ball hogs
?The Los Angeles Lakers:
The Lakers have already clinched the Pacific Division, and a win against the Nuggets would have allowed them to clinch the number one seed in the Western Conference. To which Kobe Bryant was all, like, whatever.
Said Mamba: "I don't care about that at all, I really don't. We were expected to win the West. I expected to win the West. I expected us to have the best record in the league. It didn't happen. So, from that standpoint, we're disappointed so far. At the end of the day, winning in June is the thing that we really judge our season by. If we don't do that, it's a failure. ... It's been like an uphill battle for us. We're not really fretting about it or are overly concerned about [our recent poor play]. We are concerned. We're just kind of locking in, just focusing, getting ready, getting healthy and mentally getting prepared for the postseason."
That preparation included resting Kobe and losing a tight game in Denver last night. But hey, why should the Lakers care? After all, they only need one win in their final four games -- at Minnesota, versus the Frail Blazers and Paupers, and then "on the road" against the Clippers -- to secure the West's top spot. I think they'll probably do that. They do to. And with Andrew Bynum's announcement that he'll be back for the playoffs, why worry?
Of course, even though sitting Mamba was essentially the same thing as a concession, no Lakers loss would be complete without some bitching by Phil Jackson. In this case, his whining centered around a play that happened in the final 20 seconds. Shannon Brown threw an outlet pass to Derek Fisher, but Billups disrupted the pass and the ball went out of bounds off Fisher. The refs ruled it Nuggets ball and then confirmed it with a quick peek at the video monitor. But that wasn't enough for P-Jax. Nothing that goes against his team ever is.
Said Jackson: "It was our ball, but they had already called it Denver's ball. [Billups] hit Fisher's arm and Fisher's arm knocked it out. Normally they make that call as an adjustment."
I hope he was joking around. Plays like that happen hundreds, maybe thousands of times every year, and unless there's egregious amounts of contact, the refs usually call it off whoever actually touched the ball last.The Denver Nuggets:
It was a nice win, especially on the second night of back-to-backs after a tough game that saw Carmelo Anthony get, uh, knocked out or something. But barely beating a Mamba-less Lakers squad isn't exactly a confidence booster, is it? Especially considering 'Melo twisted his ankle coming down on Fisher's foot on the game's final play.Derek Fisher:
I have a lot of respect for Fish, but watching him play lately is like watching a straight-to-video copy of Weekend At Bernie's 3, only Fisher is Bernie and Phil Jackson is those two dumb guys who think pretending a dead guy is still alive is a good idea. Last night, Derek was 2-for-11. And, admittedly, Sasha Vujacic and Shannon Brown -- who were both 3-for-12 -- were just as bad. But they didn't get their last-second shot swatted.
By the way, Basketbawful reader Karc had this to add: "Lakers backcourt went 11-43 (without Kobe). So why did Derek Fisher take a boneheaded 3 (they were only down by two) with time running out and two timeouts remaining over Carmelo Anthony, who is eight inches taller than him? Did he really think that Carmelo wasn't going to block the shot? I mean, he may think he's clutch and all, but last time I checked, he needed Kobe Byrant to knock out Jameer Nelson to nail a big three."Crabs-Bulls:
I just couldn't choose which of these teams to "worst" today. Sure, the Bulls came away with a crucial win and tied the Toronto Craptors for eighth place in the Leastern Conference, but they also barely beat a Cleveland squad that was missing LeBron James ("bumps and bruises") and lost Antawn Jamison (right foot contusion) late in the fourth quarter. Chicago couldn'd hold onto the double-digit lead they built in the third quarter, and they couldn't even close out the Crabs, as Luol Deng and Derrick Rose missed four straight free throws in the final 14.4 seconds. Moreover, it took a 17-foot jump shot from Joakim Noah and then a Noah tip in off a miss by Rose to eke out this one point win.
Oh, and it also took some dreadful offense from Cleveland. Mind you, the Crabs owe this loss to a defensive fail. To wit, the Bulls rank 28th in Offensive Efficiency (100.5 points per 100 possessions) while the Cavaliers are 7th in Defensive Efficiency (101.2 points allowed per 100 possessions). Yet Chicago shot nearly 52 percent as a team, had an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 54.7, and finished with an Offensive Efficiency rating of 110.1. All that despite Taj Gibson’s forgettable 1-for-9 shooting performance.
But down the stretch, Mike Brown's standard "give LeBron the ball and watch helplessly from the sidelines" offensive game plan was replaced by an inventive "give Mo Williams the ball and watch helplessly from the sidelines" strategem. Sadly, it almost worked. Williams was a human torch, blasting the Bulls for a season-high 35 points and drilling six three-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter. And seriously, a couple of those threes were crazy ridiculous.
Of course, hitting all those shots and scoring all those points put Mo into "heat check mode," and so, with the game on the line, he naturally forced up an ugly-ass turnaround jumper over some aggressive defense by Kirk Hinrich. Of course, Chicago kept the gak-fest going with Deng's bricked freebies, but Cleveland's next (and last) possession missed not one but two missed jumpers by Andreson Varejao sandwiched around a blocked layup attempt by Jamario Moon.
The most painful part of that sequence was that Andy V. headfaked himself into a worse shot on the first jumper. Coach Brown wasn't happy: "The play was designed for Mo. We know they were blitzing his pick-and-rolls. We ran a pick-and-roll play and changed the angle. Noah did a terrific job of catching up to the play and trying to double-team the ball. Andy was wide open from 15 feet. He's got to shoot that. He's got to feel the clock. He's got to shoot that shot when he's that wide open."
Yep. 'Cause you want Sideshow Bob poppin' jumpers in game-deciding situations. That's the NBA's 2009 Coach of the Year talking, folks.Random extra: A step-by-step video about how to draw LeBron James
.Unintentionally dirty quotage:
: "Random tangent: Just turned on the Masters, announcer regarding Tiger: 'He's got a lot of holes remaining.' LOL. Yea, I am not mature."Lacktion report:
As requested, chris's lacktion report now comes with handy links to our lacktion terms.
Clippers-Kings: With a meaningless matchup like this late in the season, one could be forgiven for taking lacktion for granted here, but even non-performers have to show up! For Los Angeles's other team, Brian Skinner behaved predictably with a foul, brick, and turnover in 4:57 for a +3 suck differential that doubled as a 2:0 Voskuhl, while Steve Novak continues to lack with a foul in 3:09 for a +1.
Sean May countered one steal in 6:06 with four bricks and three fouls for a 3:0 Voskuhl, while Jon Brockman made two monster boards in 7:39 but lost the rock twice and fouled once for a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Lakers-Nuggets: Luke Walton missed once in 3:42 and also had a foul for a +2, while Malik Allen negated two assists in 10:26 with two bricks, a turnover, and three fouls for a 4:0 Voskuhl.
Labels: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Worst of the Night