Hmm. One sad bench photo doesn't feel like enough for this epic beating...
The Atlanta Hawks: Man...I really wish I would have saved that story where I peed my pants while sitting next to the girl I had a crush on for this game. But, in all honesty, how could I have seen this coming? How could anyone? This was a failure so epic that the term "epic fail" doesn't feel anywhere near strong enough. No human words quite do this one the injustice it deserves. If a normal blowout is a kick to the groin, this would be the equivalent of someone repeatedly kicking said groin until all that was left was a bloody, oozing puddle of genital soup. Chunky brand, of course.
In fact, here's a quick two-minute "highlight reel" from last night's game:
Said Mike Bibby: "It's embarrassing. They embarrassed us."
Added Zaza Pachulia: "They made a run and they never looked back."
Yeah, you could say that, Zaza.
The Magic outscored the Hawks 60-21 over the second and third quarters. They led by as many as 46 points before settling for a 114-71 victory that made me feel dirty, like I'd just watched 48 minutes of German torture porn.
Orlando was +18 on the boards and +22 in points in the paint. The Magic scored 26 points off 16 Atlanta turnovers. Seven of those turnovers were forced during the Hawks' 10-point second quarter. Atlanta's "top performer" was Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 fouls).
What does that tell you?
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Orlando's 43-point win was their second-largest margin of victory in a playoff game all-time and tied for the second-largest margin of victory in NBA history in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series. It was the Hawks' second-worst loss in their postseason history...the worst being a 58-point beat down by the Lakers in 1956. Of course, that was well before the Hawks moved to Atlanta.
Here's the top five largest margins of victory in Game 1 in NBA postseason history: 47 (Magic over Celtics in 1995), 47 (Lakers over Spurs in 1986), 43 (Magic over Hawks 2010), 43 (Lakers over Mavericks in 1984), and 41 (Bulls over Knicks in 1991).
That's right: This was the third-biggest Game 1 drubbing ever.
If you're an Atlanta fan -- and I'm really freaking sorry if that's the case -- the biggest disappointment isn't the loss itself or even the historic margin of defeat. It's gotta be the fact that the Hawks just gave up. There was a mental downshift during the third quarter where you could tell the Atlanta players had started going through the motions. And although I guess that's human nature -- let's face it, they weren't coming back from 40 points down -- there's something to be said for going down swinging, you know, trying to establish some forward momentum for the next game.
But that's not what these Hawks do. They aren't one of those mentally tough, high basketball IQ squads. Their focus and effort levels vacillate from game to game, which is why they're such a lousy road team, and why a weakened Milwaukee team pushed them to the brink in the first round, and why I have never taken this team very seriously.
Jamal Crawford: Ah, yet another game that reminds us why this is Jamal's first trip to the NBA playoffs. Despite logging the second-most minutes of the game (34), Mr. Sixth Man finished with only 5 points on 1-for-11 shooting. What's more (or, more accurately, less), he finished with twice as many combined fouls and turnovers (6) as rebounds and assists (3). His plus-minus score was a game-worst -35.
Al Horford: Not only did he go 1-for-7 from the field, but Horford eaten alive by Pumaman (21 points, 8-for-10, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks and only 3 fouls).
Joe Johnson: Yeah, I know. I could keep listing Hawks players until I got through their entire roster. This is the last one, I swear. Johnson -- the supposed leader of the Hawks -- went 4-for-11 and finished with a game-worst 5 turnovers. Not only was his offense off, but he killed the team's offense by forcing too many isolations and holding the ball for way too long. Which, sure, is what he always does...but the effect was worse than usual, as his second-worst-of-the-game plus-minus score (-29) attests.
Mike Woodson: Forget the fact that he presided over the wrong side of one of the worst-ever ass kickings in NBA history...that was bad enough. But did you see Woodson's press conference? Mike looked like he was about to fall asleep. What he should have been was pissed. Pissed that his team almost got eliminated by the Andrew Bogut-less Bucks. Pissed that his team quit on themselves and him last night. I would have had more respect for Woodson if he'd gone all Dennis Green on the press corps:
Something like this would have worked too:
Instead, dude acted like he'd just lost a particularly puzzling game of chess: "It was an ugly game for us. I wish I knew what happened." I'm sure your players and fans wish they knew you had a pulse, Mike.
Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: To be frank, the Magic probably needed a cold slap of reality after this game, and Van Gundy was more than happy to provide it: "I told them that [Wednesday] I will have for them virtually every time in NBA playoff history that a team had a blowout win, came back and lost the next game. You've got to forget what happened."
The Utah Jazz: Here's a dirty little secret women try to keep from men: Size actually does matter. And the poor Jazz...they're just too tiny.
As big as Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum look against most teams, they look like friggin' giants next to pretty much everybody on the Utah roster except Kyrylo Fesenko, and that guy was trash (1-for-7, 3 rebounds and 4 fouls in 17 minutes). Seriously, the way Gasol and Bynum buzz past Fesenko makes it look like Kyrylo just got zapped with a Medusa head, Clash of the Titans-style (or God of War-style). That guy would lose a foot race to Stephen Hawking, even if Hawking was tied to a boat anchor and covered in cement.
Anyway, the Jazz grabbed 19 offensive boards but still got outrebounded 58-40. The Lakers scored 64 of their 111 points in the paint as Gasol and Bynum combined for 39 points (on 14-for-20 shooting), 29 rebounds and 7 blocked shots. Even Lamar Odom (11 points, 4-for-4, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks) had his way inside.
If the Lakers could have held onto the ball -- they committed 20 turnovers for 26 points going the other way -- this might have been a blowout.
Said Utah coach Jerry Sloan: "Their rebounding tonight was just something we could not handle. I don't like to use the word 'disheartening.' I thought our guys played extremely hard to try and stay in the ballgame."
Oh, they tried, all right.
Carlos Boozer: His 20/12/4 seems pretty good until you realize he went 9-for-21 and got six of his shots swatted, stuffed or otherwise dismissed. Four players (Bynum, Gasol, Mamba and Odom) rejected Carlos, and he had attempts sent back by Odom and Gasol on the same possession. For perspective, the blocks against Boozer represent almost half of L.A.'s 13 shot blocks. The Jazz, by contrast, had exactly 4 blocked shots as a team. And don't even get me started on Boozer's interior defenselessness.
Deron Williams: Apparently, Mr. "I'm The Best Point Guard in the League" Williams is too good to walk to the locker room these days...
Nice sweater, by the way. Williams didn't look too hot against the Lakers last night: 15 points, 4-for-16, 2-for-6 from downtown, 9 assists, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls. Not horrible...but not exactly best-at-his-position-y either. I think Deron got spoiled by the _enver _efense in the first round.
Ron Artest: Rumor has it Crazy Pills had ball boys searching through all the garbage cans and trash dumpsters around the Staples Center...looking for his jump shot. Despite the fact that he apparently forgot to shoot -- he's 7-for-42 from downtown during the playoffs -- that didn't keep Artest from chucking up seven threes last night. He only made one of 'em, though.
So...what's the deal?
Said Ron-Ron: "I don't know. I feel great. I don't really know. I just have to keep playing basketball."
Vinny Del Negro: Not to dogpile on the poor guy, but an anonymous commenter sent this in and...it's worth a watch:
Lacktion report: It's a sad day for chris and the rest of us here at Basketbawful: Mario West played last night but does not appear in this report. Alas, the lacktion show must go on...
Hawks-Magic: Jason Collins negated one field goal and board in 4:30 with three fouls and a giveaway for a 4:3 Voskuhl.
Jazz-Lakers: Josh Powell must've felt like King Koopa's last moments in his castle tonight: two fouls and one giveaway in just 56 seconds for a Mario and a +3 suck differential that also notched a 3:0 Voskuhl!