You want more nightmare fuel? Seriously? Then I give you...Shaqeeta:
The Sacramento Kings: Going into their game against the Nyets in New Jersey, the Paupers hadn't opened a season with consecutive wins since 2003-04. And after choking away a 97-89 lead with 3:41 left, they still haven't. Excremento scored an eye-popping 32 points off 27 Nyets turnovers, but they failed miserably in the "hands in faces" department, as New Jersey shot 52+ percent from the field. However, the Kings did hack and slash enough to give up 45 free throw attempts. So they have that going for them. Which is nice.
Here's a sneaky peek at Team Purple's down-the-stretch offense: Tyreke Evans missed 13-footer; Darnell Jackson missed 2-footer; Carl Landry missed 16-footer; Francisco Garcia missed 23-footer; Beno Udrih missed 20-footer; Evans missed layup; Garcia made 27-footer; Jackson missed 23-footer; Omri Casspi missed 28-footer; Udrih missed 26-footer.
New Jersey closed with a 17-3 surge over the final 3:40, with Harris scoring six straight late in the run.
Paul Westphal, captain obviou: "To give up 45 free throws is not the way to win the game." In related news, coaching the Kings is not the way to win the game.
Avery Johnson, praise machine: "PRAISE THE COMEBACK. GUYS DON'T GIVE BACK. LET'S PRAISE THE COMEBACK. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT."
Andres Nocioni: It wasn't so much that Noc had his last-second shot attempt swatted by Josh Smith. After all, Smith already had 5 blocked shots on the night before that final stuff. No, it's more that Noc held the ball until the last possible second before attempting a step-back three...against a guy who already had 5 blocked shots on the night. It wasn't going to end well. And it didn't.
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate: His team fell to 0-2 after letting the Hawks shoot 51 percent as a team and failing to capitalize on 29 fast break points and the 22 points they scored off 20 Atlanta turnovers. Still, after watching Nocioni get his junk rejected in the closing seconds, Collins suddenly had the answer to Philly's woes.
"I am still trying to figure out this team. Nocioni is going to give us more of a physical presence out there. We're just too small out three and it's not a good mix. The way to get Nocioni out there is to start him."
Collins, the head coach, is still trying to figure his team out. Yep. That should end well.
The Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs -- fresh off their hope-lifting home win over the mighty Celtics -- traveled to Toronto and lost 101-81 to the Craptors.
Yeah. Pretty much what we all expected, right?
But maybe what we didn't expect was some low-level superdickery from the Dinos, which came in the form of a nearly last second alley-oop pass from Marcus Banks to Leandro Barbosa. Why toss an alley-oop when you've already beaten your opponent into hapless submission? Free taco excitement, baby! Or, in this case, free pizza excitement.
Said Sonny Weems: "We weren't trying to disrespect them, we weren't trying to humiliate them or nothing. We did that for our fans. You get 100 points, fans get pizza and that's every game with us."
NBA action. It's FAN-tastic.
Jay Triano, bitterness machine: "You know, how many years did we watch them dance down there with all the hoop and hollering and everything? It's a different team so it probably wasn't the right thing to do to score, but our fans come to these games and they're going to be here to support us for 41 games and we play this team three more times."
The Charlotte Bobcats: Their 104-101 home loss to the Pacers dropped the 'Cats to 0-2. The problem might've been Stephen Jackson's shooting (4-for-13, including a wide-open look that could have tied it at the buzzer), or Gerald Wallace's six bricked free throws (including one shank that would have tied it with 1:22 to go), or even the 17 turnovers (which helped Indy generate an extra 18 points worth of offense).
But they held the Pacers to only 3 fast break points. Moral victory!
Why's MJ dressed as the Buddha. Oh. Oh, wait...
The New York Knicks: Let's see here. A triple-double for Rajon Rondo (24 assist, 10 points, 10 rebounds) and double-doubles for both Paul Pierce (25 points, 14 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (24 points, 10 rebounds). Oh, and 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting by Big Baby. Are you going to tell me that NBA players don't see Mike 'Antoni's team is coming into town and immediately think "MUST PAD STATS!"?
By the way, Rondo's 24 dimes were the most assists in a triple-double in NBA history (tied with Isiah Thomas, anyway). Not to take anything away from Rondo -- dude is a straight up playmaker -- but any major offensive record set against 'Antoni's Bricks really needs to have an asterisk next to it in the books.
Jeramaine O'Neal: The Drain missed the Bricks-Celts game with a sore knee. Oh, and Shaq's banged up too. Well...that didn't take long, did it?
Delonte West, laugh machine: I'm sure most of you have heard how Delonte West sucker-punched Von Wafter in the Celtics locker room after a heated game of three-on-three. Well, no worries, Boston fans. It was actually a laughing matter. Just ask West.
"I'm competitive, he's competitive, as long as it's for the betterment of the team, there's nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. Things went a little far, but at the same time, we were able to move past that. We're professionals. ... We laughed about it."
Fist fights for the betterment of the team? Really, Delonte? Oh, and I love the "we're professionals" part. Because I've been a professional technical writer for 12 years and have yet to get into a fist fight with a co-worker.
Here's a little more: "Guys get into scuffles, or whatever you want to call them. At the end of the day, we're like brothers in here. We had a big laugh about it today with the help of [Shaquille O'Neal] and [Kevin Garnett]. At the end of the day, we're trying to win. We're competitive -- fiery guys in here -- but you gotta move on. We're focused on the next game, the next challenge."
They didn't just laugh about it. They had a BIG LAUGH about it. HA. HA. HA.
The Denver Nuggets: Yes, Chris Paul was brilliant (18 points, 7 boards, 7 assists) and took over down the stretch (10 points and 3 assists in the final nine minutes). Yes, David West and Emeka Okafor had key blocked shots against Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony in the final 3:51. And their were stupid mistakes, like 'Melo's offensive foul with 2:47 left and the tech Billups picked up with 43 seconds left.
All that said, the biggest issue was the 28 points Denver gave up off 20 turnovers. Six of those TOs were committed in the fourth quarter.
The Detroit Pistons: Wow. Tough loss for the Pistons...105-104 at home to the Thunder. Nice defense on the game-winner, eh?
This was yet another defeat caused by turnovers: 26 points off 18 miscues. It also didn't help that the Thunder got 44 free throw attempts to only 20 for the Pistons. Including their loss to the Jazz -- see below -- OKC is averaging 41.5 FTA per game. Yow. That's a lot.
The Orlando Magic: Okay, see, this is what happens when your second and third-best players are Vince Carter (1-for-5) and Rashard Lewis (0-for-9). Of course, Vince played only 13 minute because of this:
Damn. The way Carter reacted, you'd think he just got kicked in the face by Hulk Hogan. Sorry, Magic fans. But as this season progresses and your team is closing in on 60 wins, please watch this video before you start thinking they might actually content for a title.
Anyway, no team -- and I mean management, coaches and players -- talked more smack about the Heat this summer than Orlando. And, well, sometimes payback is a bitch.
Rashard Lewis, quote machine: "Overall, I thought it was just a terrible offensive execution."
Oh, it was an execution all right.
LeBron James, quote machine: "We heard everything Orlando had to say about us in the offseason. It's not like it's satisfying. I'm not relieved, because it's a long season. But they know we're here for the long haul. We know they're going to be there also, but this is a different Miami Heat team. There's only so many words to be said. At this point, the ball has to be thrown up now."
The ball has to be thrown up...blaorgh!!
The Milwaukee Bucks: Know who doesn't Fear the Deer? The Timberwolves, who beat the Bucks by double-digits despite shooting 37 percent from the field and giving up 22 points off 19 turnovers. It was probably due to that whole 62-39 rebounding advantage, including 20-9 on the offensive glass.
Said Brandon Jennings: "They killed us tonight on the boards. They just seemed like they wanted it more than we did tonight. I think right now we're in like cruise control, and we need to change that. Fast."
You’ve gotta love it when a team is in cruise control two games into the season. No wonder they're 0-2.
Scott Skiles, quote machine: "It was almost like [the Timberwolves] just said 'OK we're not making shots tonight, so we're just going to go to the board.' And they absolutely dominated us. [We were] very soft, nailed to the ground. I looked at a bunch of clips at halftime, we were just, you know -- really, really poor effort. It's hard to get a run going when the ball is shot and there's three to four T-Wolves jumping up and down for it, and two or three Bucks players standing there looking at them."
Have I mentioned yet that Corey Maggette was a key acquisition for the Bucks this summer? As always, I'm just sayin'.
The Dallas Mavericks: In his team forcast for the Mavs, ESPN's John Hollinger noted:
Dallas' greatest skill last season wasn't offense or defense, actually -- it was pulling rabbits out of hats at the end of games. The Mavs went 18-7 in games decided by five points or less.
Well, the only thing the Mavs pulled out of a hat against the Grizzlies was a handful of bear feces. During the fourth quarter, Dallas shot 6-for-18, committed 9 turnovers and got outscored 22-15.
The final score: 91-90.
Mind you, the Mavericks had the ball with six seconds to go. Sadly, they never even got to attempt a game-winner. Rudy Gay knocked a Jason Terry pass out of bounds with 1.9 ticks on the clock, and then O.J. Mayo stole Jason Kidd's inbound pass. Game over.
Said Dirk Nowitzki: "Bad execution down the stretch. We had enough chances. We had the ball with 6 seconds left, that's plenty of time. But we didn't even get a look. It's a bad loss, a game we've got to win."
"We're not going to go 82-0" watch: Said Rick Carlisle: "Look, this is two games out of 82, so come back in two weeks and we'll see where we are."
The Los Angeles Clippers: Huh. A 109-91 loss to the Warriors? Yep. They are who we thought they were.
The Phoenix Suns: What? They got picked apart on the inside by Lamar Odom (18 points, 8-for-12, 17 rebounds, 5 assists) and Pau Gasol (21 points, 10-for-17, 8 rebounds, 9 assists)? I...I can't believe it.
Steve Nash and Jason Richardson's shooting: The line: 2-of-11 from the field in the first half and 9-of-27 for the game.
Chris's Friday lacktion report:
Pacers-Bobcats: Solomon Jones had a brief moment of lacktive wisdom tonight in 10:03, negating a made field goal and free throw with four fouls and a giveaway for a 5:3 Voskuhl.
Kings-Nets: Jason Thompson managed a board and field goal in a 14:23 stint, only to foul five times and lose the rock once for a 6:3 Voskuhl. Johan Petro also got himself a Voskuhl ratio of 5:1, negating a board in 7:15 with three fouls and two turnovers.
Hawks-Sixers: Philadelphia's Mareese Speights bricked once, lost the rock twice, and took a foul in 2:42 for a +4 suck differential that also earned a 3:0 Voskuhl!
Knicks-Celtics: One day after getting in a fight with Delonte West, Von Wafer crunched out a foul and a brick from Storrow Drive for a +2 in 2:36.
Thunder-Pistons: DaJuan Summers fouled once in +1. Typical lacktive line, right? Well, plugging in a Game Genie for just ONE SECOND led to a SUPER MARIO as well!!!!
Magic-Heat: Joel Anthony started for Emperor Riley's Imperial Force and countered a quadruplet rebound collection with 5 fouls and a giveaway in 22:35 for a 6:4 Voskuhl, while Mario Chalmers sifted through the South Beach cash registers for a 3.65 trillion (3:40) take!
Bucks-Wolves: Nikola Pekovic barked for the first time on the lacktion ledger, making a field goal and board in 6:58 but also fouling four times for a 4:3 Voskuhl. Lazar Hayward hardwired his Famicom in just 43 seconds for a Mario!
Nuggets-Hornets: DJ Mbenga earned one board in 5:27, but also gained a pair of fouls for a 2:1 Voskuhl.
Grizzlies-Mavs: Brendan Haywood had himself four rebounds in 19:33 - not bad, except for the four fouls and two giveaways he also notched, leading to a 6:4 Voskuhl.
John Wall, realistic expectations machine: After playing big (28 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds) in a close road loss to he Hawks, Wall said: "I'm not going to have a great game every night. I hope people understand that."
Memo to Wall: You play for he Washington Wizards Generals: Nobody expects anything great from that team every night. So no worries.
The Cleveland Cavaliers: One night after getting free pizza punked by the Craptors -- and only one game removed from humbling the Celtics -- the Cavs lost at home to the Excremento Kings.
The Paupers shot 52 percent as a team, thanks in large part to that unstoppable offensive duo of Omri Casspi (20 points, 7-for-10) and Carl Landry (17 points, 8-for-11). Cleveland also shanked nine free throws, which is a big deal when you lose by three points.
The Cavaliers actually led by 14 points at the half before getting outscored 31-15 in the fourth quarter. In three games this season, Cleveland has been outscored 88-54.
Said Cavs coach Byron Scott: "The third quarter has been terrible for us. Having a 14-point lead, I thought we took a big exhale instead of coming out with the other attitude of going up by 20."
The New York Knicks: The Bricks choked up a 9-point lead in the final five-plus minutes and lost their home opener 100-95 to the Frail Blazers. In the process, New York fell to 33-32 in home openers. On the subject of their fourth quarter collapse...
Amar''''''e Stoudemire: Guys who sign $100 million contracts should be able to step up in crunch time, right? Here's what STAT did during that final, fateful five minutes: Missed 4-footer; turnover (stolen by Andre Miller); loose ball foul on Marcus Camby; turnover; missed 25-foot three-pointer. Notice how I didn't list any rebounds in there? There's a reason for that.
Mike D'Antoni, captain obvious: "We just didn't score. We were up nine. They made some nice shots. Things didn't go well for us."
The Detroit Pistons: The Pistons were trying to purge the crap feeling left over from Friday night's bitter home loss to the Thunder. Sure enough, they built a 21-point third quarter lead against the Bulls. In the United Center no less. Too bad they fell victim to an explosion by Derrick Rose (39 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks and, ugh, 7 turnovers), a case of group butter fingers (18 TOs for 21 points going the other way) and fatigue (4-for-21 shooting in the fourth quarter).
Said Chucky V.: "This one was just unbelievable."
The Philadelphia 76ers: Well, Andres Nocioni started, just like Doug Collins wanted. And Philly dropped to 0-3 after losing 99-86 to the Pacers in Indy. Frankly, this team just looks confused. On offense, on defense, on the team plane, while trying to walk and chew bubble gum. Or are they poorly motivated...?
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate: "We have to break a lot of losing habits. I told the guys after the game that there is not one guy in this room who has a winning record in the NBA as a pro."
Way to, uh, rally the troops, Doug.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Oh dear Gods and Goddesses...30 turnovers?! Including a combined 15 from the starting frontcourt of Michael Beasley (6), Darko Milicic (5) and Kevin Love (4)? Uh, twice as many TOs as assists (15) is a problem. So is giving up 36 points off turnovers.
Mike Conley -- who had 7 steals -- said: "We just wanted to be aggressive on the ball handlers. Make it tough for them to bring the ball up court. And when their bigs got it, just try to clamp down on it as soon as possible, and hit them from different sides where they weren't looking and not expecting it."
Well, good job, Mike. That strategy worked.
Michael Beasley, truth machine: I feel like we were a disgrace to the game of basketball. We had 30 turnovers. Thirty turnovers, man. That's not basketball. That's not team basketball. That's not basketball at all. Everything we worked on since training camp just went out the window. Defensively. Offensively. We didn't play as a team. It was just bad from every aspect of the game."
The Houston Rockets: Well...huh. Houston -- playing at home -- held the Nuggets to 37 percent shooting while getting good games out of Luis Scola (28 points, 12-for-16, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks), Kevin Martin (21 points) and Yao Ming (14 points, 6-for-10, 6 boards and 2 blocked shots in only 23 minutes)...
...and still lost 107-94, falling to 0-3 for the first time since the 1999-00 season. What's more, the Rockets lost their home opener for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Ouch. Last year's group of scrappy overachievers have given way to this year's crew of hapless underachievers. But hey, it's still early.
Speaking of 0-3 teams...
The Charlotte Bobcats: ...that's where Michael Jordan's team sits in the standings after a double-digit loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The 'Cats continued to struggle with ballhandling (18 turnovers for 20 points going the other way) and rebounding (the Bucks' won that battle 40-28).
But don't hit the panic button. Just ask S-Jax:
"It's not panic time. I've been playing 11 years and three games is nothing to panic about. The biggest thing is our younger guys are starting to come around. They're getting experience. We don't want to get 0-10. We've got to let this game go."
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan: TP (who missed four of his last five shot attempts) and Timmy D (2-for-10) got benched in the fourth quarter of San Antonio's hope opener against the Hornets. In related news, the Spurs lost 99-90.
Actually, the benching seemed to help the Spurs, who made a game of it without Thing 1 and Thing 2 after falling behind 76-60 after three quarters. Parker -- who signed a $50 million contract extension that morning -- must not have enjoyed having his lunch eaten by Chris Paul (25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists), but he skipped out on the press after the game.
I'm not even going to make a French joke here. Whoops. I guess I kinda did.
Chris's Saturday Lacktion Report:
Generals-Hawks: Hilton Armstrong blasted back into the ledger tonight with two fouls and two turnovers in 7:33, negating a pair of boards for a 4:2 Voskuhl.
Jason Collins also collected a Voskuhl, a 5:3 in 5:03 by nullifying a 100% shooting percentage (on one shot) and a board with 3 turnovers and 2 fouls.
Kings-Cavs: Donte Greene and Antoine Wright (at 2 and 4 seconds respectively) blew the dust off of their Bad Dudes cartridges as celebratory SUPER MARIO BROTHERS!
Blazers-Kings: Roger Mason Jr. joined up a foul and one lost rock in 5:25 for a +2 suck differential!
Sixers-Pacers: Solomon Jones divided his lacktion between a foul and a giveaway, earning a +2 in 3:05.
Wolves-Grizzlies: Hasheem "2nd Overall" Thabeet nearly earned pure lacktion, only to garner a board in 7:49. However, a brick, a turnover, and five fouls led to a 5:1 Voskuhl!
Memphis rookie Grevis Vasquez tossed one piece of masonry in 2:43 and added on a foul for a +2.
Bobcats-Bucks: DeSagana Diop dropped an assist in 4:35, but also bricked and twice lost the rock for a 2:0 Voskuhl.
For the Bucks, Keyon Dooling doodled a turnover and two bricks (one from the Sears Tower) in 4:40 for a +3, while Ersan Ilyasova played 58 seconds of Tetris for a Mario!
Hornets-Spurs: DJ Mbenga took down a pair of boards in 15:20 but bricked once, and earned a pair of fouls and turnovers each for a 4:2 Voskuhl.
Heat-Nets: Joe Smith earned one rebound in 5:16, but also lost the rock once and took a foul for a 2:1 Voskuhl.
Mavs-Clippers: DeShawn Stevenson for Dallas and Jarron Collins of LA's Other Team both earned treasury checks worth 1.15 million (1:10)!!!
Jazz-Thunder: Kyrylo Fesenko found himself in the ledger again with a pair of fouls and a brick in 3:17, earning a +3 suck differential and a 2:0 Voskuhl! Ronnie Price also syncopated his way into the suck litany, fouling once in 2:13 for a +1.
Daequan Cook fried up a pair of fouls in 9:03 for a +2.
Warriors-Lakers: David Lee started up for the new-look Warriors tonight at Staples Center, marking down a mere three rebounds in 19:01. A quintuple of bricks (twice from the charity stripe), five giveaways, and three fouls earned him an 8:3 Voskuhl!