This sad Thunder bench was brought to you by...the Los Angeles Clippers?!
The Detroit Pistons: What a Motor City Mess. The Pistons used a 17-3 advantage on the offensive glass to offset shitty shooting (40 percent) and shittier defense (53 percent for the Hawks) but got outscored 28-8 in fast break points.
Believe it or not, Detroit was up 81-76 with just over six minutes to go, but the Dirty Birds closed out the game on an 18-4 run. So that's five straight losses for the Pistons.
Historical note: According to ESPN Stats and Information, Detroit's 0-5 start is tied for the fourth-worst in franchise history and worst since the 1980-81 team began the season 0-7.
Said Tayshaun Prince: "Nobody envisioned it but obviously it's something we're going to deal with now and try to figure out [how] to go forward with this."
Detroit-Atlanta's three-point shooting: Clink, clank, clunk! The Pistons went 3-for-17. The Hawks were better, though. They went 3-for-14.
Charlie Villanueva: No, no, Charlie. KG said you were a cancer -- to your team and the league -- not a cancer patient. See? You got all upset over nothing. Although, frankly, I don't know what Garnett was talking about. After all, you scored 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting while going 0-for-5 from downtown. That's not cancerous. Sucky, yes. Cancerous, no.
Austin Daye: 2-for-12 last night, 29 percent for the season, and somehow still a starter in the NBA. Yet another reason the Pistons are 0-5.
Mike Bibby: Loved this part of the AP recap: "The Pistons took advantage of Gordon's matchup with Mike Bibby. Gordon opened the game with a reverse layup and continued to attack Bibby, scoring 11 of the Pistons' first 16 points."
Josh Smith, quote machine: "We're starting to grow. It's a beautiful thing to see."
Marvin Williams, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "I just banged it. We'll see how it feels in the morning."
The New Jersey Nyets: They were up 79-69 with 4:45 to go and playing at home against and 0-3 team. So of course they could only look on helplessly as the Bobcats ripped off a 16-4 run to close out the game and drop New Jersey to 0-2 since starting 2-0. They actually got off three potentially game-tying shots in the final 10 seconds -- two jumpers by Travis Outlaw and a tip-in attempt by Brook Lopez -- but missed 'em all. Naturally.
Those're the Nyets we know and love (to mock).
Stephen Jackson, quote machine: "We had the luck of the basketball gods there."
D.J. Augustin, captain obvious: "It would have been very tough for us to be 0-4."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: I've got two words for you: 128-86.
Oh, okay, those are numbers. How about these two words: Dear lord.
Both the T-Wolves and their tormentors -- the Magic -- made history last night. The Magic scored a franchise-record 78 points in the first half, which broke the previous first-half-best of 75 points against (sorry, chris!) the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 13, 2009
Meanwhile, Minny recorded the largest margin of defeat in team history. The previous was 41 points against Miami on March 5, 1996.
As for their short-term history, check this out. According to ESPN Stats and Information: Saturday at Memphis, the Timberwolves were down 13 at the half and lost by 20. Tuesday at Miami, they were down 16 at the half and lost by 32. Last night in Orlando, they were down 33 at the half and lost by 42.
I can't wait to see where this goes.
We may never again see a bench any sadder and whiter than this one.
Worst Player of the Night: Darko wins again! The 20 Million Dollar Man followed up Tuesday night's 0-for-5 performance by going 0-for-6 in just under 18 minutes of PT. On the season, he is now 4-for-28 (14 percent) and has 24 rebounds and only 3 assists in 102 minutes. His Player Efficiency Rating is 0.2 and his Offensive Rating is 45 points. As in, he's scoring 45 points per 100 possessions.
Manna from Heaven indeed.
Kurt Rambis, coach of the year candidate: "These are hard lessons for a young team to learn. They didn't play well offensively and do the right things, and we clearly didn't do the right things defensively either."
The Indiana Pacers: Well, the Sixers finally got their first win...a 101-75 home court blowout of the Pacers. Naturally.
Indy was down 15 after one quarter and by 26 at halftime. They played the second half only because they had to.
Said Roy Hibbert: "It was pathetic tonight. It was really pathetic."
Doug Collins: Collins had to leave the game early due to dizziness and nausea related to a head injury he suffered during the offseason. Said Doug: "I think when you crack your head, you don't understand all the dynamics. This summer, I was able to rest a lot and everything. What happens [now], when you get up and down, it triggers it."
Well, at least it wasn't his team making him sick for a change. Get better, Doug.
Danny Granger: The Pacers shot 31 percent last night, "led" by their franchise player, who went 2-for-14 from the field and 1-for-4 from downtown.
Jim O'Brien, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "Sometimes you're the pounder, sometimes you're the poundee. We were the poundee tonight."
The Houston Rockets: Okay, then. Make it 0-4. I've come to expect so much more from a Daryl Morey-constructed team. What's the deal? This team was built on ADVANCED STATS. How can this be happening?!
Aaron Brooks: Houston was down 99-94 with 31 ticks on the clock when Kevin Martin got called for an offensive foul. And sure, the Rockets probably weren't going to win after that happened, Brooks made absolute sure of it when he argued his way into a double-technical and the ensuing automatic ejection.
Does the NBA offer online courses in team leadership? If so, can we sign Aaron up?
Carmelo Anthony, mathlete: After missing a potential winner in Denver's 102-101 home loss to the Mavericks, 'Melo said the shot he missed is one he makes 90 percent of the time. Huh. If he's a 45 percent career shooter but has a shot he makes 90 percent of the time, then shouldn't he take that shot the 55 percent of the time he's missing his shots? Or maybe he should just take that shot 100 percent of the time...because then he'd be a 90 percent shooter. Which I'm pretty sure would be a record.
Unless my math is wrong.
The Toronto Raptors: Let's see...the Craptors fell behind by 20-ish, clawed their way kinda-sorta back into the game, and then fell behind by 20-ish again.
Yep. That sounds about right.
Toronto couldn't figure out what to do with Deron Williams (22 points, 14 assists, 8 rebounds), Al Jefferson (27 points, 12-for-20) or Paul Milsap (21 points, 10-for-16). Utah shot 56+ percent from the field, had 30 assists on 48 field goals, scored 25 fast break points and finished with 64 points in the paint.
Said Andrea Bargnani: "We were too soft and allowed them to do what they wanted."
Just a note for tomorrow's "Worst of the Night" on the Raptors-Jazz game: on a night of really terrible performances by the Raptors, they managed to turn the ball over with 1.4 seconds left to go before halftime when the ballcarrier stepped out of bounds...on the opposite end of the court. Then the Jazz inbounded the ball to CJ Miles, who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. After being beaten by a buzzer-beater the night before, you'd really think they'd have learned from that.
Err...upon watching the replay, make that "end of the 3rd quarter" rather than "just before halftime." It's particularly embarassing for the Craptors then, because the game was actually close again at that point (4 points) after they made a major comeback in the 3rd. Then they let CJ Miles get that 3 pointer off at the end of the 3rd, and the lead was never that close again.
Jerry Sloan, quote machine: "C.J. made those shots that were heartbreakers for the other team and certainly warmed our hearts when they went in. It was really refreshing." Can you imagine any other coach in the Association saying anything remotely like this?
Deron Williams, quote machine: "Any time you get up 20 on a team in the first half, it's hard to sustain because teams will make a run. But the most important thing is we were able to get the lead back up to 20."
Ah, sweet, sweet Toronto...
Al Jefferson, quote machine: Regarding Paul Milsap's mild ankle sprain: "That's my brother from another mother. When I saw him limping off the court [in the third quarter], it took everything out of me. When I [saw] him come back, I knew it was back on."
Kyrylo Fesenko: Missed the game with "gastric distress." Somebody had one too many pre-game burritos.
The Phoenix Suns: Ugh. As a Suns fan, nothing feels quite as bad as losing to the Spurs. Yes, it's even worse than losing to the Lakers. Although, to be clear, both teams make me throw up in my mouth.
Anyway, I don't know what bugs me most about this loss. Maybe the fact that San Antonio shot 54+ percent and finished with more fast break points (24!) than Phoenix. Or that the Suns failed to capitalize on the 23 points they scored off 23 Spurs turnovers.
Actually, what really kicked me in the crotch were all the open looks they kept giving Richard Jefferson, who drilled four three-pointers in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead bucket with about a minute and a half to go.
Said Hakim Warrick: "We had a little bit of miscommunication, especially during that stretch when Jefferson hit the three 3s."
Jefferson is currently ranked third in field goal percentage (65%), third in effective field goal percentage (75%) and second in true shooting percentage (77%). The Suns have scouts, right? They know they're supposed to get five finger in this guys' mug, right?
Robin Lopez and Channing Frye: Let's just rename them Suck 1 and Suck 2. Sound good? Don't even bring up the money Robert Sarver dropped on Frye this summer. Not unless you want my fist to come flying through your computer screen.
The Memphis Grizzlies: Let's see: 170+ shots and 60+ free throw attempts, 48 three-point attempts, 50 fast break points, and 40 combined turnovers.
The Grizzlies must have been playing the Warriors!
Yep. Hence Rudy Gay's season-high 35 points and Monta Ellis' 39 on 12-for-26 from the field and 14-for-19 from the line. Unfortunately, a bad team trying to run with the Warriors is like bringing a knife to a tank fight.
That said, the Care Bears' biggest bugaboo was defensive rebounding. Or, that is, the lack thereof. To Wit: the Warriors nabbed 19 offensive rebounds. Freaking David Lee had 9 of 'em. That's a lot of extra opportunities in a 6-point win.
Said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins: "We need more of everything. We didn't get to the free throw line and we don't get second-chance points."
As recently as a year ago, I never thought I'd say this, but damn: The Grizzlies really miss Zach Randolph.
Dorell Wright, quote machine: Regarding Moped's big night: "That's why he's one of the elite players. He's the face of this organization because he can get going any time he wants to. He reminds me of Dwyane Wade. It was impeccable."
The Oklahoma City Thunder: Well, this one's a head-scratcher, isn't it? Going into last night's game, the Clippers were 0-4. Including 0-3 at home. And coached by Vinny Del Negro. And -- damn it -- they were still the Clippers.
And yet The Other L.A. Team went out and put the clamps on Kevin Durant (6-for-24 and a game-high 6 turnovers) and the rest of the Thunder (37 percent as a team) en route to a 107-92 win. Their first of the season. And that 15-point margin might have been even bigger if the Clips hadn't bricked 12 free throws.
The Clippers shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent (8-for-16) from downtown. The Thunder -- who led the league in blocked shots last season -- gave up 58 points in the paint. To the Clippers.
Oh, and I think Nenad Krstic may need some facial reconstruction after what Blake Griffin did to him last night...
Said Durant: Two games in a row, teams just did whatever they want on us. The offense didn't look too good. It's frustrating to watch as a player."
Speaking of KD...
Kevin Durant: You know that 6-for-24 stat I quoted earlier (which just so happens to be what Mamba shot in Game 7 of the NBA Finals)? It included 0-for-10 from three-point range. 0-for-10! But, by all means, Kevin, keep shooting 'em. The Law of Averages and all that.
Said Durant: "I'm the leader of this team. Everybody follows me, so [when] I didn't show up, the team didn't show up."
The Milwaukee Bucks: Make it 1-4. But hey, they tried. They failed, but they really, really tried. Speaking of the "failed" part, I'm looking at you...
John Salmons: The Fish Man shot 3-for-10 and it actually improved his shooting percentage. Everybody from last year's Bulls team is nodding their heads and remembering Pre-Trade Deadline John Salmons.
The Boston Celtics / Paul Pierce / Ray Allen: The C's couldn't hold onto a 6-point lead at home with 1:20 to play in regulation. During that stretch, Pierce committed two shooting fouls on Bad Porn (who converted on three of his four attempts) and got the ball swiped by Brandon Jennings (who converted a layup on the other end to pull Milwaukee to within a point with 17 seconds left in the fourth). Then, with 16 seconds to go in regulation, Ray-Ray bricked the second of two freebies which led to Carlos Delfino's game-tying layup that forced overtime.
I think you should expand on Ray Allen's Bawfulness. He also made the same mistake twice guarding Delfino at the end of regulation and overtime. He chased Delfino around screens instead of going under them and cutting Carlos off. The first one led to the game-tying lay-up that forced OT. The second one led to a three that cut the lead to 1 in the last minute.
Consider it expanded.
Paul Pierce: I can't believe Pierce orchestrated that overtime session against the Bucks just so he could score his 20,000th point in dramatic fashion. Man, that guy fakes everything!
I keed. Congrats, Paul. (But you still aren't a better scorer than Larry Bird.)
Kevin Garnett: At one point, he glared at the Bucks bench and screamed: "Herpes! You have throbbing genital herpes!! ALL OF YOU!!!"
Okay, I made that up. I think. It's hard to tell. But I'll be keeping an eye on the Bucks' Twitter accounts today.
I just wanted to add this little tibid from last night Lakers-Kings game.
At the beginning of the second half Mark Jackson goes to Heather Cox (sideline reporter) and asks her what was coach Paul Westphal's advice for his players. Said Cox, "Coach Westphal asked/implored his guys to not get dunked on to begin the quarter." Then the second half opens with an alley-oop from Odom To Bryant.
Paul Westphal, quote machine: "The Lakers don't even know who we are right now. We would like to build a rivalry with the best team in the world. ... We've got to win some games before there's a rivalry. They're where we want to be."
Lamar Odom, quote machine: "Big play Derek. The Yankees got Derek Jeter, we got Derek Fisher."
Hard to decide on the best random moment in the locker room after the game. There was Ron Artest shouting from the shower over and over again to nobody in particular, "Is there any soap?" causing Pau Gasol to interrupt his train of thought while conducting an interview and replying in a deadpan voice to the reporters surrounding him, "No soap, Ron. No soap. No more soap."
AnacondaHL: "Pau may be marshmellowy, but he is awesome." Evil Ted: "Number one one the list of Lakers I actually don't hate. With Derek Fisher being number two."
Update! Unnamed reporter in the Lakers' locker room: Also from Land O' Lakers:
There was a reporter asking Bryant in earnest what his thoughts were about Luther Head holding him to five points in the fourth quarter and Bryant staring the guy in the eye and replying, "Are you kidding? Is this a joke?"
For the record, here's Kobe's stat line: 30 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds.
Lacktion report: Even seeing his team fall to defending chumps can't stop chris from delivering fresh, hot lacktion. In fact, nothing can.
Bobcats-Nets: Charlotte's Derrick Brown did himself some favors with a foul and a giveaway in 5:45 for a +2 suck differential! Quinton Ross gave the Nets a couple of seconds of fire-flower time for a SUPER MARIO!
Wolves-Magic: Nikola Pekovic poked at positivity in 13:51, making one field goal plus two free throws, and also collecting a rebound. He however fouled out and lost the rock once for a 7:5 Voskuhl!
For Orlando, Mickael Pietrus pulled off two bricks (once from Lake Eola) in 3:25 and topped it with a foul for a +3!
Bucks-Celtics: The diminuitive Nate Robinson obeyed his thirst for lacktivity by tossing up two pieces of masonry with a foul and turnover each for a +4 in 6:37.
Mavs-Nuggets: Dominique Jones had a brick going on in 3:43 for a +1.
Spurs-Suns: Alonzo Gee gave San Antonio a taste of cream of mushroom soup in just 4 seconds for a Super Mario! For Phoenix, Garret Siler sired a pair each of fouls and giveaways (despite a board and made charity stripe shot in 6:53), leading to a 4:2 Voskuhl. Also giving off warmth was a well-worn Duck Hunt cartridge in the hands of Earl Clark, whose 27 second foray chasing the annoying canine led to a Mario.
Thunder-Clippers: Willie Warren made it to GameStop right before closing time for the latest Wii game, as evidenced by a 59-second Mario.
Lakers-Kings: At the end of the first quarter, Sasha Vujacic sent Yoshi and Princess Peach on a STRATOSPHERIC ride through the Super Mario Galaxy in just 0.8 SECONDS -- our very first sub-second stint of the young season!!!!!!!! Devin Ebanks underwrote a pair of missed shots in 2:23 for a +2.