The Indiana Pacers: Indy scored more points in the second quarter (40) than the entire second have (30, wasting a defensive effort in which they held the Andre Bogut-less Milwaukee Bucks to 38 percent shooting. Of course, the Pacers shot 38 themselves while giving up 28 points off 19 turnovers.
Said Roy Hibbert: "We just didn't get the job done tonight. Coming down the stretch, we were bad. I didn't clog the middle the way I should have, which hurt us. The Bucks are a good team, I'm not taking anything away from them, and I'm going to have to hold myself accountable for this loss."
Huh. Hibbert has now taken personal responsibility for two of Indy's three losses. Great for him, right? But...what about the team's franchise guy?
Danny Granger: He grabbed 9 rebounds -- an above average night for him -- but shot only 6-for-17 (including 0-for-4 from downtown) and committed a game-worst 7 turnovers. Maybe Danny Boy, and not Roy Hibbert, needs to hold himself accountable. That's what team captains are supposed to do.
Brook Lopez: Believe it or not, the Nyets didn't play all that badly against the Magic. Well, except for during the third quarter, when they were outscored 32-16. But who knows how things might have turned out if Brook Lopez hadn't had his lunch money stolen by Dwight Howard. Actually, it wasn't just his lunch money. Howard also gave him a wedgie, then a swirlie, and then taped a "Kick Me" sign to his back.
The details: While Pumaman was having a game of it (30 points, 9-for-13, 12-for-16 at the line, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block), Lopez was missing his first 13 shots en route to a 3-for-17 shooting night. He also had as many fouls as rebounds (5). Oh, and he ended up with a black eye, courtesy of...well...just guess.
Said Lopez: "It didn't get there by itself."
Rashard Lewis: A quick update: After Friday night's 5-for-15 shooting performance -- during which he went 2-for-8 from beyond the arc -- Lewis is shooting 31 percent from the field and 20 percent on threes. He has attempted four free throws in four games. Remember: He is in the fourth year of a six-year, $118 million contract. Just had to throw that out there.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavalirs: Check out the ESPN recap video. The announcer actually uses the term "Boobie Time." I love it.
Anyway, this was the night defense died in Philly. Both teams shot 55 percent while combining for 38 fast break points and 110 points in the paint. The Cavs built a 19-point lead (Philly fail), the Sixers made a run and took back the lead (Cleveland fail) and then the Cavaliers -- lead by Boobie Gibson -- used a 19-5 fourth quarter run to pull out a 123-116 victory that dropped the Sixers to 1-5.
Personally, I think both teams deserve the Ol' Yeller treatment.
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate: "The hardest thing to teach a team is how to win. Not how to get close, but how to win, and that is what we are going to keep striving to do."
Pictured: Doug Collins teaching how to win.
The Memphis Grizzlies: The Care Bear Stare became a glazed look of disbelief on Friday night. After leading by 18 points in the first quarter, Memphis still had a 98-94 lead with 3.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter...
...but eventually lost 123-118 in double-overtime.
Normally, protecting a four-point lead with less than four seconds left is pretty easy. For the Grizzlies, nothing is easy. Jason Richardson -- who had a game-high 38 points -- scored 5 points in the final 1.1 seconds to force OT.
Oh, the fail. The fail.
How'd it happen. Well, Richardson BANKED in a trey to make it 98-97 with 1.1 seconds to go. Something happened -- see Rudy Gay below -- to make it 99-97 Grizzlies. And then, well, check out this clutch defense:
I can't believe I missed that game. Let me get this straight:
- Rudy Gay, with the Grizz up by 1 and 0.4 seconds left, makes the free throw instead of intentionally missing it,
- Grant Hill lobs an out of bounds alleyoop to JRich, you know one of those ones Suns fans last year got used to seeing JRich bonk off the back rim but instead he catches it for a reverse layin that swirls around the rim to force overtime,
- A Rudy gay 3 ball gets called back as a 2, followed by O.J. Mayo lodging the ball between the rim and backboard, sealing the Suns's 2OT victory...
- ...and the entire game featured Hedo battling Zach Randolph for boards and defending Marc Gasol.
This is why I love the Suns.
Rudy Gay: Okay. Let me set the stage. His team was up by a point with 1.1 seconds left. He had two free throws that could have almost-iced the game. Rudy bricked the first. No problem, right? He could just intentionally miss the second so time would run out. Only his intentional miss WENT IN.
Said Gay: "I was trying to rim it off the front so I could give my team a chance to tip it out."
Nice try, Ruy.
O.J. Mayo, quote machine: "It was a lot of weird things that happened in that game, some controllable, some uncontrollable. It was a tough loss to take."
The Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Jordan's team fell to 1-4 and managed to give the Pistons Pissed-ons their first win of the season. This despite the fact that the 'Cats shot 55 percent to Detroit's 42. It could have been Charlotte's 23-13 advantage in turnovers, or it might have been their 27-11 disadvantage in free throw attempts. Of course, it also might have been because the Bobcats fell behind by 22 points before making their failed run.
Said Stephen Jackson: "Getting down 20 against any team on the road takes too much to come back. There is no reason for us to come with that kind of effort, ever. We have to be ready to play."
Tracy McGrady Watch: Wanna know what kind of season it's been for the Pissed-ons? After scoring a total of 11 points in the first five games -- including three scoreless efforts -- Knee-Mac managed to earn a spot in Detroit's starting lineup.
How'd he do?
Let's ask Chucky V.: "T-Mac was unbelievable out there."
His line: 10 points (3-for-6), 3 rebounds, 2 assist, 2 steals and a plus-minus score of -1. McGrady was the only Detroit starter with a negative plus-minus
Huh. Charlie must be pretty easily impressed.
Said McGrady: "I've played my fair share of the point over the years. I'm a playmaker -- that's my game. It's not that hard to get a team into its sets and to distribute the ball."
The Washington Wizards Generals: The screeching thud you just heard -- well, the one you heard on Friday night -- was John Wall plummeting back down to earth. The Wonder Child shot 4-for-11 (0-for-2 from distance) and finished with more turnovers (9) than assists (7). Ah, well. He warned us he wouldn't be great every night, and he was correct.
Said Wall: "I'm the leader, I've got to be a better leader and a better decision maker for my team. To win games, I've got to keep the turnovers down."
Anyway, Gilbert Arenas popped off 14 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to help stave off a 112-91 loss to the Knicks...whom some people think are back. Yeah, well, we'll see about that...
Raymond Felton, quote machine: "We come out here to play basketball. I don't look at nobody like, 'Oh my goodness, that's Gilbert Arenas, oh my goodness, that's the first pick, John Wall. I look at it as he's another person just like I am. Puts his pants on just like I do. That don't mean nothing to me."
Actually, John Wall never puts his pants on. Never.
Donnie Walsh, quote machine: "I live in the present, so I'm not looking down the line too much. I have nothing to say about comments that were made today by Isiah. I have nothing to say."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: I'm going to go out on a limb and say that defense isn't going to be Minny's strength this season. As of their 113-103 home loss to the Hawks -- during which the Atlanteans shot 54 percent from the field and tallied 24 fast break points -- the Timberpoops rank 29th in Opponents PPG (113.5) and 28th in Defensive Rating (112.4). Of course, they also rank 29th in Offensive Rating (96.9) and 30th Effective Field Goal Percentage (.427)...so I guess their problem is everything.
Kevin Love, quote machine: "I think we're all frustrated because we know we're better than this. Individually and as a team, we're a lot better than this. Coaching staff, we're a lot better than this."
Oh. I figured you were frustrated becuase you are who we thought you were.
Darko Milicic, self-critique machine: Looking awful on the court on offense. Disgusts myself."
Status check: Current PER is 2.0. Current O-Rating is 50 points per 100 possessions. Yep. That's pretty disgusting alright.
The Utah Jazz: Okay, if you heard the final score of a Jazz-Warriors game was 85-78 -- and that Golden State shot 2-for-14 from downtown -- you'd assume the Jazz won, right? Because the Warriors usually have to score at least 120 points to win a game. But nope. Utah set the pace -- 93.2 -- but Golden Staters crashed the glass for 21 offensive rebounds (including 7 o-boards each for David Lee and Andris Biedrins). Meanwhile, the Jazz struggled to hang on to the rock (21 turnovers for 27 points going the other way) and managed to lose despite holding the Warriors to 37 percent shooting.
Said Jerry Sloan: "We just didn't seem to have the energy to compete with them. When you give up 21 turnovers for 27 points, that's almost a goodbye kiss."
Ronnie Price and C.J. Miles: With 9:08 left and the Jazz down 64-61, Price bonked a breakaway dunk. On the next possession -- after Al Jefferson had blocked David Lee's shot -- C.J. Miles airballed a three from the top of the arc. Double fail.
The Los Angeles Clippers: Why'd the Clippers lose to the Nuggets? Eh, I'll let coach Vinny Del Negro explain: "We can't give up 111 points and think we're going to beat a lot of teams."
And there you have it.
In related news, The Other L.A. Team hasn't won in Denver since January 27, 2006.
By the way, the following picture is, to me, THE quintessential Vinny Del Negro picture. Vinny drawing up a play alone, one player all blurry, another play seemingly in a swoon. This just sums up the VDN experience.
Baron Davis: That's three straight games missed with a sore knee. Things might've been different if he'd shown up to training camp, you know, in shape.'
In case you missed it, here's what B-Dizzle had to say about his big, fat ass: "I usually get in shape in August. I've been doing that for the last six years of my career. This August I started working out and getting ready to go and it got a lot harder. It wasn't like I wasn't doing anything but my body wasn't responding as quickly as it usually does and I think I kind of faced that reality this summer. That was a problem that hit me and kind of caught me off guard because it never really happened to me before in my career. Getting in shape was never really a problem for me before but these nagging injuries have taught me a lesson. This summer was a dose of reality that I need to start training differently and earlier."
VDN's response: "Baron knows he was behind in his conditioning and he's had to work so hard to get in condition that he's had to put some extra strain on his knee. That causes a lot of problems for everybody; for Baron, for the team, for everyone involved. He needs to be a leader and a catalyst for this team and by not preparing the right way he's hurting himself and hurting the group and he knows that. He needs to do a better job in that area. He needs to grow and he needs to get smarter about it. He's not 22 anymore. He's 31. He's got to do a better job in the offseason of keeping himself in condition and understanding his responsibility."
"Baron's focus needs to be on conditioning and playing at a high level and he hasn't done that for a while. I know he's frustrated with that but there's things he has to do to correct that...but talking about it and doing it are two different things and we've talked about that situation plenty. Now it's up to Baron to make that commitment to get back into shape and get back with the team and be a leader and a catalyst for the team in the right way. It's up to him."
Uh huh. Don't forget: L.A. is Baron's home freaking town. Remember how positive he was when he fleeced the Clippers into that five-year, $65 million deal back in the summer of 2008?
The 2008 Davis said: "It's tough, but you have to do what's best. You have to do what's fair. I'm happy with where I'm going. A big reason is because of the impact and the things that I can do going forward. I knew I could have done them here and created all kinds of good things and positive things in the community, and ultimately, me going home helps me make an impact on young kids."
Of course, he followed that up with: "I just took what was best for me."
The Miami Heat: Okay, first of all, you know Miami's gaping hole at center? Have you ever heard the phrase "it's like throwing a hotdog down a hallway?" If not, now you have. And it fits the Heat.
To wit: Emeka Okafor had one of the best games of his pro career, going off for 26 points (on 12-for-13 shooting!!) and 13 rebounds against the cardboard cutouts Pat Riley's team is standing up under his team's basket these days.
Secondly, the Heat went out and got Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh this summer. And who ended up taking -- and missing -- the last-second shot?
Just like they drew it up, right? Said Pookie: "He got a great look. We'd live with that shot every game if we had to. He's a great shooter. Unfortunately it just didn't go in."
You heard it here, folks. Eddie House gets the clutch shots on this team. I'm glad that's settled.
Last but not least...I admit I might have been wrong about these Hornets. Wow.
LeBron James, quote machine: "One thing we have to continue to learn, that every time we step out on the basketball court, no matter who we're going against, we can't just show up, you know, because we have this uniform on, because we have who we have on the court."
Speaking of King Crab, he's currently averaging 20.7 PPG, 7.9 APG and 4.7 RPG. Not bad, but not quite "he might average a triple-double for he season" territory. Note that ESPN's Heat Index has removed their Triple-Double Tracker.
Toronto Raptors: Soooo close to upsetting the Lakers in L.A. The problem: Giving up 25 points of 21 turnovers. Killer.
Chris's Friday Lacktion Report:
Bucks-Pacers: Solomon Jones sang a 13:24 tune about one brick, one rejection, and three fouls for a +5 suck differential!
Bobcats-Pistons: Sherron Collins sold a copy of Pokemon Blue in just 7 seconds for a Super Mario, while Gerald Henderson tossed one piece of masonry and collected a foul for a +2 in 7:15.
Generals-Knicks: Lester Hudson lost tonight along with the rest of the Generals, but he laid a nest egg worth 1.9 trillion (1:54). Trevor Booker published his name in tonight's edition of the lacktion ledger by fouling twice in the same 1:54 for a +2.
Bulls-Celtics: Omer Asik allocated himself a 5:3 Voskuhl ratio in 11:35 by spoiling a board and made field goal with 3 fouls and two turnovers, while fellow heifer Brian Scalabrine said hello to his old home with a one-foul Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl in 3:01. Kurt Thomas raided the Reinsdorf vault with a 1.6 (1:35) trillion!
For Boston, Von Wafer celebrated another C's win with a 3.4 (3:23) trillion.
Grizzlies-Suns: Sam Young stood around for a missed shot in 2:12 and added a rejection and foul for a +3!
Phoenix's Robin Lopez negated four boards in 12:55 with two bricks, one rejection, two giveaways and three fouls for a 5:4 Voskuhl, while fellow big man Garret Siler grabbed his own ratio of 4:1 in a 10:07 stint after countering a rebound and assist with three turnovers, a block against, and a foul.
Clippers-Nuggets: DeAndre Jordan managed a positive contribution in his 7:53 - a board! But with three fouls, one lost rock, and one brick from (downtown Denver), he managed a 4:1 Voskuhl for the Other LA Team.
Jazz-Warriors: Gordon Hayward grabbed a pot of gold for Jerry Sloan, earning a 4.15 (4:10) trillion! For the Bay Area basketball team, Charlie Bell rang up a suck differential of +2 via brick and rejection in 4:39.
That pain train, my friends, is a little team known as the Unamazing Cavaliers. A .500 record? Back-to-back wins on the road in a single weekend? Can it be?
The Generals actually had 95-93 lead with 3:16 to go...but Cleveland went on a 10-0 run on their way to a 107-102 win. What the hell happened?
Flip Saunders: Al Thornton scored a team-high 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting for the Generals. And yet, oddly, his ass was rooted to the bench for the game's final nine minutes as Flip went with a three-guard lineup of John Wall, Kirk Hinrch and Gilbert Arenas.
Arenas -- who admitted to being about 10 pounds too fat -- said: "There was a point in the fourth quarter where I should have subbed myself out for Al."
That's nice of him to say...but substitutions are the coach's job last I checked.
Said Saunders: "I made a mistake. We got into a little bit of a rhythm with Gil in there. In hindsight, you wished you had Al back in the game."
Added Thornton: "He apologized for it. He just made a mistake."
Look out, Doug Collins. There's a new CotY candidate in town.
Gilbert Arenas, emo quote machine: I hadn't heard a clap in a long time. It's been a while."
Boobie Gibson, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "He's still Arenas. You feel like at any moment at any time, he can explode on you."
The Charlotte Bobcats: Another double-digit deficit, another comeback, another "coulda-shoulda" loss for the 'Cats...who came all the way back from 18 down to lose 91-88. Make it 1-5 on the season, including 0-2 on the road.
Said Gerald Wallace: "We don't have a sense of urgency until we're down. We should come out and attack teams. We should have teams on their toes, and we don't do that until we're down 20 or we're down 15."
Vince Carter, injury machine: I know, I know. The floor was slippery. And stuff. Still...funny how Vince was the only once who got hurt.
The verdict: Strained right hip flexor.
Said Stan Van Gundy: "It was a needless injury and that's what [ticks] me off. I don't know [Carter's status]. He was pretty hurt and wasn't coming back into that game." Speaking of Stan the Man...
Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: "Everybody on this roster is alive and important." Okay. So...no dead guys on Orlando's roster. Glad we got that cleared up.
LeBron James versus Terrence Williams: Is a new chapter of NBA Rivalries being written even as, uhm, I write this? Yeah, I doubt it, but the Miami Heaat were pulling some serious Harlem Globetrotter shit on the hapless Nyets when Williams decided to hip check His Crabbiness into the stands rather than appear in another of LeBron's posters.
Said Williams: "You've got to put your foot down somehow in a basketball game. When people are going to the hole and throwing behind-the-back and dunking and stuff like that you've got to do something about it. It's nothing against LeBron. I'm a basketball player. I compete just like they do."
Of course, LeBron played the foul up, lingering on the ground longer than was probably necessary. But hey, sorry, 'Bron. I'm probably just trying to make him be who I wanted him to be.
Added Williams: "Falling into the stands was kind of a little much I think."
Countered LeBron: "Exaggerating a fall? Never. I'm not a flop guy, I've never been a flop guy. I love contact. I didn't exaggerate anything."
As for whether Williams' foul sent a message, James said: "It didn't send much of a message because we went on an 8-0 run after it. (Actually, it was 7-2.) We play New Jersey again? Just once? That's awesome, I'll be ready for it."
You here that, people? LEBRON IS READY FOR THE NYETS!! At this point, he's trying to be a douchebag. He has to be.
The Milwaukee Bucks: At 2-5 -- and only 1-2 at home -- nobody is Fearing the Dear much these days. The suddenly unstoppable New Orleans Hornets sure don't. One night after a tough win over the Miami Heat, the Hornets flew to Milwaukee and held the Bucks to 38 percent shooting and beat 'em 87-81.
Said Brandon Jennings: It was just an ugly game for us. It's starting to get a little bit ridiculous now because every day it's like it's something -- shots not falling and we just all break down. Some people are probably not on the same page, or I don't know what it is, but it's getting a little bit annoying now. When things aren't going right, it just seems like the energy level goes all the way down. We have got to find something before it gets too late and it gets a little ugly."
Reality check: The Bucks are seven games into an 82-game season. And he's already talking like somebody who's ready to enter witness relocation. Bad sign. Baaaad sign.
The Houston Rockets: Yao Ming? Rested by the coaching staff. Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin? Lost to matching left ankle sprains. I'll give the Rockets this much: They didn't pack it in and give up. The pushed the Spurs hard, scored 121 points and barely managed to lose in overtime. But they still lost. And at 0-5, they remained the NBA's only winless team.
Aaron Brooks: I don't usually bust on players for getting injured -- well, unless they're Vince Carter, anyway -- but you know how Brooks hurt his ankle? By landing awkwardly after chucking up a halfcourt heave at the halftime buzzer. Kinda dumb way to get injured.
Rick Adelman, captain obvious: "There's no satisfaction in losing this game."
The Dallas Mavericks: 21 turnovers -- 7 by Herr Nowitzki -- and a mere 13 fourth quarter points doomed the Mavericks to a 103-92 home loss to the Nuggets.
Dallas now 1-2 at home.
Oh, and 8 of those 21 turnovers were committed during the Mavs' fourth quarter collapse.
Said Jason Terry: "It was careless. It's got to stop. You have that many in the fourth quarter, we're taking opportunities away from ourselves. It's not one guy, it's everybody. We gave [a game] back after winning up there."
The Los Angeles Clippers: Oh, man. The Clippers are all about finding new ways to lose. I would say "new and heartbreaking" ways to lose, but everybody knows that the heart of every Clippers fan has already been ripped out of their chest and sacrificed to the Basketball Gods.
The Other L.A. Team lost their 15th straight game in Utah -- they haven't won in Salt Lake City since January 22, 2003 -- despite building an 18-point first half lead. The game went to double-overtime, but the Clips were doomed by a 23-12 disadvantage in turnovers. And, of course, by the fact that they are who we thought they were.
The Toronto Raptors: It's the same old story for the Portland Frail Blazers. In addition to the usual crap -- Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla are still out with knee injuries, the Fabulous Oberto retired due to a heart condition, rookie Elliot Williams is out for the season with a knee injury and Rudy Fernandez missed his second game with a sore back -- LaMarcus Aldridge (sore knee) and Marcus Camby (migraines) are now hurtin'...but still playin'.
Didn't matter. They were playing the Craptors.
Nicolas Batum (20 points), Andre Miller (13 assists) and Camby (16 rebounds) all had season highs for the Blazers as Toronto shot 36 percent -- including 1-for-17 on threes -- and finished a winless West Coast road trip by losing their 5th straight game to the Blazers. The Craptors are now 1-5 on the season.
The Sacramento Kings: One night after a double-over time loss to the Suns lost them their third straight game, the Care Bears traveled to Sacramento and put it to the Purple Paupers. Man, shouldn't the Griz have been, I dunno, tired or something?
Said Sactown coach Paul Westphal: "I've never bought into that stuff, 'Oh they played last night' stuff. They lost in double-overtime. Therefore, they'll be fired up. We won't use that as an excuse."
How about this for an excuse: Despite coming into the game averaging only 11.8 turnovers per game, the Kings coughed up the ball 21 times for 22 points going the other way. Sammy Dalembert and Tyreke Evans had 5 TOs each.
Rudy Gay, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "This is no different from any other night. I try to be as versatile as I possibly can be." That's only dirty if he's using the Urban Dictionary definition of versatile.
Chris's Saturday Lacktion Report:
Magic-Bobcats: Desagana Diop dropped another Voskuhl ratio for the Bobcats, negating three boards in 11:51 with 4 fouls and 2 turnovers for a 6:3.
Cavs-Generals: Hilton Armstrong checked into the Watergate Hotel of Lacktivity with a 5:2 in 15:16 via 3 fouls and two giveaways, against 2 boards.
Nets-Heat: Johan Petro gave Newark's finest a 2:1 Voskuhl in 6:09 via two fouls and two bricks against a board. Quinton Ross tossed a pair of masonry implements at the charity stripe for a +2 suck differential in 6:03.
Mario Chalmers charmed the Thrice bandwagon with a brick from Brickell and a giveaway in 4:18 for a +2.
Hornets-Bucks: Jerryd Bayless lost the rock four times, fouled once and tossed a brick in 11:21 for a +6!!! Marcus Thornton made himself a ledger spot with a miss, a foul, and a giveaway each in 4:36 for a +3.
Nuggets-Mavs: Ever heard of MARIO TRIPLETS? Well, Brian Cardinal, Ian Mahinmi (despite two points for a non-lacktive video gaming session) and DeShawn Stevenson (with a brick from the Bank of America Plaza for a +1) all shared the honor tonight for Dallas in just 46 seconds!
Clippers-Jazz: Jarron Collins earned 1 trillion (in 62 seconds) in a DOUBLE OVERTIME game. Nice.
Raptors-Frail Blazers: Sean Marks notched three fouls for Portland in 8:22 for a +3 that also earned a 3:0 VOskuhl.
Grizzlies-Kings: Greivis Vasquez went 38 seconds through the Mushroom Kingdom for a celebratory Mario for Memphis, while the purple paupers' Demarcus Cousins went wild with five fouls and four giveaways to contribute to a 9:7 Voskuhl ratio (against 4 points and 3 rebounds) in 22:50.
The rare "sad bench in a win" pic.
The New York Knicks: Amar''''''e Stoudemire finally acted like a franchise player -- 21 points, 15 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist and a block -- and the Knicks hd a home game against the woeful and heretofore 1-5 Sixers. Shoulda been a win, right? I mean, the Knicks are back, aren't they?
Bzzzzzt! Wrong answer.
The New Yorkers proved their near-70 percent three-point shooting against the Bulls last week was the flukiest of flukes by bricking 16 of their 19 three-point attempts. They also missed 10 free throws...which just happened to be the same number of points they lost by. Huh. Imagine that.
And, yep, the MSG crowd booed 'em for it. Ah, New York.
Take heart, Knicks fans. I read this in the sidebar on the ESPN recap: "As befits a team so hot and cold, the New York Knicks sit at .500 -- but hey, at least they're not dull, writes ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan."
That's right. At least they're not dull.
The Atlanta Hawks: Well, I guess the Hawks are human after all.
After going 6-0 against such league powerhouses as the Grizzlies, Sixers, Wizards Generals, Cavaliers, Pistons and Timberwolves, the Hawks finally played a legit opponent...and lost.
Of course, the Suns were 3-2 going into this one. But a special note is that, in their first six games, they've gone up against five teams coming off 50-win seasons. Think their record might be a bit different if they'd had Atlanta's schedule? I'm just sayin'.
Anyway, the Hawks must have forgotten about that whole "hand in the face" thing, because the Suns blizted 'em with 55+ percent shooting from the field and nearly 50 percent accuracy from beyond the arc. Phoenix actually built an 18-point lead, which was a wee bit too much for the Dirty Birds to come back from.
Thus the Hawks were denied their first 7-0 start since they started the 1997-98 campaign by winning their first 11 games.
Atlanta's bench: They were outscored 46-19 by the Suns' reserves. Way to contribute, boys.
The Golden State Warriors: See, it's things like Sunday night's loss to the Pissed-ons -- Detroit's second win of the season -- that should keep people from getting too excited about the Warriors 4-2 start. Yes, they've been better than expected. BUT...they're 0-2 on the road and their four home wins are over the Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies and Jazz. I guess win over Utah seems legit, but that team has opened the city in Bipolar Girlfriend Mode.
So...proceed with cautious expectations. That's all I'm sayin'.
Tracy McGrady Watch: After he was "unbelievable out there" in his first start of the season on Friday night, McGrady returned to the bench for Sunday's game against the Warriors. Knee-Mac's line: 9 minutes 1 point, 0-for-1 from the field, 1-for-2 from the line, 1 rebound, zero assists.
Mike D'Antoni, quote machine: "We had some mental lapses. We came out too not focused like we needed to be."
We came out too not focused like we needed to be? Talk about your mental lapses.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: The Rockets entered their game against the Timberwolves at 0-5 and were the NBA's sole winless team. They exited the game with a 120-94 victory...their first of the season.
In related news: Minnesota sucks.
The T-Wolves shot 37 percent from the field, lost the turnover battle 17-7, bricked 10 free throws and hacked/slashed their way into giving the Rockets 47 foul shots.
Said Minny coach Kurt Rambis: "We were mentally prepared for the game but we couldn't throw a pea into the ocean. Our confidence got sucked out of us and we just couldn't make a shot. Our defense was compromised and it was a tough loss."
Kevin Love, quote machine: After their last loss, Love gave a passionate "We're better than this" speech...and his team went out and lost by 26 the next game. After which love offered: "This was a team we probably could have beaten."
If only the Timberwolves were as good as Love thinks they might be.
The Oklahoma City Thunder: Check out the Thunder's last four games: Blown out by the Jazz, blown out by the Clippers, overtime win over the Frail Blazers after trailing by double-digits, and now a 92-83 home loss to the Celtics in which they trailed by as many as 22 points.
Remember, Oklahoma City was one of the best defensive teams in the league last season. Currently, they rank 24th in Opponents Effective Field Goal Percentage (.514) and 26th in Defensive Rating (109.5).
Mind you, the "old" Celtics rung up 18 fast break points against the "young" Thunder.
Of course, the Thunder made a run to get back into it, but they were held off by Big Baby Shrek (8 points, 4-for-7, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal) and Nate Robinson Donkey (9 points, 4-for-7, 3 assists).
Speaking of which...
Oklahoma City's bench: Outscored 33-12. Or 17-12 by the Shrek and Donkey combo. Take your pick.
The Boston Celtics: Yes, they are 6-1. Yes, beating the Thunder on the road is kind of impressive (although not as impressive as last season -- see above). But...on Friday night they squandered a 16-point lead against the Bulls and barely escaped in overtime. Then on Sunday night they almost choked away a 22-point lead. And don't forget how they gave up a big lead to the Heat on opening night.
Why can't the Celtics stay focused for 48 minutes?
Said Paul Pierce: "That's something we've got to be more aware of coming into the third quarter, once we push a lead out like that."
For the record, Boston had the same problem last season. I'm just sayin'.
The Portland Trail Blazers: The Frail Ones got a good ol' fashioned smackdown from the Lakers, who shot 55 percent and outrebounded Portland 49-25 (including 14-6 on the offensive glass). Oh, and L.A. outscored the Blazers 56-30 in the paint.
Speaking of which, Pau Gasol had a triple-double (20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) and the Candyman had a double-double (21 pionts, 12 rebounds). Those two guys combined to shoot 19-for-28 from the field.
Think the Blazers miss Oden and Przybilla?
Meanwhile, Ron Artest harassed Brandon Roy into an 8-point, 1-for-6 shooting night. Brandon didn't hit that one shot until the third quarter. The Lakers led by as many as 29 before settling for a 121-96 win.
Said Roy: "I wouldn't say it's discouraging, but they're good. You can just look at them on paper and see they've got a lot of players, they've got a lot of depth. They're a team that you can't go out there and play with low energy, or they're going to kill you. It's no secret they're stacked."
Chris's Sunday Lacktion Report:
Sixers-Knicks: Philadelphia's Jason Kapono heaved one brick in 5:18 for a +1 suck differential.
Suns-Hawks: Jason Collins collected 4.3 trillion (4:16) in gold coins, while Zaza Pachulia negated a lone assist in 8:27 with a brick, giveway, and a trio of fouls for a 4:0 Voskuhl.
Wolves-Rockets: Brad Miller scrapped out a board in 6:43, but also fouled twice for a 2:1 Voskuhl.
Celtics-Thunder: Von Wafer continues to bring home the bullion with a 2.75 trillion (2:45) in celebration for Doc Rivers, while Daequan Cook fried up a pair of bricks from...uh...Bricktown for a +2 in 5:17.
Frail Blazers-Lakers: Theo Ratliff did not entirely expire on the court in 4:42, making one rebound in that time period - but earning also a foul and lost rock each for a 2:1 Voskuhl.