And you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Nyets...
(H/T to SRQman)
The New Jersey Nyets: Teams on a seven-game losing streak don't get many breaks. In theory, a visit from the 8-15 Philadelphia 76ers should have been one.
It wasn't. So make that an eight-game losing streak and the 9-15 Sixers.
New Jersey scored only 77 points on 34 percent shooting. Those poor bastards couldn't have hit water if they'd been thrown face first out of the Titanic. But never fear, Nyets players. Help is on the way!
Devin Harris, quote machine: "This is kind of how we have been playing. We play up for the hierarchy teams and we don't play as well against some of the teams at the bottom of the totem pole. It's just a matter of energy for us. We just weren't there. ... We need to jump out on some of these teams and put them on their heels," Harris said. "It's like we are walking into a fight and catching the first three punches. We realize what is going on it is happening every single game. We can't fight like that. We have to come out and throw some punches and come out swinging."
Speaking of Harris, this is as good a time as any to update my all-time favorite stat curse: The Nyets are now 51-129 -- almost a full NBA season below .500 -- since Harris said "We knew we were going to be a playoff team" back in December of 2008.
The Washington Wizards Generals: The Lakers finally got Andrew Bynum back. Until his next inevitable injury anyway. Meanwhile, the Generals were without John Wall (who missed his eight game of the season with tendinitis in his right knee) and Andray Blatche (soreness in his left knee). Then they lost Yi Jianlian to a sprained right knee in the first quarter.
You know that saying "he brought a knife to a gunfight." Well, this game was the NBA equivalent of Washington bringing one of those switchblade combs to a bazooka fight. Actually, scratch the switchblade comb. It was more like bringing a banana cream pie to a bazooka fight. And then hitting yourself in the face with the pie.
Despite being so handi-capable, the Generals were down only 10 points (70-60) with 5:56 left in the third quarter when Kobe got fouled on a three-point attempt and then went to the line and bricked three straight freebies. The Washington crowd -- which was about 3,000 short of a sellout despite the Lakers being there -- mocked him. And you know Mamba was pissed.
With 3:56 left in the third, he knocked in a three from the left baseline. With 2:59 left, he drilled a trey from the right baseline. With 2:27 left, he was fouled on a three-point attempt and connected on all three foul shots. With 2:00 left in the quarter he hit yet another triple to make it 89-66.
When asked if those three missed free throws are what made him go apeshit, Kobe said: "Absolutely. I just got going. I got some good looks, knocked them down. I made one. I made the next. Things just went on from there."
Washington coach Flip Saunders knew it was coming.
Said Saunders: "I called Nick and Gil over, and said: 'I just want you guys to be ready' because Kobe's the type of player -- the more difficult the situation the better he is. He got going. He hit 3s, and that's what he does."
He warned Nick Young and Gilbert Arenas? What, because those guys are known for their defense? Nice job, Flip. No wonder your team has lost five in a row and nine of their last 10 games.
Bonus video: Just so you don't misunderstand my feelings about the Mamba, here's Kobe airballing a three early in that game.
I feel better already!
The Toronto Raptors: Michael Jordan was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame during halftime of the Craptors-Bobcraps game. Before tipoff, MJ told his team they'd better not lose or he would end them. Or something like that. Inspired by their former megastar owner's sinister threat, the Bobkittens went out and earned a rousing 97-91 win over a team that has now lost five of its last six games.
It didn't help that the Mighty Dinos let Charlotte -- currently ranked 26th in Offensive Rating -- shoot 52 percent for the game. Nor did it benefit their cause to give up a whopping 29 points off 19 turnovers.
Said DeMar DeRozen: "It's real frustrating. Teams these days are too good, and when you turn over the ball, it's a good chance they will go down and make something happen."
(Chris: We almost forgot, but it's a Raptors loss, which means...the above clip.)
Referee Ed Malloy hit Jackson with a second-quarter technical foul after his third foul. It was Jackson's seventh technical of the season and his first since he sent a letter to fans apologizing for behavior that got him suspended for a game two weeks ago.
"It's funny, it's a joke," Jackson said when asked about his frustration over being in foul trouble. "All I can do is laugh at it and let it go."
Oh, that wacky Captain Jack.
The Atlanta Hawks: A couple years ago, I related a story about a bird hitting my car and then fucking exploding. And although I'm not going to repeat that tale right now, it's pretty much what happened to the Dirty Birds in the Motor City. When last we saw the Pistons, they were wasting a career-high 23 points by Ben Wallace and choking away a 25-point homecourt lead to the Craptosaurs.
Of all the lows the Pistons have endured the last few seasons, that was the lowliest.
Well, Detroit came out and smeared Hawk sauce all over the court. It was ugly my friends. How ugly? Let me put it this way: Knee-Mac drilled four three-pointers in the fourth quarter. The Pistons won 103-80.
Said Mike Bibby: "We hung in there, but it seemed like nothing was going our way and then it got out of hand quickly. They hit three or four 3s in a row, and then it was just a rampage that we couldn't stop."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: As Basketbawful reader Cetti pointed out yesterday, I like to mention how often I see the words "season-high" or "career-high" used to describe somebody who just played against the Golden State Warriors. Well, add Darko Milicic to that list. Last night, Mr. Manna from Heaven scored a career-high 25 points on 12-for-19 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and a steal. And 4 turnovers. And a game-worst plus-minus score of -15.
Unfortunately, Minny couldn't take advantage of Darko's big night, or their 50 points in the paint, or their 21 fast break points, or the 19 turnovers they forced, or their 16 offensive rebounds, or the fact that they had a 94-88 lead with five minutes to go against a lousy team that had lost seven straight games.
It was Golden State's third win in their last 17 games. In case you needed some perspective. Meanwhile, the T-Wolves are 6-19 overall and 1-13 outside of Minnesota.
Said Minny coach Kurt Rambis: "Our team needs to learn that if they don't play hard every night, we are not going to win. Particularly in the second half, we did not give a maximum effort. We gave them too many second-chance opportunities and turned the ball over too many times."
Don't forget the missed shots, Kurt. Your team went 7-for-22 down the stretch.
And check out the shooting from Minnesota's guards: Luke Ridnour (1-for-9), Wesley Johnson (2-for-5), Corey Brewer (1-for-6) and Jonny Flynn (1-for-2). That's a combined 5-for-22 from your four-guard rotation. Ugly.
Although, to be fair, Brewer had a Dantley by going 8-for-10 from the line. In fact, Ridnour went 3-for-4 and also had an admittedly pathetic Dantley. So they have that going for them. Which is nice.
The Sacramento Kings: Another night, another near-helpless beating for the Purple Paupers. The Sactowners actually started strong -- winning the first quarter 30-27 -- before being outscored by 24 points over the second and third quarters. The fourth was mostly garbage time.
It's funny, too, because you don't expect a team that scored 105 points on 52 percent shooting to have been so far out of the running only 36 minutes into the game. In all fairness, the Kings were without Tyreke Evans, who missed the game with a sore foot. So they probably should have shot much worse.
Paul Westphal, coach of the year candidate: "Things start snowballing a little bit, and we can't seem to stop the avalanche. Whether it's a couple of calls we think should go our way, a couple turnovers, a couple of made 3s, hustle plays where we deflect the ball and it goes to the other team, it just seems like even though we were playing well, next thing you know, we're down 10."
The Orlando Magic: Despite a career-high 29 points from J.J. Redick -- did he think he was playing against the Warriors? -- Magic suffered a fourth quarter collapse in Denver. They were outscored by 16 points in the final 12 minutes and lost by 17. I'll go ahead and let you do the math.
Check the plus-minus stats for Orlando's five best players: Dwight Howard (-27), Rashard Lewis (-23), Jameer Nelson (-18), Redick (-17) and Vince Carter (-8). For good measure, toss in the fact that Nelson (1-for-10), Lewis (2-for-9) and Carter (6-for-15) combined to go 9-for-34 from the field and 4-for-15 from downtown.
More numbers: The Magic -- despite having the presumed "best center in the league" in Howard -- were outrebounded 40-34 and outscored 46-22 in the paint.
Said Nuggets coach George Karl: "I think they have a great rebounder. But I don't think they're a great rebounding team."
Orlando, allow me to introduce you to Karl's pimp hand.
That said, the bigger problem seemed to be that the Magicians allowed Denver to shoot nearly 54 percent from the field and over 42 percent from beyond the arc (11-for-26). Hands and faces. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Well, they're supposed to anyway.
Said Howard: "We've got to play defense. It's got to be everybody. The wings have to do a better job not allowing their man to get to the rim on every play. It puts a lot of pressure on the bigs. It's hard for the big guys to help when a guy takes one dribble and he's at the rim. It's very tough. I like blocking shots but if a guy's one dribble and he's there and I'm all the way on the other side, I can't fly over there. I don't have a cape in real life."
Yes, Dwight's looking at you, Carter. And Lewis. And Redick. And Nelson.
Win-Loss Update: The Magic have dropped five of six. The one win? Against the Clippers. Two of their previous three wins before that? Against the Pistons.
The Carmelo Anthony trade rumors: First it was New York. Now it's New Jersey. And all the while, 'Melo just wants to be left alone. From the AP recap:
The first Anthony heard of the latest buzz of a big trade to the Big Apple was from reporters crowded around his locker and checking their smart phones after he scored 35 points in the win over the Magic.
"Who? I haven't heard that one. Am I? I don't know, dawg. This is new," Anthony responded when a reporter relayed a report that he would be headed to New Jersey on Wednesday.
"I haven't heard that. I'm officially saying I know nothing about it," Anthony added. "When I have some more information, you guys will know."
Asked whether he expects to be at the Pepsi Center on Thursday night when Denver faces the Spurs, Anthony said: "I've got a game here Thursday night against San Antonio, and that's what I'm focused on. All that other stuff, I'm not even paying attention to right now. I don't even know; you just caught me by surprise with that one."
Fueling the latest speculation was the three-team trade agreed to Tuesday among New Jersey, Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers that netted the Nets two more first-round draft picks for potential use in a deal for Anthony.
"Oh, that's why y'all" are asking, Anthony said.
Growing tired of the trade talk, Anthony told the scrum, "You want to ask me about Orlando?"
He said he banged his right thumb during the game, but "I'll be all right come Thursday." He added that he's healthy now that he sat out a few days with a sore knee and the flu.
Asked whether he was sentimental at all if this was his last game in Denver, Anthony said, "Are you sending me out?"
Just relaying the reports, he was told.
"I've been listening to reports all summer," Anthony said. "I ain't thinking about that. I'm here. You'll see me suited up Thursday night."
In a Nuggets uniform?
"Of course," he said. "You'll see me here Thursday night, all right? Anything else?
"See you guys."
I assume 'Melo immediately jumped on his iPhone to order The Ultimate Revenge Kit in case general manager Masai Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke try to send him to New Jersey. I predict that, if they do, they will soon experience evacuation via the natural route.
President Obama and Kobe Bryant, quote machines: From AnacondaHL:
"Derrick Rose may have your number," President Obama lightheartedly jabbed at Kobe Bryant
'If he calls that number, I'll be sure to pick up after the fifth ring,'" Bryant quipped back
Craptors-Bobcats: Joey Dorsey produced 2.5 trillion (2:30) worth of gold records for the Ontario teachers pension, while for His Airness's tax writeoff squad, Gerald Henderson gave up the rock once and threw a brick in 3:19 for a +2 suck differential and Derrick Brown earned a +1 in 3:32 via turnover.
Sixers-Nyets: Anthony Morrow made a mushroom stew in 33 seconds for a Mario!(Chris: Morrow left the game due to injury which negates this lactkion.)
Purple Paupers-Rockets: Jared Jeffries celebrated a total gimme victory against the royally screwed by bricking twice in 4:37 (once from Main Street Square) for a +2.
Magic-Nuggets: Gary Forbes wanted to be a billionaire so bad, and got his wish and THEN some - a 1.15 (1:10) trillion oughta do it! Fellow prospector Melvin Ely made one board in 7:44 irrelevant with a foul and turnover for a 2:1 Voskuhl.
Wolves-Warriors: In a shocking development, the Warriors can celebrate a victory, with Dan Gadzuric leading the way via two fouls and a turnover in 2:08 - worth a +3 and a 3:0 Voskuhl. Ekpe Udoh also joined in the party by negating a board in 4:01 with a foul and turnover for a 2:1 Voskuhl.