The Philadelphia 76ers: I know you're going to find this hard to believe...
...but the Philadelphia 76ers have been on fire lately.
The Sixers opened the season at Los Angeles Clippers-like 3-13 and then ripped off eight wins in their last 11 games heading into tonight's matchup with the Bulls. They had held 12 of their last 13 opponents below 100 points. And in their nine games this month, their foes had been averaging only 89.2 PPG.
For perspective, the Miami Heat lead the league in Opponents PPG at 91.5.
Enter the Bulls, minus Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, and fresh off a home court loss to the actual Clippers.
So, naturally, Chicago annihilated Philly. And that annihilation couldn't have been more complete unless the earth opened up, swallowed the Sixers and spit up a mangled pile of meat and bones.
It's hard to put this beating into words, so allow me to put it into numbers: The Bulls shot a season-best 64.5 percent while holding the Sixers to a season-low 35.0 percent. Chicago outscored Philly 28-9 on the fast break and 52-26 in the paint. The Bulls blocked nine shots and forced 18 turnovers. They outscored the Sixers 31-11 in the third quarter and led by as many as 51 points before settling for a 45-point win.
Said former Bull Elton Brand: "It was a good, old-fashioned butt kicking. They did whatever they wanted. They scored on eight of their first 11 plays and we couldn't come back. They scored at will."
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate: So sayeth Doug:
"I told the guys that I'll give you one. In the NBA you're going to have games like this, it just happens.
"It'll be easier tomorrow (at Boston). Our effort will be better tomorrow. We were just discombobulated on offense tonight. I didn't recognize us out there. I didn't even know what plays we were running.
"We would go out of time-outs and we were just looking around. I could just tell. It was one of those nights. When you've been around 40 years, you just after a while feel like there's no reason to say a whole lot."
Update! The Bulls' singing voices: Basketbawful reader Barry nominated this video. Deservedly so.
The Los Angeles Lakers: Here are some quick Lakers facts I recently brought up in a comments section. So far this season, L.A. has had easily the cakiest schedule in the league. According to John Hollinger's Power Rankings, the Lakers are 30th in Strength of Schedule (.410). In their first 29 games, they've played exactly four games against teams that are currently above .500 (Nuggets, Jazz and the Bulls twice).
People have been making a big deal about how the Lakers have won eight of nine, but those eight victories were against the Kings (5-20), Wizards (7-19), Clippers (8-21), Nyets (8-20), Wizards again, Pacers (13-14), Sixers (11-16) and Craptors (10-18). Well, L.A. got a crack at another sub-.500 team -- the Milwaukee Bucks (10-16) -- and it was like they opened a gift-bag filled with whupass.
The Lakers lost 98-79. At home. And yes, those 79 points were a season low. They were also a franchise low against the Bucks.
And here's where I mention that the Bucks were minus Brandon Jennings (left foot surgery), Corey Maggette (concussion-like symptoms) and Carlos Delfino (strained neck and concussion-like symptoms). Due to the injuries, Scott Skiles had to squeeze 26 minutes out of Earl Boykins...
...and Boykins lit the Lakers up for a game-high (and season-high) 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting.
More numbers: L.A. gave up 25 points off 18 turnovers. But you know what? Screw the numbers. I've seen roadkill with more life than the Lakers showed. I guess this was a post-Heat trap game. But damn.
Said Phil Jackson: "I told them I don't think they can play any worse than that. This is what we were worried about. We got out of whack there in the second half and never recovered."
Added Derek Fisher: "I guess you could say there's a possibility [of looking ahead], but I don't think so. Even in looking past someone, that requires an action on your part. So I don't think it was so much about the opponent. I just think we didn't play the type of game that we needed to play. I guess things would have been different if the opponent was different, but I can't say that."
Kobe Bryant: He had an ego-ectomy as described in the AP recap:
After consecutive baskets by Boykins and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute put the Bucks ahead 82-72 with six minutes left, Milwaukee's game was encapsulated on the next possession: Salmons was faked to the floor by Bryant, yet still managed to strip the ball from Bryant in a seated position when the Lakers superstar drove past him.
Kobe Bryant lost his cool after he was called for charging in the fourth quarter, getting technical fouls from a pair of officials, then directing a certain two words immortalized in the Grammy-nominated Cee-Lo song toward official Bill Spooner as he left the court. Those were two more words than Bryant said to reporters, as he departed without comment. (It was Bryant’s first two-technical game since March 26, 2008, vs. Charlotte.)
And the video:
That's right. Kobe said "fuck you" to the refs.
The Memphis Grizzlies: Here's the rub in one sentence: The Nyets ended thier 10-game road losing streak and now have only their second two-game winning streak of the season thanks to a 101-94 victory over the Care Bears.
New Jersey shot nearly 53 percent from the field and scored 54 points in the paint.
Said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins: "We couldn't get a stop when we needed one. Vujacic came off the bench and made shots in our face, and Lopez just kept scoring and scoring. There were a lot of mistakes made on schemes and a lack of effort."
The Charlotte Bobcraps: Talk about a fourth quarter collapse. The Bobkittens were ahead by a point entering the final 12 minutes...during which they missed their first 11 shots, committed 5 turnovers, didn't score a field goal until there were 2:52 to go, gave up a 25-3 run and got outscored 31-12.
The 'Craps have now lost four games in a row. And they haven't surpassed 90 points in any of them.
Larry Brown, coach of the year candidate: So sayeth Larry:
"The same things are happening again," Brown said. "We stand around, hold the ball and turn it over. We take bad shots. In that regard you see how much more athletic than we are. A turnover for them is a dunk.
"We can't get five guys in the right spots on the court. So then you look disorganized," Brown said. "But I think some of our young kids will have to play now and hopefully they get better. I have to figure out how I can coach better, and give them a better understanding of what we need to do.
"I have to make them understand how valuable the ball is, how to run from defense to offense and offense to defense, how to block out, share the ball," Brown said. "You can't stop telling them, you can't stop coaching it.
"It's a lot deeper than that."
The Sacramento Kings: The Kings choked up a 16-point fourth quarter lead and lost in overtime to the Warriors, who came into the game having lost 14 of their last 16. That's just the kind of season it's been for the Purple Paupers...now a league-worst 5-21.
Update! Demarcus Cousins, worst player of the night: An anonymous commenter said: "Anybody have video of Demarcus Cousins making the Reggie Miller 'choke' sign after Reggie Williams missed the 1st shot when he was at the line shooting 3 FTs in the final seconds of regulation? Cousins also finished an amazing 3-13 from the field with 4 TOs. Worst Player of the Night."
The Orlando Magic: So how's the roster overhaul going? Gilbert Arenas scored 2 points on 1-for-6 shooting, Hedo Turkododo had 9 points on 2-for-11 shooting and Jason Richardson went 4-for-13 for his 10 points. And Orlando lost 105-99 at home to the Dallas Mavericks.
Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundey: "None of those guys are shooting the ball very well right now. I don't know if it's being in a new situation or putting too much pressure on themselves. All three of them are struggling to shoot the ball."
Added Dwight Howard: "It can't get any worse."
Stat curse? Orlando's next two games are against the Spurs and Celtics. Just sayin'.
Update! Hedo Turkododo: Missed. Dunk.
Update! Chris' Lacktion Report:
Thunder-Bobcats: Cole Aldrich acquired two fouls in 2:27 for a +2 and a 2:0 Voskuhl.
Nyets-Grizzlies: Hamed Haddadi ran into a Goomba once in 40 seconds to earn a foul in the midst of a Mario, also garnering a +1 and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl!
Warriors-The Purple Paupers Who May Not Be In Sacramento Forever But Have Maintained A Coaching Vacancy Since Adelman Left: Louis Amundson celebrated the continuing implosion of Sacramento's "basketball" "team" by countering three boards and a field goal in 12:54 with a turnover AND fouling out - earning a 7:5 Voskuhl as starting big man!
Bucks-Lakers: Jerry Buss can now invite Devin Ebanks to the Christmas Texas Hold'em gathering after he earned a 1.5 trillion (1:29)!