The Weather: After cheating all but about a thousand Charlotte area residents out of a gripping blowout of the Grizzlies, the weather robbed everybody in Atlanta of a thrilling matchup between two of the league's slowest teams (the Hawks and Bucks rank 25th and 24th in Pace, respectively). Until March 15th anyway. And did I mention Milwaukee is ranked 29th in Offensive Rating and dead last in PPG. How could you do this, weather? How could you?
The Philadelphia 76ers: Speaking of the weather, it limited the crowd of the Pacers-Sixers game in Philly to about 5,000 due to a pending snowstorm. Bummer, huh?
It was just as well, since the home team let Indy score 111 points on 51 percent shooting and end a nine-game road losing streak.
By the way, I'm giving Andre Iguodala Worst Player of the Night dishonors for his triumphant return of one point on 0-for-7 shooting in 33 minutes.
Interestingly enough, the last time the Pacers won a road game was on November 30th against (of course) the Kings. Speaking of which...
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Don't laugh. These claims may sound outrageous to the point of insanity, but they're real. Ever wonder how the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch have remained hidden all these years? Curious how Santa Clause delivers presents to every kid in the world in just a few hours? Have you questioned why the Dark Lord Satan hasn't dragged Kobe Bryant straight back to the pits of Hell from whence he came?
Here's the answer: They're all wearing Power Balance bracelets.
Anyway, the Kings must have been wearing Power Balance bracelets, because they went out and scored 133 points last night...
...but gave up 136 and lost to the Washington Wizards Generals.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Wow. I mean, just, wow. Okay, so the Timberwolves had sliced and diced San Antonio's 16-point lead down to only six (68-62). Then, with about eight and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Minnesota native and NBA official Ken Mauer decided he had seen enough of the comeback.
Mauer tagged Darko Milicic and Corey Brewer with technical fouls for gesturing toward him on the same play. Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis approached Mauer to discuss the techs and received two of his own (and the automatic ejection that came with them). Seconds later, Mauer T'd up Kevin Love because Love threw up his arms and yelled after Tim Duncan raped him on a rebound attempt.
That made a total of five technical fouls and one ejection in 10 seconds. Manu Ginobili drilled all five of the ensuing free throws and suddenly the T-Wolves were down 73-62. They played the Spurs even the rest of the way and lost 107-96.
Love -- who had yet another Animal-Style double-double of 20 points and 20 boards -- said: "I've never seen that before. Five in a row, that had to be a first. That was crazy."
Added Michael Beasley: "I've never seen that. Never. I've seen simultaneous Ts on different teams. But on the same team, that was a first. It's been happening all year. ... I don't like getting five Ts in 30 seconds, but you've got to see where the refs are coming from. If they feel you're out of place, they've been doing it all year."
Even Manu felt a little bad for the Timberwolves.
"I was glad it was us shooting," Ginobili said. "It was kind of awkward. It was strange."
The Phoenix Suns: This is getting uglier by the day. The Suns appeared to be catching the Nuggets at just the right time. Denver was mired in a three-game losing streak and, with Carmelo Anthony trade rumors swirling around, the ship appeared to be going down faster than the Titanic. Sure enough, Phoenix raced out to a 32-20 lead after one quarter...
...then got outscored 82-40 in the second and third quarters.
The Suns shot 36 percent while the Nuggets shot nearly 56 percent. The 44 points Denver scored in the second quarter represented a season high. Carmelo Anthony had a double-double (28 points and 10 boards) and Arron Afflalo made it fucking rain, scoring a career-high 31 points on 11-for-14 shooting. In fact, Afflalo, a shooting guard, outrebounded Suns starting Center Robin Lopez 9-1.
The Nuggets trailed the Suns 32-20 at the end of the first quarter, but rallied to win, 132-98. Denver set an NBA record during the shot-clock era for largest margin of victory for a team that was behind by at least 12 points heading into the second quarter.
By the way, that 34-point margin of defeat was the largest ever suffered by Phoenix against the Nuggets. Historic fail.
Said Steve Nash: "It feels like there's a little lack of cohesion and chemistry. I don't feel like we're getting that performance and effort that we're accustomed to, and that's disappointing. It seems like when we lose the momentum, we just go downhill fast. It's like we stop believing. We're all concerned and disappointed. We've got to keep fighting; that's all we can do. You can't cry about it; you've got to keep fighting."
As for that "lack of cohesion and chemistry" Steve is talking about, Robert Sarver let STAT walk, then overpaid for Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick, then traded for Hedo Turkoglu, then flipped Turkododo and Jason Richardson -- who was probably their best player not named "Nash" -- for Vince Carter, whom the Magic were eager to dump because he's limping his way to the NBA Glue Factory.
There's no cohesion because shit doesn't stick.
The Cleveland Cavaliers: When the Mayans prophesized an apocalyptic, worldwide disaster in the year 2012, maybe they were right. Maybe they just overshot the mark by a year. And maybe that "apocalyptic, worldwide disaster" they predicted was actually the Cleveland Cavaliers. It makes more sense than John Cusack outrunning an earthquake, right?
Anyway, I keep thinking things can't possibly get any worse for Cleveland. I just keep thinking it. And I keep being wrong. So very, very wrong.
Heading into last night's game against the Lakers in L.A., the Cavaliers had lost 10 straight and 19 of their last 20 games. They were already an NBA-worst 8-29. On top of that, they were without starting center Anderson Varejao, who tore a tendon in his right ankle while running at practice, Joey Graham (right quad strain), Daniel Gibson (left ankle sprain), Leon Powe (right torn meniscus) and Anthony Parker (lower back strain).
And the Lakers beat them. And beat them. And beat them some more. The Cavs scoring, by quarter, went: 12, 13, 16 and 16. They finished with 57 points. And lost by 55.
Said Kobe Bryant: "You don't ever imagine something like that."
Somebody call 911 for the Cavaliers. Actually, forget it. It's too late for that. The box score reads like an autopsy report. None of Cleveland's starters scored in double figures. In fact, that unit combined to shoot 8-for-37. Some cat named Samardo Samuels came off their bench and went 1-for-12. It was just a remorseless slaughter. The Lakers pummeled them to death the way that, well, Ivan Drago pummeled Apollo Creed to death.
The Los Angeles Lakers made it look easy against the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night at Staples Center winning 112-57. The 55-point win was the largest margin of victory in the NBA in nearly 13 years. The last time a team won by 55 or more points was on February 27, 1998 when the Indiana Pacers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 124-59.
Cleveland's 57 points Tuesday was its fewest in franchise history. It was the fewest points the Lakers have allowed in the shot-clock era (since 1954).
The Cavs were 1-14 from 3-point range, committed 19 turnovers and scored just 25 points in the first half. Prior to Tuesday, Cleveland was 8-3 in its last 11 games against the Lakers scoring no fewer than 88 points in each game.
Since the advent of the shot clock (lest you think it recent, it's been around since the '54-'55 season), the fewest points allowed by the Lakers was 66. Tonight, they flat dusted that mark. Cleveland scored 12 points in the quarter, then 10 in the second. Coming out of the break, they EXPLODED for 16, and managed to repeat the feat in the fourth. Was it great defense? Incompetent offense? Something in the water?
I will say I witnessed quite simply the worst play I've ever seen at the NBA level, when Ryan Hollins, after blocking Kobe Bryant underneath led the Cavs up court, flanked by teammates on each side. He proceeded to more or less hand the ball to Pau Gasol, stationed about three-quarters of the way up to half court. Gasol flipped it to Kobe, who popped the ball off the backboard to Andrew Bynum for a dunk.
Effectively, Hollins turned a five-on-two break into a three-on-oh the other way as James Naismith flopped like a landed trout in his grave.
Said Cavs coach Byron Scott: "I thought that was embarrassing. I told them at halftime, 'You look scared. You look flat-out scared. You're playing against the world champions, and instead of just competing and playing hard, you look scared. You look scared to death.' That was my take on it, as simple as that. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but to come out and not compete? There's no excuse for that. I'm embarrassed because of the way we performed. I'm a Cleveland Cavalier right now and the way we performed last night, that's embarrassing to me. I had one other team [New Jersey] come in and I thought we looked a little nervous. But that was the NBA Finals. I haven't had another team come in and look that scared."
You think that sounds bad?
Added Antawn Jamison: "It can't be any worse than this. If it is, someone will have to help me because I don't know how much of this I can take. This by far is rock bottom. It's definitely by far one of the most embarrassing moments that I've been a part of as far as basketball."
And this is from a guy who spent a combined 10-plus years playing for the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards Generals. Dude was on a 19-win team that started the seaon 6-30. Then he was the leading scorer on a 17-win team that lost 32 of its last 34 games...a stretch that included losing streaks of 8, 11, and 13 games.
So, yeah, Antawn knows what rock bottom is. And this is it.
Update!More angst from Antawn: "Fifty-five points? That's, like, impossible. We're professional athletes. How do you lose by 55 points? I don't care who you're playing against. I mean, if this doesn't hurt...I don't understand how we're able to have conversations in the locker room. There's nothing to talk about. We have to do some soul searching quick because no matter who we play, right now they feel like they can beat us. If we don't have a sense of pride and just play for yourself or something...this might be one of the worst teams to go through a season. The frustrating part about it is I know we're better than this. I don't know. Something has to change."
Update! Mo Williams Tweeted about what happened: "This shit is embarrassing. I feel like I can't even show my face in Cleve."
You know it's bad when you feel like you can't show your face in Cleveland.
LeBron James: He could have left it alone. He could have kept his damn mouth shut for a change. If he was going to enjoy Cleveland's abject and utter misery, he could have done it quietly behind closed doors. But remember: This is a guy who castrated his hometown in an hour-long, ego-stroking infomercial that aired on ESPN. So, if anything, when LeBron James decides to be an asshole, he opts for maximum exposure of his royal sphincter.
And so here's what he Tweeted after the Cavaliers were executed in L.A.:
We thought LeBron couldn't be a bigger asshole after this summer? Epic fail.
That's all he is, by the way. An asshole of biblical proportions. I was listening to Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio this morning, and Mike Greenberg's take was that LeBron is embracing the role of the villain. But Greenberg is wrong. Bill Laimbeer? That dude loved being a villain...and he never pretended otherwise. King Crab, on the other hand, is a villain pretending to be the wronged hero.
Which means, yeah, I respect Laimbeer more than LeBron.
What's more, he's an idiot who obviously doesn't know anything about karma beyond what he's heard in sound bites or read in a fortune cookie. Still, if 'Bron's version of "karma" really is in effect, I expect an anvil to fall out of the sky and land on his fat head any minute.
Update! I probably should have mentioned this already. But 'Melo got all Tweet-happy last night too. Here's what he was e-chirping (H/T Karc):
First they love you, then they hate you..............
Not complaining just a real statement
die a hero or live long enuff to become a villain
Far from letting it get to me. Can't a MF just vent. Damn. Lol
Now AnacondaHL has come through with even more updates:
Who said psychological train wrecks aren't fun to watch?
The Portland Frail Blazers: The Brandon Roy-less Blazers had an offensive meltdown (35 percent from the field and 4-for-18 on threes) and the Knicks beat 'em in Portland. Blah, blah, blah.
Said Blazers coach Nate McMillan: "I thought we looked mentally fatigued. We were just a step slow in everything we did."
Added LeMarcus Aldridge: "We just didn't make shots. I tried to force the issue going to the basket, took some shots that probably couldn't go in, but I didn't want to just take jump shots over and over. It was tough."
Update! Antoine Walker: From Basketbawful reader Little Keith:
Just making sure everyone is aware of Antoine "toine" Walker's performance from The D-League's Showcase tonight:
7 pts (2-13 shooting, 1-6 on 3's) 3 rebs 2 asts 2 blks 4 PFs 10 TOs -13 +/- 34+ minutes of "playing" time
He is injured on his right calf muscle and will possibly need surgery. Out for at least two months.
Meanwhile his team Besiktas is 9th in the 16-team Turkish League.
He played 7 games with 32 mins/game (40 min games). Averaging around 14.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 3.3 turnovers with 23/52 44% 2 points - 9 / 21 42% 3 points and 27/37 73% free throws.
Chris's Lacktion Report:
Pacers-Sixers: Andres Nocioni notched a giveaway in 2:48 for a +1.
Purple Paupers-Generals: Hilton Armstrong commandeered a 3:39 stay in the ledger despite an assist, by fouling once for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Spurs-Wolves: Chris Quinn heaved two bricks with all his might for a +2 in 1:31, the same time span it took Tiago Splitter to garner a 1.5 trillion.