The Atlanta Hawks: Check it: After last night's endless Dragon Punch by the Philadelphia 76ers, the Dirty Birds have lost the last two home games Al Horford has missed due to injury by a combined 85 points. Horford for...MVP?
Anyway, Philly shot 54 percent for the game, won the rebounding battle 50-35, and had a 34-15 advantage in free throw attempts despite playing on the road. According to the AP game notes, the Sixers matched their season high with the 65 first-half points, which was also a season high for Hawks opponents.
Said Joe Johnson: "Our defense was nonexistent. They got everything they wanted."
The offense wasn't much to write home about, either. Atlanta scored a season-low 33 points in the first half.
Joe Johnson, Worst Player of the Night: 6 points on 3-for-8 shooting, 0-for-1 on threes, no free throw attempts, zero rebounds, 1 assist, zero steals, zero blocks, 5 turnovers and 4 fouls in 22 minutes. I don't even need to mention the size of his contract to justify his WPotN status.
The Los Angeles Clippers: Let's see: 39 percent shooting, 18 turnovers, and outscored 35-20 during the fourth quarter of a 101-85 loss. I should also mention that Orlando scored 25 fast break points, 23 second-chance points off 17 offensive rebounds and tallied 27 points of 18 forced turnovers. These totals are a reminder of why, as awesome as Blake Griffin is, the Clippers are still, well, for now we'll just say they're still the Clippers.
Said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro: "Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck!"
Dwight Howard, quote machine: On the shooting woes of Gilbert Areneas: "He says when it gets warm, he'll be better. So we pray the sun comes out a little more so his leg can heal up, I guess."
The Detroit Pistons: Is it a bad sign that a lot of people think Detroit really gave the Spurs a scare last night...but they still lost 100-89 at home?
And tonight the Pistons play the Cadavers in Cleveland. Second night of back-to-backs. Bad team versus an epically bawful team trying desperately to snap the longest losing streak in NBA history.
Call it a hunch, but I think that streak is ending tonight.
Will Bynum, quote machine: On whether the Pistons will be The Team That Finally Lost To The Cadavers: "We won't be. We'll be ready. That's why we get paid."
Seriously, the fact that Bynum invoked the "that's why we get paid card" says it all. Forget pride or desire or anything like that. It's about the money. Money versus Eternal Embarrassment, which is what the Cleveland players are feeling right now. Which is why Detroit is gonna lose tonight.
Rip Hamilton's groin: Last Saturday, The Phantom of Auburn Hills got his first non-DNP-CD since January 10. That one game damaged his man region badly enough that Rip couldn't go last night. In the game, that is. I assume he could pee just fine.
Said Hamilton: "I think last game I kind of tweaked it. I think one of the reasons, certain preparation before the game and stuff I've been doing for years, getting myself ready for the game, I didn't get an opportunity to do it because I didn't know that, one, I was going to be active, and two, that I was going to play."
So, in other words, he got hurt because he wasn't bothering to keep himself ready to play. And he wonders why the team wants to ship him.
The Indiana Pacers: When the Pacers built a 14-point lead on the cHeat last night, I said, out loud to myself, "Self, I wonder how the Pacers are going to choke this one away?"
And let's face it: We all knew they would, right?
Indy scored 29, 37 and 31 points in the first three quarters. Heading into the fourth, they were shooting 57 percent for the game and leading 97-90.
Their fourth quarter numbers: 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting. During the stretch between Dahntay Jones' 10-footer with 7:09 left and Danny Granger hit a layup with 51 seconds remaining, the Pacers missed nine straight shots.
Oh, and, of course, there's that whole thing about LeBron playing like LeBron again. Which included almost killing Pookie with a dunk.
The Toronto Craptors: During the fourth quarter, the Craptosaurs were held scoreless for over six minutes as the Bucks went on a 14-0 run to pull away for a 92-74 win. Make it 10 straight road losses for the Dinos. And cue the video...
Special "Short Bus" Stat 'O The Game: Toronto was 0-for-10 from downtown.
Andrew Bogut, captain obvious: "It's much easier when you have four or five guys scoring in double digits."
The Oklahoma City Thunder: So let me get this straight: The Grizzlies were playing the second of back-to-back games without two key players (Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo) on the road against a good team that happens to have the league's leading scorer on its roster (Kevin Durant). And their bench contributed only eight points?
And they won?
Key numbers to consider: OKC gave up 31 points off 23 turnovers, got outscored 27-14 on the fast break, and lost despite outrebounding Memphis 58-26 (including 18-6 on the offensive glass).
The Houston Rockets: So let me get this straight: The Timberpups were playing on the second night of back-to-back road games without starters Michael Beasley (sprained left ankle), Darko Milicic (strained left hip flexor), Luke Ridnour (personal reasons). And they were forced to get significant minutes out of Nikola Pekovic, Kosta Koufos and Lazar Hayward?
And they won?
The Rocketeers were outrebounded 51-31. That's their largest rebounding deficit of the season.
Said Kevin Martin: "We came out very complacent and we paid for it."
Countered Houston coach Rick Adelman: "Sometimes you just say, the other team played better. They made big shots when they had to. They played better."
By the way, Kevin Love (20 points, 14 rebounds) had his 38th consecutive double-double, surpassing the franchise record set by Kevin Garnett in 2006. According to the AP recap, Love's streak is the longest since Moses Malone had 44 straight double-doubles during the 1982-83 season with Philadelphia.
Makin' history for double-doubles and rebounding. Makin' the All-Star team. Rankin' sixth in the league in Player Efficiency Rating. This all underscores the point I made waaaaay back in the beginning of the season: Love is his team's best player and Kurt Rambis was out of his gourd for not giving him big minutes from the get-go.
Chris's lacktion ledger:
Sixers-Hawks: The astounding Andres Nocioni notched four bricks (once from Underground Atlanta), two rejections AND a foul for a +7 in 10:59!!!
Josh Powell provided an assist for the Hawks in 13:42, only to brick thricely and foul once for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Clippers-Magic: Rasual Butler served up 2.9 trillion (2:55) for Donald Sterling's legal fund.
Spurs-Pistons: The Association: where AMAZING HAPPENS!!! In the highly unanticipated rematch of the 2005 Finals, Tiago Splitter took down a board, Steve Novak went 100% from one attempt from the Ren Center, and Chris Quinn provided some help in the scoring department, all nice...but they all celebrated for 45 seconds huddled around a Nintendo Wii as MARIO BROTHERS!!!!!!
Pacers-Heat: Joel Anthony allowed himself to collect a board and assist in 6:21, but reverted back to his non-contributory ways with two fouls for a 2:1 Voskuhl.
Craptors-Bucks: Chris Douglas-Roberts can now do quite a bit of shopping at Cabela's after earning a 5.2 trillion (5:12)!