As Dr. Evil might say, the details of this game are quite inconsequential (although I'll go ahead an note that the Cadavers were outrebounded, outscored in the paint, gave up 24 points off 17 turnovers, trailed by as many as 17 points, etc.). The only thing that matters is: 26 losses in a row. That ties the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 1889 Louisville Colonels for the longest losing streak in the four major professional sports.
Said Clevelan coach Byron Scott: "I'm mad as hell. I can deal with losing, especially when our guys play as hard as they have in the last couple weeks, but I find it very hard to deal with when guys don't come out ready to play."
Added Boobie Gibson: "Everybody's mad as hell. To lose like that and for it to get to this point and still sometimes not see a sense of urgency, I can see why it would push you to that point. What are you going to do? It's either do it or don't. The guys have to figure that out."
Unbelievably, and as Basketbawful reader Clifton pointed out, the AP recap actually quoted something LeBron James had said the previous night: "Something has to give when they play the Wizards. I think that should be a nationally televised game, honestly."
People...we are one game away from the worst losing streak of all time.
No. Really. Give up.
Tracy McGrady, quote machine: "You don't want to be the team that loses to them. Tim Legler, we heard you. You gave us some bulletin board material. We used that. As crazy as it sounds, I want to see them and Washington play. I don't wish anyone to have a bad losing streak, but I want them to get to Washington, 0-and-whatever they could be, and see whose streak ends. That would be something that would be interesting to watch."
Bobcraps-Pacers: Want a depressing reminder about the sorry state of the Eastern Conference drop-off in talent after the Celtics, Heat, Bulls and Magic? Well, then, here you go:
The [104-103] victory moved Indiana (22-28) into eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings, just ahead of Charlotte (22-30). With the victory, Indiana also clinched the season series against the Bobcats, and would hold a postseason tiebreaker over them.
"It's big right now, but we have higher aspirations than the eighth spot," [Pacers coach Frank Vogel] said. "We think we're a very good basketball team. We're hoping to make a run down the stretch that's going to be special.
Ah. There's nothing quite like teams well below .500 duking it out for a playoff spot.
Now, supposedly, the last play was controversial because Stephen Jackson leaped in the direction of Darren Collison, flailed, and didn't get a call. Whatever. The refs were right to swallow their whistles on this one. But here are the quotes from the AP recap:
"I just went up for the shot and didn't get the call -- got to live with it," Jackson said.
Silas called the play "a judgment call."
"The referee had the right to make a call," Silas said. "He said it wasn't a foul, so you have to go with it."
Collison was asked afterward if there had been a foul on the play.
"I didn't feel like I fouled him," Collison said. "I made a play and whatever happened, happened. I'm not answering that type of question because I hate lying."
Said Vogel, "I'm not really concerned about that. We got a 'W."
The New Orleans Hornets: Wait, wait, wait...Chris Paul (4-for-15, 7 turnovers) was thoroughly outplayed by Sashs Vujacic (25 points, 9-for-14, 5-for-7 from downtown) as the Hornets lost in overtime to the Nyets.
Said Paul: "I don't care what anybody says about a bunch of different things happening over the course of the game. I feel like this was my loss. The turnovers. The decision-making down the stretch."
Make it four losses in a row and six in seven games.
The Philadelphia 76ers: The key to last night's loss: Dwight Howard knocked down 14 of his 19 free throw attempts. Nobody saw that coming. Nobody. After all, Pumaman normally hits less than 60 percent of his foul shots and, in fact, went 20-for-39 in his last two games against the Sixers.
Said Philly coach Doug Collins: "The big difference is Howard stepped to the line and made his free throws. You have to give him credit."
Maybe even too much credit.
Said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy: "I will maintain until I'm put in my grave that he's capable of being a 70-percent free throw shooter."
Uh huh. And he makes them when they count, right, Stan?
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate: "Our guys played well. Orlando made big shots when they had to. I don't think it was anything we didn't do. They showed they are a better team. That's not anything to be discouraged about. That's a team that was picked to possibly make the Finals."
The Milwaukee Bucks: You expect crappy offense from the Bucks. But shoddy defense, too? Last night, the Washington Wizards Generals put up an Offensive Rating of 111.1. Mind you, they rank 27th in the league with an average O-Rating of 102.6. And they made it look pretty easy:
Mind you, the Generals were shorthanded, as noted in the AP recap: "The Wizards dressed only 10 players, and all the missing notables were forwards: Al Thornton (dislocated right middle finger), Yi Jianlian (sprained left ankle) and Josh Howard (sore left knee). In addition Rashard Lewis played with stiffness in his right knee and scored only three points in 29 minutes."
And yet Washinton led by as many as 22 points.
Said Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles: "They pretty much dominated us all over the floor. They outrebounded us. They went 10 for 16 from three. We couldn't get to the line. When we did, we couldn't make our free throws. We tried to hang in there, but we just couldn't."
The Deer are now 11 games under .500 and looking up at the Pacers and Bobcraps in the standings. And to think: Several experts picked them to win their division.
Brandon Jennings: 9-for-24 and 1-for-6 from downtown. Kid still can't shoot.
Said Jennings: "I'm still struggling with my outside shot -- no legs, a little bit -- but just trying to get to the basket to do what I can."
His career FGP: 37 percent.
The Toronto Craptors: Spurs versus Craptosaurs. Let's cut to the chase:
San Antonio shot 58 percent for the game and DeJuan Blair matched Toronto point-for-point during a fourth quarter in which the Craptors got outscored 30-16. Seriously, Blair (28 points, 11 rebounds) made Toronto's frontcourt look like a bunch of fifth graders with hormone issues.
Said Blair: "I'm one of the shortest centers in the league but at the same time I think I've got one of the biggest hearts as well."
And the Toronto's team heart is three sizes too small. In related news, the Craptors have lost 15 of their last 16 games.
Advanced stats of the game: The Spurs had an eFG% of 61.7, an ORB% of 30.3 percent and an O-Rating of 125.0. Suffice to say, the Toronto D has struck again. Speaking of defensive collapse...
The New York Knicks: Baron Davis had a season-high 16 assists. Randy Foye scored 17 of his season-high 24 points in the fourth quarter. The Clippers -- who had lost seven in a row on the road -- led by as many as 20 points finished with an eFG% of 60 percent, an ORB% of 35.3 percent and an O-Rating of 126.1. Now compare that to what the Spurs did to the Craptors, and remember that these are the Clippers we're talking about, and, well...
...major defensive fail by the Knicks.
Said Amar''''''e Stoudemire: "We're not playing hard, we're not getting loose balls. Seems like we're afraid out there. I said it before the game. We've got to have supreme focus. I guess they figured I was just talking to the wall."
Leadership 101 by STAT.
The Sacramento Kings: Dirk Nowitzki was off (4-for-14) but, again, these are the Purple Paupers we're talking about. So Jose Barea erupting for 15 points in the fourth quarter to down the Sactowners 102-100 should surprise...nobody.
Said Kings coach Paul Westfail: "Whatever problems we have had closing games, that was not evident tonight. We did everything that you need to win a game and came up short against a great team that did a little bit more to win the game."
You go ahead draw an X in that "Moral Victory" column, Paul!
The Denver Nuggets: I know I keep quoting Offensive Rating stats today, but one team lets the other team score nearly 120 points per 100 possessions, I've just gotta shine a spotlight on it, you know?
Well, that's what _enver _id last night in Gol_en State. Both teams were awful on defense -- the Warriors let the Nuggets score 117 points per 100 possessions -- but one team applied even less handage to opposing faces.
Go. Nuggets. Go.
The best (read that: worst) part of the game, though, was _enver's clusterbumble of a final possession. Down only two points with less than 10 seconds to go, J.R. Smith grabbed a rebound and -- instead of handing the ball off to a waiting-with-arms-wide-open Carmelo Anthony -- took off downcourt. A few seconds of hot potato ensued, 'Melo never got a whiff of the rock and the game ended on a Nene jump shot.
No timeout. No play. Just complete and total basketbawful.
Said Anthony: "We made a good defensive stop, J.R. [Smith] got the rebound, I was calling for it and then I saw him just take off. And then I'm thinking he's going to take it across half court, get control of it and call timeout. But it didn't happen like that. And then I'm thinking, 'Why didn't George call timeout either?' Even if we did call timeout, we had a chance to set something up. We still had a chance to take a shot that we might have felt good with. To have seven or nine seconds left in the game, I feel pretty confident at that time with the ball in my hands to make something happen."
Added Nuggets coach George Karl: "I thought we'd miss some by trying to score without their defense being set. I thought Ty [Lawson] had a great opportunity to attack the rim and he kind of deferred to Nene. He got a good shot, but not great shot. I always liked pushing that play, and it didn't work tonight."
No. No, it didn't.
Deron Williams, worst player of the night: His man (Derrick Rose) scored 11 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, D-Will dished out a game-best 12 assists, but he scored only 11 points (10 below his average), shot 5-for-13 (eight percentage points below his shooting average), missed all three attempts from beyond the arc (35 percentage points below his average), made only one trip to the foul line (despite averaging nearly seven free throw attempts per game) and committed a game-high 5 turnovers.
And three of those TOs came on back-to-back-to-back possessions in the final minute, as Williams had the ball stolen by Rose, Carlos Boozer and then Ronnie Brewer. For example:
Chris's amazing lacktion ledger:
Pistons-Cadavers: Ryan Hollins went 100% from the field (on one attempt) in 10:17 and even had two boards, only to lose the rock thricely and foul twice for a 5:4 Voskuhl.
Bobcats-Pacers: Charlotte's Dominic McGuire fouled once in 1:38 for a +1 suck differential, while Jeff Foster gave Indiana a 3:1 Voskuhl in 13:55 by countering a board with three fouls.
Hornets-Nyets: DJ Mbenga slammed the congas for 31 seconds for a Mario, while New Jersey's Quinton Ross tossed a brick and gathered up a foul in 7:24 for a +2.
Spurs-Craptors: Steve Novak continues to return to lack with a celebratory 2.45 trillion (2:27), while Chris Quinn plugged in his Famicom in just 21 seconds for a Mario. For the uncoordinated rollerskaters, Alexis Ajinca assembled a brick in an underground water supply system in 55 seconds for a +1 and a Mario, while Julian Wright had 8 seconds of 8-bit gaming for a SUPER MARIO!
Bucks-Generals: Chris Douglas-Roberts collected a 1.15 trillion (1:10) for Milwaukee, while Washington's Kevin Seraphin subordinated a field goal and two boards in 7:27 with three fouls and two turnovers for a 5:4 Voskuhl. Fellow General Hilton Armstrong checked into Hotel Mario for a 58 second stay!
Bulls-Jazz: In the highly unanticipated rematch of the 1997 and 1998 Finals, Ronnie Price missed once from City Creek Center for a +1 in 5:04.
Nuggets-Warriors: Ekpe Udoh undercontributed with a brick andr two fouls in 12:30 for a +3, while Jeremy Lin joined the celebrastion by losing the rock once in 4:15 for a +1.