For one magical night, it was like LeBron never left.
Thanks, of course, to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Los Angeles Clippers: It figures. It just freaking figures. The only dark power greater (lesser?) than Cleveland's record-shattering 26-game losing streak was the Clippers.
And not just any Clippers team, mind you, but one coached by the Notorious VDN.
We should have seen it coming. Should have known it was going to happen. I mean, this is the Clippers we're talking about.
The ultimate (and most fitting) moment of bawful came when J.J. Hickson appeared to goaltend a potential game-winner by Baron Davis at the end of regulation.
Said Blake Griffin: "I can't say what I think about all those things. That was unbelievable. Throughout the whole game, it was just unbelievable. That was the worst home-court advantage I've ever seen. There's such a thing as home-court advantage, but that was unbelievable."
Added Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro: "I thought it was goaltending. They [the officials] didn't think it was. They can't review it because it wasn't a call that was made. I'll have to look at the film. I couldn't see from that angle. It looked like it got on the glass, but I'm guessing."
Be that as it may, the Clippers let the Cadavers keep things close, which had nothing to do with the refs. If you don't want the outcome of the game to come down to a single, last-second call (or non-call), then just win it outright.
Baron Davis knows what I'm sayin': "Gotta give it up. They played well. They won. For a team that lost 26 games in a row, they came out, they wanted to win and they played like it. I'm not saying we didn't. They made big plays at the end. We didn't."
You want a true sign of pure bawfulness? According to ESPN Stats and Information: "The Clippers managed an unusual statistical quirk in that every player who played in the game had a negative plus/minus rating. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they're the only team in the past 10 years to lose an overtime game and have every player who played post a negative plus/minus rating."
As for the Cadavers, they celebrated like a group of men who had just been let out of prison. And it probably felt that way...if only because nobody on the team has ever spent time in a real prison.
And, also according to EPSN Stats and Information, one streak has ended, but several others remain: "They’ve dropped 26 consecutive road games, 16 straight games to teams with winning records and 13 straight games to Eastern Conference opponents."
Aw, hell. I guess we should just let these guys feel good for a night.
Said Cleveland coach Byron Scott: "They're in there jumping around and having a good time. I told them to enjoy it but let's not take a big breath and think OK we got a win, great. We have to think that we are supposed to win games. ... It's great. We finally got the monkey off our back. But I expect our guys to play this hard every single night. If we do that, we'll be OK."
And who knows? Maybe they will be...
The Cleveland Cadavers: ...or not. Because on Sunday night, the Washington Wizards Generals showed up in Cleveland with their 0-25 road record. And they left Cleveland 1-25.
The Generals shot 54.3 percent. The Cadavers missed 12 free throws, committed 17 turnovers and trailed by as many as 25.
Said Scott: "I'm still trying to figure them out because to me that was ridiculous. I hope they don't have any excuses. Just tell the truth. There has to be a sense of urgency every single night. ... It's disappointing. Playing hard should not be a skill. It's your job. If we don't give ourselves a chance by coming out and playing with a sense of urgency then we have no shot of winning games."
Unless you play the Clippers.
John Wall: Thanks to Wall, the Generals got a taste of defeat even in victory.
The Los Angeles Clippers (Again): The Toronto Craptors had lost 16 of their last 17 games. But, then again, they were playing the team that had just let the Cadavers snap the longest losing streak in NBA history.
Ah, the Clippers.
The Other L.A. Team has lost six of seven games and they're 4-20 on the road. That ties them with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the fewest road wins in the West.
Said Del Negro: "Everyone talks about these other teams. We aren't exactly road warriors here."
The Toronto Muffins: Basketbawful reader mikemobility sent me a link to a sentence I never thought I'd read: "Due to legal implications we cannot specifically mention the name of Toronto's basketball team...so TeamBuy decided to replace it with the word 'Muffin.'"
Saying I'm speechless really does not justice to the amount of speech I am less of.
The Utah Jazz: Finally freed of Jerry Sloan's oppressive offensive system, Deron Williams had big numbers (19 points, 14 assists, 8 rebounds) and the Jazz were held to 83 points at home...by the Phoenix Suns.
I guess everything really did work out for the best.
The Jazz, who scored 27 points in the second half, have now dropped 11 of their last 15 games.
Said D-Will: "Maybe I feel a little more pressure now. Do I care what the fans think of me? Yeah, I'd be lying if I didn't. I don't want them to think I ran a Hall of Fame coach out. But I can't get caught up in that anymore. ... They can choose who they want to believe."
The San Antonio Spurs: Somewhat lost in the overall bawful of the Clippers/Cadavers was the fact that the San Antonio "best record in the league" Spurs shot a season-low 33 percent and managed only 71 points in a loss to the Sixers. Mind you, the Spurs rank 6th in PPG (103.6), 4th in FGP (47.3) and 3rd in Offensive Rating (111.3).
Said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: "I think it set offensive basketball back a decade or so."
FWIW, with Sloan out of the league, I think Pops is my new favorite coach.
The New York Knicks: Their 113-96 home loss to the Lakers was the perfect bookend to a down streak that began with a 109-87 road loss to the Lakers back on January 9. During this stretch, the Knicks have gone 5-12 and come crashing back down to .500 (although they snuck back over .500 with a win over the Nyets on Sunday).
Said Stoudemire: "We've got to get back on the right track, we've got to get our confidence back up, got to play solid basketball, doing the little things on the court with energy and with swagger. We haven't quite had our swagger for the past 2 1/2 weeks, so we've got to get back to what we're used to doing and what we did well to start the year."
Mike D'Antoni and Raymond Felton, quote machines: On his team's loss to the Lakers: "I thought Kobe definitely took us out of our game and took our hearts a little bit. He made some tough shots, especially the first quarter."
Countered Felton: "He didn't take my heart. He had a great game. He was hitting a lot of tough shots. But nobody takes my heart."
Amar''''''e Stoudemire: I'm not going to make any jokes that relate to human anatomy in any way. Nor am I going to question the general relativity of pain thresholds. Instead, I will just tell you that STAT missed Sunday's game against the Nyets and is currently day-to-day with a sprained right big toe.
Said Stoudemire: "Getting this rest is gonna be phenomenal for myself to get myself back in top shape. I've been lifting weights and staying strong. It's gonna pan out."
Said Pierce: I'm just battling a couple of minor injuries today. I think that really explains my tentativeness in my shooting today. I told (coach) Doc (Rivers) that I really didn't have it today, but I just tried the grind it out. I sprained (the hand Saturday) and got it hit today. I've got to get the foot checked out (today)."
The Celtics better hope these injuries are minor.
Rajon Rondo: The kid sure had some funny moments yesterday:
The Phoenix Suns: Didn't matter that Cousins missed the game, nor that Steve Nash (22 points, 18 assists) has amazing super powers. The Suns still lost to the Kings. At home. And, if you blinked, you probably missed the fact that Phoenix had actually crawled a game over .500.
Said Suns coach Alvin Gentry: "It's one of those losses that you are going to look back at and it's going to hurt."
Uh, it hurts right now, coach.
Sasha Vujacic, quote machine: This is a few days delayed, but Basketbawful reader Mark L. sent me this quote (via Ball Don't Lie), and it may be the greatest quote I have ever or will ever read:
"I know I can score 20 or 30 points anytime I want. But I'm not that kind of a guy. I want to win. I want to play the right way. Some games I'm going to get 10 shots, some games 15 shots; sometimes, especially coming off the bench, you're going to feel cold, and you need time to get in the rhythm. But right now, what I care the most is for us to become a better team. And we are really capable of doing that."
For the record, The Machine has scored 30 points exactly zero times in his career. He has scored 20 points six times in his career: Twice this season and four times during the 2007-08 season which, not coincidentally, was a contract year. But, still, he went his first three seasons without a single 20-point outing and then, after signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Lakers in July of 2008, he went the next two seasons-plus without scoring 20.
But he could have done it anytime he wanted. He's just not that kind of guy.
Update! Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Jon-Michael:
Here's a gem from the weekend missed from the weekend's report.
"I think it takes a strong-willed person, a strong-minded person, to deal with the stuff that I deal with and still go out there and go to work every day and perform on a nightly basis,'' the Denver forward said about trade rumors that have swirled all season as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. "I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that's going on and still be able to go out there and play at the high level that I can play at. I really don't think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don't think that."
Oh Carmelo, I take my hat off to you as well, except it appears you've taken care of that yourself.
CBS: Found this one via TrueHoop. And I get it: I used to have trouble spelling Scerbi, uh, Szcrebia, er, Szczrambia, whatever. You know what? "Random Dude" is fine with me.
Chris's weekend mega lacktion ledger:
Nyets-Bobcats: Johan Petro parlayed a board in 6:09 with two bricks and three fouls for a 3:1 Voskuhl.
Charlotte's Nazr Mohammed made a free throw in 7:53, only to foul twice and lose the rock once for a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Spurs-Sixers: Darius Songaila sang about a board in 3:58, but tuned out productivity twice with fouls for 2:1 Voskuhl. Meanwhile, Jason Kapono and Andres Nocioni went sewer-sweeping in 22 seconds as MARIO BROTHERS!
Heat-Pistons: Juwan Howard lost the rock in 3:23 for a +1.
Lakers-Knicks: Derrick Caracter contracted a single case of the airball flu in 3:02 for a +1.
Bucks-Grizzlies: Jason Williams returns to Memphis by losing the rock in 4:26 for a +1, the same suck differential that Hasheem "Second Overall" Thabeet gathered up in 2:03 via foul (and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl).
Suns-Jazz: Kyrylo Fesenko may have a new coach in Utah, but with two fouls countering two steals and a board for a 2:1 Voskuhl in 10:03, he still knows how to lack.
Bobcats-Hawks: Jason Collins had a perfect 100% shooting percentage (on one field goal attempt and two free throws) in 14:30, along with a board...only to lose the rock once and foul five times for a 6:5 Voskuhl.
Fellow dirty bird Damien Wilkins went six seconds of browsing the X-Play boards for a Super Mario!!!!
Knicks-Nyets: Despite an assist in 5:16, Johan Petro bricked and fouled once for a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl.
Bulls-Hornets: David Andersen accumulated four fouls and two turnovers despite three boards in 13:28 for a 6:3 Voskuhl, while DJ Mbenga bricke and fouled once for a +2 suck differential in 3:02.
Mavs-Rockets: Patrick Patterson pressed one brick in 1:36 for a +1.
Pacers-Bucks: Jon Brockman had a monsterous pair of misses from the charity stripe for a +2 in 2:33.
Thunder-Purple Paupers: Nick Collison may have a nice +21 and two boards in 19:58...only to foul five times for a 5:2 Voskuhl.
Sad Sacramento's Pooh Jeter bricked twice (once from the Tower Bridge) for a +2 in 7:07, while Luther Head fouled once for a +1 in 1:47.
Heat-Celtics: Joel Anthony augmented a board with two fouls in 21:02 for a 2:1 Voskuhl, while Avery Bradley played 9 seconds of WiiFit for a Super Mario!
Lakers-Magic: Luke Walton and Devin Ebanks each invested in a +1 suck differential, Walton earning his via turnover in 9:04, and Ebanks via masonry in 72 seconds.
Clippers-Craptors: Los Angeles's Ike Diogu dug himself a +1 hole in 3:10 via foul that also earned a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Thunder-Warriors: Oklahoma City's Daequan Cook fried up a foul in 4:31 for a +1.