The Milwaukee Bucks: Another night, another 85 points, and another crippling-for-their-playoff-hopes loss for the Bucks. Last season at this time, opposing teams were Fearing the Deer. This season, the Deer are Fearing the Headlights.
After being held to 56 points by Boston on Sunday, Milwaukee was shut down and lit up in Atlanta. Joe Johnson dropped 36 -- including 28 in the first half -- on 13-for-19 from the field and 6-for-9 from downtown. Josh Smith shot 8-for-12, Al Horford went 7-for-12, Marvin Williams went 7-for-9, and Kirk Hinrich and Damien Wilkins both went 3-for-3. As a team, the Hawks shot 63 percent from the field and 11-for-19 from beyond the arc and finished with an Offensive Rating of 120.8.
Hey...I thought the Bucks were supposed to be good at that "defense" thing.
Said Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles: "It's just another one of those games where we didn't play very well."
That's one bummed-out-sounding coach.
Status check: In their last two games, the Bucks have scored a combined total of 141 points (70.5 PPG) and been outscored by 56 points (28 PPG). And at 26-40, they're...only 2.5 games out of eighth place in the East?! Jesus Christ.
Update! Andrew Bogut, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Dan:
"I think we focused too much on scoring today and not enough on defense," said Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut.
I guess scoring 30 more points than against the Celtics is focusing on offense, but that's just sad.
The Washington Wizards Generals: How low are the expectations for the Generals? The Bulls beat them by 19 points despite being without both Carlos Boozer (sprained ankle) and Joakim Noah (flu-like symptoms!) and commenters in ESPN's Daily Dime Live chat were wondering why the Bulls weren't up by 30 at the half.
What's more: The Bulls held Washington to 79 point on 43 percent shooting and scored 22 points off 16 forced turnovers. The Generals managed only 33 points over the final 24 minutes. And yet Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau expressed near-disgust with his team's defensive performance.
Kurt Thomas nailed a buzzer-beating three at the end of the first half. It was Big Sexy's first three-pointer since April 10, 2005.
Oh, and did I mention that Keith Bogans drilled five triples and dropped a season-high 17 points?
You know you suck when...
In all fairness to the Generals, they were missing Rashard Lewis (knee), Cartier Martin (knee), Josh Howard (knee), Andray Blatche (shoulder) and Nick Young (more flu-like symptoms!). So, yeah, they were undermanned. Or whatever.
Said Washngton coach Flip Saunders: "We started three rookies. We had a lot of opportunities to fold, especially the games we've played the last week or so. I thought our guys played hard. We just ran out of gas."
Nope, nosiree, no folding here. In probably unrelated news, the Generals are now 1-30 on the road this season. According to the AP game notes, only one team has gone 1-40 on the road since the NBA went to an 82-game schedule in 1967-68: The 1990-91 Sacramento Kings. C'mon. You knew I was going to work in a Kings reference, right?
JaVale McGee and the Quest for the Triple-Double Last night, McGee threw a block party in the United Center. He stuffed 12 shots...the most swats by an NBA player since Keon Clark registered 12 rejections back on March 23, 2001. It was also the most shots any player has had against the Bulls in a regulation game.
McGee ended up one block shy of the franchise record for blocks in a game set by Manute Bol, who returned 15 packages to sender for the then-Bullets on February 26, 1987.
Said McGee: "I had three [blocks] the first quarter and I was trying to match that in the second quarter and I had seven, so I was like I'm going to try and get 14. It was working for me tonight. I was blocking so good in the first half people were starting to hesitate and were more afraid to go up and it was easier to block shots."
Note JaVale never once said anything about his team in that quote.
Anyway, with the game way out of hand in the fourth quarter, the final few minutes were consumed by a) the United Center crowd's desire for free Big Macs and b) McGee's mad quest for the final point he needed for a triple-double. And JaVale got it on a dunk with 18 seconds left...then celebrated by hanging on the rim and screaming.
Said McGee: "That was the hardest one point I ever tried to make in my life. It was crazy, but I got it. It was a dunk of relief."
Note again that he didn't say anything about his team in that quote. In possibly related news, the Generals were down 18 at the time. And McGee earned a tech for his masturbatory celebration, and Kyle Korver knocked down the freebie, so McGee's dunk ended up being a net gain of only one point for his team. Kept 'em from losing by 20, though.
Here's video of McGee's sad end-of-game quest. I've seen WoW addict less desperate to lose their virginity.
Bad as that was, it was only the second-most pathetic attempt at a triple-double in Washington franchise history:
But forget Danny Granger's heroics. What really killed the Knicks was letting Tyler Hansbrough score a career-high 30 points. Mind you, Psycho T's previous career-high of 29 points was established in New York last Sunday.
Reality check: Hansbrough averaged 10.5 PPG on 46.2 percent shooting. In back-to-back games against the Knicks and Mike _'Antoni's _efense, he scored 59 points on 65 percent shooting (24-for-37).
Said 'Melo: "We all know what he was capable of doing. I don't think we made adjustments to him at the top of the key. Especially after the game he had in the Garden, I would think we would make some adjustments after that. He's played great these last two games."
Added Shawne Williams: "It feels bad. We know we got to get it going, some kind of way. I feel like we all got to take a good look in the mirror and redefine ourselves. We got to take more pride in defense."
In possibly related news, the Pacers scored 119 points on 52 percent shooting.
By the way, the Knicks are 5-6 in their last 11 games, including two losses to the Cadavers (12-53) and back-to-back losses to the Pacers (29-38). It's true what people have been saying: The Knicks are back! The bad Knicks.
Amar''''''e Stoudemire, poster boy: Apparently, STAT things his offense is his interior defense.
The Dallas Mavericks: Last Wednesday, the Mavs choked away a seven-point lead in the final 1:13 of a 93-92 loss to the New Orleans Hornets, after which Dallas coach Rick Carlisle called his team "soft." Jason Terry was pissed. Caron Butler, who's not even playing at the moment, added, "I think this team is far from soft."
One week later, and the Mavericks (after thumping the increasingly defenseless Knicks) have lost back-to-back gut check games against the Lakers and Frail Blazers. And last night's loss in Portland was a particularly bitter pill to swallow, considering Dallas shot 59.7 percent from the field and got a Beast Mode game out of Dirk Nowitzki (28 points, 9-for-14 from the field, 9-for-9 from the line, 11 rebounds, and, of course, 0-for-1 on a potential game-winner).
Dallas gave up 15 offensive boards and got outscored 48-36 in the paint. But remember what Butler and Terry said: They ain't soft.
However, the Mavs have now lost four of six after winning 18 of 19, and the Lakers have leapfrogged them for second place in the West.
Chris's Invincible Lacktion Ledger:
Bucks-Hawks: Josh Powell chained himself to the ledger tonight despite a board in 6:06 by losing the rock twice for a 2:1 Voskuhl, while Zaza Pachulia put two assists aside in 11:49 with three fouls and a turnover for a 4:0 Voskuhl.
Generals-Bulls: Mustafa Shakur bricked twice (once from the Sears Tower) in 2:20 for a +2, a suck differential matched by THE Brian Scalabrine in 4:12 from Congress Street! Also recording lacktive marks for the heifers were Omer Asik, who negated a free throw and board in 9:36 with two fouls and a turnover for a 3:2 Voskuhl, and new Chicagoan Rasual Butler, powering up a Virtual Boy in 57 seconds for a Mario.
Mavs-Frail Blazers: Dallas's Brian Cardinal produced one piece of masonry for a +1 in 4:48.