The Atlanta Hawks say Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins was attacked by a fan after their victory over the Orlando Magic.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the attacker was a former NBA referee, Rashan S. Michel.
Michel, who was arrested and charged with simple battery, said Wilkins owed him money, Atlanta police told the newspaper.
Wilkins is a vice president with the team and serves as a television analyst. He had just finished working Atlanta's 85-82 victory Wednesday night from his customary spot on press row when the alleged incident occurred at Philips Arena.
Team spokesman Arthur Triche says the attacker was "promptly arrested and taken into custody by the Atlanta police department." Wilkins was not injured.
Bizarre. The first thing I thought when I read this was: "You know, 'Nique never even made it to a conference finals. What could he possibly owe a referee money for?"
The Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard shut down by lacktion specialist Jason Collins? But...but...I thought only Kendrick Perkins could do that. From the AP recap:
Collins went body-to-body with Howard in a bruising matchup, helping limit the Orlando star to 17 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
"I was just trying to play physical with him," Collins said. "I try to eye him up when he crosses halfcourt. I want to meet him early, before he gets close to the basket."
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy was impressed.
"That's the best defense I've seen all year on Dwight," Van Gundy said. "Against Collins, he didn't get a lot of good shots. I thought he did a great job on him. He's big and physical. He doesn't give you anything easy. Dwight had trouble getting good, on-balance shots."
Pumaman's struggles aside, I'm trying not to overreact to Orlando's loss in Atlanta, but it's hard. Their schedule is pretty light on quality wins, especially lately, even if they did beat Miami back on March 3. The Magic just feel like a team teetering on it last legs. Ditching Rashard Lewis and Vince fucking Carter were good things. Very good things. But the bold acquisitions of Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson haven't been complete failures...but they're pretty close.
As it is, the formula for beating Orlando is simple: Play Dwight physically and guard the three-point line. That's what Atlanta did last night (the Magicians were 7-for-23 from downtown). It worked. Barely. But it worked.
I could definitely see the Hawks upsetting the Magic in the first round of the playoffs. Of course, the Dirty Birds are a mess, too, so who knows? Neither team is advancing past the second round. I'll tell you that right now.
The Detroit Pistons: Another loss, their fourth in five games, and their ninth straight on the road. The Pistons 7-30 outside of Detroit this season and they haven't won on the road since February 9. In Cleveland. Just that kinda season for the Pistons I guess.
Said Greg Monroe: "It is something we are going to have to fix. We are going to have to bring extra energy on the road. We just have to match the other team's intensity."
Added Detroit coach John Kuester: "We're trying different things right now, trying to get something going so we can win that road game. But I'll tell you, our energy is so much better at home, compared to on the road."
Reality check: The Pistons are 22 games under .500. They go through starting lineups the way Charlie Sheen goes through crazy pills. What different things are left they haven't tried? Voodoo? Goat sacrifice? Fish oil?
The Houston Rockets: Their hopes for a first round postseason elimination got a little dimmer last night in Philadelphia, where they lost 108-97 and fell a full three games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Don't feel bad, Houston fans. On the bright side: Lottery pick!
The Minnesota Timberwolves: The Bulls blew out the T-Wolves, blah, blah, blah. Same old story for the worst team in the Western Conference.
The 6-foot-4 Wall moved out to play tight defense on 7-3 center Ilgauskas near the 3-point arc. While protecting the ball, Ilgauskas appeared to elbow Wall in the face at least once. Wall responded by swinging his right hand at Ilgauskas.
"Got hit by the elbow and reacted to it. Disappointed in the way I reacted. I let my teammates down, let the organization down," Wall said. "It was two elbows. I got hit with the first one; I stopped and waited. And the second one, I got hit, and I just reacted."
As officials went to intervene, Wizards center JaVale McGee arrived to separate Wall and Ilgauskas and was pushed away by Heat backup forward Howard. At the same time, Wizards coach Flip Saunders left the sideline and stepped on the court to try to pull away McGee before exchanging words with Howard.
"We both just kind of asked where are we going to go out for dinner after the game," Saunders said.
McGee's take: "Ilgauskas tried to punk [Wall], hit him in the face with his elbow. Obviously, [Wall] wasn't going for it. ... I went over there to break it up, and Juwan Howard tried to come over and blindside, push me or whatever."
The game was delayed by more than 10 minutes while officials huddled around a TV to watch replays. Eventually, Wall and Ilgauskas were each assessed a flagrant foul-2 and ejected. Howard was called for a technical foul and ejected for escalation; McGee was called for a technical but allowed to stay in the game.
LeBron James, quote machine, Part 1: Regarding a foul committed against him by Maurice Evans: "I don't know if Mo Evans intentionally wants to be dirty. I watch a lot of basketball. I see a lot of basketball every day, and anytime when someone gets grabbed around the neck, it's an automatic flagrant-1. If I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong. Sometimes it's unfair, because of how strong I am, you know. I can take the punishment of course, but at the same time, I think it's unfair sometimes."
LeBron James, quote machine, Part 2:On the MVP race: "Right now, statistically, it's probably one of the best years I've had. But we'll see. The media kind of controls it. You've got some guys here that have done their job also. At one point, I thought Dirk was also [worthy] until he got hurt. But Derrick Rose definitely has gotten a lot of the exposure and a lot of the media attention because of the work he's done. He's playing some unbelievable basketball."
The Toronto Raptors: A home loss in which they allowed the offensively challenged Milwaukee Bucks rack up an Offensive Rating of 121.7? Cue up the video:
That's five losses in a row and...however many of however many. Look, this team loses a lot, okay? The Craptosaurs are 20-54 and only five games better than the Cleveland Cadavers. I'm sorry, Toronto fans. I'm just so sorry.
Byron Scott, quote machine: No, I'm not giving the Cadavers a WotN entry because they lost by a point on a free throw with 14 seconds left on the road one night after upsetting the Heat. I will give coach Scott a quote machine entry, tho'. From the AP game notes:
Scott was still steaming over the officials incorrectly counting James' 55-foot buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter Tuesday following a clock error. "I used my initials. I told them it was BS," Scott said. "If they want to just give them the game, give them the game."
Most coaches aren't that bitter after a double-digit win over a much better team. But, hey, in Scott's defense, most people don't have to coach a team as lousy as the Cadavers.
The New Jersey Nyets: Remember the Nyets fan that went crazy when Deron Williams hit a big shot against the Celtics a couple weeks ago?
Well, he didn't get to go crazy last night, assuming he was watching the Nyets come up short against the Knicks last night. D-Will badly missed a potential game-tying 17-footer with four seconds left, went after the rebound and then dropped to the floor like a sandbag. I'm not saying I enjoyed seeing that. But after what happened in Utah this season, I kind of enjoyed seeing that.
I love this ESPN video called "Melo's Strong Defense Helps Beat Nets." New Jersey finished with an Offensive Rating of 119.3 while New York's was 123.4. So, uh, yeah. I don't think "the defense" was being played by anybody last night.
The Portland Frail Blazers: Ruh roh, Raggy. The David West-less Hornets capitalized a big game by Carl Landry (21 points), Willie Green's 10-point fourth quarter and Portland's 9 second half turnovers to earn a 95-91 win and overtake the Blazers for sixth place in the West.
The biggest TO of the game was when Andre Miller coughed up the ball on a drive when the Blazers were down only 91-88 with 13 seconds left.
Said Portland coach Nate McMillan: "It was turnovers. They were huge. You can't have those mistakes going down the stretch."
Added Gerald Wallace: "This one hurts, especially a game that we feel like we controlled for the first quarter-and-a-half. In the second half, they kind of took control and forced us to play back on our heels."
Willie Green, quote machine: "It was good to get up there and dunk. I'm going to laugh and talk with my teammates about it. They were a little caught off guard. I was a little caught off guard. I don't dunk that much."
The Gol_en State Warriors: After his team's 110-94 loss in Memphis -- in which the Grizzlies shot 56.5 percent from the field and finished with an O-Rating of 126.1 -- Warriors coach Keith Smart said: "I think because we are a team that is still growing, you have to understand how to win on the road and how to win in tough buildings and tough environments. And how to win when you are tired and banged up at this time of the year. This is all a learning stage for us."
Huh. I wonder where "fire head coach after yet another disappointing season" comes in the learning stage?
Lionel Hollins, quote machine: "[The Warriors] were dragging a little bit. It's late in the season. I always say when you start putting pressure on teams that are near or out of the playoffs, you tend to find out if they'll fight, and most nights they don't. They didn't have enough fight. It's a long season, and they were losing and tired from a game [Tuesday] night. We just did what we had to do."
The Sacramento Kings: Yeah, yeah, the Kings lost. More interesting is that the Nuggets continued their crazy run...they're now 13-4 since the 'Melo trade.
The Phoenix Suns: After the Suns were outscored 37-25 in the fourth quarter of last night's 116-98 home loss to the Thunder -- their fourth loss in a row -- Marcin Gortat said: "It was a bad night for us. We played terrible defense. We played with no toughness or physicality."
What do you expect on a night when Vince Carter leads the team in scoring?
The Los Angeles Clippers: Talk about crippling sequences. Mind you, I suspect the Clips were losing this game no matter what, but they were down only 89-80 with 6:01 remaining when Mo Williams (19 points, 9-for-9 from the line, 5 assists) got called for a foul against J.J. Barea. Mo wasn't happy and bitched his way into two techs and an ejection. Dirk Nowitzki hit the technical free throws and Barea knocked down the freebies from Mo's foul. When Chris Kaman threw the ball away on L.A.'s next possession, Dallas ran down and got a three-pointer from Barea. And just like that, The Other L.A. Team was down 16. They made the final score respectable...but that was pretty much the game.
Said Eric Gordon: "We lost control of the game when we had all those technical fouls. That gave them a good run and those were free points we gave them. They just got a lot of calls."
And the Clippers just are who we thought they were.
Chris's Mighty Lacktion Ledger:
Magic-Hawks: Malik Allen made himself a rectangular piece of masonry in 1:24 for a +1, while Jeff Teague added a foul to his own brick in 2:54 for a +2.
Rockets-Sixers: Mike Harris and DeMarre Carroll had 52 seconds of clearing out the sewer systems for the Rockets, leading to a stint as MARIO TWINS!
Bucks-Craptors: Welcome back to lack, Sonny Weems! Mr. Weems rollerskated into riches with an exact 7.7 trillion (7:42)
Heat-Generals: Jamaal Magloire marred a made free throw with a turnover and a run-in with King Koopa in 48 seconds for a non-lacktive Mario.
For the professional opponents from the District, Kevin Seraphin stiffed two boards in 8:43 with two fouls, one turnover and no shot attempts for a 3:2 Voskuhl. Hamady N'Diaye went statless in the same time period as Magloire to be an opposing-team Mario Twin.
Warriors-Grizzlies: Jeff Adrien bricked twice in 2:16, fouled once, and took two rejections for a +5! Memphis's Ishmael Smith gained enough in 66 seconds to hold a celebratory treasure worth 1.1 trillion.
Frail Blazers-Hornets: Quincy Pondexter had exactly half a minute to compose a tune in Mario Paint, while Patrick Ewing Jr. chewed on a gold bar worth 1.6 trillion (1:37)!
Thunder-Suns: Nate Robinson rolled in the dough with a 1.1 trillion (1:05).
Mavs-Clippers: Eric Bledsoe bottled up a foul in 1:40 for a +1.