Ron Artest versus Coffee: I know, I know. It's a day late and it could have happened to almost any player. But it happened to Ron Artest. And these things always seem to happen to him, you know?
Derrick Rose's stalker: This is also a day late. Basketbawful reader GabV sent in a picture of a dude checking out D-Rose's buttocks before the Bulls-Heat game. I'll go one further and provide video of the dude taking a picture of Derrick's butt. I...have nothing more to say.
Erik Spoelstra: After (rather foolishly) outting some unnamed players for crying after a nationally televised home loss to the Bulls on Sunday, Spoelstra could have manned up and said something like, "What happens in our locker room should stay in our locker room. I know that and, from now on, it will. No further comments." Instead, he took the easier and more predictable way out: Blame the media.
The embattled Heat coach claimed his remarks were taken out of context and blamed the media for over analyzing his comments. Neither Spoelstra nor any of the Heat's players revealed Sunday or after Monday's practice who actually shed tears in the locker room following the 87-86 loss to the Bulls.
Spoelstra even went as far as to backtrack a bit from his original comments and said Monday that he wasn't certain that he saw actual tears when the team gathered immediately after the game.
"This is a classic example of sensationalism, looking for a headline," Spoelstra said after the team's two-hour film session and workout on Monday at AmericanAirlines Arena. "I really think you guys are probably reaching for this. Guys were very emotional about it in the locker room. Heads were down. I saw glossy eyes, but that's about it. I think everything else is probably an exaggeration."
An exaggeration? That would seem a little more credible if 'Spo hadn't immediately offered up the whole "crying" thing of his own free will and without any prompting whatsoever from the always-looking-for-a-headline media.
But hey, why take responsibility for your words when you can foist the responsibility onto someone else?
Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: "I do chuckle a little bit when [members of the Heat] complain about the scrutiny they get. My suggestion would be if you don't want the scrutiny, you don't hold a championship celebration before you've even practiced together. It's hard to go out yourself and invite that kind of crowd and celebration and attention, and then when things aren't going well, sort of bemoan the fact that you're getting that attention."
The New Orleans Hornets: This was one of those classic "Give Them Credit" games. New Orleans was without Chris Paul (concussion) and Trevor Ariza (strained left adductor), and playing on the second night of back-to-back road games in the final game of a five-game road trip. Yet somehow, with their backs against the wall and fighting against the odds, the Hornets tied the game at 77-77 with 3:18 remaining...
...and they never scored again.
Said David West: "I thought we played well enough to win. We had the game right where we wanted it at 77-77 with 3-something to go. We couldn't convert down the stretch. We didn't have enough offense."
New Orleans shot 36.3 percent from the field and gave up 19 points off 11 turnovers. Oh, and Derrick Rose had almost as many assists (9) as the Hornets did as a team (10). As the Fun Police would say: "There's only one set of prints on this ball."
The New Orleans Hornets' uniforms: Mardi Gras is supposed to inspire people to drink and eat to excess, and women to flash their boobs for a five dollar set of beads. Not this. No, not this.
The Orlando Magic: This was another "Give Them Credit" game. The Magic were playing without Dwight Howard, who was serving a one-game suspension for earning his 16th technical foul of the season against the Bulls on Friday night. And, after falling behind by as many as 14 points, they fought back and nearly had a chance to win. I emphasize the "nearly" part of that last sentence. Orlando was doomed by careless turnovers: The Magic bobbled the ball away 19 times, and the Frail Blazers ended up with 10 more shot attempts and eight more free throw attempts. And Portland won by four points.
Said Jason Richardson: "We played really hard, gave it our all, but it just didn't come up at the end. We weren't taking care of the ball. ... They just kept reaching in and knocking the ball out of our hands. You can't win the game when you have 19 turnovers."
Van Gundy quoted an Elias Sports Bureau statistic Monday that notes Howard has been fouled 593 times this season without any of those calls being labeled flagrant.
Asked if the Magic had a case to the league office about whether they feel Howard has been excessively fouled, Van Gundy said he thinks outside input doesn't carry much weight at the league office.
"This is the system David Stern and his minions like it," Van Gundy said. "So that's the system you have...I certainly can't have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot or leaders we've seen in this world lately, don't really tolerate other people's opinion or free speech or anything. So I'm not really allowed to have an opinion. So it's up to him.
"He decides and he likes the system he has."
Howard is serving a one-game suspension Monday night against the Trail Blazers after picking up his 16th technical of the season against Chicago on Friday. For every two technicals he receives the remainder of the season he also must sit out a game.
"I think he has settled down," Van Gundy said. "He's gotten two (technicals) in the last month (and) he hasn't gotten any for arguing. His problems were early in the year when he got a lot of arguing calls. Lately what he's gotten is two for retaliating for hits he's taken after the whistle and I think to be quite honest he's already had great restraint on those plays.
"... You guys can estimate how many of those were hard hits and how many of those were above the shoulders. ... I would say his control is amazing."
The Charlotte Bobcraps: The Clippers entered last night's game 5-25 on the road and 4-16 without Eric Gordon. Plus they're, you know, the Clippers.
Didn't matter. The Bobcraps are just that bad. Gerald Wallace is playing for the Frail Blazers now. Stephen Jackson was out with a strained hammy. And Charlotte has now lost five in a row. It's their longest fail streak since dropping seven straight last season.
There were a lot of reasons they didn't win, but bricking nine freebies in a five-point loss has gotta string.
Vinny Del Negro, coach of the year candidate: "We'll take the win on the road, but we have to have a tougher mentality on the road. We seem to have it more at home. But we need everybody to play at a high level and not worry about minutes and statistics and who has the ball."
The Utah Jazz: "We're not here to have fun. We're not here to enjoy the nightlife. We're not here to get away from Utah. We're here to take care of business and we didn't play like that tonight."
So said Al Jefferson after Utah gave up 40 points in the first quarter, trailed by as many as 31 points and eventually lost 131-109. While the Jazz were committing 20 turnovers, the Knicks were shooting 56 percent from the field (including 13-for-26 from downtown) and registering 35 assists on 46 baskets.
But that's not all. From Elias Sports Bureau:
Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony combined for 46 of the Knicks 66 points when the two were on the floor together. When the two players were on the court together New York outscored Utah 66-35. Even more impressive, out of the 19 shots they took combined while on the floor together, they missed only three (16-19, 84.2 pct).
Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire both scored early and often eclipsing the 30-point mark before the 4th quarter began. They are just the 5th pair of teammates over the last 5 seasons to do so. While this has been rare to the NBA, Carmelo Anthony is no stranger to the feat as he has been involved in 3 of the 5 occurences, including both times it has happened this season.
The Jazz have now lost nine of their last 11 games and are tied or ninth place in the West. The ship, as they say, be sinking.
Said Utah coach Tyrone Corbin: "As individuals, as a group, as a franchise, that's embarrassing the way we came out and played tonight. Even if you lose a game, you can lose with some dignity. I don't think this loss tonight did anybody any good."
Somewhere Jerry Sloan is happy he retired. Speaking of Sloan...
Jerry Sloan, complete and total badass: (via Ball Don't Lie) KFAN's Tony Abbott interviewed Jerry's son, Brian, and Abbott revealed the following awesomeness during said interview:
Someone shoots an elk on a mountain hunting trip that Karl Malone had helped them arrange and Jerry and Tony walk up to it. "In a split second, this bull elk jumps up and comes at me full bore at about 10 yards. I'm a sitting duck. Your dad, without a blink, steps in front of me, pulls up [his old rifle that he got for $80 at a garage sale], puts a bullet in this elk's chest, and it falls at my feet. I have no chance to even react. I turn and look at your dad and he looks at me and he goes, 'That's as good as a fast break.'"
Like I said: Complete and total badass.
Al Jefferson: From Ross Siler (via Dan B.): "Has any player ever duplicated Al Jefferson's feat tonight: 36 points, 12 rebounds, team outscored by 33 points while he was on court?"
Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: "We're not going to shoot like that, I don't think. There's not going to be a game where we only miss six or seven shots combined. We hope we go out there and score 30 points and we win and everybody else contributes in their own way, but for me personally, I don't want to do that. I don't want to put that pressure on me to go out there and say that I want to score 30 points a night. I'm past that now."
Amar''''''e Stoudemire, quote machine: "Myself and Carmelo can score 1-on-1 with ease, but to get other players involved and play team basketball is the ultimate goal for us and tonight it worked out very well."
STAT check: Amar'''''e had zero assists.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Brian Cardinal scored a season-high 12 points. The Timberwolves lost by three points. I know this may sound elementary, but teams that can't contain "The Custodian" won't win many games. In possibly related news, Minnesota's record is now 15-50...worst in the Western Conference.
Said Dallas coach Rich Carlisle: "Without Cardinal, I don't think we'd have won the game. His activity, rebounds, loose balls, deflections, shot-making completely turned the game around."
Kevin Love (23 points and 17 rebounds) got his 51st double-double in a row, which, according the AP recap, is tied with Moses Malone in 1978-79 for the longest streak since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. And Malone's streak spanned two seasons, so Love's is the longest single-season streak.
The Target Center crowd even chanted "M-V-P!" for him. How cute. Batshit crazy. But cute.
Said Love: "I'd be jumping for joy if we were winning and everybody was playing great, including myself. I'm just going out there and playing hard and it is just kind of happening for me. But it is kind of an afterthought because we aren't winning."
The Oklahoma City Thunder: They let the Care Bears shoot 52 percent from the field, score 21 fast break points and 68 points in the paint, and build a 17-point lead before making a failed fourth quarter rally.
Defense? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Said Thunder coach Scott Brooks: "We got down 17 because our defensive effort wasn't where it needed to be. We gave them too many easy layups and points around the paint. We got back into it because we made some shots, but we still weren't playing the defense that it takes to win in this league."
At least he knows.
The Sacramento Kings: Congrats to Rick Adelmen Adelman, who tied Dick Motta for 10th on the NBA's career coaching victories list (935). Among the top 10 in wins, only Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach have better winning percentages than Adelman (.605).
Bet you never would've guessed that.
Said Adelman: "It means a lot to me. If you take a look at all those names up there [on the top-10 list], they are some of the best coaches."
Kind of a "Captain Obvious" quote, but I'll let it go. He was emotional.
As for the Kings, they trailed by as many as 30 points before losing 123-101. At home. So, uh, when are they moving to Anaheim?
Said Sactown coach Paul Westfail: "You've got to guard somebody. You can't give up 30-point quarters every quarter and expect to win. Our defense was not good enough really ever to give us a chance to hang around in the game."
Added DeMarcus Cousins: "We have a tendency to panic and just try to do things on our own. We are not going to get back into the game that way and we're not going to win games that way. We have to play the whole game together."
In possibly related news, Cousins took 20 shots and committed 4 turnovers while registering only 3 assists. Further related is the fact that Cousins has 57 more turnovers on the season (181) than assists (124). Oh, and he leads the league with 242 personal fouls. That's 23 more than fifth-place Amar''''''e Stoudemire.
Chris's Uncanny Two-Line Lacktion Ledger:
Clippers-Bobcats: DeAndre Jordan jacked up two boards in 17:10 with three fouls for a 3:2 Voskuhl as the Clips' starting big!
For Charlotte, Joel Przybilla negated three boards in 10:18 with a brick, four fouls, and a turnover for a 5:3 Voskuhl.