The Gol_en State Warriors: The Nyets have won three in a row for the first time in two years! And they did it without Deron Williams!
Okay, okay. The first two wins were over the Craptors and last night's victory came against the Warriors, who managed only 13 in the fourth quarter and lost by four.
The key stretch started with 2:50 remaining when Gol_en State had two layup attempts blocked and committed a shot clock violation in back-to-back-to-back possessions.
Said Gol_en State state coach Keith Smart: "We didn't play smart basketball down the stretch. We had a chance to walk away with this game and unfortunately we didn't."
The Philadelphia 76ers: With a three-point lead and only seconds left in regulation, the one and only thing the Sixers could not afford to do was give up a three-pointer, right?
Said Andre Iguodala: "We can't let them get a three late in the game, and they hit a three."
Iggy was then called for an offensive foul on a drive with 1.9 left. After Kevin Durant missed a potential game-winner, the game went to overtime, during which Philly managed only 4 points on 2-for-9 shooting.
Said Sixers coach Doug Collins: "I thought we were one play away from winning the game. That is the first one that has gotten away from us like that in a long time. Durant had to hit a hell of a shot to get it to overtime."
The Toronto Craptors: The Jazz were without Francisco Elson (left knee), Mehmet Okur (back) and Ronnie Price (right foot). Paul Millsap (left knee) and Andrei Kirilenko (back) didn't start. And you remember how they traded away their All-Star point guard, right?
Nevertheless, the Craptosaurs choked away a 14-point lead and then had to play less than 10 seconds worth of defense to force overtime. I'm sure you can guess how that worked out for them. But you might as well watch it too:
I'm also sure you knew this was coming:
Devin Harris, quote machine: "I had a good look, but Big Al came out of nowhere like Superman."
Al Jefferson, quote machine: "I just got my hand on the ball and I tipped it up," he said. "The basketball God was on our side tonight, that's all I've got to say."
The Charlotte Bobcraps: The Bobcraps were missing leading scorer Stephen Jackson (hamstring), sixth man Tyrus Thomas (knee surgery), backup center Joel Przybilla (knee) and reserve guard Matt Carroll (ankle). And, don't forget, Gerald Wallace is now anticipating injury playing for the Frail Blazers. So the fact that they scored only 35 points in the second half while getting blown out at home by the Bulls for their sixth straight loss isn't all that surprising.
What is mildly surprising is how they got lit up by Chicago's bench (51 points), particularly Kyle Korver (20 points on 7-for-10 shooting) and Taj Gibson (14 points on 6-for-7 shooting).
Of course, the Bobkittens got their revenge when, with 4:24 left in the game and the Bulls leading 92-75, Kwame Brown committed a flagrant foul that (surprise!) injured Carlos Boozer. Make that Carlos "My Insides Are Made of Peanut Brittle" Boozer."
Said Charlotte coach Paul Silas: "We just kind of ran out of gas, but I thought the guys played hard and played with effort. I told them if they play that way and we get our full complement of guys, then I like our chances."
How can a coach like his team's chances when said team is 12 games under .500? When that team is locked in an epic "final playoff seed" battle with...
The Indiana Pacers: I will now once again remind you of what Roy Hibbert said a few weeks ago after the Pacers lost to the Heat: "The rest of the season, we're coming. We're not backing down. We're not having any lackadaisical games. We're on the prowl. We're hungry."
So hungry that last night Indy shot 29 percent from the field and trailed by as many as 30 points to...the Minnesota Timberwolves?
The 101-75 victory was Minny's second-biggest win of the season. The biggest? A 34-point beatdown of the Cadavers back on December 4.
Anyway, Kevin Love had his 52nd straight double-double. It's the longest single-season streak since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Love had 10 points and 12 rebounds at halftime, marking the 14th time he's had a double-double by halftime during the streak. What's more, this was also the 13th 20-rebound game of the season for Love, which is the third-most in the last 15 years.
Wait, I'm not finished. According to the AP recap, only nine players in NBA history -- both before and after the merger -- have had at least 50 double-doubles in a row. Those other eight guys -- Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas and Bill Russell -- are in the Hall of Fame.
Did I mention he did it with an injured knee?
Said Anthony Randolph: "It's crazy. Today he was hurt and he was still able to get 21 rebounds."
Special thanks goes to the Pacers for missing 57 of their 81 field goal attempts and giving up 16 offensive rebounds while getting hammerfied by the worst team in the Western Conference.
But they're still in eighth place in the East!
Said Tyler Hansbrough: "It's unbelievable, but yeah we're still in the playoffs as of right now. That's why we need to turn things around quickly. It's been a goal of ours to get into the playoffs for a while. So we'll see what happens."
Added Pacers coach Frank Vogel: "Clearly we're struggling on the offensive end. We're struggling as a basketball team. We will work until we come out of it, and we will come out of it."
Kevin Love, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get up and down the court with how stiff it was."
The Boston Celtics: I knew this was going to happen. I could see it coming. The Celtics were due for a meltdown game. Too many injuries and too much inconsistency with lineup changes and trades. But against the Clippers?
Boston was down 18 points at halftime and trailed by as many as 23 points before rallying their way to within four points. But that was as close as they could get. Somewhat ironically, Mo Williams (28 points, 5-for-7 on threes, 4 assists) played better against the Celtics last night than he ever did for the Cadavers. Maybe if Mo had had a few games like that during last year's playoffs, LeBron never would have left Cleveland.
By the way, The Other L.A. Team scored 60 points in the first half. That was the second-most the Celtics had given up in any half this season. And Eric Gordon, the Clippers' leading scorer, didn't even play.
Said Paul Pierce: "It's a lot of inconsistency. Some of that had to do with implementing a lot of new guys but ... we've got to get off to better starts and that's with the guys that have been here."
Added Boston coach Doc Rivers: "Our energy was really low to start the game. Once you turn a team on and they start making shots, they're comfortable."
The Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks had to be feeling pretty comfortable when Dirk Nowitzki knocked down a technical free throw to give his team a 92-85 lead with 1:13 remaining. Then again, they were probably feeling pretty good after taking a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA Finals, and we all know how that turned out.
Well, this was shades of those finals, right down to the questionable free throws. The Chris Paul-less Hornets went on an 8-0 run in that final 1:13. Marco Belinelli, who had already done this...
...drilled a triple with 50 seconds left. Then Dirk "Super Clutch" Nowitzki had a pass stolen by Trevor Ariza. Ariza had a three-point attempt swatted by Tyson Chandler, but Ariza snagged the offensive board and fed Belinelli, who missed a reverse layup. However, Emeka Okafor got the rebound and put the ball back in while getting fouled by Nowitzki. Fortunately for the Mavs, Okafor bricked the freebie.
Chandler grabbed the rebound off Okafor's miss. Ariza intentionally fouled Chandler. At this point, Dallas was up 92-90 with 17 seconds left. So, of course, Chandler shanked both free throws.
After a New Orleans timeout, the Hornets "ran a play" that ended when Jason Kidd fouled Dwyane Wade Jarrett Jack on what even the AP described as a "flailing" three-point attempt. Jacked converted all three foul shots to put his team up by a single point. Then, predictably, Dirk came up way short on a contested 17-footer as time expired.
Said Jack: "I saw [Kidd] kind of close in on me, so I could swipe under his arm and I was able to get the call, go to the free throw line and knock down free throws."
Said Nowitzki: "The last two minutes we kind of did everything wrong to kind of lose that one. Just a bad, bad execution down the stretch. We really had the game won already. ... It shouldn't have come down to being down one with a couple seconds to go, but you've got to give them credit. They played hard. They hung in there."
I love lines like that: "We really had the game won already." And, see, that's why the Mavericks get their hearts ripped out of their chests during the playoffs every year. The game lasts until the final buzzer. Always has. Always will.
The Cleveland Cadavers: When the worst shooting/worst scoring team in the league drops 110 points on 55 percent shooting on a team, that team has some 'splaining to do.
Sure enough, the Cadavers met for about 15-20 minutes after the 20-point before opening the locker room to reporters.
Said Cleveland coach Byron Scott: "Pretty much all the coaches talked and I had a couple of players talk, and that was the biggest thing, consistency and trust. I don't think the guys truly trust each other out there, for whatever reason. They've been together 60-plus games and obviously the consistency is something we've been lacking for a while."
Added Samardo Samuels: "We went over things, stuff we need to work on. Stuff that will help this team and try to get everybody on the same page. That was what the conversation was about."
Yeah, but what happened? I mean, the Bucks scoring 110 points is about as probable as going a full day without somebody bringing up the Miami Hea...damn it! See what I mean?!
Said Scott: "We stopped playing. We stopped playing on the defensive end, stopped playing offensively together as a team and they got up and started pressuring us a little more. And we just seemed to lose our minds and just play individual basketball."
In related news, Milwaukee's Jon Brockman tied his career high with 11 points.
The Memphis Grizzlies: They trailed by as many as 17 points despite shooting nearly 54 percent and owning a 35-4 advantage in free throw attempts. (Sniff! Sniff! Home cookin'!) But New York went 6-for-20 from the field over the final 12 minutes and the Griz had outscored the Knicks 26-12 to tie the game at 108-all with seconds left. Then this happened...
Said 'Melo: "It was one of them shots, that you know is going to go in. I had plenty of shots this whole game like that, and they didn't go in. That particular one felt real good."
Key stat: New York was 12-for-24 from downtown. The Knicks are now 13-1 when they hit at least a dozen treys. So, you know, hands in the face, Knicks opponents.
Said Zach Randolph: "It was a tough game. We didn't come out from the start very disciplined. We didn't guard the three-point shot. They hit a lot of shots, and our defense wasn't good. That's the game."
The Detroit Pistons: The Spurs led by as many as 19 points in the first quarter before settling for a 40-26 lead after 12 minutes. The Pistons managed a comeback, thanks mostly to their 20 offensive boards and a 31-9 edge in second chance points, but you knew they were going to come up short, right?
I mean, they let the Spurs convert 80 percent of their shots in the first half and 64 percent of them for the game. They must have been using the official Sasha Pavlovic "My Offense Is My Defense" method. Unfortunately, Detroit shot 45 percent.
John Kuester, coach of the year candidate: He continues his season of yanking his players around by making yet another lineup change, benching Rodney Stucky and starting Knee Mac at the point. There's something to be said about consistency. And the Pistons have been consistently bawful. So they have that going for them.
Said Kuester: "We're looking to mix and match all the time. We're always searching to see who's going to give us the most in certain spots and situations. I thought Tracy was outstanding. His leadership and the way he controlled the game was outstanding."
As for why his team lost: "I've been in this business for a long time and I've never seen a team shoot 80 percent [in the first half]. That was incredible. I thought that was the difference in the game. That hurt us."
Good call, John.
The Sacramento Kings: I think the ESPN sub-header for this one says it all: "Howard returns, helps Magic past lowly Kings." The Paupers now have fewer wins than the Timberwolves.
(Chris: And I just have to add this comment at Sactown Royalty as to why it is tragically depressing that a lacktator would be called upon in the clutch...)
Clippers-Celtics: Craig Smith went bargaining with Donald Sterling and was rewarded with a 3.4 trillion (3:25). For Boston, 1.4 seconds was all it took for Avery Bradley to power up his Wii in a Super Mario Galaxy!
Knicks-Grizzlies: Should I just permanently attach a "Jared Jeffries has a Voskuhl" sticker to this website? In another special performance as starting Knickerbocker center, 20:44 in which he gathered up two boards, three assists, and a field goal also incurred four fouls and two turnovers for a 6:4 ratio.
For the Grizzlies, Ishmael Smith augered three bricks in 8:34 as well as a rejection and foul for a +5!
Mavs-Hornets: Aaron Gray blotted out a board in 8:09 with four fouls for a 4:1 Voskuhl.
Pissed-ons-Spurs: In the Extremely Highly Unanticipated Rematch of the 2005 Finals, Steve Novak and Tiago Splitter plugged two controllers in for 33 seconds as MARIO BROTHERS!
Magic-Purple Paupers: Orlando's Earl Clark crunched into a +1 via turnover in 1:47, while Jermaine Taylor royally blanked with two bricks (one from Cesar Chavez Park), two giveaways, and a foul for a +5.