"Hmm, let's see, where could I hide 12 bodies...?"
The New Jersey Nyets: Despite the whole "22 games below .500" thing, the Nyets entered last night's home game against the Bulls as one of the league's hottest. No, really. Their five consecutive victories had them tied with the Oklahoma City for the second-longest active winning streak in the NBA. Okay, sure, their first four victories were against the Craptors (twice), Warriors and Clippers, but their last win had been against the Boston Celtics.
Then they ran into reality a buzzsaw. The Bulls, after all, had the league's longest active winning streak at seven. They left New Jersey with a winning streak of eight straight games, mostly because they held the Nyets to 34.9 percent shooting and a season-low 73 points. (New Jersey's previous low had been 75 points against the Celtics back on December 5.) The Nyets got only 14 layup attempts and missed nine of them. The Bulls ripped down 17 offensive rebounds and outscored New Jersey 46-22 in the paint.
Said Kris Humprhies: "We just couldn't score points tonight. You look at the stat sheet and we shot in the 30s. We held them to a good amount of points and we just needed to turn it up offensively, but we weren't able to do that."
Added Deron Williams: "We could have played a lot better and shot a lot better, 35 percent from the field is tough to win."
Speaking of Deron...
Deron Williams, worst player of the night: D-Will dished out a game-high 11 assists and, down the stretch, he kept the Nyets within striking distance with his dribble penetration and passing. That said, Williams shot a truly bawful 1-for-12 -- including 0-for-3 from downtown -- and got abused on defense by the previously defenseless Derrick Rose. Derrick swatted two of Deron's shots and, with 3:17 left in the game and the Nyets down only two points, Rose stole a long pass from Williams and went the other way for a fast break layup. Gamebreaker.
In the final tally, the Nyets were outscored by 12 points with Williams on the floor...and they lost by 11.
Get that weak stuff out of here, D-Will!
Kris Humphries' defensive rotation: Dude actually had 16 boards and 5 blocked shots...but his rotation on this dunk was so bad D-Rose almost killed himself slamming the ball home.
The Memphis Grizzlies: This humiliating defeat for the Grizzlies -- a team that's fighting to hold onto the final playoff spot out West by the way -- is best summed up by the following data provided by ESPN Stats and Information:
The New York Knicks set a franchise record with 20 three-pointers in their 120-99 win vs the Memphis Grizzlies. Prior to Thursday, the franchise record for threes in a game had been the 19 the Knicks sank against the Grizzlies on November 12, 2008.
Toney Douglas did a great deal of New York's damage from behind the arc, tying a team record with a career-high nine threes. The only other players to make nine three-pointers in a game this season are J.R. Smith (March 12) and Dorell Wright (November 27).
For some reason, it's comforting to know the Grizzlies have a rich history of not putting hands in the faces of the Knicks. Memo to Memphis: It takes more than a Care Bear Stare to make your opponents miss shots.
Speaking of which, how 'bout Tony Douglas? He went 1-of-12 in Sunday's home loss to the Pacers. Last night, he shot 10-for-14 from the field...and 9-for-12 from beyond the arc.
Said Douglas: "Once I started hitting, I felt like there was no defense out there."
That's because there wasn't any defense out there, Toney.
Added Randolph: "They shoot the ball very well against us. It was one of them games, a disappointing game. We came out and played and didn't stick to our game plan [and] didn't stick to the identity of our team the way we play and they blew us out."
Let's see: 120-99? Yep. That qualifies as a blowout, Zach.
Lionel Hollins, coach of the year candidate: "They beat us with 3s last game. They beat us tonight with 3s. I just told our team that if they shoot 3s like that every night, they'd be tough to beat. Obviously they don't because they got smashed by Indiana and beat by Indiana because they didn't make 3s. But you win, you live by the jumper, you die by the jumper. We struggled to guard them on the 3-point line and we struggled to score consistently."
Mike D'Antoni, coach of the year candidate: "Hang in there, we're hanging in there, we're pedaling as fast as we can pedal. The biggest thing, and I'll just keep repeating, is that we're not going to get caught up in the hysteria and we're going to be who we are, we're going to play as well as we can and get it together and hang in as a group and try to make the playoffs and then try to do as good as we can."
The Cleveland Cadavers: On Wednesday night, after Cleveland's come-from-behind victory over the Kings, coach Byron Scott praised his team's effort and toughness. Okay, not really. Here's what he said: "It's amazing what competing will do. I've been very critical the last few games. I told them there are three or four things you need to do every night. We did that tonight. We competed the whole game."
Well, last night, the Cadaver's competed for roughly zero minutes. Uh oh.
And Cleveland's 111-70 loss to the Frail Blazers, Scott held a private 30-minute meeting with his team and then came out and blasted them to the press.
Said Scott: "Our team is so soft mentally it's unbelievable."
Think all the losing is getting to Byron?
"We forgot that we have to come in here and play a team that's much better. Guys didn't have any focus on what we were doing, and it trickled down from one guy to the last guy. We got exactly what we deserved."
"Good old-fashioned butt-whipping. I don't think our guys understood that the team we beat (Wednesday) night has 16 wins and the team we played tonight is playing for something. They came out and played like it."
"We were on our heels the whole night. No resistance defensively. Even the first three or four minutes of the game, we didn't follow our defensive gameplan. Guys didn't have any focus on what we were doing. It trickled down from one guy to the last guy and we got exactly what we deserved."
While Scott sounded straight up homicidal, Baron Davis sounded like he was about ready to be put on suicide watch. And this is a guy who spent the last couple seasons playing for the Clippers.
Said B-Dizzle: "I'm at a loss for words right now. Kind of numb, just numb. It's tough. For the first time in my life I can't draw from anything. I can't find anything. ... They saw blood and they never stopped. It's like we weren't there. By the time we figured out we were there, we were down 30 points."
It was just that kind of night.
The Cadavers fell behind 24-2 out of the gate, trailed by as many as 44 points in the third quarter, and lost by 41. They shot 35.6 percent while allowing the Blazers to convert 54.2 percent of their field goals. Cleveland was outrebounded 45-29 (including 15-7 on the offensive glass) and out-assisted by an absurd 29-6. Oh, and they gave up 28 points off 19 turnovers. But, hey, the Cads had a 30-13 advantage in free throw attempts on the road! Bright side!
Okay, maybe not.
Some noteably bad performances: In 27 minutes, starter Alonzo Gee scored 2 points on 0-for-5 shooting. In 21 minutes, starting shooting guard Anthony Parker -- who was targeted by the Bulls and Celtics and whom the Cadavers didn't want to give up at the trade deadline -- finished with 4 points, 2 turnovers, and 0 assists. Starting power forward Samardo Samuels went 1-for-8 from the field. B-Diddy came off the bench to contribute 3 turnovers and 0 assists while shooting 1-for-4 in his 15-minute stint. Joey Graham earned a DNP-CD in a 41-point blowout. Which is either mercy or cruelty, I'm not sure which.
105 of Portland's points came from the paint, the free-throw line, or the three-point line.
Offense miserable, defense miserable, everything miserable. I hope you had a good St. Patrick’s day, everyone. I have nothing tonight.
That pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
Chris's Mini Lacktion Ledger:
Bulls-Nyets: Sundiata Gaines gave Newark a show of null-ness, bricking FOUR times in 10:38 (twice from the Mulberry Arcade) and adding a foul and rejection for a +6!!! Fellow ruble rouser Brandan Wright countered a board with a 49-second session of Koopa shell kicking for a non-lacktive Mario.
Grizzlies-Knicks: Ishmael Smith bricked once from 34th Street and lost the rock for a +2 in 2:18, while New York's Ronny Turiaf tore out two boards and a free throw in 13:24 with a trio of fouls and two turnovers for a 5:3 Voskuhl.
Sad Cadavers-Frail Blazers: Jarron Collins built up one piece of masonry for the Portland-based infirmary in 3:43.