The Washington Wizards Generals: This was a textbook definition of Scalper's Night Off in Chicago. The Generals entered the game 1-8. The Bulls were without Derrick Rose (toe)...not to mention starting SG Rip Hamilton (groin) and backup PG C.J. Watson (elbow). That forced Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau to squeeze nearly 48 minutes out of third-string point guard John Lucas III.
The result? Not only did Lucas chuck up a Kobesque 28 shot attempts, he finished shockingly close to a triple-double (25 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) while thoroughly outplaying John "Everybody Said I Was Gonna Be Better Than Derrick Rose" Wall (11 points, 4-for-13, 8 assists, 5 boards). The Bulls ended up winning 78-64.
It helped that this Generals team is trash. They're 1-9 for a reason, folks. Washington shot 31 percent and displayed an offense that would make the Bucks throw up in their own mouths.
During the ESPN Daily Dime Live chat, I asked the following question with about four minutes to go:
"Fact or Fiction: The Wizards will reach 70 points."
Turned out to be fiction. Washington never scored again.
I repeat: The Bulls played their third-string point guard 46+ minutes and won.
By 14 points!
Kyle Korver, quote machine: Before the game, we all thought he'd get 20 (points). We didn't know he'd shoot 28."
Flip Saunders, quote machine: "It's very unusual when the backup point guard gets 28 shots."
John Lucas III, quote machine: "Coach (Tom) Thibodeau was telling me to stay aggressive, don't back off and don't stop shooting. He kept telling me if, 'I'm open, shoot it. If I'm open, shoot it.' I felt like I was shooting too much and then he got on me for not shooting the times I was open."
Huh. I don't remember Lucas passing up a shot last night. Maybe I blinked or sneezed or something.
The Bulls' equipment manager: I guess the BEM doesn't think Mike James has made a name for himself in the NBA. BA DA BUMP! (H/T chris)
A literal nobody.
The Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks were in typical Hawksy form last night. Remember, the Hawks and Warriors are the only teams in this short season that have beaten both the Bulls and Heat. Of course, Atlanta has also lost at home to Miami's reserves and on the road to the 3-7 Rockets. So the only thing we really know about this team is that we know nothing about this team.
In keeping with that, the Dirty Birds got blown out by the Pacers in Indy. Atlanta shot 37 percent, committed 18 turnovers, scored only 9 points in the third quarter, and trailed by as many as 24 points before losing 96-84.
Said Hawks coach Larry Drew: "We did everything wrong. turned the ball over, we missed layups, we missed blockout assignments. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong in the third quarter. It seemed like we just hit a wall after that."
According to Hoopdata, the Hawks missed 14 shots at the rim, but the Pacers missed 13 from that distance. So, uhm, I don't think it was the missed layups, Larry.
I've actually noticed that trend lately: Losing teams almost always cite missed layups among the reasons they lost. We'll have to keep an eye on that...
The Toronto Craptors: The most exciting news about this team is that the Autocorrect feature on Dan B.'s phone now automatically capitalizes "Craptors."
One night after getting blown out by the previously winless Wizards Generals, the Craptosaurs lost at home to the Purple Paupers. The same Paupers who had lost two straight and four of their last five games.
It was Sacramento's first road win of the season.
And it's not like the Kings played great or anything. They shot 37 percent, went 7-for-24 from three-point land, and committed 18 turnovers.
But that was enough to beat the Craptors in Toronto.
The Philadelphia 76ers: Philly's six-game win streak made the Sixers the hottest team in the league. Until the Knicks' defense cooled them down!
That's actually not a typo.
New York's D limited the Sixers to 79 points on 39 percent shooting (including 3-for-15 on threes). Of course, the Philly players and coaching staff won't make excuses. Or...will they?
Said Elton Brand: "Only excuse that we have is that they had a little bit of time to prepare for us. They took us out of our sets. We're not going to blame the schedule or anything like that. Every team has a tough schedule this season and you have to give them credit. They outplayed us when it counted."
Added Doug Collins: "I was really proud of our guys tonight. Five games in six nights, three in a row. Battle, battle, battle."
Translation: It's not the schedule. But it's the schedule.
The Boston Celtics: They could have won or forced OT if they could have played five seconds worth of defense on Dirk Nowitzki. But they could not.
Rick Carlisle: He had a pretty sweet ejection last night:
Said Carlisle: "It's my opinion, but Kevin Garnett shouldn't be allowed to bear hug Dirk coming off the screen. I wanted to make my point. If it costs me a few thousand dollars so be it."
Dude, that's KG's game, man.
The Houston Rockets: The good news: They managed to force OT. The bad news: They went 2-for-10 in OT and lost 101-95.
And Tim "Oh God my knees...my knees!" Duncan even got out on the break and dunked on them. This might be the last fast break flush of TD's career. Let's watch:
The New Jersey Nyets: Let's see: The Nyets shot 51 percent from the field, went an incredible 20-for-35 from downtown and scored 115 points.
That's because they let the Nuggets ring up 123 points on 60 percent shooting. Denver finished with 37 assists on 44 buckets.
Screamed New Jersey coach Avery Johnson: "PRETTY GOOD OFFENSE FOR OUR TEAM. ANY TIME WE SCORE 115 POINTS, YOU WOULD THINK IT WAS GOING TO BE A WIN. WE JUST COULDN'T GET ANY STOPS DEFENSIVELY."
The Utah Jazz: So close. Yet so far.
Said Gordon Hayward: "The clock's winding down, a final scramble and we didn't know what was going on. There were 8 seconds left, so I got to make a play. Maybe I could have shot a 1-2 pullup, but I thought it was the right play, the right pass. We got a good look. Bynum just made a good play."
Kobe Bryant, quote machine: On passing to Pau Gasol for a critical three-pointer: "Pau's been shooting them well in practice and Coach has been urging me to trust him at the 3-point line. I thought about passing it to him, it seemed like an eternity. But I said, 'What the hell.' You think Tebow prays? When that ball left his hand, I must have said 30 Hail Mary's."
The Miami cHeat: Well...the cHeat lost in OT to the Clippers last night. And it would be easy to blame the foul shooting. And boy was it foul. As a team, Miami bricked 14 freebies. LeBron missed eight by himself and went 6-for-10 from the line in the final 5:49 of the fourth quarter.
Said King Crab: "We missed 14 free throws and eight of them came from me. I've been shooting the ball particularly well from the free throw line, but tonight I didn't make enough. So I put our free throw shooting on me. It's kind of a rhythm when it trickles down to everybody else, so I've got to concentrate a little more and knock them down when I get fouled."
Added Dwyane Wade: "You never want to lose, but no team ever goes undefeated. We just move on from the frustration we have. We haven't missed this many free throws as a team probably ever...you know it will average out."
There was also some serious clutch fail by the Nazgul. LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh combined to shoot 3-for-8 in the fourth quarter and then went 0-for-7 in OT. The only Miami player to score during the extra session was Mario Chalmers.
In fact, let's break down the many fails in Miami's fourth quarter fail bucket:
With 5:48 left and the Heat trailing 80-78, LeBron bricks one of two free throws.
With 5:16 left and the Heat trailing 80-79, Wade clanks a 20-footer.
With 4:54 left and the Heat trailing 80-79, Wade misses one of two foul shots.
With 3:40 left and the Heat trailing 83-82, Bosh misses from seven feet.
With 3:13 left and the Heat trailing 83-82, Bosh is called for traveling.
With 2:44 left and the Heat trailing 83-82, LeBron misses a layup.
With 2:15 left and the Heat trailing 83-82, LeBron commits an offensive foul.
With 2:00 left and the Heat trailing 83-82, Bosh goes 1-for-2 at the line.
With 1:21 left and the game tied at 83-83, LeBron goes 1-for-2 from the line.
With 33 seconds left and the Heat leading 84-83, LeBron misses a 20-footer.
With 16 seconds left and the Heat trailing 86-85, LeBron goes 1-for-2 at the line.
With 05 seconds left and the Heat trailing 86-85, LeBron goes 1-for-2 at the line.
And now the overtime "offense":
Wade missed jumper.
LeBron missed seven-footer.
LeBron missed nine-footer.
Chalmers missed three-pointer.
LeBron missed layup.
Wade missed three-poitner.
Chalmers made three-pointer.
Bosh missed four-footer (blocked by DeAndre Jordan)
Chalmers missed three-pointer.
Dwyane Wade missed three-pointer.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the cHeat rank second-worst in the category of Lowest FGP With Less Than 24 Seconds Left And the Score Within Three (35.7 percent). They rank ahead of only the T-Wolves (33.3 percent) and worse than the Bucks (36.4), Clippers (37.0) and Rockets (37.5).
(Chris: And hey, LeBum and #LeChoke trended worldwide too, as I noted.)
Dwyane Wade, quote machine: "A lot of times we were able to get LeBron to the rim and that's what we wanted. It's not always going to go in, but we can leave here with our heads up high, knowing that we stuck to our game plan. We just didn't get the win."
LeBron James, quote machine: "We defended and gave ourselves a chance to win, and that's all you can ask for. So we can be satisfied. I mean, you don't like to lose, but we're not going to hang our heads about this one."
Chris' Lacktion Report:
Kings-Craptors: WHAT? CELEBRATORY LACKTION ON THE ROAD FOR THE PURPLE PAUPERS, WHO WON THEIR FIRST ROAD GAME IN CANADA SINCE 2004!??!
Jason Thompson nullified one assist with a foul and brick in 6:31 for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl!
Mavs-Celtics: Chris Wilcox chipped in one brick to give Boston a +1 suck differential in 2:51.