The Charlotte Bobkittens: Bought and built by Michael Jordan, the Bobkittens are turrible in the turribliest sense of the word. It's like MJ wanted to handcraft a team crappy enough to rival the pre-CP3/Griffin Clippers, only without the benefit of The Other L.A. Team's historically bawful whimsy.
Mike: Your team makes children cry.
In releted news, Charlotte lost by 30 to the Hawks. The Hawks, by the way, just lost Al Horford for the season due to a torn pectoral muscle in his left shoulder. Yes, that's how manly Horford is. Dude has pecs everywhere. Even in his shoulders.
According to the AP, Horford is a leader on and off the court. Which is the kind of garbage the AP always says when a good player who's not a superstar gets hurt. That way, you know it's a meaningful loss even though the player probably wouldn't have made the All-Star team even if they hadn't gotten busted up.
Anyway, back to the Bobkittens: They're called motions. And this team is going through them.
Said Charlotte coach captive Paul Silas: "We're just kind of giving up now. They just beat us down. They almost got as many offensive rebounds as we got total rebounds. That's difficult to accept."
Silas is correct. Atlanta had 20 offensive boards. The Bobkittens had 30 total. Hell, freaking Vladimir Radmanovic had eight rebounds! And Vlad breaks out in hives every time he grabs a rebound. It was so bad that 37-year-old Jerry Stackhouse threw down a posterizing slam near the end of the game. And I bet you didn't even know Stack was still in the league.
Said Gerald Henderson: "Once we decide it means something to us, we'll get better."
Oh. So it won't be getting any better then.
The Detroit Pistons: And lo', the Free Throw Gods did smile upon last night's Pistons-Bucks game, as the two teams combined to go 41-for-41 from the foul line. According to ESPN Stats and Information:
From Elias: The Pistons were 24-for-24 on free throws on Thursday. The last time the Pistons made that many free throws without a miss in a game was March 12, 1985, when they went 24-for-24 in a 111-110 loss to the Chicago Bulls. That night, they lost to a rookie named Michael Jordan, who made four late free throws of his own to seal a 32-point effort and a win for his team.
The Pistons and Bucks combined to go 41-41 on free throws Thursday. That's an NBA record for most FT made by both teams without a miss. The previous mark was held by the Hawks vs Raptors from Dec. 22, 2000 with just 16!
Alas, free throw perfection is the only perfection the Pistons are liable to experience any time soon. After their 102-93 loss to the Bucks, Detroit fell to 0-5 on the road and 2-9 overall. Even their game tonight in Charlotte doesn't seem winnable.
But don't tell that to their coach.
Said Lawrence Frank: "There are no consolation prizes, but there was a different spirit out there a different fight out there."
For some perspective on the Pistons' fightiness, let's check out the plus-minus scores of Detroit's starting lineup:
Tayshaun Prince (-19) Jonas Jerebko (-2) Greg Monroe (-9) Ben Gordon (-8) Brandon Knight (-10)
I'm just sayin'.
Bonus stat: The Pistons gave up 24 points off only 16 turnovers.
The New York Bricks: The good news: Their defense held the Grizzlies to only 94 points on 45 percent shooting. The bad news: Their offense scored a season-low 83 points on 37 percent shooting. To go with 18 turnovers. And a 30-11 free throw disadvantage.
Just a bad night all around for the Brickerbockers. Carmelo Anthony missed most of the final 24 minutes due to a sprained ankle. Amar''''''e Stoudemire got benched first due to foul trouble and then due to extreme suckage. STAT finished with only 6 points on 1-for-7 shooting. It was the first time in over 100 games he failed to score at least 10 points.
New York missed eight of their first nine shots and trailed by as many as 25 points.
Said Tyson Chandler: "It was definitely one of those nights where we couldn't get into a rhythm."
Added Bricks coach Mike 'Antoni: "I just thought emotionally we didn't come out with the right mental energy, and they jumped on us. We went back on our heels and tried to resolve the problem one-on-one. It didn't work out, obviously."
And since I'm in the mood for random, here's a video about something that has nothing whatsoever to do with this game or anybody in it: Vince Carter's Top 10 Missed Dunks:
Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: "I've been getting beat up for nine years, so, I'm not worried about getting beat up. I'm going to get through it. I'm living. I'm walking. I'm smiling. I'm hurt, but I'll be all right."
Update! Iman Shumpert: Czernobog: "No mention of Iman Shumpert's 5-20 shooting and 6 TOs?"
Update! Tony Allen: Czernobog continued: "Or Tony allen's bricked layup?"
The Phoenix Suns: Bob Dylan once said to cage a wild animal is a sin. Which is why I'm gonna bring this up again: FREE STEVE NASH. He cannot end his career on this crappy crap of a crap team. I don't care if the Suns' medical staff can cure AIDS, cancer and herpes. I don't care if they can bring the dead back to life. That's not a good enough reason to force Nash to suffer through this nightly hell.
The latest ignominy: A 101-90 home loss to the Cleveland Cadavers. And Kyrie Irving (season-high 26 points) straight up made the Suns look silly:
Said Marcin "The Victim of That Highlight" Gortat: "I told him he put me on ESPN with his fancy moves. He's talented. He was really good today. But I didn't help (defensively) on the pick and rolls and he was able to beat Steve."
This was Cleveland's fifth game of a seven-game road trip. But they were still able to shoot down the Suns on their home court. And they scored 90 points. 90! The Suns! They've become the mid-90s Knicks minus the defense and Patrick Ewing's flat top.
The Golden State Warriors and their coach Mark Jackson: I've seen the Hack-a-Whoever strategy get used many times over the years, but last night was without question the worst bastardization of intentional fouling I have ever seen. The Warriors repeatedly fouled Dwight Howard...over and over...sending him to the line an NBA record 39 times. That's right: 39 times.
Howard's previous career-high in FT attempts: 24.
The spectacle was so outragous that Magic coach Stan Van Grump stopped coaching. No, he literally stopped coaching.
Said Van Grumpy: "[During a timeout] I'm looking at [my assistant coaches] like, 'We're not going to run a play. He's going to foul him. What are we going to bother with diagraming a play? Make the free throw, play some defense."
Thanks to the Golden Staters, Howard shattered Wilt Chamberlain's record of 34 free throw attempts set against the the St. Louis Hawks back on February 22, 1962.
I typically joke that somebody always sets a new season or career-high against the Warriors, but this was ridiculous. Even by my own standards of ridiculosity.
But Jackson wasn't making any apologies after the game:
Said The Other MJ: "I can understand people thinking, `Why?' But don't get caught up in the free throws. Think about when we didn't foul him. It was dunks, hooks, at the rim. He's a great player. And he's a bad free throw shooter. Giving ourselves the best chance possible, we tried to mess up their rhythm, take their 3-point shooters out of it, which we did. They made plays."
Riiiiigh. The Warriors did such a good job "taking their 3-point shooters out of it" that Orlando's long-range marksmen went 11-for-23. For lovers of simple math, that's a conversion rate of 47.8 percent. Not exactly lockdown defense.
Said David Lee: "We took a chance and said that we want Dwight to beat us. And he beat us."
For the record, Howard finished with 45 points, 23 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots. It was Dwight's first 40/20 game. According to ESPN Stats and Information, he's the only active player to accomplish that feat. According to STATS LLC, it was the first 40/20 game in the NBA since Shaq had 48 points and 20 boards against the Celtics back on March 1, 2003.
Speaking of which, this game kind of underscored the pregame bickering between Shaq and Charles Barkley. Shaq insisted that Chris Webber was correct...that L.A.'s Andrew Bynum was the best center in the league right now. Chuck's argument -- which was correct -- was that Bynum is a good player, Howard is a great one.
Stan Van Grumpy, quote machine: "A suggestion from one of my assistants was that we do it to Biedrins when he was in the game. We weren't in the penalty. That could have been fun. We could've just walked up and down for a few minutes and see who makes the first free throw. But we could've just saved everybody and said, 'Let's let them shoot it at the same basket."
J.J. Redick, quote machine: On the notoriously poor free-throw-shooting Howard going 21-for-29 at the line: "It's amazing that he made 21."
Dwight Howard, quote machine: "I just tried to be aggressive and get to the line. I didn't care if I missed 30."
Chris' Lacktion Report:
Bobcats-Hawks: Jason Collins went crazy for cash by garnering a 2.95 trillion (2:58) for the Dirty Birds!
Pistons-Bucks: Will "The Other" Bynum had three seconds of squirrel suit time in a SUPER MARIO!
Milwaukee's Drew Gooden fouled thricely in 4:58, earning both a +3 suck differential and a 3:0 Voskuhl! Fellow deer Darrington Hobson had seven seconds to chase down Goombas in a Super Mario!
Knicks-Grizzlies: Josh Davis had an exact 2.9 trillion for Memphis (2:54) and in that same timespan, Jannero Pargo bricked once and took a rejection for a +2.
Cavs-Suns: Semih Erden made two boards irrelevant by one turnover and a foulout in 12:07 for a 7:2 Voskuhl.
Magic-Warriors: Earl Clark crunched a board in 52 seconds, not long enough to escape the 8-bit world in a non-lacktive Mario!
For Team Kwame Brown, Jeremy Tyler fouled once in 72 seconds for a +1 and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl! And Ekpe Udoh countered two boards and a free throw in 14:32 with five fouls for a 5:3 Voskuhl.