The Washington Wizards Generals: Sigh. It's the same old story for this sorry squad. Sure, they were playing at home against an aging and slumping Celtics team that was without Rajon Rondo (sprained wrist). And, yeah, Boston lost the services of Ray Allen with six and a half minutes to go in the second quarter after Ray-Ray sprained the wrist connected to his shooting hand.
Enter Paul Pierce. The Truth had managed only a feeble 20 total points in his previous two games. Didn't matter. The Generals are like a Fountain of Healing to their opponents, and Pierce finished with a season-high 34 points on 10-for-15 from the field and 12-for-15 from the line. He also had season-bests in assists (10) and steals (3).
Believe it or not, Washington actually came back from a 15-point third quarter deficit to take a one-point lead in the fourth...
...but Pierce and Kevin Garnett closed them out. KG even jumped for the first time in the 2011-12 season.
Note the stellar D by Andray Blatche.
Said Generals coach Flip Saunders: "We got ahead because we defended, got ahead and ran, and we moved the ball offensively. Then all of a sudden we got ahead and the ball had Velcro."
Flip Saunders, quote machine: "Ten days ago we weren't competing at a high level. We've gotten to the point now we're competing at a high level. Now we've got to find a way to close out these games."
In possibly related news, the Generals are a league-worst 2-14 and are the only team still winless on the road (0-6). But, hey, at least they're competing at a high level now.
The Toronto Craptors: Aaaaaaaaand...here we go:
Tonight's Craptoriffic loss came courtesy of Mo Williams, who single-handedly turned back Toronto's rally from a 22-point deficit by scoring The Other L.A. Team's first 17 points of the fourth quarter. That's right. Their first 17 points.
And people say he shouldn't have been an All-Star a few years back.
(Those people are right, but that's another story.)
Said Mo: "I didn't do it by myself. I mean, let's get that straight. Anytime you're doing something, you're not doing it alone. You can't play one-on-five -- not in this league. It might look like it because I'm the guy making the baskets. But trust me, there's a lot of things that have to go on for me to get the ball in the right spots."
You can't play one-on-five? Not in this league? Kobe Bryant begs to differ, Mo.
But I digress.
The Craptors didn't lose only because they forgot to put a talon or two in Williams' face. Defense was also an issue, as evidenced in this appropriately titled video Clippers Put On Dunking Clinic In Win Over Raptors:
Toronto was down 27-11 after 12 minutes.
Said DeMar DeRozan: "Another loss -- and the way we lost is definitely frustrating. We dug ourselves our own hole. We tried to fight back, but teams are too good in this league to allow that. Teams are going out there and jumping on our team. No one likes to take a loss, so we need to act like it from the start."
Added Craptors coach Dwane Casey: "Our starts have been horrendous. We compete harder in practice than we do to start the games. That is nothing against the Clippers. They've got a very solid basketball team, and they are going to be in the money at the end of the day."
And the Craptosaurs will be out of the money. At the end of the day, the week, the month, the season...
The Miami cHeat: Well now. Despite shooting a bawful 35 percent from the field -- including a gak-inducing 16 percent (5-for-30) from three-point range -- the Bucks managed to beat the cHeat in Miami despite coming in with a 1-8 record outside of Milwaukee.
How'd that happen? Well, the cHeat had season-worsts in points (82) and field goal percentage (37), committed 22 turnovers for 22 points going the other way, and tied an NBA season-low with only 9 assists...which also happened to be the second-lowest total in Miami franchise history.
Said LeBron James: "We can't make no excuses for ourselves."
Cool. I hate excuses.
Added LeBron: "But no one had energy from the start of the game to the end."
Wait. Isn't that an excuse?
Said cHeat coach Erik Spoelstra: "We're not going to make any excuses."
Cool. I hate excuses.
Added Spoelstra: "That's a busy week but that's not an excuse for tonight."
Wait. Isn't that an excuse?
The Bucks have now won consecutive road games for the first time since December 2010. Thank you, Miami cHeat.
Bonus bawful from the AP recap: The teams combined for almost as many TOs (11) as field goals (12) in the third quarter.
LeBron James, quote machine: Regarding teammate Shane Battier calling Miami's performance a clunker: "I don't even know what that means. Shane has words I've never heard, maybe it's a college word."
I'm guessing LeBron isn't winning too many games of Words with Friends.
The Charlotte Bobcraps: Games against teams like the Nyets -- even if they're on the road -- are among the rare opportunities for the Bobcraps to actually come away with a win. Last night wasn't one of those nights though.
As Nyets coach Avery Johnson screamed it: "WE FIGURED THAT [THE] FIRST TEAM TO 100 WOULD REALLY HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN."
So the Little General coaches by Lawler's Law. Nice.
Added Johnson: "WE MADE MORE SHOTS TONIGHT."
He's kind of right. Charlotte was 37-for-79 while New Jersey went 38-for-86. So the Nyets made ONE more shot. Although they shot a lower percentage. But even that's enough to beat the Bobcraps.
The Los Angeles Lakers: The Pacers really won this one by a nose! Ha ha ha a ha ha ho ha a he he a ha oh ah ha. Okay. I'm done.
Roy Hibbert got his nose busted up last night by, of course, Kobe Bryant. It didn't stop the kid from coming back to the game and scoring 8 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead Indy to a road victory in L.A.
Said Hibbert: "Kobe spun baseline, I jumped straight up and he inadvertently elbowed me in the face. It didn't hurt that much. I couldn't get it fixed up because they didn't have a doctor here to put it back in place, but I went back here and got an X-ray done.
"They didn't want me to come back out, but I told them I'm going to no matter what. So if I got hit again, that's fine. I could always get cosmetic surgery at the end of the season to fix it. I'm a tough player, and I just wanted to play through it and make sure we got this win. This game was really important to us. I just wanted to make sure I found open shooters and cutters and score whenever I could."
In the end, Hibbert (18 points, 9-for-13, 8 boards, 4 assists, +18) outplayed Andrew Bynum (16 points, 6-for-12, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, +6), again putting a damper on Chris Webber's and Shaq's pronouncements that Andy is the league's best center. Pau Gasol wimped out (8 points on 4-for-12 from the field) and Kobe continued shooting the hell out of the basketball (14-for-30) to no avail.
At the end of the night, the Lakers scored only 96 points on 41 percent shooting, which included going 2-for-9 on threes. They also bricked 11 free throws. Kind of meaningful in a two-point loss, right?
As the AP recap pointed out, the Lakers "have failed to reach 100 points for the 11th straight game -- their longest streak since a 12-game stretch in 2003-04."
Said Kobe: "We're really not shooting the ball well. We have to start knocking down some of those shots. The opposition is shooting the ball much better than we are, especially from 3. After the first quarter, we opened the floodgates and just let them score at will. Then you compound that with the fact that we're having a tough time scoring."
Added Lakers coach Mike Brown: "We've got to give Indiana credit because they outworked us. It's too bad, because we came out and played great defense. But then the last three quarters, we didn't play with a sense of urgency. We thought Indiana would fold to a certain degree, and we kind of went through the motions. This game was tough to swallow."
You...you thought the Pacers would fold? That was your game plan, Mike?
Former Lakers assistant and current Pacers assistant can see some problems with L.A.'s offense. They're pretty obvious and, actually, it's not about how many shots Kobe is taking. It's about where other guys' shots are coming from: "I did notice that [Pau's] out on the floor a lot more, a lot further away from the basket. So that kind of neutralizes him. Those two big guys [Gasol and Andrew Bynum], that's always been the strength of this team. You want your biggest guys close to the basket."
Added Gasol: "I would like to get a little more inside, myself. I always like to have different looks and be able to attack from different angles. The second half I didn't have one chance to attack from the post, so I was more of a facilitator. I got two jumpers, open, that I missed, and that was all the opportunities that I had. A little too many jumpers for my taste. I'd like to get a couple more looks inside the paint. That'll increase the [shooting] percentage."
Mike Brown strikes again.
Chris' Lacktion Ledger:
Celtics-Generals: Greg Stiemsma fouled once after making contact with a Piranha Plant in 47 seconds, earning a Mario, +1, AND a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl! Sasha Pavlovic found a pot of gold worth 3.7 trillion (3:43).
Craptors-Clippers: Amir Johnson wheeled his way into the ledger by countering a board and free throw in 7:06 with two fouls and a turnover for a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Courtney Fortson gave Lob City a brick from the First Interstate Tower in 6:06 and added on three lost rocks and a foul for a +5, while Travis Leslie spun one foul in 2:45 for a +1.
Bobcats-Nyets: Larry Owens turned on his Super Nintendo for just 12 seconds before powering off on a Mario!
Bucks-El (Oh El) Heat: Eddy Curry chomped down two fouls and a delicious baked turnover in 5:45, negating a board to give South Beach a 3:1 Voskuhl!!!!!