The Bobcats' starters:
|Gerald finds a way to make to boos go away|
On the surface a 2 point loss isn't too bad by Bobcat standards, even if it did come at home, and against the Cavaliers—one of the few teams in the league that actually has a worse record. At least the bench wasn't too blame; they scored 59 points, which left just 45 for the starters. That didn't compare well with the 87 points scored by Cleveland's starters. If nothing else, the Cats are to be commended for resisting the urge to get the hometown crowd's hopes up by building on their win over the Bulls and engaging in any kind of winning streak. Charlotte fans were given a far more dubious cause for celebration with the return of Tyrus Thomas, quite possibly the greyest silver lining since the Hindenburg crash only actually killed 36% of the airship's passengers.
The Nets and the Wizards:
The Wizards get a mention because they lost the game, while the Nets are at a loss for excuses to justify needing two overtimes to dispatch the league's worst team. Wait, what am I talking about? Of course they have an excuse—it was P.J. Carlesimo's fault. Now that that's been settled, I'll move on.
Some teams just don't have any luck. This game could've occurred during any one of the many days DeMarcus Cousins sat out due to conduct detrimental to the team, but instead the volatile pivot boogied his way across the border and didn't return until he had amassed 31 points and a career-high tying 20 rebounds. Most of the credit for this belongs to Keith Smart, who has pioneered a new technique where
DeMarcus Cousins, upon putting up young Shaq numbers, is allowed 20 minutes of screaming vulgarities into Smart's face.
The mood at Air Canada Center was even bleaker than usual after the game, as nobody could figure out a way to blame this embarrassing loss on Andrea Bargnani. A few fans were able to take perverse comfort in Sam Mitchell's recent revelations
that management made him coddle Bargnani like a giant, #1 draft pick baby. In case your interested but don't feel like clicking on the link, Mitchell says Calderon wasn't coddled, and that's why he's been able to win ballgames lately.
|Wherever that ball is going, it's not good for the Sixers|
I don't know what's sadder for Philadelphia fans, that the Sixers lost by over 20 points to the Thunder, or that there doesn't seem to be anything notable or surprising about that. Generally when teams are led in scoring by Nick Young off of the bench, it's either a really good night or a really bad one, and Friday's loss did absolutely nothing to dispel this notion.
Memphis sure could've used Zach Randolph and any potentially lingering angry feelings towards the team that drafted him, but the forward was unable to draw on any fading memories of Northwestern ostracism since he missed the game with an acute case of the dreaded flu-like symptoms. The end of the game must have had Memphis spectators also reaching for the nearest waste basket, as the Grizzlies missed their last 10 shots and let the visitors walk away with a 2 point win.
The Pacers were kind enough to only score 75 points in their trip to Boston, allowing the home team to snap their 4 game losing-streak and come away with a 19 point victory. KG rewarded them for their kindness by smacking Tyler Hansbrough in the face. Maybe it was because Tyler Hansbrough was the only Pacer who played worth a damn, or maybe it was just because KG likes smacking people in the face, but whatever the cause, the effect was an ejection for the Big Ticket. David West and Paul George practiced their synchronized swimming by each shooting 4-18, with neither player coming within the general vicinity of 18 points.
The Heat couldn't come to the Midwest on Friday, so the Midwest came to them. The result was the same: a loss for the Heat and a whole lot of schadenfreude to go around. The Bulls crushed the Heat on the boards, enjoying a 20 rebound advantage. Joakim Noah, who still doesn't seem too fond of Lebron James, had this to say:
It always feels good to beat the Heat. And we get a night out in the city, so we're hyped right now.
I get the feeling that Joakim likes visiting Lebron in South Beach a little bit more than he did in Cleveland. It's hard to believe that this is the same team that lost on New Years Eve to the Bobcats, at home no less, but then again beating the Heat doesn't seem like much of a challenge this week.
|The Beard Supremacy|
James Harden was a one man Broped—minus the inefficiency; the bearded one scored 29 points on 18 attempts, while his freshly shaved rivals used 16 more attempts to score 28 combined points. Scott Skiles continued to demonstrate that he'll start any forward not named Ilyasova, this time opting for a one-two punch of Ekpe Udoh and Labia Mud Charm Toucher. John Henson was also denied from the starting lineup, but responded with 15 rebounds.
Utah and Phoenix:
The Suns lost, at home, 80-87 against Jamaal Tinsley's Jazz. I'm nominating this match as the most depressing game of the night. I don't have too good of an argument for why; there's just something about a game where neither team scores 90, and both teams shoot 45% that I find particularly pathetic. You can't call it a defensive slugfest (unless you brought plenty of salt), and clearly neither team had much to offer in way of offense. It's just a game that should be stricken from the record, lest those who saw it are never able to regain their appreciation for basketball.
Antawn Jamison sighting:
Against the mighty Clippers, Jamison played in his first game since D'Antoni decided he was more valuable to the team from the bench (back in mid-December). He responded with one rebound in 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Way to stick it to Pringles, Antawn.
C'mon, you didn't really think they'd win did you? I mean, they were playing the Clippers after all. The battle for LA's soul was fought and won by the Purple & Gold's former towel boys. Do you hear that? That's the sound of 3 million fair weather fans ordering a Chris Paul jersey.
Cavaliers-Bobcats: DeSagana Diop fouled someone in his 1 minute and 48 seconds for a +1 suck differential.
Bulls-Heat: Mike Miller spent 10 minutes and 14 seconds on the court, and only came away with a +1 suck differential. Joel Anthony was awarded the same distinction in 7 minutes and 11 seconds.
Rockets-Bucks: The Bucks' Marquis Daniels indulged his masochistic tendencies and with a +3 suck differential in 3 minutes and 11 seconds. James Anderson of the Rockets watched Failure to Launch in his basement after fizzling his way to a +1 suck differential in 2:37. Greg Smith wasn't invited, despite going for a 2 trillion in the same time frame.
Jazz-Suns: According to the AP, Mo Williams appeared in this game for a 41 second Mario, but the folks at Basketball-Reference (who are far less prone to having their heads up their asses) say he hasn't played since December 22nd. It's therefore not without some skepticism that I report, Jeremy Evans went without statistical accomplishment for 2 minutes and 26 seconds.
Clippers-Lakers: Ryan Hollins of the Clippers may have only played for a minute and 10 seconds and earned a +1 suck differential, but he's still more popular in LA right now than Dwight Howard.
|It's like ballet, without music or grace|
They lost to a divisional rival, but honestly with Kevin Love breaking his hand again, that doesn't even make for a drop of sadness in their ocean of despair.
Somebody's gotta convince these guys to try a purifying dip in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. And that someone is Prince, before he rides away on his purple motorcycle laughing.
David Kahn thought that he'd be merciful on the heart conditions of his fans, announcing recently that Love would be out for, 'a number of weeks'. Something tells me that it isn't a good number if he's afraid to get more specific.
The Sixers built on their weekend of inevitable and unremarkable defeats, losing to the Spurs by 23 points. No Spur had to put in a full half hour, unlike Dorrell Wright, who played 31 minutes and 26 minutes for Philadelphia without scoring a point. The only lead for the Sixers came on the game's opening basket, after that it was all Spurs. I was going to include the video of Ginobli shaking Evan Turner and driving for a dunk, but I found a mark of Zorro that was even more humiliating.
It's not every day that I have an excuse to use the word Nutmeg. Actually, scratch that, there's always an excuse
The Broped kept struggling to live up to unrealistic expectations, while Roy Hibbert did something crazy and actually lived up to his. His 20 points tied a season-high, while his 15 rebounds did one better and set a season-high, and his 11 offensive rebounds rose all the way to a career-high. He also threw in 5 blocks for good measure. This game came exactly a week after his worst showing of the season, where his only positive stat in 20 minutes against the Hawks was a single rebound.
Brandon Jennings had a particularly rough night, converting on only 4 of his 15 attempts. Afterwards, Scott Skiles was strangely sympathetic towards his mercurial guard.
It's been tough on him these two nights with a back-to-back because he's had tough matchups these last couple games.
Wait a doggone second here—is Scott Skiles, even momentarily, not being a Red Forman-esque hard-ass? Fire him immediately
Rajon Rondo versus the NBA:
Not that anybody particularly noticed or cared at the time, but Rajon Rondo did it again
, and by "it" I mean he bumped a ref and got suspended. It's tempting to say that such an obviously intelligent player should be able to learn from his mistakes, but that misses the point—Rajon is a NBA Superhero, and like many a great NBA Superhero
before him, sometimes
he just can't help himself.
The Purple Paupers:
The Kings came to Brooklyn and lost by 20 points. If you take away DeMarcus Cousin's 28 points and 11 rebounds, the rest of the team would've scored 65 points on under 35% shooting and only grabbed 30 rebounds. I think the solution to Sacramento's problems is pretty obvious: trade DeMarcus Cousins.
Despite having been given a Mario
on Friday by the myopic AP, Mo William hasn't played since December 22nd, and after right thumb surgery he's expected to miss another 6 weeks. In case you don't know, that means over a month of the Jazz starting Jamaal Tinsley—unless of course their city wide search underneath highway overpasses turns up somebody drunk enough to try being their starting point guard.
|Was it awkward for you too, baby?|
The latest team to benefit from this sad state of affairs was the Denver Nuggets, who watched Tinsley wheeze his way to 5 points (surpassing his season average) in the mile high atmosphere. The Nuggets have now won 21 games in a row when they reach 100 points, and on Saturday they climbed all the way to 110. You know what that means. 4 Tacos for a dollar!
It's nice that, despite their recent successes, the Clippers still find ways to play with a chip on their shoulders—nice, that is, unless you're not a fan of watching the Warriors being shoved slowly into a wood chipper. The Clippers, who were basically just spending the game in search of the perfect alley-oop, led 96-60 when Vinnie relented and pulled Paul and Griffin. Luckily that was not before Chris and DJ did this:
I think they might've found that perfect alley-oop they were searching for... Mark Jackson was not amused, and during the next time out attempted to stare down the Clipper bench, Ivan Drago style. Jackson addressed this curious course of action, saying:
It was just a good old-fashioned heavyweight championship staredown. That's all...But they earned the right to celebrate, the way they played. So what you've got to do as a coach or as a player is just let it soak in and remember it.
I guess his team (bloody Apollo Creed) was in no condition to make eye contact.
Pacers-Bucks: Ben Hansbrough could've used his big brother's help as he fell 5 seconds short of a 2 trillion.
Celtics-Hawks: John Jenkins played 3 minutes and 19 seconds but didn't end up with any more stats than Ben Hansbrough.
Knicks-Magic: Chris Copeland realized that this lacktion section needed some more flavor, so he missed a shot and committed a foul and a turnover for a +3 suck differential in 4 minutes and 8 seconds.
Clippers-Warriors: Even though he was the active player who looked most like Dolph Lundgren, Andris Biedrens didn't have more to contribute in this heavyweight brutalization than a 4:1 Voskuhl in 3:37.
|Cartier Martin shields his face as Lebron drives|
One look at the box score tells it all: the Heat's top performer was some guy named Lebron James, while the Wizards were led by international superstar Cartier Martin. Needless to say, the Wizards got their asses handed to them, in this particular instance by 28 points. Garrett Temple, possibly having been informed that he plays for the Wizards, eased off his recent quality play, ending up with 0 points in 32 minutes after missing all 7 of his shots. Jordan Crawford also attempted 7 shots, but he was fortunate enough to hit one of them; although judging by his less than 15 minutes played off the bench, that's about all the luck to come his way recently. Even Nene, usually the green oasis in the Wizards' desert of crapitude, only made 1 of his 6 shots.
The Heat provided their opponents with a classic gotcha game, creating the illusion that the two teams were competing before pulling away by scoring the final 21 points of the game while keeping the Wizards from scoring for the last 7 minutes. This loss was compounded for Washington fans by the recent knee injury of Robert Griffin III, which, unlike another Wizards loss, is something people actually care about.
The Bobcats, sorry force of habit, The Pistons:
Playing at home, the Pistons found their undoing by committing twice as many turnovers and converting a dozen less freebies than the Carolina Cats. The Pistons led 82-79 going into the 4th quarter, but from then on they only scored 19 points, including in overtime.
Let me ask you a serious question for a moment... Do you know who P.J. Tucker is? You're reading this blog, so it's a safe bet that you're a basketball fan. Can you close your eyes and picture P.J. Tucker? Well whether or not you can recall his face, P.J. Tucker is the player who led the Suns in scoring Friday night, and none of his teammates got closer to him than 5 points. This might have something to do with why they lost to the Grizzlies by 11 points, or it could all be a wild coincidence. It's hard to say. I bet you can picture Michael Beasley though, DNP-CD.
|Well, at least they're getting along|
Pau Gasol's nose would not stop bleeding. The game couldn't go on until he could shoot his freethrows, but the bleeding wouldn't stop. An assistant held a towel beneath his nose as the blood kept flowing. His face grew paler, and you could tell by his expression that Pau had begun to wonder if the bleeding would ever stop. The Staples Center crowd could only sit and wonder the same thing—the game out of reach, the moment an awkward formality that ended with Gasol heading to the locker room and George Karl selecting Earl Clark to make the journey from the Lakers' bench to the free throw line. Clark made both free throws and joined Jordan Hill, also 2 points, as one of two Lakers to score in the 4th besides Kobe.
The night had begun with a rare sense of hope for Pau. At half time he had scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting—yet a glance at his final line, 11 points on 5-9 shooting, quickly shows how the rest of his evening went. And then he ran into JaVale McGee's outstretched elbow with his nose. The Lakers continued to play their game of chicken with logic, insisting on playing from the outside, despite the glaring disparity between Kobe and MWP making 16 of their 39 shots versus Pau and Dwight making 11 of their 16. Dwight also tied his career-high 26 rebounds, but for now it's his late missteps that feel more prominent. One such moment occurred immediately after his 25th rebound, when he took the last gasp of the Lakers, trailing by 4, and threw it directly into Javale McGee's outstretched hands. It was just that kind of a night for Dwight, who also turned what could have been a huge defensive block into a perfect pass to Gallinari, who was standing, '02 WCF Horry-like, in wait at the three point line.
Hey Dwight, in the unlikely event that you're reading this, you might want to follow this link
Heat-Wizards: Chris Singleton of the Wizards accumulated no stats in 1 minute and 46 seconds.
Thunder-Raptors: DeAndre Liggins plays for the Thunder, which you can ascertain from his +1 suck differential in 2 minutes and 54 seconds.
Grizzlies-Suns: Tony Wroten and Josh Selby quit hibernating for long enough to become Mario Brothers. Wroten is to be commended however for grabbing a rebound in a mere 16 seconds. It's too bad that's all the time he got, seeing that he was on a 135 rebounds per 36 minutes pace.
Labels: Andrea Bargnani, Antawn Jamison, AP mistakes, Broped, Jamaal Tinsley, Keith Smart, Lakers Death Roll, Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries, Nutmeg, Rocky references, Rondo, scott skiles