Ely

The New Orleans bench: Astute readers of this site know that I've had a hairy eyeball on the Hornets' reserves for most of the season, particularly after Jeff Bower "strengthened" the team's bench by trading away Bobby Jackson for Pit Bull and The Bonz. Which, honestly, should have been enough to disqualify Bower from NBA Executive of the Year voting, not a reason for him to finish third.

As the risk of going all Basketball 101 here, the lack of solid and reliable bench play will wear a team down over the course of a long season and extended playoff series (for further reading, see the 1984-85, 1986-87 and 1987-88 Boston Celtics). Because that means the coach is basically asking his starters to log all the big minutes, play great (or at least solid) defense with little rest, withstand various and sundry injuries without time off, carry the rebounding load, and score 80-90 points a game every game for 80-100 games. It's an impossible task, even for the young.

Gregg Popovich knows that, which is why none of his big guns average more than 34 minutes a game. And it doesn't hurt that they play at a pace that's a little easier on the feet, knees, legs and back than what the helter-skelter Suns and Hornets go through. Of course, it helps that he has multiple championships on his resume, which means the Spurs management and owners trust him when he sacrifices some regular season games here or there to save his team from unnecessary wear and tear.

And just check it: Chris Paul played 47 minutes. David West logged 46. Peja was in the game for 44. And Tyson Chandler played 42. Take away Jannero Pargo -- more on him below -- and the New Orleans reserves contributed 1 point (0-for-3), 1 rebound, 1 steal and 2 fouls in nine minutes. Greg Kite could have gotten more done in nine minutes. I mean, at least he would have finished with 6 fouls and probably a couple turnovers.

Fun fact: Bonzi's real name is Gawen Deangelo Wells. The nickname Bonzi originated from the cravings his mother had for ice cream bonbons during her pregnancy with him. (Apparently, he inherited those cravings.) His parents called him "bonbon" until the age of two, when it evolved to what it is today.

The New Orleans Starters: The Hornets were giving me 2001-02 Sacramento Kings flashbacks last night, and it wasn't just the presence of Peja Stojackovic (although he really, really helped). Whether it was fatigue or nerves -- or some combination of the two -- New Orleans' "Fantastic Four" looked like they were afraid of the ball in the fourth quarter.

Peja -- who's been a non-factor since Popovich unleashed Bruce Bowen on him -- shot 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from downtown, and he even airballed an open three down the stretch. David West finished with 20 and 9, but he boned an open 12-footer, and it was hard to tell whether it was because of a sore back or a tight scrotum. Chris Paul (18 points, 8 rebounds, 14 assists, 5 steals) had an outstanding game, but even he caught a case of don'twannashoottheballitis in the final four minutes or so. And as for Tyson Chandler, well, he's not exactly an offensive option, is he?

Jannero Pargo: Pargs was the only New Orleans player who didn't treat the rock like a hot potato in the fourth quarter. And he went off for 16 points in the final stanza, single-handedly leading the Hornets back from 17 down to within three points. But damn, Jannero...you weren't even letting the ground touch the ball, dog. He was jackin' from the left to the right to the left to the right again. He was not shy. He put up 13 shots in those fateful 12 minutes. And like Ryne from Odenized, I'm not sure whether he was the hero or the goat.


I guess it's like Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke after Yoda kicked it: Either could be true, depending on your point of view. Which was a pretty slick way of getting out of totally lying to Luke about his father. I've always thought Obi-Wan used the Jedi Mind Trick on Luke in that scene. I mean, it went from "But you told me Vadar betrayed and murdered my father!" to "What I told you was true...from a certain point of view." And Luke just bought it.

Chistastrophe: I don't know who he is, but since he left the following comment, I will let him be the official representative of overreactive Spurs fans everywhere. "I eagerly await whatever bullshit response Basketbawful has for the Spurs resounding victory tonight. Perhaps the Spurs employed some special kind of flop that allows their bench players to drain three pointers. Maybe they flopped so hard it forced CP3 to choke in the biggest game of his life. Or maybe, just maybe, the Spurs are really really good at playing basketball."

Thanks, Chistastrophe, because I myself eagerly await douchey comments from every angry spaz who gets all bent out of shape by one or two posts I make and then freaks out about it. But before the next time you start whining and crying bullshit, do me a favor: Go back and actually read what I have to say. The entire Basketbawful archive is here for your perusal. You show me where, exactly, I ever said the Spurs weren't a good basketball team. Have I ever, anywhere, at any time, ever seriously suggested that the Spurs won four championships through their flop-a-riffic adventures and cheap-shottery? Of course I didn't. You're insane if you think otherwise, and you've got nothing to go on other than your own righteous indignation.

You can't change the fact that, in a league full of floppers, the Spurs are the most flop-tastic. Nor can you change the fact that Tony Parker got outted by his own wife for faking injuries on the court to get calls. You can't pretend the Duncan face doesn't happen over and over and over again every game the Spurs play. Nor can you undo Cheap Shot Rob's thuggary or Bruce Bowen's long, long history of grabbing, elbowing, hitting, kneeing, wacking people in the groin, putting his foot under their feet when they come down from a jump shot, and a thousand other little things that would get his bony ass kicked seven ways to Sunday if it happened anywhere other than on a professional basketball court...where Bruce "Lee" Bowen is protected by the very rules he repeatedly violates.

So honestly, don't blame me for pointing out what's going on right in front of you. I didn't create all that ugliness; I just held a mirror up to it. When Gregg Popovich goes to the Hack-A-Whoever strategy -- which I see as an affront to the sport -- I'm going to point it out. When the Spurs use an array of flops to draw five iffy fouls in three minutes and get the opposing team's two best players in foul trouble in the playoffs where physical play is the rule rather than the exception, I'm going to point it out. When one of their players launches himself directly into the back of an injured player during a 20-point blowout, I'm going to point it out.

Here's the thing: It's not like I'm not making this stuff up. This isn't me saying, "You know how I know the Spurs are gay? Because Robert Horry still has Will Smith's haircut from 1989." These things have happened. It's out there for public consumption. Everybody sees it. Everybody knows about it. No, it doesn't mean that the Spurs don't play smart, fundamental, championship-winning basketball, nor does it change the fact that they are the model any and every team should emulate. But no matter how hard you and other Spurs fans try to rewrite history, all that other stuff is just as much a part of their legacy as all the hardware in their trophy case.

So please, stop ragging on me for pointing that out and ask yourself why you think it's all okay? If winning at any cost is cool with you, then fine. As a fan, that's your choice to make. But if that is, in fact, the case, I can't help but wonder why me shining a flashlight on all the dirty stuff bothers you so much.

Random note: Those of you who claim I never say anything positive about the Spurs or their winning ways obviously didn't ready today's NBA Closer column.

Damon Stoudamire: Anybody else notice he's not even on the Spurs game roster since Game 5?

Update! Charles Barkley: In an effort to get things back on their usual funny track, loyal reader Wild Yams reminded me of something I should have remembered on my own. "I meant to mention earlier that Charles Barkley probably shoulda been included in the WotN for a couple things last night. First for his very unintentionally funny bit with EJ about his gambling. Not only was it just really weird to see those two all alone on the set trying to have a serious moment (especially with Barkley's glaringly white sneakers and socks to go with his suit), but Barkley said he was never going to gamble again, which he immediately clarified to mean 'in the next year or two.' That was priceless, and so was EJ trying to bait him into breaking it by saying 'wanna bet?' Inside the NBA is the wrong place for serious talk like that from the Chuckster, I'm afraid.

"Chuck's second big gaffe was saying that this Laker team is the best one Kobe's ever been on, although him saying that was totally worth it for Webber's fantastic reaction of wanting to walk off the set in disbelief. I love how Barkley shoots from the hip like that and doesn't think through the things he's about to say (see above), because every now and then he'll let fly with a Bill Walton-esque bit of hyperbole like that. God bless Barkley."

Right you are, Mr. Yams. Right you are. Although I'd probably say that Chuck shoots from the lip rather than the hip, but potato, tomato, as Joy Turner might say. Here's his "apology" for gambling:


And here's where he slams his giant, club foot in his mouth about Kobe's "best team":

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West_down

Robert Horry: The more things change, the more they don't. Around this time last year, Cheap Shot Rob thugged Steve Nash and set off a chain of events that will haunt the Phoenix Suns franchise forever. Now, did Horry know that Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were going to jump off the Suns bench to see what happened to their fallen teammate? Of course not. But Horry did know that he was delivering a much-harder-than-necessary foul after the outcome of the game had already been decided. The only point of taking Nash out at that moment was, well, taking Nash out.

It was the same deal last night. There were still 10 minutes left in the game, but the Spurs were leading by 21 and the Hornets -- with the exception of Chris Paul -- were going down rather quietly. But that's when Horry chose to strike, setting a pick that literally took David West out of the game. Here's the video from Odenized.


Now, some people immediately dismissed the play as a "hard foul" and/or "playoff basketball." And to those people I say: Shenanigans. Horry measured West and gave him a shot right in the lower back. Horry knew West's back was injured. Everybody knew West's back was injured. It was a textbook example of a cheap shot.

Look, I've played a lot of basketball over the years, both organized and not-so-organized. Stuff like that doesn't happen by accident. It just doesn't. And if you think otherwise, then you're fooling yourself. Horry measured West and gave him a really hard -- and clearly illegal, since it resulted in an offensive foul -- shot into a part of West's body that was known to be injured. Did Horry intend to take West out of the game, or even incapacitate him for Game 7? Probably not. But that barely makes the act any less senseless. And whether he meant for it to happen or not, there's a pretty good likelihood that West will be far from 100 percent for Game 7. Which is a pretty good tradeoff for a simple offensive foul, isn't it?

And for those of you who are inevitably going to defend Mr. Cheap Shot, go ahead and answer this question in your defense: How would you react if you were playing pickup basketball and somebody purposely took a shot at your injured back/knee/ankle/whatever? Would you laugh it off as just a good, hard basketball play? Or would you want to strangle the guy?

Evil Ted's take: "After watching the Horry incident in regular and slow motion, I told Basketbawful that it looked mild, and that West shouldn't be playing professional basketball if his back can't sustain a hit like that. Of course, with each passing moment, I had to add preface after preface to my opinion. First, with West's pre-existing back condition, it makes the hit far more nefarious -- a true 'Sweep the leg' Cobra Kai moment. Second, if the hit had ever been issued to a bad-back-plagued Larry Bird and he went down, I would want blood and lots of it. Third, the hit illustrates the true subtle genius of the Spurs.

"They play basketball nowadays about as 'dirty' as any team in the league, but no casual basketball observer (that includes NBA officials, whom I now consider 'casual basketball observers,' by the way) could ever quite put a finger on what the Spurs are doing. From Ginobli flopping to the Duncan face to the Parker Oscar nominations to the Bowen foot defense to the Horry picks...every questionable thing the Spurs do must be analyzed in slow motion from ten different angles to determine whether there was intent or chicanery on a given play. No other team in the league has come close to perfecting this subtlety. It is very clear most of the time when other teams in the league are playing dirty -- they know nothing but shoving, clotheslining, punching, elbowing, kicking, etc. Many of us may despise the Spurs, but give them this: They have 100% perfected playing "their style" within the constraints of the league's rules and the officials' perceptions.

Historical precedent: Hey, Evil Ted: You might want to avoid this one for fear of the resulting bloodlust. Chuck Person put a hard pick straight into Larry Bird's achy-breaky back in Game 5 of the 1991 first round series between the Pacers and Celtics. Everybody knew what Person had done, but it was "only" a foul, right? Boston still won that game and moved on to the second round, but Person's cheap shot set off back spasms that were bad enough to force Bird to miss the first game of the Celtics' second round series with the Pistons. Not coincidentally, Boston lost that game.

Flopfest '08: Last night's game was competitive until the all-important third quarter, then everything fell apart for the Hornets. In a one minute, five second span, Chris Paul got called for two offensive fouls -- his third and fourth personals of the game -- and David West got numbers two and three, which were followed a couple minutes later by number four. All of a sudden, the Hornets were in foul trouble and the Spurs were rolling out to a huge lead. Game, set, match.

And, naturally, some of those critical fouls came courtesy of San Antonio's ongoing flopstravaganza. The NBA: Where The World Cup happens.


Mark Jackson: Shame on Action Jackson for repeatedly defending the Spurs' flop-a-thon. I wonder how he'd feel if he was playing or coaching against the Spurs in this situation?

David West: Even before Horry took him out, you could tell West just didn't have it. He had 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting, and both his mobility and ability to mix it up in the paint were limited. But that's pretty much what happens when somebody plays basketball with a bad back.

Peja Stojakovic: He scored 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting, which isn't terrible...unless you consider that, with West already hurting, the Hornets absolutely needed him to have a great game. But Peja has been almost entirely taken out of this series by Bowen's defense. Which is hard to believe, given Peja's rich history of playoff success. [/sarcasm]

Morris Peterson: The "fifth starter" for the Hornets, Mo Pete provided a listless performance: 3 points, 1-for-5 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 assists. And in case you didn't realize this, New Orleans needs a solid contribution from every starter because of...

The New Orleans bench: Other than Julian Wright (8 points, 4-for-8), the Hornets got no significant contributions off the bench. Jannero Pargo (2 points, 1-for-6, zero assists), Bonzi Wells (zero points, 0-for-3), and Melvin Ely (5 points, 1-for-3) were awful. It's never good when you have to get 80-90 points out of your starting five every game, but that's where the Hornets are right now.

Road teams: They are now 1-20 in the second round. And counting.

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Good stuff from Basketbawful reader anne: "This is a great photo of the aftermath of Jason Kidd's foul from the dallasnews.com site. They have a suck ass flash viewer or I'd link to it directly. It looks like they are running down the court to watch a breakdance duel between Jannero and Kidd. Either that or Jannero looks like he is attempting Booker T's old spinerooni move in the middle of the game."

Bonus points to Peja, who looks like he's thinking, "Your breakdancing moves could kill a large forest animal, my young American friend! Which is why I have soiled my underwear."

Breakin

By the way: Thanks to everybody for their suggestions and submissions. I've tried to add everything applicable to Worst of the Weekend. Please forgive me if I missed something...I can't brain on Mondays.

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Jefferson

Barry Hall: Watch this video of Barry Hall punching out Brent Staker and then throwing up his arms in that "What? I didn't do anything?" way we all know too well and then tell me that the first name that popped into your head wasn't Bruce Bowen.


Atlanta Hawks: I guess now that they've secured their place at the end of Boston's iron boot, they have nothing else to prove. Me? I'd be embarrassed to let somebody to come into my house and put an ass-whoopin' on me in my last home game of the regular season. But I guess I'm just old-school that way.

Stan Van Gundy, quote machine: His team's playoff spot might be secure, but Stan the Man isn't conceding anything. "If they’re keeping score, I want to win. I don’t care, exhibition game or anything else. If there's a scoreboard, I'd rather be on the right side of that. Now, I wasn't going to sacrifice everything for that. I wasn’t going to play guys 40 minutes or whatever. But we want to win." Take that, Pat Riley.

Minnesota Timberwolves: They shouldn't feel bad for losing to Detroit's bench. Everybody's been doing that lately. But 60 losses? That they should be ashamed of.

Theo Ratliff: He was the only Pistons reserve that came off the bench and didn't score. Gave me flashbacks to high school. [shudders]

Charlotte Bobcats: It never feels good to vomit up a 20-point lead and lose in overtime. Never, ever, ever.

Jason Richardson, quote machine: Regarding his team losing the big lead: "I think we thought we had them buried in the books, and you can't do that to any NBA team. You have a team down, you have to kick them. In the NBA, if you don't kick them, they are going to kick you. That's what they did." I hope all the elementary school kids who follow the NBA got all that.

Emeka Okafor, poster boy: Getting posterized? Bad. Getting posterized so hard your nose explodes? Very bad. [From Odenized.]

Devin Harris: Did anybody else notice he came off the bench last night to back up the 39-year-old Darrell Armstrong? Also: 5 turnovers.

Peja Stojakovic: Peja? Oh, Peja! The basket's that way. No, that way. Yikes...2-for-14...he must have been channelling the spirit of Joakim Noah.

Bonzi Wells: DNP-CD. Huh. (I've been told he was sick.)

Brevin Knight: His stat line -- 0 points, 9 assists, and only 1 turnover -- was so classic Brevin Knight that the box scorer from last night's game should be engraved on his tombstone someday.

Memphis Grizzlies: They started Jason Collins, Brian Cardinal played 23 minutes, Darko and Kwame Brown got DNP-CDs, they lost by 22 points, and it looks like they're going to match last season's league-worst record of 22-60.

Von Wafer: Everyone's favorite German sugar cookie had a one trillion against the Grizzlies. Thanks to Steven for the head's up.

John Salmons and Spencer Hawes: With Ron Artest and Brad Miller out of the lineup (again), Salmons and Hawes got their chance to shine! And didn't. The dystrophic duo combined to shoot 5-for-26 from the field.

Lamar Odom's suit: This is from Basketbawful reader Wild Yams: "Mr. Bawful, this definitely needs your looking into, cause if it isn't awful I don't know what is. You've got to check out Lamar Odom's suit that he wore to and from the Lakers-Kings game last night.

"The LA papers reported the following tidbits on it: Odom wandered into the locker room wearing a white suit with purple and gold trim that practically jumped off the lapels and sleeves. He was more than 20 minutes late.'You here with your marching band?' Coach Phil Jackson yelled out, mildly annoyed, or more likely, fairly amused. Odom walked into the locker room as a late arrival before the game in a white jacket with purple sleeves, a gold collar and white pants, which prompted Jackson to tell him, 'Oh my God, no wonder you took so long.'

"You can glimpse the suit in Odom's postgame interview that's up at this site, and here's a not-so-great screengrab of it. It should be pointed out that the bellhop-esque suit does in fact have a hood, and that Odom wore a similarly styled 'suit' to the previous game against the Spurs (only it had red trim instead of yellow and purple). Mr. Odom may have just topped those T-shirts he was selling awhile back."

I'm looking into this one now. More if I can get it.

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Hedo Turkoglu cordially invites you to visit Peja Stojakovic's man region, and Peja's welcoming expression seems to say: "Go to that fertile land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow." Or something. Thanks to Ben Q. Rock of the Third Quarter Collapse for the keeping a keen eye on the NBA's foreign groins.

Hedo Peja

Go here for a larger verson. You know, in case you want to get a better look at Peja's stretching technique.

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RoWotW

Kris Humphries: The former Golden Gopher notched a one trillion in Toronto's 91-82 victory over Cleveland.

Fun fact: Lebron James' injury has cracked a hole in the Cav's lineup, and Eric Snow has responded with his best two games of the season: 2 points (0-1), 2 rebounds, and zero assists against the Raptors and 5 points (1-2), 2 rebounds, and 2 assists against the Celtics. Those 7 points give Snow 7 points on the season. The sky's the limit for this grizzled veteran.

Philly's three-point shooting: The 76ers managed to eke out an 85-84 win over the Wizards, but the backboards paid a terrible, terrible price: Philly shot 0-14 from beyond the arc. Andre Iguodala -- who shot 3-19 -- was 0-6 from three.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Knicks were coming off a beating of historic proportions in which they had all given up on their coach and themselves. The Bucks were coming off a full day's rest and promptly built a 17-point lead. I'm sure you know where this is going: New York edged Milwaukee 91-88 by outscoring the Bucks 26-11 in the fourth quarter. "The ceiling fell in," moaned Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak. "I'm speechless," said Michael Redd, who nonetheless continued talking. "I'm more speechless about us losing three in a row, not that we lost to the Knicks. The Knicks are a talented team. We knew they would come back and fight hard. When you have a lead like that, you've got to be able to defend and put your foot down and take advantage of the situation, and we didn't do that tonight." That's further proof, if you even needed it, that "speechless" athletes don't really understand how to use that word. Anyway, the Bucks bounced back from that loss to lose even worse the next night, losing by 25 at home to the Pistons. "We're kind of in the middle of a downturn, no doubt," said Krystkowiak. Uh, you think?

Fun fact: Four games ago, the Bucks (7-8) were leading the Central Division. Now they're fourth, and they're only that high because they share the division with the Bulls (4-10).

Peja Stojakovic: This guy is a human Dow Jones chart: Up one day, down the next, then up, then down, then up. Earlier in the week, he followed a 3-point game in which he shot 1-6 with 22 points (7-12). On Friday night, he contributed 4 points (2-12) in the Hornets' 92-86 win over the Hawks, then rebounded to score 22 points (7-14) in 112-108 victory over the Mavericks.

Fun fact: Peja has five games this season in which he scored 5 points or less. He also has five games in which he scored 20 or more points. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

Miami Heat: It's like this team has just rolled over and died or something. They dropped to 4-12 after going 0-for-the-weekend. On Friday night, they were down by as many as 28 points against the Celtics and used a 34-12 fourth quarter surge (after Boston totally fell asleep) to make the final score look respectable. Then, on Sunday, the Nuggets put them into a 20-point hole in the first quarter and the Heat never really challenged after that. Even worse for the Heat, Shaq and Wade were almost invisible in those two losses. There's a funerary feeling about this team right now.

Fun fact: I've always said that, even in decline, Shaq is better than, say, a Zach Randolph because he's a better passer. Well, Shaq has 17 assists and 44 turnovers on the season. Randolph has 18 and 46. Of course, Shaq's shooting 60 percent from the field and Randoph is shooting 43 percent. Wait, what?? Randolph -- an inside player -- is shooting 43 percent? Ooooh, that's bad. Okay, Shaq's still the better choice.

Indiana Pacers: They just concluded a successful 3-1 Western Conference road trip and pushed their record back to .500 in the process, so you might be wondering why they're on this list. Well, two of their wins came against the Blazers (5-12, four straight losses) and Clippers (6-9, five straight losses), so they don't really count. They lost to Seattle (3-15), which was the worst team they faced on the trip. And their next three games are against Phoenix (13-4), Orlando (15-4), and Cleveland (only 9-9, but Lebron should be back by then). So I don't think they'll be .500 for long.

Fun fact: The Pacers had won four of five games without Jermaine O'Neal -- including wins over the Hornets, Mavericks, and Nuggets -- and then lost his "return game" to a 2-win team. Coincidence? No way.

Los Angeles Clippers: Hm, 0-for-the-weekend and five losses in a row by an average of 13 PPG. Yep: They are who we thought they were.

Fun fact: The Clippers next seven opponents -- Milwaukee, Seattle, Sacramento, Miami, New Jersey, and Charlotte -- are all currently below .500. Yet the Clippers will still lose most of those games. Depressing, isn't it?

Houston Rockets: Uh, what's going on here? The Rockets are loaded with talent. Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are playing well. But they're only 9-9 after losing seven of their last 10 games, including Saturday's embarrassing loss to the Kings (6-10). I mean, how do you lose to a crapy team when T-Mac springs for 40 and Yao gives you 29 and 11? Somebody needs to remind Rick Adelman that his teams don't start sucking until the playoffs.

Chicago Bulls: Ah, sweet relief...Chicago has finally won two games in a row. And on Saturday night, they finally looked like the Bulls again. Ben Gordon scored 34 points (13-21) and hit five three-pointers. Luol Deng scored 29 points (13-21). Kirk Hinrich shot 50 percent (3-6) and dished 7 assists. Ben Wallace grabbed 19 rebounds to go with 5 steals and 4 blocks. It just begs the question: Where were you guys? Did aliens finally return the real Bulls and take their lifeless duplicates back into the mystery of space? I guess we'll find out soon, since the Bulls have games against Dallas, Detroit, and Boston this week.

Boston Celtics: The Celtics are an NBA-best 14-2, and they won both of their games this weekend...but they didn't necessarily look good doing it. They coughed up most of a 28-point lead against the Heat on Friday and slogged their way to an 80-70 victory over the Lebron-less Cavs yesterday. I guess sometimes winning is ugly.

Fun fact: Ray Allen is second all-time in three-pointers made with 1959. Reggie Miller is first with 2560.

Portland Trailblazers: Forget the fact that they've lost four in a row and nine of their last 10 games. Last night, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, and Michael Finley combined to shoot 8-32, and Duncan only played 10 minutes because of a bruised knee and sprained ankle, and the Blazers still lost by 21. How demoralizing is that?

Fun fact: Robert Horry played his first game of the season yesterday. He was 0-1 for zero points to go along with two rebounds and zero assists.

Seattle Supersonics: They had their winning streak snapped at one game and their home record fell to 1-8 after yesterday's 109-96 loss to the suddenly unstoppable Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant, fresh off a season-high 35 points against the Pacers, missed his first six shots, went scoreless in the first half and finished with 6 points (2-12). He even blew a dunk in the fourth quarter. That's what we call an ego-ectomy.

Fun fact: The NBA is now tracking something that's called The Lenovo +/- Stat. It looks at the point differential when players are both in and out of the game, to see how the team performs with various combinations. Ray Allen currently leads the league with a score of +198. Kevin Durant, on the other hand, is the worst in the league at -187...worse than Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry combined. Yikes.

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