Well, it's going to be tough to follow up our last BAD post. You know, the one where Gary Coleman went upside Scottie Pippen's head with a phone. But Scottie Pippen is here to entertain us again! He showed up last night on The Cleveland Show, and helped sing a song full of double entendres. It's not a midget beatdown, but it'll have to do.
You don't even need a funny caption/Ron Jeremy joke to enjoy a good Stan Van Gundy picture
Ryan Anderson looks a little uncomfortable with this public display of man-love affection
Did Ron-Ron find some stairs in the middle of the Staples Center?
Nationally Televised Games: Hawks at Celtics: The Celtics had a 29 point outing from Sheed, and a triple double from Rondo... and only beat the Raptors by 7 points. And Atlanta whupped them just a few days ago. I bet the training staff at this point has someone staring at KG's knee 24/7 to make sure it's healing okay.
All The Other Games: Raptors at Pacers: Toronto is at .500, has won eight of 10, and their most recent loss was a fairly close game against the Celtics. I am officially confused. The good news? It's Toronto, so I just really don't care.
Hornets at 76ers: The Hornets have won six straight games... by five points or less. This held true even against the decidely horrible Nyets and Bullets. So yes, the Sixers could somehow manage to win this game.
Pistons at Bulls: The Pistons have lost a dozen straight games. You can try to blame some of that on a litany of injuries, but the Frail Blazers will tell you to kiss their ass. I'll just blame it on the fact that the Pistons suck. Good? Good.
Knicks at Thunder: Defense has been somehow shown up in Mike D'Antoni's gameplan the past few games. Thank God Kevin Durant will drop 30+ on them and restore some sense of normalcy.
Timberpoops at Nuggets: Again, injuries are a story. It's good for them that beating Minnesota is like beating up Glass Joe.
Bucks at Suns: You know, if Phoenix could ever learn how to hold onto a damn lead and play just a little defense, they'd be a great team. But, alas.
Heat at Jazz: Both of these teams are so very, very Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish that even the refs wouldn't bet money on this game. As far as you know.
Crabs at Warriors: The Warriors could surprise us a little here. The Crustaceans are a little tired, and the Warriors, who love playing up-tempo, are well rested. They'll still lose, of course, but they'll at least make it kinda close.
ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will call the January 20 Jazz/Spurs game for ESPN, alongside play-by-play voice Dan Shulman. This will be the second NBA game Vitale has called for ESPN since the network regained rights to the league in '02.
Why can't they actually do something people want? Get the announcer from NBA Jam, for example. It'd be a perfect tie-in for when they bring out the new NBA Jam game. (Thanks to AnacondaHL for sharing that news -- he's on fire! Boomshakala!)
In other news, Scottie Pippen got his ass whupped by some midgets. And issued a press release about it.
Skeets posted the rundown and the UNBELIEVABLE press release on Ball Don't Lie today. Go check it out. Now. (Also, Gary Coleman is in the movie, and there's inadvertente nude footage of him. There isn't enough eye bleach in the world...)
Worst of the Night in Pictures:
David Lee got confused by all the snow throughout the USA
and thought he could do a snow angel on the hardwood
Alright, enough of that man-woman love crap. Back to regular ol' NBA man love
Nationally Televised Friday Games: Celtics at Hawks: Rondo and Pierce are expected to play. The Hawks tend to match up well with the Celtics. AND it's on ESPN so I can see it. I am absolutely excited for this game.
Crabs at Nuggets: Holy crap, the Nuggets have a lot of people listed day-to-day: Lawson, Andersen, Billups, Carmelo, and Nene. Did they steal the Frail Blazers' training staff?
All The Other Friday Games: Raptors at 76ers: Holy crap, the Raptors are at .500 now. Who knew? Another fun fact: only four players are left from the Raptors' roster as of the last game of '08-'09. I wonder if those two are somehow connected...
Magic at WizardsGenerals Bullets: The Magic are trying to avoid their worst losing streak in three years. The good news for them? The Bullets were awful even with Agent Zero, and they're absolutely bawful without him.
Pacers at Timberpoops: As far as I can tell, this game isn't televised anywhere. And for that, we applaud you, NBA and television programmers.
Jazz Jekyll & Hydes at Grizzlies: Utah has won 11 straight against the Grizzlies. They own the Grizzlies more than any other team in the NBA. And yet I have no freaking clue which Utah team will show up for this game.
Bulls at Bucks: Chicago had been on a hot streak, but now they've dropped two straight, and they've only won once in their last 10 road games. Is VDN still feeling the heat?
Mavericks at Spurs: Per the Stats LLC preview, "Dallas is concerned about how it will defend Duncan, particularly if center Erick Dampier misses a third straight game with a knee injury." Ruh roh. Mark up the Spurs win right now.
Heat at Suns: In one game, we have Heat AND Suns (not just one sun, multiple suns!). All in one arena. Holy crap, I hope their air conditioning works pretty well. It's going to be super duper hot in that building!
Lakers at Frail Blazers: The Lakers have lost the last eight times they played in Portland. That is impressive. Keep it up, Blazers!
Kings Paupers at Warriors: Poor Sacramento. They've dropped six of seven after being one of the early season surprises. So, uh, how's Kevin Martin feeling?
All The Saturday Games: Hawks at Magic: I don't care if the Magic are slumping. It's still not very fun for the Hawks to play the Celtics AND the Magic back to back.
Grizzlies at Bobcats: It's the battle of the southern market expansion teams! (Faaaaaaaantastic!)
76ers at Pistons: Eek. Ooph. Insert other onomatopoeia here.
Timberpoops at Bulls: Well, nice of the schedule makers to give the Bulls a free win in a super-sloppy game full of tired players.
Pacers at Thunder: Attempting to give a damn... nah, just not happening unless Durant goes off for 50 points. (Likelyhood: higher than you'd think)
Jekyll & Hydes at Mavericks: If you can predict the outcome of this game, you are a better man than me.
Knicks at Rockets: Give me good reason to preview this game. Go ahead. (waiting) That's what I thought. Moving on...
Nuggets at Paupers: Yeah, things just aren't looking good for Sactown right now.
Natonally Televised Sunday Games: Crabs at Frail Blazers: A rarely seen Sunday night ESPN game! And a legitimately good game at that! Solid week for ESPN broadcasts.
All The Other Sunday Games: Hornets at Bullets: You know, I'm surprised that Agent Zero didn't quote the "Don't disturb my friend, he's dead tired" line from Commando on the plane at some point while he was running his mouth.
Celtics at Raptors: I know the Celtics went through a rough patch and lost to some bad teams recently, but they don't lose to the Raptors here, do they?
Heat at Clippers: I'm just going to say it. The Heat aren't all that great. But the Clippers are who we thought they were. So this game could go either way, but honestly, shouldn't the Heat win?
We showed you Chris Paul do it. We showed you Walter Herrmann TRYING to do it. Now watch with what I can only assume will be schoolgirl glee as Scottie Pippen inbounds the ball off the back of Danny Ainge and retrieves it for an easy dunk...in Game 3 of the 1993 NBA Finals! (Start watching at the 1:58 mark.) This is, without question, the single greatest moment of inbounding history.
Many thanks to Basketbawful reader kaze for tracking this one down.
This is part 3 of our ongoing Worsties coverage. It runs through the end of last January. More parts to follow.
Isiah continues to lose grip on reality, Part I: A day after 2007 gave way to 2008, Isiah Thomas had this to say about his godawful team: "I believe that one day we will win a championship here. And as I sit here and I say it today, I know people will laugh even more at me, but I'm hell bent on getting this accomplished and making sure that we get it done. And I'm not leaving until we get it done." Emboldened by their coaches strong words, the Knicks promptly went out and got blown out at home by the Sacramento Kings (13-18), who were without Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, and Mike Bibby. After the game, Thomas altered his stance ever so slightly: "I don't necessarily just want to win a championship. I want to leave something that's going to stand for a long time. I want to leave a legacy, I want to leave tradition. I want to leave an imprint, a blueprint in terms of how people play, and how they coach and how they respond when they put on the Knick uniform. And I want to leave what I left in Detroit. Every person that walks through that door as a Piston, when they put on that uniform, there's a certain pride that they carry. And I want to put that here and I want to leave that here in New York. I want to leave a championship legacy." Seriously, I know people who got put in padded cells for less crazy than this.
Knicks try to stifle "Fire Isiah" movement:A 22-year-old college student was arrested outside Madison Square Garden for selling t-shirts that said, "Don't Hate The Player Or The Game. Hate The Coach." The man in question, one Ivan Cash, thinks the arrest was meant "to put a lid on all the demands by fans for a new coach.'' No kidding? erhaps we should just tattoo "Duh" on his head and get it over with.
Scottie Pippen requests head coaching position (world laughs): During the 2006-07 seasons, Pippen wanted to come back and play in the NBA, even going so far as to say, "The fans who understand the game, the GMs and coaches, I think they'd rather have a Scottie than a Michael [Jordan]. Because I'm an all-around player. Coaches would rather have a Scottie-type player than a Michael. I was an all-around player. I made people around me better." Surprisingly enough, nobody -- and I mean nobody -- was interested in his services. In 2008, Pip decided he wanted to coach the Bulls. "What's my disadvantage? No NBA coaching experience? [Scott] Skiles' record with the Bulls wasn't that great. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do what you've done your whole life. I've played basketball, run teams and won. They didn't put me at point guard because I could dribble good. They put me there because I could run a team. I wasn't the best dribbler, the best shooter. I wasn't a point guard. But I knew how to run a team." Actually, I seem to remember guys like John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong, Ron Harper, and even Steve Kerr playing point for the Bulls back then, but whatever. Pippen continued: "With a guy [Jordan] who loved to touch it and shoot all the time, I was able to keep him under control. That didn't come from the bench, it came from making the right decisions. You try to make the game fun for everyone and then we were able to find Mike. The games I felt he was getting off too much, I'd find a way to get other guys off. And then guys weren't running at him all the time and he could take off in the right place." Uh, yeah. I don't really want to hear about Pip getting other players off. Beyond that, his assertion that it was he, and not Phil Jackson or Jordan himself, that reigned Jordan in is patently ridiculous. As is most of everything else Pippen is saying these days. Particularly when you consider that, right after announcing he wanted to coach the Bulls, he started ripping into the players. On Tyrus Thomas: "He doesn't know how to play the game. He's great from the neck down." On Ben Wallace: "You don't pay a rebounder $15 million. OK, they did. He doesn't know the game like Dennis Rodman did." On Kirk Hinrich: "He's not that talented...you can't have midgets running your backcourt." On Luol Deng: "he's trying to show 28, 29 teams what he's about instead of going out and playing." On Andres Nocioni: "He's turning into Rasheed Wallace with the kinds of things he does on floor." I don't care about his six championships or his place in the 50 Greatest NBA Players. He's an idiot if he thinks talk like that is going to land him a head coaching job anywhere in the NBA, let alone for the Bulls. Does he really think the players would listen to him after he blasted them in the press like that? Ben Gordon sure wasn't listening. "I don't really care what Scottie has to say. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but it doesn't have anything to do with anything."
Chauncey Billups gives us a sign of things to come: "Mr. Big Shot" missed three freethrows in the fourth quarter of the Piston's 92-85 loss to the Celtics. He also missed a critical three-pointer in the closing minutes that could have given his team the lead (he was 3-for-9 from three-point range for the game). Then, rather than giving the Celtics credit afterward, he tried to diminish the impact of their victory. "They're a little more happy than we were when we won our game at their place. It was just a regular game for us with two good teams playing. They were kind of playing like it was the Super Bowl. There was probably a little more at stake for them and their psyche than it was for us." And see, that's why the Pistons have failed to make it back to the NBA Finals the last few years. That arrogant, lackadaisical makes for great soundbytes...and disappointing playoff exits.
The Suns' Achilles' heel revealed by...us: Frustrated by the Suns' relative underperformance, I wrote a letter to them to please stop sucking. In that letter, I disclosed that they were, by far, the worst rebounding team in the league. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't written this letter. I'm not saying Steve Kerr read it or anything, but if he did, it's the kind of thing that could push a GM into making a panic trade...
Pat Riley starts eyeballing the "Quit" button: Even as the Heat lose their ninth game in a row and fall to 8-28, rumors start circulating that Riles might retire after this season. Somewhere, Stan Van Gundy laughs in equal parts delight and bitterness.
Isiah continues to lose grip on reality, Part II: The NBA's walking punchline continued to deliver. A few days after stating his intent to win a championship in New York, he was quoted in the New York Daily News as giving himself "two votes of confidence" in his dual role as the Knicks coach and general manager. ''There could be smarter people [than me], but in terms of determination and passion to make it right, I know I'm not going to find anybody [better] out there. I am determined to fix this and make it right.'' He then basically conceded that this season sucks big time, but that ''...you stick around long enough, it happens. You just have to fight your way through it. Through these tough times, you still have to set the example and be the leader. Because there's a locker room full of men looking for direction, and my job is to provide that.'' Isiah then went out and provided that example by coaching the Knicks to yet another home loss in which he got ejected for (possibly) making contact with an official. What terrible crime against humanity compelled Isiah to rush out onto the floor and get himself tossed? He felt Yao Ming should have been called for a three-second violation. Way to choose your battles there, Isiah.
Gordan Giricek earns does not earn respect: After getting traded away from the Jazz, Giricek announces that he was not respected "as a man." He then goes out and averages 3.3 PPG on 26 percent shooting in his first several games with his new team, the Sixers, who suddenly realize, "Wait, we traded Kyle Korver for this guy?!"
Saint Louis Billikens remind me why I hate college basketball: I'm not a big fan of college basketball (unless it's my alma mater or March Madness), but I couldn't not mention this travesty: The Billikens set a modern Division I record for fewest points in a game with 20. Saint Louis went zero for their first nine shot attempts. At one point, they missed 23 consecutive shots and finished 7-for-48 (14.6 percent) from the field, including 1-for-19 from 3-point range. They had scored only 7 points by halftime, a performance that made their 13-point second half look positively scintillating. What does a coach even say to his team after a performance so historically dreadful? Well, Rick Majerus, the Billikens' coach, noted after the game that this was his first year with Saint Louis and that he did not recruit the team. "It's like being a stepparent. I didn't pick them. They didn't pick me." Wow. Feel the love.
Update! Basketbawful reader deej pointed out that our boy Larry Hughes was a Billiken, and Johnny Drama provided this wonderful and related link. Turns out the Billikens were, in a way, paying tribute to their most famous son.
The Dark Lord is stunned as it snows in hell:Seriously.
The inmates start running the asylum in Chicago: First, Joakim Noah screamed at assistant coach Ron Adams at practice, after which interim head coach Jim Boylan suspended Noah for one game for his behavior. Then a cabal of Bulls players -- led by Ben "I am killing this team with my huge contract and lousy play" Wallace and Adrian "He's still on this team?" Griffin -- vote to suspend Noah for an additional game. Stunningly, Chicago's coaching staff and management supported this move. Bulls GM John Paxson appeared on the Mike North Morning Show on WSCR-AM (670), and said that everyone in the Bulls' organization, including team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, thought that the players' group decision to bench Noah was ''outstanding.'' Mind you, these were the same players who tuned out and quit on Scott Skiles, leading to the "coach who turned things around" getting fired on freakin' Christmas eve.
JamesOn Curry decides the entire world is his bathroom: The Bulls rookie, best known for a gratuitous capital O in his first name, added a big P to his arsenal of extraneous letters last night. Curry, who was serving a stint with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League, was urinating in an alley near the Hampton Inn in Boise, Iowa, when he was spotted by a police officer. As the officer approached in his patrol car, Curry saw him and started to walk away (only after holstering his boomstick, one hopes). The officer turned his emergency lights on and Curry bolted. He went into the Hampton Inn and was stopped by a locked door (d'oh!). Curry was then taken into custody and charged with misdemeanor counts of urinating in public, resisting arrest, and being a damned fool. The biggest tragedy to come out of this is that Curry -- due to suspension -- was forced to miss the Zooperstars performance during halftime of the Energy's next game against the Austin Toros.
Lakers fans turn on Kwame Brown: During L.A.'s 106-98 loss to the Suns, Lakers fans played The Giant Falling Anvil to Kwame Brown's Wile E. Coyote, booing him with a pitiless rage that would make even Hannibal Lecter a little uneasy. Kwame played so badly -- 3-for-8 shooting, two blown layups, one missed dunk, and 7 turnovers -- that one wonders whether he has the manual dexterity necessary to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, like using a remote control or unwrapping a piece of gum. Update! Basketbawful reader dunpizzle provided some video.
And it happened again.
More Knicks drama unfolds: Former Knicks coach Larry Brown revealed that management had spies "throughout the arena" to keep in eye on him. As a result, he never felt fully comfortable viewing Internet porn in his office. I mean, he still did it and everything, but it wasn't nearly as satisfying as it could have been.
Shaq's wallet fuels our economy: Thanks to his ongoing divorce issues, the press gives us an insider's view of The Big Spender's monthly expenditures: $1,500 for cable TV, $110,000 for vacations, $17,000 for clothing, $26,500 for babysitting, and $23,000 at gas stations. Man, I need to quit my job and get hired on as Shaq's nanny. That has "hit sitcom" written all over it.
Tony Parker's dark secret revealed: Eva Longoria finally admitted to something that everyone who follows the NBA already knew. No, not that Tony Parker has a very small penis (although that's true too). The dude totally fakes fouls and injuries. Gee, I'm so very shocked. Remember in last year's playoffs when Parker obliterated Steve Nash's nose with his bulbous head? I mean, Nash's poor beak freaking exploded, yet he just stood there and took it like a man while Parker was writhing around on the court in totally bogus agony.
Magic Johnson makes bold (read that "stupid") prediction: The man who gave us harmonism and fundamativity has now offered up the following insane prognostication: The New York Knicks (who were at that time 14-31) were going to make the playoffs. In fact, Johnson said, "I think that they’re going to be a tough eight or seven seed, too." Why would Magic think something so, you know, stupid? "Because you can see that they’ve turned the corner. Now everybody knows their roles, their minutes. I watch every game." Well, there you have it. Magic watches every Knicks game. No wonder he's lost his damn mind.
Chris Webber returns (waaaah waaaah waaaaaaaah): [The following was submitted and written by Justin from Birdmonster.] Warrior fans have a long, hate-flavored memory. And while I will always have a special place in my charcoaled soul for Mike Dunleavy, Todd Fuller, and the unforgettable Uwe Blab, only Chris Webber had the ability to pull his shorts past his bionic knees and crap all over our faces twice.
A brief history: Webber famously forced a trade after his first season in the Bay, a trade which netted the Warriors the unstoppable manbeast known as Tom Gugliotta. C-Webb would become a perennial all star and the cornerstone of those enjoyable turn of the millennium Sacramento teams while Tom Guglitta would earn the nickname "The Grub."
Then, last season, right before the Shaq & Pau trades, our lovable Warriors signed Webber after more than a decade of wear and tear. Warriors fans enjoyed the hallucination that Webber, with his smooth passing and crafty old-man-game, could be a valuable piece in Don Nelson's ever fluid line-up. I know I talked myself into it.
Then I saw him play.
It was a tragedy.
Webber played a staggering nine games and averaged 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds a game before his android joints rusted. While Warrior fans begged to see us some Brandan Wright, C-Webb got 14 minutes a night to bog down the Warriors offense and make a defense built on scrappiness into one built on crappy-ness. I was actually upset he was taking minutes from Austin Croshere.
So thanks CWebb. We'll let you know when that statue outside Oracle is up.
I'm sure we've all thought the same thing at one time or another: if you combine NBA superstar Scottie Pippen, a delicious 6-foot hoagie and a couple of big-haired cheerleaders, you would have a great porn video, or at least a gloriously awful commercial.
Quote of the century:
"This is one six footer I can't handle on my own. Ladies, let's have a party."
Scottie spits out this line as if he's never actually had a threesome with a couple of Luvabulls, which we all know he has, because if he didn't use his star power for tail like Mike, well, that would be just plain inconceivable.
The following video prooves that the folks at Mr. Submarine should have resorted to the porn option.
Props to TrueHoop for uncovering this nugget of Bulls lore:
Chicago Bulls: The Bulls have now won three of five games since Scott Skiles was fired on Christmas Eve. Of course, it's worth noting that those wins came against the Bucks (12-19), Knicks (8-22), and Bobcats (11-19). At first, I thought John Paxson fired Skiles when he did because Chicago is a miserly organization and they probably didn't want to pay Skiles his Christmas bonus. But the reality is that the Bulls were about to hit a soft spot in their schedule. In addition to the previously mentioned powder puffs, the Bulls upcoming slate includes such heavyweights as the Kings (12-18), Knicks (again), and Sixers (14-18). Not to be cynical, but the best way to make it look like you were right to fire your coach is if your team starts winning, and the best way to make sure that happens is when they have a handful of "gimmie" games on the calendar. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not a believer just yet. But if the Bulls manage to beat Portland (tonight) and Atlanta (January 13), I'll concede that they've improved somewhat.
Scottie Pippen: Last year he wanted to come back and play in the NBA, even going so far as to say, "The fans who understand the game, the GMs and coaches, I think they'd rather have a Scottie than a Michael [Jordan]. Because I'm an all-around player. Coaches would rather have a Scottie-type player than a Michael. I was an all-around player. I made people around me better." Surprisingly enough, nobody -- and I mean nobody -- was interested in his services. Now he wants to coach the Bulls. "What's my disadvantage? No NBA coaching experience? [Scott] Skiles' record with the Bulls wasn't that great. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do what you've done your whole life. I've played basketball, run teams and won. They didn't put me at point guard because I could dribble good. They put me there because I could run a team. I wasn't the best dribbler, the best shooter. I wasn't a point guard. But I knew how to run a team." Actually, I seem to remember guys like John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong, Ron Harper, and even Steve Kerr playing point for the Bulls back then, but whatever. Pippen continued: "With a guy [Jordan] who loved to touch it and shoot all the time, I was able to keep him under control. That didn't come from the bench, it came from making the right decisions. You try to make the game fun for everyone and then we were able to find Mike. The games I felt he was getting off too much, I'd find a way to get other guys off. And then guys weren't running at him all the time and he could take off in the right place." Uh, yeah. I don't really want to hear about Pip getting other players off. Beyond that, his assertion that it was he, and not Phil Jackson or Jordan himself, that reigned Jordan in is patently ridiculous. As is most of everything else Pippen is saying these days. Particularly when you consider that, right after announcing he wanted to coach the Bulls, he started ripping into the players. On Tyrus Thomas: "He doesn't know how to play the game. He's great from the neck down." On Ben Wallace: "You don't pay a rebounder $15 million. OK, they did. He doesn't know the game like Dennis Rodman did." On Kirk Hinrich: "He's not that talented...you can't have midgets running your backcourt." On Luol Deng: "he's trying to show 28, 29 teams what he's about instead of going out and playing." On Andres Nocioni: "He's turning into Rasheed Wallace with the kinds of things he does on floor." I don't care about his six championships or his place in the 50 Greatest NBA Players. He's an idiot if he thinks talk like that is going to land him a head coaching job anywhere in the NBA, let alone for the Bulls. Does he really think the players would listen to him after he blasted them in the press like that? Ben Gordon already isn't listening. "I don't really care what Scottie has to say. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but it doesn't have anything to do with anything." For now, Pippen is off to Sweden and Finland to play some exhibition games for club teams. Let's hope he stays over there.
Orlando Magic: A one-point loss to the Nets (15-16) is bad enough, but the way it happend is even worse. The Magic got outscored 30-18 in the fourth quarter. One game after coach Stan Van Gundy said, "I've got to find some different ways to get [Dwight Howard] the ball; We're not getting it to him enough right now," Howard scored 13 points on only 11 shots. Of course, it didn't help that Howard missed seven of his 10 freethrows. But worse than Howard's offense was his defense. As Ben Q Rock from Third Quarter Collapse put it: "Dwight Howard let Jason Collins score 10 points. 10! That's a week's worth of points for Collins, right? I can't remember every bucket Collins hit, but I do remember they all occurred in almost the same way: A Net would drive the lane, Dwight Howard would come over to try to block the shot into the 15th row, and Collins would be wide-open under the basket to get the missed shot and putback. On one play, Howard fell asleep so badly that he had no choice but to goaltend Collins' layup by pinning it against the glass. Goaltending Jason Collins!" You might be tempted to think that Ben is overreacting here, but I assure you, he's not. Collins scored 10 points last night on 5-of-5 shooting. To put that into its proper perspective, Collins is averaging 1.4 PPG and has gone scoreless in 18 of the 29 games he's played this season. Last night was Collins' first double-digit scoring game of the season. In fact, it was his first double-digit scoring game since December 26, 2006. Prior to that, he hadn't scored in double figures since November 29, 2005. Howard letting Collins drop a 10-spot on him is like letting the fat guy in jean shorts and sandals hit the game-winner over you in a pickup game. Embarrassing and inexcusable. Morever, a shambling mummy wearing Darrell Armstrong's jersey rose out of a casket behind the Net's bench to score 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting. If that was indeed Armstrong, who's averaging 2.3 points in the 19 games he's played this season, it was his highest scoring output since April 15, 2007.
New Jersey Nets: The Nets won, yes, but it was thanks largely to the hot (and entirely unexpected) shooting of Collins, Armstrong, Bostjan Nachbar (5-10), and Malik Allen (6-10). The Nets' starters, on the other hand, combined to shoot 14-of-45 from the field. If they have to depend on 20 points a night and near-perfect shooting from a Collins/Armstrong combination, they're in trouble.
Indiana Pacers: The Memphis Grizzlies (9-22) have the fourth-worst record in the league and had lost five games in a row and 12 of their last 14. They felt a little bit better, though, after waltzing into Indianapolis and beating the Pacers by 18. How badly did the Pacers play? Well, they shot a season-low 31 percent from the field, and it was their lowest field-goal shooting at Conseco Fieldhouse since it opened in 1999. They scored nine points in the fourth quarter, which fewest points the Pacers have scored in a fourth quarter since joining the NBA in 1976. That's badness on a grand and historic scale right there. Said Indiana coach Jim O'Brien: "Every loss is disturbing and painful." Well, yeah Jim, but this one was more disturbing than most.
Andre Brown: The Memphis forward and former D-League Player of the Week for the Sioux Falls Skyforce notched a one trillion last night.
Zaza Pachulia: He played 4 minutes and 23 seconds in the Hawks 98-94 loss to the Cavaliers. He didn't score a point, but he did manage to squeeze off five shots in those four minutes, going 0-for-5. Can you say "gunner"?
Miami Heat: They lost at home again, dropping their home record to 4-11 and their overall record to 8-24, worst in the East and a full seven games out of a playoff spot. The Heat are still playing without Jason Williams (sore left knee) and Shaq (old and decrepit), and Wade hurt his right pinky finger and right shoulder last night. I don't even know what to say about this team anymore. They're just depressing to follow, and even more depressing to watch. Making fun of them is like making fun of a retarded kid with a peg leg.
Yao Ming: Okay. I'm officially worried about this guy again. He was "okay" against the Celtics (19 points and 13 rebounds) and he even fouled out two Boston Centers (Kendrick Perkins and Scot Pollard). But he shot 7-of-20, committed 4 turnovers (to only 2 assists) and failed, once again, to take control of the game when his team needed him to. And that's the basic problem with Yao as a player: He gives you franchise numbers without being a franchise-type player. He can't lead and he doesn't inspire. Maybe there's a language barrier or cultural differences, but then again, maybe he's just not capable of being The Man. Tracy McGrady, who missed his fourth straight game due to a sore left knee, is much more of The Man than Yao is...but McGrady obviously has his own crunch time problems. As Confucius said: "Any team built on shaky foundation will suck."
New York Knicks: Yesterday, Isiah Thomas had this to say about his godawful team: "I believe that one day we will win a championship here. And as I sit here and I say it today, I know people will laugh even more at me, but I'm hell bent on getting this accomplished and making sure that we get it done. And I'm not leaving until we get it done." Emboldened by their coaches strong words, the Knicks promptly went out and got blown out at home by the Sacramento Kings (13-18), who were without Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, and Mike Bibby. After the game, Thomas altered his stance ever so slightly: "I don't necessarily just want to win a championship. I want to leave something that's going to stand for a long time. I want to leave a legacy, I want to leave tradition. I want to leave an imprint, a blueprint in terms of how people play, and how they coach and how they respond when they put on the Knick uniform. And I want to leave what I left in Detroit. Every person that walks through that door as a Piston, when they put on that uniform, there's a certain pride that they carry. And I want to put that here and I want to leave that here in New York. I want to leave a championship legacy." Seriously, who is he kidding?
Marco Jaric: The Timberwolves are so bad, and they have so many crappy players, that trying to pick the crappiest player on the team is like trying to figure out which Porta-Potty has the worst pee and crap smell combo. On this night at least, I'm going with Jaric. He played 16 minutes and contributed zero points, zero rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, and a +/- score of -13. A real bargain of a player for $6 million a year.
Golden State Warriors: They let a game that was really exciting through three quarters totally go to hell in the fourth, during which they were outscored 32-14. Their shooting was off all night (41 percent) and their defense was even worse (they let the Mavs shoot almost 54 percent). They also got pounded on the boards 50-35. There are various ways you could describe this loss, but "totally outplayed" just about covers it.
Dallas Mavericks: Yes, they blew out the team that upset them in the playoffs last season, but they typically put too much weight on a single regular season game. I mean, Dirk Nowitzki played really well -- 29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists -- but he was the MVP last season, right? Shouldn't that kind of game be, well, expected? Instead, the Mavs were treating it like Dirk just got let out of the psycho ward. Said Jerry Stackhouse: "He exorcised some of his demons. It's something that needed to be done." Maybe Stackhouse is right and Dirk got his mojo back by playing well against a team he's struggled against the last couple years. But just the fact that the Warriors had drilled themselves so far into Nowitzki's psyche is a perfect example of Dirk's general failing as an elite player. He's just doesn't have the mental toughness of an all-time great.
Gordan Giricek: Finally freed of the tyranny of Jerry Sloan, Giricek got the chance for a little payback against the team that let him go last night. Instead, he just showed why the Jazz let him go: 4 points (1-of-3), 1 rebound, 1 turnover in 12 minutes of "action." Meanwhile, his replacement, Kyle Korver, scored 14 points (3-of-4) in 11 minutes and hit five straight freethrows in the final 27 seconds to secure the win. Good trade. For the Jazz.
Chris Kaman: He's giving the Clippers everything he has and he's having a great season (18 PPG, 14 RPG). But a 1-for-10 shooting night will still get you a mention on Worst of the Night, especially when you're probably a lock to make the All-Star team.