The Miami Heat: After the Heat's 96-85 loss to the 76ers, Dwyane Wade said: ""It's tough to lose, but it's tougher to be the worst team in the Eastern Conference. You don't know what you're going to see from one night to the next." That statement was so stunning that I actually had to go and double-check the standings, and it's true: Miami (8-21) has the worst record in the Eastern Conference, and second worst (to Minnesota) in the league. They were the 2006 NBA champions, and now they're en route to a possible top three pick in the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery. I cannot believe that a team with Shaq and Dwyane Wade could be this bad. Pat Riley needs to fire himself immediately.
Fun Fact: Shaq took four shots last night. Four. He's had double-figure shot attempts in only three games this month (he's averaging 9.7 FGA on the season). He's scored 20 or more points exactly three times this season. At this point, the Heat need to trade Shaq. I know it sounds crazy, but he came to Miami and won his championship, thus "proving" himself. About the only thing that would motivate The Big Washed Up is a change of scenery. And while even that might not work, the Heat need him off their roster ASAP. I know public sentiment might be in his corner, but as Jason Williams has taught us, NBA players are just high-paid prositutes. Speaking of which...
Jason Williams: The NBA's self-proclaimed high-paid prostitute didn't get his high-paid butt off the bench last night.
New York Knicks: Every Knick players is secretly grateful for the existence of the Miami Heat, because it means they aren't the worst and most disappointing team in the East. Anyway, Isiah's latest gimmick failed miserably. Yeah, he brought Zach Randolph off the bench and it gave the team a short-term boost -- up by one point at halftime! Sadly, they still suffered another double-digit butt-kicking.
Eddy Curry: Sure, he started at center for the Knicks, but he played two minutes before getting benched. Then he played only two more minutes in the second half before heading to the bench for good with his 2 points, zero rebounds, zero blocked shots, 2 fouls, and 1 turnover. Said Curry: "It's extremely tough to sit that long. I'm not used to that at all and I hope it doesn't continue. I just think at some point I'm going to have to be out there for us to win the game." Because we all know how much Eddy contributes to winning environments.
Jamaal Tinsley: This guy is a career 31 percent three-point shooter, and he's only hitting 30 percent of his treys this season. But that didn't stop him from hoisting up eight threes last night -- and missing all of them -- on his way to a craptacular 6-21 shooting performance.
Fun fact: The Atlanta Hawks (15-12) have won five games in a row, and eight of their last 12. Wow. Maybe these guys actually can make the playoffs.
Jason Kidd: He's one of the best point guards of all time, which explains the constant rumors about where he may or may not end up if the Nets decided to trade him away. But his poor shooting ability has always been a problem. He's currently shooting a career-worst 36 percent from the field, which wasn't helped by last night's 0-for-8 showing against the Pistons. Considering how weak the supporting cast is, the Nets need more than 2 points from this guy if they want to compete with anybody, let alone one of the league's elite teams.
Jason Collins: Last night's zero-point, 1-rebound performance was just more of the same for Collins. He's now gone scoreless in 17 of the 27 games he's played this season. He's also had eight 1-rebound games, and four zero-rebound games. And this guy was starting as recently as four games ago. He's making over $6 million this year, by the way, and he'll be making about the same next season too.
Darko Milicic: Darko's slide into oblivion continued last night: 13 minutes, 2 points (1-2), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers. Have I mentioned that the Grizzlies are starting Stromile Swift ahead of him? Yeah, it's gotten that bad.
Jeremy Richardson: This undrafted forward out of Delta State notched a super-ultra-rare four trillion last night. In fact, he came within 10 seconds of making it a five trillion! That's not easy to do.
Chicago Bulls: Finally free of the iron-fisted tyranny of Scott Skiles, the Bulls once again put forth the kind of lackluster effort that got their coach fired and has made Kyle Orton the talk of Chicago. Released from Skiles suffocating offensive sets, Luol Deng shot 5-of-15 and Andres Nocioni hit 1-of-11. Ben Wallace, who chafed under Skiles' Draconion rules, submitted a 2-point, 4-rebound gem while being totally outplayed by Matt Bonner (12 points, 9 rebounds). But despite their newfound freedom and the sense of hope it brought, the Bulls still got blown out by a Spurs team that didn't have Manu Ginobili and suffered through a poor game from Tim Duncan (8 points on 2-of-9 shooting and 5 turnovers).
Jason Terry: Zero points on 0-for-10 shooting in 22 minutes of action?! And this from a guy who's role on the team is supposed to be instant offense.
DeSagana Diop: Maybe that posterization by Grant Hill hurt Diop more than anyone suspected. Last night he submitted the impossible line of 6 minutes...and nothing else. A six trillion! DeSagnana, you're seven feet tall. Couldn't you at least foul somebody or commit a turnover or something? Speaking of which...
Eddie Jones: He managed to avoid a three trillion thanks only to a timely turnover. He's getting pretty good at that.
Milwaukee Bucks: Did somebody grease the ball the Bucks were shooting with? Michael Redd (1-8), Andrew Bogut (2-8), Yi Jianlian (2-11), Bobby Simmons (1-7), Charlie Bell (1-4)...were you guys even looking at the basket?
Fun fact: You know, I might actually need to put the "D" back into the Enver Nuggets name. They may be giving up 103 PPG, but they're seventh-best in the league in field goal defense (44.5), and the four teams directly ahead of them are all tied (43.9).
Boston versus Sacramento: Any game that ends with a score of 89-69 probably wasn't very exciting, and this one was no exception. The teams shambled awkwardly out of the blocks (18-16 after one quarter). The Kings then scored 13 points in the second quarter, and the Celtics countered by scoring 13 points in the third quarter. Not to be outdone, Sacramento put the period on this yawnfest by going for another 13 points in the fourth.
Golden State Warriors: I'm not sure why the Warriors struggled so mightily to fend off a 4-win team at home despite a career-high 35 points from Monta Ellis, but I'm pretty sure the fact that they don't play defense, can't get to the freethrow line on a consistent basis, and live-and-die off jumpers has something to do with it.
Labels: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Darko, Eddy Curry, Golden State Warriors, Jamaal Tinsley, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, Worst of the Night
Labels: Christmas list
Labels: Cleveland Cavaliers, Darko, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Pat Riley, Philadelphia 76ers, Tonky Parker, Utah Jazz, Worst of the Weekend
Al Horford: Yeah, I know it was an accident and everything, but Horford's foul on T.J. Ford looked pretty bad. Not only that, it ended with Ford -- who missed the entire 2004-05 season after neck surgery -- getting carried off the floor on a stretcher. Ford is going to be hospitalized overnight, so we'll know more tomorrow, but Raptors spokesman Jim LaBumbard confirmed that Ford "had feeling in his upper and lower extremities when he was taken off the floor." So let's keep our fingers and toes crossed for this kid.
Fun fact: I feel kind of like a jerk for saying this, but you know, Ford might not have gotten hurt if the refs had just made the call on what was a pretty obvious travel. I mean, he took three full steps after his last dribble.
Josh Smith: Maybe Smith had a hot date after the game or something, because his mind sure wasn't focused on playing basketball. The Hawks' second-leading scorer (18.4 PPG) had put up 28, 25, and 25 in his last three games, but tonight he scored only 5 points (2-11), committed 7 turnovers, and fouled out in 28 minutes of action.
Fun fact: Raptors rookie Jamario Moon hasn't attempted a freethrow since November 30. In fact, he's only gone to the line in 8 of the Hawks 21 games this season for a total of 18 freethrow attempts.
Indiana Pacers: These guys just can't seem to stay above .500. They were down 21 after the first quarter (37-16) and never seriously threatened after that. Lebron James finally returned from his
tender vagina sprained left index finger, but the real story was the return of Larry Hughes. In only his second game back from an 11-game absence (bruised leg), Hughes scored 36 points (13-17) in only 26 minutes of action. Said Pacers coach Jim O'Brien: "I thought they had two Lebron Jameses out there."
Fun fact: With Lebron and Hughes both out, Eric Snow had actually been getting some big minutes (for him). Now that those guys are back, I figured he'd be back on the bench, waving towels and passing out Gatorade during timeouts. Fortunately for him, Daniel Gibson missed the game with "a wisdom tooth problem," and so Snow was once again called upon to provide a warm body: 2 points (1-1) in 29 minutes. He's now scored a grand total of 10 points this season on 2-15 shooting.
Antoine Walker: I was tempted to bust on Minnesota's Chris Richard and his line of 9 minutes, 1 rebound, and 1 foul. But to be fair, the kid's a rookie who was drafted in the second round. But Walker -- who played 8 minutes, scored 2 points (1-6), grabbed 1 rebound, and committed 2 turnovers -- that guy's a three-time All-Star and a...a...a former NBA champion (yes, I just threw up in my mouth a little). Now he's playing garbage minutes on the worst team in the league. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Fun fact: On December 17, 2001, Walker shot 0-11 from three-point range, thus setting the record for most three-point attempts by a player in one game without a make.
New Jersey Nets: They shot 32 percent (26-81). Kidd had one of his patented triple-doubles -- 11 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists -- but he and the rest of the Nets' "Big Three" (Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson) shot a combined 14-46 from the floor. Think Kidd wants out? You'd better believe it.
Fun fact: Jason Collins went scoreless again, marking the 14th time in 23 games that he hasn't scored a single point. He has more than twice as many fouls (62) as points (26). Keep in mind, the man is seven feet tall, 260 pounds, and a starting center in the NBA. Even Greg Ostertag wasn't this bad.
Brevin Night: Remember how a few seasons ago he was averaging 12 points and 9 assists per game? Heck, he was second in the league in assists to Steve Nash during Nash's first MVP season. Now he's transformed into Eric Snow 2.0. His line against the Nets was: 29 minutes, zero points (0-3), 2 rebounds, 7 assists. He also had his first blocked shot of the season, which puts him only one blocked shot behind Zach Randolph.
Seattle Supersonics: You know, young, unproven teams are supposed to bring hustle and passion to every single game. That's how respect is earned. Well, apparently, the Sonics don't feel like they have much to prove. The whole team looked lethargic in their 27-point loss to the Bulls. After they were outscored 40-18 in the second quarter, they basically just gave up and went through the motions until the final buzzer. As an aside, Chicago is in the midst of a little mini-surge. They've won three of four and actually look like the Bulls of last season.
Fun fact: Some people have been leaving comments that I've been unfair in my criticism of Kevin Durant, so I decided to watch him very closely last night. And you know what? I wasn't that impressed. It's not all negative; he runs the floor well, has a real nose for the basket, and is generally able to get his shot off when he needs to. But he's completely one-dimensional; he's a scorer and that's it. He had one lonely rebound, and not once did he crash the boards or even commit himself to blocking out his man. He defense was substandard at best. And he really doesn't create for his teammates. I know this was only one game, and not one of his better games of the season. Even so, I'm just not seeing anything from this kid that I haven't seen before from volume shooters.
Utah Jazz: They lost their fourth straight game to the suddenly surging Blazers (9-12). To make matters worse, they lost at home (where they had been 8-1) to a lousy road team (they had been 1-9) that was missing their leading scorer (LaMarcus Aldridge). Most of the Jazz were misfiring all night: Deron Williams (4-14), Mehmet Okur (3-10), Matt Harpring (1-5), Gordan Giricek (1-8), Jason Hart (2-7), and C.J. Miles (2-7). But Utah's biggest problem was the fact that Andre Kirilenko transformed into the Invisible Man: 25 minutes, 3 points (1-3), 4 rebounds, zero assists, 2 turnovers. Yes, Carlos Boozer and Williams are the twin engines that run the Jazz, but Kirilenko is the catalyst, the game changer, the defensive stopper. When he's not doing what he does, the Jazz become a pretty mediocre team.
Fun fact: Jaron Collins must be having a Suck-Off Competition with his brother Jason. Jaron's line was 2 points (0-1), 2 rebounds, and 1 foul in 13 mintues of action. I don't know what's more pathetic, that stat line or the fact that it was vastly superior to Jason's line (see above).
San Antonio Spurs: Playing without Tim Duncan finally caught up with them. Pretty much everybody on the team sucked last night except...Matt Bonner?! Yes, that's right, Bonner was fantastic: 25 points (9-16) and 17 rebounds. But before you run off to pick him up for your fantasy team, keep in mind that those numbers are about 25 points and 17 rebounds higher than his season averages.
Fun fact: When Bonner was drafted in 2003, Jay Bilas referred to him as a "poor man's Brian Scalabrine." Three years later, in his NBA preview on ESPN.com, Chad Ford ironically called Scalabrine a "poor man's Matt Bonner." And life comes full circle.
Robert Horry: Hm, 8 minutes, zero points (0-1), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and several applications of Ben-Gay. Yeah, I'd say he's showing his age.
Troy Hudson: He went above and beyond the call of duty, notching the exceedingly rare two trillion.