WotN - Hedo

Orlando Magic: Okay, let me get this straight. The Magic broke out of the gates at 16-4 -- which included an astounding road record of 11-2 -- then lost back-to-back home games to the Pacers and Hawks? Stunning. And make no mistake about it, this was a team loss. As a unit, the Magic shot 39 percent from the field (29-73), missed 20 three-pointers, bricked 12 freethrows, and had more turnovers (19) than assists (18). Jameer Nelson shot 2-for-8; Dwight Howard hit only 6 of his 14 foul shots and committed 5 turnovers; 10 of Rashard Lewis' 13 shots were three-pointers, and he missed 7 of them; Brian Cook submitted a stat line of 4 minutes, 1 turnover, and 2 personal fouls; and finally, Pat Garrity and J.J. Redick didn't get off the bench. Only Hedo Turkoglu -- 22 points (7-15), 7 rebounds, 5 assists -- gets a free pass tonight. To top it off, Rashard Lewis showed the kind of fighting spirit for which he was infamous in Seattle when he said: "It's frustrating, of course, but it's not the end of the world." Mind you, this is the same guy that sat out three and a half games of the 2005 Western Conference Semifinals with a sprained left big toe (as Craig over at The Association likes to point out).

Fun fact: The Magic are 11-2 on the road but only 5-4 at home. Fortunately for them, their next two games are on the road against the Bucks (8-11) and Bobcats (7-12).

Houston Rockets: Hold on, let me check the Official Tracy McGrady Injury Chart. Okay, it's mid-December, so it should be about time for an ankle injury...hey, right on schedule! Once again, the Rockets looked absolutely helpless without T-Mac, and were down 26 to the Sixers (9-13) going into the fourth quarter before garbage time ensued. Two fourth quarter minutes for Louis Amundson? That's a little thing we like to call The Human Victory Cigar.

Fun fact: Yao is having himself a season, scoring 22 PPG (on 51 percent shooting), grabbing 10 RPG, and blocking a couple shots per game. But it feels like those are just numbers, you know? He never really dominates a game or leads the team, which is why the Rockets are usually better off with Yao missing time than McGrady.

New York Knicks: Another loss (their third in a row) and another night of getting the business from a home crowd that hates them. On the bright side, they actually lost to a winning team this time, which is a step up from their back-to-back losses to the 76ers. For the record, Eddy Curry (who shot 3-11 and had only 3 boards) got outrebounded by Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, Quentin Richardson, David Lee, Dirk Nowitzki, Erick Dampier, Jason Terry, and Josh Howard. Eddy's about 7-feet, 280 you know. The bigger problem, though, was the Knicks non-existant defense: They "held" the Mavs to 54 percent shooting and forced only 9 turnovers, including 4 steals and zero blocked shots.

Fun fact: Another night with zero blocks for Zach Randolph. That's a fat two on the season for the East's littlest big man. Speaking of which, for the last several weeks we've had a running gag going about Zach Randolph's prolific shot blocking abilities relative to other players around the league, particularly guards (for instance, see here, here, here, and here). Guess somebody else noticed too.

Dallas Mavericks: They let a 23-point lead dwindle to seven before closing the game out. That wouldn't have been so bad except that the team who did the coming back was the Knicks. Should the Knicks ever come back against a good team? Probably not. And Avery Johnson was not happy about it: "We had a big enough lead and we should have kept it. The last two minutes or three minutes of the third quarter was absolutely pathetic. The guys who were in there let the whole team down." Sounds like the Little General is a little stressed out about his team's lackadaisical defensive efforts.

Fun fact: Dallas ($93,628,1768) and New York ($88,877,161) have the highest payrolls in the league by a lot. The next closest team is Denver ($80,253,547). For the record, I think Mavericks spent their money a little more wisely than the Knicks.

Phoenix Suns: I'm not ready to hit the panic button just yet, but the consecutive losses to Minnesota (3-15) and Miami (6-15) are a little disheartening. As for their latest embarrassment, well, I'll put it this way: 40 points is usually a good half for the Heat, but they had 40 in the first quarter against the Suns. Furthermore, Miami averages 92 PPG on 45 percent shooting this season, but those numbers inflated to 117 points on 58 percent shooting against Phoenix. Worse, it was the second of back-to-back road games and the final stop in a six-game road trip for the Heat. There's no excuse whatsoever for the Suns to have lost this game. I'm going to put on my Bill Walton mask and state that their defensive performance was a disgrace to the sport of basketball and everything James Naismith ever stood for.

Not so fun fact: Another rotten game for Boris Diaw: 2 points (1-3), 1 steal, and 1 turnover in 16 minutes. I think Brian Skinner has officially stolen Diaw's spot in coach D'Antoni's rotation. No, seriously.

Milwaukee Bucks: The poor Bucks lost their fourth game in a row, and their eigth in 10 tries, to fall to 8-12 on the year. Remember when this team was 7-4 and the talk of the league? The Bucks have just been finding new and crushing ways to lose since their giddy start. This one was a classic come-from-ahead loss, as they got outscored 30-19 in the fourth quarter and lost by 3.

Fun fact: Have you ever heard of Royal Ivey? He plays about 12 MPG for the Bucks, believe it or not. One of Royal's official Yahoo pictures is an image of him getting schooled by Austin Croshere. Anyway, he used to play for Atlanta, where he got the nickname "Cheese", in reference to the Royale with Cheese exchange in Pulp Fiction.

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Blogger stephanie g said...
You have to stop being shocked when the Pacers beat good teams. They're not bad by any means, just mediocre. As an Indiana native, I can tell you that they've been wildly inconsistent for years now. One night they'll play like a well oiled machine and look like a 60 win team, next they'll drop one to the Sonics or Wizards. And they're horrible at holding leads. But they can be inexplicably good at times.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Before being schooled by Croshere, Royal Ivey was infamously on the recieving end of the teabag dunk at the hands of Hakim Warrick in the 2003 NCAA semifinals. I think it would make a much more respectable photo.

There is a nice shot of it here:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
While I never really expected the Rockets to have a great record at this point in the season, because they've got a new coach and system, various new players, and had a really tough November schedule - I'm starting to think they might be in real trouble. Getting your butts kicked by the Sixers like that just isn't excusable, and there are now rumors that the team has already quit on Adelman. All I know is that when the players are grasping at straws like "Well, gosh, I dunno, maybe we're losing because Rafer's hurt right now", that's pretty pathetic.

Blogger Unknown said...
Anyway, he used to play for Atlanta, where he got the nickname "Cheese", in reference to the Royale with Cheese exchange in Pulp Fiction.

You cant begin to understand how pissed I was when I was stationed in Europe and found out that nowhere was the Quarter Pounder called a "Royale with Cheese". It never crossed my mind that folks that speak French/German/Dutch/etc would have no clue what "with cheese" means. =/ They call it a "Hamburger Royal", which is not nearly as fun to say, and it does not make you think that you should have had shotguns for this job or become Superfly TNT when your hands touch brain.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I, too, am not ready to push the panic button. I am getting my arms ready though, so if they do spiral out of control, they'll already be up in the air to start waiving around while I run in tight circles.

We still haven't hit our stride. I really thought they were for a second, but then I had to open my big mouth and jinx them.

I agree that our D was atricious these last 2 games...but I really think both teams just got lucky. They shot rediculous percentages...which could easily be blamed on poor defense...but I think it is a combo of both.

Either way...we have a tough couple of games...namely Jazz, Mavs, and Spurs all in a row. That will be a huge test of our character.

Word to your mother.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Are the Mavs really that bad? They've been on the worst list every day for at least week. Either Avery is using the "we don't care about anything until the playoffs" as an excuse for a poor season which would happen regardless, or he's creating a poor season by saying those things and letting his players play like crap, or he actually has something and is mentally and somewhat physically resting the team until that time. Being a Texan, I've followed the Mavs for years and years, but I have absolutely no clue if he knows what he's talking about or not.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Watching the Suns game last night was so hard for me, it made me want to stand up and slap grandma. The thing thats getting old to see for the Suns, besides D'Antoni's 'stash, is D'Antoni himself. This guy is starting to get on my nerves about playing our starters too much and the bench not enough. Also, the fast break offense is fun but we really need to concentrat on our halfcourt game. Just like Pinky said to his limo driver in Next Friday, "You need to slow this motherf----r down! You almost made me spill my yak on my $200 suit."

Blogger bob said...
The Mavs haven't played a complete game for ages. Disgusting.

On the other hand, the last two games have been slightly better.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said sir...well said. Except for the stash part. And the slowing it down part. And most of in between.

Shawn Marion had the nba.com/video block of the night, dunk of the night, and Steve had the assist of the night...and we still couldn't win.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I kind of agree with Bob, but like Dirk said in a recent interview: "Things can only get better from here......"

ps- have I told basketbawful how much I love them lately?!?!?!?!?

Blogger LooseChange said...
dear suns,

i love you and will always be here for you, but why do you insist on hurting me? where is the fire? and the D? and the bench?


maybe some of these teams need to work the konami code into their playbooks. desperate times call for desperate measures...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
is there any way Ainge can pull a trade off...Brian Scalabrine for Boris Diaw. went to the Celts game where they blew out Nuggets and Doc put Scalabrine in for garbage minutes. people started chanting Sca-La-Bri-Ne each time he touched the ball. NBA is entertaining this season