WotN - A
"Coach...it hurts when I suck."

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs hit a missing rung in their climb back to semi-respectability, losing 90-81 to the Atlanta Hawks. Lebron James scored more points in the fourth quarter (14) than any of his teammates did in the entire game. Seriously, the Cavs (James excepted) shot the ball like they were suffering from a group case of Lobster Claw Syndrome: Larry Hughes shot 2-for-11, Sasha Pavlovic shot 0-for-2, Zydrunas Ilgauskas shot 3-for-9, Drew Gooden shot 4-for-9, Booby Gibson shot 2-for-11, Damon Jones shot 2-for-5, Devin Brown shot 5-for-13 (why did he take 13 shots??), and Andersen Varejao shot 1-for-4 before leaving the game with a bruised left knee and a strained left Achilles' tendon.

Fun fact: You know, I was thinking just the other day that what the world needs now is a Web site devoted solely to how much Larry Hughes sucks. Well, world, here you go: HeyLarryHughesPleasStopTakingSoManyBadShots.com is here, complete with nightly shooting percentages, shot charts, and amusing graphics. [Hat tip: Hardwood Paroxysm]

Cavs versus Hawks, first quarter: Cavs 14, Hawks 13, fans -27.

Zaza Pachulia: First off, his name is "Zaza." What, is he one of the Gabor sisters? Second, he was inactive last night "with a sore toe." I never trust players who are inactive because of a sore toe. To me, sore toe = tender vagina.

Gordan Giricek: Boy, he has been unleashed since getting traded away from the Jazz (where, apparently, he was not respected "as a man"): 3.3 PPG on 26 percent shooting. Gordan's line against the Raptors: Zero points on 0-for0 shooting. On the bright side, it was a slightly improved performance from his last outing (zero points on 0-for2 shooting).

Isiah Thomas: The NBA's walking punchline continues to deliver. On Monday, 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.

Boston Celtics: The C's showed their first official sign of letdown this season, by scoring only 83 points, coughing up an 11-point lead, and losing at home to the Charlotte Bobcats -- a 13-21 team that came into the game an Eastern Conference-worst 1-11 on the road. And somewhere, Michael Jordan was probably wagging his tongue and doing a fist pump because his team just knocked the Celtics off their 70-win pace.

Los Angeles Lakers: What? Oh, yeah, they beat a tough team on the road and played a great all -around game. But I still hate them. The fact that they're relevant again will only make their eventual playoff elimination all the sweeter for me.

Fun fact: I don't know whether anybody's noticed this, but Derek Fisher is having a career year. He's shooting a career-high (by far) from the field (49 percent), from beyond the arc (43 percent), and from the line (88 percent). He's also averaging 12.6 PPG, his second-highest total, which was only surpassed in 2005-06, when he was gunning for a lousy Golden State team. And, according to John Hollinger's latest rankings, Fisher is currently ranked 11th among point guards in PER (17.87). That's three spots ahead of Jason Kidd!! Where did this come from? Who has a breakout year in their mid-30s? The only names that come to mind are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Could...could Fish be juicing? That's the only logical explanation I can come to. At any rate, as crazy as this sounds, I think Fisher is the MVP of the Lakers right now.

New Orleans Hornets: Their defense was dreadful (the Lakers shot 55 percent and committed only 8 turnovers) and their offense was dreadful-er: They shot 36 percent from the field -- including 9 percent from three-point land (1-for-11) -- and scored only 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Miami Heat: They're now 8-28, and they've lost nine in a row, including a double-digit loss to the 5-29 Timberwolves. Shaq is out. Pat Riley is hinting that he might retire after this season. By all accounts, Dwyane Wade still hasn't fully recovered from his shoulder injury (and he might never fully recover). And, perhaps most telling of all, Ricky Davis is the team's second-leading scorer. There's more hope in a nursing home full of paraplegic Alzheimer's patients than there is in the Heat locker room right now. So I think it's official: The Heat are the worst team in the league.

Tayshaun Prince: He scored 6 points on 1-for-7 shooting to go with one lonely rebound and 2 assists. Has anybody noticed this guy has taken a step back this year. His scoring average (13.1) is his lowest since the 2003-04 season, and he's currently shooting a career-low 44.9 percent from the field. Prince is 28 years old, you know. He's supposed to be in his prime. He should still be on the rise. Is anybody talking about this?

Phoenix Suns: Know how I was talking about the Suns sucking? This is what I was talking about: Despite the fact that they were playing at home, the Suns fell into a 14-point hole, gave up 122 points (to the Pacers!!), and got pushed into overtime before finally prevailing. Yeah, I know that Steve Nash left the game early because of the flu, and sure, Grant Hill was in the hospital having organs removed, but still. An elite team, especially when playing at home, should be able to crush bad teams (such as the Pacers) like the insects they are. And here's the final scary thought for Phoenix: They got outrebounded (again) by 7 despite the fact that Jermaine O'Neal didn't even play.

Indiana Pacers: Yeah, I know, they probably did good to force overtime in Phoenix before ultimately failing. But, well, I'll let Statbuster spell it out for you: "Just watched the Pacers let the Suns beat them in OT. Literally every posession in the 4th and OT was either a thre (3-for-11 btw) or a Jamaal Tinsley isolation (8 for 26), to the point where I wanted to cry and/or vomit."

Fun fact: Did you know that the Pacers don't play Jermaine O'Neal on the second night of back-to-back games? It's so he can rest his sore knee. Mind you, Jeramine is the Pacers' "franchise player," and he's getting paid $19,710,000 this year (which is the seventh-highest salary in the NBA...more than Kobe makes). Boy, when you can't play your star player in back-to-back games, what kind of hope does your team really have?

Golden State Warriors: Remember last month when Don Nelson "pulled the plug early" against the Pistons, basically conceding a game because he figured they wouldn't win it anyway? At the time, Nelson said: "That's the way it goes sometimes. We pulled the plug early on this one. We weren't playing well enough to beat these guys today." Does anybody get the feeling he did the same thing last night against the Blazers? I mean, Baron Davis only played 13 minutes. Austin Croshere played almost twice as many minutes as the Warriors' starters (except Monta Ellis). You know, Phil Jackson once claimed (in his book The Last Season) that Nelson would sometimes get ejected from a game so that he could leave early and hit the bars (and we all know that Nelson loves him some beer). Is he conceding games to save his players' legs (especially the injury-prone Davis), or is he simply in a hurry to go crack open a frosty beverage?

Sam Cassell: I love Sammy, but shooting 1-for-11 is going to get you mentioned here.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Tayshuan Prince's worst offensive games seem to be when he has to guard the other teams best perimeter (sp?) scorer i.e. his games against the Celtics (Pierce), Cavs (James), and now Mavericks (Howard). I also think having McDyess in the starting line-up often puts him as the last scoring option (even though McDyess is supposed to be the last scoring option).
To me the worst thing about the Detroit/Dallas game was Flip Saunders. He made a seemingly brilliant decision when he put Walter Hermmann on Nowitzki. Hermmann played Nowitzki physically in both the post and perimeter (and we know how much Nowitzki thrives on physical play), and held him scoreless in the second quarter after a hot start by Nowitzki. Then Hermmann was put on the bench until garbage time in the fourth and Nowitzki responded to Hermmann's absence by shooting 5 for 5 in the third. WTF? Walter Hermmann: Nowitzki stopper.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Its funny that since i have been coming to this website of awful basketball related topics, that the picture of isiah thomas has not been moved, and he has not done one thing to change anybodys mind of how awful he truly is.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
A few more notes. I'm glad you love Cassell, 'cuz with that face even his [i]mother[/i] doesn't love him. *shudder*

I have officially renamed the Pacer's big money at "The Drain" O'Neal. All he does is flush money and stats down the toilet. It's a dark year for Pacers fan. Maybe they could trade the Drain for Marion. Heck, I think I'd go for the Drain for Andris Biedrins and Mickael Pietrus.

As for Tayshaun Prince, what do you expect from a guy that celebrates Ramadan all year? While I have no real idea of Tay Tay's religiosity, I do know that he is so freaking chronically skinny that I have had a hard time understanding how he could perform so well for so long. Reggie Miller, as awesome as he was was skinny, and he looked like he could have eaten 3 Tay Tays and still been hungry.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
al -- You're totally right about Herrmann. In fact, you were so right I mentioned that (and you) in my latest post.

flitzy -- I'm not shocked that Isiah hasn't done anything to redeem himself. I'm shocked that he hasn't been fired. Scott Skiles only improved the Bulls, but he got fired because of a slow start. At this point, Isiah would have to kidnap the president and threaten to launch nuclear warheads at the moon to get fired.

dave -- Oh god. Dave, you gave me my first true laugh of the day. "The Drain." Oh, hell, I'm so gonna use that in the future (and yes, I will credit you).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I watched the Blazers/Warriors game last night and Davis got pulled (along with all the other starters) because he wasn't playing well. The Blazers broke off to a 17 point lead early in the first quarter and the bench unit for Golden State came in and closed the gap a little bit. Overall the Blazers trounced the Warriors and Steve Blake tied with his career points (24) before leaving from a contusion he got from Monta Ellis in his left calf. I love the Blazers and it was a good win, but Golden State looked ugly.

P.S. One more thing that was kinda funny: In the third quarter the Blazers were leading by 17 points and then they started making a few sloppy turnovers and plays so Nate McMillian called a timeout and literally started screaming at the players.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
sun devil -- I'm not saying the Blazers weren't playing great (which they've been doing for a while), or that the Warriors weren't sucking. However, even in blowouts, coaches will usually keep their starters in the game until mid-way through the 4th, either to try to make a game of it or to get those guys (if they're playing badly) into a good rhythm for the next game. Nelson didn't do that. He basically shut it down early. It seems as if Nelson's standpoint is, why ride your starters in a game you don't have a great shot at winning when you can get them rest for the next game? It's not a ploy you see used that often. I mean, four starters only played a little more than one quarter of basketball. That's pretty unusual.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
the varejao pic gets my vote for caption of the year! honestly, who didn't see this coming with that holdout to start the season!? it just goes to show... god is fair!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Pachulia's name is not Zaza, that's just a nickname. His first name is ZAUR, kind of popular in Georgia, Azerbaijan. Zaza may also be used as first name, though is very uncommon.

By the way - Zsa Zsa (as in Zsa Zsa Gábor) is obviously not connected to this name, its hungarian.