Dwyane Wade: I waxed poetic about Wade's amazing game at By The Horns, but now I'm gonna vent. What the hell? Seriously, what the hell?! The Bulls played one of their best games of the season, but Wade went all God Mode on them, scoring 48 points on 15-for-21 from the field [!!] and 5-for-6 from downtown [!!!]. And let's talk about those threes. One was a 32-footer to beat the halftime buzzer. One tied the game with 11.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. And his final triple -- which came off a steal that robbed the Bulls of their final possession and a chance to win it at the end of the second overtime -- was a crazy running lightning bolt of a buzzer beat that won the game. This wasn't just crazy, it was crazy-insane. Seriously. Just watch this:
That is not fair. I can think of only a handful of ways Wade’s game could have been more epic: If it had come against the Cavaliers, Celtics or Lakers; if it had happened in the playoffs (preferably a seventh game); if he had simultaneously saved all the children and a puppy from a burning orphanage; or if it had caused the fall of the Dark Lord Sauron’s tower of Barad-dûr. I'm not sure what else the Bulls could have done. It's awfully hard to gameplan against fate.
Bonus footage: Let's hear what Wade had to say about his deus ex machina game:
Ben Gordon: It's hard to fault a guy who almost outdueled Dwyane Wade in one of Wade's most epic performances to date. BG finished with 43 points (14-for-23) on the strength of 8 (out of 11) three-pointers. But he had a pretty big goat moment. The Bulls were up 103-101 at the end of regulation when Miami was forced to foul Gordon with 20.7 seconds left. BG bonked the first foul shot and then hit the second, giving Chicago a 104-101 lead that was in no way safe. As amazing as Wade is, even he can't hit a four-pointer, since such a shot doesn't exist. But a clutch three? No problem. All I could think of afterward was "What if Ben had just hit that damn free throw?!"
Tyrus Thomas: Remember this guy? Yeah, neither does Vinny Del Negro. He used to play for the Bulls, but not anymore, apparently. Brad Miller got 46 minutes of daylight. Tyrus "I thought he was the future" Thomas, on the other hand, played only 22 minutes, contributing 4 points (2-for-5), 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers and 4 fouls. Miller's arrival is causing Tyrus to fade, like a foul vapor. Of course, Tyrus didn't help his cause by getting into foul trouble and then picking up a technical with 2:28 left in the third quarter. The reason? He threw his gum at an official after picking up his fourth foul. Not a good idea, Tyrus.
Funny-looking celebrations: Sky Flakes sent in the following pic. Wonder Twin Powers...ACTIVATE! Shape of: A dork! Form of: A spaz!
Tyson Chandler: This guy has been en fuego since the deal that was going to send sentence him to Oklahoma City fell through. But someone must have hit him with a fire extinguisher last night -- not the flame-smothering foamy stuff, but the actual metal tube -- because he finished with 2 points (1-for-6) and 5 boards. Or, to put it another way, the same number of rebounds as Mike Bibby. That's worse than good. Of course, a lot of the blame for New Orleans' 89-79 loss goes to...
The Hornets' bench: The reserve corps scored 7 points, and 5 of those points came from James Posey. None of New Orleans' pine riders other than Posey grabbed a rebound. They had as many fouls as assists (4). To put it bluntly, they suck. Said Byron Scott: "It's putting too much pressure on our starters. I can't sit there and continue to watch this." And you're going to do what, exactly, Byron? You can pretend they're All-Stars or dress them as women, but Hilton Armstrong and Sean Marks are still Hilton Armstrong and Sean Marks. Good luck squeezing blood from THAT turnip.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Their home battle against the Washington Wizards Generals was a matchup of two teams that had lost a combined 14 straight games. That, my friends, is what we call scalpers night off. And even though it would have been fitting for both teams to lose, that doesn't happen in today's NBA. So it was Minny -- the home team -- who lost to the Wicked Worst of the East and lost their 10th consecutive game. They are now 8-24 at the Target Center.
To make matters even worse for the already Al Jefferson-less 'Wolves, Randy Foye sprained his ankle during the fourth quarter and had to be carried to the locker room. How'd that happen? Well, Foye went up to grab a lob pass from Mike Miller, but came down funny and collapsed in a heap. Yet another problem caused by Miller's newfound reluctance to shoot the damn ball.
The Denver Nuggets: Okay, what happened? These guys were good, right? I mean, they spent most of the season as the second-best team (record-wise) in the West. Now they can't win, not on the road, not at home. A night after losing to the Wicked Worst of the West -- otherwise known as the Sacramento Kings -- the Nuggets dropped a home game to the Houston Rockets. Mr. Big Shot was 9-for-21, 'Melo was 8-for-21 with 4 turnovers, Nene scored 10 points on 15 shots, the Birdman played 22 minutes...need I go on? It was Denver's eighth loss in their last 11 games. And that second seed they had? Yeah, now they're slipped to SEVENTH. Yikes. Said George Karl: "The clouds will go away, the sun will come up again. I don't think there's anyone in that locker room that's afraid of the challenge that we have. It's just the funk of not playing very well for seven, eight games. I'm not going to make excuses, but there seems to be at times to be a mental fatigue to our team." What, they're THINKING too hard? Are you making them do math at practice? C'mon, George. Seriously?
The Rockets free throw shooting: Their 2-point was way closer than it needed to be, mostly 'cause the Rockets missed 15 of their 35 free throw attempts. Said Ron Artest: "That is very strange. But that was our fault. We were up so big. That's our next step right there, being able to keep a team down. We make those free throws we win by 10, nine points." They must have had shaqnopsis. Hey, speaking of Ron-Ron...
Ron Artest, alien doppelganger: On Houston's win, in which he accounted for only 22 of the team's 97 points: "We're going to win together or lose together. I'm not winning this thing by myself. Yao's not going to win by himself. You're either going to win with your team or lose with your team. It took a lot of years to understand that. But that's how it's going to be." Who is this guy and what did he do with Ron Artest?!
The Los Angeles Lakers: Like Keanu Reeves would say: "Whoa." I guess when Brandon Roy said the Blazers were looking past the Timberwolves on Saturday night, he wasn't kidding. L.A. took such a pounding that they had to outscore Portland 38-27 in the fourth quarter just to lose by "only" 15 points. The Lakers haven't won at the Rose Garden in their last seven tries; their last win there was on February 23, 2005...when Chucky Atkins was starting for them. It was L.A.'s third straight road fail. Oh yeah, and the Lakers' 38 points in the first half? A season low.
Lamar Odom: Jacob C. wrote in to say: "I don't even know what to make of this quote, really. It's pretty ridiculous...this Blazers fan is not pleased. 'We have to respect our opponent and play them like they're Boston or Cleveland,' Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. 'They play us like we're a tough team, or one of the best teams in the league, so why not play against every team like that? It would be smart for us to do.'" In all fairness, Jacob, Lamar is insane. And then there's that whole pot-smoking thing...
(Sidenote: Lamar finished with 2 points, zero rebounds and 3 assists. Sounds like he needs to take his own advice. Update! I goofed on Odom's stat line, as Justin pointed out: "Hi, when you quoted Lamar's stat line, that was actually your buddy Luke Walton's stat line. Odom had 7 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block. Definitely the quality of his post-Bynum injury performances, but not QUITE as bad as quoted.")
The continuing wussification of the league: Okay, so late in the third quarter, Rudy Fernandez was fast-breaking tot he hoop when he got thwacked by Trevor Ariza. Fernandez took a pretty nasty spill and "remained prone on the court" for more than 10 minutes before being taken out on a stretcher. Here's the video:
Now, I'm very sorry that Rudy got hurt. It's a real shame. But that was a hard foul and nothing more. Guys like Anthony Mason, Bill Laimbeer, Charles Oakley, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn, et al. used to deliver fouls like that AT LEAST a half dozen times PER GAME. Hell, Rodman once wrestled Karl Malone to the ground during the NBA Finals IN FRONT OF AN OFFICIAL and their was no call. I'm not kidding.
I just can't believe that Trevor was trying to put the hurt on Rudy. And I'm even a little on the fence as to whether that should have been a Flagrant -- although I guess any head contact these days warrants that -- but Ariza certainly shouldn't have been ejected. Maybe I'm biased because I grew up in an era where McHale clotheslining Kurt Rambis was considered an example of tough, gritty, I'd-eat-nails-and-broken-glass-to-win basketball. Not that I'm condoning that kind of behavior these days -- well, not usually, anyway -- but this isn't ballet or golf. Basketball is a contact sport. And the only reason people are outraged is because Rudy was hurt (which, as I said, is unfortunate). I mean, if somebody hit Shaq that way -- and trust me, it happens all the time -- would anybody have even noticed? Speaking of the rough stuff...
Kurt Rambis: From Basketbawful reader Jordan: "As if Rudy Fernandez getting carted out of the Rose Garden on a stretcher wasn't enough, check out this video from about 1:45 - 1:55. If you look closely at the left part of the screen, you'll notice a not-so-discreet Kurt Rambis first clotheslining and then throwing, by the nape of his neck, an innocent Blazers towel boy. Pure, unadulterated Rambis genius." Hey, Kurt: Didn't you call McHale a "thug" for doing that to you back in '84...?
Kobe Bryant: Mamba shot 11-for-29 (including 2-for-9 from three) and finished with more fouls (5) than either rebounds (3) or assists (3). Then, after the game, he left without speaking to reporters. Sore loser, anyone?
Lacktion report: Chris's mad, passionate fling with lacktion continues:
Hornets-Hawks: New Orleans's Hilton Armstrong had room service deliver him a called foul for a suck differential of +1 in 2:05, also charging him with a 1:0 Voskuhl fresh out of the mini-bar. Meanwhile, is any Hawks game complete without a Mario from THE Mario West? Tonight he celebrated the legend of Link with a 45-second stint!
Bulls-Heat: Joel Anthony may have rebounded twice, but the desire to avoid shooting the ball in 5:13 led to a slight Voskuhl of 3:2, comprised of two fouls and one giveaway.
Rockets-Nuggets: Anthony Carter recovered nicely from a left hip strain on March 5th to come back for George Karl and pan 1.25 trillion worth of gold specks!
Lakers-Blazers: Shavlik Randolph made money for Paul Allen's team faster than an Internet Explorer crash, releasing a service pack worth 2.95 trillion! In that same time period (2:58), Jerryd Bayless passed the rock to a Laker and bricked for a +2.