Oh damn it not Vanilla Godzilla
Nooooooo!! Not the Vanilla Godzilla too!!

The Chicago Bulls: I'll give the Bulls credit for flipping the script: instead of building a huge lead and then failing to close out in epic fashion, they fell behind by a lot and then staged a comeback that fell just a wee bit short.

I appreciate the fact that they can keep the whole losing thing fresh.

Were the Bulls suffering from an emotional hangover after their epic failure against the Kings on Monday night? Well, let me put it this way: the Knicks entered Tuesday night's game ranked 22nd in Defensive Efficiency (106.5 Points Allowed Per 100 Possessions), and yet the Bulls staggered through a first quarter in which they scored only 12 points on 6-for-21 shooting while committing four turnovers. Chicago finished the first half with a point total (31) that was hardly bigger than their deficit (22).

To make matters worse, they managed to get within a point (80-79) on (gulp) one of Noah's deadly Earthballs with 1:40 left, but that was as close as they could cut it. On New York's next possession, Chris Duhon missed a layup, but David Lee snared the offensive board and got fouled by Joakim. The situation was eerily reminiscent of Jon Brockman's offensive rebound that led to Tyreke Evans' game-breaking 22-footer the previous night. Lee knocked down the foul shots and then it was a race against the clock. A race the Bulls lost.

Joakim Noah, quote machine: Noah wants to win more than just about anybody else on the Bulls, so when he talks about the state of the team, it actually means something. After Chicago fell flat in New York, Noah said the Bulls "definitely have a lot of soul searching to do" and added: "If you were my friend, I would tell you a lot of things, but I feel like if I say something, it's just going to make things really bad. I'm not in a position as a player to really talk on that. We're really going through hard times and I don't want to make it even tougher."

Translation: The owner sucks, the coach sucks, the team sucks. Help me. HELP ME.

Vinny Del Negro, quote machine: The Notorious VDN sounded like he hit a "repeat" button from Monday night's press conference: "We can't play just a half of basketball. We’re not that good of a team to do that. We have to play consistently the whole game and we haven't done that the last couple of nights and you usually get what you deserve, like I always say."

Vinny had better hope that’s not true. For his sake. Otherwise, he might end up with a pink slip for Christmas. It can go right next to the lump of shit coal in his stocking.

The Philadelphia 76ers: After ending their 12-game losing streak by blasting the Warriors, then keeping it close against the Crabs, and then beating the Celtics in Boston, it was tempting to believe the Sixers were turning their season around. Well, tempting if you're a sucker who loves disappointment.

Philly followed their mild surge by losing at home in overtime to the Clippers and then got upended on the road against the Washington Wizards Generals. It actually looked like the Sixers might leave D.C. with a win...before a fourth-quarter fail fest that saw them get outscored 33-19. Said Philly Eddie Jordan: "We had a horrible defensive fourth quarter. Horrible. Horrible." And remember: Eddie used to coach the Generals before they fired him. So he knows what horrible defensive fourth quarters are all about.

Bonus Bawful From the AP recap: "This wasn't exactly a showdown between league powers; Philadelphia is 7-21, and Washington is 9-17. The only Eastern Conference team with fewer victories is New Jersey, which is an NBA-worst 2-26."

Elton Brand, quote machine: "If we're going to not box out, not rebound, not play 'D,' then you shouldn't be out there. We need games right now. We need to be hungry." So says the man who has epically failed to live up to the $80 million cap-killing free agent contract he signed with the Sixers a couple summers ago.

The Detroit M.A.S.H. unit: You can hardly blame this team for losing on the road to the Bobcats, what with Richard Hamilton (hamstring), Tayshaun Prince (back) and Ben Gordon (ankle) all sitting out. And now Charlie Villanueva is struggling with a sore foot, and he limped his way to only 4 points on 2-for-8 shooting. That's almost $40 million of Detroit's $61 million dollar payroll suffering from various aches and pains. Given that, it's actually kind of amazing the Pistons are as competitive as they've been.

The Indiana Pacers: Kevin Garnett was out with a thigh bruise, Paul Pierce missed his first 10 shots, and the Pacers built a 15-point halftime lead behind some stellar play by Troy Murphy (who finished with 24 points and a season-high 18 rebounds). Everything was going their way...until it wasn't.

They're still the Pacers.

Boston outscored Indiana 35-20 in the third quarter and then Paul Pierce exploded for 16 of his 21 points in the fourth to put Indy away. If you think about it, the Pacers are the Clippers of the Midwest: they are who we thought they were. As Indiana coach Jim O'Brien explained: "They have three All-Stars on the court. They're a very talented team. That's why they came back. We don't have any All-Stars."

T.J. Ford: As Basketbawful reader zyth pointed out yesterday, Ford is 1-for-28 from three-point range this season. That means he's hitting 3.6 percent of his treys. Ruh roh, Raggy.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Speaking of teams who are who we thought they were...the Timberpups got whupped at home by the Atlanta Hawks, who tied Dominique Wilkins' 1986-87 team for the best 27-game start. As my buddy Craig at The Association might say: time to drop a banner! Seriously, who makes a big deal out of things like "best 27-game start"? Teams that never win anything, that's who.

But I digress. This is about the T-Wolves, who fell to 5-24 and have now lost seven games this season by at least 23 points.

Kevin Love -- who scored 15 points and matched a career high by grabbing 19 rebounds -- said: "[The Hawks are] kind of the example of a team that got its players young. They played together. They stuck together. They grinded out wins together. They had high points. They had low points. But they stuck together. ... That's something I hope I can be a part of one day."

Yeeeeeah. Probably not gonna happen, Kevin. Sorry.

Signs of the Apocalypse: The Grizzlies beat the defenseless Warriors 121-108, yada, yada, yada. As the AP recap pointed out, Gol_en State had only nine players available: Kelenna Azubuike, Raja Bell, Brandan Wright and Speedy Claxton were on the inactive list. Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf were on the bench in street clothes, and Mikki Moore recently had surgery for bone spurs in his right heel. Oh, yeah, and they sucked anyway.

Here's what's crazy. Zach Randolph continued his crazy-dominant play by scoring a season-high 33 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. This is the same Z-Bo who had 32-24 against Denver on Sunday and 26-16 against the Pacers last Friday.

Zach Randolph...for MVP? I mean...could it happen?

[Sounds of me violently throwing up in my own mouth]

The Dallas Mavericks: An 85-81 home loss to the Ail Blazers? Really, Dallas? Really?!

In case you missed it, Portland lost center Greg Oden for the season with a left knee injury. Travis Outlaw (left foot), Nicolas Batum (right shoulder), Patrick Mills (right foot) and Rudy Fernandez (back pain) are all sitting on the shelf. And then, on top of all that, Joel Przybilla -- our beloved Vanilla Godzilla -- ruptured his right patella tendon and dislocated his patella with 3:12 left in the first quarter. Joel will be out indefinitely.

But despite the ongoing Curse of Walton, the Ail Blazers held the Mavs to 38 percent shooting despite the return of Dirk Nowitzki (27 points, 9 rebounds, zero collisions with other players' teeth). Other than the third quarter -- during which they scored 32 points -- Dallas could not put the ball in the basket. They had 14 points in the first quarter, 19 in the second and 16 in the fourth. On top of that, they missed 10 of their 22 free throws and lost by four points. You do the math.

Shawn Marion: Zero points on 0-for-7 shooting in 25 minutes. Remember how much he hated earning the most money on the Suns despite being the third option on offense? I love bringing that up.

The Los Angeles Clippers: Carl Landry returned from having his mouth blown the fuck up by Dirk Nowitzki's elbow to score a career-high 27 points in Houston's 108-99 win over The Other L.A. Team. Something about the Clippers just brings out the best in their opposition. Must be how terrible they are.

To sprinkle on a little historic fail onto this loss, the Rockets have now won 10 of their last 11 games against the Clippers. Moreover, the Clips haven't won in Houston since December 23, 2006, back when they were rocking a starting lineup of Tim Thomas, Elton Brand, Shaun Livingston, Cuttino Mobley and Chris Kaman.

Speaking of Kaman, he dropped a career-high 29 points but was still sucking a lemon after the game: "It doesn't matter at all. It's very frustrating to lose. We played a decent game but we didn't finish at the end. I thought we could do it but Houston made good plays at the end and we turned the ball over. It hurts to lose, it's not fun."

How has this man survived being a Clipper?!

The Clippers' bench: Houston's bench outscored The Other L.A. Team's reserves 62-12. Damn.

The Laker halftime show: I'm not going to say anything about the Lakers' 39 free throw attempts against the Thunder. But I am going to ask: what the eff is up with this halftime show? I will forgive the socks/legwarmers/whatever only if they are topless behind those fans.

Lakers girls

Stu Lantz, unintentionally dirty quote machine: According to Basketbawful reader Kelly P., Lakers color commentator Stu Lantz had this to say after a third-quarter fastbreak: "Kobe takes it and rides it up then rides it down." Steamy!

Lacktion report: Chris is still glowing from Sacto's epic comeback against the Bulls, but he took time away from smoking cigarettes and going over every detail of what happened to deliver another lacktion report:

Sixers-Generals: Philadelphia's Jason Smith negated an assist with a foul in 3:54 for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.

Hawks-Wolves: Oleksiy Pecherov fouled and bricked once each in 1:58 for a +2 suck differential and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl for Minnesota.

Blazers-Mavs: Tim Thomas bricked thricely (once from Fountain Place) for a +3 in 6:04.

Clippers-Rockets: Brian Skinner took a foul and gave up the rock once for a +2 in 3:39 which also earned a 2:0 Voskuhl, while fellow Clipper Steve Novak booked a 21 second stay at Hotel Mario! Clutch the Bear's starting center Chuck Hayes made one field goal in 10:43, only to counter that and two boards with four fouls and a turnover for a 5:4 Voskuhl.

Thunder-Lakers: Nick Collison made one board and one free throw in 12:22 - but bricked a field goal and another charity stripe shot while ultimately fouling out, resulting in a 6:2 Voskuhl!

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Anonymous afronomous said...
those are not the laker girls, those are a chinese exhibition act for half time

Anonymous Sun Devil said...
a moment of silence for the Vanilla Godzilla...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I didn't see the game but knee mac had 10 points 3 assists and 0 TO in 8 min.

Anonymous Shiv said...
Nooooo! Not Vanilla Godzilla too!!! Seriously, curse of Walton indeed.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Wait, I didn't know Donald Sterling funded the Lakers halftime show?!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I feel just turrible for Noah. I appreciate his effort to be professional, and I understand both teams' and the league's desire to not have negative PR from press conferences. However, I feel it's gotten to the point where the league has lost some of its personality.

Seriously - if you take some of the things guys said before 2000, they would have been losing 20% of their salaries or more each year in fines. Now? We get a guy like Noah who has a personality, love of the game, and fun commentary and all we get is that sad speech. It's like telling kids that they can't boo Barney because he's a scary purple blob giggling at them.

Last night's Lakers halftime show was brought to you by a premier wine. Why drink alone, when you can have Yellowtail?

Anonymous the Oden Apologist said...
Condolences to Ghostface Pryzbilla the vanilla gorilla. He was the best thing to watch on the team before Roy

These are too many injuries though to be random. Portland needs to fire some training folks and revamp its playing surfaces and hire PHX training staff or copy what they do.

How many patella injuries are there in a season - one maybe two. All I can think off the top of my head is McDyess, Bynum and Blake Griffin. Yet portland has had two such injuries wihtin 10 games of each other. Plus Roy has an MRI today that I just hope comes out ok because he has been playing like a max contract.

For those keeping score at home, portland is now missing 5 of its 8 best players to season ending surgery (execpt maybe rudy who could be back in a month). All non-contact injuries, all serious, no rolled ankles.

Its the curse of the Lakers and punishment for the game 7 meltdown in the 2000 WCF finals. Portland's decent bigs outside of LMA since then have all been hit with season ending surgery - ZBO, Darius Miles, Oden and now Pryzbo.

Oh well, its kind of fun to watch Roy gut out wins for the team, its like rooting for the rockets.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least B-roy can set a career-high in scoring this season.

Blogger chris said...
So the Tribune recaps last night's loss that usually isn't as bad as others...and I just have to quote this gem from the shocking hubris of John The Fish:

By halftime, the Knicks led 53-31 with the Bulls tallying just four of a season-low 10 assists. This led to Del Negro benching John Salmons and Brad Miller to open the third quarter.

"I was pretty shocked it happened without warning," Salmons said. "I had to put my pride to the side and focus on trying to help the team win."

1. You're John Salmons. You HAVE pride?

2. Yeah, it really requires much focus to go back to what you do best (enforced lacktion), doesn't it.

And here's a doozy from Vinnie Smallz:

"I'm fine," Del Negro said of his job speculation. "You can't control that. I go about my business every day, go to work and try to help this team win and develop the younger players. I feel we've done that on a consistent basis.


Anonymous katonk said...
You've already removed the "d" from Gol_en State, but I'd like to suggest removing the "D" and renaming the coach, _on Nelson. His name is more synonymous with defensless teams than even Mike Dantoni, and you took the "D" from Mike's name before.

Actually, why don't you permanently call him _on Nelson.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
chris -- Okay. It's official. VInny is off his nut.

Anonymous the Oden Apologist said...
VDN's motto - "Confusion Breeds Success"
from VDN's lost playbook per blowtorch last year

Anonymous kazam92 said...
I want Zach Randolph to make the All-Star team so someone throws him an alley oop.

and With Ghostface Pryzbilla out, will Aldridge play Center

Anonymous the Oden Apologist said...
@ kazam who knows. I think in last few minutes of close game where the other team has no post prescence then yes. Otherwise I think the front court fodder is Juanna Man, Pendergraph (2nd round rookie) or Toliver (D-League emergency call-up).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
All that halftime show needs is Deep Purple's Woman From Tokyo to complete it.

Blogger chris said...
Bawful: Considering that this is the season of the Nutcracker Ballet...well, it's not so surprising that Christmas is apparently "Designated Bulls Coach Firing Line Day" as well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Is that Pryzbilla's patella poking out of his thigh?! As someone who's had a serious knee injury, that makes my stomach seize up.

Bad Dave - Is it me, or was that Yellowtail reference intended to be very naughty indeed?

Blogger chris said...
Obviously, though it was two nights ago already...Sactown is still abuzz, judging from this Sactown Royalty fanpost of pure awesome...

T minus 8 hours before I get to witness Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson and Jawad Williams in their warmups at the barn in Natomas!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Davros -- Dear God. It sure looks like it. Urp...

Blogger bob said...
Jason Terry deserves a holler for his 2-for-13 shooting night, which included blowing a layup that would've tied the game up with 10 seconds left. Not to mention the fact that he did so when the Mavs still had a time out, with Jason Kidd lying hurt on the court.