Groin ram
"I'm so excited I am going to ram you with my sweaty groin. And you will like it."

The Chicago Bulls: I don't usually do this, but I'm raping my post at By The Horns. There's no sense in reinventing the wheel for this traveshamockery. I have added a few colorful updates.

Not again? How about never before?

With 8:49 left in the third quarter, John Salmons hit an 11-footer to help the Bulls go up 79-44 on the Kings. For those who enjoy simple math, that represented a 35-point lead with less than 21 minutes to go. Completely and utterly insurmountable, right?

Historically speaking, it should have been. But, of course, it was not. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here, would we?

Sacramento outscored Chicago an astounding 58-19 the rest of the way, including 33-10 in the fourth quarter. No home team had ever lost after building a lead that huge. It was the biggest come-from-ahead loss in Bulls franchise history. Conversely, it was the largest come-from-behind win in Kings franchise history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the biggest comeback since Utah overcame a 36-point deficit to beat Denver on November 27, 1996.

That's some pretty epic fail right there. As John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times said: "There's no way of knowing for sure, but the Bulls might be the first team in NBA history to be booed off their home court in a game in which they had a 35-point lead."

What makes this loss even more stunning is that things started off so well. The Bulls began the game by playing some of their best, most confident basketball of the season. In the first quarter, they shot lights out (71 percent), took care of the ball (zero turnovers), and played inspired defense (forcing the Kings into 39 percent shooting and 7 turnovers). Chicago went ahead by 24 at halftime and then opened the third quarter with a 12-1 run that seemed to put the game hopelessly out of the Sactowners' reach.

Frankly, it was the kind of performance that people have been expecting from the Bulls all season: efficiently and rather mercilessly taking care of business at home against a lesser team. And I'm sure coach Vinny Del Negro had to be thinking about getting his starters some rest for tomorrow night's game in New York.

Well, they got their rest all going to sleep in the court. May I suggest some narcolepsy medication? Some 5-Hour Energy, perhaps?

My mind is still boggled by what happened. The Kings committed their fifth personal foul with 7:45 to go in the fourth quarter, which meant the Bulls would be shooting free throws on every foul from that point forward. After Salmons knocked down his freebies from that foul, Chicago was still up 94-79. All the Bulls had to do to secure the win was be aggressive, attack the basket, and force Sacramento to foul them. You want to know how many foul shots they earned in the next seven minutes? Four. And they missed two of them.

Instead of pressing their advantage, the Bulls got sloppy. How sloppy? Chicago gave up 23 points off 20...all after the first quarter. They committed nine of those turnovers in the fourth quarter, including two shot clock violations, a three-second violation and a carry. They went 2-for-10 from the field during the fourth while giving up 17 points in the final 3:08. The Bulls also surrendered four huge offensive rebounds in that final period, including two in the final 1:12 that led to 1) Evans' 22-footer that made it 99-96 with 50 seconds left and 2) Evans' free throw that made it 100-98 with 15 seconds left. Obviously, those boards were critical.

What in the name of Spiderman's balls happened? I mean, I've seen blocks of cheese that didn't melt down that completely, even after I forgot about them and left them in the microwave for a half hour. Yeah, don't ask.

Said Luol Deng: "I think we relaxed. We were making mistakes defensively. We were just not aggressive and that carries over to offense. It's frustrating."

Added Del Negro: "It was a matter of us not being smart at either end. It's frustrating. It's difficult. But what are you going to do, put your head down and feel sorry for yourself?"

Oh, I don't know, about making some defensive adjustments? Tyreke Evans absolutely killed the Bulls down the stretch. In the final 2:13, Evans outscored the Bulls 9-3 by himself. He started by bolting past Kirk Hinrich and converting a layup while also drawing a foul from Deng. (And of course he knocked down the ensuing free throw.) He hit another driving layup on Sacramento's next possession, tying the game in the process.

On the Kings' next trip down the floor, Evans got past Hinrich again, drawing the foul. He hit the first foul shot to put Sacramento up by a point. Evans bricked the second freebie, but the Bulls couldn't corral his miss. The Kings milked the shot clock before Evans drilled a 22-footer in Deng's face to put his team up 99-96 with 50 seconds left.

That was a real kick to the balls is what that was.

Here's what I want to know. Once it became obvious that the Bulls couldn't contain Evans with single coverage -- the dude was leaving skid marks on poor Hinrich -- why didn't Vinny switch things up? Maybe throw a few double teams at him, try to get the ball out of his hands. Wouldn't it be better to make, say, Beno Udrih or Jon Brockman try to beat you?

Here's another thought. Once it became obvious the Bulls were sleepwalking through the fourth quarter, why not insert Jannero Pargo? And I mean before there are only five seconds left in the game. The guy is a spark plug. I can guarantee you Pargo would have been aggressive even if everybody else was standing around twiddling their thumbs. If you have somebody who can come off the bench shooting, what better time to use him than to counter a case of group lethargy?

Look, I've tried to cut Vinny some slack. I mean, we all know he's not Phil Jackson. (He's not even Patches O'Houlihan.) We also know he's had to deal with a brutal schedule, a variety of injuries and a group of underperforming players. But it's the coach's job to make the necessary adjustments when his team starts to let down. Defensive switches, strategic substitutions, demanding that his players attack the rim on every single possession to take advantage of being in the penalty. Any one of these things might have saved the Bulls from this catastrophe.

And make no mistake: my use of the word "catastrophe" is not an overstatement. The team's psyche has been fragile all season. After a handful of strong performances last week, they were finally getting a little swagger back. I saw it in the first half. But this kind of loss is a confidence killer. The Bulls are probably afraid to even try unwrapping a piece of bubblegum at this point.

Bonus extra: Go here to read a chris's breakdown of the game with links to several related writeups.

Adrian Wojnarowski, quote machine: Dan B. pointed this out to me, from Wojnarowski's Twitter: "The Bulls have fired two coaches -- Scott Skiles and Tim Floyd - on Christmas Eve. Del Negro just trying to beat the last minute rush?"

The Indiana Pacers: Look, the Pacers were lacking in the talent department before losing their best player (Danny Granger) to injury. It's just not fair to expect much from this squad. Considering the circumstances, I'm willing to overlook the 35 percent shooting and the 21 points they gave up off 19 turnovers. Even if those things happened despite the fact that they were playing at home.

That said, I do expect more from them than letting Andrew Bogut go "Godzilla" on them. Bogut had a career-high 31 points on near-perfect 14-for-19 shooting to go along with 18 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. I mean, have some pride, guys. What, you can't give that guy a hard foul or two to discourage him? Maybe, I don't know, a double team or two?

Andrew Bogut: I know, I know. He was the player of the game...but he was also nearly the goat. Down by three points with four seconds left, the Pacers were forced to foul Bogut for what should have been the game-clinching free throws. Of course, Andy shanked 'em both, which gave Indy a chance to tie at the buzzer. They didn't, but still. If you're going to have a career game, you might as well close the other team out if you have the chance.

The Utah Jazz: It looked like the Jazz were ready to beat the Magic on the road...until the fourth quarter. Utah went up 84-79 with 7:31 left in the game before letting Orlando go on a 15-2 run that pretty much did them in. That run included a triple and two driving layups by...J.J. Redick.

Said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan: "We got lost defensively." Yeah, you could say that. The Jazz are now 1-20 in their last 21 road games against winning teams.

J.J. Redick: The former Dookie had a huge game with 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting, and he was instrumental in Magic runs in the second and fourth quarter. But he also whiffed on a high five with Orlando GM Otis Smith. Wah-waaaaaaaah. Said Redick: "We actually had one of those awkward Tiger Woods high-fives, where we high-fived, missed, then I looked and we high-fived and missed again. So I owe Otis a high-five."

The Los Angeles Clippers: Yeah, you expect the Clippers to lose 103-87 to the Spurs in San Antonio. The only notable aspect of this loss is that the San Antonio reserves scored almost half of the team's points, outscoring their L.A. counterparts 41-27. Said Baron Davis: "Oh, man, that was tough. We were doing a good job by staying in the game, staying close. You know, that bench came in and really made an impact."

Don't feel bad, Baron. At least you're not on the Bulls.

The Phoenix Suns: Ever since the Crabs beat them 119-111 in Phoenix on March 12 last season, the Suns had won 19 straight at home, including 10 in a row to open this season. Going into last night's game, they were the only team in the NBA without a home loss.

You know where this is going, right?

Even though Cleveland was coming off a loss to the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavs -- a defeat in which Tim Thomas actually outplayed LeBron James -- the Crabs showed no sign of fatigue, shooting almost 53 percent from the field and outscoring Phoenix 27-16 in the fourth quarter to win by 18 points.

The run-in-the-mud Suns were outscored 17-4 in fastbreak points and gave up 30 points off 19 turnovers. Said Steve Nash: "We didn't have a real winning mentality tonight. I thought we were hesitant and a little doubtful rather than bold and aggressive and determined. I think that was the difference." Translation: We sucked and they didn't.

Drexel: Dan B. sent in this special college entry for WotN:

The Kentucky Wildcats won their 2000th game last night, which is certainly nice. However, they beat the ever living shit out of Drexel (who?) in the process. They just completely, totally obliterated them.

Drexel shot 17-55 from the floor -- that's a whopping 30.9%! Drexel's starters hit a grand total of 5 field goals on 28 attempts (only 17.8%), while their bench went 12-27 (a much more respectable 44.4%). Three of thir bench players outscored the best performing starter. And unbelievably the entire team only had seven free throw attempts.

Kentucky's largest lead was 51 points. With 8:53 left in the 2nd half, the Wildcats led 80-29. Around this point, garbage time officially began, and even then the lead was still 85-34 with 4:43 left in the game. Every single player on Kentucky's team got to see double-digit minutes. Apparently the entire bench was a box of human victory cigars that burned for most of the second half.
Lacktion report: Chris took a break from celebrating the Bulls' meltdown by bringing us some lacktion:

Jazz-Magic: Kosta Koufos improvised a tune on Mario Paint for a 21 second trip through the Mushroom Kingdom! Meanwhile, Orlando's Ryan Anderson made one free throw and board in 6:42, but lost the rock twice and fouled once for a 3:2 Voskuhl.

Kings-Bulls: As Vinnie Smallz watched his Heifers heave up THE biggest choke in Association history, Jannero Pargo tried to milk the moment by protecting himself from asphyxiation with 6 seconds spent in a Frog Suit for a SUPER MARIO!!!!

Crabs-Suns: Celebratory crustaceans came to call for "Coach" Mike Brown tonight, with Jawad Williams bricking it up once for a +1 in 2:07, while Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson added two fouls to a singular brick of his own to bake a +3 in 1:54.

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Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I can't believe the awkward high-five with a white guy has progressed to the point of irony that even said white guys participating in the high-five acknowledge its awkwardness.

Blogger chris said...
AnacondaHL: But the Bogut Solo Five is always going to be tops, I tell ya.

Blogger zyth said... - 1/28 from 3pt this season. just think about it for a second.

Nothing on how Shaq was left on the bench against the Suns...and the Mavs?

Blogger chris said...
Deadspin even highlighted the Purple Pauper's perseverence today!

This may be the only time the Kings are garnering a majority of the media attention in the I might as well savor it for all it's worth.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
OK this is not basketball related but is CERTAINLY bawful. please mention the INSANE fake field goal attempt by the redskins last night where the whole offensive line shifted to the left. this was akin to a high school prank "dude, wouldn't it be awesome if we left the punter/QB/the most inept thrower on the team by himself to face three hulking beasts?" this is too good to pass up. i cannot find the video clip because i am sure the No Fun League does not want to associate itself with this embarassment.

Blogger chris said...
Anonymous: AMAZINGLY, that was the one part of the MNF game I recall (as I was scanning between that and the Kings' futile first 2.5 quarters, at dinner)!

Yeah, that was freaking ugly.

Blogger chris said...
And ESPN puts out the ONLY article where Vinnie Smallz gets compared to Jerry Sloan!

(That's because the latter got fired from the Bulls once, while the former is awaiting his official pink slip from tending the cows.)

Blogger Dan B. said...
Anonymous -- Regarding the Redskins' fake field goal, I have written up something about it for tonight's BAD post. Stay tuned.

Blogger chris said...
Dan B.: It definitely was bawful enough to get a mention on ESPN Page2 this morning, too.

Blogger chris said...
GREAT line from the comments at SactownRoyalty:

The real reason the Bulls lost … is because 40% of their starting line up was the Kings starting line up last year (Miller and Salmons), and we all know how good the Kings were last year with that line-up.

by AyyJude on Dec 22, 2009 8:41 AM PST

Blogger chris said...
You know this victory was epic when someone even did a piece focusing on IME UDOKA'S play.

Anonymous Hellshocked said...
Del Negro isn't the only problem in Chicago, and definitely not the biggest, but after last night's epic, epic, epic fail I don't see how the brass can afford not to fire him immediately. The Bulls' psyche has to be shattered after that loss and a dead coach bounce seems like the only way to not lose the team entirely for the season at this point.

Derrick Rose's refusal to go to the free throw line is becoming more worrisome by the game. It seems like whenever he does go to the line it is by accident: not because he took it hard to the hoop but because he didn't fade away from contact quite far enough while tossing that little floater/half hook thing he does. It's surprising to me that his game hasn't grown at all between his rookie and sophmore seasons. Is it too early to start calling him soft?

Anonymous Stockton said...
Magic-Jazz... a little home cooking came along with it?

Blogger chris said...
Amazing: Even a Romanian sports blog has a recap!

Blogger chris said...
Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel has a few words, too, or as noted:

As an NFL coach proved why he’ll be fired in due time last night, an NBA coach made a case for why that thought should cross his team’s mind. Not on purpose, of course, but Vinny Del Negro and his Chicago Bulls orchestrated an epic collapse last night. They led by 35 points before ultimately losing to the Sacramento Kings.

Because of that, for the first time ever in the Mid-Morning Buzz (at least on days when I’ve done it) we’ll include a Sacramento Kings game-related story. Two of them in fact.

Blogger chris said...
More reactions:

- Local radio guy in Chitown comments on the game with some venting:

For the first time this season, Joakim Noah refused to talk. Stating
he had nothing to say really says it all.

...I guess I am mad. There are questions that need to be answered and the
guys doing the answering have never done it before in this capacity. I
wish this was a baseball team so the owner would give a damn. Someone
needs to be held accountable. John and Jerry we’re waiting.

- Looks like a couple of fans unintentionally jinxed the cows:

We joked that even though the Bulls had 80+ points at the start of the 4th quarter, the Bulls wouldn't break 100 and they'd lose. I can't believe it really happened though. I just can't believe it.

- Chicago Tribune recap of pain.

- Sam Amick's game story for the Bee.

Blogger chris said...
As it turned out, the Kings defense didn't deny Chitown free tacos, but FREE BIG MACS!

I guess no trip to Rock and Roll McDonalds tonight for bulls fans.

Blogger tonious35 said...

Can we have an update on the Kings relating to how they are doing without Kevin Martin? They just seem to have more magic in their sleeves and more confidence without that ball-chucking Kid'N Play haircut boy. Would they trade his inefficient ass? Or have a $12 Million 6th man at best?

Blogger Cortez said...
I would argue Patches O'Houlihan is a BETTER coach the Phil Jackson!

Blogger chris said...
tonious35: Chad Ford from ESPN had some thoughts on the matter -

I think the Kings are already beginning to explore their options with Kevin Martin. Clearly Tyreke Evans is the teams new alpha dog and they'd be better off with him playing the 2 and getting a real point guard on the team. I think there will be a lot of interest in Martin when he comes back and could definitely see the Kings making a move by the trade deadline. I wonder if the Wolves would send a package of Mark Blount and Oleksiy Pecherov's expiring contract and the rights to Ricky Rubio whether the Kings would bite.

Blogger chris said...
More reactions:

Sports Illustrated looks at the lack of growth in D-Rose's game.

Chicago Now has an epic facepalm photo.

Fansided provides some video evidence of Vinnie Smallz' squad shrinking to the occasion.

A Royal Pain celebrates!

Blogger Nick Flynt said...
Historic Fail.

This just proves that McHale's love of Bawful has become sentient. The Bawful is growing within his hometown Bulls. It can only get stronger. Look out '99 Bulls, because this team wants to fail harder.

Blogger stephanie g said...
Seems like the biggest problem is that Reinsdorf doesn't care at all about winning basketball. The Bulls are really profitable so it doesn't matter to him anyway. Didn't he say he'd trade all the Bulls titles for the White Sox one?

Blogger benschon said...
Ime Udoka scored 15 fourth quarter points in the comeback. Can a Nigerian-American brother get some love?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
This just proves that McHale's love of Bawful has become sentient. The Bawful is growing within his hometown Bulls. It can only get stronger. Look out '99 Bulls, because this team wants to fail harder.

Fuckin' ay, dude, you hit the nail on the head right there.

Seems like the biggest problem is that Reinsdorf doesn't care at all about winning basketball. The Bulls are really profitable so it doesn't matter to him anyway. Didn't he say he'd trade all the Bulls titles for the White Sox one?

It sure seems that way. In general, I try to shy away from that sort of commentary, since I can really only guess what's going on in Reinsdorf's mind, whereas I can actually see what's going down on the court.

But Jerry doesn't seem to give a shit as long as he keeps the fans reasonably optimistic with late-season surges and a congo line of high draft picks.