"Thanks, guys! I couldn't have done it without the 24 games we've won this season!"
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Even though the Warriors were without Monta "Moped" Ellis (flu), Anthony Randolph (ankle), Kelenna Azubuike, Andris Biedrins (sports hernia) and Brandan Wright, they still managed to beat the Timberpoops 116-107 in Minnesota to make Don Nelson the winningest coach in NBA history. Of course, if David Stern adopted any of my suggestions, a victory over Minny would only count for, like, 0.4 of an actual win. Although that would have still put Nelson at 1,332.4 coaching victories, which would still be the most ever.
Said Stephon Curry: "For us to get the record is a big accomplishment for us. We call it our championship game." In related news, the Warriors are 24-54 this season.
Don Nelson, quote machine: After setting the all-time NBA coaching wins record, Nelson -- who also has 1,061 career coaching losses -- said: "There's plenty of guys close to that if they want to coach a couple of years. There's coaches out there that win 50 at a time, 60 at a time. Not like me, winning 20 at a time, it's a little harder."
The New York Knicks: News flash: As of last night's 113-105 victory over the Bricks -- now the proud losers of 50 games in four of their past five seasons! -- the Pacers won for the 10th time in their last 11 home games and have won eight of 10 overall. Another news flash: Two women tried to sneak a dead man onto an airplane, Weekend At Bernies-style. Which of these facts is stranger? I'm going with the Pacers suddenly looking like postseason contenders. I'm baffled. Of course, Larry Bird is probably furiously dry-humping his desk in Conseco Field House and screaming, "Suck it, bitches!" At least, I'd like to think so.
Said Indy's Danny Granger: "We're clicking well on the offensive end. We're making shots, we're moving, we're getting layups, we're cutting. We really have everything going."
Not surprisingly, Bricks coach Mike 'Antoni remembers things a little differently: "I thought we were dead from the start with the game last night. We didn't have the necessary energy to start the game off. ... "I thought we played pretty well, except for the start."
Much as I hate to admit it, Mikey has a point. The Bricks fell behind 38-25 after the first period and were down by as many as 20 in the first half before rallying for the close loss instead of the blowout loss. Yay team?
Tracy McGrady, quote machine: Regarding Indy's offense: "They get up and down, high volume of shots." Guess who's agent is probably already on the phone with Larry Bird...
The Washington WizardsGenerals Bullets: Thanks to a 121-94 road thrashing by the Orlando Magic -- who have moved to within a half-game of the Los Angeles Lakers We Don't Give A Shit Until The Playoffs for the second-best record in the league -- the Bullets missed out on their first three-game winning streak in two years. Yep. It's been years between stringing together more than two wins in a row.
This beating, and maybe Washington's entire season, was epitomized by the crazy sequence that ended the third quarter. Jason Williams -- that's right, White Chocolate, baby! -- drilled a trey with two seconds left. Then Matt Barnes swatted a sloppy pass from The Fabulous Oberto back to Williams, who swished another three at the buzzer. Those few seconds bumped Orlando's lead from 13 to 19 and basically ended the game.
Said Williams: "I just got lucky."
There's no such thing as luck when you're playing the Bullets. I mean, the Magic shot almot 60 percent for the game. You don't knock down 44 out of 76 field goals by being lucky.
The Toronto Raptors: Can you say snakebitten? Oh, I guess that's pretty easy. Can you say hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian? Yeah. That's what I thought.
Anyway, one night after losing Chris Bosh "for weeks" after Antawn Jamison broke his face with an atomic elbow, Hedo Turkododo left the game during the first quarter after an unintentional headbutt from Boston's Tony Allen. Turkoglu sustained a bruised vagina nasal contusion and was taken to a local dance club for beers the hospital for a CT scan.
Said Antoine Wright: "When it rains it pours, I guess. We're dropping like flies right now."
Buzz buzz buzz!! In related news, last night's 115-104 home loss to the slumping Celtics was Toronto's third not-win in a row and the 12th in their last 18 games. And remember, folks, the Craptors are actually fighting for a playoff spot. I'd hate to see what they'd be doing if they didn't have anything to play for.
Michael Finley: Boston's resident mummy almost missed last night's game against the Craptors after -- and I'm being totally serious here -- he strained his back picking up his luggage at the team hotel. At least he didn't trip over his walker, too.
Said Doc River: "That's when you know you're old."
Added Zombie Finley: "If the game had started at 3 o'clock I probably wouldn't have played. [Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte] worked on me before the game, I went and shot around and it was better so I was able to play." And eat brains...delicious brains...
The Atlanta Hawks: Let me set the stage for you. The Pistons were missing Tayshaun Prince (personal reasons), Richard Hamilton (ankle), Jason Maxiell (back) and Chris Wilcox (hamstring), then lost Rodney Stuckey to a first-half rib injury. Oh, yeah, and Detroit sucks. Conversely, the Hawks fancy themselves contenders, so naturally the Pistons beat them 90-88. It was Detroit's 25th win of the season.
After watching his team get outscored 25-16 in the fourth quarter of a two-point loss to one of the league's worst teams, Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said: "We just self-destructed again down the stretch. That's something we've got to figure out before we start playing playoff basketball."
Yeah. Good luck with that, Mike.
Did I mention the Hawks missed nine free throws? Because that seems worth mentioning.
The Philadelphia 76ers: Philly shot almost 51 percent compared to 41 percent for the Heat, but still lost 99-95 after two dunks by Samuel Dalembert were waived off in the final 34 seconds, including one that would have tied the game with 5.6 seconds left.
Said Sammy: "At first it seemed as if it was inside, but when you look at the replay, it was outside. The referees are not perfect. I think in a crucial point like that they should have gone and watched the replay."
Sorry, Sam. I watched the replay. It was goaltending.
Anyway, the Heat have officially been described as "surging" now. You know what that means...
The Utah Jazz: Hmm. You think the Jazz were worn out from their overtime thriller against the Thunder on Tuesday night? According to the AP recap, the Mormon Musicians didn't arrive in Houston until about 4 a.m. Of course, based on the way they played, it was more like they hadn't shown up at all. Utah went 3-for-15 from downtown (no legs) and committed 26 turnovers, including 14 in the first half (no hands either, I guess).
Deron Williams -- who followed up his career-high 42-point effort against Oklahoma City by starting out 1-for-5 and committing 6 TOs in the first half -- said: "Coach [Jerry Sloan] told us to leave it all on the floor [against the Thunder]. I don't like to make excuses, but it was a tough game for us, a tough turnaround. I tried to get it going. I just never really had that energy."
Chuck Hayes, who not-so-coincidentally grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, responded: "They probably had tired legs, they had a tough, hard-fought game. But that's the NBA. You're going to have back-to-backs like that."
That's the NBA alright. The Jazz fell behind by as many as 26 in the second half before losing 113-96. And just like that, they go from number two in the West to just number two.
Luis Scola, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "We were touching a lot of balls."
The New Jersey Nyets: It didn't really matter the Bucks were without Andrew Bogut or that they were playing the second of back-to-backs after surviving a scrappy game in Chicago the night before. The Nyets just have a way of bringing out the best in their opponents. Milwaukee got a double-double out of the ancient Kurt Thomas (12 points, 10 boards), shot 52 percent as a team and outrebounded New Jersey 45-34. The result: A 108-89 win that was about as easy as the final score makes it look.
The Nyets scored 31 points after halftime on 27 percent shooting. Meanwhile the Bucks have gone 20-6 since trading for John Salmons.
Speaking of Salmons, he earned a tech for yelling at Brook Lopez after Lopez was jawing at Bucks coach Scott Skiles. Said Brook: "I told [Coach Skiles] 'I wasn't talking to you.' Then Salmons told me to shut up and stop talking and I was confused."
I'm confused too, John. Is it really necessary to bully an 11-win team? I mean, really?
Being a member of the Nyets hurts bad enough
without the tough talk from John Salmons.
The Oklahoma City Thunder: Even though Carmelo Anthony got "knocked out" near the end of the third quarter (see below) and Denver went more than 11 minutes without hitting a shot at one point, the Thunder couldn't hold off the Nuggets, who outscored Oklahoma City 25-14 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 13-point deficit and win 98-94. Think the Thunder, like the Jazz, were tuckered out from the night before? I mean, they were outrebounded 50-41 (including 15-10 on the offensive glass) and went 1-for-14 from beyond the arc. Oh, and they didn't connect on a field goal over the final nine minutes of the game.
"No excuses, no excuses," said a flat-footed Kevin Durant, who scored 33 but missed his last six shots.
Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: Regarding getting knocked the hell out: "One of the doctors asked me to say the months backwards. I can't do that on a regular day." The same goes for tying his shoes, folding toilet paper into equal squares, and changing the channel on his TV without a remote control.
By the way, how weird was 'Melo's knockout? In case you haven't watched it, do so now:
Basketbawful reader LotharBot said: "I also recommend watching the video of Carmelo lying on the court motionless while play went on around him. He contends he lost consciousness after colliding with Durant, but apparently everyone in the building thought he was throwing a temper tantrum, so the refs allowed the Thunder to inbound the ball, Denver didn't elect to call a timeout to stop them, and even when the Nugs got the ball back they dribbled into the frontcourt and tried to play around him. It wasn't until the next whistle that anybody thought 'huh... he didn't get up to cherry-pick after the steal. Maybe he's actually hurt.' It was a very, very strange sequence."
The Memphis Grizzlies: After losing at home 113-103 to the Rockets on Tuesday, the Griz traveled to Dallas for a 110-84 bitch slapping. Sometimes it doesn't pay to leave the house in the morning. The Grizzlies -- who were seriously thinking playoffs a few weeks ago -- have dropped six of seven and look like they're ready to go fishin'.
Said Mike Conley: "You can't quit. We have goals like making the playoffs, and we understand that we aren't in it, but we still have to be able to play no matter who we are playing or no matter who is out on the court. We have to play at 100 percent effort and we didn't bring that tonight."
They also didn't bring their hands. Based on the 20 turnovers -- including 12 in the first half that turned into 18 points going the other way -- the Grizzlies were trying to handle the ball with wet pasta noodles dipped in bacon grease. That shouldn't have made me hungry, but it did.
Said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins: "It was unbelievable, the turnovers. We just kept giving them the ball, giving them the ball, and they'd run it down our throat or shoot 3s. Then they were moving the ball really well one stretch, and every time they moved it to an open guy he made a shot. That just broke our will."
The Los Angeles Clippers: Their loss -- a 93-85 home defeat -- was Portland's gain, as the Frail Blazers leap-frogged into the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, the Clips reached loss number 51 of the season. That makes three straight 50-loss seasons...and 11 in the last 17 years. It would have been twelve, but they were only able to lose 41 games in the lockout-shortened 50-game season of 1998-99.
Said The Other L.A. Team's interim head coach / excuse maker Kim Hughes: "We missed a myriad of open shots and layups in the fourth quarter that really hurt us." You can't miss a myriad of open shots and layups in the fourth quarter and win. You just can't.
Anyway, the Clippers are who we thought they were. Movin' on...
The San Antonio Spurs: The "Surging" Curse continued last night, as the previously surging Spurs ran into a buzz saw called the Phoenix Suns. And it was a game of role reversal, with the Suns playing aggressive, physical defense and the Spurs either backing down or crying to the officials for a call. It was Bizarro Night in Phoenix.
Speaking of which, the Suns went up by as many as 17 in the fourth quarter before the Spurs rallied to get to within five points. Mysteriously, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry left Steve Nash -- who had 18 points, 12 assists and a steal -- on the bench for the entire fourth quarter...even though San Antonio was making a comeback. I guess Alvin just really hearts Goran Dragic.
Said Gentry: "If we lose I probably would have gotten fired on the spot. I've got a two-time MVP sitting over there that had a great game. ... I don't think anybody was more happy than Steve the way Goran played. I just think that's what makes us a really good team, just the chemistry and the way everyone pulls for each other."
Nash, for his part, seemed pretty happy with it. Although you have to figure he might have felt otherwise if the Suns had lost. Anyway, Nash said: "Alvin's been ballsy that way lately and it's been great. One, it's important to give those guys confidence and, two, it gives us some rest."
The Spurs -- who fell to 7-9 in the second game of back-to-backs -- were left to rue their lousy first-half foul shooting. At one point in the first half, the Spurs were 4-for-13 from the foul line. They were 7-for-18 by halftime.
Said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: "In the first half, we really missed a great opportunity by missing our free throws."
Of course, fatigue might have played a part in the loss. Hence the 19 turnovers and 6-for-25 long-range shooting.
Said Tim Duncan: "There were too many things that we could have taken care of that were simple. Just turning the ball over, missed free throws. We had a bunch of missed assignments defensively. That's a lot of things that we can clean up. It's a disappointing game for us, but such is life. We've got another one in two days."
Manu Ginobili: It was reported yesterday that the Spurs and Manu -- who has really been kicking ass and taking names lately -- have agreed to a three-year extension worth $38.9 million. The he goes out and scores only 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting, including 0-for-5 from three-point range. But I'm sure it's only coincidence.
Amar''''''e Stoudemire's green arm sleeve: I know it's NBA Green Week and all that, but STAT really should have left it at green socks only. My eyes couldn't focus on that arm sleeve for some reason. Was it just me?
Lacktion report: Last night's extensive run of lacktion kept chris even busier than usual...
Celtics-Raptors: It's amazing how rarely "celebratory" has applied to any of the C's exploits of late, but tonight was a chance for a brotherhood of water-system experts to emerge yet again, with Marquis Daniels (26 seconds) and Shelden Williams (42 seconds) each earning themselves Marios! For Toronto, Marco Belinelli built up a bank account worth 3.6 trillion (3:36) - the Association's 100th wealthy man this year!
Bullets-Magic: Fabricio Oberto - the Bullets' starting big man!!! - actually helped out thricely from the range in 19:41 (and blasted three boards to boot) but gave up his arsenal three times as well, along with a trio of fouls, to earn himself a 6:4 Voskuhl.
Nyets-Bucks: Chris Quinn had a mighty melee of more than millions come his way tonight: 3.5 trillion (3:31) to be exact.
Warriors-Wolves: Starting center Ronnie Turiaf turned a five-assist night into a Voskuhl in 22:12 by negating a field goal with four giveaways and a foul for a 5:2 ratio. (Losing the rock that much really seems to be appropriate for the night of the Nellieball Record-Breaking Win.)
Nuggets-Thunder: Ty Lawson received a cash settlement of 4.2 trillion (4:13) for Denver.
Jazz-Rockets: Jordan Hill climbed into the ledger for Houston tonight by countering three boards in 10:31 with four bricks, two fouls, and two turnovers for a 4:3 Voskuhl. Hilton Armstrong also checked in by putting down a deposit for an overnight stay worth 2.2 trillion (2:11).
Grizzlies-Mavs: Hamed Haddadi had himself a foul in 3:21 for a +1 suck differential that also earned a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl!
Frail Blazers-Clippers: Jeff Pendergraph wired himself another wave of cash, in this case 3.2 trillion (3:11) - the fifth successful entrepreneur of a rather currency-flush evening in the Association. Meanwhile, THE Steve Novak is clearly trying to be this season's least productive player overall, spending 13 seconds assembling a Robotic Operating Buddy for a Mario!
Spurs-Suns: Jarron Collins negated a trio of boards in 12:09 as starting center with four fouls and two turnovers for a 6:3 Voskuhl. Meanwhile, Earl Clark crunched out a sweet box of Nintendo cereal in just 3 seconds for a SUPER MARIO!