Nets Pacers Basketball
Jim O'Brien waves goodbye to showing up on this blog for the rest of the season

Last day of January, and one more step toward warmer weather, which means players on crappy teams are already thinking about getting new grips for their golf clubs. They'll have plenty of free time come the playoffs.

Courtesy of The Onion, here's some invaluable advice for Shaq (audio NSFW). (h/t Jonah Keri)

You mean a diet of bacon and Krispy Kremes won't help someone lose weight?

Worst of the Weekend in Pictures:

"Yeah, my balls are big... they're so big, I have to sit on the bench most of the game"

Magic Bulls Basketball
"JJ, don't tell the guys, but I'm making a Taco Bell run at halftime. You want anything?"

"Aww man... I wanted some Taco Bell too, Coach!!"

Celtics Suns Basketball
"Damn, something stinks! Must be my vagina again"

Grizzlies 76ers Basketball
The kind of action you would expect from a Grizzlies/Sixers game

Nuggets Cavaliers Basketball
Sad Cavs bench photos are starting to remind me of the Sad Nyets bench photos from last year...

Nationally Televised Games:
Nuggets at Nyets, NBA TV, 7pm: Could we see an owner-level revenge game?? The Prokhorov is upset with how the talks fell through and Carmelo isn't going to be donning a Nyets uniform any time soon. Will he find a way to motivate his players to crush the Nuggets and Melo in response?

Of course I'm just talking out my ass and this game is fairly meaningless and will probably be boring. Unless, naturally, you choose to play the Melo in NJ Drinking Game! (Note: this blog is not responsible for any potentially fatal alcohol poisoning you may suffer by participating)

All the Other Games:
Craptors at Pacers, 7pm: Dead Coach Bounce alert! Dead Coach Bounce alert! They're gonna bounce like the rollerblading Craptors' mascot's face bounces off the floor.

Cavaliers at Heat, 7:30pm: I think we officially can stop caring about Cleveland revenge games against LeBron James, right? I mean, 20 consecutive losses (TWENTY!!!) should pretty well obliterate those thoughts.

Magic at Grizzlies, 8pm: The Care Bears are sitting exactly where I expected them to: just barely south of the .500 mark. This somehow feels appropriate and right, doesn't it?

Wizards Generals at Mavericks, 8:30pm: As noted by ESPN's Jon Buccigross: "Cleveland carries a 20-game losing streak and 23-game road losing streak into Miami tonight. the Wizards take 0-23 road record to Dallas." It's kind of sad that the Cavs streak diminishes the attention the Generals deserve. This is an impressive level of sucktitude that should be recognized. And that's why we're here. You're welcome.

Bobcraps at Jazz, 9pm: Deron Williams is banged up, and the Jazz are in the middle of a severe funk. Losses to the Generals, Nyets, Sixers, and Timberpoops in that stretch, and most recently they only dropped 81 on Golden State. The Warriors! Isn't that rock bottom??

Bucks at Clippers, 10:30pm: The Bucks have regained some credibility and are riding a 3-game winning streak. The Clippers are on a 13-7 run. What alternate universe have I stepped into??


So Bawful asked me to fill in for him today, so I thought I’d go with one of my famous live-blog posts for the marquis match-up of the weekend – Lakers / Celtics. I didn’t get involved in watching full time until 4:12 left in the first quarter but, saw a bit before that:

First Quarter:

Don’t know the moment of the game, but Ray Allen was just called for his second foul. He was essentially called for allowing Kobe Bryant to hit him with a forearm shiver. I am reminded of last year’s game 7, and then further reminded of a recent Sports Illustrated article that analyzed the elements that go into home-court advantage, essentially concluding that umpires and referees are actually the most significant variable in creating home-court advantage. I found this revelation to be obvious, depressing, depressingly obvious and obviously depressing.

4:12 left – Kendrick Perkins is indignant about being called for a foul. Replay shows he pushed Bynum out of the way, thus proving his ability to be oblivious and ignorant has also healed up nicely.

Bos 16-10

3:56 – Garnett with a high release off the glass over Odom

3:39 – Bynum with a big rebound put back off miss.

3:12 – Odom responds with a fast break layup past Garnett.

Bos – 18-14 – I feel like no lead, no matter how large, will feel safe after last year’s game 7.

It appears Shaq brought his mother to make sure the crowd would be nice to him. When asked if she cares he’s in Celtic green, she apparently replied “I’m just glad he’s working.” Aw, mom. Just as lovable.

Mike Breen stat curses the C’s, calling them the “best shooting team in the NBA,” which may be true, but can only mean the C’s will stink up the joint.

True to form, Rondo misses a jumper at 1:52.

1:00 – Marquis Daniels misses lame looking 8-footer. He’s looked anemic every time I’ve seen him lately.

:25 – Breen asks Mark Jackson (MJ) about why Ron Artest hasn’t been as effective this year. Jackson says Ron Artest is looking “more healthier” than he did earlier in the season. He’s a professional broadcaster. No, really. And you know what? MJ is more worse at it than he was last season.

Second Quarter:

11:23 – Nate Robinson puts in an off-balance three-pointer.

10:53 – Ray Allen for three. He could do damage to the Lakers in this game if he gets hot. They’d better call him for his third foul soon.

10:37 – Gasol with a pretty lefty hook.

Bos -28-25

10:25 – Nate Robinson jab-steps and hits fall-away jumper. The athleticism he’s showing takes some sting out of losing Eddie House for him. Though House looked good in the day’s earlier game – Heat / Thunder – in which he nailed a cold-blooded dagger three and a couple of ice-the-game free throws. Nate’s going to have to play real good for me to lose my man-crush on House – minus the foolish "big balls" dance he did after the three of course. C’mon Eddie! You’re better than that!

9:50 – Allen with a leg-kick 8-foot jumper. They really need to call a foul on him and get him off the floor. He’s dangerous.

Bos 34-25 – For some reason, the bigger this lead gets, the more nervous I get. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anyone?

8:05 - Breen mentions that Ray Allen is always the first player to the stadium. Apparently, he didn’t listen to pregame commentary, in which Jon Barry informed us all that Kobe was actually at Staples before Ray Allen for this game. Way to research, Breeny.

6:47 – Matt Damon is shown in the first row, wearing a winter cap with a green Red Sox “B.” Completely off-the-mark clothing aside, I love Damon’s public in-your-face Boston love, even though he’s technically just another overpaid celebrity who sits in the first row of Laker games. Shout out to Matty Ice 2.

Insert affiliation-based caption here:
Celtic fans: Awesomest. Celebrity. Ever.
Laker fans (In retard voice): "Iiiii'm Matt Dammonn!"

6:34 – Garnett takes a shot to the head from Gasol. Play stops, but no foul is called. Garnett calmly walks to Joe Crawford with his skull dripping lots of blood and says something very calmly to Crawford. If I got to choose, I would hope it was: “This development would seem to be an absolutely perfect microcosm of the incompetence of NBA officiating, don’t you think?”

Alas, the replay shows that Gasol’s elbow was without a doubt inadvertent. The blood on Garnett’s head, however, begs to differ. But NBA officiating still sucks anyway. So there.

38-31, Celtics

Hints of Staples Center boos as an injured Garnett quietly goes to the locker room. Garnett has actually seemed surprisingly not insane for this game; maybe he's just letting his feet do the talking. Next up is a shot of Jack Nicholson, with Jeff Van Gundy (JVG) talking about how Nicholson owns glasses that match every one of his suits, followed then by Pierce splayed on the floor at 6:21...and though Pierce clearly flopped, my L.A. dislike has reached a high for the game thus far. Please show Matt Damon again to make me feel better!

Celebrity Crap 1:
They just showed Damon again, yay. Maybe in 30 years, he’ll be the Boston version of Jack Nicholson. In years past, they used to force Jack to sit in the third balcony of the Boston Garden – even for the Finals! It was always hilarious to see him up there, being treated like shit. LA, however, has an enormous priority conundrum – Matt Damon is a celebrity, but is also a Boston fan. So what should LA do? Kiss his celebrity ass, or treat his Boston-loving ass like poo? Should be interesting to see how that plays out in years to come if Damon’s career slides.

Anyway, the shot of Damon is followed by shots of George Lopez and Jimmy Kimmel, which makes me wonder “The always-present Nicholson notwithstanding, there MUST be more famous LA fan celebrities you can show than THAT.”

5:14 – Garnett returns with a bandage on his head. I had no idea they manufactured actual “KG-sized” band-aids.

Don't worry. None of my irrational prison rage leaked out.

4:24 – KG hits a jumper. C’s - 42-36

3:23 – Inexplicable foul call on Gasol for being pushed by Shaq. After some slo-mo replays, Breen indicates the foul was changed to Artest, who was literally standing on his own, 20 feet away. Van Gundy correctly points out Artest “wasn’t even in the vicinity.” NBA refs continue to dazzle. Maybe we should put an asterisk next to EVERY NBA champion from now on?

C’s – 42-41

After two big rebounds, Kobe hits a 3. Lakers on a 13-2 run. Lakers 44-42.

2:01 – Kobe fakes, gets Shaq in the air, gets a foul call, and gives Shaq what Mark Jackson calls a “Remember me buddy?” look.

(Also pictured: Ray Allen / Shaquille O'Neill)

1:26 – Rondo lets Fisher breeze by him for a second time in egregiously bad fashion, resulting in a Gasol make from the baseline. I thought Rondo was a lot younger than Fisher…? His defense wouldn’t indicate this.

19.9 – Joe Crawford calls a double technical on Artest and Perkins. Crawford's "I rule over all of you turds" look reminds me of the Celtics / Suns game two days before when Doc Rivers screamed to Steve Javie, who had just ejected him, “It’s not about YOU, it’s about the GAME!”

1.4 – Kobe makes a nice move to the basket and gets a foul call. Odom gives what is, according to JVG, an “I can’t believe how good you are” look at Kobe. JVG follows by saying, “I’d rather watch Kobe miss than most other players make.” Agreed, Jeff. I would too. I’ll take a miss any day. A late whistle coming a full second after imaginary contact, no, but a miss, yes.

0.7 – Odom is called for hitting Big Baby on the arm on a desperation final half court shot. Dumb move. This moment is followed by some great quote-machine items. First by Mark Jackson: “Lamar Odom is a high-IQ guy, basketball-wise, but...” Yes, Mark, be sure you include the term “basketball-wise” in that statement. Then JVG follows with this beautiful nugget, giving wonderful insight into the state of NBA officiating: “You don’t find too many officials, even with contact, that will make those calls, but I think that’s the right call.” JVG night as well have said “Boy refs really suck, don’t they?”

Big baby makes 2 of 3.

Halftime – Lakers 54 – 50

Halftime interview – Kobe stays classy San Diego, saying Lamar Odom will be on Sportscenter’s “Not Top Ten” for fouling Big Baby before the half. Not everyone is as good as you, Kobe. I’m surprised I need to tell you this. I thought you knew that better than anyone.

Third Quarter:

11:27 – Kobe sticks a 3. Lakers 57-50

I'm noticing Garnett’s head bandage is exactly the same color as the Staples floor. It looks like someone put a hole in his head (Insert “Yeah, I’D like to put a hole in his head” joke here, Laker fans.)

9:33 – Pierce with a strong left hand finish after driving around a hobbled Artest, foul by Bynum. Artest leaves, appearing to have a left knee issue.

Celts 58-57

9:20 - Shaq gets his fifth foul on a “shoulda let them play” call. Gasol gave the push away as well. Should have been a no-call.

8:46 – Pierce 3-pointer. Celtics 61-59. Pierce already has 25.

7:26 – Rondo throws up a jumper with no hesitation – and air balls it. At least he tossed it up with...confidence?

6:39 – Another pierce three, after great inside out pass from Perkins. Pierce has the last 10 C’s points.

5:28 – Odom busy giving Kobe the “I can’t believe how good you are” look. Unfortunately, Kobe chooses to pass to him at the time, and Odom proceeds to botch the play completely.

Pierce layup puts C’s up 68-62. Pierce has 14 points in the quarter. Lakers getting a taste of how it would be to play the Celtics missing RonRon. This play is reshown in slo-mo to highlight Luke Walton’s crappy (not scrappy) defense.

3:48 – After a Fisher steal and breakaway, Ran Allen called for a foul on a play where there was clearly no contact. Mark Jackson inadvertently insults NBA officiating once again, oblivious to his own irony: “That’s not contact by Ray Allen, but Derek Fisher does such a great job of making it look like a sniper shot him.” It’s amazing how many different, creative ways commentators are managing to talk about God-awful NBA officiating . JVG, once again, the voice of reason: “Joey Crawford on that play had a bad angle, and Fisher, as a renowned flopper deserves no benefit of the doubt on [one of] those dives into somebody’s body. That was a missed call.” I love you, JVG. Not as much as I love Matt Damon, but take what you can get.

3:32 – Fisher proves JVG right as he gets the refs to call Perkins on a moving pick. Mark Jackson confirms his support of the dark arts: “We’re in Hollywood, ladies and gentlemen. Give Derek Fisher an Oscar.” JVG wonders aloud how Crawford can repeatedly fall for the same head snap / arm throw night in, night out: “The guy’s been around for like 25 years!” Breen replies with an I’m-not-paid-to-give-an-insightful-opinion giggle.

Celtics 70-67

2:38 – Kobe 3-pointer makes it 72-70, Celtics. Then he gives a little nod that makes me want to punch him, even though if I met him in person, I know I’d be all: “Hi Mr. Bryant, could you sign my T-shirt?”

We are treated to a slow-motion montage of the various Derek Fisher flops from just this quarter. I’m considering remaking my You’ve been Ginobili’d video to You’ve been Fisher’d.

Celebrity Crap 2:
Adam Sandler is promoting his latest crap movie. How do I know it's crap? It's an Adam Sandler movie, and it isn't "Happy Gilmore 2." His comment: “I can’t tell you what it’s about, but I showed it to Kevin Garnett and he laughed so hard he split his head open.” This man hasn’t been funny in years, and has a billion dollars. Life is not fair. And he’s a Knicks fan. Doesn’t even care who wins, which is almost more annoying than if he were a Laker fan. Favorite Adam-Sandler-is-secretly-a-dick comment: “The movie’s funny. Aniston’s in it (call her Jennifer Aniston, you ass), these two people next to us are in it…(his co-stars are sitting next to him and he won’t even name them…I know time is short, Adam, but name your co-stars, especially when we care way more about one of them – Hello Brooklyn Decker – than you. The female commentator plays right along, ignoring the existence of Adam Sandler’s less-famous co-stars. LA's most plentiful export? Self-aggrandizing a-holes.)

Why you will ignore this man's new movie:
It's not 1996.

1.6 – Rondo says “Take that, Derek Fisher” and draws a charge call on Bryant with some floppery theatre of his own.

11:22 – Ray Allen three. Celtics 80-74. We get a nice slo-mo replay of Steve Blake’s bad defense (a.k.a. Luke Walton treatment).

Breen betrays that he’s never played any level of basketball, commenting that he can’t understand why the Celtics shot so poorly in Phoenix and so well here. They were on the second half of a back-to-back, Mike. Go read a novel and have a brandy, nerd.

9:12 – Rondo wants a foul on Blake, then flops a second later to create one. JVG says: “He fell down.” Annoyingly, Mark Jackson says: “Thank you,” as if he’s been saying meaningful, logical things about the sins of flopping during the game…which, of course, he hasn’t. Maybe I should do a "You've been Rondo'd." Oh wait, that's been done, more than once, and was the inspiration for my Ginobili video. Duh.

The Breen of Irony: “We’ve had a lot of calls sold very well here this afternoon.” Again, has Breen’s boss told him to never point out bullshit when he sees it? Or does he really not see it?

Kobe deciding “It’s time to put the kids to bed,” according to MJ. Cuts Celtic lead to 4.

4:02 – Rondo alley oop to Garnett makes it Celtics 98-87.

2:55 – Big Baby draws a legit offensive foul. 101-89.

1:29 – Garnett to Rondo for layup.

Awesome Commercial alert:
People from the future being incorporated into old high-school / college footage of current NBA players. The latest features Steve Nash. I bow before whomever came up with this concept.

Final Word:

True to the formula, Kobe tried to take over, and this did not benefit the Lakers. He scored 41, and the Lakers lost. They have lost 4 of the last 5 when Kobe scores over 35. So if Phil Jackson benched Kobe for the whole game, would the Lakers have won? He should try that.

109-93 – Very deceptive final score. It was way closer than that. And Artest wasn’t at full strength. The teams showed me they are still essentially neck and neck, and I wouldn’t be remotely shocked to see the Lakers win the next meeting in Boston.

With Jack sitting up in the third balcony, hopefully.

Worst of the Weekend bonus:

I had a family obligation on Friday night, and missed the second half of the Celtics-Suns game. I DVR'd it, but then accidentally saw the final score and decided to blow off watching the second half. Then, tonight, when there was nothing good on TV, including a Golden State / Utah game (yawn), I watched the recorded second half of Celtics / Suns, figuring:
- I could enjoy me a little Steve Nash magic, and
- Even a stale Celtics game where I know they lost is better than anything else I could watch.
And boy was I right. Why, oh why, does Kevin Garnett make it so difficult to like him? A furtive nut shot? Really? And then to give that astonished "Who me?" look when you know you just jabbed a guy in the nutsack AND undercut his legs at the same time...Christ, you're making Bruce Bowen's foot defense look downright timid.

Labels: ,

Heat Knicks Basketball
"Hey Tracy, it's cool. I jack it to Sarah Palin too"

Some rapid-fire links for your Friday enjoyment:

Bill Walton, back in action. (h/t Trey Kirby for retweeting the link)

If you ever wonder why we have a shot clock in the NBA, just remember that we used to have games like this. Yes, I am definitely in favor of the 24 second clock.

We're only a couple weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting, so how about a little basebawful? A collection of the best baseball player names. You really should give this one a read -- you won't be disappointed.

Fantastically random: Did China try to pass off Top Gun as air force footage?

And finally, Russian ripoff of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Yep, it exists. Here is a link to an episode of it, or you can just enjoy the opening sequence in the clip below as we are introduced to the Joike doppelganger and his friends Fidel the penguin and Ketchup the really creepy dog.

How do you say "what is this I don't even" in Russian?

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

Rockets Mavericks Basketball
"High five! Hit me up top!"

Celtics Trail Blazers Basketball
"Damnit Mark, for the last time, no! We're not even in the same city right now!"

Rockets Mavericks Basketball
Meanwhile, Dirk is positively hypnotized by the ball

Mulder and Scully at the Heat game, exploring the mystery of why LeBron just keeps jacking up bad jump shots

Heat Knicks Basketball

Heat Knicks Basketball
You know, D'Antoni has a picture like this almost every single game, and it makes me laugh every single time

Nationally Televised Friday Games:
Celtics at Suns, ESPN, 10:30pm: The C's are on the second night of a back-to-back on the road, have nothing resembling a bench at this point, and are ancient. But the Suns have Vag Carter. Advantage: Celtics.

All The Other Friday Games:
Nyets at Pacers, 7pm: The Nyets have lost 7 of their last 8 games against the Pacers. Then again, that's probably about the same for every single team they've played in the past two years, so whatever.

Grizzlies at 76ers, 7pm: It looks like we'll be missing OJ Mayo for a couple weeks since he's been handed down a 10 game suspension for violating the league's drug rules. But hey, all he did was taken an over-the-counter supplement that apparently transforms into a form of steroids once it's in your body. At least it's better than pulling a Manny Ramirez and being pumped full of female fertility drugs. So, there you go, Memphis fans. A little silver lining for your latest cloud.

Bucks at Craptors, 7pm: If the Bucks can't put up 100 points tonight, they won't do it the rest of the season. Unless it's against the Warriors or Suns. Then they could still do it.

Knicks at Hawks, 7:30pm: Big win over the Heat last night for the Knicks... Letdown game? Letdown game.

Nuggets at Cavaliers, 7:30pm: Seriously Cleveland, it's just getting sad at this point. You've proved your point that LeBron screwed you. You can go ahead and start trying again. Wait, you mean you are trying to win games but just really do suck that bad? (looks at roster) Oh, shit. My bad.

Pistons at Heat, 7:30pm: Yi Jianlian is infamous for posting up a metal folding chair when teams were working him out. I don't think LeBron could post up a beanbag chair.

Magic at Bulls, 8pm: Derrick Rose already has stomach ulcers? Are we sure he's only 22? Or is he like one of those Dominican little league world series guys and is secretly older than Greg Oden?

Wizards Generals at Thunder, 8pm: And the Generals' road losing streak continues.

Timberwolves at Jazz, 9pm: You know you want Kevin Love to be in the All-Star game. Just look at this commercial!

Bobcraps at Warriors, 10:30pm: The Bobcraps have just owned the Warriors this year. Considering how horrible they were before Paul Silas rejuvenated the team (he's won 10 of his 16 games with the Bobcraps!), that's just sad.

Kings at Lakers, 10:30pm: Oooh, this is going to be ugly.

* * *

Nationally Televised Saturday Games:
Hawks at Mavericks, NBA TV, 8:30pm: Pretty solid Simmons piece that includes talks of just how good Dirk Nowitzki is.

All The Other Saturday Games:
Pacers at Bulls, 8pm: Let me just sum up the state of the Pacers by quoting a line from this post at Eight Points Nine Seconds:
But to my knowledge, no teams have ever made the playoffs with both a terrible offense and a terrible defense.
Craptor at Timberwolves, 8pm: Defense? We don't need no stinkin' defense!

Wizards Generals at Grizzlies, 8pm: Want to make certain you don't have sex for the next three months? Take your girlfriend/wife/whatever to a Generals/Care Bears game as an early Valentine's present.

Nyets at Bucks, 8:30pm: This image pretty well sums up this game:

Rockets at Spurs, 8:30pm: You have to think Pops pinches himself after every game wondering if he's dreaming. It just makes no sense that this team is still as stupidly good as it is.

Hornets at Kings, 10pm: Poor Sacramento. They're going to have to repair smoke damage to their arena, because the Hornets are on fire.

Bobcraps at Clippers, 10:30pm: Prediction: Blake Griffin does Blake Griffin-type things to make this game slightly interesting. (Yeah, I know, going out on a limb, eh?)

* * *

Nationally Televised Sunday Games:
Heat at Thunder, ABC, 1pm: Okay, this is a good way to get your Sunday afternoon going.

Celtics at Lakers, ABC, 3:30pm: Ooh! How much better can this day get?

Jazz at Warriors, ESPN, 10pm: ...and nevermind.

All The Other Sunday Games:
Cavaliers at Magic, 6pm: Yeah, I get that the Magic have slowed down after their hot winning streak, but c'mon. It's the Cavaliers. Honestly.

Nuggets at 76ers, 6pm: Story from "Sixers have shot at .500 record." Lofty aspirations in Philly right now, I see.

Pistons at Knicks, 7:30pm: I have nothing interesting to say about this game, so I'm just gonna link you to this picture and caption that absolutely killed me. (via JE Skeets and Gourmet Spud)

Hornets at Suns, 8pm: Hey, stop me if you've heard this one before, but you know what? The Suns are really good at offense and really bad at defense. What? You've heard that one before? Well, darn.


Even mascots get to the rim more than Vince Carter does.
In related news, I freakin' hate Vince Carter.

The Memphis Grizzlies: The Care Bears led 32-16 after 12 minutes and led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter...

...and still lost to the New Jersey Nyets anyway.


Reality check: New Jersey is 14-32 and trailed another sub-.500 team by double-digits for most of the night despite playing at home. I mean, it's great they won and all, but, well, yeah.

The difference of the game? Probably New Jersey's 56-12 edge in bench scoring.

From Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats and Information): "From Elias: The New Jersey Nets had three players score at least 14 points off the bench in their 93-88 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Anthony Morrow had 19 points, and Kris Humphries and Sasha Vujacic both added 14. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first time since March 5, 1984 against the Utah Jazz, that the Nets had three non-starters score at least 14 points in a game they won a game by five points or fewer. (In that 1984 120-116 win over the Jazz, the three players who scored at least 14 off the bench for the Nets were: Otis Birdsong (18), Darwin Cook (17) and Albert King (16)."

Look, any time you can reference Otis Birdsong, Darwin Cook and Albert King in the same post, you do it. You just do it.

Said Zach Randolph: "We had the game and just didn't finish it out. We started out great but broke down defensively in the second half. I don't know if we got winded, but we didn't do anything different. We didn't make shots, not like we did in the first half. We had this game and gave it away."

Sasha Vujacic: He gave the Grizzlies a chance to force overtime by bricking a free throw with 7.3 seconds left. Damn. Why couldn't he have done that during the NBA Finals?

The Toronto Craptors: And here...we...go!

Exactly how bad is Toronto's defense? Let me put it this way: Marreese Speights scored 17 points in a single quarter against their zone.

It was easier than feeding frosting to a fatty.

Said Philly coach Doug Collins: "It's interesting how you watch tape some times. I was watching the Spurs-Toronto game and one of the sets [San Antonio] runs, we run and Toronto was struggling stopping it when they played zone. We ran that play almost the entire second quarter. Mo rolled to the basket and Jrue did a nice job finding him for those little pocket passes and scores."

Added Speights: "It was pretty easy. The zone wasn't really that hard to break."

Make it nine losses in a row for the Craptosaurs. In case you were wondering, that represents Toronto's longest fail streak since a 10-game crap-a-palooza that lasted from March 26 to April 12, 2006.

Advanced stat(s) of the game: The Toronto D "held" the Philly O to an Offensive Rating of 121.0 and an Offensive Rebounding Rate of 41.5. So not only did the Sixers hit half their shots, they rebounded nearly half of the shots they missed.

Andrea Bargnani: From the AP game notes: "Bargnani had to head to the locker room late in the first quarter after jamming his toe but soon returned after getting a protective cap put on it."
A protective toe cap. Well then.

Jay Triano, coach of the year candidate: "I thought our defense was very porous all night. They kind of got in to where they wanted to go."

The Detroit Pistons: As Dan B. pointed out in his BAD post, the Nuggets hadn't won in Detroit since March 10, 1995. They had lost 14 consecutive games in the Motor City. And as if the stat curse wasn't enough, Chauncey Billups erupted for a game-high 26-point revenge game against his old team.

Said the Artist Formerly Known as Mr. Big Shot: "I love getting the ovations and showing the people what they've missed. I never wanted to leave here. Everyone knows that. I wanted to retire here."

Thanks for that, Joe Dumars.

Speaking of which, from the AP recap:

Detroit dealt him two-plus years ago, hoping to speed the development of Rodney Stuckey while clearing salary-cap space for the future.

Stuckey hasn't turned into a dependable point guard and the millions spent in the summer of 2009 on free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva haven't paid off.
And people were calling Dumars a genius not too many years ago. Well, as Forest Gump would say, stupid is as stupid does.

In related news, according to the AP game notes, the Pistons were valued at $360 million -- a 25 percent decline since last year -- in Forbes' annual evaluation of NBA teams.

I'm just sayin'.

Chauncey Billups, quote machine: Regarding the ongoing soap opera involving Detroit coach Johh Kuester and Rip Hamilton: "He's Pistons royalty. He's one of the greats, and his jersey is going up into those rafters, so he doesn't deserve to be disrespected like this."

Man, I'm telling you, if Dumars was still running this team, he'd never let Kuester...oh...wait...

The Atlanta Hawks: The Bucks are the worst offensive team in the league. Easily. By far. They rank 30th in PPG (91) and FGP (42.3). And, as if that wasn't bad enough, they were missing Milwaukee Brandon Jennings (left foot), John Salmons (right hip) and Drew Gooden (left foot).

But the Basketball Gods said, "Let there be Offense!" And there was.

During the fourth quarter, Milwaukee went 11-for-18 from the field and 5-for-7 from downtown, outscoring Atlanta 34-15 and earning a 98-90 victory.

Seriously. The Bucks scored 98 points. The end is nigh. Somebody hold me.

Earl "Motherfucking" Boykins -- who dropped 11 of his 20 points in the final 12 minutes -- said: "That's foreign territory to us. We looked like a hell of an offensive team. It's so much of a different game when you make shots and put pressure on the other team. When you miss, they don't have to score."

There's an important lesson for all you basketball scholars: Scoring is important.

Again, as Dan B. pointed out in BAD, the Hawks hadn't lost on the road since December 31. Stat curse, baby.

Atlanta coach Larry Drew referred to his team's choke job as a "total collapse" and went on to say: "We cannot allow the snowball effect in the fourth quarter -- especially when we have played so well and are right there and then to have a total collapse. We gave up 34 points in the fourth quarter. There is a high probability that we won't win many games giving up that point total in any quarter."

Coach of the year candidate, folks.

Added Josh Smith: "We couldn't buy a basket in the fourth quarter."

Smith knows what he's talking about. He couldn't buy a basket ball night, going 6-for-20 from the field and 1-for-5 on threes. But at least he committed a game-high 4 turnovers.

The Utah Jazz: The Jazz have 12 comeback victories this season. In those comebacks, they've overcome deficits of more than 15 points seven times. And last night, Deron Willaims scored 17 of his season-high 39 points as...

...Utah lost at home to the Spurs. It was the team's sixth straight loss. Their average margin of defeat during this streak is 15 points.

Said Deron Williams: "We played better. We played harder. But, still, a loss tastes sour."

Huh. I thought it tasted like chicken. Sour chicken.

Bonus stat: The Jazz shot 54.7 percent. And lost.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Oh those poor Timberwolves. Only they could score 117 points and lose. Okay, okay, the Suns could do it, too. But still.

Kevin Love had another Animal Style double-double (31 points and 21 boards) and Michael Beasley nearly finished with a triple-double (30 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists), but Kevin Durant put up career highs in points (47) and rebounds (18) despite missing nine of his first 14 shots.

And poor Kevin Love was shell-shocked by it.

From the AP recap: "All I can say is Durant is incredible," Love said, a glazed look in his eye. "He's incredible."

Random funny quote from the AP game notes: "In the second quarter, Love and Darko Milicic were fighting for the same rebound, and Love relented. He then looked at the bench and winked, his charity done for the day."

Oh, I wouldn't say his charity was done. I mean, his defense was pretty charitable, and he missed a hook shot that would have won the game at the end of regulation. Speaking of which...

Kevin Love, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "When it left my hand, I said, 'That thing's in.' I was about to run back to the locker room right away. That thing went in and out."

The Los Angeles Clippers: Poor Blake Griffin. With Eric Gordon out of the lineup, he's pretty much the go-to everything on his team. People are fouling him left and right any time he beats them on a move. And, as if all that's not enough, the Rockets unleashed Chuck Hayes on him last night.

And we all know what Chuck did to Amar''''''e Stoudemire last week.

Blake still had a double-double (14 points and 11 rebounds)...but he shot 5-for-16 and spent 37 minutes and seven seconds wearing a Chuck Hayes-shaped straightjacket.

Said Hayes: "I'm a fan of what he's doing. From a fan standpoint, I'm entertained, just like everybody else. As a competitor, I'm telling myself, 'He's not doing that on me.' ... It's unbelievable what he's doing. At the same time, as I'm watching it, I'm also scouting him. I know exactly what not to let him do. ... If I keep my body on him and go strength-for-strength, muscle-for-muscle," Hayes said, "I have a chance."

Dude's a freaking bulldog.

The Clips finished with only 83 points on 36 percent shooting. It was only the third times Houston has held an opponent under 100 points since December 22. The Other L.A. Team committed 15 turnovers and missed 15 of their 18 three-point attempts. They were also outrebounded (50-44) for the first time in eight games.

In other words, it was a strong performance all around.

Vinny Del Negro, coach of the year candidate: "We just couldn't put the ball in the basket."

The Golden State Warriors: The Hornets have been streakin', so the loss, in and of itself, isn't all that remarkable. But here's where I remark that the Hornets rank 22nd in Offensive Rating (105.3), 26th in PPG (94.6) and hadn't scored more than 110 points all season...and even that happened in an overtime game against a Rockets team that gives up 104.7 PPG and ranks 24th in Defensive Rating (109.5).

Well, last night the Hornets scored a season-high 112 points and finished with high marks in O-Rating (115.9) and eFG% (65.5).

Ah, that Golden State defense.

Said Warriors coach Keith Smart: "The NBA takes two things: effort and toughness. And if you've got effort and you have toughness, you're going to have a chance to play against any team in the NBA. If you don't show any of that against the good teams, they're going to force their will. And we didn't force our will early in the game."

Anyway, speaking of bad defenses...

The Phoenix Suns: The Charlotte Bobcraps rank 25th in Offensive Rating (102.6) and 28th in PPG (93.2). They had reached 100 points only once in their last nine games...but they finished with 114 points last night against the Suns. The only other time this season they had finished with more than 113 points was on November 20, when they scored a season-high 123 points...against the Suns.

Charlotte shot 50 percent from the field and 53 percent from downtown. They swept the Four Factors and finished with an insane O-Rating of 134.8. And that was despite Stephen Jackson going 7-for-20.

What a waste of another great performance by Steve Nash (27 points and 15 dimes).

Stat of the game: The Bobcraps had a 29-10 advantage in free throw attempts, including 16-0 in the second half.

Said Suns coach Alvin Gentry: "We have to do better at finishing games."

Vince Carter -- who took 17 shots but didn't have a single field goal attempt at the rim or inside 10 feet -- added : "We have to will ourselves to win."

Why don't you will yourself to the basket instead of chucking up jumpers, you lazy f**k? Sorry.

The Indiana Pacers: Going into this game, I was thinking, "If Roy Hibbert can just slow down Dwight Howard a little..."


Hibbert was powerless against Pumaman (19 points and 16 boards) and the Magic went 16-for-34 from three-point range. Why is that second stat a big deal, you ask? The 16 treys are the most ever made by a Pacers opponent. They nailed seven of those threes during the second quarter, which they won 38-27. Orlando went on to build a 23-point lead and never looked back.

Said Pacers coach Jim O'Brien: "They absolutely had their way from the 3-point line. We had lapses on the perimeter that we shouldn't have. Sometimes, you have games where you are not focused on the little things, and that's what happened tonight."

Danny Granger, Indy's franchise player who went 6-for-19 from the field and (ugh!) 3-for-11 from long distance, added: "Defense really is a thing where you've got to know rotations, you've got to know assignments, you've got to know coverages. More often than not, we're missing our assignments, we're missing coverages. We're sliding right now, and if we don't stop it soon, we'll be out of the playoff mix. It's do or die right now for us."

Yeah. I'm gonna go with "die" on this one.

Amar''''''e Stoudemire, stupid quote machine: Yep. He said it: Nobody's afraid of the Miami Heat."

Really, STAT? You mean the same Heat team that castrated your squad in New York? You're not afraid of those guys? Well, you play them tonight, and as Yoda might say...

Chris's lacktion report:

Magic-Pacers: Chris Duhon stared at a tossable onion for 6 seconds for a Super Mario!

Grizzlies-Nyets: Hamed Haddadi wore a Tanooki suit for 24 seconds to earn a Mario.

Nuggets-Pistons: DaJuan Summers spent four seconds lost in the monochrome world of the Virtual Boy and garnered a Super Mario for Auburn Hills.

Clippers-Rockets: Ishmael Smith took up one board in 45 seconds, only to blast his way through a Dr. Mario diagnosis in that time.

Bobcats-Suns: Eduardo Najera baked a brick in 3:42 for a +1 suck differential.

Spurs-Jazz: Tiago Splitter divided his 6:41 between a steal and the negatory nature of a foul and brick for a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl, while Utah's Gordon Hayward had a 34 second sax solo in Mario Paint.

Hornets-Warriors: DJ Mbenga scratched out a rebound in 5:13, yet fouled thricely and lost the rock twice for a 5:1 Voskuhl. Fellow insect Quincy Pondexter gathered up an exact 2.6 trillion (2:36) in celebration.

Labels: ,

Cavaliers Celtics Basketball
"I'm back!"
"So what?"
"So what? So let's dance!"

Short on time today, folks. Let's get right to it... as soon as I link you to this great post from Kelly Dwyer examining the state of technical fouls. (Hint: it's FUBAR, as shocking as that must be...)

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

Nuggets Wizards Basketball
"For my next trick, I shall make Nick Young levitate!"

This is the visual equivalent of the Sad Trombone

Cavaliers Celtics Basketball
"And here's the play at home plate!"

Nationally Televised Games:
Spurs at Jazz, ESPN, 9:30pm: So the Jazz get to finally come home after a depressing five game losing streak on their latest road trip... and they're immediately greeted by the juggernaut San Antonio Spurs. That's a slap in the face to say the least.

All The Other Games:
Magic at Pacers, 7pm: Paging Roy Hibbert's scoring touch... Paging Roy Hibbert's scoring touch...

Grizzlies at Nyets, 7pm: Anyone else almost feel sorry for the Care Bears? They're stuck in that "good enough to be kinda sorta competitive" but "sucky enough to never have a shot at a playoff run" zone where you can't stock up on draft picks, and you can't succeed. Plus they're stuck in Memphis, which doesn't help a lot either.

76ers at Craptors, 7pm: Those poor extinct lizards are riding an eight game losing streak. The really surprising thing is that they haven't seen a losing streak this bad since 2006. It sure doesn't feel like that should be the case, does it?

Nuggets at Pistons, 7:30pm: Sobering stat of the day: Denver hasn't won at Detroit since March 10, 1995. Nineteen ninety five. Unreal.

Hawks at Bucks, 8pm: If Atlanta can win tonight, it would be their longest road winning streak since December 1993. NINETEEN NINETY THREE. What the hell is up with all these 1990s dates showing up? I feel like I need to go read this blog for awhile.

Thunder at Timberwolves, 8pm: What's that, OKC? You're struggling with your shooting lately? Well then, come on up to Minnesota and play against our "defense!" We'll get you right back on track!

Clippers at Rockets, 8:30pm: Speaking of pathetic defense, has Houston officially decided "screw it, we're not even going to try on the defensive end for the rest of the season?" In other news, NOOOO! Don't get hurt yet, Blake Griffin!!!

Bobcraps at Suns, 9pm: At least one thing is certain about this game: there is no way in hell Kwame Brown can take over the game again like he did against the Purple Paupers. That's, like, a rule or something.

Hornets at Warriors, 10:30pm: I haven't seen these two teams play each other yet this season. Anyone wanna explain to me why the hell the Hornets have let the Warriors beat them in 4th quarter rallies in consecutive games?


sad cavs bench
The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers Team Photo.

The Washington Wizards Generals: Well, the Generals weren't on the road, but it was hard to tell based on the way they played. Washington was never really in the game and the visiting Nuggets strolled to a 120-109 victory despite a bad shooting night by Carmelo Anthony (8-for-20) and a 32-8 disadvantage in fast break points.

It's weird, too, because Washington isn't a bad home team (13-10) and Denver began the night with a 5-13 road record. Oh, well. At least Andray Blatche (25 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 block) made a certain fantasy owner happy.

Next up for the Generals: A four-game road trip through Oklahoma City, Memphis, Dallas and New Orleans. Washington is 0-21 on the road this season.

Still, despite the woes his team suffers away from home, Generals coach Flip Saunders thinks the trip is a good thing: "I think our guys are looking forward to going on the road. Sometimes going on the road for a four-game trip is better than going for one game because you have the opportunity to bond a little bit."

True, Flip. Nothing brings people together quite like a good disaster.

Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: The trade saga continues:

"It took for me one day to get everybody together and let them know that despite everything that's going on, I'm still here," Anthony said. "I'm still going to go out there and give my all -- and I would like that in return."

"I don't know [what's going to happen]. I can't look that far ahead. I can't look into February."

"Regardless of what's going to happen, it's going to happen. If I decide to stay, if they decide to trade me, something is going to happen. Until then, the only thing I can do is to continue to go out and give my all on the court."

"I never thought it would get like this. I don't want to say it's tough, but it is because I'm the one who has to go out there and play my game."
The Cleveland Cavaliers: Kendrick Perkins' return from knee surgery was set for February 4. Then he and the team decided to fast forward his comeback so he could play at home against the Cavaliers.

It's just been that kind of year for Cleveland.

Paul Pierce scored 24 points in the first 24 minutes as the Celtics built a 22-point halftime lead. The game was pretty much over at that point...and Boston coach Doc Rivers emptied his bench midway through the third quarter. That's right: 18 minutes of garbage time in a 48-minute game.

The 112-95 loss left the Cavs to face the following sobering realities: 18 straight losses, 27 defeats in the last 28 games, and a new franchise record for consecutive road losses at 22.

Said Cleveland coach Byron Scott: "I don't care about all that. We'll have a breakthrough. I'm not looking at the number of losses and things like that. I'm looking at it game-by-game and seeing if we're improving on both ends of the floor."

You really expect us to believe you don't care about the number of losses, Byron?

Well, then, you must not care about this either: If the Cavaliers lose to the Nuggets on Friday, they will tie the franchise single-season record for consecutive losses set when the team lost their last 19 games in 1981-82. Oh, and the Cavs also lost their first five games in 1982-83, setting an NBA record with 24 losses in a row.

Tying that record is also in play.

Added Antawn Jamison: "It's human nature to think about how many we've lost in a row, and whatever record we've set. Losing is tough, in general. To be where we're at -- one of the worst records in the league right now -- that's tough. We've just got to worry about trying to find a way to fix it. That's about the only thing you can do."

Not one of, Antawn. The worst record in the league. Just sayin'.

On the bright side, J.J. Hickson set a new career-high in assists (5) and tied his career-high for blocked shots (4). And seven Cavs scored in double-figures. See? Bright side!

The Sacramento Kings: Kwame Brown.

That was not a misprint. Brown finished with 13 points and a season-high 18 rebounds. He also added 2 assists, a steal, a blocked shot and a game-high 10 free throw attempts to his haul.

Oh, and those 18 boards were one short of Kwame's career high, which was set on March 17, 2004. That game -- a 30-point, 19-rebound performance -- came against...the Kings.

Said Sactown forward Carl Landry: "He was a No. 1 pick, so I wasn't surprised. He did a great job of coming out and being aggressive. His impact on tonight's game was really special."

I love when Brown comes out of nowhere to have a good game against a team and then somebody from that team brings up the fact that he was a number one pick.

The Kings shot 36 percent from the field and went 1-for-12 from downtown.

Said Tyreke Evans: "We just couldn't hit shots, and it kind of messed up our offense a little bit. We barely got any fast break points. We just couldn't get a rhythm."

For the record, both teams finished with 14 fast break points.

The Kings (10-33) have the league's third-worst record and things aren't going to improve any time soon. Their next five games are on the road against the Lakers and at home against the Hornets, Celtics, Spurs and Jazz. That's probably another five losses...although...

The Utah Jazz: The Lakers gave up 18 fast break points, 44 points in the paint, and an incredible 33 points off 18 turnovers...

...and beat the Jazz by 29.

It could have been worse, though. If, like, demons burst forth from the court and dragged the Utah players to the underworld for an eternity of torture.

I'm just sayin'.

The Jazz trailed by as many as 38 points en route to their season-worst fifth loss in a row. They struggled to locate the hoop (41.9 percent shooting) or life their hands past their waists as the Laker shot 62 percent for the game.

Deron Williams, who last season pulled a Starbury and named himself the best point guard in the league, tied Paul Milsap with a game-worst plus-minus score of -24.

Said Williams: "We've lacked chemistry and continuity on offense and on defense and we're not trusting each other. We thought we'd come out and put together a better effort, but we didn't. We couldn't execute and we couldn't get stops against teams with the worst records in the NBA, and coming in to play one of the better teams in the league, it got ugly."

Coyote ugly.

Added Raja Bell (1-for-7, 0-for-4 on threes): "I think we lost our swagger somewhere along the line. You start pressing and start trying to do everything so right that it backfires, and that's a tough way to play."

Do everything right? Start by doing one thing right, Raja.

Concluded Jerry Sloan: "It was one of those nights we couldn't get anything going. They shot the ball well, they passed the ball, they were just much more alive than we were."

A zombie is more alive than your guys were, Jerry.

Bonus stat: According to the AP game notes, the Jazz are 3-19 against the Lakers at Staples Center since the building opened in 1999.

Kobe Bryant, quote machine: On a Shannon Brown's blown dunk: "I found it funny. He was so high up. When you're on top of a building and you're throwing a pebble down on the street sometimes you miss the target."

And since we're at it...

Shannon Brown: His job is to hit open threes and dunk the ball. Well, he's shooting 21 percent from downtown this month, and...

The Los Angeles Clippers: Give the Clips some credit for playing the Mavs reasonably tough without leading scorer Eric Gordon (24.1 PPG), who missed the game with a sprained right wrist that has a chipped bone in it. He'll be out for a few weeks.

Still, there was a little "They are who we thought they were" going on as the Clips went from being up 15 to down 17. They shot nearly 56 percent from the field and went 10-for-20 from beyond the arc, but they managed only 2 fast break points, bricked 11 free throws and gave up 34 points off 23 turnovers. And, frankly, the Dallas D outmuscled and intimidated the Clippers in the second half.

Said Dirk Nowitzki: "They were all over us and got into us in the first half, pushed us around a little bit. In the second half ,we were the more aggressive team. That's how it is in this league, usually. The team that's more aggressive gets more calls, gets the benefit of the doubt. They were the team that got the benefit of the doubt in the first half, then we turned it around in the second."

Mmm...smell that home cookin'? Anyway, on the subject of fouls...

Brendon Haywood: And suddenly he's a tough guy? Last night, Haywood officially joined the "I Will Foul Blake Griffin Really Hard To Keep Him From Embarrassing Me" club:

Said Haywood: "Every play can't be a dunk-contest dunk."

You know, I think Kevin McHale once said the same thing...

The Other L.A. Team was down only four points when that foul occurred. Grif missed the start of the fourth quarter to get a protective sleeve on his arm...and the Mavericks immediately ripped off a 14-0 run. So there you have it.

It was just a chippy night all-around. Nowitzki got cut on the face, and Baron Davis got into it with Rick Carlisle after a pretty hilarious flop by J.J. Barea. Good times. All around.

Chris's Tuesday Lacktion Ledger:

Nuggets-Generals: Melvin Ely made one free throw and two boards in exactly 18 minutes, only to lose the rock thricely and foul four times for a 7:3 Voskuhl. For Washington, Kevin Seraphin earned one board in 8:44 but was short on positivity afterwards, fouling once and turning over the ball once for a 2:1 Voskuhl.

Cavs-Celtics: Ryan Hollins went 100% from the field (though 0% from the stripe) on one attempt and boarded twice, only to lose the rock once and foul five times in 19:33 for a 6:4 Voskuhl.

Clippers-Mavs: Dallas's Ian Mahinmi rebounded once in 9:16, yet fouled and turned over the ball three times each for a 6:1 Voskuhl.

Bobcats-Purple Paupers: Matt Carroll magically mushroomed into 35 seconds of playing time for a Mario.


APTOPIX Cavaliers Nets Basketball
"Cup check!"
"But it's basketball, I'm not wearing--OWWWWWWWW!"

There weren't many funny or interesting pictures from last night's games. What gives? The damn Craptors were beaten by the Care Bears, and the Generals played in Jersey. Those two games alone should be sufficient for generating comedic pictures!

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

Suns 76ers Basketball
Alvin Gentry shows us why the duck face trend needs to go the hell away


Nationally Televised Games:
Jazz at Lakers, NBA TV, 10:30pm: The Jazz are a whopping 0-4 on their current road trip. What gives? You'd think they would be happy to get the hell out of Utah for a little while.

All The Other Games:
Nuggets at Wizards Generals, 7pm: Denver is pretty awful on the road. And the Generals actually have a winning home record. But be honest -- do you really feel comfortable picking either team in this game? No, you don't.

Cavaliers at Celtics, 7:30pm: Great. I just can't wait for the Celtics' offense to stagnate in the second half against a bad opponent, resulting in either an unnecessary loss or an unnecessarily close game at best. Check out this article from Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer about the Celtics's offensive woes against bad teams.

Clippers at Mavericks, 8:30pm: How sad is it to think this is the second best matchup of the night?

Bobcraps at Kings, 10pm: Which is more likely: this game being interesting and legitimately exciting, or a Canadian kid taking down a cult leader with the help of a guy named Zap (rocking a denim jacket, mullet, and mustache, natch) who previously killed the boy's father Larry Csonka?



The Minnesota Timberwolves: A sure sign of true bawfulness is when a team suffers smack talk from AP beat writers. To wit:

Scorers such as Kevin Martin dream about nights against a "defense" like the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Wolves have a hard enough time guarding spot-up shooters on the perimeter. When they're facing a guy who can blow by them on the way to the rim and also get a 3-pointer off in the blink of an eye, they don't stand a chance.

The Rockets made 14 3-pointers, feasting on the tumbling Timberwolves' awful defense. Minnesota entered the night last in the NBA in points allowed and then watched Houston hang 100 in the first three quarters.

Minnesota had four days to prepare for the game, yet came out of the gate looking as though it was playing its third game in four nights.

After shooting 39 percent in a home loss to Orlando on Saturday, Houston scored a season-high 39 points in the first quarter in Minnesota, hitting six 3-pointers and using superior ball movement with 12 assists on 13 made baskets.
As Kevin Love (24 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists) put it: "We're not anywhere close to where we should be [defensively]. It's something we need to figure out."

Regarding Kevin Martin, who scored 16 of his 34 points in the first 12 minutes, Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said: "He's such a difficult player in this league to guard because of all the things that he can do. These are the types of players we have to figure out how to defend."

The types of players? How about figuring out how to defense any type of player first, Kurt.

Prior to this game, the Rockets had lost seven in a row to Western Conference teams. As it his, Houston's 13-game winning streak over the Timberwolves ties the franchise record for longest winning streak against one opponent.


The Houston Rockets: If we're going to slam Minny's defense, then we should also point out that the Rocketeers let the T-Wolves score 125 points on 50+ percent shooting. And Houston gave up 37 points in the fourth quarter...nearly letting a 19-point lead get away from them. Just sayin'.

The Portland Frail Blazers: I bet the Frail Blazers didn't think their five-game winning streak was going to end at home against the worst team in the Western Conference. But the Portland players should have done their homework. Sure, the Kings had dropped seven of their last eight games, but three of the losses came in overtime (including a four-point loss to the Blazers last week) and they only lost one of those games by double-figures.

You know what I'm getting at, right?

The Blazers scored only 81 points on 39 percent shooting. They gave up 16 offensive rebounds, committed 19 turnovers and had a 20-11 free throw disadvantage. Essentially, the Kings -- who arrived in Portland with a road record of 3-16 -- outplayed the Frail Ones in every aspect of the game.

Then again, maybe this loss was the result of a stat curse. After all, on the same day he was selected as the Western Conference Player of the Week, LaMarcus Aldridge scored only 9 points on 4-for-14 shooting. It was the first time in 26 games he didn't score in double figures.

So, yeah, it was a good night for the Kings. But let's see if we can't throw a wet blanked on the Sactowners in my next entry...

The Washington Wizards Generals: It was New York's six-game losing streak versus Washington's 0-20 road record... go ahead and make it 0-21.

Said Raymond Felton: "Everything was clicking tonight. It was one of our better games."

Big surprise there.

Washington gave up 12 points off 10 the first quarter. They finished with 20 lost balls for 24 points going the other way.

Here's where it gets really bawful. The Generals are eight games away from tying the longest road losing streak to open a season: 29 straight losses by the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks.

On the bright side, it's pretty unlikely they'll become the worst road team of all time. That dishonor belongs to -- waaaaaaiiit for it -- the 1990-91 Sacramento Kings! Those poor Purple Paupers lost their last 37 road games and finished 1-40 outside of Sactown.

Ah. A bitchslap for the Kings. I feel cleansed.

Updated! Kevin Seraphin: Thanks to the YouTube Nazis, I can't show this to you. So, instead, I'll let Cindy Boren of The Early Lead describe it:

There's a new wrinkle in the never-ending saga of Washington D.C. uniform failures: this one was self-inflicted. Kevin Seraphin of the Wizards committed the unpardonable fashion faux pas of wearing his shorts backward Monday night against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. He did what anyone would have done in that situation: He fixed 'em on the bench, surrounded by teammates.

Other moments in Washington uniform history (since Bog Boy is off sampling the cheeses of Vegas):

Mustafa Shakur wore a jersey that was, let's say, hastily crafted.

Theodore Roosevelt High School is learning to embrace being the "Rough Ryders," even if TR himself is spinning in his grave.

Anthony Armstrong of the Redskins nearly brought down the republic, drawing a fine from the NFL for wearing his socks too high.

Ladell Betts' last name was spelled "Bettis" during a preseason game.

Not even the Redskins' cheerleaders have been spared.
John Wall, quote machine: "I'm not going to lie about that. If you lose on the road, you're going to think about it. You watch SportsCenter, you're going to see what everybody's talking about: you not winning road games. It gets tough. But for us to get them to stop talking about it, we've got to do what we've got to do on the road and get one."

Flip Saunders, coach of the year candidate: "You can't turn it over 20 times and beat people on the road."

The Phoenix Suns: Earlier this season, the Philadelphia 76ers set their season-high point total (123) against the Suns. So you just knew these guys were licking their chops for a nice stat-padder.

Well, they got it.

Philadelphia ranks 21st in Offensive Rating (105.2) but finished this game with an O-Rating of 116.3. Thaddeus Young (24 points), Elton Brand (22), Evan Turner (14) and Lou Williams (14) all reached double figures.

The Sixers shot 67 percent in the first quarter, were at nearly 60 percent until garbage time and built a 22-point lead before pulling back on the throttle. Still, Philly finished with 105 points on 54 percent shooting. They scored 61 of those points in th first half. Their season-high for points in the first half is 64...which was set against the Suns.

Alvin Gentry, coach of the year candidate: "Once again, we had too many turnovers and that's an immediate concern. You can't do that in this league and expect to win. We have to do a better job at protecting the ball."

The Milwaukee Bucks: Let's see if you've heard this one before: The Bucks shot 39 percent from the field and finished with only 83 points. And lost.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Still, Milwaukee gets bonus bawful points for getting lit the hell up by Kurt Thomas. Big Sexy -- as Bulls broadcaster Stacey King likes to call him -- finished with 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocked shots and a steal.

It was the first time Thomas had scored 20 points in five years. Here's what I wrote about it at By The Horns:

Back on January 25, 2005, Kurt Thomas scored 24 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for the New York Knicks in a 133-118 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Those were good numbers. A little skewed, maybe, because of the pace (103.3) and the number of shots the Knicks attempted (105).

Let me put it this way: That night, the Knicks had two players score 20+ (Thomas and Trevor Ariza) and another player score 40 (Jamal Crawford). And that Suns team was in the lower half of the league in Defensive Rating.

Anyway, that was the last time Big Sexy scored 20 points. That includes his 2006 season, when he played for a Phoenix squad that led the league in PPG (108.4) and ranked second in Offensive Rating (111.5).

So when you consider the circumstances and the fact that he's the second-oldest player in the league (next to Shaq), then it's very possible we got to watch one of the best games of Kurt's career.

Think about it. The Bucks rank 6th in Defensive Rating (102.5). According to, opposing centers don’t play very well against them. Starters and backups combine for 18.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.4 assists and a PER of 12.2 (which ranks between "in the rotation" and "scrounging for minutes" according to John Hollinger's reference guide). And those opposing centers have an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 45.5.

Well, as By The Horns reader inkybreath put it, "Did Big Sexy jump in the Hot Tub Time Machine before the game?"
I have no better explanation.

Andrew Bogut: He grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds, but he scored only 8 points on 4-for-11 shooting and didn't shoot a single free throw. And, as you already knew, Kurt Thomas ate his lunch. Rough year for Bogut. He's never been the same since Amar''''''e Stoudemire busted his arm.

Kurt Thomas, quote machine: On why he didn't have any 20-point games when he was playing for the Bucks last season (from ESPNChicago): "I take it however it comes. I played with a guy last year by the name of Brandon [Jennings] and he likes to get 'em up."

Carlos Boozer, quote machine: Regarding Big Sexy's big game (also from ESPNChicago): "He was on fire, man. Listen, we did that pick and roll and Kurt was wide open. He always be proclaiming how good his jump shot is, because he be having some good jump shot practices, but today he carried us. Real talk. He carried us the whole first half. He carried us to start the second half. That's why we got him here. He's a 16-year vet. He never gets rattled. Always got the same demeanor. Never gets too high, never gets too low. And tonight we called on him because he was wide open. He was knocking [shots] down for us.

The Cleveland Cavaliers: Last night, it was The Shot Part II for the Cavs:

It wasn't just Cleveland's 17th straight loss. It was also their 21st consecutive defeat away from home...which matches the franchise record for longes road losing streak set from January 13 to April 14, 2003.

The Cavs last road win was on November New Jersey.

And as I've noted, the Cavaliers play again tonight in Boston. Then they have back-to-back games at Orlando and Miami next Sunday and Monday. So, unless something miraculous happens, expect the new franchise record for consecutive road losses to reach 24. Cleveland's best shot is the Celtics game, because we all know the Leprechauns are down three centers and tend to sleep on bad teams.

In fact, one of the Cavs' three road wins was in Beantown.

Byron Scott, quote machine: "It's tough to take the loss because I thought our guys played hard enough to get the win. We have to keep playing hard and applying all the things we talked about at both ends of the floor. We have to know it's going to work out for us, we're going to have a breakout game. Right now we're losing some of these battles but in the long run we'll hopefully win the war."

The Toronto Craptors: Let's go ahead and get this out of the way:

Now, from The Other Chris:

Well, another game, another loss for the Raptors. At least they made this one entertaining, in the same way a car crash is.

Grizzlies end-of-game play: Give the play to Rudy Gay, let him do his thing (Hey, NBA defenders? He wants to go right, mmmK?). Jump shot with 0.8 left. Swish. Grizzlies up by 2. Toronto crowd deflated and with an inevitable sense of upcoming doom.

Raptors end-of-game play: Struggle to throw the ball into Sundiata Gaines - I'm sorry, why he is even on the floor in the first place? Because that's just how bad the Craptors are? OK, cool. Anyways, throw it in to Sundiata, who throws it directly into the arms of his defender. Game over.

Oh, and this is the guy that had already airballed not one, but two three point shots in this game. Of course you want to get the ball into a D-league journeyman midget who's ice cold and being guarded by a much taller player. Nothing says "clutch", "execution" and "well-coached" like the final sequence, or the Craptors offense in general down the stretch.

But don't worry kids, it wasn't just on the offensive end that the Craptosaurs strove for new lows. Their defensive rebounding was.. nightmarish, catastrophic, nonexistent. And it wasn't just surrendering easy offensive boards. It was surrendering an endless series of putbacks, tips and layups for the Grizzlies. I haven't checked the box score to see how many offensive rebounds or second-chance points the Raptors gave up - with all the resistance of wet paper bag in a hurricane -- but I conservatively estimate, as a mathemelogist, that it was a metric fuckton.

They need to start putting lard in Ed Davis and Amir Johnson's food, or surgically implant a pair of balls on Andrea Bargnani's mangina, because.. ye Gods. The forecasted Crapt-pocalypse of points in the paint was all that and more for Z-Bo, Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay and even Lacktion Hall of Famer Darrell Freaking Arthur.

Special mention to Julian Wright for barely grazing the rim on the first freebie on two consecutive trips to the line. There's knowing your limitations, and then there's being so offensively limited that your team is playing four-on-five when you're on the floor.

My next game is against Phoenix; at least I can cheer Captain Canada, boo Half Man Half Season, and get drunk with my friends. And it will be Marcin Gortat's turn to beat our soft front line like a rented mule.

This team stinks and is getting worse. Cleveland, Sacramento and New Jersey, meet you at the bottom of the standings.
To which AnacondaHL responded:

You forgot to mention that you witnessed the end of the only thing the Raptors had left going for the organization, and probably the reason why Gaines was in there for the last play: Going 0-13 from the arc marks the end of their league leading 986 game streak with at least 1 3ptm. And Dallas is only 5 games behind to break it.
The Orlando Magic: Orlando had reached the top of John Hollinger's Power Rankings. Dwight Howard had been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. And the Magic were playing at home against the Pistons. Aaaaaaaand...

Detroit got 20 points out of Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Tracy McGrady. In fact, Knee-Mac scored 14 points in the first quarter. The Pistons -- who rank 23rd in Offensive Rating (105.0) and 25th in PPG (94.8) -- scored 103 points and finished with on O-Rating of 114.7 against a team that ranks 5th in D-Rating (102.4).

The Pistons scored 26 points off 16 forced turnvoers.

Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "We have to get a lot better defensively, which is my responsibility. I played Quentin tonight and maybe I'll have to play him more, or maybe we will have to play other people if these guys won't commit to it. We've just got to defend a lot better than we did tonight."

When reminded that the team had traded for Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson, two historically defenseless players, Van Gundy paused, stared blankly for a full minute, and then began to weep ever so softly.

Of course, another problem was Orlando's three-point shooting. They were 7-for-27 from downtown (25.9 percent). Live by the three...

Added Dwight Howard: "Guys just have to want to play, that's it. Either we get it together or we're just going to be a playoff team that doesn't win a championship."

Yeah, that's pretty much what I had you guys pegged as, Dwight. No offense.

Chris's amazing Monday lacktion ledger:

Pistons-Magic: Jason Maxiell minimized his on-court presence to a mere 54 seconds of Koopa Troopa chasing for a Mario!

Grizzlies-Craptors: Hasheem "Second Overall Dream" Thabeet celebrated in a new universe with a 0.8 second SUPER MARIO GALAXY!!

Meanwhile, Toronto's Sonny Weems skated into the ledger via two bricks and a lost rock in 8:22 to earn a +3.

Generals-Knicks: Kevin Seraphin commandeered three boards in 14:33 with three fouls and a turnover for a 4:3 Voskuhl, while Yi Jianlian can now purchase a throne with a 1.35 trillion (1:20). Calling into this evening's episode of X-Play were Hilton Armstrong and Cartier Martin, who were on the line for 46 seconds as Mario Brothers! (Armstrong managed a 100% shooting percentage on one attempt so he avoided pure lacktion, while Martin bricked from the National Mall to earn a +1.)

Bucks-Bulls: Milwaukee's tiny Earl Boykins gathered up all his strength for a LARGE lacktion score, going 0% on four shot attempts in 11:28 and adding a rejection, turnover, and foul as well for a +7!!!

Purple Paupers-Frail Blazers: Sean Marks met his personal best in WiiFit after 54 seconds of exercise for a Mario.

Spurs-Warriors: San Antonio's newest acquisition, Larry Owens, became the latest in a long line of league-wide lacktators with a brick from the Oakland Tribune building for a +1 in 1:52.

Dan Gadzuric gave the Warriors two fouls and a brick in 3:35 for a +3 that doubled as a 2:0 Voskuhl, while Louis Amundson negated a block in 6:47 with three fouls for a 3:0 Voskuhl.

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Pistons Nets Basketball

Sorry for the lack of BAD posts last week -- I felt (wait for it...) bad.

Hey, why are you throwing tomatoes at me?

To make up for the absence and the horrible pun, here's an unbelievable moment in Sports Man Love history:

Footbawful at its... finest? Yeah, finest.

Worst of the Weekend in Pictures:

Knicks Spurs Basketball
"Ta da!!"

Hornets Hawks Basketball
Justin Bieber was at the Hawks game where they sucked like nothing has ever sucked before. How appropriate.

Pacers Nuggets Basketball
Jeff Foster is enjoying this a little too much...

Ray Allen and AK47 get better acquainted

Nationally Televised Games:
Wizards Generals at Knicks, NBA TV, 7:30pm: Now that scheduling has self-corrected the Knicks' record, they're in danger of dropping below .500 -- lucky for them that the Generals are also in danger of not winning a single damn road game this season.

Kings at Frail Blazers, NBA TV, 10pm: The Purple Paupers have lost their last 7 games by 7 points or less. At least they're kind enough to keep things somewhat close for their fans, right?

All the Other Games:
Cavaliers at Nyets, 7pm: Speaking of teams that have no concept of how to win away from home... The last time the Cavs snagged a road victory was back in November against, yes, the New Jersey Nyets.

Pistons at Magic, 7pm: Allow me to remind of what went down back in December when these two teams last met: Pumaman, Jameer Nelson, and JJ Redick were all out with "flu-like symptoms" (that miraculously seem to actually truly be related to the flu). And yet Orlando still won easily, and in fact had their best shooting percentage game of the season. Rip Hamilton should be happy he's not being associated with this suckfest right now.

Suns at 76ers, 7pm: If there's one thing the Sixers do well, it's shut down the trey. Their opponents are averaging just 31.4% from downtown. The Small Ball Suns loooove to shoot the three. Something's gotta give. Here's a hint: the Sixers have only one win when allowing more than 100 points this year, and guess who that was against.

Grizzlies at Craptors, 7pm: Be ready to see lots of ugliness around the basket. The Grizzlies are averaging an NBA-best 49.1 points in the paint. The Dinos are too busy being extinct and rollerblading down stairs to play any defense at the rim, and are allowing a league-worst 48.1 points in the paint per game.

Also, this picture is likely the most bawful thing you will see today.

Thunder at Hornets, 8pm: The Hornets have been playing out of their friggin' minds on defense lately. Is this just more fools' gold, or have they finally figured out something?

Bucks at Bulls, 8pm: The Bulls have a nasty habit of letting sub-.500 teams hang around and even beat them. But they've still reached the 30 win mark a full month earlier than last year. I'd say Thibodeau was a nice upgrade over The Notorious VDN, wasn't he?

Rockets at Timberwolves, 8pm: Actual line from the STATS LLC game preview: "The Timberwolves (10-33), who play five of seven at Target Center, are a respectable 8-12 at home." What? A .400 record at home is respectable? Man, the bar is really getting lowered in Minny.

Spurs at Warriors, 10:30pm: The last Spurs game saw them battle through their worst offensive effort of the season. So get ready for the absolute opposite of that tonight. The Gol_en State Warriors, everyone!

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