|It's the greatest league in the world, folks
|Wow, you guys really suck without me
With Jrue joining Drew in street clothes, the Sixers were a team that opponents could really look forward to playing against this weekend, as evidenced by Paul George's 28 points and Roy Hibbert remembering how to shoot a basketball. With his 19 points and 13 rebounds, Hibbert made sure that he would get injured in the next game he played.
Maalik Wayns is the only other healthy point guard on the Philly roster, so the team squeezed 11 ineffective minutes out of him. Also experiencing a surge in minutes was Nick Young, who took advantage of the opportunity to miss 10 shots and score 8 points.
Roy Hibbert may have scored as well as he has all season, but he couldn't chew gum while walking, ending his streak of games with at least 2 blocks at 16.
They may be rolling, but the Warriors still can't figure out the Magic. They lost to Orlando for the second time this season on Friday, and for the eighth time in their last nine contests. Nikola Vucevic grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds, something the Associated Press didn't feel the need to point out, probably do to an institutional prejudice against Montenegrins. The AP did make sure to note that Maurice 'yeah baby, I'm still an NBA starter' Harkless blocked a career-high 4 shots.
With the remarkable similarity between the records of the 11-14 Lakers and the 10-13 Magic, it doesn't appear like having the league's top center makes much of a difference to a franchise. Weird.
One thing that is clearly a difference maker this year, is whether or not your opponent is the Wizards, as the Lakers found out on Friday. It turns out that Kobe didn't need the aid of the actual Washington Generals
at all, as the Lakers found the solution to their 4 game losing streak at the expense of Randy Wittman's sanity. Still, the Lakers only won the game by 6 points, and Bryant, 9-29, is clearly in his 'I'm gonna keep shooting til we win' mode again. Overall, I can't claim that having Dwight shoot less than Devin Ebanks is a sane strategy, but when in Washington...
|Varejao thought the game was being played in prison
The Cavs returned to form, losing while Varejao grabbed 18 rebounds. The Broped split in half, with one tire (Jennings, 5-20) spinning helplessly in the mud, while the rest of the bike (Monta 33 points) went streaking down a dimly lit road. Neither team shot 40%, and the Cavs had a season-high 27 turnovers. Kyrie Irving, who had 6 of them, wasn't his typically efficient self, but that might have something to do with breaking his jaw on the hardwood. This was the Bucks 9th straight victory over the Cavaliers.
For the third time this season, Varejao left the game with an injury only to return when X-Rays were negative. Amazingly, none of his injuries have been to his back, even though he's been carrying the team with the 2nd worst record in the NBA pretty much all season.
Kevin Durant was predictably the game's high-scorer, but after that things got a little surreal. The Kings were in for much worse than a 10 point loss, when the Zeke child scored a reality-defying 26 points in less than 16 minutes. There has been very little about Isaiah Thomas that has made sense this season, and Friday was no exception. You'd really think in a losing effort Keith Smart might try to milk a few more minutes out of such a performance, but there you have it. 16 minutes, 26 points, and a whole lot of confusion, is all that this game had to offer.
17 assists from Greivis Vasquez, 31 points from Nikola Pekovic, and a career-high 27 points from Austin Rivers—not too odd, I suppose, for the last Friday before the world ends. Jokes aside, at least two of those performances aren't quite so freakish as they seem. Pekovic is averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds per game so far this season, and Vasquez is currently 5th league wide in assists. The Hornicans did their best to restore a sense of normality by losing.
|Sometimes one facepalm just doesn't cut it
Look up the word ignominious in the dictionary and you will find a picture of the 2012-13 Mavericks losing to the Raptors by 21 points.
Jared Dudley and the Suns kept it rolling over the sound of sad trombones, with the politically correct forward scored a season-high 22 points, as noted by the AP. After the game, Utah's coach, Tyrone Corbin, displayed his awareness that the difference between winning and losing is often psychological.
We had opportunities to come back, but we could just never get over the hump because they had their confidence going.
He then dropped down onto his knees and shouted Dudley's name up towards the mute heavens.
Speaking about the thin line between losing and winning, the Griz are now on the rainy side of the hill, having dropped their last three. In only 17 minutes, Jerryd Bayless had more than twice as many assists as anybody else on his team. The jury is still out on whether his 11 assists topped lil Zeke's 26 points as Friday's most impressive statistic put up in under 20 minutes. But I'm pretty confident that JaVale McGee had the night's most awe inspiring moment when he channeled Wilt Chamberlain against an unsuspecting Zach Randolph.
It kinda reminded me of the time I was playing basketball with my 12 year old cousin, and even though I was clearly in a crouched position waiting to smack any attempt out of the air, he decided to shoot it anyway. I mean, did Randolph really think that shot wasn't going to be blocked? He didn't even attempt any subterfuge to make the eventual highlight footage less humiliating.
Harden missed nearly a third of his shots, Lin scored 5 points, but that wasn't going to stop the Celtics from losing by double-digits. Not with Chandler Parsons messing around and nearly getting a triple double.
The most memorable part of this game was the moment that Kevin McHale and Kevin Garnett shared when the game was over. I haven't mentioned the death of McHale's daughter because I have no idea what to say about such a tragedy. Seeing the tears stream down McHale's face as he left the court left me deeply saddened. I'm glad the two men were able to share such a moment, and I hope the grieving father is able to find some peace in the months and years to come.
Magic-Warriors: Ken Bazemore hit a shot in his 64 seconds, leaving Jeremy Tyler and Festus Ezeli to fend for themselves in the lacktion section. Tyler used the same amount of time for a +1 suck differential, and Festus Ezeli struck again with a starting Voskuhl, this time a 6:2. Kyle O'Quinn also had a +1 suck differential in 64 seconds, but his was for the Magic.
Raptors-Magic: Rodrigue Beaubois missed a shot in 6 minutes and 7 seconds for a +1 suck differential.
Timberwolves-Hornicans: Darrius Miller spend 9 minutes and 33 seconds on the court for the Fish Mouths, and in that time he committed a single, solitary foul, resulting in a +1 suck differential. His teammate Lance Thomas may have played 149 less seconds, but he came away with a +5 suck differential.
Suns-Jazz: Diante Garrett used his 104 seconds for a +2 suck differential, while fellow Sun Wes Johnson played the same stretch and one-upped (or downed) him for a +3 suck differential.
|Have you ever seen someone so happy to be getting blocked?
|Aren't you glad you missed this game?
This is getting truly ridiculous. Make that 11 straight losses for the Bobcats since they reached last years win total. At the time it seemed like they were a couple games away from regaining their dignity. Today, that nearly month old victory to the Wizards can scarcely be remembered, and in its place is an ever growing dread that this streak may never end, fating the Bobcats to 7 wins every year, until the end of time.
Kemba Walker scored a career-high 32 points in vain, while Space Cowboy Maurice Harkless matched the career-high 4 blocks he had set only a day prior. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, once the bright beacon of hope leading the Cats out of the cellar, played his fewest number of minutes in 16 games and only scored 3 points.
The Bobcats will get another chance to escape purgatory on Tuesday when they play the Lakers. They've proven that they have grave difficulty playing teams who don't have Dwight Howard, so maybe a visit to LA is just what the doctor ordered.
Unlike their opponent, the Hawks came into this game with a day's rest and home court advantage, but it was the Warriors, playing for the 2nd straight night and on their 7th road game, who blasted past the century mark and pushed their weary limbs all the way to 115 points. Josh Smith must have been feeling exhausted vicariously for them, because he only converted 1 of his 12 attempts, which in case your wondering is 1 more attempt than the team's top scorer Al Horford got.
|No Schadenfreude today, thanks
Gutted, mostly gobbled, and left for dead on the side of the road—such was the state of the Generals after their visit to Miami. I think it's safe to say that the Nazgul did not take kindly to the humiliating loss they received the last time these former foes met (I say former because you have to have more than 3 wins to be considered anybody's foe).
It's hard to make out much of the box score because little bits of small intestine cover large portions of text, but I'll relay a few essential details. The Heat won by 30 points; the Miami defense held their victim to 72 points on 37.5% shooting; the top performer for the Wizards was null-star Cartier Martin; Jordan Crawford was 2 for 12 with more turnovers, 6, than points, 5; and the Wizards had 5 more turnovers as a team than they had assists.
I'm guessing Randy Wittman hasn't been getting too much sleep lately.
The Dallas Mavericks are now 0-1 in games where Derek Fisher leads them in minutes. I could make fun of the Mavericks for losing to the T-pups in overtime, but realistically they should be proud of themselves for not losing to the Raptors by 20 points again. I know that wasn't an actual possibility for them on Saturday since they weren't playing the Raptors, but still.... Kudos Mavericks. Kudos.
Hell, how could this loss be avoided when the other team resurrected Pistol Pete Jr.
They couldn't even use the age excuse after taken a 15 point beating from the similarly grey-bearded Spurs. Tim Duncan scored a season-low 5 points, but the Celtics couldn't capitalize. Although technically Rondo broke his double-digit assist streak back at the end of November, this was the first game he didn't reach the total for reasons other than punching Kris Humphries in the face.
Make that 9 straight for the Pacific Division leaders. The Broped reached its logical conclusion against the Clippers, totaling the bike after flying off an overpass. The walking redundancy of a backcourt combined for 22 points on 7 for 27 shooting with 5 turnovers to complement their 7 assists. Meanwhile, Matt Barnes dropped the other shoe from the last Clipper game, leading the team in scoring outright. Jamal Crawford must have felt a little lost with another bench player taking his role, which might explain his season low 6 points.
For the 2nd time in as many days the Jazz made another team feel good about themselves. This time it was the Grizzlies who came into Salt Lake on a three game losing streak but left feeling right as rain. Z-Bo had arguably his 2nd best game of the season with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and just like that the Grizzlies left the hopefully named Energy Solutions Arena with a win for the first time since 2007.
|Kyrie's a big MF Doom fan
It was quite the night for wasting career-highs from last year's draft class. Irving dropped 41 points while trying to readjust the straps on his mask. In an ironic twist of fate, it was Varejao who failed the team, missing the free throw that would have forced an overtime with the Knicks.
Magic-Bobcats: Ish Smith became a trillionaire twice over in 2 minutes and 25 seconds.
Timberwolves-Mavericks: Rodrigue Beaubois kept his weekend of lacktion going with a 43 second Mario, but he probably won't remember it once his lost weekend comes to a close.
The Purple Paupers:
|Ty prepares to give the Zeke-child a spanking
The Nuggets catapulted themselves off the broken backs of the Paupers, pinwheeling to a winning record. The game was never in doubt and the Nugs cruised to a cushy 25 point victory. Nobody on the Nuggets needed to play a full half hour, with JaVale McGee leading the team with 19 points in 17 minutes. Denver controlled both ends of the floor, shooting 54% while holding Sacramento to 34%.
The inscrutable season for the Zeke-child continued. Judging from his 3-10 shooting, you'd think that he scored 9 points or so, but in reality he tallied 20. How did he do it? The feat was accomplished at the line where he went 13-15. This made him the top scorer on his team for the 2nd game in a row, giving the illusion that it was a long time ago when the letters DNP-CD were appearing next to his name.
Keith Smart continues to baffle with his rotations. Despite the fact that they were getting their ass kicked for virtually the entire game, "Smart" didn't feel the need to get young players like Jimmer Fredette and Thomas Robinson in the game until the third quarter. The one real benefit of taking such a beating is that young players usually get a chance to play and develop their games in a professional setting.
The former quickly fired coach of the Warriors and Cavaliers wasn't having it though, nor was he interested in offering an explanation of his strange decisions to reporters. When asked why he sat the players so long he responded, "they got in the game when they got in the game". That's a real helpful explanation there, chief. It's the kind of line they would engrave on his tombstone if the Maloofs still cared enough to fire people. Meanwhile, he's destroying the collective will of his young players. Note the despondency in Robinson's comments about his coach's decisions, "I don't know. I don't ask him for anything really anyways. I'm over it".
Usually that kind of sulking makes a player look bad, but in Robinson's case I really gotta feel for the guy. It has to be pretty hard to drop unexpectedly in the draft until you land in this mess, and then to be unable to get minutes even when DeMarcus Cousins is out because the coach would rather start Travis Outlaw.
Tyreke Evans can't seem to find a stretch of good health and left the game after 10 minutes with a sore left knee, inciting further rumors of a vengeful demonic presence that has set itself against this nomadic franchise.
Nick Young had his yearly game that makes people think they should pay him, but Kobe raised him 4 points, and the Lakers kept running til they had a 13 point victory. Neither side was that concerned about playing defense, as evidenced by one of the clearest paths to the basket that you'll likely ever see.
I'm pretty sure Woody Harrelson would've rocked the rim if offered that kind of angle.
Maybe that 20 point Dallas loss to the Raptors wasn't as ignominious as I had first suspected. Bargnani claims he was misquoted when he told an Italian newspaper that the Raptors were essentially the worst team in the NBA. He probably meant to specify that this was only the case when he was suited up. Ed Davis experimented with the novel idea of shooting efficiently in Bargnani's absence. So far, this radical new technique has proven shockingly effective, especially when combined with a Jose Calderon triple-double.
Blazers-Hornicans: Brian Roberts bricked once in the 4 minutes and 16 seconds he played for New Orleans, giving him a +1 suck differential. Meyers Leonard came within 13 seconds of playing 6 minutes off the Portland bench, yet it only brought him a +2 suck differential. Jared Jeffries was back in the saddle again for a 22 second Mario.
Lakers-Sixers: Earl Clark demonstrated an industrious spirit clad in purple and gold, being able to turn a 50 second Mario into a +1 suck differential with a turnover. Playing for the Sixers, Royal Ivey deigned not to produce any stats in 2 minutes and 48 seconds, while Maalik Wayns fizzled in a 50 second Mario.