Detroit Pistons, Game 3: Ah, the Pistons. After "proving" themselves in Game 2, they fell back into their "Teams should just roll over when they play us" mindset in Game 3. They shot 40 percent, committed a season-high 25 turnovers, and lost by 20. When a team wins 59 games and talks all season about how their only goal is to win a championship, then they probably shouldn't fall into a 2-1 hole against a 40-42 team in the first round of the playoffs. I'm just sayin'.
Chauncey Billups: Mr. Big Shot was front and center in Detroit's embarrassing Game 3 loss, scoring only 11 points on 2-for-11 shooting and committing 3 turnovers.
Rasheed Wallace: Let's not forget 'Sheed, who scored 2 points on 1-for-6 shooting and threw the ball away 4 times. You never know what you're going to get from this guy...and that's Guaran-sheed.
New Orleans Hornets, Game 3: They could never get over the hump, mostly because they were shooting like somebody squirted dish soap in their eyes. As a team, they hit only 37 percent of their shots, with Chris Paul (4-for-18) and David West (6-for-20) building most of the brick outhouse. If not for Jannero Pargo's 30, the Hornets probably would have lost by 30.
A little Dallas home homecookin', Game 3: A 38-to-13 freethrow advantage for the Mavericks? Really? I'm not saying they didn't earn most (if not all) of their foul shots, but they were being just as aggressive on defense as they were on offense. Chris Paul in particular was roughed up (and he responded by trying to clear Jason Terry out with a few hard elbows). As always, all I want as a fan is a little consistency. If the refs are going to "let 'em play" at one end, they shouldn't get all whistle happy on the other end.
Malk Allen: Game 3, three trillion. Fitting. (Fittingly sucky, that is.)
Phoenix Suns, Game 3: This is how the Suns respond to their championship window slamming shut? By sticking their collective necks in the way? The lack of focus and intensity they showed in Game 3 was shameful to them as a team and painful for their fans, who booed them lustily and then left early. I hope that Tony Parker and his career-high 41 points are burned into the Suns players' retinas for the rest of their lives. Especially Mike D'Antoni and his whole "let's just wait it out until they start missing" defensive strategy.
Here's a little postscript from reader Stephanie G, who said what I can't quite bring myself to. "You're going to get a lot of e-mails for this game I bet. In a surreal way I'm kinda happy the Suns got dismantled the manner they did. It feels like closure. I think I'd rather see it happen this way then them being close and just falling short like in game one or last year. This way there are no nagging questions or 'what-ifs' to wring your hands over. It's just a straight up mugging by the Frenchman. In the first half when the Spurs had a healthy lead Popovich was dressing down Oberto for making one defensive mistake that led to a lay up. That one moment sums up the difference between these two franchises. D'Antoni was in the huddle in the first quarter telling his guys how the Spurs couldn't keep hitting shots like they were and that things would turn around if they just waited it out. Nice call, Pringles dude. Did you ever hold a practice on how to guard a pick and roll? I would have loved to be a fly on the wall. I wonder what sort of future this team has. Maybe one more year of being able to 'contend'? Nash and Shaq are going to turn to dust and then in another couple years it'll just be Amare and some role players and journeymen. Of course this means they will win 60 games and get to the finals, right? That's how these things always turn out."
Update! Dwight Howard: Does he get favorable treatment from the refs? Basketbawful reader and Raptors fan Sabertooth thinks so: "Also for Worst of the weekend, more evidence of the complete unfairness when it comes to Dwight along with his blatant parking under the hoop and not being called for three seconds...it's maddening, but not the reason why we're down in the series."
Andrea Bargnani: What a Game 4! He had 5 points (1-for-7), 2 rebounds, zero assists. Can somebody tell me why he replaced Rasho Nesterovic as the starting center?
Jose Calderon: I guess he and Andrea were having a suck-off contest, because Jose shot an identical 1-for-7. Which made T.J. Ford's 6-for-16 look great by comparison.
Marcin Gortat: The Polish Polecat put got 10 minutes of PT in Game 4, rewarding Stan Van Gundy with zero points, 1 rebound and 2 fouls.
Update! Joey Graham and Kris Humphries: TheGiantSquid corrected my mistake: "Hey, if you're gonna call out Marcin 'the Warlock' Gortat, at least give mention to the two(!!) Raptors who posted a 1 trillion each: Joey Graham and Kris Humphries." Done.
Denver Nuggets, Game 3. They quit. Players one through 12 and even the coach. They all quit, gave up, surrendered. And at least Carmelo Anthony had the balls to admit it. "Yeah. We quit. Everybody. From the coaches to the players, we quit. And I said it. I'm not blaming anyone. I'm not pointing the fingers at nobody. I didn't play worth a (expletive) tonight, and I can accept that. But as a competitor, there's no way that I should lay down and quit and lay down on my team like we did tonight. You could just sense it. I'm saying 'we,' because I'm part of this, too. I'm saying I quit. We all just gave up."
George Karl: 'Melo's words didn't sit too well with his coach. Said Karl: "Well, I don't think I quit. In the fourth quarter, I tried to find some answers. I don't think that's a fair, I think 'Melo's emotional right now, he's frustrated right now, as we all are." That's the kind of defensive reaction you expect from a guy trying desperately to hold onto his job. Why not challenge your team? Why not call them out? The Nuggets need a wakeup call. Anthony tried to giveth, while Karl tried to taketh away. Can you imagine how the 1984 NBA Finals would have turned out if Celtics coach K.C. Jones had responded to Larry Bird's "We played like a bunch of sissies tonight" speach by saying, "Well, I don't think I coached like a sissy! Larry's just being emotional."?
Update! Reggie Miller: Here's a tummy-tickler, courtesy of Rob from BigDiction.net: "Another quality Reggie Miller moment, after a Kenyon Martin dunk Saturday: "And Kenyon Martin is really getting this crowd out of its feet!"
Boston Celtics, Game 3: Wow. They sure came out flat in Game 3. And suddenly there's a chink in the Celtics' armor. Great teams should come out and crush their first round opponents without remorse. I'm okay with them saving a little intensity for the later rounds, but they need to take care of business now, too.
Al Horford: The rook has been on fire against the Celtics, averaging around 15 points and 11 rebounds. Moreover, he's been the most fearless Hawk of all. Still...he needs to do a better job of controlling his youthful stupidity. Because giving Paul Pierce the business? Not a good idea. Especially after bashing Kendrick Perkins' nose. I have a feeling things are going to get a lot tougher for the rookie in Game 4.
Acie Law: After a great Game 2, he notched a four trillion in Game 3. Which I guess means that Mike Bibby's job is secure for a little while longer.
Mario West: He played only 8 seconds in Game 3. I really feel sorry for this guy, and I'm almost completely heartless.
Botched calls: From Basketbawful reader Dave: "Obviously you watched the game last night. I was to caught up in the moment to rewind and watch the play, but upon further investigation tonight it is perfectly clear that Carl Landry CLEARLY stepped out of bounds (1:24 into the video, or 3:12 left in game time). Thought it was worth mentioning after the whole city of Houston was up in arms after the Scola/Kirelinko incident in Game 2. Granted is doesn't matter much because the Jazz won anyways, but it also goes to show that one single call does not a game change."
Tracy McGrady: Another great game (23 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists), and another fourth quarter disappearing act (only 4 points). Through Games 1 through 4, T-Mac has scored a total of 12 points...and 7 of those came in Game 3.
Deron Williams: He bricked two freethrows with seven seconds left that would have iced Game 4. Fortunately for Williams and the Jazz, Mehmet Okur rebounded the second miss, got fouled, and this hit both of his freethrows.
Bobby Jackson: The Rockets didn't shoot well as a team (36 percent), and Bobby Jackson was holding the baton and leading the brick parade (1-for-10).
Carlos Boozer: The Mailman is not impressed. Boozer shot 3-for-13 in Game 4. Hey, Booz, the basket's that way!
DeShawn Stevenson: You'd think he would have learned to let sleeping dogs lie. Instead, he continues to take shots at LeBron, and in Game 4 he delivered his blow Jackie Chan-style. The result? King James went off and the Cavaliers went on a 13-0 run. It's obvious the Locksmith isn't going to learn his lesson.
Also, note that Jay-Z has added to the James-Stevenson rivalry. But DeShawn is thrilled about it. "He's worth $500 million, and he's writing songs about me. What does that say about DeShawn Stevenson? Ballin'!" He really doesn't get it, does he?
Update! LeBron James:Carlo won't forgive King James for mangling the King's English, no matter how many blows on the head he's taken. "I hate DeShawn Stevenson...but with that said, what's up with LeBron's English and his third-person talk? 'If we was on the park, something definitely would have escalated. But, you know, I guess that's what they want to do. They want to hurt LeBron James this series. It ain't working.' 'If we was'...really, LeBron? You've been hangin out with Jay-Z too much."
Phoenix Suns, Game 4: Where was this intensity and physical aggression in Game 3? Or, for that matter, Games 1 and 2? Why can't the Suns play like this every game?!
San Antonio Spurs: The officials let the Suns rough them up a bit, but instead of responding the Spurs did what the Spurs do: Flopped, complained, and rolled around on the ground in mock pain over and over. In the first quarter, Manu Ginobili took a dive on a Boris Diaw post up in which he was never touched. They play smart basketball, and they win, and I admire all that. But the rest of their antics make me ill.
Gregg Popovich: His consistent use of Hack-a-Shaq might be strategically sound, but it makes me hate him. Well, hate him more.
Bruce Bowen: He played 20 minutes, missed three shots and committed one foul. And yeah, I know you can't measure everything Bowen does by his statistics, but come on.
Andre Iguodala: He's Philly's leading scorer. Well, he was until the playoffs. He's averaging about 10 PPG on 22 percent shooting. And he doomed the Sixers in Game 4 by scoring only 12 points on 4-for-16 shooting. C'mon, Iggy! Your team needs you!
Arron Afflalo: He wins the Mario West Award for playing only 5 seconds against the Sixers on Sunday.
Update! Jarvis Hayes: Basketbawful reader Josh said: "You forgot about Jarvis Hayes on Worst of the Night. He played 2:59 for the Pistons and was able to come up with nothing but 2 fouls. Compare that to what probably would have happened if he was still on the Wizards...hmm...." Okay. I'll let Jarvis sneak in this time. But I'll expect worse things from him in the future.
Dallas Mavericks, Game 4: Ah, sweet Dallas...finding new ways to collapse every season. The NBA Playoffs just wouldn't be the same without them failing in some major way.
Josh Howard: I'm not going to touch the subject of his admitted marijuana use. But it sure seems to have distracted him from his game; he scored only 6 points on 3-for-16 shooting yesterday. Rikes, Raggy!
Jason Kidd: He played badly (3 points, 1-for-6, 3 assists, 2 turnovers) and then got himself ejected for nearly beheading Jannero Pargo. Kidd tried to play it off as a "hard foul," but watch the video: Kidd clearly pulled down on Pargo's neck well after the intial foul. That was pure, dagnasty evil. [From Odenized.]
Doug Collins: According to Basketbawful reader Nate, Doug is currently attending the Reggie Miller School for Unintentionally Hilarious Commentating: "Doug Collins just referred to Dirk Nowitkzi as 'a very erect player.' I feel like Basketbawful needs to know about any potential man love between the likes of Doug Collins and Dirk, as disgusting as that idea may be." Nate, if you were trying to make me shudder in revulsion, then misery accomplished.
TNT statisticians: This is from Basketbawful reader Paul: "I don't know if you caught this or not on TNT this evening, but they were showing some bogus statistic across the screen over and over again that I just couldn't wrap my head around...check out the attachment. Supposedly, Dallas has sold out 314 consecutive post season appearances. Even before looking it up, I didn't think that could be at all possible. Even if Dallas went to a game seven of the finals every year and each series went to a game seven, that's only be 16 home games a season, and only if Dallas had the home court advantage every year. That'd take Dallas 19 years to get 314 consecutive games. Even if you counted games at home and away, you'd still get only 28 games a season and it'd take 11 years. In the end, I found this link that says Dallas only has a 62-71 playoff record all time meaning they've only played in 133 post season games EVER. Maybe it was just a typo?" It probably was a typo. But a very dumb one.
Update! TNT's Closer promos: Basketbawful reader rhymenoceros said: "It's not quite basketball-related, but it's something we all have to suffer through on TNT, also. The insane amount of "Closer" commercials is driving me crazy. I don't know what's going on, but they're shoving this crap down our throats at what seems like every single commercial break, sometimes twice. I don't know if I've ever hated Kyra Sedgwick more...." Hmm. If Kyra ends up dead anytime soon, I guess we all know who to blame/thanks.
Update! NBA.com: Basketbawful reader Milan noticed that the league's Web site couldn't quite tell the difference between Dirk and Tim Duncan this weekend. Check out the text next to Dirk's mug...