The Toronto Raptors: Check out this smackdown from the AP game recap: "Down by 12 points after one quarter, the Dallas Mavericks knew better than to panic. Instead, they waited for the struggling Toronto Raptors to crack. It didn’t take long." Added Jason Terry: "We knew they blew a big lead the other night, so we didn't get down (after the first). We just said 'Keep grinding. If we can put some doubt in their mind they may fold,' and that's what we were able to do in the second and third quarter." And a little more from Devean George: "The whole team looked frustrated, some doubt started to come into their mind. They started off smoking, but it's a 48 minute game. When you see guys going, 'Not again,' that kind of feeds into the other team. We all kind of sensed that. They were really frustrated when things weren’t going right and we started making a run."
Okay, when opposing teams and even the Associated Press know they can count on you to collapse...that's bad. The dinos have now lost three straight and are 2-6 since Jay Triano replaced Sam Mitchell.
Chris Bosh: Did he struggle? Yeah, I guess you could call scoring only 12 points on 6-for-20 shooting "struggling." He also went 0-for-5 in the third quarter, which included a missed dunk. It was a performance, both individually and as a team that was well worth booing, but Bosh wasn't happy when that exact thing happened...
The Toronto crowd: Look, we all understand why you guys are happy. You live in Canada and your team sucks more than expected. But they can't rally if you don't support them. What the Raptors need now is love, sweet love, it's the only thing that there's just too little of. Just ask Chris Bosh: "If I want to get booed, I'll go on the road. It's really tense right now. When you're down three points at home and you're getting booed, that's kind of disheartening. Whether the crowd knows it or not, they play a big part in the game." Again, I understand the reasons behind the booing, but you know, he has a point.
The Utah Jazz's first quarter: Gak, what a bad start by the Jazz. They shot 3-for-19 (16 percent) -- which included streaks of six and later eight misses in a row -- and had 7 turnovers. And it took a Morris Almond jumper with 2.8 seconds left to avoid matching the worst quarter in franchise history. (Utah scored five points in the second quarter against the Lakers on December 1, 1981.) After that misguided mess of basketball, the Jazz found themselves down 27-7. Fortunately, they were facing...
The New Jersey Nets: Yes, my friends, they are who we thought they were. The Nets choked up a 22-point lead and ended up losing by 11 (and dropped to 4-8 at home in the process). It was the largest lead they've wasted since January 29, 2001 when they surrendered a 23-point lead to a 23-win Vancouver Grizzlies team. The Nets let the Jazz score 72 points on 64 percent shooting in the second half while getting outrebounded 53-36. Fail.
The Washington Wizards: Here are the facts. Do with them what you will. The Wiz scored 74 points on 33 percent shooting. They missed nine free throws and had only 13 assists (and 12 turnovers). They fell to 4-19, which makes them only two games better than the Klahma City Thunder. And Mike James is now their starting point guard. Yes, they suck. They suck bad. Speaking of James...
Mike James, quote machine: "I keep saying I'm grateful this is the Eastern Conference. You can be 10 games under .500 and still be playing for the eighth (playoff) spot." Uh, yeah, Mike...only you guys are 15 games under .500 and a full SEVEN games out of eighth place. But don't let little things like math and reality stand in the way of your delusions of mediocrity.
Rasheed Wallace: It has been said that 'Sheed plays better after getting T'd up. Well, he earned a tech last night and yet finished with 2 points on 1-for-8 shooting (including 0-for-4 from distance) and only 4 rebounds. So, you know, maybe what's known isn't what's known.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Not that anybody expected them to beat the Cavs, but they still lost by 23 points at home. It was their 11th straight defeat and sixth in a row since Kevin McHale took over the coaching reigns. But since McHale thinks that bloggers are costing coaches their jobs, I'm not going to say anything.
Rashad McCants: The line: 0-for-8, 2 points, 3 fouls. He doesn't even deserve a one-liner. Meh, to you, Rashad. Meh, I say!
Eric Gordon: He earned "True Clipper" status last night by fouling Ben Gordon on a three-point attempt when his team was leading by 4 points with 20 seconds left. Ben hit the shot and the ensuing free throw to tie things up. The game went into overtime and the Clippers, naturally, lost. Gordon, who also committed a critical turnover in overtime, was not available for comment after the game.
By the way, after the loss, Timothy P sent me the following email: "Just wanted to say thanks for the curse...'By the way, has anybody noticed that Zach Randolph is fitting in really well with the Clippers? In point of fact, he's playing a lot better than post-surgery Elton Brand. And the Clips have won three in a row. Who knows? It could turn out that Brand leaving was a good thing for the other L.A. team.' You managed to write this the same day Brand did a flying pirouette over somebody's shoulder, landed upside down, and dislocated his own shoulder. But who knows? It could turn out that Brand getting hurt is a good thing for the Sixers."
Yeah. Sorry 'bout that Clippers fan. I know what it looks like, but I really wasn't going for the stat curse just 'cause I live in Chicago and support the Bulls and knew the Clips were coming into town last night. Really I wasn't...
Andres Nocioni: Noc forced a big turnover in overtime when he flopped to the floor while defending Zach Randolph. And the NBA said they were going to stop the flop! Z-Bo was pretty angry, both at the time and after the game. And so was Marcus Camby: "It's frustrating because everybody in the league, everybody in the building knows what he does. He flops, but he got the benefited of the call tonight so we just have to take this one on the chin and we have try to regroup and we have two more games on this road trip." No bitterness there. None at all.
Spurs versus Hornets: Chris Paul set an NBA record for getting a steal in his 106th straight regular-season game while Tim Duncan passed the 10,000 career rebound mark. So, yeah, history was made, but that did not make this a game worth watching. Ugly. I walked away to do some things and came back early in the second quarter...and it was 15-14. The Spurs also scored only 13 in the fourth. Painful. Like a giant cyst on your back that's about to burst. And then you realize it's filled with crawling insects.
Also, an anonymous commenter asked me to mention the following two bonus pooper scoopers: "Hey Bawful, in the next WotN can you mention the stat curse the commentators put on Matt Bonner. They were talking about his league leading three-point percentage only to have him go 1-8 from downtown and 3-15 altogether. Although in hindsight it is Matt Bonner, so it probably wasnt a stat curse just matt being normal. And also the random Hornets employee who wouldn't let the fans manning the CP3 steal count put it upto 106. He was standing there telling them not to do it. even while the fans were cheering CP3 and there was an announcement about him getting the record." Consider it mentioned, Mr. Anonymous. Also, d'you suppose that having Bonner attempt eight threes was really part of Pop's game plan? I tend to think not so much.
Manu Ginobili: Basketbawful reader Garron noted: "Great game. But, down by 4 with 30 seconds left he lost miserably on a jump ball against '6-foot on a very good day' Chris Paul." True dat. The only change I would make is "6-foot while standing on a couple decks of cards and maybe a small block of wood."
Evil Ted Addendum (spurs/hornets): At one point late in this game, Tyson Chandler was called for goaltending. It was a legit and fairly obvious call, so nothing horrible there...but Jeff Van Gundy proceeds with a mini-rant that sounds something like "I don't know how any human being could possibly detect goaltending...they should have balls that light up when they start on their downward arc...I seriously have no idea how a human could possibly call a goaltend..." I found it very disturbing to hear a commentator AND former coach say something so dumb about one of the most straightforward aspects of the game - ball going down, no touchie. Maybe Gundy just enjoys the sound of his own voice?
The Laction report: Basketbawful reader Chris was kind (or perhaps obsessed) enough to compile all the trillionaires, suck differentialists and Mario brothers of the night:
Even with ESPN cameras on for two games, it couldn't stop some of the best practitioners of lactivity from shining brightly (or is that "fading dimly" in this context), even in one of those two national games! And, being doubly inspired tonight, I decided to do a salary comparison between their on-court non-performance and their actual earnings, to see how much randomly standing on the floor, or negatively contributing to the team, can be worth.Kobe Bryant: While in the bathroom of the Lakers' locker room, Mamba asked Luke Walton where the nearest bathroom was. When Luke gave him a puzzled look in response, Kobe said: "I'm not looking for a toilet, you moron, I'm looking for a bathroom. Haven't you ever taken a bath? Apparently not. No wonder it smells like crap in here." And Luke began to cry.
(BTW, I still haven't decided what term is best for a suck differentialist -- a "vacuum" or a "lollipop", I think a "vacuum" has to especially suck, say have a double digit SD or more than 10 minutes of playing time with a SD, while a lollipop has a single digit SD in less than 10 minutes of playing time.)
Shawne Williams of the Mavs ($1,572,960 this year/$19,182.44 a game) was one field goal away from a +4 in a full 10 minute lacktion session -- about $5000 for each SD marker he accrued; on the other side of the court, Kris Humphries ($3,200,000 this year/$39,024.39 a game) was a +1 in 1:53 of playing time for the Raptors, his missed field goal squandering away a revenue-generating opportunity. Guess you can't trust Humphries with your 401(k).
The Wizards' JaVale Mcgee was a steal away from a +1 in 2:31 of lacktion - is that a "Non-Trillion Almost As Valuable As Others?" It did help contribute to a 14 point loss, though it did not make him wealthy. (In real dollars though, he makes $1,392,240 this year, which is $16,978.54 a game.)
CJ Miles for Utah, in trying to become a true lollipop, was a +4 in a whopping 6:28 of playing time -- as a starter! -- and while +/- is not considered for SD numbers, he was -12, truly making him a Minus Man. (6 players for the Jazz -- FOUR from the bench had double digit positive +/- numbers tonight.) I guess his sweet, sweet negative lacktivity was overshadowed by his team's depth. This year's salary for him is $3,700,000 or $45,121.95 a game -- so he earned a sugary $11,280.49 for every SD marker he racked up!
Cleveland steamrolled McHale's Navy of Conscripts (appropriate given Telfair's arsenal shenangians), having enough garbage time to bring out Darnell Jackson as the biggest lollipop of the night, with 6:53 of lacktion punctuated by a SD of +7! That's a ratio of over one bad play a minute! However, he cannot be blamed for the usual cries of "LeBron lacks a supporting cast" that inevitably lead to "LeBron to Somewhere Else in 2010, Says The Media Hype Train" - he is making a mere $450K this year, only $5487.80 a game - so his cap hit per SD point is $783.96, a real bargain in the league nowadays and an easily afforadble option for those looking for a waste disposal expert. Speaking of the conscripts from Minneapolis, Kevin Love scored a grand total of 0 points on 4 shots.
In typical fashion, Donald Sterling's squad serves as a breeding ground of nothingness, with Steve Novak providing a 30 second Mario (at $797,581 this season/$9726.60 a game, he has clearly found the secret to getting rich fast), while Clippers teammate Brian Skinner - 22nd overall pick by this team in 1998 -- chose to walk away from the treasure chest and stock options by blocking one shot, thus avoiding a +1 in three minutes of lacktion. (Skinner's sole blocked shot was probably his best effort in trying to show Mr. Sterling that the contract year phenomenon applies to him, as he makes $1,262,275 this year, or $15,393.60 a game. Wanna bet that's enough for Sterling and Dunleavy to give this guy another blank check?) Oh, and the Clips only successfully made one shot in OT, unsurprisingly losing.
While the big talk in the Crescent City was CP3's 106th consecutive game with a steal, he was not assisted by fellow Hornet Sean Marks, who chose to forego a possible payday of 9 trillion in favor of taking the role of team lollipop, with a +5 through three missed shots and 2 personal fouls. (Marks, clearly bad enough to not be assisted by the contract year phenomenon, is making $1,141,838 in the last year of his deal -- $13,924.85 a game, or more specifically, $2784.97 per SD point!) On the other bench, Fabricio Oberto gave the Spurs a 40 second Mario, at the price of $3,500,000 this year/$42,682.93 a game - one of THE most expensive Marios in memory.
Man, I am still in awe at earning $42,682.93 to just stand there for 40 seconds and then get back on the bench. No wonder he doesn't mind being "used in any role" as this article states.
It's amazing how this somewhat sabermetric analysis of lacktion can be really revealing -- and make you wonder how so many GMs in this league do not understand the stupidity of spending $42K a game, or $11K a SD point, to have someone take up roster space.
And did anyone else catch Stuart Scott in the midst of the ESPN broadcast describing the upcoming Spurs game as "redicufied," a completely new and meaningless word that seems straight out of the Lovetron Language Primer?