The Cleveland Craboilers: The good news is the Crabs kept pace with the Celtics, Magic and Lakers last night. The bad news is they did so by losing to the Pacers in Indiana, just as Boston, Orlando and LA have earlier this year. King Crab LeBron turned in the kind of performance that normally raises the ire of journalists and fans alike when Kobe has them: lots of points for himself, few for his teammates, few assists, and a loss to boot. Tough to chide LeBron for this one though: 47 points on only 21 shots and 13-14 from the line; but the rest of his team was downright putrid, and when you've got a reputation for being one of the best in the business at making your teammates better... well, scoring half your team's points in a loss doesn't speak too well on that front. Speaking of LeBron's fellow Crabs...
: If Mo wanted to show Stern that he finally made the right call by putting him on the All-Star roster (replacing Chris Bosh
), performances like this are not the best way to do so. 15 points on 18 shots in 42 minutes is pretty bad, but so is zero assists. Especially when you play point guard. And your team's leading scorer just scored 47 points. Say it ain't so, Mo! Come on, LeBron goes off for 47 and the team's PG can't get him the ball for even one of those baskets? Luckily the Crabs' backup point guard, Boobie Gibson, came to the rescue by dishing out one assist in 26 minutes of PT (hey, I told you LeBron's teammates were putrid last night). You know something's amiss when Ben Wallace has more assists than your first and second string point guards combined.
Danny Granger: Indiana's All-Star representative didn't do much to quiet the critics of great players from teams with bad records being selected. Granger turned in a Mo-esque performance with 16 points on 18 shots (though he did have one assist!); but unlike Mo, Granger let his defensive assignment (LeBron) lay tire tracks all over his squad. Granger also almost caused this one to go into OT, except, well, see for yourselves:
I dunno, maybe two wrongs make a right after all? Next time ref, just let all that nonsense go. Nobody likes to see two dubious calls made in the last .4 of a game like that.Update! LeBron, Mike Brown and the Media:
Basketbawful here. I just have to say that the Cavs-Pacers game really should have been decided by T.J. Ford's 17-footer with 0.8 seconds left. But King Crab got a classic superstar call with 0.4 seconds left. The refs, apparently suffocating in their own guilt, found one last blast of wind and whistled James for the exact same foul with 0.1 seconds left. Both calls were ridiculous and basically canceled each other out. But that didn't keep LeBron from stomping off toward the locker room afterward, nor did it keep Cavs coach Mike Brown from freaking the hell out: "That last call, on the run, is the worst call that I have ever been a part of. I cannot imagine another worse call than that. It was an awful call and for him to take away a basketball game from a team with .4 seconds on the clock is irresponsible." You know, Mike, I bet the Pacers were feeling the same way before the makeup call.
But Brown wasn't done: "I don't care if I get fined. It is what it is. I saw the two plays; just a bad call determined the outcome of that game. If they want to fine me for telling the truth, fine me. This isn't me. I never do this." Now, me, I love when coaches blow up and then claim they never do it...WHILE THEY'RE DOING IT. Oh, one last tidbit from Brown: "It was predetermined from the call that was made at the other end of the floor, and it is very unfortunate. We got the game taken away from us. Absolutely horrible."
LeBron wasn't quite as irate as Brown, but his view was Nixonian: I didn't do it. "The last call against me was not questionable at all. No contact was made. The pass was short. You couldn't go to the rim. I was able to get a hand on it." What's worse, even the Associated Press
was whining on King Crab's behalf: "But NBA stars, especially those in the realm of James, aren't supposed to be treated this way --especially in a game they've dominated." Oh, well gosh, if a superstar dominates, they certainly shouldn't be victimized by a call. They should only DO the victimizing. It's only fair. Except it's not. (By the way, here's a special wag of the finger to Michael Marot, the AP writer who penned that line. Isn't the AP supposed to limit the expression of opinions? Especially when those opinions are "Superstars should always win, especially when they're playing well"?)Update!
: Remember a few years ago when the Crabs lost a heated playoff game to the Pistons after LeBron didn't get a favorable whistle in the final seconds? The whole team was pissed, but they got a grip and refused to complain afterward. Said Brown
: "We're a no excuses team." So what changed? They're now an "excuses team"?
The Washington Wizards Generals:
The race to the bottom continues! Atlanta was fresh off of being blown out by the Clippers
(yes you read that right) last weekend, and apparently wanted to show the world who really belongs down there in the dungeon with The Other LA Team: your Washington Wizards. The game flirted with being close for the first 13 minutes before the Wiz decided to end the suspense and go 8 minutes while scoring only 4 points. While that's generally a poor recipe for victory to begin with, it doesn't help if you start such a stretch already down 8 points. By the time the Wiz got their offense back in gear they were now down 20, and that was all she wrote. But look on the bright side: from that point forward they were only outscored by one point the rest of the way.
Dominic McGuire, Darius Songalia & Mike James: There's a lot of blame to go around for this one, but I've only got so many fingers, and three of them are pointed at this trio. Let me just say this: it's never a good sign when three of your starters combine for only 9 points. Nuff said.
The Miami Heat: Wade's Warriors must have felt like Sisyphus out there last night. Playing at home, they dug themselves a big hole to crawl out of going down by 20 just before the half, then valiantly fought back to cut the deficit to only 4 with 10 minutes to go in the game... before letting the Nuggets go on an 23-10 run to end it. This was the Nuggets' 4th straight win in Miami and 8th straight win over the Heat.
Miami's frontcourt: Miami's power forwards and centers, specifically Udonis Haslem, Jamal Magliore, Joel Anthony and Michael Beasley, managed to combine for this anemic statline: 13 points and 13 rebounds. Kenyon "Neck Lips" Martin managed to outplay these four players all by himself, going for 18 & 10. Miami's starting backcourt of point guard Mario Chalmers and shooting guard Dwyane Wade outrebounded this quartet of ineptitude 14-13.
The Denver Nuggets: Despite what I just wrote above, Denver was outrebounded on the night by Miami.
The New Jersey Nets: They lost to the Spurs, which is to be expected, but they get a mention here for letting The Red Rocket, Matt Bonner, light them up for 22 points on 10 shots. In a game where Manu Ginobili only goes for 9 points while Vince Carter and Devin Harris combine for 46, that's a game you've got to win. New Jersey, however, instead decided to lose at home by 15. The loss allowed the Spurs win to stretch their win streak over the Nets to 13 straight.
The Raptors - Timberwolves game:
This entire game gets a mention today because even though a week ago this was already shaping up to be an abysmal matchup, it was even worse without Al Jefferson and Chris Bosh. The only noteworthy things about this game were that Jake Voskuhl had himself a Voskuhl
and that Rashad McCants missed the game with flu-like symptoms
. Of far lesser importance, the Craptors won.
The Detroit Pistons:
I have a feeling this game got some more in-depth coverage elsewhere
(hint hint), but this was a game which probably felt all too familiar to Rasheed Wallace. Just like in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals, Rasheed saw his team give up a 15 point 4th quarter lead and lose on the road, calling into question whether both teams in fact did play hard. It was a great night for the Bulls faithful who were there to honor Johnny "Red" Kerr, as the game had appearances by Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and none other than Barack Obama (via satellite) to pay tribute to the Bulls' first coach. The refs even chipped in with a little home cookin', giving Chicago 16 more free throws. It would have been a perfect night for the Bulls except for...
Derrick Rose: Derrick Rose was great down the stretch, scoring buckets and dishing to Ben Gordon for the game winning three. But on the Pistons' last chance on offense he ran into a hard pick set by Antonio McDyess, and his reaction was to start crying like a little girl with a skinned knee. This prompted Chris Webber back in the studio to mock him mercilessly for about three minutes straight. It was definitely the highlight of the night for anyone watching NBATV's Fan Night.
The Sacramento Kings: Honestly, if you're still expecting much out of the Kings, you've probably been in a coma for the last 7 years. The Kings didn't get those 42 losses for nothing, you know. Maybe Sacramento has already given up on the season and have entered the early stages of tanking. If so that would explain the complete lack of defense they showed last night. 118 points for the Mavs on 55% shooting and getting outrebounded 47-28 doesn't show many signs of effort. Neither does allowing Jason Kidd to singlehandedly almost match your whole team's assist total (Kidd - 12, Kings - 15).
Kevin Martin: Remember preseason how there were a lot of people predicting that this would be Kevin Martin's breakout year, and this would be the year he'd finally show people what a great, efficient scorer he was now that he didn't have to share the ball with Ron Artest? Seems like a long, long time ago, and nights like this are why. 18 points on 15 shots while letting Antoine Wright go off for 23 points on 14 shots is not a good night, especially for your team's MVP.
The Golden State Warriors' "defense": Where to begin? Two Knicks starters only combined for 12 points, but NY still managed to score 127 points. I'm guessing the fact that they shot 54% from the field had something to do with that. The 51 bench points probably contributed a smidge or two as well. So it looks like Mike D'Antoni's boys executed the one part of the game he cares about. Now, how'd they do on the other end of the floor...
The New York Knicks "defense": Not so good. Anytime you give up 144 points you're just doing yourself a disservice. 55% shooting, including 55% from 3-pt range for the Warriors, and scoring 120 points in the 1st, 3rd and 4th quarters combined tells you all you need to know about this game. With defensive dunces Mike D'Antoni and Don Nelson squaring off, what did you expect?
The Oklahoma City Thunder:
The news that their new mascot is a bison
was trumped today by the outbreak of tornadoes
in the OKC area. Luckily for we basketball fans this game was played in LA, but like the LA announcers said last night "there's a reason the national weather service has its headquarters in Oklahoma City". Oh yeah, they also got beat by the Lakers. Who could have seen that coming?
The LA Lakers:
Coming off their big road trip and wins in Boston and Cleveland, it's not unexpected that they seemingly weren't too up for a game back in Staples against one of the league's worst teams; but when you're playing a team that has a road record of 3-20 and you've got the best record in the league, it's pretty bad if the game is still in doubt with under a minute to play. Especially when you've got a game the next night in Utah. The All-Star break is a couple days away, why not just rest up then?Update! Lacktion report:
And now, Chris's
unending lacktion quest continues...
Cavs-Pacers: Darnell Jackson has proven an effective replacement lacktator in Tarence Kinsey's absence, crawling his way to a 58 second Mario (with one brick) for the Crabs!
Spurs-Nets: Chris Douglas-Roberts' push to be an All-Lacktion starter continues, after he passively procured a 1.45 trillion for New Jersey. Maurice Ager has been learning well from Chris's example, using the same 1:27 of floor time to take a foul and miss a shot for a suck differential of +2.
Nuggets-Heat: Yakhouba Diawara flamed out with a rebound that ruined a potential two trillion, but lucky for him, fellow lacktator James Jones got warm and baked some masonry for +1 in 7:13. That wasn't Miami's only milestone of mediocrity, as Joel Anthony earned a slight Voskuhl of 6:5 (fouling and giving the ball away three times each, against five rebounds and a brick) in a full 35:39 of action!
Raptors-Wolves: Jake Voskuhl was pegged as a likely non-factor in the Battle of 34-Loss Teams, and he delivered on that meager promise for the Craptors, giving Minnesota the ball once and fouling once as well for a +2 in a forgettable 4:21. Not to mention that a lack of shot attempts earned him his namesake stat -- a Madsen-level Voskuhl of 2:0.
Pistons-Bulls: Walter Herrmann barely got time to press the "Start" button on his night before sitting back down, generating a 15 second Mario for the Pistons.
Kings-Mavs: At halftime, this one looked competitive -- but Suckramento's snoozers never woke up for the 3rd quarter, leading to an all-too-common blowout loss at Dallas. Devean George got to play the part of human victory cigar with a +3 in 3:50 that he secured with a miss from downtown and two fouls.
Knicks-Warriors: When Nellieball collides with Mike 'antoni's coaching, hand-in-the-face work to protect one's own halfcourt gets supplanted with the inevitable fan facepalms, after nary an attempt to make a defensive stop. Yet in this extreme display of offense -- 271 points scored in only four quarters! -- Golden State pulled ahead enough to bring in their human victory cigar, Anthony Morrow. Morrow dropped a 51 second Mario on the floor, the only player who did not contribute at all to those 271 points!
Thunder-Lakers: 6:06 of playing time helped Chris Mihm earned a bit of a Voskuhl of 3:2, with three fouls against two rebounds and two missed shots.
Kobe Bryant:About the author: Wild Yams
Lord Mamba, well known for endlessly practicing all of his moves in the gym before he uses them on the court, revealed that he uses Luke Walton to try out all of his kung fu moves
in practice first before employing them in the games.
is a frequent reader of Basketbawful and many other basketball blogs, and is just as much a pain in the ass here as he is on those other sites. Like LeBron James, he likes to refer to himself in the third person, but unlike LeBron James, he has not mastered the crab dribble.
Labels: Derrick Rose, Jake Voskuhl, Lakers, Lebron James, Mike D'Antoni, Rashad McCants, Rasheed Wallace, Worst of the Night