The wussification of the league: Chris Bosh is apparently trying to inspire his team to make a (don't laugh) playoff run (okay go ahead and laugh) by getting all rough and tumble. Said Bosh: "We have to realize nice guys sit at home and watch the playoffs. That's just how I feel. Maybe I'm wrong, but if you play with more intensity you're more likely to win and you're more likely to play better basketball." To further enhance his new tough guy persona, Bosh got all up in the face of...Brian Cardinal. Oooooo.
Explained Bosh: "I don't accept people yelling in my face. I don't do that to other people so I expect the same thing in return. I'm going to turn it up and, if guys do that, I hope they're ready to handle where it's going to go." And where's it going to go, Chris? I mean, really. You're going to, what, throw down with Brian Cardinal for yelling at you? I kinda doubt it.
While Chris was hyping a potential "Bosh versus Cardinal" fight Muhammad Ali-style, Brian was all, like, whatever. "I don't think I poked the bear. It's just two guys trying to get their teams a win, trying to survive. Little old me out there, he's much taller than me (6-foot-10 to Cardinal's 6-foot-8). That's the only way I can survive is be out there scrapping and playing hard. That's all that was. And then he (started) making his shots. God love him, he played well."
T-Wolves coach Kevin McHale, who I'm compelled to mention once clotheslined Kurt Rambis during the NBA Finals and was only called for a regular personal foul, sounded semi-disgusted that Bosh's panties getting a little bunched up was even noteworthy. Said McHale: In our league if two guys aren't kissing it's an altercation. There's no altercations anymore. Go back 30 years and you'll see some altercations."
The Associated Press: Check out what the AP had to say about the Grizzlies-Crabs game: "Playing short-handed is nothing new for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With starting shooting guard Delonte West inactive two days after returning from the right wrist fracture that sidelined him for 16 games, the Cavaliers relied on a team effort to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 94-79 on Tuesday night." Were they being serious? Did they honestly think that the loss of Delonte West was going to make a difference in this one? The Griz are 15-41 overall have the second-worst road record in the league (3-22). Meanwhile, the Craboliers are 26-1 at home and have this guy named LeBron James. Maybe you've heard of him? I understand they need to find a storyline for every game, but some on. That's a real stretch.
The Detroit Pistons: Their 12-point defeat in Miami was their seventh straight not-win. And in case you're not an amateur NBA historian, this is the first time they've dropped seven in a row since December 28, 2001. And if they don't beat the Hornets in New Orleans tonight, they'll match their longest fail-streak since 1995.
The whole mess has left the Not-Answer talkin' 'bout DEFENSE, man. "Our whole thing is not on the offensive end. We can't stop anybody. The way we're playing we have to shoot 60 percent to win a basketball game. Everybody's always going to look at the offensive end and scoring points. We scored enough points to win the basketball game. But we just can't get stops consistently. We can't get stops when we need them." For the record, A.I. is currently giving up 108 points per 100 possessions. That's three points worse than his career average. I'm just sayin'.
Random note: Did anybody else find it interesting that one game after scoring a career-high 50 points, D-Wade had a career-best 16 assists?
The Orlando Magic: When you're trying to catch the Kevin Garnett-less Celtics in the race for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, you probably shouldn't get thwacked by 18 points against teams hovering outside of the playoff bubble. But that's what happened to the Magic last night against the Bulls. And their rather defenseless loss -- Chicago shot over 56 percent for the game -- is best summed up by the following play:
Raged Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "Our starting lineup brought nothing to the game. I'm embarrassed and disgusted by what I saw. I don't know if our players are, but they should be. Our guys want to talk about being a contending team. We're still not tough enough and we don't play hard enough" Van Gundy then ate a live kitten, despite its frantic and persistent mewing.
The Dallas Mavericks: Normally, the Mavs getting kicked around by the Spurs in San Antonio wouldn't be that big of a deal. But the "Spurs" were playing without Tim Duncan (sore right knee) and Manu Ginobili (flop practice). Dallas should have won this one, or at least been competitive. But they were not. Tony Parker (37 points, 12 assists) absolutely destroyed Jason Kidd (2 points, 4 assists) -- remember when the Spurs almost traded Parker to get Kidd? -- and Kurt Thomas (10 points, 15 boards) almost outrebounded the Mavs' starting frontcourt (Erick Dampier, Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard) by himself. Dallas shot 34 percent and had only 10 assists (compared to 12 turnovers). Truly bawful. Said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle: "I can only shudder to think what would happen had (Duncan and Ginobili) played."
Tracy McGrady: The Rockets have won eight straight at home and five straight overall. Both streaks are season-highs. It's...it's like they don't even miss him.
Bobcats-Suns: From Basketbawful reader DKH:
A few revenge games: Diaw: 10 of 12 for 27 points to go with 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Bell: 9 of 14 for 23 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists. J-Rich: started slow but had 20 points on 10 FGA to go with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. But, he fouled out. Still pretty efficient. Doesn't really quality as a "revenge game", but Dudley had 2 point, 4 boards, an assist, and 2 steals.
WoTN nomination to Emeka Okafor. I'm not sure he ever passed the ball back out (0 assists); he spent the whole game in foul trouble and was pretty much schooled by Shaq.
I also wanted to nominate Terry Porter for a developing "worst of" situation: Goran Dragic has improved rapidly since Gentry took over. He is playing with much more confidence, shoots the ball more, doesn't dribble into as many worthless situations. Gentry is treating him differently than Porter did, and it seems to be helping him develop.
On the other hand, SSOL is to the NBA what the spread offense is to college football. It lets mediocre players put up stellar numbers. However, Dragic is a rookie, and now we'll get to see how he develops.
Additionally, the broadcasters commented early on that Bell and Diaw were happier in Charlotte. Which shouldn't be true, considering Charlotte is 10 games worse than Phoenix. So, I'm not sure what Porter was doing, but the amount of player discontent would be incredibly disturbing to me, and if I were a general manager looking for a head coach, I would steer clear of Porter.
Lacktion report: Take it away, Chris...
Grizzlies-Cavs: With this game pretty much decided at the opening tipoff, Adonal Foyle - who the Warriors chose 8th overall in the 1997 draft - walked on the court for Memphis and delivered a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl via foul-and-nothing-else in 2:59, also good enough for a +1. The crustacean clique has seen a major personnel shift as of late, with Tarence Kinsey having to say goodbye to his life as a lacktator these days, coming out of his shell to be a starter tonight. Confused by his All-Lacktion teammate's transition, Darnell Jackson also provided contributory basketball, forcing King Crab and Mike Brown to crown Trey Johnson as the royal landfill crawler. Johnson skillfully managed garbage time by clenching out a +1 in 1:33 via foul.
Pistons-Heat: In 1:41, Detroit's Amir Johnson merely milled two fouls for a +2. Joel Anthony for Miami continues his consistency in creating lacktivity with a one-foul +1 in 3:22, which also counted for a Madsen-level Voskul of 1:0.
Lakers-Thunder: Clay Bennett believes that greed is good. So he must be relieved that the Tyson Chandler trade didn't go through, as the focal point of the deal - an aging Joe Smith, another mid-90s Warriors first-rounder -- pilfered a freshly shrinkwrapped copy of WiiFit off the shelves tonight with a 14-second Mario! (Interestingly, like Dikembe Mutombo's Mario from a few weeks ago, ESPN disagrees and claims on its box score that this never happened! Bias against elderly lacktators from the Worldwide Leader?!)
Mavs-Spurs: Devean George and Matt Carroll have kept Dallas in the lacktion reports the same way Mark Cuban keeps his big ego in front of the cameras over the years, and this game at AT&T Center was no exception. George probably has a good view of the Alamo by now, due to two bricks coming from downtown; couple that with two fouls and that produces +4 in 10:08. Carroll's statline made him look like a Mini-Me compared to Devean, with half-sized numbers -- 5:12 on the floor, with one foul and one missed shot each for +2. Teammate Erick Dampier downright delivered as well by managing a slight 4:3 Voskuhl in 8:59 (one foul and three turnovers against one rebound and made field goal each), more impressive considering Dampier's role as a starter!
Kobe Bryant: Mamba handed Adam Morrison a huge laundry bag full of dirty jock straps along with instructions to wash them by hand. Adam dutifully complied, but when he tried to return them, Kobe said: "Huh? You can do whatever with 'em. I don't even know who they belong to."