The New Orleans Hornets: I don't have a Ph.D. in Wordology, but I'm still pretty sure the phrase "great googly moogly" was invented for games like this. This truly was a history-making debacle. And who could have seen it coming? I mean, Denver had looked like the better team through three games, sure, but I never expected the Hornets to play Alderaan to the Nuggets' Death Star. This was the most brutal, one-sided rout I've seen since Megatron killed all those Autobots during the Instruments of Destruction scene in Transformers: The Movie. (Which, by the way, remains the best after-school-cartoon-to-movie motion picture of all time.)
Okay, enough with the cutsie analogies and onto the nitty-gritty. The Hornets lost by nearly as many points (58) as they scored (63). They were never in the game, falling behind by 21 after one quarter, 22 after two and 39 after three. The 121-63 loss matched the largest margin of defeat in NBA Playoff history. The Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks 133-75 in 1956. Think about that: No playoff team in 53 years has been beaten as badly as the Hornets got pummeled last night. And this was, gulp, a HOME GAME.
More numbers of woe: New Orleans shot 31.5 percent (17-for-54) and committed a franchise playoff-high 27 turnovers (which gave Denver 41 bonus points). Think about that: The Hornets finished with 10 more turnovers than field goals. New Orleans also notched all-time playoff lows in points, field goals made, field goals attempted, assists (10) and second-half points (24). And those 121 points the Nuggets scored set an all-time playoff high for a Hornets opponent. This is 'bawful beyond the ability of human words to articulate. So, after much thought, I can only compare this drubbing to the death administered to the skateboarding assassin in Hard Ticket to Hawaii:
Yep. I think that pretty much sums it up. But here are some reader comments anyway. Eric, who attended the game, said: "If there was any more indication of how badly the Hornets played, the highlights of the 1st half they put up on the Jumbotron included two shots from timeout entertainment: The three-pointer a guy made to win his section 7-Up and the dunk of a six-year-old."
More dogpiling from Justin: "I'm sure you're getting plenty of emails on one of the extravaganza of humiliation in New Orleans tonight. All I have to say, as someone who watched two quarters of this turd, is this: no photograph from the game will ever properly convey the sheer size and density of the facepalm that was this loss. So I give you this. Use it wisely. Although, what I was really looking for was this guy. It's just that he makes me kind of nauseous."
And finally, from Dr. Hank Pym: "In tomorrow's WotN, make sure to mention how much of a ripjob Rick Kamla and Steve Smith, the commentators for NBATV's broadcast of the Nuggets/Hornets game, put on the Hornets. At some point in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Rick and Steve were so bored they were going off-topic, and when it was near the end of the game, they were ROOTING for the Hornets to not score anymore points! Kamla said something along the lines of 'If we have to sit through 48 minutes of this, we may as well make it a record night.' And Steve Smith was actually chanting 'Defense!' during a Hornets possession, hoping they would break the record for biggest playoff blowout. Man, they were just cracking so many jokes and just not caring at all about the game, it was completely hilarious, yet so sad at the same time. Wasn't this the team that was supposed to be a legitimate competitor to the Lakers this year?"
Chris Paul: The Hornets may lack depth, but they were pretty much expected to win the point guard battle. Like, by a lot. However, except for Game 3, Chauncey Billups has been by far the best point guard in this series, and maybe the Western Conference Playoffs. And Paul? Well, he crashed and burned, big time, in the fourth game: 4 points (2-for-7), 6 assists and 6 turnovers in 36 minutes of...of...LACKTION. Yes, CP3 was a lacktion superstar in this one. It was one of the worst games of his career, and certainly his worst-ever playoff game: It was, after all, the first time Paul has ever scored fewer than 14 points in a playoff game. Said Nuggets coach George Karl: "I'm pretty sure Chris Paul is not 100 percent." When the opposing coach is pulling out the "Injury Excuse" for you, that's a seriously bad sign.
Carmelo Anthony, Captain Obvious: "I wouldn't have thought that we would win by 58 points. I never thought anyone could win by 58 points in the playoffs." 'Melo truly is the Large Hadron Collider of NBA Playoff insight.
The Miami Heat: The Heat were probably thankful that the disaster in New Orleans distracted from their homecourt fail against the Hawks. Instead of putting Atlanta into a playoff headlock, then moving into DDT, Miami came out and played like it was the preseason: 37 percent shooting, more turnovers (12) than assists (12), AND they got owned by Zaza Pachulia (12 points, 18 rebounds, 2 steals). It was like a night at Harry's Chocolate Shop, as the Heat went ugly early and never recovered. From the AP recap: "The Heat shot 5-for-23 in the first 21 minutes, digging a 21-point hole. At one point, Miami nearly had as many fouls (15) as points (19), Wade had four airballs (arguing he was fouled on two), and the Heat were unraveling." I suppose you could point at Dwyane Wade's 9-for-26 shooting (including 1-for-8 from downtown) and game-high-tying 4 turnovers, but a large share of blame goes to...
The Miami Heat "bench": The one thing that could have made this group failure truly complete would have been for a tumbleweed to blow forlornly by them. They combined to score 2 points (on 0-for-7 shooting) and 9 fouls in about 48 minutes of daylight. When Zaza Pachulia BY HIMSELF is nearly 45 times better than your entire bench, well, you know...SAD TROMBONE.
The Utah Jazz: Maybe next year, huh?
Carlos Boozer: In what likely will be his final game in a Jazz uniform, the Boozeman went 3-for-8 from the field, finishing with 10 points and a plus-minus score of -11. That's not Karl Malone lite. That's not even zero-calorie Karl Malone. That's Karl Malone's jock strap on a bad day. It's been a fun couple years, Carlos. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, okay?
Andre Kirilenko: Dan. B sent in this pic, and I just had to include it.
"The ball...it's like a piece of iron."
The Los Angeles Lakers' killer instinct (or lack thereof): From Karc: "Wow, I do not think I have ever seen a series where a team wins after blowing a big lead late in each game. But the Lakers did it. Seriously, L.A., take a cue from Cleveland. Up by 20 in the fourth quarter, you finish that game and win by 25 or 30. You do NOT let the lead get down to 6, mostly due to your 'star' player getting three turnovers to spark a run by the Utah bench. I laughed when Phil Jackson benched Kobe Byrant, not because he wanted to rest him as a reward for his play in the series, but because he sucked on the court. Geez, it seems like everybody but the Lakers was ready to call it a day, as Boozer and Williams weren't even in the game. I was hoping the Jazz would break 100 so that the Laker fans could boo this team for another collapse that cost them free tacos. Maybe then they would get the message. Good luck trying that nonsense against Denver or Cleveland. Hint: it's not going to work. Because those two teams are likely to look at a 20-point hole in the second half and think 'Hey, we have this thing won.' Which normally would be insane. Against the Lakers, though, it's the truth. Just ask Boston."
Lacktion report: From Chris: "What an appropriate time to work on the lacktion report -- on my TV in the background is Food Network's Good Eats, and Alton Brown's doing the episode on...CRABS! Ahh...memories of Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson still fresh in my mind. (And of course all eyes in the next round will be on Tarence Kinsey, who is in a serious slump towards semi-useful ball!) Now to the non-contributors of this playoff night."
Hawks-Heat: Solomon Jones wisely played the role of human victory cigar for Atlanta, staying sharp with a foul in 3:26 for a +1 suck differential and a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl.
Erik Spoelstra saw home court spoiled tonight despite the brave efforts of two of his top lacktators. Joel Anthony negated a board in 4:26 with two fouls for a 2:1 Madsen-level Voskuhl, while Jamaal Magloire did one better by avoiding any positive play with a brick and two fouls in 1:52, a +3 that also counted as a 2:0 for his second Voskuhl in three games!
Nuggets-Hornets: When George Karl's squad nearly scored twice as many points as New Orleans did, it's understandable that the Nuggets' lacktion faction got some rest from avoiding contribution, with Johan Petro even making a few shots! So the Hornets' failfest becomes the story of the evening, first with starting center Tyson Chandler (who as we all recall, nearly got traded to the Thunder earlier this season), who chose to pay tribute to Toronto's buffoon of a big man for the second consecutive game.
Chandler did take two boards and two assists in his 12:46 from the opening tip, only to miss two shots and get charged with fouls four times for a Voskuhl ratio of 4:2. The news only got better for Byron Scott -- better that is, if Scott is a fan of lacktivity -- with Hilton Armstrong checking into the ledger tonight after a 12-minute stint, with a field goal and board (plus two steals) negated by four giveaways and three fouls for a 7:3 Voskuhl of his own, tying the lodger with Kwame Brown for the worst playoff Voskuhl ratio so far. Ouch.
Derek Fisher is seeking a temporary restraining order against a woman who he says is stalking and harassing him.
The Los Angeles Lakers guard, who is playing in Game 5 of the NBA playoffs against Utah, filed the paperwork with the Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier Monday.
He claims that the woman, Symone Fisher -- no relation -- has been harassing him since 2001 but that the situation has gotten worse over the past few months. Fisher claims that the woman has been showing up at his place of work and at his private residence.
In the restraining order, he also asked for protection for his wife, Candace, and four children.
A Los Angeles County detective investigating the case recommended that Fisher get a restraining order after looking into a number of unsolicited e-mails, internet messages and letters sent from Symone Fisher suggesting that the two were married.
So add two cases of stalking to the thousands of cases of unhealthy Kobe obsession. What is it about the Lakers, exactly, that causes people to become mentally unhinged? Also, Wild Yams noticed something about that writeup that I also noticed: "From the article about Fisher's stalker: 'Fisher claims that the woman has been showing up at his place of work and at his private residence.' OK, showing up at his house is definitely a bad sign, but there are lots of people who routinely show up at his 'place of work.' They're called 'season ticket holders' or possibly even just 'basketball fans.'"