Heat-Knicks: Talk about a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking. This game was uglier than elf-on-elf butt sex. It featured 30 turnovers versus 24 assists (including a season-low 11 for New York) on 64 field goals. The two teams also combined to shank 33 of their 40 three-point attempts (which included the Bricks going 2-for-16 in the first half). It was so bad that, in the first quarter, New York fired up two air balls...on the same possession. If we find out Santa hung himself on Christmas day, it'll probably be because he watched this pathetic Festival of Fail.
Mike D'Antoni and Danilo Gallinari, Co-Captains Obvious: After the Bricks scored only 87 points on 32-for-78 shooting (including 5-for-28 from downtown), D'Antoni said: "[The Heat] do play good defense and you've got to give them credit. But at the same time I really thought we had a lot of wide-open shots and we just missed and you are going to miss some."
Gallinari added: "I think we missed a lot of shots that were open shots. I think we just missed them."
This excuse doesn't cut it when you "miss" any "open shots" in the company bathroom. Just so you know.
Nate Robinson: Make it 11 straight DNP-CDs now. Mind you, the Bricks offense was declared legally dead at one point during the third quarter and Nate still wasn't invited to join the fray. I'm betting Nate wishes he had stuck up for Starbury last season...
Erik Spoelstra, All-Star Gift Giver: According to the game notes section of the AP recap: "Spoelstra gave his players two Christmas presents: a word-a-day calendar to improve their vocabularies. and 'The Energy Bus,' a motivational book by Jon Gordon." No word on whether he also sent them a Christmas e-mail with a link to this video:
The Orlando Magic: Talk about a timely gift for the Magic: a Christmas day home game against the Paul Pierce-less Boston Celtics. Too bad the C's decided to play Grinch to Orlando's Cindy Lou Who. Boston's defense held the Magic to first half season lows in both field goal percentage (25.0) and points (27), which included a 9-point second quarter. The Celtics also forced 18 turnovers, which mostly offset their season-high 21 ball bumbles. Between the TOs and the fouls (47 personals and 3 techs), this game was almost as ugly as Heat-Knicks. And no player played any uglier than...
Dwight Howard: He was, as usual, a beast on the boards, grabbing a game-high 20 to go with his 4 blocked shots. But his offense must have gotten left in Santa's sack, because Howard finished with 5 points on 1-for-7 shooting while committing 7 turnovers. And that was against single coverage.
Said Kendrick Perkins: "You've got to play him physical. You watch other teams around the league, they pretty much let him set up shop. You've just got to go in and be prepared to go to war. You've got to fight him first, hit him first. He likes to be physical, but he doesn't like anyone to be physical with him."
Did...did Perkins just call Superman a big, flapping vag? I mean, that's what he just said, right?
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy tried to deflect Kendrick's "pussy" allegation by claiming Dwight's performance was a coaching issue: "We have not been able to establish him in the post against them, and it's frustrating because we should be able to. I have to find an answer to that. I'm not frustrated with Dwight, I'm frustrated with myself. But obviously, not a lot of offensive efficiency there."
The Los Angeles Lakers: Talk about a timely gift for the Lakers: a Christmas day home game against the Craboliers. There's no better time to catch a talented rival than after they've been forced to travel and play on the road on the biggest holiday of the year. Only the Lakers went all "Habitat for Humanity," building houses from bricks thanks to their 36 percent shooting (compared to 54 for the Crabs). L.A. went down, came back a little and then went down again -- I know that reads like the script to a porn scene -- ultimately getting pounded 102-87. Merry fucking Christmas, huh?
Cleveland's big men (Shaq, Big Z and Sideshow Bob) pretty much negated L.A.'s vaunted frontcourt duo of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol (15 points on 6-for-16 shooting combined), Kobe shot the hell out of the ball (11-for-32 from the field and 12 free throw attempts), and the Lakers' bench pretty much played like they have all season (i.e., lousy). Oh, and nobody could do anything with Mo Williams (28 points, 8-for-13, 6 boards, 7 assists).
It's funny. The Lakers have been at the top of almost every power ranking pretty much all season long despite the fact that their schedule has been front-loaded with home games (a league-best 19 to be exact) and very few back-to-backs. As ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin pointed out: "The Lakers are 6-5 on the season against teams that had better than .500 records as of Dec. 25."
And what about their record against division leaders? After getting their asses whupped at home by the Cleveland, the Lakers are 1-3, which includes a home win over the Hawks and blowout losses Mavs (94-80 at home), Nuggets (105-79 on the road) and now the Crabs. And against Cleveland, it was the same old story from the 2008 Finals: the Lakers got man-handled and the best they could do was whine about it to the officials. Not a great showing for the Purple and Gold. Although even that doesn't excuse the behavior of...
Lakers fans: Really, Lakers fans? Really?! I know it's frustrating to see your team lose, but they're still defending champs and have one of the best records in the league (23-5 after the loss)...and you throw foam fingers, water bottles, and wet peanuts (?!) during the game? Jesus river-dancing Christ.
It was a stunning display by a crowd that regularly shuffles in late and then sits through most of the game in a near-catatonic state. Said Phil Jackson: "I've never seen an L.A. crowd react like this before. I like their enthusiasm. I don't like their demonstrative manner. ... It wasn't a well-refereed game, it wasn't a very well-played game, so I think it was a reaction to that."
Cleveland coach Mike Brown was apparently scared out of his pants by the terrifying shower of foam and plastic: "It'll be interesting to see what happens in the future with the NBA, where that can't take place. I don't know what the rules are. When water bottles start flying, does it mean it's a tech, or what? But it's a scary thing when water bottles and other objects start coming on the floor like they did today." I peed myself just thinking about it. In other news, Mike Brown is a big, flapping "Dwight Howard."
The Los Angeles Clippers: It had been 17 long years since The Other L.A. Team was featured on Christmas day...and they responded by losing by 31. How Clippers-y is that? Very.
Said Baron Davis: "We just stopped playing." Pretty much, yeah.
Despite all the player and coach games they've lost to injury, Portland has won 8 of 12, including the last four in a row. Mind you, eight of thsoe 12 games were roadies, which included a double OT loss to the Bucks and a narrow defeat by the Crabs. As for the Nuggets...are we really sure they're an elite team? I mean...really?
Gilbert Arenas: Agent Zero had unloaded firearms in his locker. I know what you're thinking: he was afraid for his life after stealing that $111 million from the Wizards organization. But that's not it. He just wanted to get rid of the guns and he thought bringing them to work was the best way to do it. Seriously.
Ron Artest:According to the AP: "Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest has injuries to his head and left elbow after falling at his home. Artest didn't travel with the Lakers to Saturdays game at Sacramento after tripping over a box and falling down a flight of stairs at his home on Christmas night, the team said in a news release."
The best/worst part? I wasn't surprised in the least. In fact, I decided to make a list of potential Artest stories that probably wouldn't surprise me. They include:
1. Ron Artest strangled by pet octopus
2. Ron Artest's private plane lost in Bermuda Triangle
3. Ron Artest finds Bigfoot
4. Ron Artest discovers the Higgs boson
5. Ron Artest battles Hitler's-brain-in-robot-body
6. Ron Artest eats seven kittens
7. Ron Artest returns to his home planet of Z'Xoorantus IV.
Mariah Carey: I have to agree with AnacondaHL on this one: "You know I was a big Mariah fan, I always defended her hotness. But these commercials are just sad, or unnerving at best. Like a Photoshop disaster. Combined with her trying too hard, like a stripper that's been in the business for a few years too long who operates on experienced wit and traps."
Friday lacktion report: Chris is the gift that keeps on giving...lacktion, that is.
Celtics-Magic: JJ Redick flew two fouls, one rejection, AND four bricks (three from Church Street Station) for a stunning +7 in 18:07, one of the longest stints of lacktion so far this season! His suck differential score is tied with Joel Anthony for 2nd-highest in the Association, behind Chase Budinger of the Rockets.
Crabs-Lakers: You know "Coach" Mike Brown wanted to really stick it to the other half of the puppet show tonight, and mid-game human victory cigars on their Wiis (Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson with an 11 second Mario and Daniel "Boobie" Gibson mushrooming to a 7 second Super Mario) speak for themselves!!! Jawad Williams then powered off his NES by jumping the flagpole for a game-closing 22 second stint, creating a trio of Mario Brothers for the Crabs!!!!!!
Clippers-Suns: Robin Lopez laid an egg in the points column for Phoenix, but did get two boards in 10:05. Despite that, he added two fouls and one giveaway to three bricks for a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Next up was a home loss to the Rockets...their ninth consecutive loss. It dropped their record to 2-28, which is tied for the worst 30-game start in NBA history. And, for the record, it's worst than the 30-game start of the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers team that went 9-73. (Pssst. That's the worst record in league history.) I am tingling in anticipation.
Ji Jianlian: Yi was earned a technical foul for hanging on the rim with 2:26 remaining after pulling the Nyets to within 90-88. Really, Ji?! And of course the Rockets nailed the technical freebie. Just call it reason #1,049 why New Jersey is so bawful this season.
The Washington Wizards Generals: And you thought the Generals could sink no lower...FOOLED YOU!! Washington suffered a double-digit loss in Minnesota despite the fact that the Timberpups shot 37 percent from the field. The Generals countered that crappy shooting by committing 18 turnovers and giving up 22 second-chance points off 19 offensive rebounds for Minnesota.
Memo to the Generals: There is no try. Do...or do not.
After his current squad lost to his former squad -- a.k.a. the second-worst team in the league -- Randy Foye said: "This is terrible. We feel as though we're much better than this." Really, Randy? Then maybe you should check out this little sniglet: You are one of seven Washington players and coaches with significant ties to the Timberwolves organization.
And suddenly everything that's wrong with the Generals makes sense...
Gilbert Arenas, truth machine: "We can call them the worst team in the West, but it's not like we've got that many wins over them. Right now we are one of the worst teams in the East until we can prove ourselves. Right now, we win two, we lose four."
The Associated Press: This is actually a case of "basketbawsome" by the AP writer in charge of the WAS-MIN writeup. After that last Arenas quote, the write penned: "Timberwolves West 1, Timberwolves East 0." I love it.
Flip Saunders, Coach of the Year candidate: As his Generals were getting pushed around during the game, Saunders Saunders "repeatedly made dismissive gestures toward the court." The explanation: "I was frustrated. It's like I told our players, as coaches, I'm not going to change what we do, a coverage defensively or something, just because we don't do it hard or do it right. When you don't do it hard or do it right, no matter what you do, it's not going to work."
Way to inspire the troops there, General.
Randy Foye, revenge machine: "We're going to get them back. We play them after the All-Star break. We'll get them back pretty good when they come to Washington." This is where I note that Foye had the worst plus-minus score (-17) of the night.
The Philadelphia 76ers: I pretty much expect crappy teams to get blown out by the Jazz in Utah, so in most ways, Philly's 97-76 loss is rather routine. What makes this one a little extra special is that the Sixers managed to stay reasonably close through three quarters before going nine minutes without scoring in the fourth. Philadelphia went scoreless from Royal Ivey's trey with 50 seconds left in the third until Thaddeus Young made a layup with 4:05 remaining in the game.
Here's a recap of that nine minutes of fail: Young missed a 9-footer; Andre Iguodala missed an 18-footer; Jrue Holiday missed a 21-footer; Elton Brand missed a jumper; Marreese Speights grabbed an offensive board and missed the follow-up; Iggy lost the ball (steal by Mehmet Okur); Brand missed a 19-footer (blocked by Okur); Speights missed a 21-footer; Iggy missed a jumper (blocked by Paul Millsap); Speights lost the ball (stolen by Wesley Matthews); Iggy missed a 25-foot three-pointer; Brand grabbed the offensive board, after which Lou Williams missed a 25-foot three-pointer; Speights missed a 5-footer; Williams missed three-pointers on back-to-back possessions; Iggy had his layup blocked by Andrei Kirilenko; Young missed a three-pointer; Holiday missed a three-pointer.
So, basically, the Sixers either jacked up a long-range shot, got a shot stuffed, or turned it over. Way to run an offense, boys. Said Philly coach Eddie Jordan: "In the fourth quarter we didn't put any sort of rhythm or flow together. Their defense was good. We missed some open shots and we didn't execute as well as we would like."
The Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers "bounced back" by needing two overtimes to beat the Kings. L.A. got outscoured 54-48 in the paint and gave up 28 points off 18 turnovers. But hey, they have the best record in the league, so I'm sure everything is just fine.
The Phoenix Suns: Normally when a team scored 127 points on 53 percent shooting, they win the game. But apparently the Suns can't play defense in back-to-back games, because they let the Warriors shoot 57 percent and score 133 points. To make matters worse, Phoenix gave up 35 points off 21 turnovers.
Said Suns coach Alvin Gentry: "You give up 132 points, you're not guarding anybody. We had guys that played well ... but the bottom line is that they played harder than we did. We won't beat anybody in the Pac-10 if we turn it over for 35 points." That's a pretty good point, particularly since the Warriors have basically ben a Pac-10 team for most of the season.
By the way, Phoenix hasn't won back-to-back games since November 27-29. Hmm.
Saturday lacktion report: And keeps on giving...
Grizzlies-Mavs: DeMarre Carroll took a fairytale journey through the Mushroom Kingdom for a 24 second Mario!
Hawks-Pacers: Atlanta's Randolph Morris and Othello Hunter each scripted themselves a +1 suck differential in 2:39, Morris via brick and Hunter via foul! Meanwhile, Indiana's Josh McRoberts negated a board and assist with two fouls and a brick in 3:35 for a Voskuhl ratio of 2:1.
Hornets-Bulls: New Orleans benchwarmer Bobby Brown punched out two bricks in 6:04 for a +2.
Sixers-Jazz: Rodney Carney clubbed a brick at Temple Square and a foul for a +2 in 3:02. Kosta Koufos cashed out with a 1.9 trillion (1:54) for Jerry Sloan.
Lakers-Kings: As the purple paupers once again ran out of gas in overtime against a good team, Phil Jackson called on Josh Powell to cable him some cash - in this instance, 3.1 trillion (3:08)!
The Houston Rockets: Their 108-83 bitch slap by the Crabs in Cleveland proved that a plucky, can-do attitude only takes you so far...especially on the second night of back-to-backs. By the third quarter, it looked like the Houston players were wearing cement shoes.
Said Rockets coach Rick "Addled Man": "Watching some of our guys, we ran out of gas. We didn't have anything left to respond. I think the energy was really gone at that point." Added Trevor Ariza: "We don't make excuses, but I never played a back-to-back game where you play at 7:30 the night before and play at 6 o'clock the next day. It shows the NBA is getting creative with their scheduling, which is kudos to them." And by "kudos" he obviously means "Fuck you, NBA schedule makers."
The Denver Nuggets: Remember what I said before about them maybe not being as good as people thought? Well, yeah. I know they were without Chauncey Billups, but still.
Carmelo Anthony: Speaking of Billups, what does it say about 'Melo's MVP-ishness when the Nuggets can't win without Mr. Big Shot in the lineup? Isn't that when MVP candidates are supposed to take over? Instead, Anthony had 16 points on 5-for-19 shooting before fouling out.
The Boston Celtics / Rajon Rondo: Okay, so let's get this straight: the Celtics followed up a big road win against the Magic with an even bigger road loss to...the Clippers?! Yep. Yep, it happened, all right.
Sure, the C's are missing Paul Pierce, but Tony Allen played reasonably well in his place (10 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals). Boston even got Big Baby back (8 points, 5 offensive rebounds). But their defense wasn't what it should have been, as The Other L.A. Team shot over 50 percent, which they normally can't even do in an empty gym.
The "Goat Award," though, goes to Rajon Rondo, who drew a foul with 1.5 seconds left and the game tied at 90-all. Rondo -- who's barely hitting over 50 percent of his foul shots this season -- shanked 'em both. But things might have been okay if Rajon had been able to play defense for those 1.5 seconds that were left. Only...he couldn't.
Sunday lacktion report: And just keeps on giving...
Pistons-Raptors: Austin Daye donned a Tanooki Suit to give Detroit a 3 second Super Mario, while Toronto's Pops Mensah-Bonsu was taught typing past some Koopa shells in a mere 34 seconds for a regular Mario!
Celtics-Clippers: Brian Scalabrine countered a block and assist in 10:27 by garnering two fouls, leading to a 2:0 Voskuhl. Meanwhile, Mike Dunleavy shockingly had the opportunity to bring out the human victory cigars against an elite squad, with Mardy Collins losing the rock twice for a +2 suck differential in 4:18, and Ricky Davis giving the Christmas present of a Game and Watch to Steve Novak to give the Clips a pair of Mario Brothers!!!! Davis spent 1400% more time on the court than Novak, rescuing Pauline from Donkey Kong in 14 seconds, as compared to Steve Novak's stupdendously short 1 second SUPER MARIO!