It's not easy, coaching the Thunder...

The Toronto Craptors: The Mighty (Awful) Dinos probably penciled in a "W" on their schedule when they realized the Milwaukee M.A.S.H. unit was limping into town. Which had to be hard, what with those three little finger-claw things. But anyway: Psyche! Andrew Bogut returned! So, naturally, even though Toronto could have made up some ground in the epic tickle-fight for the last playoff spot in the East, they failed. At home. After scoring 30 points in the first quarter, the Craptors managed only 55 points the rest of the way to lose by double-figures and slip uncomfortably into that next-to-last in the conference slot.

Bonus stats: Toronto scored only 12 points on 5-for-20 shooting in the third quarter. Even the Associated Press called that "dreadful." And as if to add stinging insult to bitter injury, Jose Calderon missed his first free throw of the season -- after hitting 84 straight -- with 3:32 left in the fourth.

Kendrick Perkins: Beast got the bronze boot during the fourth quarter of the Celtics-Pistons game for fouling Jason Maxiell. To the floor. By the neck.

Said Perkins: "I didn't want to give up a layup, so I was trying to foul him hard across the arms, but he ducked his head and I got him on the neck. I wasn't trying to hurt him. I don't do that." Do I believe Kendrick wasn't trying to hurt Maxiell? Yes. Do I buy that whole "he ducked his head" thing? Sure. And I also rode into work on my purple unicorn, Sabra. Wave your horn at our readers, Sabra!

Now, I'm a fan of physical play and hard fouls, but Perk stuck his big toe over a line. To that point, Maxiell had been very active, especially on the offensive glass, so Perkins' takedown struck me as a frustration foul. (Speaking as a pickup players, you always want to hit the hustle guy. Always.) But not only was it dangerous to Maxiell physically, it was perilous to Boston as a team. At the time of the foul/ejection, they were up by only 5 points on the road and there were still almost six minutes left in the fourth. That kind of play runs the risk of inciting the home team to a big win. Fortunately for the Celtics, it didn't. Thanks to...

The Detroit Pistons: The Celtics played a good game, but they hardly went all out. It was a simple matter of focus and execution, which is how superior teams typically beat the inferior ones. And Detroit is now, without question, an inferior team (regardless of Doc Rivers belief that "They’ll be as dangerous as anybody in the playoffs.") Simply put, the Pistons aren't a member of the Eastern Conference Elite any more. They just aren't. And, with all due respect to Mark Jackson, time (to further integrate Allen Iverson into the mix) isn't going to change that. As a side note, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess and Tayshaun Prince were a combined 7-for-31 from the field.

The Miami Heat: They fell victim to Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s season-high 30 points (10-for-18 from the floor, 4-for-8 from downtown). Let that soak in for a few seconds. But understand, if you're a Miami fan, that no amount of soaking will make that pain go away. Oh, and one more thing: The Pacers were 15-for-31 from three-point range. So, you know, memo to the Miami players: Hand + Face.

Udonis Haslem: He earned two techs and an ejection...with 3:03 left in the first quarter? Seriously, Udonis? That's a little early to start getting all uppity with the refs. I would have waited until the third quarter myself. And I probably would have tried to add some humor to the situation by tripping the official with a banana peel or hitting him with a cream pie. Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

Mario Chalmers: He fouled out in 13 minutes of PT against the Pacers. I said "hand in the face," Mario, not "hand on the arm, wrist, hand, etc."

The Indiana Pacers: The Heat, missing Shawn Marion (groin!) and Haslem, were forced to give Mark Blount 23 minutes of daylight. And Blount finished with 17 points (7-for-12) and 8 rebounds. And yes, those were both season-highs. If Indiana wants to make the postseason, they should move "shutting down seven-foot stiffs like Mark Blount" to the top of their to-do list.

The Washington Wizards Generals: Being the worst team in a league that includes the Clippers, Kings and Thunder has to hurt. Like a random bodily orifice filled with rusty nails. The Generals fell behind early at Philadelphia and trailed 32-17 after one quarter. They actually managed to rally and take brief lead in the third, but giving up a season-high 20 points to Willie Green worked against their cause. Said Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott "You have nothing left in the tank because you have to struggle back from so many points down. If we take the first quarter out, we win by five." Ah, if only teams could just erase all of their bad quarters, wouldn't the world be like one big Smurf Village? La la la la la la, la la la la la!

The Los Angeles Clippers: Oh. Hey. Look. They lost to the Cavs in Cleveland. Shock. Surprise. Right now, I'm slapping the side of my face the way the French knight did in The Holy Grail when King Arthur and his men were building that giant wooden rabbit in the woods outside the Frenchie's castle. Okay, enough with the geeky sarcasm. Here's what Clippers coach/jailer Mike Dunleavy Sr. had to say about the loss: "We were a little unfortunate to catch them on a night they got Ilgauskas back. He certainly paid the rent tonight. His ability to make shots from the outside stretches your big guys out. He's got really good range and gives them something they’ve been missing." Riiiiight. It was all Ilgauskas coming back. Memo to everyone: If Dunleavy offers you a great real estate deal on swamp land, say NO.

The New Jersey Nets: The Atlanta Hawks have been having a rough month. Going into last night's game, they were only 5-9 in January. During that stretch, Joe Johnson had been averaging 16.8 points on 35 percent shooting. But, not surprisingly, the Nets were the cure for whatever's been ailing the Dirty Birds. Joe Johnson hit 11 of 17 shots for his 29 points while Devin Harris and Vince Carter were teaming up to shoot 11-for-31 from the field. New Jersey is now 9-19 since Devin Harris said "We knew we were going to be a playoff team." And the Nets are currently 11th in the East, by the way. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

The Los Angeles Lakers: I'm not supposed to be impressed that they gave up 119 points to the Timberwolves, right?

Al Jefferson, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Regarding the Lakers: "They're bigger than they look. Long and big."

The Oklahoma City Thunder: They shot pretty well (47 percent) but got smacked around like a bop bag by the much more physical Jazz. The 25 turnovers (which Utah turned into 25 bonus points) didn't help either. Fun fact: The Thunder are 2-22 against teams with winning records. (Of course, one of those wins was against the Jazz on January 14th...)

The Charlotte Bobcats: Since that rousing double-overtime victory over the Lakers in L.A., the 'Cats have dropped games in Portland (by 14) and Denver (by 11). I'm not saying the Lakers game was a fluke...actually, you know what? That's exactly what I'm saying. I'd blame the turnovers (18 for 23 points going the other way), but the Nuggets bumbled the ball away 17 times themselves, giving 19 of those points right back. No, it was probably the defense: Denver shot almost 55 percent. Said Bobcats coach/captain obvious Larry Brown: "We weren't as good as them." Hey! That scores a perfect 10 on the Dull-Negrometer!


The New Orleans Hornets: David West was back! Sadly, it didn't matter: The Hornets still lost at home to the not-very-good-at-all Warriors. Despite New Orleans' determination to slow the game down to an achingly boring crawl, the Nellie Ballers pushed the tempo whenever they could and finished with 14 fast break points (plus some fouls). But the transition game wasn't the only place where the Hornets D was lacking. With Peja Standstillovic guarding Corey "Bad Porn" Maggette down the stretch, Don Nelson continued to call Magpie's number. Maggette responded by scoring 12 of his 19 points in the last 6 minutes. Said Nellie: "We didn't think [Stojakovic] could guard him and he couldn't, of course." Damn, Peja, you just got FACED. Bonus Damning stats: New Orleans shot 36 percent, committed 14 turnovers and missed 7 free throws.

Corey Maggette, delusions of above-averageness machine: "I think it's a mismatch every time, me personally. Whoever guards me I just think it's a mismatch because I'm just a person that tries to keep a person on their heels and attack them every which way. Everyone knows I'm trying to go to the basket." True. But everyone also knows you're an inefficient volume shooter who can't be trusted to hustle or play defense. Oh, and you're injury prone, too.

The Sacramento Kings: You can get some GREAT coverage of this game over at By The Horns (nudge, nudge, hint, hint). But here's what you need to know for WotW purposes: The Bulls, who have struggled against pretty much everybody and hadn't won in Sacramento since 1997, earned their most lopsided victory of the season, a 109-88 shellacking of the increasingly hapless Kings.

The Sactowners are the worst defensive team in the league -- oh, you betcha -- and the Bulls used the game as an opportunity to pad their stats. Chicago shot nearly 56 percent as a team...significantly better than their season average of 44 percent. Ben Gordon and Luol Deng both rang up 20 points. Joakim Noah had 17 (on 8-for-11 from the field), which was only a couple points off his career high. Tyrus Thomas had his second consecutive double-double (14 points, 10 boards) to go along with 3 steals and 2 blocks. Derrick Rose had a game-high 11 assists. And Cedric Simmons even had 5 points in garbage time, marking his third-best offensive output of the season!

Said Spencer Hawes: "I would say it was a terrible effort across the board. We came out and let them do what they wanted to do. I don't think there is any good we can take out of this game." Added Kings coach Kenny Natt: "We're going to have to do whatever we have to do to make this change because it's not fair to anyone -- as a team, as an organization, for the fans -- the whole bit. We all deserve a lot better so from that standpoint I was very disappointed in our effort." Awh. Sad face.


The Los Angeles Clippers: There's a new worst team in the league, everybody, and their name is the Clippers. The Other L.A. Team secured their spot at the bottom of the NBA chum bucket by succumbing to the Wizards Generals in Washington. They're now tied with the Generals in the standings (at a very sad 10-37), but Washington is up 1-0 in the season series. So, congratulations, Clippers! You still are who we thought you were! Quick stat: The Clips committed a season-high 25 turnovers...including 10 in the first quarter.

The Iniana Pacers: There's more than corn in Indiana, but there's no "D" for the Pacers, who gave up 122 points at home to the Knicks in the dreaded double-revenge game. Former Pacers player Al Harrington (30 points, 8 boards) gave former Pacers GM Donnie Walsh the greatest gift of all: A win. Okay, that's like the second-greatest gift of all. Anyway, Al said: "I wanted to win the game for him, just to put a smile on his face. Being around Donnie lets me feel super comfortable, feel like I can do anything." Donnie truly is the wind beneath Al's wings. [Insert Bette Midler music here.]

By the way, the Pacers attempted 100 shots and both teams grabbed at least 50 rebounds. So, yeah, real defensive Waterloo.

The Philadelphia 76ers: Okay, see, meltdowns like this are why I created Basketbawful. The Sixers, playing at home, were 12 up on the Nets two minutes into the fourth quarter when Vince Carter sprained his ankle and left for good. And from that point, Philly coasted in for an easy victory. But not really. What actually happened was that they went the final 10:37 without a basket (0-for-18) and finished the fourth quarter with only 8 points on 2-for-22 shooting. Brook Lopez (24 points, 17 rebounds) finished the Sixers off via a monster jam with 16.8 seconds left. As Sixers coach Tony DiLeo observed: "We went through a dry spell. We just could not score." Another perfect 10 on the Dull-Negrometer!


The Miami Heat: A lost weekend that started with a double-digit road loss to the Pacers ended with a double-digit home loss to the Dallas Mavericks. And somebody needs to put up a Missing Poster for Miami's defense. The Heat have the fifth-best field goal defense in the NBA (44.6 percent), but the Mavericks blasted them like they were bullseyeing womp rats in their T-16 back home. Dallas hit a season-high 60 percent of their field goals, and the Mavs' 111 points were the most the Heat have surrendered at home this season. Bonus history lesson: It was the Mavericks' ninth straight regular season win over the Heat, who haven't beaten Dallas since a 119-118 overtime victory on March 26, 2004. (Unless you count that whole "2006 NBA Finals thing...)

The Memphis Grizzlies: The Toothless Bears discovered that shooting 51 percent isn't quite good enough when you commit 22 turnovers and let your opponent hit almost 54 percent of their shots. The result, beyond the 115-98 home loss to the Lakers, was the Grizzlies' 12th consecutive not-win. It's their longest losing streak since they opened the 2002-03 season 0-13.

Kobe Bryant: [Insert ominous music here]. Mamba tumbled to the ground after a drive to the hoop. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Kobe had to go through Andrew Bynum's knee before his butt could reach the floor.

Obviously, it was a freaky accident, so no true blame can fall on Kobe's scaly shoulders. Still, it's an interesting karmic twist, considering that Bynum collapsed Gerald Wallace's lung on an accidental play just a few days prior. I'm just sayin'. But my distaste for the Lakers aside, let's hope Bynum is going to be okay.

The Atlanta Hawks: Hey, look, another road loss for the Hawks, this time to the Michael Redd-less Bucks. The Dirty Birds had their feathers plucked by Charlie Villanueva's 27 points, 7 boards and season-high 6 assists. Atlanta is now 9-15 on the road and only 7-10 since that eight-game home stand that had everybody frothing at the mouth about how wicked-awesome they are. Make that "were." So, uh, where's that anonymous commenter who blasted me when I predicted this was going to happen? Would you like to retract your dissenting opinion now? Because I would be more than happy to graciously accept. I'm big that way. Speaking of size...

Mike Woodson, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Regarding the play of Bucks center Andrew Bogut: "He was huge. Zaza had his hands full."

The New Orleans Hornets: The Buzzing Bugs stood to close some of the gap in their divisional battle with the Spurs, and Chris Paul seemingly did his best to get 'er done by scoring a season-high 38 points on 15-for-22 shooting. But, of course, CP3 played right into Gregg Popovich's strangling hands, finishing with only 4 assists and 4 turnovers. Paul, like most great point guards, is at his most dangerous when he's creating for his teammates. Anybody remember that classic playoff game between the Suns and Mavericks when Steve Nash went off for 48 points and Phoenix lost by 10? Nash shot 20-for-28 as Dallas basically conceded his scoring opportunities but dished out a mere 5 assists. The strategy worked for the Mavericks then and it worked for the Spurs this weekend. Memo to the Hornets: When you play San Antonio's game, be prepared to lose.

Meanwhile those damn Spurs are trying to make me look the fool. They've won three straight and seven of their last eight since(ish) I dubbed them a non-contender. So, you're welcome, San Antonio fans, for the reverse stat curse.

Hilton Armstrong: Posterized. By Manu Ginobili. Way to play six feet tall, Hilton.

The Phoenix Suns: You can read more about this most improbably loss at By The Horns, but seriously...what a mess. They're called motions, people, and the Suns are going through them. And I'm officially dubbing Shaq "The Big David Copperfield" seeing as how he's making his teammates disappear. Amare Stoudemire played a game-high 43 minutes and finished with the same number of rebounds (6) as Derrick Rose and two fewer than Thabo Sefolosha (8). Steve Nash had almost as many turnovers (7) as the entire Bulls roster (8). Speaking of rosters, everybody on the Suns look like they just found out they have six weeks to live. Robert Sarver needs to fire Steve Kerr and Terry Porter immediately. I'm being completely serious. Do it quickly before the window slams shut on these guys...assuming it hasn't already.

The Utah Jazz: Their defense must have traveled to the same alternate reality as the Heats' and Pacers'. Portland shot 56 percent from the field (43-for-77) and 50 percent from beyond the arc (10-for-20) on their way to scoring 122 points. Jerry Sloan called it a "nightmare" and Deron Williams was similarly disgusted. "Bottom line, we've got to stop being so soft as a team. Teams push us around, and we don't push back. We're lying down and letting them walk all over us." Yeah, I'd say that's an unhappy player. But hey, it's not all bad: Carlos Boozer has joined the Overstock.com team!

Eddy Curry: You'd think the news that his ex-girlfriend and infant daughter were brutally murdered -- which came after his banishment by Mike D'Antoni and a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former male employee -- would be hitting rock bottom for E-House, but you'd be wrong. Turns out Eddy has mismanaged his finances so badly that he had to ask the Knicks for an $8 million advance. Which they refused to give. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Curry has already made close to $40 million in salary through 2007-08. So I guess Patrick Ewing was right: Basketball players might make a lot of money, but they also spend a lot of money.


The Detroit Pistons: You know how way up there I mentioned that the Pistons aren't a member of the Eastern Conference Elite any more? It's still true. I mean, losing to the Craboliers isn't all that damning on paper, unless of course that paper reveals that Cleveland's game-deciding 15-2 run happened when LeBron was sucking Gatorade on the sideline. And the fact that they dropped a banner for Kid Rock this weekend makes me want to drink until I can't feel feelings anymore. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go do a shot or 10 of Maker's Mark...

The Toronto Craptors: The Dinos edged further toward extinction by losing their second straight home game this weekend in a terrible 113-90 loss to the Magic. Chris Bosh, who normally chews the Magic up with his razor-sharp Raptor teeth was instead gobbled up by Orlando's defensive tar pit: Bosh shot 4-for-11 and committed a game-high 4 turnovers. It's a sad day for a team when Joey Graham (14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals and a block) looks two or three times better than their franchise player.

The Boston Celtics' interior defense: Kevin Garnett missed the game with a case of what I'm calling "Formerteam-itis." Seriously, isn't it amazing how often NBA players are sick or injured when it comes time to face off against their old teams? Don't get me wrong, Doc Rivers said "He's sick. He's really bad. His fever's really high." and I believe him. But still. Anyway, without KG manning the paint, Al Jefferson blew up like can of soda somebody shook too hard before opening: 34 points on 15-for-21 shooting. Big Al also had 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Let's face it, without Garnett, the Celtics are soft and gooey in the middle.

The Oklahoma City Thunder: Boy, just when everybody was starting to talk about the Thunder, they drop an overtime decision to the only teams in the league that seems genuinely worse than they are. Still, it was a thrilling class of two teams determined to not play any defense whatsoever. But the Thunder failed at D just a little bit harder than the Kings, and thus earned a well-deserved defeat. It was a fitting end to Sacramento's eight-game slide into darkness.


scrooge mcduck

Thursday nights are for the twin TNT games -- a chance for lacktioneers to shirk away from the bright spotlight...only they end up illuminated by the reality of a national television audience!

Magic-Cavs: With the Crabs getting baked by an Orlando offensive onslaught, Mike Brown let Jawad Williams mine the sea floor for gold, and Williams rewarded his coach by crawling his way to a 1.35 trillion. Guess that justifies his most recent 10-day contract...

And yes, Tarence Kinsey dunked. Again. (Over Dwight Howard no less!!) Any more of this and he might be playing his way off of the All-Lacktion roster!

Spurs-Suns: Jared Dudley's 5.1 trillion no doubt shone more brightly than his Phoenix teammates did, as the Spurs were able to pull away late.

About the author: Chris is a Sacramento resident and Bay Area native who is surrounded by all forms of bawful, from The Oracle to Arco Arena (or whatever barn the Maloofs can milk the most profit from in the near future). After all, when you live in a town in which an ex-trillionare champion (John Salmons) is the home team's starter, is there much to be expected on the positive front? No. So Chris has made it his goal to become the Bill James or Hubie Brown of lacktivity, seeing how abundant it has become in Northern California. Outside of his life as a lacktion statistician, he follows a random collection of other sports (auto racing, ice hockey, snooker, boxing)...

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The Cleveland Craboliers: Welcome to a special AnacondaHL edition of WotN! And what better way to crack things open than with our favorite undersea crawlers. Their efficiency in a 32-point first quarter was split in half when they scored only 32 in the second half of a 99-88 loss. That is, a loss to a plucky Magic team using an 'Antoni style seven-man rotation and one Tony Battie with 11 minutes of lacktion. Without Big Z in the lineup, Anderson Varejao stood at center in Dwight Howard's crosshairs. After licking his chops, Superman went off for 22-18, leaving Floppyjao with a team-worst +/- score of -25...and only one notable flop in the 1st quarter.

The Orlando Magic: Having sucked the meat out of their opponent's exoskeleton, up 99-74 with 5:20 remaining, the Magic decided to shift into mid-season cruise control that would make the Spurs proud. This led to a 14-0 fourth quarter run that would make even the biggest Suns fans do a double-take at the jersey colors.

LeBron James: Fresh off a triple-double, our succulent Ohioan King Crab nearly feasted on a second helping, with 28 points, 8 boards and 8 assists. However, his buttery claws were 10-for-27 from the floor and a bitter 3-for-6 on the line. Two of those missed freebies came in the third, where a steamed James was cooked for attempting a crustacea-esque maneuver after a foul call. Thankfully, TNT's Marv Albert was quick to remind the audience that it was not, in fact, a crab dribble. James's potential bucket was waived, yet was given two foul shots despite the travel.

Here's a fun transcript of the conversation between Jameer Nelson and Bob Delaney after the shot:

Delaney: "Because he walks after he catches and after the foul so he gets two shots but he can't score a basket on a walk..."

Nelson: "But you can't...but you can't score a basket on a walk so why is he shooting?"

Delaney: "Because he's fouled in the act of shooting!"

Nelson (jokingly): "I don't agree with that...!"

Delaney: "Well that's okay...we all don't agree with everything in life."

Nelson: (Walking away chuckling, holding back face of disbelief.)
Maurice Williams: Cleveland's only All-Star made some obligatory supportive-of-teammate leadership comments in favor of Mo's inclusion to the weekend in Phoenix. "He deserves it. Look at our record. Look at the way he's playing. … I'll be really disappointed because he's part of the reason we've played the way we have, and he's put up the numbers."

Aww. I'm sure everyone with 17-4-3 (cough) and low popularity deserves a spot. Anyways, with news of this snub, and the inclusion of Jameer Nelson and the $118 million Lewis to the All-Star game, the scene was ripe for a revenge game. Mo responded accordingly with 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting and a technical foul.

Man-region grabbing dunks: A belayed WotN to Nate Robinson who joins Lamar Odom in the junk dunk contest. Worst NBA trend since those single warmer arm/leg sleeves.

The Phoenix Suns: We've seen this same story for five years now. The Phoenix Suns are 11-21 against the Spurs since 2004-05, including three playoff exits. And to make matters worse, the Suns lead the league this season in TOs (16.2) while the Spurs are near last (11.6). This is like seeing a video called monkey on goat on cup on tight rope, and still being amazed at what you're seeing despite the clarity of the title.

Intermission -- Fun Shaq Fhaqs: The Suns are 8-2 this season when The Big Cactus shoots 80% or better from the line? And are 16-5 when he shoots better than 60%? And that Shaq was 3-for-5 tonight? And Phoenix was 49.4% from the field versus SA's 46.1%? And Steve Nash had 9 assists and 0 turnovers in the first half? And Nash properly submitted his revenge game, having just been snubbed as an All-Star reserve, with 16 points and 18 assists?

So pretty obviously, the Suns lost 114-104. Did I forget to mention that the Spurs were 14-0 when scoring over 100 this season? Shaqfu went 5-for-14 with 6 rebounds and Ginobili went off for 30 points. Jason Richardson's inconsistency continued with only 7 points and 5 fouls, which contributed to Ginobili's 18-for-18 FT clinic.

Hack-A-Bowen: Tied 79-79, Phoenix pulled a mini Pops and started to intentionally foul Bruce "Lee" Bowen. Having shot only 8 all year, Bowen promptly sank 6 of 8 on the game. All that was missing was the greatest goofiest thumbs up ever.

Amare STAT: Ok, so his line wasn't that bad, as usual. 28-10 on 11-for-23 shooting would be great, if it wasn't Matt freaking Bonner guarding him. A double fail to Nash, who tripped over Stoudemire on a completely generic pick and roll with 48 seconds left as one of their five fourth quarter turnovers, cementing the show like the goat walking off the tight rope via ladder.

The NBA: Where cop a feel happens.

Officiating: In addition to the plethora of confused looks on players' faces, technical fouls were called on Duncan, Nash, Shaq, and Stoudemire in effort to keep things from getting too feisty. Of course it didn't help that the Phoenix crowd was still pissed about everything that's happened in the last three years and were booing louder than I've ever heard any crowd boo on TV. The home court was promptly rewarded with a 25-to-44 free throw disparity.

Jim Beam commercial: TNT has become infamous among the NBA viewers crowd for their repetitive awful commercials. Well the major showing of tonight was this borderline NSFW Jim Beam commercial. Despite probably being the greatest commercial of 2009, there's just something unnerving about the lack of cleverness, her voice, her appearance, and the number of Lakers fans making comments on the video. Well, at least it's better than Kira Sedgewzczbiak's mug in my face. Needless to say, I will now purchase a bottle and drink it for 1.5 years, complaining to my imaginary too-perfect girlfriend about how bad the Suns are and remembering the good old days. And she won't care if I go to a strip club afterwards.

Update! TNT: Basketbawful here making one small addition to AnacondaHL's fantastic post. Received this email from Nick A.: "Saw this on the TNT Web site, thought of your blog. Notice that Game 2 is listed as the 'Sours @ Suns.' It seems inappropriate: Given Phoenix's play this season, shouldn't they be the 'Sours'? Maybe Chuck has been relegated to the web team."


Kobe Bryant: Mamba hacked Luke Walton's iPhone to sporadically activate iFart. He charged Luke's account to pay for the app. And then ate a puppy.

About the author: AnacondaHL is a grizzled Internet veteran who watches in despair as his favorite team, the Phoenix Suns, struggles towards June 2010. When not wasting time at his Clark Kent job to read BasketBawful, he can be found playing the Internet computer game du jour, learning how to make small talk at said job by watching some other TV shows, wondering why the Diamonbacks have seven team colors, and browsing other obscure things on the Internet. He hopes someday to learn four languages, discover the Higgs boson, name the largest number in the world after himself, have an intelligent conversation about anime with someone, and to eat a crab grown in Akron.

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Editor's note: Dr. Basketbawfulstein has, apparently, created a lacktion monster. That is all.

Raptors-Nets: Roko Ukic gave the dinos +2 via foul and giveaway in 3:16, while Jake Voskuhl did not score his namesake stat, matching a foul with a rebound. He did rack up another eponymous form of lacktion, a 41-second Mario!

Harris D
Devin Harris experiences Jake Voskuhl's "Put your
hands in the air if you just don't care" efense,
which happily obliges him to the paint.

Pacers-Bucks: Roy Hibbert got himself a Madsen-level Voskuhl, with 1 foul and 1 giveaway against 1 board in just a minute of playing time (2:1 ratio).

Hawks-Knicks: Acie Law is a sure bet for lacktivity, providing the Hawks a +1 in 5:53 after missing from behind the arc. THE Mario West was productive in earning yet another of his namesake Marios, actually scoring on one shot and making a steal in a mere 53 seconds.

Kings-Celtics: You know that the announcers have given up on the court jesters when they spend two minutes late in the fourth quarter telling prattle tales about...former Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr. Yes. NBA announcers talking hockey -- vintage hockey at that! -- with the Comcast Sports California cameramen focusing on Orr's retired number in the rafters of TDBanknorth Garden. Ouch. Wow, then the Kings graphics identified Jerry Reynolds with the caption "Happy Early Birthday." When you can press the "L" button in the on-screen stats before you even get to the next road game -- four in a row on this terrible roadtrip -- I can see the production folks having nothing better to do than to play around. Production prattle tales too, I guess.

Suckramento received a couple of great non-performances in Boston tonight, Donte Greene's four trillion and Shelden Williams's +2 via brick and a giveaway in 3:06. The home team sent out a human victory cigar in a dark horse All-Lacktion candidate, Patrick O'Bryant, who missed two shots and took a foul for +3 in 4:02.

big dot
Note to Mr. Williams...attempting to high-five Eddie
House's wrist is NOT the same as hand-in-the-face.

In the House Party Live postgame show, the studio folks (Jim Kozimor and Christiensen) reminded us that the Celtics were able to rack a full 30 assists on the Sacramento efense. Stunning. Coach Kenny Natt at the press conference: "We had a really down [second] quarter, gave up 40 points." Understatement much? "I'll keep pressing these guys for consistency and 48 minute effort." I think this turnip's been pressed so much that there's nothing left to drain, other than the potential of a second dead coach bounce.

Natt then blamed the loss on a "lack of execution" and missing defensive intensity. Well, they showed plenty of efensive intensity, the type of mediocre play that can seperate you from "hoping to be first round fodder as an 8 seed" to "lottery," so the Kings have that going for them at least. Apparently the Kings are considering keeping their "options open" for the incumbent coach; those options probably include "forced resignation" and "sudden termination" and not much else. Co-host Kozimornow laid some smack down on House Party Live: "I think the Bulls are the Kings...I think Larry Hughes is John Salmons." Wow, damning someone with anti-praise there. (And Hughes is much more prone to the DNP-CD, due to his trade demands, than the former trillionaire titlist.) Why do I think the Friday tilt between these two terrible teams is anything but Must-See TV?

Grizzlies-Thunder: Does Greg Buckner read Basketbawful? Someone must've alerted him to his latest lapses away from lacktion, as he responded with a 1.1 trillion return to form tonight at the Ford Center.

Here's a special note for the baby cubs as a whole, who were outscored 14-2 in OT by Klahma. Ouch! Quite the ffensive effort, especially in light of the Thunder playing solid late-game efense in giving up a 12-point lead in the fourth. The Grizzlies did take an early 102-100 lead in the extra session, only to forget what the point of basketball is -- which, of course, is to score the most points on the night. OJ Mayo even marked his selection to the Rookie-Soph Challenge game at All-Star weekend by taking an overtime rejection from Kevin Durant. (With Durant's double-double, can we say that his transition from "Bill Simmons Underrated" to "Paul Millsap Level" is inevitable?)

Nuggets-Hornets: Denver's Johan Petro bricked once for a Madsen-level Voskuhl, taking 1 foul and 1 turnover against no points or rebounds (2:0 ratio) in three minutes.

Pistons-Wolves: With Brian Cardinal successful at the charity stripe, Kevin McFail had to rely on someone else to provide his team's usual share of lacktivity, and he found a potential black hole of brilliance amongst the conscripts: Rodney Carney. Carney was on the floor for 12:25 and pulled out a +5 with two bricks (one from downtown), a turnover, and two fouls!

Sixers-Rockets: Theo Ratliff gave Philly a 1.3 trillion fortune, which will no doubt create as much cap space as his old Expiring Contract once did. And Knee-Mac failed in the clutch, watching his desperation three get redirected as time expired.

Warriors-Mavs: UGH. Entering the third, Anthony Morrow had a two brick performance going in 10 minutes. Then I mentioned it to a friend while talking online...and whaddya know, I stat-cursed him into making a shot. So Rob Kurz tried to bring Don Nelson's team of unrelated puzzle pieces some lacktion of his own...only to ruin three bricks and three fouls with a board, the same ailment that also interrupted a potential acquisition of wealth by Jermareo Davidson. Yeah, Nellie Ball failed on both legitimate contribution and lacktivity tonight, as Jason Kidd's 9 assists proved.

One of the ESPN commentators just called Brandon Bass a "Paul Millsap kind of guy." Guess Millsap has offically stopped being underrated, and somewhere in the distance, Carlos Boozer is preparing for a bank run knowing his next contract just got devalued even further. Immediately after that, another of the booth guys randomly told a prattle tale about odd sports names that are hard to spell, asking his partner if he could spell [John] Buccigross and [Ben] Roethlisberger off the top of his head.

Blazers-Bobcats: With Charlotte getting terribly outclassed early on, the human victory cigars got to taste court time sooner than expected, with Channing Frye making it two games of lacktion in a row with +1 (foul) in 2:06, and Shavlik Randolph just missing out on a trillion with a 58-second Mario.

Bulls-Clippers: You know you are who we thought you were when your team gets punished with a 20-point loss to the lackluster heifers, at YOUR own "home" arena (which is akin to saying that the Sacramento Monarchs are "home" at Arco). And Mike Dunleavy Sr. and the team he assembled in Los Angeles really are who we thought they were. To celebrate, Vinny Del Negro opened up the cigar case and got Cedric Simmons some court time, 2:28 to be exact, which netted him a +1 via foul. (Even if the few self-aware Clippers fans in the audience could see Simmons walking out there as a sign to dash to the parking lot, they'd still find themselves stalled out along the Harbor Freeway at some point.)

Amd while Steve Novak did not rack up lacktion like he is capable of doing, he DID miss seven attempts from downtown (out of a total of 20 team three-point attempts!), before pocketing two points within the arc. I wonder if at some point he and Dunleavy must've figured out, "This can't be working, let's try something else" -- nah. It's the Clippers we're talking about after all.

About the author: Chris is a Sacramento resident and Bay Area native who is surrounded by all forms of bawful, from The Oracle to Arco Arena (or whatever barn the Maloofs can milk the most profit from in the near future). After all, when you live in a town in which an ex-trillionare champion (John Salmons) is the home team's starter, is there much to be expected on the positive front? No. So Chris has made it his goal to become the Bill James or Hubie Brown of lacktivity, seeing how abundant it has become in Northern California. Outside of his life as a lacktion statistician, he follows a random collection of other sports (auto racing, ice hockey, snooker, boxing)...

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Pacers fail

The Milwaukee M.A.S.H. unit: Let me put this mathemologically: [The Milwaukee Bucks - (Michael Redd + Andrew Bogut)] < [The Indiana Pacers - Danny Granger]. Particularly when T.J. Ford is allowed to match his career-high with 34 points by a Bucks defense that even the Associated Press described as "standstill." And Milwaukee's handicapped defense managed only 99 points against a Pacers team that (as noted as recently as yesterday) surrenders more points than anybody other than the defenseless Kings and Warriors. In fact, this game represented only the fifth time since December 15th -- a span of 23 games -- that Indy held a foe below 100 points.

Kelvin Sampson: Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson used to coach the Indiana University men's basketball team. I say "used to" because he was fired after the NCAA busted him for the heinous and unforgiveable crime of making more than 100 impermissible phone calls. That's what I like to call...justice. Anyway, it was Sampson's first trip to Indiana since his infamous ousting, and the Pacers fans let him have it. Some of the attendees yelled "Kelvin, can you hear me now?" and Boomer, the Pacers mascot, walked behind the Bucks bench with a large, fake cell phone during a first-half timeout. It just goes to show: Hoosiers may forget, but they never forgive.

Sacramento Kings: One night after giving up 119 points and a career-high 43 points to Mo Williams in Cleveland, the Kings surrendered 117 points and a career-high 8 three-pointers to Eddie House in Boston. That's what we call "defensive fail" around these parts. House finished with a season-high 28 points and the Celtics hit 55 percent of their shots (despite the fact that Paul Pierce was 1-for-5 and Kendrick Perkins was zero-for-zero). Boston's bench scored 61 points on 21-for-33 from the field. Said Kings detainee Jason Thompson: "You're not going to win ballgames like that. You know, we can't let guys like Eddie come into the game and have a spark, have a night like that." Ouch. That's kinda rough on Eddie. But true.

Bonus facts: Sacramento has lost seven straight games, are 1-17 in their last 18 road outings, and last night fell to 0-20 against the East...making them the only team in the NBA that has been blanked by an entire conference.

The Boston Celtics: Apparently, the C's got the same "defense optional" memo that the Craboliers received before their game against the Kings. Boston fell into an early 10-point hole as the Sactowners put up 30 first-quarter points. The Celtics did deliver a little bit of a defensive knockout in the second quarter -- during which they outscored the Kings 40-19 -- but there D took it a little easy for the rest of the game (Sacramento scored 29 in the third and 22 during 12 garbage time minutes in the fourth).

Paul Pierce: So...the best player in the world, huh? Pierce finished with 8 points on 1-for-5 shooting. In the first quarter, he committed three personal fouls and got T'd up to boot. He did have 8 assists on the night, but still.

The Washington Generals: Another night, another blowout loss for the worst-in-the-league Generals. Dwyane Wade nearly had a no-sweat triple double (14 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists) in only 29 minutes and Miami won by 22 despite shooting only 39 percent from the field. It helped that Washington shot 37 percent themselves in addition to committing 18 turnovers. The Heat Pine Riders outscored the Generals' bench jockeys 50-14, and Miami won the points-off-turnovers battle 26-2. Believe it or not, Washington stayed competitive for 24 minutes, even maintaining a lead for most of the first half. Then the Heat went on a 21-6 third-quarter run and it was all over but the crying. Said Antawn Jamison: "It's the same story for us. We do a pretty good job and we go through one stretch...that takes the air out of us."

The New Jersey Nets: Hey. Look. The Nets lost another game at home. What. A. Surprise. But this game gave me a little extra jolly, since it was against Vinsane's old team, the Raptors. I do likes me a revenge game. New Jersey's defense won't be winning any awards (unless the award has "suck" or "poop" in the title): The Raptors shot nearly 56 percent from the field and 50 percent (11-for-22) from beyond that arcy line. The Nets are now 9-15 at home and, better yet, only 9-18 since December 9th. That's when Devin Harris stat-cursed his squad by saying "We knew we were going to be a playoff team." Speaking of Devin, he clanked a wide-open 16-foot jumper at the buzzer that would have won the game, which led to...

Devin Harris, quote machine: Basketbawful reader Sky Flakes sent in the following Harris blurb: "That's my go-to move, I couldn’t ask for anything more. You get that shot nine times out of 10, and I hit that shot like 98.6 percent of the time." Added Mr. Flakes: "Okay, he must have some problems in his arithmetic." What?! Oh, come on, Flakes. Devin is a master of [thumb snap] numberology! (Okay, does ANYBODY get my Boondock Saints references? And no, BadDave, you don't count.) This quote makes me wish I had a picture of Devin hiding his face...hey! Thanks to Shayan of Mediocre Forever -- A Toronto Raptors Blog I do!

Raptors Nets Basketball
Them's some mad math skillz, Devin.

The Atlanta Hawks: The Dirty Birds had their wings clipped by wee-tiny Nate Robinson's 20-point fourth-quarter thunderbolt. So, uh, yeah.

Hawks sticky

Atlanta's foul shooting, however, was the biggest culprit in the loss. The Hawks -- who entered the game ranked 26th in the league in free throw percentage (74.3) -- missed 15 freebies (17-for-32). Josh Smith, who connects from the charity stripe at a 63 percent clip, blew two in a row early in the fourth quarter (costing his team the chance to pull to within 2 points) and finished 2-for-10 from the line. Hawks coach Mike Woodson griped: "You got to step up and make free throws. You can't play a close game like this and miss 15 free throws. I mean, that puts you behind the eight ball." Bonus fact: The Hawks are now 6-9 since that eight-game homestand that made everybody immediately overrate them. (So, you know, I toldja so.)

The Denver Nuggets: So the Hornets were without David West, lost Mo Pete in the first half (sprained left foot), and Chris Paul was very not good (3-for-12 shooting and a game-high 5 turnovers). And yet the Nuggets STILL lost by 13 in New Orleans? Yup. It might have helped if they'd gotten a few digits in Peja Stojakovic's shot pocket -- Peja scored a game-high 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting -- but they guy who really murderized Denver was Devin Brown: D-Bo stepped in for Peterson and went 6-for-7 en route to 18 huge points. And, oh yeah, there was also the little matter of those 19 turnovers (for 20 points going the other way). Said Kenyon Martin: "We were throwing the ball all over the place. We've got to get it under control." Imagine: Mr. Neck Lips trying to get something under control.

The Memphis Grizzlies: The Bad News Bears seem intent on being part of the three-team potato suck race with the Kings and Generals. And I have evidence. Exhibit A: The 11-34 record (fifth-worst in the league!). Exhibit B: Their current league-high 11-game losing streak. Exhibit C: Last night's overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. (Yes! The Thunder finally earned their O's back!) Apparently, the Men from Memphis believe that "defense" is simply "waiting to get back on offense," since the Thunder connected on 51 percent of their field goals and 61 percent of their threes. Oklahoma City finished the game on a 14-0 run that, in many ways, perfectly symbolized the pitiful futility that is the Grizzlies' season.

And get this, people: The Thunder have a .500+ record since New Year's Eve. They leapfrogged the Generals earlier this week to escape "Worst Record In The NBA" status. Even more amazingly, the Kings' loss at Boston and the Clippers' loss at home to the Bulls (see below) mean that the Thunder no longer have the worst record in the Western Conference!

The Houston Rockets: Wait, wait. Let me get this straight. Tracy McGrady? Check. Ron Artest? Check. Yao Ming? Check. Playing at home? Check. Seems like Houston's stage was set for an important victory. Too bad Philly didn't read the script. The Rockets were held to 41 percent shooting and got beaten on the boards (48-40) as the 76ers bolted back from a 14-point deficit to win 95-93 thanks to Andre Iguodala's baseline jumper with 36 seconds left. Knee-Mac, who shot 8-for-20 and had his last-second three-point attempt partially blocked by Samuel Dalembert, said: "I really don't have an answer. We just got to keep on grinding, keep digging and find an answer for it. We've got to be better, a lot better." The Rockets have now lost three of four.

Yao Ming: There were the game-high 5 turnovers. And the two of his shots that got stuffed. And then, there was this...

No, that's okay, Yao. Don't bother jumping on your team's account. (Thanks to Wira for the video link.)

The Golen State Warriors: Defense. It's not just something Hubie Brown talks about during NBA broadcasts. But don't tell that to the Warriors. It might break their offensive-minded hearts. The Oakland Suck Raiders provided little (read that: no) resistance as the Mavericks gunned their way to 117 points and a 53-38 edge on the boards. Meanwhile, the Warriors were held to 38 percent shooting by the suddenly resurrected Dallas D. Said Nellie (as he was no doubt contemplating a post-game beer): "I was disappointed with our play, but so be it." Now that sounds like a man with some strong feelings. Just not about his team.

Got a funny email from Basketbawful reader Callum regarding this game: "It must be noted that in the horrific rout of Golden State by Dallas, the only player to register a positive +/- was the inspirational Rob Kurz, who during his epic seven minutes on the court saw the team reach heights not seen the entire game. It must have been his three missed shots, his three fouls and his telling defensive rebound that lead to the +1." Memo to Don Nelson: ROB KURZ NEEDS MORE MINUTES.

The Charlotte Bobcats: Considering that, one night earlier, they beat the Lakers in L.A. in double-overtime while also losing Gerald Wallace to a partially collapsed lung, losing to the Trail Blazers in Portland isn't too shaming. But, hey, I'm not about cutting people breaks. The 'Cats fell behind 32-18 after one quarter and never got back to within single digits. Said Raja Bell: "As hard as we tried that first quarter, it just wasn't clicking. Our bodies weren't ready to go. It took us a while to warm up, and they exploited that." Catsploitation. It's just wrong.

Update! Adam Morrison: I got this late-breaking email from Juan P.: "I thought for sure someone would be all over getting this quote to you from last night's Bobcats-Blazers game. The Portland CSN broadcasters are your typical local hucksters, but this drunken/senile/corpse guy Mike Rice uncorked a low-key yet devasting insult late in the first quarter:

Mike Barrett: 'That's Adam Morrison's second foul and he'll be headed to the bench.'

Mike Rice: 'And that's bad news for the Blazers. If you're a Blazer, you want Adam Morrison out there on the court.'
"The NBA ain't Gonzaga. There was a minor uproar in Portland when the Blazers chose LaMarcus Aldridge over Pasty Stache. I think that was during the height of the ironic mustache fad in Cooltown. The consolation prize from a NW college that year was Brandon Roy." Not a bad consolation prize. Kinda sad for Adam, though.

The Los Angeles Clippers: Go to By The Horns for full coverage. No, seriously, go over there and pump up my page counts. Leave comments. Please. I'm begging you. Ha, ha, just kidding. But really, do it. Anyway, the Clips got Baron Davis and Marcus Camby back from injury. Know what that changed? Absolutely nothing. B-Diddy went 1-for-10 and The Camby Man was outscored 9-6 by Aaron Gray. Yeah. And despite the psychological advantage of getting two of their best players back from injury and the fact that they were playing a slumping team -- the Bulls had lost five in a row and are 6-13 in their last 19 games -- they still lost by 20 at home. That'll happen when you consider defense to be something reserved for other sports, like football and backgammon.

The game was actually competitive in the first half, but L.A.'s Other Team got outscored 26-9 in the third. Said Clippers non-coach Mike Dunleavy: "This wasn't one of those good efforts. I was really disappointed. We came out and laid an egg in the third quarter." Uh huh. Look, you might be tired of hearing this, but facts are facts: They are who we thought they were.

Texas Department of Transportation: TDoT became the unwitting victims of what has officially become My Favorite Prank of 2009: Chris Lippincott, director of media relations for the Lone Star State's Department of Transportation, confirmed that one or more enterprising pranksters hacked into a portable traffic sign at Lamar Boulevard and West 15th Street, near the University of Texas at Austin, during the early hours of January 19. The new message? Zombies Ahead. Seriously.

Zombies ahead
Ha, ha! Just kidding! There aren't any
"zombies" ahead. As far as you know...

Hopefully this incident really was a prank and not some sort of government cover up. Because if a World War Z-style zombie apocalypse is going to happen, I'd really like to have some time to fill my basement with shotguns and bottle water. Oh, and I'll need to kidnap Gwen Stefani. (Thanks to longtime buddy Big Bad Carter for the head's up.)

Update! Kobe Bryant: Mamba dumped a bottle of ammonia in Luke Walton's fish tank. Then, at practice the next day, he made sure that Luke overheard him talking about "some dumbass who couldn't even keep his fish alive."

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Kings-Cavs: Surprising name not on the list tonight, as Tarence Kinsey made four of six shots and is firmly in a lacktion slump! So two of his teammates -- the usually solid Wally Szczerbiak and bench presence Darnell Jackson -- decided to bail their fellow crustacean out. Wally World clearly was not in his element in this role and his natural tendency for contribution unfortunately shone through, ruining three bricks and a giveaway with one made free throw. Jackson however came through in the non-clutch with +1 (missed shot) in 4:04!

Crab dunk
King Crab is in shock as Tarence Kinsey painfully
listens to the dark side and puts down a DUNK!

Oh, and Kinsey is starting to get notable enough to have an entire article dedicated to him -- which mentions his appearance in all four games of the recent West Coast swing. (What that story doesn't tell you, of course, is that three of the four games in his epic streak of lacktivity occurred on that trip!)

Another previous lacktion achiever who avoided a successfuly unspectacular run was Bobby Jackson, who gave the jesters a laughable assist during a sleepy sixteen and a half minutes to negate twin droppings of downtown masonry.

Update! Watch this amazing putback by LeBron:

Since Wally World's brick turned into King Crab's monster slam, I guess we can actually award him a KOBE BRYANT ASSIST!

Nuggets-Grizzlies: In easily handling the baby cubs, who have shown that no amount of Generalissimo Franco holding the clipboard can create a bounce for this lackluster squad, the Nuggets brought out two human victory cigars to alert the few Memphis fans in attendance to walk slowly to their cars and beat the traffic on Interstate 40. Renaldo Balkman put up a +3 (two fouls and a turnover) in 3:30, and Sonny Weems provided a +1 in 2:19 via one turnover.

Marc Gasol earned the average bears a Voskuhl by spending 19:50 unleashing 4 fouls against 5 bricks and 2 rebounds! His compatriot Greg Buckner is another big-time lacktioneer currently shying away from coldness, ruining a foul in two minutes through one rebound.

Marc Gasol's "armpit hair" efense doesn't count
toward the Voskuhl, but poetically represents it well.

Spurs-Jazz: One brick gave San Antoni's Ime Udoka a +1 in 8:53. Brevin Knight's 4.15 trillion made up for some unworthy missed chances from his Jazz teammates, as Kyrylo Fesenko wasted a triple-brick performance (including two unmade charity stripe shots) in two and a half minutes with a board, the same obstacle that stopped a 43-second Mario attempt by Kosta Koufos. [Editor's note: Marios are not canceled out by meaningful stats; only trillions. ~Basketbawful]

About the author: Chris is a Sacramento resident and Bay Area native who is surrounded by all forms of bawful, from The Oracle to Arco Arena (or whatever barn the Maloofs can milk the most profit from in the near future). After all, when you live in a town in which an ex-trillionare champion (John Salmons) is the home team's starter, is there much to be expected on the positive front? No. So Chris has made it his goal to become the Bill James or Hubie Brown of lacktivity, seeing how abundant it has become in Northern California. Outside of his life as a lacktion statistician, he follows a random collection of other sports (auto racing, ice hockey, snooker, boxing)...

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Thanks to Josh S. for today's pic.

Patrick O'Bryant: Seems that Patty 'O thumped Brian Scalabrine in the noggin during practice on Tuesday and gave Scal a concussion. It was Veal's second concussion in three days (the first was suffered during the Celtics' thrashing of the Mavericks on Sunday). And it looks like Brian will be out indefinitely.

Said Ray Allen: "It just looked like he got hit in the head. I know he got hit last game in the head. He went down and just stayed down and looked disoriented." Added Doc Rivers: "He got hit in the head and he just had a mild concussion. I don't know if he was out but he was close. He'll be out probably for quite some time because of that, would be my guess, for quite some time."

I'm tempted to laugh this injury off -- I mean, we're talking about Brian Scalabrine here -- but, for whatever reason, Scal has actually seemed to play a big part in Boston's recovery from that 2-9 stretch...even if his numbers might not have shown it. This might be a bigger blow to the C's than it looks like on paper.

The Indiana Pacers: Let's see: 111 points, 50 percent shooting, 21 assists...the raw numbers are enough to make you think the Pacers had a pretty good night. But those stats are damn, dirty liars. Shame on them.

Now, mind you, the Pacers came into last night's game having lost nine of 14 games that have been decided by 3 points or less. But they made sure that whole "close loss" thing wouldn't be a problem against the Magic, since they were down 18 after one quarter and the rest of the game was played only because there's no mercy rule in the NBA.

The Pacers ended up surrendering 135 points on 55 percent shooting. They also got pounded on the boards 50-29. Oh, and Mickael Pietrus, who missed the Magic's last 12 games with a broken wrist, came back and played like an All-Star off the bench (27 points, 8-for-13, 10 rebounds, 4 assists). Yeah...that kind of stuff will happen when you're the league's 28th ranked defensive unit. (Only the Kings and Warriors spread their legs wider to give up more points.)

Danny Granger, hyperbole machine: Regarding the Magic: "They are the best team in the East. Two words -- Dwight Howard -- explain it. He is the most dominant player since Shaquille O'Neal -- hands down." I know that blowouts can sometimes scramble a player's brain, so I'll give Danny a mulligan on that statement. Because unless I'm misremembering, the Celtics went into Orlando last week and dealt with the Magic pretty handily. As for the Dwight-Shaq comparison, I'll assume he means "frontcourt player" and not just "player" and leave it at that.

The Sacramento Kings: It's a sad statement when losing by only 7 points to the Craboliers is a major moral victory for a team. But then, the Kings have lost sixth straight games, dropping to 10-36 on the season and 0-19 against Eastern Conference opponents. Hell, when the Kings finish within 20 points of anybody, that game should fall into the "Losses That Aren't As Bad As Others" column I'm lobbying to have added to the NBA season standings.

As an aside, Sacramento's defense rolled over like a cockroach somebody just doused with Raid and several industrial strength kitchen cleaners, giving up a career-high 43 points with 11 assists to Mo Williams and a way-too-casual triple-double (23 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists) to LeBron James.

The Cleveland Craboliers: The Crabs seemed to sense they could come out and crush the Kings with little more than a halfhearted effort. And they were right...which is probably why they decided to sleepwalk through their defensive assignments. The Kings, who usually put up 99 PPG on 44 percent shooting, were playing in Cleveland against a Crabs squad that's giving up a league-best 90 PPG on 42 percent shooting. So why did Sacramento finish with 110 on 50 percent shooting? I think we all know the answer to that one. Mostly 'cause I gave it in the second sentence of this paragraph.

Meaningless stats: This is what the AP recap had to say about the Mo-LeBron tag-team effort against the Kings: "It was the first time two teammates have recorded at least 23 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in the same NBA game since Cleveland’s Butch Beard and John Johnson on Dec. 23, 1971, at Atlanta." Not sure what that tells us, but it's sort of interesting. By the way, "Butch Beard" and "John Johnson" are now my two most favorite names ever.

The Memphis Grizzlies: Still no dead coach bounce in Memphis, where the Grizzlies got blown out last night by the visiting Nuggets despite forcing Denver into a season-high 27 turnovers. It was the Grizzlies' 10th straight loss and 18th in their last 20 games. Said new coach/warden Lionel Hollins: "I can't speak for anything before I got here. But what it looks like to me is the guys aren't in good shape and, as soon as there is a little bit of adversity, we tend to start going our own way and doing our own thing. We have to develop some discipline to stay with what we are doing and play together." Wow. Way to throw both the previous coaching staff AND your players under the bus, Lionel. That should get you inside the circle of trust really quickly.

Oh, and in case you're at all interested in numbers, the Griz scored only 85 points on 37 percent shooting and, like the Nuggets, had a season-high in turnovers with 26.

Bob Delaney: You can file this one under "Joey Crawford Specials." While he was plopped down on the bench in the final minute of the first quarter, Chauncey Billups waved a towel at official Michael Smith after Nuggets center Chris Andersen was called for charging. And he got T'd up for it. Said Mr. Big Shot: "I thought it was a horrible call, and I just waved a towel and said, 'It's terrible,' to the ref way down there. Bob (Delaney) from over there somewhere called a technical."

Here's my theory on cheap T's: The refs get jaw music all game long, every game, from coaches, players, fans. And at some point they just snap. Wouldn't you?

The Utah Jazz "bench": Sure, it's been shortened by injuries to Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko. But they were outscored 25-6 by San Antonio's pine riders and, in addition to shooting 2-for-9, finished with almost as many fouls (5) as points. By the way, regardless of whether the Russian Rifle ends up missing the rest of the season, the Jazz are officially snakebitten this season. They're never going to recover from all these injuries and mount a serious threat in the West. Gah! So irritating.

The Los Angeles Lakers: It seems like every time that Laker Mania starts to reach epic proportions, they suffer a stupid loss or two. It happened back in December against the Pacers and Kings, and it happened again last night. At home. Against the Bobcats.

Look, I know the 'Cats have been playing better lately. But there was no excuse for this loss. I mean, the Lakeshow and their "improved defense" gave up two near-triple-doubles to Boris Diaw (23 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists) and Raymond Felton (21 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists) and let bench jockey Shannon Brown -- who scored 5 of his 14 points in the second overtime -- do a pretty good Gerald Wallace imitation after Wallace left the game due to injury (see below). That's in addition to Raja Bell's 17 points and Emeka Okafor's double-double (18 points, 11 boards). Okafor even had 2 assists!

Now, the Bobcats, no doubt, were pumped up to play the Lakers, but it sure seems like the Lakers weren't exactly roused to play back. Which I guess worked out for the fans, since the many people who voted for this game to be shown on NBATV were rewarded by two extra periods and plenty of drama. Of course, this game wouldn't have gone to even one overtime if not for...

Boris Diaw and Raja Bell: Man oh man would the Charlotte players be kicking themselves today if they'd lost last night's game. And by "themselves" I mean "Boris and Raja." Why? Because they combined to miss five free throws in the final 2:08 of the fourth quarter (two clanks by Raja and three clunks by Boris). So much for veteran poise. I guess they had a bad case of the OHMYGODWEMIGHTACTUALLYBEATTHELAKERS-itis.

Andrew Bynum: Hey, Andy, pick on somebody your own size, okay?

Steve Nash, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Several people sent in this quote from Nash, which was too good to omit. Regarding the many Phoenix players who require touches and shots: "A lot of mouths to feed. I'm willing to just feed and feed. ... So trying to get Amare off, getting, Shaq off...getting [Jason Richardson], Grant [Hill], Leandro [Barbosa]. ... A lot of mouths to feed."

Wow. Kind of sounds like what I'd expect to hear during an interview with a gay porn stars. Do those guys ever get interviewed? Or even straight porn stars for that matter? And if so, what insight could they possibly provide? "Yes, Jenna, could you please tell us what it's like having so many mouths to feed, what it's like having to get several men off at the same time...?"

The ultra rare Basketbawful mea culpa: In yesterday's Worst of the Night post, Wild Yams chided the Oklahoma City fans for not coming out in force to see their Thunder actually win a game. So Basketbawful reader Sami wrote in to set the record straight:

"I just read in your blog about how you put down the Thunder fans for not showing up merely because of 'bad weather.' That's a cheap shot. The ice storm we got was really bad; the governor declared a state of emergency for every county in the state, and numerous people have crashed and died. My school has been canceled twice (Whoo!), and Bedlam was on the same night, which A) is a big deal for all Oklahomans and B) Oklahoma State gave free admission to Bedlam because of the bad weather. I know Seattle people probably get that more than we do, but that alone makes it worse for us; we are not used to it. Add the fact that it was drizzling all day with the temperature under freezing, and you get a whole lot of ice."

Fair enough, Sami. Our bad. No Thunder game is worth risking life and limb, that's for sure.

Stephon Marbury: Yesterday, during his live chat on ESPN, Starbury was asked if, given the chance and knowing what he knows now, he'd go back and sign with the Knicks again. AND HE SAID YES. But wait until you read why: "The first day I came back it was a [sic] rebrith for me from a basketball perspective. I was playing in my hometown. I would do it all over again, because I have learned so much and grown so much because of the move. I was able to build Starbury.com. There have been a lot of things that has allowed me to build a successful sneaker and clothing line and made me a better person and helped me grow."

Yowsers. As chris said in an email: "So let's see, if he came back to the Knicks and did it all over again, he'd feel the most important part would be to build an Internet.com brand? I thought that 'winning a championship' or 'not causing locker room spats' were more critical for a basketball rebirth...." Not to mention "not banging a team intern in an SUV after a group outing to a strip club." You know, for example.

Kobe Bryant: In addition to fouling out of the Lakers double-OT loss to the Bobcats last night, Mamba has, apparently, gotten to the people serving Tim Duncan's Gatorade...

(Thanks to everybody who sent this video in, and reuben for inspiring me to use it for my Daily Kobe. It appeared on TrueHoop yesterday, but it's actually been around for a while. In fact, I back-linked to it on Deadspin last year.)



Voskuhl (voss-cull) noun. When a big man's combined fouls and turnovers exceed his combined points and rebounds over the course of a game.

Usage example: With Michael Redd out for the season, the Bucks need Dan Gadzuric to contribute more than his usual Voskuhl.

Word history: The term was coined in a dormitory television lounge at Dartmouth College in March of 1999, when several friends were rooting for UConn to defeat Duke for the NCAA men's basketball championship and bemoaning the limited contributions of UConn starting center Jake Voskuhl. In three of UConn's six tournament games, Voskuhl came very close to achieving a Voskuhl -- including a 2-point, 2-rebound, 3-foul effort in UConn's narrow title game win over Duke. The blog Be the Three (written by one of the men present in the dorm room in 1999) mentioned the term in a post earlier this month in a post titled Field Trip! Suns at Raptors, Nash's Game and What's a 'Voskuhl'?

Voskuhl, selected by the Bulls in the second-round of the 2000 draft, has continued to pile up Voskuhls during his NBA career. Voskuhl has appeared in 427 games and recorded a Voskuhl in 54 of them -- a Voskuhl rate of about 12.6 percent. Seven of those Voskuhls have happened this season.

But a look through Voskuhl's Voskuhls shows that there actually are two different kinds of Voskuhls: One in which the big man plays just a minute or two and has little time to accumulate any stats (this may be more accurately termed a "Madsen"), and another in which the big man records a Voskuhl despite playing enough minutes to at least pull down some boards.

Two of big Jake's six Voskuhls from the 2002-03 season serve as good examples of the two archetypes. On April 6, 2003, against the Lakers, Voskuhl played three minutes and recorded 2 fouls, zero points and zero rebounds. A couple of weeks earlier, in a loss to Dallas, Voskuhl played nearly half the game (21 minutes) but scored just 1 point and recorded a paltry 3 rebounds. He committed 5 fouls and 3 turnovers. This may be termed a "True Voskhul."

(One note in that box score: Suns reserve guard Casey Jacobsen nearly recorded a Voskuhl, with 2 points, 1 foul and 1 turnover. The stat is meant for big men, though).

On Dec. 18, 2003, Voskuhl set a personal high for minutes played in a Voskuhl. He started for Phoenix against Portland and played 34 minutes, but recorded zero points and 5 rebounds before racking up the maximum 6 fouls. He also committed a turnover.

Voskuhl, however, is not at the top of list of Voskhuls among current players. At least one fellow back-up big, Mark Madsen, has recorded them at a higher rate: 84 in 443 games played, for a Voskuhl rate of about 19 percent. Madsen only played a minute or two in many of those games, meaning they do not rise to the level of the True Voskuhl.

Quality big men are not immune to the Voskuhl. Suns star Amare Stoudemire suffered a Voskuhl against Boston earlier this month when the Celtics held him to 3 points and 1 rebound while he committed 4 turnovers and 4 fouls. This was the day after Amare declared that he was about to "get my gorilla game on." Greg Oden recorded two Voskuhls in December.

Other frequent Voskuhl-ers include Gadzuric (10 already this season), the Spurs' Fabricio Oberto (four this season) and new Bobcats center DeSagana Diop (five last season, four this year).

About the author: Zach Lowe covers law and business for a magazine in New York and recently started the NBA and Celtics-themed blog Be The Three. He grew up in Connecticut but inexplicably became Georgetown fan and rooted against UConn. But he cheered for them anyway when they faced Duke for the national title

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Editor's note: Since the lacktion reports have been increasing in popularity and awesomeness, they will now be getting their own posts...until our lacktion reporter gets tired of doing them.

Sixers-Hornets: Marreese Speights, the Sixers' most recent first round draft pick, has been productive in recent stints. However, since Elton Brand's recovery, the Sixers have been bent on including the ex-Clipper deadweight on the court to slow down the game and make it easier for other teams to grab victory off of the Comcast Turtles' Conveyor Belt of Fail. (Anyone who has seen one of those annoying commercials will know this reference all too well.)

So with Brand firmly re-inserted into the lineup as the human jaws of defeat, Speights had to change his focus from contributing to the uptempo offense during Elton's absence to earning notability through the lacktion writeup. Two fouls and 3:02 later, he proudly achieved a +2, which involved much less masonry than Elton's statline (three missed shots, compounded by two turnovers!).

Sadly, in this case, lacktion was much more of a positive contribution than a Big Free Agent Signing's start.

Update! Wow. Immediately after Marreese Speights had his first taste of lacktion for 2009, Bill Simmons goes out and declares him underrated, putting him in the same company as Millsap, Durant and...Manny Ramirez? Huh?

Blazers-Clippers: Channing Frye served as Portland's human victory cigar against The Team That Is Who We Thought It Was, scoring a beautiful 1.9 trillion at Staples Center in the midst of a 25-point win. Conversely, Mike Dunleavy's squad of castoffs all demonstrated why they are not on professionally-operated basketball teams, as three bench jockeys managed to ruin exemplary runs of coldness with insignificant contributions.

Jason Hart trashed an eight-minute run of one foul by tossing the ball to a scoring teammate for an exasperating assist, while Ricky Davis let a missed shot land onto his palms for a brick-and-foul negating rebound, the same problem Cheikh Samb had. Samb (the focal point of the Iverson/Billups trade -- at least for lacktion enthusiasts) bungled a two-brick non-performance in nearly five minutes with the aforementioned board.

And now up on Deadspin: Cheikh Samb gets posterized!

About the author: Chris is a Sacramento resident and Bay Area native who is surrounded by all forms of bawful, from The Oracle to Arco Arena (or whatever barn the Maloofs can milk the most profit from in the near future). After all, when you live in a town in which an ex-trillionare champion (John Salmons) is the home team's starter, is there much to be expected on the positive front? No. So Chris has made it his goal to become the Bill James or Hubie Brown of lacktivity, seeing how abundant it has become in Northern California. Outside of his life as a lacktion statistician, he follows a random collection of other sports (auto racing, ice hockey, snooker, boxing)...

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Nick Young: He aggressively pursue balls.

The Washington Generals: Henry Abbott was saying yesterday that there are three tiers of teams in the East: The Celtics, Craboilers and Magic are at the top, every other team in the East except Washington is in the middle, and the Wizards are alone on their own tier at the bottom. And last night's game was a prime example of why this is. For starters, the Wizards allowed Shaq to finish with a game-high 29 points despite it being the second night of a back-to-back for The Big Contract. Apparently Phoenix is beginning to realize they're in danger of missing the playoffs this year, so it looks like Shaq being able to take games off is no longer part of the game plan. On top of letting Shaq eat them up, after trailing by only two at home entering the fourth quarter, the Wiz made only 6 field goals the rest of the way, letting Phoenix outscore them 28-14 to finish out the game. The loss combined with the Thunder's win (see below) made them, officially, the worst team in the NBA. But, to be fair, you can't be expected to win many games when your starting point guard is...

Mike James: 36 minutes, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, zero points. Either Terry Porter's supposed commitment to D has turned Steve Nash into a defensive juggernaut, or Mike James is who we thought he was. I'm not sensing much seller's remorse from New Orleans on the trade they made to unload him awhile back.

The Big Cactus and Tough Juice Man Love: You just have to kiss a head that cute.

The Atlanta Hawks: Fresh off losing to the Suns the previous night, the Dirty Birds came out and laid an egg in Miami, trailing for all but 23 seconds of last night's game. After Marvin Williams hit a three-point shot to give the Hawks their only lead at 12-11 with 6 minutes to go in the first, Atlanta didn't hit another field goal till only 4:30 remained in the half, a span of over 13 minutes. That kind of futility can lead to some record lows, and that's exactly what happened last night as the Hawks set a franchise record for fewest first-half points with 27.

Mike Bibby: Apparently trying to one-up Mike James for Worst PG of the Night honors, Bibby put up a truly awful stat line for a point guard: 32 minutes, 5 turnovers, no assists, 2 points. And to think there's been minor rumblings about Bibby deserving an All-Star spot this year.

Joe Johnson, quote machine: "We just weren't playing hard." You know what? He's right. Here's a tip: Next game, try playing hard. I guarantee you'll give your team a better chance of success if you do.

The Houston Rockets: Yao missed his second straight game with a knee injury, thus depriving Nate Robinson of another chance to block one of his shots, so the Rockets were forced to play sans center yet again. Against a team like the Knicks that wants to do everything they can to lure you into a game of high-speed small ball, losing the one guy on your team who's taller than 6'9 can be a dangerous proposition (I know Mutombo is taller than 6'9, but he received a DNP-CD, most likely because he's roughly mummy age). Houston is a team that normally shoots fewer than 20 three-pointers per game, but last night they fell under D'Antoni's spell, firing up 33 shots from deep, bricking all but 10. The blame for this falls pretty squarely on...

Ron Artest, Rafer Alston and Tracy McGrady: Crazy Pills, Skip to my Lou and Knee-Mac fell right into the Knicks' trap and got suckered into bombing away, finishing the night a combined 5-22 from distance. The trigger-happy Knicks as a team only attempted 21 threes (hitting 6). I wonder if Kenny Smith is rethinking his prediction that Houston will win it all this year?

The Milwaukee M.A.S.H. Unit Bucks three-point Shooting: Losing your best shooter can really hurt a team's chances of scoring from deep. So can missing your starting center and his ability to let the team go inside out for open perimeter shots. Just ask the Bucks, who only shot 7 percent from downtown last night without Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut in the lineup.

Richard Jefferson
: With Bogut out for the 7th straight game with back spasms and now with Redd out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, Richard Jefferson is the lone Milwaukee player with a contract worth over $10m a year; but you wouldn't know it based on last night's game: 3-for-15 shooting (including 0-5 from beyond the arc) for 10 points in 34 minutes won't get it done. If the Bucks wanted that kind of production, they wouldn't have traded away Yi Jianlian.

The "Brand new" 76ers: Elton Brand made his return to the 76ers last night in New Orleans, and Philly responded by posting their lowest point total in three weeks. Brand was limited to zero points on three shots in 18 minutes of play, despite New Orleans missing both Tyson Chandler and David West. The 76er defense allowed New Orleans to shoot 14-31 from downtown, including a four-minute span from the end of the third quarter till early in the fourth when the Hornets hit 6 threes to push the lead from 3 to 16. Philly was clearly not learning by watching either, shooting only 2-14 from deep themselves.

The New Jersey Nets: This game was nowhere near as close as the 9-point margin would lead you to believe, as the Nets got their butts kicked up and down the floor for the first 40 minutes of the game, trailing by 28 with 7 minutes to play. Only a furious rally by New Jersey made the game look somewhat respectable, but you know it's bad when you outscore the opposition by 19 in the 4th quarter and still lose by 9. P.S. THEY WERE PLAYING THE THUNDER.

Vince Carter and Devin Harris: You might think a torrid New Jersey comeback would be fueled by the Nets' two All-Star hopefuls, but if you did you'd be wrong. Nope, neither of these players were even on the floor in the fourth quarter, with Lawrence Frank having long pulled the plug on this one (and who can blame him, down 28 to start the final 12 minutes). Being yanked early isn't why these two are being mentioned here though. No, it's because they combined to shoot 6--for-29 for 18 total points. That and the fact that they were -18 (Vince) and -25 (Devin) for the night, while Trenton Hassell, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Maurice Ager were +19, +21 and +11 off the bench, respectively.

Klahoma City fans: Their team stinks all year, and when they finally put on a clinic to become only the second-worst team in pro ball, a mere 5,000 people were there to see it due to bad weather. That faint sound you hear in the distance is the basketball fans in Seattle cursing in unison.

The L.A. Clippers: As always, the Clips were missing their four best players (Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman), as well as Mardy Collins (strained left calf) and Mike Taylor (broken thumb), but on the plus side, at least Brian Skinner seems to have recovered from the flu-like symptoms that kept him out of L.A.'s last game, so they had that going for them, which is nice. Nevertheless, the Clips at home had the game all tied up with less than 13 minutes go to before the wheels came off. Maybe with that patched-together group that Mike Dunleavy, Sr. had to throw out on the floor, 35 minutes of quality ball is all one can expect. Too bad the remaining 13 minutes were so miserable as the Blazers finished the game on a 42-17 run.

Ricky Davis: Looking through the Clipper lineup, it's tough to find too much fault with many of those guys. Most are rookies,second-year guys or fringe journeymen like Cheikh Samb. But not Ricky Davis. No, Ricky Davis is a basketball name that will live in infamy, and this game didn't help to clear any of the mud off his name. That he had no points on one missed shot with one turnover and one rebound are somewhat excusable since he only played six minutes. What can't be excused is that he only was able to get six minutes of playing time on such a depleted roster. In fact, outside of Steve Novak, the whole Clipper bench only played 19 minutes. Which brings us to...

Mike Dunleavy, Sr.: Hey Mike, if you're wondering why your team got outscored by 25 points in the last 13 minutes of the game, maybe it's because they were on the second night of a back-to-back and you decided to only go with a six-man rotation. Mike D'Antoni even thinks you didn't use your bench enough last night. Did you really need to give Eric Gordon and Fred Jones, a 20-year old rookie and a guy the clippers waived and then resigned three days later to a 10-day contract, 41 and 43 minutes last night? Surely Ricky Davis and Jason Hart could have contributed more than 14 combined minutes tonight, right?

The Portland Trailblazers: Shame on them for letting such a woefully understaffed Clipper team hang with them for 35 minutes!

NBA Marketing Geniuses: The NBA's online store is selling a Laker T-shirt in Celtic green, complete with a three-leaf clover on the sleeve. Who is more likely to want to own this: Laker fans or Celtic fans? Would fans of either team wear it? Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

Kobe Byrant: Lord Mamba snuck into Luke Walton's house and short-sheeted his bed, then waited till Luke fell asleep and placed his hand in a bowl of warm water.

Update! Bonus Bawful: Here's some other Bawful tidbits from ESPN today:

- Ron Artest made only one of his 10 three-point field-goal attempts in Houston's loss to the Knicks on Monday night. It was only the third time this season than an NBA player took at least 10 shots from beyond the arc and made no more than one.

- The Rockets led the Knicks 80-74 at the end of the third quarter on Monday night, but New York rallied to win, 104-98. The Knicks had been 0-21 this season in games in which they trailed heading into the fourth quarter. Prior to Monday night they were the only team in the league that had not won a game in which it was behind entering the final period.

- Minnesota defeated Milwaukee 90-83 on Monday night, overcoming a rough night for Sebastian Telfair, who was 3-for-13 (.231) from the field, with six turnovers. Only one other player in Timberwolves history had such a low field-goal percentage (min: 10 FGA) and at least that many turnovers in one game. That was Christian Laettner, who was 2-for-13 (.154), with six turnovers in a loss at Orlando in April 1994.

- Also, apparently Dwyane Wade is taking up two starting spots in the All Star Game.

About the author: Wild Yams 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.

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