Devin Harris: There aren't too many games you figure the New Jersey Nyets should win...but a showdown with the Clippers in L.A. is kinda-sorta one of them. So it's pretty critical that the team's best or second-best player -- depending on your outlook -- stick around for the full 48 minutes.
Harris did not.
Instead, he pulled a McHale-clotheslining-Rambis on poor Blake Griffin. Really, Devin? Really? Forget the fact that the kid missed his original rookie season with a debilitating injury. He plays for the Clippers for God's sake! Have mercy!
Harris received a flagrant 2, which comes gift-wrapped with an automatic suspension.
Said Nyets coach Avery Johnson: "THAT WAS A TOUGH CALL. DEVIN WASN'T TRYING TO INJURE THE GUY. HE DEFINITELY WASN'T TRYING TO COMMIT A FLAGRANT FOUL. WE JUST DON'T LIKE TO GIVE UP LAYUPS. ... MORE THAN ANYTHING, I'M INTERESTED IN HOW OUR TEAM RESPONDED."
Yes. It's always important to see how your team responds to its floor leader nearly killing another man. The NBA: Where The Most Dangerous Game Happens.
Said Harris: "I was kind of looking up at the ball, and when I saw I couldn't get it, I tried to just make sure he didn't get his arms up. I got my arms caught up around his neck, obviously, and you saw the way he fell. I didn't think it was that bad when I did it, but once I came back here and saw it a couple of times, it looked pretty bad. So it probably was the right call. I wasn't trying to body-slam him or anything like that. It was just an awkward play at an awkward angle."
To his credit, Griffin gave Harris the easy out: "I don't think he was trying to something malicious or anything like that. I figured he was going to foul me because they didn't want to give up two easy points. But I think the momentum of the play made it look worse than it actually was. I cut my elbow up pretty good, but my head didn't hit the floor. I just kind of lay there for a second and did like a mental check to make sure I was good."
Then he realized he was still a Clipper...and that he may never be "good" again.
The Los Angeles Clippers: No Chris Kaveman. No B-Dizzle. No Randy Foye.
No hope. Unless you consider "coached by Vinny Del Negro" hope. And you don't.
Last night, the Clippers fell to 1-10 -- and 1-5 at home -- by losing 110-96 to the New Jersey Nyets. The Other L.A. Team shot 39 percent while letting the Nyets hit almost 60 percent of their shots. There were simply too many faces out there and not nearly enough hands to go around.
Okay, seriously, what's up with the defense? If seeing your second-year rookie nearly get decapitated isn't enough to get you fired up to play D against a crappy team...will anything? Would Devin Harris have to tie their wives and girlfriends to a railroad track Dick Dastardly-style?
Bonus stat: The Clips actually had a 38-19 edge in free throw attempts but partially negated that advantage by bricking 10 of 'em.
Blake Griffin, quote machine: "In this game, I thought it came down to scoring."
Memo to Blake: The Nyets shot nearly 60 percent. I don't think scoring was the problem...unless you're talking about New Jersey's scoring.
The Memphis Grizzlies: Well, you had to figure the Magic were going to take their mad out on somebody. That "somebody" was the Grizzlies. And anybody unfortunate enough to watch this 89-72 blech-fest.
The beginning of the game was the epitome of bawful. There were 20 turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the game. It was like watching a group of special education students try to play basketball for the first time, only the basketball was a live raccoon that had been living off a diet of rabies and razor wire. As the AP recap put it: "There were players bouncing balls off their legs and out of bounds. Poor passes. Missed catches. Double-dribbles and traveling calls. If there was a way to cause a turnover, chances are it happened."
Orlando gave 90s NBA fans chilling flashbacks to those old Heat-Knicks games that were like watching two junkyard dogs just gnaw on each other for a couple hours. The Magic forced 18 turnovers and held the Care Bears to 36 percent shooting (including 3-for-14 from downtown). Heck, they even intimidated Memphis into bonking on nine of their 20 foul shots (I think Dwight Howard actually blocked one.)
Anyway, the game -- and the blowout loss -- was so depressing, the Griz actually had a team meeting right after the game.
Said Mike Conley: "We needed to talk. It's never too early to have a team meeting. The issues we have as a team, being accountable individually, we've got to step it up and have all the guys in tune."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: How do the Timberpoops go from being up eight points with less than two minutes to go...
...to losing 113-110 to a team that had been 0-4 at home? Unbelievable.
Actually, I keed. It's totally believable.
Minny also wasted a career night for Darko Milicic (13 points, 5-for-11, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, no turnovers). But hey, they couldn't keep the Bobcraps off the line. Charlotte got 40 foul shots. Heck, Gerald Wallace (17-for-19) converted more freebies than the entire Timberpoops team (15-for-23).
Said Minny coach Kurt Rambis: "When it came down to it, our defense let us down. We couldn't get the stops that we needed at critical junctures of the game."
Speaking of letting the team down at critical junctures...
Michael Beasely: He gaveth. And then he gaveth away.
Beastly led Minnesota with 28 points. He also led them in fourth quarter fail. It started when he shanked a free throw with 1:31 left that would have put the Timberpoops up by seven. With 58 seconds to go and Minnesota clinging to a three-point lead, he hacked Gerald Wallace, who knocked down both foul shots. Six seconds later -- his team up only a point -- Beasley lost the ball and the Bobcraps scored a fast break layup to take the lead.
He kinda made up for it by scoring off his own offensive rebound with 34 seconds to go, putting Minny back up a point, but he turned it over again with 19 seconds left after Charlotte had regained the lead following a couple Wallace freebies.
Said Beasley: "I feel like it was my fault today. I don't feel good at all knowing my two turnovers changed the game."
Bonus trending stats: Beasley's been on fire lately, thanks to his feasting on long two-point shots, also known as "Luol Dengs." Will he stay hot from 16-23 feet or regress to the mean. Only time will tell. But we'll be watching.
Kevin Love, quote machine: No luck with the ladies. Bed-wetting problems. These are the things that stick with Kevin Love. From Timberwolves.com, via TrueHoop and AnacondaHL.
The Utah Jazz: The Raja Bell-less Jazz blew it. Instead of falling behind by double-digits early, they built a 30-19 lead on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Big mistake. You can come back from being ahead.
Actually, the real culprit was Utah's defense. They let the Thunder shoot nearly 51 percent from the field while giving up 34 free throw attempts and 14 offensive rebounds. The Thunder were like a finely tuned pickup artist: When they wanted to score, they scored.
Who knew Bell was so important?
Said Deron Williams: "We had opportunities to put them away. You look at the second and third quarters, where they score 31 and 35 points. That is way too many points to give up in a quarter. It all points to defense. We did a better job of executing tonight, but we didn't get enough stops."
Change "enough" to "any" and we're good, Deron.
The Denver Nuggets: Despite catching the Suns on the second night of back-to-backs -- after Phoenix had to play the Lakers in L.A. no less -- the Nuggets managed to waste Carmelo Anthony's first-ever 20-20 night (20 points, 22 rebounds) by choking away a 15-point lead and losing 100-94.
In a word: Bawful.
Denver shot 41 percent for the game. They had one -- ONE -- assist in the second half. During the fourth quarter, they shot 29 percent while allowing the Suns to go 11-for-18 (61 percent). The defining moment might have been when Hedo Turkoglu went all Clutch City on the Nuggets by drilling a three-pointer with 2:48 to go and then blocking a three-point attempt by Chauncey Billups with 1:28 left.
Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince accepted blame for a heated exchange with head coach John Kuester during the team’s 101-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. Prince also didn’t guarantee it would be the last incident between player and coach.
"I hope it doesn't happen again," Prince said. "I can't say it won't because I'm the type of guy that if I don't see something right, I got to say something."
The confrontation started after Prince didn't fight through a double screen in time to stop Warriors guard Reggie Williams from hitting a 3-pointer that put the Pistons in a 25-point hole with 4:27 left in the second quarter. Kuester called a quick timeout and voiced his displeasure to Prince, who barked back at his coach on the bench. As the argument continued, Kuester motioned for a Pistons security official to remove Prince from the bench. Kuester started to walk toward Prince, but was restrained by assistant coach Darrell Walker.
While Prince isn’t expected to be reprimanded by the Pistons, he had a lengthy discussion with his agent Bill Duffy after the game and could meet with team officials in Detroit. Several sources said tension has grown between the players and Kuester during the team's struggles. Pistons guard Ben Gordon and forward Austin Daye have questioned Kuester's in-game adjustments this season, and guard Rodney Stuckey was benched for a game after ignoring Kuester during a loss in Atlanta.
Monday's incident also wasn't the first between Prince and Kuester. After the Pistons dropped to 0-4 following a 109-86 loss to the Boston Celtics, Kuester questioned his team's leadership, saying, "We have to collectively someway or somehow find another voice besides my own that is going to lead us." Prince fired back: "He says we got to be more vocal; he has to do some things better, too. Obviously, we're 0-4, so it ain't just the team."
Wolves-Bobcats: Kosta Koufos tossed a brick from the Carillon Tower for a +1 suck differential in 1:26.
Grizzlies-Magic: Hasheem Thabeet may have had a steal and board in 11:33, but Mr. 2nd Overall also provided a rejection, brick, and five fouls for a 5:1 Voskuhl! Fellow care bear Sam Young tossed one piece of masonry in 2:24 for a +1.
Hornets-Mavs: Ian Mahinmi plugged in a Game Genie in 15 seconds for a Mario, while Brendan Haywood had a rebound in 24:29 - but also two bricks, two fouls, and two giveaways for a 4:1 Voskuhl.
Pistons-Warriors: Greg Monroe countered two steals in 17:38 with a foul, rejection, and brick for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl, while fellow Piston Jason Maxiell tossed two bricks from the charity stripe and tacked on a foul in 5:29 for a +3.