It wasn't a good night in Indiana. It's never a good night in Indiana.
The Sacramento Kings: It just keeps getting worser and worser for the poor, pathetic and perpetually putrid Purple Paupers.
With 8:48 left in the third quarter, Donte Green nailed a trey to give the Sactowners a 66-43 lead. And it really, really looked like the Kings were going to punk the Hornets in New Orleans.
Enter Marcus Thornton.
Three! Three! Layup! Layup! Thornton scored 13 of his season-high 19 points in a six-minute stretch as the Hornets used a 20-4 run to get back in the game. That reversal of momentum sparked a 94-91 comeback win for the Buzzing Bugs. And yes, the return from 23 points down was the biggest comeback in Hornets franchise history. And I mean going all the way back to their days in Charlotte.
Said Tyreke Evans: "From the looks of it, we're not all on the same page. We have too much going on. We're out there in the second half, we lose focus. Everybody forgets about the plays. We showed the type of basketball we can play [at times]. We just have to play together."
Paul Westphal, coach of the year candidate: "You could feel it happening. We just couldn't reverse it. The defensive intensity we had earlier wasn't there. Excessive fouling put us in the penalty early. We didn't move the ball effectively. When we did get stops, we didn't do a good job of keeping them off the boards. They got second shots. We didn't have anybody make a big play for us. Maybe it's fatigue, maybe it's inexperience, maybe it's breaks in the game. I tend to think it's a little bit of all of them."
Don't forget bad coaching, Paul. Don't forget that.
The Charlotte Bobcraps: Just how bad were the Bobkittens during their 113-80 loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis? I'll go ahead and let Charlotte coach Larry Brown take this one:
"We were selfish on both ends. We didn't play hard. We acted like we didn't even care. I had to get into them at halftime and beg them to play. That's not what I'm supposed to be doing. There was no effort and no teamwork.
"It was almost like the varsity playing the JV team. It was the plays [the Grizzlies] were making, and we weren't doing anything about it. I had to call timeout just to get them to run down 30.
"I would have been out of timeouts in the first quarter if I had done that [every time]."
By the fourth quarter, the game turned into a Grizzlies highlight reel with one handed-alley-oop dunks, spinning, behind-the-back layups and fast-break baskets. Memphis had a 33-point lead at the midway point of the final period, and the Grizzlies got a technical foul when their bench players got caught up in the excitement and ended up too far on the floor.
When the Care Bears are going all Harlem Globetrotters on you, well, you know things have gone horribly wrong.
On the bright side, Charlotte'd D held three Memphis starters to single digits! Too bad the Care Bears' bench outscored the 'Kitten's reserves 53-32.
The Bobcraps have now lost six of their last nine games. And those three wins were an overtime victory over the Nyets, a two-point win against the Nuggets and a 97-91 triumph over the Craptosaurs.
Bonus stats: Memphis scored 31 points in transition and 62 points in the paint.
The Indiana Pacers: Back on November 28, after beating the Lakers in L.A., the Pacers apparently had a rowdy post-game celebration. In fact, the AP recap claims they "celebrated wildly." Within earshot of the Lakers.
As my buddy Mister P likes to say: Don't shoot a bear in the ass with a BB gun.
Said Phil Jackson: "[The Lakers players] had a real issue about it. I think the Pacers came back and kind of celebrated in the hallways at Staples, and they remembered that, and they came back with that, 'Let's get after them.'"
Despite entering the game with the league's second-best field goal percentage defense, Indy let L.A. shoot 51+ percent and got outrebounded 51-29. Mind you, the Lakers hit 61 percent of their shots and outrebounded the Pacers 27-10 in the first half. Speaking of which, Indiana fell behind by 14 points after a quarter and was down 22 at the halftime break.
Kobe then went out and scored 17 points in the third. The fourth was garbage time.
Said Pacers coach Jim O'Brien: "They were clearly a superior group to our players tonight. They jumped on us and never really gave us a chance to get back in the game. They were obviously going to bring it, and we didn't match their intensity in the first half."
Indy has now lost six of eight games since starting 9-7. And yes, that's putting them on course for "they are who we thought they were" status.
Kobe Bryant, quote machine:"I'm so proud to be chosen as a global brand ambassador for Turkish Airlines. They have been providing travelers with excellent service for 77 years ... Turkey is a country rich in natural beauty and thousands of years of cultural history, and I'm proud to partner with Turkish Airlines to bring that majesty to people around the world."
The New York Knicks: The Knicks put up quite the fight and were a mere 12.2 seconds away from forcing overtime. The Knicks. 12.2 seconds of defense. You know how this was destined to end...right?
Adding insult to injury, Stoudemire -- the guy Pierce hit his shot over -- swished a potentially game-winning three-pointer...about half a split-second too late.
Sorry, STAT. And Sam Lively noticed Sun Tzu's lack of rebounding down the stretch: "Despite the gaudy numbers, you've got to give Amare some grief for his utter collapse on the defensive boards in crunch time. KG got any board/putback he wanted in the crucial minutes."
It's true. In the final two minutes, on back-to-back possessions, Garnett missed two layups but got the offensive rebound both times. The first time he slammed it home to pull the Celtics to within two (113-111). The second time he drew a foul and hit both freebies to tie the game at 113. And yes, Amar''''''e committed the foul.
Now here's some much-needed perspective on New York's near-upset from KHayes666:
The Knicks gave the Celtics all they could handle and fell 0.1 second short of victory.
I will say Stoudamire is the real deal but I don't see Don Flamingo (Gallinari) going off for 20 second half points against the Celtics again.
I will say that the Knicks earned respect for this game but I won't give them too much credit. The C's are missing Shaq, Perkins, Jermaine and Delonte West and Rondo is playing with a sprained ankle/pulled hamstring. Also the 4th string center Semih Erden is playing with a separated shoulder that requires surgery to fix it.
If the Knicks want real respect, let's get the entire C's roster healthy and then see if the Knicks can hang 116 points on them.
Nate Robinson: Two words: Celebration Fail.
Kevin Garnett, quote machine: "It was great basketball. It was a great Eastside barnyard knockdown, backyard scuffle, if you will. Good basketball, though."
Wilson Chandler: "We had the game all the way until the last minutes of the game. We got to give our hats off to them because they're a veteran team. They've done it in and out, won championships."
There are so many funny things in that quote, my brain is short-circuiting.
The Los Angeles Clippers: Make it 13 straight double-doubles for Blake Superior. But despite Griffin's huge game -- 20 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds the Clippers still 105-91 to the 76ers in Philly.
That drops The Other L.A. Team's record to a league-worst 5-21. What's more, the Clips are 0-11 on the road. Going back to the 2009-10 season, the They Are Who We Thought They Were's have lost 15 straight road games. Their last road win was a victory over Houston on March 25.
Against the Sixers last night, the Clippers shot 39 percent and forced only five turnovers. That matched Philly's season low for TOs.
And, really, the game changed when Doug Collins adjusted his team's pick and roll defense at halftime. The Sixers then came out and won the third quarter 34-18.
Said Baron Davis: "In the second half they adjusted on the pick-and-roll and we didn't. In the second half we were trying to force it. When you do that you lose your rhythm. We've got to do a better job of playing five-man basketball."
Actually, Baron, you guys need to take baby steps. Start with playing three-man basketball. Then four-man. Then finally five-man. Smaller, more achievable goals usually work the best.
Vinny Del Negro, coach of the year candidate: "I didn't like our effort at all. We were OK in the first half but in the second half they were much more aggressive. We turned it over too much and they got some layups off breaks. Our execution on defense was poor."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: Jason Richardson scored 29 points. The ancient Grant Hill added 21. Channing Frye drilled seven three-pointers. Steve Nash dished out 19 assists. All of which means...
...the Timberwolves defense has struck again!
Said Kurt Rambis: "We just made a bunch of mistakes in our defensive coverage. Whether it was pick-and-rolls or transition, from the very start of the game guys weren't putting their heads down and running back."
From the very start of the game, Kurt? Try from the very start of the season.
Minnesota scored 122 points on 54 percent shooting and lost. As a team, the Suns -- who entered the game ranked 29th in rebounding -- won the Battle of the Boards 46-39. That included a 14-8 edge on the offensive glass. And the Timberwolves are the best rebounding team in the league.
Said Darko Milicic: "It's happened to us a lot this year. We just can't finish up the games. We had a game we could win, but we just couldn't do it."
Welcome to life as a Timberwolf, Darko.
The Miami Heat: This little blurb from the AP recap says it all:
James flexed his arms after getting fouled and scoring on a drive to the basket, Wade did his arms-flailing, "George Jefferson" celebration again, then looked down and screamed at his right hand after hitting a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Really, guys? After eking out a 101-95 home win over a horrifically depressing Cavaliers squad despite a 41-20 advantage in free throw attempts? Flexing and posturing and talking to your hands?
Said Heat coach 'Spo: "We got the win, we won 10 straight and that ultimately is the most important thing. I get it, OK?"
Chris Bosh, quote machine: "I've never won 10 games in a row. So I'm happy."
The Milwaukee Bucks: All the Bucks needed to do was play less than 10 seconds of defense to force overtime. And, well, yeah.
Actually, Milwaukee's defense -- ranked 5th in Defensive Rating by the way -- let them down all night. The Spurs shot better than 52 percent and had 22 fast break points. Credit the Bucks for coming back from an 18-point deficit. Actually, don't give them credit for that, since they were the ones who fell behind by so much to begin with. We don't hand out awards for almost overcoming your own suckitude.
Scott Skiles, sour grapes machine: "It was great D. [Mbah a Moute] made [Ginobili] travel. We just looked at it about five times."
Actually, based on rules discussed recently here, Manu didn't travel. Maybe Cortez will come in with the breakdown.
Brandon Roy: In Portland's almost-comeback in Dallas, Roy scored only 4 points on 2-for-5 shooting in 30 minutes. He was very nearly a non-entity on offense...which has been the case for several games.
However, after Monday's loss in Memphis, when Roy went 3-for-15 and scored seven points, he said his struggles have less to do with his knees and more to do with the Blazers' "rhythm."
"Even when I play good, our rhythm is up and down. Even when I play good, I don't have great hope that tomorrow is going to be the same way," Roy said. "We don't have a good rhythm, even in wins. Nothing has been consistent. It's just game to game, and that's just kinda how we are -- it's game to game."
Roy on Monday suggested that after spending the last three seasons going through him, the Blazers no longer have a plan of attack.
"I think some of it is we have to establish what we want," Roy said. "I don't clearly know what we are trying to establish. I mean, watching the game (against Memphis), do you think I was the go-to guy in the first half?"
When told, no, Roy continued.
"Did you think L.A. (LaMarcus Aldridge) was the go-to guy in the first?"
When told, yes, to an extent, Roy shrugged as if he didn't agree.
"Look, my thing is, I don't mind taking the blame, but at least put me in position to take the blame. In the first quarter ... there's no flow, I'm taking couple last second shots ... I'm playing a Q-Richardson role," Roy said, referring to the Orlando guard who is averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. "Then in the second half, I try to be more forceful, and that's not my game."
Roy was asked if he feels his knees are capable of letting him be a go-to player.
"Yeah," Roy said. "But our style of play, with our personnel, it's still going to be tough."
Wow. Roy has since apologized for his comments. But the thing is, he meant what he said, including when he remarked about the Blazers putting "some slow guy" next to him (referring to backcourt mate Andre Miller). The reality is, no change of offensive philosophy or personnel is going to heal Roy's knees, which really are his biggest problem right now. Portland's offense -- which relied so heavily on isolating Roy -- is hobbled by the fact that he doesn't have the explosiveness or lift he used to.
It's a sad story. And so very Frail Blazers.
LaMarcus Aldridge, quote machine: "When we win it's special. Losing is never special."
Chris's Lacktion Report:
Celtics-Knicks: Pretty appropriate for Madison Square Garden - Von Wafer can now afford nosebleeds there after collecting a celebratory 3.45 (3:28) trillion!
Clippers-Sixers: Rasual Butler served Donald Sterling well tonight, taking a rejection in 17:45 and also losing the rock once and bricking twice for a +4, while Jarron Collins joyfully generated 2.1 trillion (2:08).
For Philadelphia, Tony Battie celebrated with a 56-second round of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for a Mario.
Purple Paupers-Hornets: Quincy Pondexter produced two pieces of masonry in 3:28 and a foul for a +3, celebrating Sacramento's biggest choke job in 6 years!!!!!!!!!!!
Rockets-Thunder: Nick Collison smashed down one shot and three boards in 13:10, only to foul four times and lose the rock once for a 5:4 Voskuhl. Royal Ivey added more money to his kingdom's treasure chest via a 1.2 trillion tax (1:11).