Dwight needed a hug after the way his team quit on him last night.
The Philadelphia 76ers: Good teams find a way to win, right? Well, here at Basketbawful, we prefer to say that bad teams find a way to lose.
Enter the world of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Yeah, yeah, I know. They'd won four of their last five games. Excuse me for not being all that impressed by victories over the Nyets, Frail Blazers (during their six-game losing streak), Bobcraps and Cavaliers.
Facing a Celtics team that was playing on the road on the second night of back-to-back games without their first, second and third-string centers, the Sixers gave it everything they had. As long as you don't consider "putting a hand in a face" a part of "everything." Boston lit Philly up: 56 percent from the field and 58 percent from beyond the arc. I mean, it really did look like the C's got pretty much whatever shots they wanted.
Semih Erden -- the starting center by default -- was 2-for-2.
Still, the Sixers were persistent and the Celtics just couldn't shake them. There were 14 lead changes in the fourth quarter. It pissed me off. I'm guessing that was how Lakers fans felt on Wednesday night when it took a last second shot to pull out a win against the Clippers.
The Celtics followed the same script. Or maybe they were emulating the Milwaukee Bucks from their win against the Pacers. Eh, whatever. What happened was this. Andre Iguodala hit a running hook shot with 6.6 seconds left to give Philly a 101-100 lead. Boston responded...like this:
I know it wasn't easy. I know that. But damn if Philly's defense didn't make it look easy. Nobody ever even touched Kevin Garnett on that play.
The Sixers had 1.4 seconds left to counter, but KG stole the inbounds pass. Well, okay, it was thrown right to him. Game over.
Said Garnett: "Rajon threw a perfect pass and I just banked it. The crazy part about all that is that I messed that play up so many times in practice. It's only right that the basketball gods gave it to me tonight."
The sound you just heard was the basketball gods going "whaaaaaa...?"
Added Doc Rivers: "We worked on that last week. We tried to run it early and had bad timing. It's just funny how things work out. It's a low-clock play. The ball's in the best passer's hands, and you have shooters on the floor. The whole sell was Paul Pierce and it worked."
Said Doug Collins: "What a heartbreaking loss. To play so hard and so well. That Celtics team is so good, so well-coached, and they have so many different ways that they can attack you on the offensive end. It was just a shame. It would have been an incredible win for us here. We had a great crowd tonight, and we had some good plays. I just feel so badly for our guys."
Doug Collins, pre-game quote machine: Maybe this was why the Sixers kept things so close: "I'm hoping our guys are going to take this as a great chance to see how exciting it is to be on TNT, and obviously I'm selling TNT here a little bit."
Reggie Miller, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Bryan: "Quality announcing by Reggie Miller after Ray Allens 3-pointer with a minute to go: 'You dont leave him wide open on a wide open 3-pointer.'"
The New Jersey Nyets: Nyets-Mavericks was more human interest story than basketball game. Avery Johnson made his emotional return to Dallas. There were hugs and handshakes and, for all I know, pre-game handjobs all around. But all the lovey-dovey feelings didn't make the Nyets not the Nyets, you know?
New Jersey -- minus rookie Derrick Favors (bruised thigh) and forced to play the final three quarters without Devin Harris (sprained shoulder) -- fell behind by as many as 18 points in the second quarter and by as many as 21 early in the second half. Then the Nyets got aggressive and went to the line 18 times in the third quarter. Yeah, you read that correctly. It was like a case of road cookin'.
I guess the officials felt sorry for Avery. He is coaching New Jersey after all.
Anyway, the Nyets got the deficit down to single digits (81-73) early in the fourth quarter, but I think we all knew how this was going to end, right? When your opponents shoots 55 percent to your 41 percent, and you're the New Jersey Nyets, the outcome is practically preordained.
Screamed Johnson: "IT WAS PRETTY EMOTIONAL. A LOT OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE HERE TONIGHT...BUT IT WAS GOOD SEEING SOME OF THE GUYS."
The Nyets are now 6-17. They've lost six in a row and 11 straight on the road. And their next game is against the Lakers. Sorry, guys.
As for the Mavs, they're now 18-4 and have an interesting five-game stretch coming up: Utah, Milwuakee, Portland, Phoenix and then at Miami.
The Orlando Magic: The Magic and Pumaman versus the Frail Blazers and the Ghost of Greg Oden. Now guess which team outrebounded the other 47-40 (including 13-6 on the offensive glass) and had a 50-34 scoring edge in the paint?
The Frail Blazers of course.
Mount Saint Howard erupted all over the Frail Blazers last night: 13-for-20 from the field, 13-for-18 from the line, 39 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and a steal. To bad his teammates didn't make the trip to Portland with him. Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter combined to go 10-for-36 from the field and 3-for-13 from downtown. Quentin Richardson played 18 scoreless minutes. Brandon Bass scored zero points in 13 minutes. Chris Duhon -- Orlando's key offseason acquisition -- finished with 2 points and 2 assists in 16 minutes.
According to the AP recap: "Magic coach Stan Van Gundy sequestered his team behind closed doors well after the game."
Ooo, I bet that was fun.
Said Van Gundy: "We have to play the game better, and we have to play it with a lot more energy, alertness and cohesiveness."
Countered Howard: "You can't coach energy. You can't coach hard work. It comes from a player. If you don't want to play hard, you've got to sit down and let somebody else step up."
I'm not sure whether he said that while looking directly at Vince and Rashard, but he probably should have.
The Magic have now lost three in a row after winning six straight. They still have a decent record...but they just don't look very good. Carter and Lewis
Ron Artest, charitable quote machine: On his plan to donate "either all or some" of his 2010-11 salary to charities to benefit mental health awareness: "It's fun, it's exciting. It's almost like a basketball game because it's that exciting. It feels like dunking on somebody, and I don't dunk much. It's just exciting and it's weird. It's a weird excitement. It's not like fun and games because it's a real issue, but for me, it's exciting to be a part of. It's going to make an impact. It will snowball. It will have a domino effect later. It will have a domino effect real, real soon once people see exactly what's going on."
I hope those snowballs domino for you, Ron. I really do.
Bonus stats: Two Lakers are in the Top 10 in Win Shares: Pau Gasol and...Lamar Odom. Two Heat players are also in the Top 10: LeBron James and...Chris Bosh.
Newsflash:The Knicks are winning by scoring. Now here's the bad news I've been talking about: The Knicks have had the second-easiest schedule so far this season. They have the second-toughest schedule the rest of the way.
Chris's TNT Thursday Lacktion Report:
Magic-Frail Blazers: Marcin Gortat had exactly 5 minutes to drop a rebound and assist...only to raise Stan Van Gundy's blood pressure some with a brick, two turnovers, and a foul for a 3:1 Voskuhl.
For Portland, Patrick Mills churned out a pair of bricks from Pioneer Courthouse Square and lost the rock once there for a +3 suck differential in 5:10, while Sean Marks made 2.4 trillion (2:24) worth of celebratory moolah!