This picture sums things up quite nicely...don't you think?
The Los Angeles Lakers: Mind Status: Blown.
I mean, it was a little over a month ago that the Cadavers lost 112-57 in L.A. That was the worst loss in franchise history. And it was exactly three games ago that Cleveland set the NBA record (and tied the all-time record for the four major professional sports) for most consecutive losses. According to Basketball-Reference, the Cadavers rank 30th in Expected W-L, 30th in SRS, 30th in Defensive Rating and 29th in Offensive Rating. They are, without any doubt, the worst team in the league. They may be one of the worst teams ever.
But they beat the Lakers. A team that clobbered them by 55 only 36 days ago.
And now William Shatner provides his artistic interpretation of what the Lakers must be feeling right now:
As J.A. Adande pointed out in ESPN's Daily Dime, the Lakers now have as many losses against the bottom three teams in the league as they have victories against the top five teams in the league. But even that doesn't really cover the scope of this defeat.
The Cadavers had lost 37 of their last 39 games. It had been 40 games since they had won a game in regulation. yet Cleveland scored 17 points on the fast break, 23 points off 19 forced (and unforced) turnovers and 50 points in the paint. They finished with an Offensive Rating of 111.0...about 10 points per 100 possessions better than their season average.
Cue this stunning quote from Andrew Bynum: "We knew they were going to come out and beat us, and we just didn't play any D."
We knew they were going to come out and beat us.
Maybe that attitude explains Bynum's statistical stink bomb: 2-for-12 shooting and almost as many fouls (5) as rebounds (6) in 22 minutes.
Kobe (8-for-24, 1-for-6 from downtown, 7 turnovers) played like poop, too. I think maybe we should upgrade his "flu-like symptoms" to "mortal wound-like symptoms." Ron Artest was such a no-show (2 assists, 1 point, zero rebounds in 18 minutes) that channeled his inner Bill Walton and Tweeted this:
Even the Lakers who played well sucked. Derek Fisher scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting but got lit the hell up by Ramon Sessions, who came off the bench to score a season-high 32 points (9-for-16 from the field, 13-for-14 at the line) and dish 8 assists. Pau Gasol had an Animal-Style double-double (30 points and 20 boards), grabbing 10 offensive rebounds and going 14-for-14 from the line. But he made countless defensive mistakes and even got posterized by Christian Eyenga (who had just blown by Mamba by the way):
And then there was this:
Said Gasol: "It's a painful, painful loss. It's very disappointing. I don't understand it."
None of us do, Pau. None of us do. But there are theories.
Said Phil Jackson: "I think they took the [All-Star] break before the game started."
Added Lamar Odom: "We take teams lightly at times. We play the cat-and-mouse game. Sometimes the cat loses."
Some credit should go to Dan B. for his sweet stat curse in yesterday's BAD post: "The Lakers just got their asses handed to them by the Bobcraps. Stepping back in time just a few weeks, the Lakers handed the Cadavers one of the most brutal losses the league has ever seen. Footage of that game is the closest thing to a snuff film most people will ever see. So yeah, I'm not too worried about the Lakers' chances tonight."
Frankly, after exulting in this game, the rest of these entries are gonna be a letdown. But I will bravely soldier on.
The Toronto Craptors: Welcome back, Chris! But not really.
So get this: The cHeat apparently put this game in the "Win one for the Gipper" category. Before the game, somebody apparently wrote "Band of Brothers" on the scouting board. LeBron said: "We wanted to be there for [Bosh] as a brother and a teammate." And afterwards, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra added: "We're all happy for Chris. It was not our best game but guys definitely wanted to band together and win it for him."
Reality check: Chris Bosh left Toronto. Not the other way around. This whole "rally around him" thing is the equivalent of Emperor Palpatine sending Darth Vader a sympathy card for cutting off Luke's hand.
Anyway, credit the Craptosaurs for playing the cHeat reasonably tough, even if "tough is a word you don't typically (or ever) use for a team featuring Andrea "Soft as a Pillowtop Mattress" Bargnani (38 points on 15-for-26 shooting). But although they didn't get blown out...they still lost for the 17th time in their last 19 games and are now only five wins better than the Cadavers.
Chris Bosh: After his current team rubbed his former team's nose in its own feces, the RuPaul of Big Men blew kisses to the crowd as he headed to the locker room. What the hell was up with that?
When asked if he was being sarcastic (read that: an asshole), Bosh said: "What does sarcasm mean? It was sarcastic to all the naysayers, it is real to all the supporters. People are going to take it the way they want to."
The Washington Wizards Generals: Having finally secured their first road win of the season, the Generals apparently decided that blowing gruesome chunks was once again the accepted response to playing outside of their nation's capital.
Washington shot 34.9 percent, went 3-for-13 from beyond the arc, bricked eight freebies, dished out only 8 assists, trailed by as many as 29 points and finished with only 76 points in a 25-point blowout loss.
All because Nick Young was out with a sore knee.
Said Generals coach Flip Saunders: "We were outmanned. Not having Nick hurt a lot. I thought we played really hard the first half, but couldn't make a shot. It was one of those things, the harder we tried the harder we fell. It was like being in quicksand."
Countered Andray Blatche: "We reverted back to our old selves. [The] 'I'm going to be the guy who's going to get us over the hump' instead of 'we.'"
Personally, I think 'Dray is closer to the mark than Flip.
Update! J.J. Redick: Basketbawful reader Gökhan provided this most worthy link:
The New Jersey Nyets: If you only looked at New Jersey's field goal percentage (38.8) and the final score (94-80), you would assume this was yet another in the string of hapless beatings the Nyets have endured since Devin Harris said "We knew we were going to be a playoff team" back on December 9, 2008. They're 42-150 since then by the way.
However, this didn't turn into a blowout until the very end. In fact, the Nyets were ahead 78-77 until Ray Allen drilled a triple with 5:58 left in the fourth. That started a 16-0 run that turned a competitive game into a mercy killing.
Screamed New Jersey caoch Avery Johnson: "RAY ALLEN -- THE LAST PERSON WE WANT SHOOTING A THREE IN THE GYM -- HE MAKES A THREE ON US. WE JUST DIDN'T SCORE FROM THAT POINT. THEIR DEFENSE JUST CLAMPED DOWN ON US."
Speaking of The Little General, he called a timeout 29 seconds into the game after Paul Pierce hit a layup to cap a 2-0 game-opening run for the C's. A little reactionary, don't ya think, Avery?
Anyway, the Nyets are now 0-9 in their division and 17-40 on the season.
Paul Pierce, quote machine: Joking about his 0-for-10 game against the cHeat: "Something was wrong with the rim or the ball."
The Indiana Pacers: Allow me, if you will, to repost what Roy Hibbert said after Tuesday night's loss to the cHeat:
"The rest of the season, we're coming. We're not backing down. We're not having any lackadaisical games. We're on the prowl. We're hungry."
Now allow me to quote Danny Granger after Wednesday night's 115-109 overtime loss to the Pistons (21-36):
"Sometimes a team goes on vacation one game early for the All-Star break, and this is what happens. We didn't do anything on defense and we got beat."
I'm telling you all: The "Surging Curse" is real. It's real.
John Kuester, coach of the year candidate: "As a coach, you shouldn't teach effort."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: The Clippers have been surging lately, too. The same why my bowels surge after a night of Jägerbombs and a 3 a.m. stop at Taco Bell. In complete and total seriousness, how awesome is a Cheesy Double Beef Burrito when you can't feel feeling anymore?
Still, bad as they've been lately, they're still better than the Tenderpoops, who converted only 35.4 percent of their field goals, missed 17 of their 24 three-point attempts and bricked 11 freebies. Did I mention they were playing at home? In related news, they're 0-5 at the Target Center this month.
Of course, Minny was without Michael Beasley for the fifth game in a row and had to sit Jonny Flynn due to his continuing recovery from hip surgery.
Said T-Wolves coach Kurt Rambis: "I hate to say it, but if there has ever been a team I have been around that needs the [All-Star] break, this is the team."
Personally, I think Darko is closer to the mark than Kurt.
The Atlanta Hawks: I know their record is pretty good (34-21), but the Dirty Birds are just so...average. They rank 13th in Defensive Rating (105.8) and 15th in Offensive Rating (107.2). According to Basketball-Reference, they're 16th in SRS (0.34). They're just this sort-of-okay, middle-of-the-pack team that's probably just kind of killing time until it's probable (inevitable?) first round playoff exit.
Case in point: Last night's listless blowout in New York.
Said Atlanta coach Larry Drew: "We just totally went away from our game plan. We have a recipe when we play on the road and I thought early the warning signs were there early in the first quarter. Especially defensively. I wasn't as concerned offensively. My main concern was defensively. We had multiple defensive breakdowns and then at the offensive end we just started settling. Being on the road you have to get the shots you want."
Whatever. The Hawks are "Dead Team Walking." Meanwhile, according to the AP recap, the Knicks "at 28-26 matched their average victory total for the last five full seasons. They didn't even earn their 28th victory last season until April 6 and haven't been above .500 this late in a season since they finished 48-34 in 2000-01."
Who needs Carmelo Anthony, right? Am I right?
The Sacramento Kings: The Return of Rodrigue Beaubois (13 points, 6 assists, 3 steals in 21 minutes) was too much for the Paupers of Purpledom. Dallas -- behind Roddy B and J-Kidd -- punched out a 24-4 second half run and led by as many as 26 points before settling for a 116-100 win.
Make it seven losses in the last nine games for the 13-win Kings...now only three victories better than the Cadavers.
The Milwaukee Bucks: Stop me if you've heard this before: The Bucks shot under 40 percent and were held below 87 points in a...
...oh so you've heard this before? Over and over you say? As in all season?
As Charles Barkley would say, these guys couldn't score in an empty gym. What a waste of a one-night thawing out of John Salmons (33 points on 13-for-23 shooting). Many thanks -- in the form of a basket full of rotting fruit -- go to Andy Bogut (1-for-7 from the floor, 1-for-4 from the line) and Brandon Jennings (1-for-11 from the field, 0-for-6 from beyond the arc).
By the way, Jennings (37.5 FGP this season and 37.2 FPG for his career) has officially entered The Larry Hughes Zone. Please stop taking so many bad shots, Brandon!
Worst shooting team. Lowest scoring team. Losers of eight out of 10 games and 13 games on the south side of .500.
Said John Salmons: "'Melo put on a great performance tonight, but we were still able to be close at the end,. We just have to be able to make a couple of plays to get over the hump. It is frustrating, but we just have to keep playing through it."
Added Bad Porn: "We're just going to take this [All-Star] break and come in with a different attitude."
Corey "King of Attitude Change" Maggette has spoken! I'm sure everything will be just fine now, Bucks fans.
The Utah Jazz: No Andrei Kirilenko (sprained ankle), Raja Bell (strained calf) or Ronnie Price (sprained toe). A non-existent _efensive performance against the Gol_en State Warriors (54.5 percent shooting and an O-Rating of 114.7). A 107-100 loss, at home, which was the team's 13th defeat in 17 tries.
Jerry Sloan was too old and tired for this shit. No wonder he resigned.
Nothing is going right for the Jazz these days. Hell, even EnergySolutions Arena is quitting on them. Last night, during the second quarter, a power outage knocked out half of the overhead lights. There was a two-minute delay before the officials said "fuck it" and restarted the game despite the fact that, according to the AP recap, the arena "looked more like a dimly lit high school venue."
Said Deron Williams: "The [All-Star] break came at the right time." Speaking of D-Will...
Deron Williams: The self-proclaimed "best point guard in the league" was 5-for-13 from the field and 1-for-5 on threes. In the three games he's been free of Jerry Sloan's Offensive of Oppression, Williams is 15-for-43 from the field and 5-for-15 from outside the big arc. He's also committed 13 turnovers in that stretch.
The New Orleans Hornets: Check it out: The Portland Frail Blazers won their season-high sixth game in a row and surged -- that's right, they surged, people -- a season-best eight games over .500 despite the continuing absence of three-time All-Star Brandon Roy.
Despite...or maybe because of?
Look, I don't mean to bust too hard on Roy, especially in light of the news that he may have only 1-2 years left in his career even if he basically doesn't practice, is reduced to an off-the-bench player, gets limited to 65-75 games per season, and is forced to rest thoughout the year.
But inspect the numbers: 10-13 with Roy and 22-11 without him. And, quite frankly, Portland's offense is better, much better, when the first, second and third options are not "isolate Roy while everybody else stands around and watches."
And with the way he's been playing, it's becoming clearer by the day that the Blazers' O should revolve around LaMarcus Aldridge.
Anyway, the Hornets continued their own decent into hell with their third straight loss. New Orleans has now dropped nine of 11 games following a 10-game winning streak that may have been, you guessed it, fools' gold.
Said Chris Paul: "It's really tough. The only good thing is we've got a lot of basketball left to play. It will be good for us to get a chance to regroup and see what we can do."
Speaking of CP3, he must have drank from the same Elixir of Suck that D-Will has been sipping from. In February, Paul has gone 40-for-94 (42.6 percent) from the field and 7-for-21 (33.3 percent) from downtown. Over his last five games, he's shooting 17-for-54 (31 percent) overall and 2-for-9 (22 percent) from long range.
Update! Funtastic Extra: Basketbawful reader allison provided this list of highest scoring games without a free throw. I'm not even remotely surprised to see guys like Wally Szczerbiak, Chuck Person and Vince Carter on this list. I am, however, more than a little shocked that Hakeem Olajuwon once scored 48 points without even attempting a freebie. Fittingly, he did it against the _enver Nuggets.
Chris's Awesome Lacktion Ledger:
Generals-Magic: Hilton Armstrong checked into the ledger with a board countered by two fouls in 8:02 and a turnover for a 3:1 Voskuhl.
Nyets-Celtics: Johan Petro provided his usual Voskuhl by pureeing a pair of points in 10:47 (and a board) with three fouls and two giveaways for a 5:3.
Fellow Jersey Shore lounger Ben Uzoh ultimately undermined contributory basketball by bricking twice in 86 seconds, taking a rejection, and fouling once for a +4.
Clippers-Wolves: Brian Cook warmed up a foul and two charity stripe misses in 1:18 for a +3.
Purple Paupers-Mavs: Luther Head tossed spiky shells for 37 seconds to earn a non-celebratory Mario. Meanwhile, the Mavs' Ian Mahinmi made a board meaningless in 7:23 after losing the rock once and fouling out for a 7:1 Voskuhl!
Nuggets-Bucks: Jon Brockman fouled once for a +1 in 3:13.
Warriors-Jazz: Ekpe Udoh undid a rebound in 15:42 with four fouls and two turnovers for a 6:1 Voskuhl, while fellow Bay Area resident Vladimir Radmanovic bricked thricely in 7:27 and also fouled that amount for a celebratory +6!
For Utah, Kyrylo Fesenko found himself back in the ledger by augmenting an assist with a foul and turnover in 6:09 for a 2:0 Voskuhl. And Francisco Elson finagled a shot attempt for a +1 in 2:38.