Courtesy of Hardwood Paroxysm via Arash's what looks to be an iconic image for the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers.

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In a move that has stunned NBA insiders, Dwight Howard was eaten by a giant octopus earlier today. The accident occurred during the filming of Metta World Peace's new reality show. With the Lakers having recently found some chemistry and being set to embark on the Grammy road trip, the loss of their center is particularly ill timed. Dwight was unavailable for comment, due to having been recently eaten by a giant octopus, but Metta had this to say.
I'm doing this show, right—and we do a lot of pranks on the show, so I called up Dwight. You see, we knew he had this weird fear of sea creatures, so I called up my people and we worked out something with some local marine biologists. Anyway, the day came but my octopus guy didn't show up. I had to wing it, and shit went bad. Dwight ended up unconscious and in the water. After that, nature pretty much just took over.
Ironically, all that remains of Pumaman now is his severed right shoulder and the lower portion of his spine. Once he was entangled in the beast's powerful tentacles, the 2008 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest winner was pulled limply through the water towards the beak of the colossal creature. A small crowd of onlookers, consisting mostly of the TV crew and some biologists, stared on in horrified disbelief as the 3-time Defensive Player of the Year was fed into the powerful beak, and the air became thick with the smell of blood and a sickening gnashing sound. 

The Octopus in question is still at large, although the marine biologists have all been arrested. A brief statement was issued by the Lakers organization, which commented on the tragic timing of the loss.
We are deeply troubled by Dwight's absence. If this had happened a week or so ago, we could have dealt with it, but we've won three straight now and this is coming on the heels of a game where Dwight scored 24 points. We've been too busy investigating whether or not he can be amnestied now to find out if he had any next of kin, but if he did...well, uh, we're sorry, and if you have any other tall people in your family, then please get in touch with us, especially if they can hit a lousy free throw.  
The Lakers play the Phoenix Suns tonight and unless Project Robo-Dwight is moving ahead of schedule, they may be facing a disadvantage down low. The game was supposed to pit Dwight's former understudy, Marcin Gortat, against the West's starting All-Star, but evidently fate had other plans. When asked about the loss of Dwight, coach Mike D'Antoni didn't seem particularly concerned. He was however, high on Valium. When pressed for a response, he muffled out some sort of pipe dream he'd been concocting where Earl Clark would be cut in half with a machete and start at both positions. After Basketbawful reporters attempted to explain to D'Antoni the grave personal danger this would pose to Mr. Clark, they were chased out of D'Antoni's office by the livid coach, which was when he decided that it was a good time to take a nap in the hallway.

So far, the reaction amongst Laker fans has been mixed. Some see the loss of life as a positive move for the franchise, who were likely just going to lose Dwight to free agency this summer anyway, while others argue that he had bought into the system and that this will jeopardize the Lakers' playoff chances. There were a few responses of, "Gnarly", or "Oh shit, really?" but for the most part those polled seemed fairly blasé about the incident. Some guy we found in a Fatburger parking lot had this to say:
The season's already pretty much done for man. Yeah, like maybe we'll get the 8th seed or whatever, but what are we—that team that plays in Wisconsin? I'm supposed to care about that? We should have gone with Phil.
One thing's for sure, it wasn't Kobe's fault. Kobe had nothing to do with this one and was actually undergoing Electric Ore Therapy in the desert when all this happened. There are some who think that this latest setback should be blamed on the antics of Metta World Peace, but the guy in a parking lot that our reporter spoke with didn't seem to think so.
N'ah. That's just Ron being Ron, you know? Or Metta, whatever, the point is that's not even the issue. The real issue here is why didn't D'Antoni swim in there and wrestle Dwight from the sea beast's tentacles. If this costs us the season, I'm gonna be pissed. Shiiit, I tell you what, I'm even gonna find that bastard—shave off his mustache, and then like sweep up all the hairs and shit, and make him eat 'em. Yeah, that's right. I'll make him eat his own dusty, floor bitten mustache. That'll show him.
At this point the parking lot guy asked if he could have some change. The reporter felt bad about not wanting to give him any, so he pretended that he was getting some change from his car and then drove off. As of three hours before tip-off, there has been no new word on the status of Robo-Dwight and what role, if any, he might be able to play in the team's game plan vs Phoenix.

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The Raptors: After 2 straight losses, the Warriors needed a team to help them get back on track, and that team was the Toronto Raptors. The patented defense of the Great North allowed the visitors to shoot over 50% from the field and 40% from downtown. There wasn't a whole lot of defense on either side as both teams reached the century mark. Even Aaron Gray had a 20/10 game. Big Baby must've bestowed Aaron Gray with some special powers with his love nibble the other day.

Once word gets out about this, Big Baby is going to have to deal with a lot of players trying to stick their chins in his mouth. Some speculate that this ability to bestow powers with a chin bite, stems from Big Baby's habit of biting balls. And no, that isn't what it sounds like. 

At the time, I think those who noticed this strange habit just assumed that Baby was daydreaming about hamburgers. Now it seems there might be some deeper meaning. Other theorists suggest that these powers might have something to do with the time Baby got knocked the fuck out by a Pumaman elbow. This is known as the Dead-Zone explanation, although it usually requires comas. 

Ankles: Cosmic irony pulled the rug out from under Andrew Bogut's return, when Stephen Curry left the game in the third with an ankle injury. The sprain seems mild, and the Warriors prevailed against the Raptors; but still, whenever fans throw their hands to the heavens in exasperation, cosmic irony is likely nigh.

The Jazz: The Rockets simply blew their opponent's stinkin' brains out with a loaded 45 point victory. It's not a traditional revenge game, but something tells me that the Rockets didn't appreciate how the Jazz resurrected the Lakers. Houston and Utah are currently tied for that precious 8th seed, so it's easy to see how the violence escalated. You're probably thinking this game was played in Houston, right? I mean, if the Jazz can do anything, it's win at home, right? Wrong. This unmitigated face stomping took place in Utah, a place where the Jazz hadn't lost all month.

Randy Foye led the Jazz with a measly dozen points, but that was the least of their troubles. The Rockets cruised to 125 points on 53% shooting. This was one of those classic woodshed games where every player on the winning team has a positive Lenovo +/- and vice versa.

If those descriptions alone don't blow your mind, howzabout some 'worst home loss in franchise history'. I bet that gets the mind a'blowin'.

Al Jefferson amusing quote machine: Big Al really summed the loss up in his post-game comments.
We could have had Michael Jordan in his prime with us tonight and played the way we played and it wouldn't have mattered.
Normally, I would call that hyperbole, but I think in this case he's actually being completely realistic.

The Bobcats: Seeing that they're the worst team in the NBA again, the Bobcats are no strangers to losing. I might not have even bothered writing them up for this 8 point loss in Chicago, but then this happened.

I don't know what constitutes a booze cruise, exactly. Maybe, it's as simple as it sounds. Jimmy Butler lost his starting gig to some guy named Loul Deng, but the sophomore player scored a career-high 19 points anyway. Third year player, and current Bobcat, Jeff Adrien got his first NBA start and delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds, setting or matching career-highs in both categories. He'll have to write Hakim Warrick a nice thank you note for disappearing from the roster, that is if he can find him.

Both the Wizards and the Kings: Woe unto the team that looks for the Zeke-Child to be its closer, and woe onto the team that tries to defend the Zeke-Child with Garrett Temple and loses to said Zeke-Child in Washington. So much for that 5 game home winning streak, huh Randy? The young man who got his name from a bar bet described the terrible defense that confronted him in crunch time.
I seen a guy that was guarding me that hasn't played the whole game, so I felt I had the opportunity to take him. And he kind of forced me to my strong hand, so I just wanted to make a play and it happened to go in.
From training camp on, Wizards players are instructed to always force a player to their strong hand... The theory is, that seeing such an easy lane to the basket, the player will become overly excited, trip, and turn the ball over. You'd be surprised how often that strategy has worked for them this month, but this time around the Zeke-Child sunk the floater with a second to spare.

The Magic/Andray Blatche's face: Kyle O'Quinn doesn't play much, in fact he's played the fewest minutes of anyone on the Magic's roster this year. But with the Magic down by 24, he dug deep, put his squad on his back, and delivered the biggest play of the night.

Wow. I bet Andray really wanted to kick his ass right there, but was probably in too much pain. Due to a rarely invoked NBA bylaw, this made the game a victory for the Magic in several states of the union, which led to a scourge of violent gambling disputes. Unfortunately for the Magic, New York was not one of those states. In the state of New York, they still officially got their ass kicked.

Warriors-Raptors: Count Bazemore struck again with a 47 second Mario.
Kings-Wizards: Garrett Temple had a 13 second Mario, in which time he lost the game by attempting to guard the Zeke-Child.
Grizzlies-76ers: Philadelphia's Shelvin Mack had an 18 second Mario, as far as I know that didn't cost the Sixers the game, but that didn't stop several teammates from loading up some socks with bars of soap for when he came into the locker room. 
Bulls-Bobcats: The Cats gave Jeffery Taylor 1 minute and 24 seconds, and he gave them a +2 suck differential. He also brought some milk, so they decided to keep him around. 


Rubio dreams of becoming a nun

The Bobcats: The Cats from Carolina didn't even play on Friday, but when your as bad as they are that's not necessary for a WotN inclusion. The Wizards did play however, beating the Timberwolves. You know what that means? The Bobcats once again have the worst record in the NBA. It's been a long time coming, and I don't think that the news will come as a surprise to anybody.
The Timberwolves: A recent Supreme Court ruling determined that making the Timberwolves finish the season doesn't constitute a violation of the national ban on cruel and unusual punishment. And so they trudge on...

With Love, Pekovic, Shved, Roy, and Budinger all racking up DNPs, I don't think there's any doubt left that the Timberwolves have a more respectable starting 5 in street clothes than they do in uniforms. Still, you gotta give the Wolves one thing: they started the weekend with a better record than the Lakers.

Rubio got the playing time he'd been asking for and led Minnesota in minutes against the former Generals. The result must have had acting coach Terry Porter chuckling inside, as Rubio had more turnovers than points and only made 1 of his 8 shots. Mickael Gelabale may be playing on a 10 day contract, but that didn't stop him from tying Luke Ridnour for the most field goals on the team. Gelabale played two years for the Seattle Supersonics and hasn't been in the league since. I guess he figured it was a good time to return to the Northwest. Maybe if he's lucky he can play on the Supersonics next year.

The Celtics: It's not often that a team loses by a dozen points after two overtimes, but that's precisely what happens when you get outscored 16-4 in the 2nd overtime. Kyle Korver set a franchise record for the Hawks, hitting all 8 of his field goals from behind the arc in the 2nd half. Propelled by tickle me Korver's hot shooting, the Hawks made up a 27 point deficit, making it their biggest comeback since the '01 season.

It was the 6th straight loss for the Celtics—the worst stretch of the KG era. Rajon Rondo had his 5th triple-double of the season. Unfortunately for basketball lovers everywhere, there will be no more Rondo triple-doubles this year. Nobody knew it at the time, but Rondo suffered a season ending ACL injury late in the 4th quarter.

DeShawn Stevenson:

I am not DeShawn Stevenson

The only basketball player that Jay-Z has ever bothered to make a diss song for is now losing the battle of the beards on his own team. Ivan Johnson played 10 more minutes than Locksmith and scored 9 more points. Stevenson, who has been slowed down by knee issues this year, vowed revenge.

Observers close to the situation describe it as mere seconds from boiling over. Ivan resents Stevenson for having a cool nickname, and likewise Stevenson resents Ivan for having a cool actual name. In addition to the name issues, the two endlessly argue about who has the better beard.

The Pistons: Last time the Heat played the Pistons, the champs were dealt a 10 point loss. This time, they made the Pistons reimburse them those 10 points, adding 12 more points in interest; all together it was a grand total of 22 points of ass kicking. Greg Monroe found a loop hole in some of the paperwork that allowed him to score 31 points and grab 12 rebounds.

The game featured the return of the Birdman, who played 3 and a half minutes for the Heat. 

Dallas: The Spurs were without Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, and only played Manu Ginobli 8 minutes. Still, the Mavericks could not capitalize. Maybe that's somehow related to them being led in scoring by Rodrigue Beaubois, who only played 16 minutes. Parker got the win and led all scorers, but he also got smacked in the face without getting the call.

I've never seen an NBA player display such reckless behavior towards Tony Parker's left eye. Who does Elton Brand think he is? A member of Chris Brown's entourage?

After the game, the guy standing in for Gregg Popovich, Mike Budenholzer, addressed questions about Ginobli's health by stating, "we just decided to keep him out and keep him healthy". As Budenholzer was getting into his car later that evening, he was confronted by David Stern, who gripped him by the collar and seemed prepared to pummel him. Luckily for Budenholzer, a beat cop happened to stroll by whistling and twirling his billy club.

Stern smiled at the cop and brushed off the coach's collar. He then turned to a terrified Budenholzer and grimaced slightly before offering him the following warning:
I know you're new here, so I'm gonna cut you a break. But if I catch you resting Ginobli like that again, I'm gonna take it out of your ass. So why don't you make like the Alamo and...remember? Yeah, that works. Why don't you make like the Alamo and remember.
Don't bother trying to find any other accounts of this, online or elsewhere. The NBA has already gotten to Budenholzer, and he ain't talking.

The Pelicans: Harden had one of those games with 30 points on 15 shots. However, judging by his 8 turnovers and Lin's 6 steals, I think he got the ball stolen by his teammate a few times. If Lin scored after one of these steals, then I guess that would also count towards Harden's 8 assists.

The Rockets must've been traveling and throwing the ball directly out of bounds a lot, because their 21 turnovers can't be explained by 8 steals from New Orleans. 

The Nets: Mikhail Prokhorov can blame the Lakers for this 34 point demolition that his Nets suffered. The Grizzlies had only reached the century mark once in 24 games before Pringles came to town. Unfortunately for the Nets, now they have an offense to go along with their league leading defense.

It was a very ugly loss

The Grizzlies mauled the visitors in every statistical category but one. The Nets got to the line 17 more times. That's how immense this immolation was—all the refs in the world couldn't keep the game within 30.

The Warriors: Is anybody else surprised that the Bulls and the Warriors had matching records after this game? I was going to say that it was an upset initially, instead it was simply a victory for an evenly matched Bulls team.

Still, that doesn't let the Warriors off the hook for losing by 16. Stephen Curry had only 1 assist, his lowest total for the season. Further tainting the loss, is the fact that Loul Deng wasn't even in uniform. Jimmy Butler was. In typical Tom Thibodeau small forward fashion, he led the team by playing 43 and a half minutes. In this time, he procured himself a double-double, grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich matched a career-high with 6 threes.   

The Kings: The score was surprisingly close in the battle between the team that was the Sonics and the team that will be. And by that I mean, the Kings only lost by 10 points. Initially, the Thunder were caught sleeping, as the home team opened up the game with a 23-9 run. From that point on, reality slowly set in.

It's clear from DeMarcus Cousin's 7 turnovers that yelling at Keith Smart has lost its luster. I'm sure Coach Smart can think of some excuse to suspend Cousins for a few days, seeing that his forward's best games of the season were fueled by spite for him. It's essential for the Kings that Smart keeps finding new ways to keep that fire of destructive anger burning.

Unfortunately for the Kings, Cousins is being all mature about his recent struggles, "It's frustrating. I'm going to keep my mouth closed and stay positive". Damn it Demarcus, get mad. Do something unprofessional. Kick a chair or push over an old lady. You're not going to get out of this mess by being reasonable. The Zeke-Child is clearly trying to fill the void caused by Cousin's professionalism, and got a tech from the bench.

Thanks, Jazz

The Jazz: When June comes, and we're all staring aghast at the Lakers championship parade, few people will remember that this was the game that changed everything. Against the Utah defense, the Lakers finally found themselves. For a night, starting Earl Clark was a brilliant move; Pau Gasol was fired up and efficient from the bench; Dwight gobbled up the boards and was the defensive anchor the team needs him to be, while Meta bombed away from the outside with surprising accuracy. Strangest of all, Kobe Bean Bryant stared a 70% shooting night right in the face, and yet somehow he found a way to go against every twitching fiber of his being and only shoot 10 times. He must have been too busy dishing out 14 assists and grabbing 9 rebounds. Beware the 14 assist dishing, 9 rebound grabbing Kobe Bryant.

To put Kobe's stunning restraint in perspective, Jamaal Tinsley took two more shots than he did.

Hawks-Celtics: Doc Rivers gave his starting spot back to Kevin Garnett, but Jason Collins still packs in plenty of lacktion off the bench. The scariest thing about Jason's +6 suck differential in 13 minutes is that his doppelganger is even worse. Leandro Barbosa ran very quickly on his way to a +1 suck differential in 3 minutes and 28 seconds.
Heat-Pistons: James Jones accrued no stats for the Heat in 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Jonas Jerebko's +2 suck differential in 3 and a half minutes, combined with the shellacking that Detroit took, must've given him flashbacks to Thomas Robinson's elbow.  
Spurs-Mavericks: San Antonio's Aron Baynes showed his resourcefulness by turning a 42 second Mario into a +1 suck differential with a turnover.
Rockets-Pelicans: Speaking about Marios, Houston's Patrick Beverley, Cole Aldrich, and James Anderson all played 57 seconds. Beverley collected 2 points in this time, and Cole grabbed a rebound. This left James Anderson as the only Rocket with a plain ol' Mario. 
Grizzlies-Nets: Mirza Teletovic and his awesome name had a +1 suck differential in 5:59. On the opposing team, Hamed Haddadi missed two shots in a minute and 8 seconds.
Bulls-Warriors: Andris Biedrins played 8 minutes and 24 seconds and all he got was this lousy +1 suck differential. Meanwhile, Marquis Teague packed a +3 suck differential into his minute and 23 seconds. 
Lakers-Jazz: Jeremy Evans had a +3 suck differential for the Jazz, while his teammate Kevin Murphy went for a 3 trillion. On the Lakers, Darius Morris may well have been on his way to a 3 trillion, but got cut-off after 1 minute and 28 seconds.


Boozer reacts to the score

The Bulls: Wait a second, isn't this the same team that slapped the Golden States Warriors around the gym the night before? Evidently not, because I don't think that team would lose to the Wizards by 13. Although, Washington has been doing better of late, they've won 7 of their last 10, and they like to beat teams by 13 points. It must have been the same Bulls team that got obliterated by the Rockets on Christmas, or maybe it was the Bulls team that lost to the Suns by double-digits at home. Who can tell? Unfortunately for the organization, the Bulls have several groups of doppelgangers, who share the appearance and most of athletic abilities of their doubles but none of the basketball sense. These rogue groups of doppelganger Bulls occasionally sully the reputation of the real team, when they kidnap them for a few hours and try to compete with NBA teams.

This is a serious problem for the Bulls, one that Jerry Reinsdorf has been trying to combat for years. It should be noted that the Joakim Noah's doppelganger is still pretty good, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, 9 points, and that since there is only one Nate Robinson, the real Nate still played and scored a game-high 19 points on a game-high 19 attempts. After the game, Robinson said that he had considered using his freedom to get help for the real Bulls, who were tied up in a basement. However, upon consideration, he realized that would mean less shots for him.

The Raptors: I think the NBA has found its replacement starting point guard for the East, and as the title of this entry suggests, it isn't anybody who plays in Toronto. Kyrie Irving hit a 3 with .7 seconds left, which won the game and put him over 30 points for the 3rd straight night.

Return of the Bricks: The Knicks made a lot of Philadelphia fans very happy, and unlike the Bulls, they can't simply blame the 80 points they scored in this 17 point loss on roving groups of rogue doppelgangers. That didn't stop J.R. Smith from trying during a post-game interview.

Jrue Holiday said, "Hey, I'm an All-Star, bitches" with 35 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Those 35 points signify a career-high and make the starting point guard job for the East a little murkier.  

Raymond Felton underwhelmed in his first game since Christmas with 8 points on 8 shots. J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Jason Kidd missed all 17 of the shots they attempted, while Carmelo Anthony didn't need any help missing that many shots and missed 19 of them all by himself. He had a good excuse though, he needed every one of his 25 points to keep a streak going... More on that later.

Minnesota: I'd ask whether it can get any worse for the T-Pups, but I don't want a piano to fall from the sky and crush Andrei Kirilenko. As it is, he's already crying blood.

Only a day after letting the Wizards climb over their corpses to escape being the worst team in the NBA, Minnesota lost guessed it—the Bobcats, AKA the newly crowned worst team in the NBA. I give the AP a lot of guff, but they really captured something in their opening paragraph.
For the first time in more than two months, there were smiles and laughter throughout the Charlotte Bobcats locker room following a home game.
Do you hear that Mickael Gelabale? You and your fellow impounded Puppies let the boot of the neck of your mortal enemies, the Cats, and now they don't even have a record for futility to chase anymore. The infamy of the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks is safe, for now. Yet, who knows when or where the Bobcats will strike again? This time they came within 2 losses of the NBA record of 18 straight losses at home; last year they set all-time records for least wins and worst winning percentage. It's anybody's guess which record is up next, but if I was the 2009-10 Nets, I'd be keenly interested.

The Nets: Speaking of bad weekends and 13 point losses, the Nets kept both trends going at Houston. The Rockets have struggled lately, losing their status as the highest scoring team in the league, and even enduring a recent 7-game losing-streak, but a visit from the Nets was just what the Rockets needed in order to reach their 3rd win in 4 games.

Despite the loss, Deron Williams delivered maybe his best game of the season with 27 points and 11 assists. He shot the ball with efficiency, delivering an all around game with an unmistakable sense of urgency and purpose. In an unrelated note, the Eastern Conference All-Stars have a starting point-guard shaped hole in their roster. Somebody needs to tell Deron that getting ejected in the 4th and scoring the majority of his points in the 1st quarter isn't the way to do it.

The Suns: Jared Dudley made all but two of his dozen shots; Michael Beasley added a team-high 25 points; but it wasn't enough to win over the Gregg Popovich-less, Tim Duncan-less Spurs.

The Sub-Sonics: A day after losing to the Thunder by 10 points, the Kings found a way to suck less ambiguously, losing to the Nuggets by 28 points. DeMarcus Cousins was only 1 for 6, ending up with 3 points and 2 rebounds, yet Keith Smart still can't find an excuse to suspend him. To Smart's credit, he did resist the urge to give DC's usual minutes to Travis Outlaw, opting instead to play Thomas Robinson who had a double-double.

Gordon Hayward: Although the Jazz eventually beat the Pacers in overtime, Hayward earned the unique, yet dubious distinction of having the ball picked from his hands 3 times in his team's final 3 regulation possessions. When the debacle began, the Jazz were up by 4.   

Luckily for Gordon, the Pacers couldn't hold on. Things might've been different if Lance Stephenson, 0 points with 4 turnovers and 0 assists, could've kept up with the production of Jamaal Tinsley. The Silver Bullet cracked open a tall, cold can of 5 points and 9 assists.

OK, guys. Be Chris Paul.

The Clippers: The ball left Jamal Crawford's hand, spun through the air, and seconds later the Trailblazers were celebrating and the Clippers had lost 4 in a row. The real concern for the Clippers is not the 1 point loss, but the lingering nature of CP3's bone bruise and what it's exposed about the team. Simply put, a healthy CP3 is the difference between life and death for this team. 

As Charles Barkley has been wont to point out, without the genius of their general, the Clippers have a tendency to look as isolation heavy and directionless on offense as their bejeweled co-tenants. Outside of the generally cursed nature of their franchise, this factor more than anything else continues to keep Barkley from asking the Clippers bandwagon if they can widen their seats a little.

Adding insult to injury, the Blazers didn't just beat the Clippers, they broke Lawler's law. The Clippers got to 100 first, but the Blazers became one of the roughly 8% of teams to win despite this.



All of us: It takes some really shitty news to turn a double-overtime battle between the reigning champs and the team that almost knocked them out of the playoffs into an afterthought, but that's just what the basketball fans everywhere got, live and coast to coast on ABC, when Doris Burke stood before a brick wall and announced that Rajon Rondo had torn his ACL and was done for the season.

As shell-shocked viewers watched the game, a peculiar instance of dramatic irony began to unfold. For those readers who are murky on dramatic irony, it's what occurs when the audience knows something that the principals in a drama do not, or when some principals are aware of what others aren't. Initially, it was reported that the players were aware of Rondo's situation, but during a sidelines interview with Doc Rivers, it sounded like he didn't know yet. If that's true, then it's reasonable to think that most of his players were also unaware. Doc sort of mumbled his reply about Rondo, which led to some debate about what he had said and who was aware of the situation. Around that time, viewers were informed that Dwyane Wade knew for some reason. The dramatic irony also came with a 21st century twist, as the Boston home crowd was incrementally becoming aware of the situation through their smart phones. The crowd was still lively do to the highly contested nature of the game, but it wasn't hard to tell that something was missing.

Rondo's injury also brings up the subject of cosmic irony, which occurs when man is made to feel at the whim of fate, the universe, and/or the basketball gods who seem to just toy with our hopes and dreams for their own amusement. As basketball fans, we have spent much of this season waiting for players to return from ACL injuries. Yet it seems, whenever we get a player back another one goes down. Rubio finally returns but it's rendered meaningless by Love's absence; 2011's starting all-star point guard might be gearing up to play, but now 2013's starter is gone. Rondo and Rose will always be linked in my mind because of that epic 7 game series in 2009, where Rose looked like the future and Rondo basically averaged a triple-double.

Still, the show must go on. Rondo's artistry will be greatly missed by the whole basketball community, and I look forward to a time when I can see him compete again.

The Thunder: 

Wait, what the hell is going on?

Are you ready to laugh?!? ... ... I said are you ready to laugh?!? ...

OK, this probably isn't the best time or forum to try to make jokes about Lakers beating the Thunder. So instead, I'm gonna do the professional, responsible thing and run with something from the last time the Lakers lost. Enjoy! 

The Lakers: I was wrong. The Lakers weren't destined to go 1-1 all-time in games where Earl Clark leads them in minutes. They are now 1-2. The game played like a disaster check-list, as if the Lakers were driven to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt just how fucked they are. First off, Steve Nash hadn't missed a free throw all season, so I guess he decided it was time. Then, Dwight hasn't been injured in a little while, so after about 15 minutes he was holding his shoulder and headed to the locker room for good. Even those 22 extra free-throws the Lakers were gifted, just seem like an ironic nail in the coffin when they're getting their asses kicked.

Kobe addressed what he had to do before the game, issuing one of his classic 'make my shots' proclamations. He made good on that initially, as he converted on 11 of his first 14 attempts. Having ostensibly solved the problem, the idea probably never occurred to him to shoot less once he cooled off. The game played out like a microcosm of the season, with Kobe's impressive efficiency fading as he missed shot after shot as the game wore on...

The Thunder: Now let us never speak of the game the Thunder played on Sunday again. All better.

The rest of the day: Since I no longer feel the need to report accurately within the parameters of space and time, I am pleased to report that the rest of the day was devouted to a thousand point one-on-one match between Wilt Chamberlain and the Norse God Thor. Needless to say, it was awesome. Unfortunately for you, since no bawful occured in this game, I have nothing left to report on. So see you next time amigos, I'm gonna go get some chili.

Hello Faithful Basketbawful readers,

Through a source that shall go unnamed, we at Basketbawful have obtained a copy of the transcript of the players only meeting of the Los Angeles Lakers after their 106-93 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. We warn you, some of the language is coarse and may be found offensive.

Nash: Hey does anyone know what this is about?

Jamison: I don't know, Kobe just called a meeting as we were walking off the floor.

Nash: Great. Now we have to hear about how he isn't getting enough shots. 

Jamison: Quiet Quiet, here he comes.

 Kobe: Mikey, Mikey, for the last time, this is a players only meeting, now go to your office and comb your mustache a few more times.

D'Antoni: BUT WAIT, I...

(Door Slams)

 Kobe: Ummm...Didn’t I tell you guys that once Mamba enters the room, you are all to stand and say "Praise the Almighty Mamba in all his glory"?

(All players stand to their feet): Praise the Almighty Mamba in all his glory...

Kobe: Alright now everybody shut the hell up...Now so this doesn't get out of hand, in order to say something, you must be holding this basketball. Once you're done, pass it to someone else so that they can be allowed to speak.

Gasol: (Under his breath) I guess that means no one else will be speaking.

Kobe: What was that Pau?

Gasol: Oh uhh, nothing...I was just saying my knees are creaking.

Kobe: Oh ok. Well since I have the ball, I will go first......You guys suck. You don't play defense, you don't rebound, and most importantly, you don't pass Mamba the ball. I mean is it so hard, to pass Mamba the ball and get the hell outta the way???

(Kobe Glares around the room)

Kobe: You there...The one with the dreads. What’s your name? Gordon? Gordon Gill?

Hill: Its Hill, Jordan Hill Sir.

Kobe: Whatever. What’s your problem...You haven't grabbed a rebound or passed me the ball in  two weeks.

(Kobe passes the ball to Hill at which he fumbles because he wasn't expecting it)

Hill: Uhh, Well Kobe, I...

Kobe: Excuse me?

Hill: Erm...I mean. Mamba, I'm out for the season with a hip injury. I just had surgery.

Kobe: With all due respect Gordon...Fuck your hip. One time, my hip got dislocated in the middle of a game. Did you know that? NO. You didn't know that because Mamba popped that shit back in place and dropped 40 points all without crying about in the media like a little BITCH...

(Hill bows his head in shame. A single tear rolls down his cheek)

Kobe: Hey, Metta World Sissy. Can I please speak to Ron Artest? Is he in there? Because I need crazy Artest to come back. I need you to elbow someone. Body slam a ref. Drop kick a fan, SOMETHING.

World Peace: But Mamba, David Stern told me if I step outta line again I'll be washing dishes back in Queens faster than I can release my next shitty rap song.

Kobe: Don't worry about that. I'll call him up and talk to him for you. Besides, he owes me a favor for screwing up that Chris Paul trade last year. Just make sure someone leaves the court seriously crippled the next time we play. 

Kobe: And speaking of crippled. Dwight, What the hell is wrong now? You left the game in second quarter and didn't come back.

Howard: Mamba, It’s my shoulder. I planned on coming back but then on the way down the tunnel I changed my mind. Then I sat at my locker for a few minutes and decided to give it a try. But as I stood up, I felt that it would be best not risk it. So after a while, I told the trainer I was ok and felt that my team needed me. But then all of the sudden I got this feeling that I shouldn't go back out. During the fourth I have finally made up my mind that a champion should just push through the pain. But by then the game was already over.

Kobe: Dwight, You've got to want to be great. Ever since you came here its "Ohh, My shoulder hurts, Ohh, My spinal cord hurts." Yeah my shoulders and back are sore too from carrying Shaq's fat ass to three championships.
Sacre: Uh...I-I'd like to say something.

 Kobe: Did I give you permission to speak? Go fetch Mamba a Gatorade...And it better be orange flavor.

(Sacre shuffles off to the other room)

Kobe: Stevie. I'm disappointed in you. D'Antoni is your coach. You promised me he knew what he was doing. I expected you to shine under this system. So far the only think that shines around here are your suits. You went from badass rock star point guard to a slick up hairstyle having douche bag in one night.

Nash: It’s not my fault Mamba. I'm new here and I just want everyone to feel comfortable. I try to spread the ball around but I can’t work miracles. The other night we had Earl Clark getting major minutes...EARL CLARK. No offense Earl.

Kobe: If D'Antoni screws this up, I'm holding you personally responsible. Until then, no more shopping for you. You got enough shiny suits in your wardrobe to last an entire Kings of Comedy tour. 

 (Sacre sheepishly hands Kobe his orange Gatorade)

Sacre: Here's your Gatorade sir. Did I do good Mamba?

(Kobe takes a sip and immediately spits it all over Sacre's shoes. He then slaps him across the face)

Kobe: THIS IS WARM!!! Ya see, This is the shit I'm talking about. How can Mamba expect to match Jordan's 6 rings when his teammates can't even think to make sure the Gatorade is cold. You think Steve Kerr ever brought Jordan warm Gatorade?!?!

(Kobe scans the room again)

Kobe: What say you, Big Bird. (pointing towards Gasol)

Gasol: What do you mean? I've been playing out of position for almost three seasons now. I'm a center and everyone keeps making me play power forward and shoot long jumpers. I can't....

Kobe: Ya see there...You just said "I can't". Mamba doesn't believe in things like "can't", or "won't" or "I don't want to sleep with you". You're Spanish. That means your ancestors were Conquistadors. You should be raping and pillaging that area under the basket known as the paint.

Kobe: Ok, well that’s our time. It was a very productive meeting. Now everyone go to the practice gym and work on various forms of passes you can make to me during a game. Let’s see some creativity people.

Sometimes it's just too easy to present the best of the worst of professional basketball. In this instance, Caron Butler and Dereck Richardson's face did all the work for me. As gags go, you don't get much purer then a guy getting hit in the face with something.

Although, I suppose the ball could've transformed into a pie midair, but that would've just confused people and gotten scientists involved. There are some camps who may have preferred a basketball to the balls. Before weighing in on this debate, I would like to see two similar videos side by side, in which two identical basketball referees get hit with a basketball from identical camera angles—one to the face, the other to the groin.

Unfortunately, I can't provide that. As far as I know, Dereck Richardson has never had a basketball spiked into his sack. In fact, my nearly 4 minutes long, painstakingly thorough search through the internet didn't turn up a single basketball ref taking a similar shot to the family jewels.

So instead, we turn back the clock to October of 2012, and turn our attention overseas to a soccer match between Slovakia and Holland.

That's evidently not the right video. We seem to be experiencing some technical difficulties. The point is, a soccer ref got kicked in the nuts. Not directly—one of the soccer players kicked the ball, & then the ball hit him in the nuts.

His knees buckled a bit, but he didn't go down. It wasn't that good of a video. The camera angle only caught it from behind, which is not the best way to appreciate somebody getting struck in the love spuds.

I can't tell you how funny it would've been if the ball had gravitated towards Richardson's gonads. What I can say, is that the ball hit him in the face, that he collapsed in a heap, and that it was funny. I also know that Greg Anthony accused him of having a glass jaw.

And now for some sane and unbiased commentary...

*Now with extra ranting: scroll to the bottom of the page if you've already read the rest.

The 2012-13 Lakers played their 41st game last night against the Chicago Bulls, and one thing was abundantly clear; precisely half way through the season, the Lakers have already crashed the plane into the mountain. This isn't one of those vintage, we struggle through the season but we have the talent to pull it out, seasons for the Lakers. We are witnessing a team that was expected to be dominant, struggle to achieve mediocrity, and there's no deus ex machina waiting in the wings. Laker fans who haven't converted to Clipperism are just going to have to face it; things aren't working out this year.

The Lakers are however thriving in an alternate universe

Don't just take it from me, take it from the Mamba's mouth, "This isn't working". Actually, Kobe went even further and added an obviously, "obviously, this isn't working". What isn't so immediately obvious, is the reason why the Lakers are failing so abysmally. In answering this question, several factors immediately arise. I'll address the most obvious one first.

Pringles: I made it pretty clear when D'Antoni was hired that I thought it was a terrible idea. Now that we've got to see Pringles in action for a few months, it's hard to avoid the obvious conclusion that the Buss family needs to immediately hire me and set me up in a sweet pad in Malibu. The problem is, that the vast majority of coaches arguably cause more harm than they offer remedy. Back when the Bobcats snapped their 18 game winning streak, Mike Dunlap made a very interesting, albeit clearly self-sabotaging, point in his post game comments. The game was tied when the 4th quarter began, and Dunlap made his best "move" of the season:
I put the playbook in the freezer and just let our guys go at them.
It might be a different month, year, and team, but the point remains the same. Get the fuck out of the way. Bernie Bickerstaff understood it. Of all the coaches the Lakers have gone through this year, Bickerstaff is the only one with a winning record. It's a simple phrase, only seven words, all of them monosyllabic: Get the fuck out of the way. 

I've made this point before, but it seems abundantly necessary here—NBA Franchises need to stop throwing away money by hiring people who've worked in the league before, and just start scouring train yards in search of winos who will work for a crate of Red Rooster.

It gave 'Red' Auerbach his name

Honestly, how many wandering hobos, who haven't ever read an ESPN article, would've made the franchise-cursing move to hire Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson? You don't need to be a professional analyst to figure this stuff out, just as long as you're not on the Lakers payroll.

How bad have things gotten with Mike D'Antoni? At some point during the Bulls game, I was watching Earl Clark, who has been starting instead of Gasol, cut to the basket, and a funny feeling came over me. The announcers had been talking about how Clark is a more versatile, Pringles style, power forward; and all of a sudden, at that moment, it got to me. I thought to myself: they're right, the team is playing better without the Spaniard—I guess they really do have to trade him. The madness had finally overtaken me.

Can you imagine if the '80s Celtics had decided they had too much size up front and shipped off Kevin McHale or Robert Parish? How about when the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan; shouldn't they have gotten rid of their other big man? I know the league has changed, but it hasn't changed that much. Even over the last two years, the Lakers won a lot of games on the strength of their advantage down low with Bynum and Gasol (yes, that guy they still play sometimes).

Of course, Dwight and Pau can't be completely absolved of their inability to gel, but the lion's share of the blame goes to D'Antoni and the people who hired him. As a coach, the worst thing you can do is waste the talent of the players. The fact, that even for a split second, I actually thought it was a good move for the Lakers to trade Pau (or give his minutes to Earl Clark) goes to show how completely estranged from logic the Lakers universe has become. Not to needlessly disparage a hard worker, but this is Earl Clark we're talking about. Show of hands: how many people knew who Earl Clark was when the season began? If Pringle's system can't work with Dwight and Pau on the floor at the same time, then there is something deeply flawed about that system. The answer is not to jettison tremendously talented players. The answer is to scour the train yards and find the right wino; which at this point, is pretty much any wino.

Other issues: Dwight spends essentially every moment on camera looking like he can't wait to take off his uniform. Kobe's idea for how to get out of a shooting slump is still to shoot over 30 shots. 5 Laker players have no chance in hell at slowing down 1 aging Kirk Hinrich. The team's chemistry couldn't get hydrogen and oxygen to form a bond....

Ah, fuck it. I don't want to get carpal tunnel syndrome trying to enumerate. It's much, much easier to just blame all this shit on Pringles.

Etrigan kissing Batman

 * Extra Ranting: I neglected to mention a particularly ironic twist in the "permanent" benching of Pau Gasol. This aspect of the story was broken, over Twitter mind you, by the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding on Monday. (That's not the ironic twist, although it is amusing) The irony is that Pau Gasol had just played his best game of the season against Toronto. I realize that the term, "best game of the season", is a difficult thing to precisely measure. For instance, an argument could be made that Pau's first game of the season was his best: 23 pts, 13 rebounds, 6 assists. However, Pau's effort against the Raptors was this season's best by at least two metrics; it was his season-high in points, and thanks to his shooting efficiency it also marked his highest game score of the season.

I'm at a loss to find a precedent for this benching. I'd say the lack of respect that Pau gets never ceases to amaze me, but it's actually the opposite that's true—it never really surprises. The rules are simple in the candy-colored confines of Laker Land: Kobe is the GOAT, and Pau is the goat. When things start going poorly, you simply tie Pau to a tree, find a sharp blade, and start making a sacrificial fire.

Kobe after emerging from the rivers of purity

When the Lakers won two straight championships, Pau was cast as a sidekick, and the effects of his prime were retold as a byproduct of playing with Kobe. Then, when shit hits the fan, time and time again it's supposedly because Pau is "soft", or because the team needs to "trade Pau". Yet, what's gonna happen if they do trade Pau? Who will be blamed if the team kicks off a road trip by losing an unusually early game against Toronto?

Kobe missed 22 shots; yet Pringles doesn't bench him because it would result in a pink slip (it would also result in several stab wounds later that evening). Dwight was ejected after playing less than 20 minutes, but he's too good for the bench. The brass still care about Dwight; they grip tightly at the slippery dream of Dwight making it to the rafters. Pau, he's expendable. He helped the organization when it needed him, but the Lakers love cutting ties nowadays. When the Lakers decided they didn't need Derrick Fisher anymore, it created a void in the team's tenuous family dynamic. Fisher had functioned for many years as the sober yin to Kobe's raging yang. Once Fisher was gone, the Lakers' best chance to salvage their chemistry was for Pau to inherit this role. So far, all Pau's seen of that inheritance is a haphazardly packed suitcase. (Hee hee hee, raging yang).

Maybe it's for the best. Earl Clark is pretty good. Did you see him guarding Monta Ellis the other night? Truth be told, it was a glaring mismatch that resulted in some embarrassing moments for Clark, but the point is that the team has the confidence in him. The Lakers might have Bryant, Nash, Howard, and Gaso—fuck that, Earl Clark is the solution. He can do anything! D'Antoni tells him to shoot the three so he shoots it. It might go in, or it might hit the backboard. Who cares?!? Don't you see him out there trying to guard Monta Ellis? Mike D'Antoni gives the order, and Earl Clark doesn't question if it's sane or not. Kobe guards Jennings, Clark guards Monta, and Steve Nash guards a power forward. It looks like the Lakers have it all figured out.