Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Worst of the Night: January 3, 2011

no love
Yes, Kevin, your shooting gives us headaches, too.

The Minnesota Timberwolves: Believe it or not, the Timberwolves were in control for most of the game and had a double-digit lead in the second half. Oh, and Kevin Love finished with almost as many rebounds (24) as the entire Celtics team (30). By the way, that broke Dikembe Mutombo's record for most rebounds in the TD Garden, set on March 11, 2001.

But my favorite Clippers-related saying -- "They are who we thought they were" -- can certainly apply here. Love -- who went 3-for-11 from the field -- chucked up an airball that would have given Minny a one-point lead with just over a minute to go. Seriously, as a shooter, Love is like a fat kid who's mouth can't hit a piece of pizza. It's crazy.

Anyway, with about 10 seconds left, Minnesota had the ball out of bounds and a chance to take the lead. Enter Luke Ridnour. Apparently, there was a disturbance in the force, because Luke had a clear path to the basket but got called for traveling. As if that wasn't humiliating enough, Ray Allen swatted the hell out of Ridnour's would-be shot attempt anyway.

Cracked Doc Rivers: "I knew Ray had it. All the way. Yeah, we put Ray back there to protect the basket."

Said Ridnour: "It wasn't a travel. At least I didn't think it was. Ray made a heck of a play to block it anyway, but I think it should have been our ball. I'm not going to criticize the referees. At that junction of the game, it seemed like a tough call to me."

Added Michael Beasley: "I'm not a referee. That's how they decided to call the game."

I dunno, guys. It looked pretty three-steps-without-a-dribble to me.

But whatever. The call stands. And the Timberwolves have now lost eight games in which they held a double-digit lead. They are 9-26 on the season and 2-18 outside of Minnesota.

Kevin Love: You make Jermaine O'Neal feel young.

Shaq the King's Squire: From the AP game notes:

O'Neal carried Rondo into the locker room before the game, cradling the 6-foot-1 point guard in his arms before gently putting him in his chair. O'Neal then asked: "Anything else, King Rondo?" Rondo said, "No, that's all for now."
The Golden State Warriors: I'm telling you, nearly every AP recap for a Warriors game will talk about some player setting a new season or career high against them. In this case, Hedo Turkoglu had the third triple-double of his career: 14 rebounds, 10 points and 10 assists. And yes, I do believe that Hedo could average a triple-double for an entire season.

Assuming he played every game against the Warriors.

Fresh off an epic collapse against the Heat, Golden State suffered another (though admittedly less epic-y) faceplant against the Magic. During the first half, the Warriors outrebounded Orlando 25-17 and built a 53-44 halftime advantage. During the second half, they were outscored 66-37 and lost 110-90.

And that was despite the Magic giving up 25 points off 19 turnovers.

Said Golden State coach Keith Smart: "Maybe we can just play a half and go home. We played very, very good basketball against two elite teams and for whatever reason, didn't come out in the second half and play at the level necessary to win."

In related news, Louis Amundson and Vladimir Radmanovic are starting for the Warriors, who are now 13-21. That makes them 7-19 since their 6-2 start.

Jumping back to Turkododo for a minute, I got a chuckle out of this article by Magic Insider Brian Schmitz:

Money can't buy happiness, even NBA money.

Turk tried hard to make that deal. It just didn't work.

He wasn't good at being a mercenary.

An unhappy Turk is an unproductive, unmotivated Turk.

Toronto is beautiful, even if it's stuck in Canada, and Phoenix is a desert resort. But Hedo did not like working at either place, and it didn't take those franchises long to realize he wouldn't be employee of the month.

The Magic also feared what might happen if they gave him $50 million over five years. They shipped him to Canada with the loot in a sign-and-trade, and Hedo had to like the exchange rate if nothing else.

"The one thing that's better with Turk was he was out of shape for all the years he was here and now he's like 8 percent body fat, which is the lowest since he's been alive," Dwight Howard said.

"It's great. He's shooting the ball well, he's passing more and he's more dedicated than he was before he got traded, which is great to see."

The Magic are getting Turk back at the right price and at the right time.
The right price? Uh, Hedo's making over $10 million this season (most of which will be paid by the Magic) plus almost $35 million over the next three seasons. So, ultimately, Orlando will end up paying, what, over $40 million of that $50 million they were afraid to pay? But never fear. He's dedicated now. And I'm sure his dedication will remain static over the next three seasons. Yep. No problem.

The Charlotte Bobcraps: Here's a big ol' sad face from the AP recap:

Charlotte played without starting forward Gerald Wallace (ankle) and center Nazr Mohammed (knee) the same day tests revealed backup big man DeSagana Diop is lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

With Kwame Brown the only healthy center, the Bobcats fell apart offensively, missing 18 straight shots bridging the second and third quarters.
Let me put this bluntly. When the words "with Kwame Brown the only healthy center" are used to describe a team, that team is f**ked on a truly epic scale. Sure enough, Charlotte shot 38 percent as a team and received facials from both LeBron James (38 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) and Dwyane Wade (31 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists).

Forget the fact that two starters (Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Carlos Arroyo) finished with only 2 points each, or that the bench contributed only 12 points on 3-for-16 shooting, or that Chris Bosh (11 points on 4-for-9 shooting) was the only other Miami player in double figures...if King Crab and Pookie can combine for 70 points a night, the Heat will be in pretty good shape.

Said Bobcraps coach Paul Silas: "When Wade is going and LeBron is going, you have to call it a day."

Way to concede the game, coach.

LeBron James, quote machine: On Coach 'Spo: "Everybody was talking about him being on the hot seat in November to being coach of the month in December. It's kind of funny."

Well, things really turned around after Erik stopped playing LeBron 45+ minutes. That was too much PT, and Coach 'Spo knew that.

LeBron James, gag-inducement machine: The Heatles? Really? Yes, really.

The Heat is referring to itself as the "Heatles" -- as in the Beatles -- these days because of the large crowds it receives on the road, said James.

"I see we sell out 99.1 percent on the road, so we call ourselves the Heatles off the Beatles, so every time we take our show on the road we bring a great crowd," James said.

The obvious question: So who's Paul McCartney and who's John Lennon?

"I knew that was going to be a question," James said. "We're just the Heatles, man."
Update! An anonymous commenter correctly pointed out that Kevin Garnett dubbed the Celtics "The Ceatles" back in 2007 -- "We're the Ceatles...Ceatles...like the Beatles? We the Ceatles. And I'm Paul!" -- so LeBron wasn't even being original.

Another update! A different anonymous commenter directed me to The Heat Index, which provided a link to this Tweet from SI.com's Chris Mannix:

Here's why LBJ's "Heatles" line rang a bell. In '06 Drew Gooden told me DG, LBJ & Damon Jones called themselves "The Cleatles." Not kidding.
So there you have it.

The Philadelphia 76ers: They had a real shot at winning this one. Actually, they had a lot of shots. And they missed most of them.

Despite trailing by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, Philly cut the lead to 78-75 with 3:09 to go. Then they bricked their next six field goal attempts and the game was essentially over.

It was that kind of night for the Sixers. After a sweet 26-point first quarter in which they shot 11-for-22, Philadelphia couldn't break the 20-point barrier over the final three quarters. During that stretch, the Sixers went 19-for-66 from the field. That's a 28 percent rate of inaccuracy. For the game, they shot 34 percent, including 5-for-23 from downtown.

Said Philly coach Doug Collins: "We did all the things we would like to have done, except we couldn't make a shot."

Sadly, making shots is still one of the key elements of the sport, Doug.

Spencer Hawes: He missed the game after straining his back. During warmups.

Trevor Ariza: The line: 2-for-11 from the field and 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. You could definitely use the words "pure shooter" to describe Ariza. As in "he is not one."

The Houston Rockets: Kevin Martin scored 8 points on 15 shots and the Nuggets made 40 trips to the free throw line as the Rocketeers fell two games below .500.

Said Shane Battier: "We didn't do a very good job of keeping him off the line. It's tough to play on the road and overcome the 40 free throws they had as team. We just have to do a better job on them without fouling them."

Added Houston coach Rick Adelman: "We played hard. We just couldn't keep them off the line."

More bad news for Rockets fans: Their next five games -- versus the Frail Blazers, at Orlando, versus the Jazz, at Boston and versus the Thunder -- are going to make it pretty hard to sneak back over .500 any time soon. Or, more likely, any time this season. On the bright side, Brad Miller (10 points and 11 boards) had his first double-double of the season. Yao who?

The Detroit Pistons: Going into last night's game, the Pissed-ons hadn't beaten the Jazz since March 13, 2005. And, boy oh boy, what a bawful game that was. The final score was 64-62 and Detroit won despite shooting 31 percent as a team and scoring only 6 points in the fourth quarter. During those final 12 minutes, the Pistons went 0-for-15 from the field.

Here's more from the original AP recap:

The futility wasn't limited to the Pistons, however. It was the lowest scoring game for each franchise, and the teams combined for an NBA-record 18 points in the final period, beating the 19 points by Miami and Toronto in the fourth quarter on Feb. 2, 2004.

"That's as ugly as it can get, but our defense held on long enough to win the game," said Detroit's Chauncey Billups, who scored just one point in the second half. "It was like a lid was on the basket. We got some good looks -- we got some great looks -- we just couldn't knock them down."

Detroit led 58-50 at the start of the fourth quarter, and its six free throws were enough to hold off the Jazz. Utah shot 4-for-20 in the fourth.

"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot, especially late in the game," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "That's just the way it goes sometimes."
How's that for a little Basketbawful History?

Anyway -- despite a scoring outburst from Tayshaun Prince (26 points on 11-for-19 from the field) and a near triple-double from Knee-Mac (11 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds) -- Detroit still hasn't beaten the Jazz since March 13, 2005. I guess you can consider their 11 straight losses in this series karma for winning such an ugly-ass game way back when.

Credit the Pistons, though, for making the game close. There were 15 ties and 11 lead changes. And Knee-Mac could have knotted the score at the end...but he shanked the potentially game-tying three. And that was Game Over.

Jerry Sloan, quote machine: Regarding the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks hosting a home playoff game: "Are they supposed to apologize?"

Actually, yes, Jerry. They are supposed to apologize.

Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, quote machines: Regarding Kobe's take-it-over-ism during the Memphis game:

"We all are familiar with [Bryant's] game and his ability to score and his ability to take over games. It's sometimes a double-edged sword because it can keep you in the games and even sometimes win you games, but it can also lose you games. I think we're more effective and we're more successful when our offense is balanced and everybody's contributing. We all know that. We're in good shape when everybody's 10-plus points and just getting good looks because the offense will do that for you.

"From my perspective, maybe because I'm one of the inside guys, we should be pounding guys every night no matter what and then play off that. I don't think me and Andrew [Bynum] are guys [who] will always have the need to shoot and get over 20 attempts a game, but if we can set the tone early...it keeps defenses having to adjust, and we put guys in foul trouble."
Chris's Lacktion Report:

Heat-Bobcats: Zydrunas Ilgauskas continues to demonstrate his championship-piggybacking skills, this time by countering a field goal and board in 12:42 as Miami's starting big man with three fouls and a giveaway for a 4:3 Voskuhl.

Warriors-Magic: Dan Gadzuric gathered up a board and two field goals in 9:26...but also fouled out for a 6:5 Voskuhl. For Stan Van Gundy's crew of tricksters, Quenton Richardson made a NES cartridge appear out of a hat after 52 seconds for a Mario.

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