Monday, January 10, 2011

Worst of Sunday Night

Are the 'Melo trade rumors killing Mr. Big Shot?
It's hard to tell. He already looks like a zombie.

The New York Knicks: The Bricks got a taste of some real defense...and they choked on it. New York shot 36 percent from the field and went 8-for-25 from three-point range. Hell, they even missed 12 of their 22 layup attempts at the Lakers repeatedly roughed them up and intimidated them with size.

Said Landry Fields: "They really packed the paint and made us a perimeter team. Guys got a little chippy out there, but it's fun to play like that sometimes."

Yep. I'm sure having one of your team's worst offensive outings of the season and losing by 22 points was a real blast, Landry.

Amar''''''e Stoudemire: It was just that kinda night for Sun Tzu...even before he got the Macho Man Randy Savage treatment from Ron Artest (see below). His final stat line looks impressive -- 23 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocked shots, 4 assists -- but dude went 7-for-24 from the field and finished with a plus-minus score of -19. That shooting performance included going 1-for-10 in the first half, missing five of his nine layup attempts, and going 3-for-13 on jumpers. Oh, and he finished with zero dunks.

Then there was this...

From the AP recap: "I love it. I hope they keep it up," Stoudemire said of the Lakers' tough play. "All it does is fuel me and gets me going. I'm kind of glad, because the first half, it wasn't that physical. But the second half, it was, and I got going."

Uh, STAT, see the above stat line, plus the fact that your team was outscored by 17 points in the second half and lost 109-87.

Ron Artest: We were treated to some vintage Crazy Pills last night. First there was this...

...and then there was this...

Huh. Briefly choking somebody and then clotheslining somebody else all in the same game just over a week after confronting his coach in practice during what's turning out to be his worst pro season ever. I'm not sayin'...I'm just sayin'.

Said Mamba: "That's one of the strengths of Ron's game, to be able to do something like that."

By "something like that," Kobe must mean "thug and provoke." He's right. That worked out real well for the Indiana Pacers. I can only hope it works out just as well for the Lakers this season.

Kobe Bryant, quote machine: "[It] wasn't really physical. We're a little bigger than they are, so there was a lot of bumping going on, but it wasn't really physical. ... It feels like we're learning things. We did a much better job tonight defensively. Every game, it seems we're getting better."

The Sacramento Kings: The Purple Paupers entered last night's contest coming off a five-game stretch that included wins over the Grizzlies, Suns and Nuggets. Those victories represent nearly 50 percent of their season win total. Sometimes -- tho' it's rare -- it's good to be King(s).

The bad news? The Kings are 2-11 on the road and just started a six-game road trip through Toronto, Washington, Boston, New York, Detroit and Atlanta. And, well, things didn't get off to a very good start, as the Sactowners were without Tyreke Evans (sprained ankle) and lost what may end up being their most winnable game of the trip.

The Craptors scored 118 points on 58.5 percent shooting as DeMar DeRozan lit the Paupers up for 28 points on 13-for-20 shooting. Toronto opened the game with 10 straight made field goals. In all, the Mighty Dinos scored 19 layups and had four dunks. Toronto finished with 19 fast break points and 64 points in the paint. The only thing missing was a "Welcome" mat under the hoop.

Make it 10 consecutive road losses for the Kings. With more on the way.

Said Sacramento coach Paul Westphal: "We couldn't stop Bargnani or DeRozan or Barbosa, and to some extent Bayless as well. Our team defense really wasn't good enough to make up for their aggressive penetration."

That very nearly qualified for "unintentionally dirty quote machine" status.

The Golden State Warriors: The good news: The Warriors played enough defense to limit the Clippers to 39 percent shooting for the game.

The bad news: They gave up 62 points in the first half and fell behind by as many as 22 points before losing 105-91. The Clippers had 24 fast break points and 50 points in the painted region.

Golden State's bread and butter -- that is, offense -- failed them too. Monta Ellis went 4-for-19 and Stephen Curry finished 2-for-13. Ellis and Curry combined to shoot 0-for-11 from downtown as the Warriors shot 39 percent and gave up 32 points off 19 turnovers. They even bricked 10 free throws.

Said Golden State coach Keith Smart: "When you turn the ball over 19 times and you don't give yourself a chance to have a good look at the basket, that's going to hurt you. We settled too much for long jump shots, so we didn't shoot well like we had been, and that played a big part in it."

The Warriors are now 9-20 after their 6-2 start.

As for the Clippers...holy hell! Maybe they arne't who we thought they were. After opening the season 1-13 and sitting at a league-worst 5-21 on December 15, The Other L.A. Team has won seven of 10 games. Seven of 10!

Of course, it's worth noting, and you knew I had to do it, that those seven wins have come against the Pistons (12-24), Bulls (in their first game without Joakim Noah), Timberwolves (9-29), Suns (15-20 and imploding), Kings (8-26 and the worst team in the league), Nuggets (self-destructing) and Warriors (ditto).

But they, the Clippers are winning and Blake Griffin is the man, so what can I say? Oh, and here are some bonus lolz from the AP game notes: "Davis and Warriors F Vladimir Radmanovic exchanged angry words after Radmanovic fouled Davis midway through the second quarter. Teammates and officials eventually broke up their prolonged discussion, which Davis jokingly said was about their respective beards. 'I told him I had mine longer,' Davis laughed."

The Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberpoops have been specializing in close losses this season. Seriously.

They opened the season with a one-point loss to the Kings. They lost by five points to the Lakers in L.A. The suffered a six-point loss in Atlanta and then lost by three points the next night in Charlotte. The lost to the Spurs in overtime on November 24. They lost by six points in San Antonio on December 3. Then there was a six-point loss in Phoenix on December 15. They had back-to-back road losses to the Blazers and Nuggets by five and two points, respectively. They then lost by five points o the Jazz and then by six points to the Nuggets. In the last week, they've endured a three-point loss in Boston, another three-point overtime loss to the Bobcraps and last night's three-point loss to the Spurs in San Antonio.

Fittingly, the game ended on a three-point airball by Anthony Tolliver with 0.9 on the clock.

Said Luke Ridnour: "I thought I had a pretty good look and just didn't knock that one down. And the same play we ran again [Tolliver's 3-pointer], they switched it. And it was a just a tough shot. They knew we needed a 3, so it was tough to get something when they're playing the 3-point line."

Kevin Love, quote machine: After three close losses to the Spurs, Love wants a little payback. He'll get his chance on Tuesday. "It's pretty frustrating because we match up against them pretty well. We've taken them to three very very tight games; an overtime game," Love said. "We owe them one on Tuesday, hopefully we can get that one and not sulk on this."

The Cleveland Cavaliers: Finally the Suns found a team they could beat!

In related news, the Cavs have lost 10 in a row and 20 of their last 21 games.

Said Cavaliers coach Byron Scott: "It burns! It burns!! Please make it stop!!!"

Okay. It's absolutely and totally official. Cleveland has reclaimed the title of "Most Depressing Sports City on Earth." Actually, just strike out the "Sports" part of that statement.

The Denver Nuggets: According to ESPN's Chris Broussard and Marc Stein, the New Jersey Nyets are "closing in" on a deal to acquire Carmelo Anthony.

So...did 'Melo think this was his last game in a Nuggets uni? Said Anthony: Uh-uh, not at all. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all."

That's right. Four "not at alls."

Well, he may not think he's finished in Denver, but he sure played like it. In 33 minutes of lacktion, 'Melo scored only 8 points on 3-for-11 shooting and was outplayed by Trevor Ariza (12 points, 5-for-9, 7 rebounds). According to ESPN Stats and Information: "It's only the fifth time in his career he has failed to score in double-figures when playing at least 30 minutes. The last time Anthony failed to score in double figures while seeing 30 minutes of action was in 2005, scoring seven points in 41 minutes against Portland."

Was the speculation -- not to mention 'Melo's crappy play -- affecting the Nuggets? Well, they fell behind by 19 points in the third quarter and ended up losing 96-87 at home to the Hornets. So, yeah, I think so.

Said Anthony: "There was a little bit of funk in tonight's game. I'll take responsibility for tonight's loss. I don't like to look at the stat sheet, but for me to take 11 shots, that's out of the norm for me."

You know what else is out of the norm for 'Melo? Getting booed by the home crowd. But it happened. And it noticed.

Said Anthony: "I hear it. Does it affect me? No. It hurt a little bit knowing that it's here coming from my home fans. But other than that, I try to go out there and play hard every night, do what I've got to do. If they like it, they like it. If they want to boo, then they want to boo."

Nuggets coach George Karl was quick to defend 'Melo. Hey, what else can he do? There's no way to know how much longer he's going to be coaching the guy.

Said Karl: "He passed the ball great, he moved the ball really well. Early in the game it was exciting to see our team move the ball as well as it did, but we didn't get a lot of reward to it. We missed a lot of easy shots. He had foul trouble. He was in a passing mode. I've always felt he could get 10 assists any time he wants to. He was doing what the game was telling him to do."

Whatever the game's telling him to do, it's not working. Remember: Denver was coming off consecutive double-digit losses to the Clippers and Kings. The ship be sinking. Hell, it's probably sunk already. And this is gonna depress the Nuggets faithful, but it's only going to be worse when 'Melo finally does get shipped out of town.

The Portland Frail Blazers: Give the Blazers credit: They held the Miami players not named Bosh, James and Wade to only 11 points. Unfortunately, the guys named Bosh, James and Wade scored 96 points...which nearly equaled Portland's total output of 100 points.

That's right. The Frail Blazers were essentially beaten by three players.

Miami shot 57 percent from the field as King Crab (44 points on 17-for-26 shooting), Pookie (34 points on 15-for-22 from the field) and the RuPaul of Big Men (18 points on 9-for-17) scored pretty much whenever they wanted.

Said Wade: "You look at games like this and moments like this and you really understand why we decided to team up and come together. I am a fan of his on the court and I am just glad I get to experience this in the same jersey he wears, instead of being on the other end."

For the record, Wade is talking about James, not Bosh. Sorry, Ringo Chris.

According to ESPN Stats and Information: "Miami has now won nine straight games overall and 13 straight on the road. According to Elias, the last team to win 13 straight on the road was the 2000-01 Philadelphia 76ers. The all-time record for consecutive road wins is 16 by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers."

That Philly team went to the NBA Finals you know. Of course, they found out that they didn't have enough of a team to beat the Lakers. That lesson shouldn't be lost on the Heat. Think about it. The other six guys who played last night combined for 11 points on 4-for-14 shooting. Zydrunas Ilgauskas went scoreless and had one rebound in 18 minutes. Carlos Arroyo had 2 points and 3 assists. Erick Dampier, Eddie House and Mike Miller didn't play.

Right now, the only people D-Wade and LeBron are making better are each other. They're gonna win games that way. But I'm not sure that's championship basketball.

Chris's Lacktion Report:

Purple Paupers-Craptors: Talk about a true Mario Party of epic proportions in Toronto, as not one, not two, but THREE Purple Paupers populated the Mushroom Kingdom as SUPER MARIO BROTHERS - Donte Greene (at 4 seconds), Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson (at 1 second!!!) and Luther Head (at 3 seconds). This may be a new Association record!!!

Warriors-Clippers: Andris Biedrins brought his B-game to Staples Center, despite six boards in 25:44 as starting big man: he managed a brick, two giveaways, and a foulout for an 8:6 Voskuhl!

Heat-Blazers: Zydrunas Ilgauskas managed two assists and a board in 18:27, but tossed two pieces of masonry as starting center and lost the rock once, also fouling for a 2:1 Voskuhl. Fellow furnace Joel Anthony managed a stint of a whole 28:46, during which he fouled four times and gave up the ball once for a +5 that doubled as a 5:0 Voskuhl!

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