To celebrate the Steelers' appearance in this weekend's Super Bowl, watch Pittsburgh Penguins' backup goalie Brent Johnson get in his first NHL fight, and break Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro's face with one punch. And I mean that literally -- he broke his face. DiPietro has facial fractures and will be out 4-6 weeks. To anyone familiar with DiPietro's injury history (he's down with injuries almost as often as Yao Ming), it isn't surprising, but still. Way to lock him up with a 15 year contract, Islanders! (Hockeyawful? It doesn't roll off the tongue very well, but it is indeed awful hockey)
Worst of the Night in Pictures:
Nationally Televised Friday Games:
Mavericks at Celtics, ESPN, 8pm: For some reason, Dirk Nowitzki loves playing the Celtics. His 27.3 points per game against Boston is his highest against any team, and he actually averages 27.7 ppg at the TD Garden. Too bad Boston couldn't find a way to wrangle him away from the Mavs -- they'd be unstoppable!
Jazz at Nuggets, ESPN, 10:30pm: Why is Denver always so unpredictable? They are competitive and have a fantastic home record, but they lose stupid games against mediocre to crappy teams on the road.
All The Other Friday Games:
Frail Blazers at Pacers, 7pm: I need to reiterate something truly, truly depressing: Indiana, with all of 19 wins and 27 losses so far, is just one game behind Charlotte for the 8th seed in the playoffs. Way to go, Leastern Conference. This is why you can't have nice things.
Knicks at 76ers, 7pm: The Sixers have won 7 of their last 10 (and are now being referred to in the media as "surging," of course). However, fool's gold? Those wins have been over the Bucks, Bobcraps, Jazz (who were in a bad slump), Suns, Craptors, Nuggets, and Nyets.
Timberwolves at Craptors, 7pm: Oh good grief. The Craptors are riding a 13 game losing streak, and need to win this one to avoid their longest losing streak in more than 13 years. The good news? They get to play the Timberwolves, who have a defense roughly as non-existent as the Craptors'. The bad news? The fossilized dinos lost to the Timberwolves just a week ago. But at least it will be uptempo since, as The Other Chris noted, "Not a thimble of defense will be played..."
Heat at Bobcraps, 7pm: While the Bobcraps have really turned things around, they still aren't that great of a team, and they still can't beat quality competition. Case in point, they've been outscored by an average of 11 points in two games against the Heat this year.
Clippers at Hawks, 7:30pm: BRB, gonna review my earthquake emergency safety drill plans just in case Blake Griffin throws down a dunk so violent it moves the Earth.
Nyets at Pistons, 7:30pm: Eleven straight road losses for the Nyets? Yeah, that sounds about right.
Cadavers at Grizzlies, 8pm: The Cadavers -- back when they were still on life support and not clinically dead -- managed to beat the Grizzlies back in late November and in fact had a 7-9 record after that game. Since then? That train has derailed, exploded, and another train has crashed into the remains. Injuries, incompetence, and general sucktitude mean they've lost 32 of the last 33 games, and 22 consecutive.
Thunder at Suns, 9pm: The Suns have won 8 of their last 11, but perhaps more notably, they have held their last three opponents to an average of only 83 points. Okay, yeah, one of those was Milwaukee, so that tends to skew the numbers a little, but still. What the hell? When did they decide "oh, yeah, maybe we should play a little defense?"
Spurs at Kings, 10pm: And thus begins the streak of six consecutive opponents with losing records. Yeah, I'd say the rodeo road trip isn't that bad this year.
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Nationally Televised Saturday Games:
All The Other Saturday Games:
Mavericks at Bobcraps, 7pm: Mark Cuban has announced that he's open to the idea of renting a player like Carmelo. What, you mean Brian Cardinal isn't going to take you to a title?
Frail Blazers at Cadavers, 7:30pm: Portland fans get to look Cleveland right in the eye and say "Injuries? Big f'ing deal you've got injuries!!"
Lakers at Hornets, 8pm: Interesting post: Is Kobe Bryant a black hole?
Grizzlies at Rockets, 8:30pm: And suddenly, Memphis is above .500 -- so of course here come the Rockets to annoy and pester them.
Pistons at Bucks, 8:30pm: Well, Milwaukee fans, you need something to watch instead of this game as well, so try this: corgis playing tetherball. ("AWWWWWWWWW!")
Nuggets at Timberwolves, 8:30pm:
Thunder at Jazz, 9pm: A great Northwest division battle, and a great contrast of styles. The Jazz have one of the highest assist totals in the league. The Thunder... not so much.
Bulls at Warriors, 10:30pm: The Warriors are only five games shy of equaling their win total for all of last season. And yet they're still twelve games back in the Pacific standings. Progress...?
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Nationally Televised Sunday Games:
Magic at Celtics, ABC, 2:30pm: Realization I just had: the Celtics are one of the best teams in the league this year despite being only 29th in rebounds per game. It's pretty reasonable to assume rebounding is one of the more important aspects of a basketball game, but is it possible for a really, really good defense to outweigh that? (looks at other teams) Yeah, the Timberwolves lead the league in rebounds, and you're well aware of their "defense." I think that answers that question.
All The Other Sunday Games:
Clippers at Heat, 12pm: Blake Griffin may be a beast, but the Clippers are not a fundamentally solid team, and therefore not a good road team. And they only have one more home game the entire rest of the month of February, and that game is against the Celtics. I hate to be the bearer of bad news (okay, I'm lying, it's about basketball, I love being the bearer of bad news), but that miraculous run for a playoff berth isn't looking very good at this point...
Pacers at Nyets, 12pm: What, you mean this game is not being played opposite the Super Bow later this evening??
76ers at Knicks, 12pm: Amazing how these two teams have reversed directions in the past month, isn't it?