The Cleveland Cavaliers: There aren't many stories sadder than a man who spent 30 years suffering from a deadly allergy to his own spunk, but the saga of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers is definitely one of them.
Last night, the Cavs lost for the 21st time in a row. That's the third-longest single-season losing streak in the history of the Association. In failure, they became the first NBA team this season to reach 40 losses.
According to the AP recap, Cleveland is now a mere two losses away from tying the "single-season NBA futility streak record" co-owned by the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets.
Overall, the Cavaliers have lost 31 of 32 games...and 24 straight on the road.
Wait. I'm not done yet.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Cavs -- who went 0-16 in January -- became just the third team in the last 20 seasons to finish a month winless when playing at least 15 games. The Orlando Magic went 0-15 in December 1991 and the Vancouver Grizzlies went 0-17 in March of 1996.
I'm still not done. Here's some added perspective from ESPN Stats and Information:
When the Cavaliers and Heat met for the first time on December 2nd, the Cavs were hanging around 500 while the Heat were off to an underwhelming start. What a watershed moment that proved to be. Since LeBron's return to Cleveland, the Heat have gone 23-6 while the Cavs have staggered to a 1-30 mark, getting outscored by an average of more than 15 points per game.There was no talk of karma last night, only pity, as LeBron finally took the high road in what one assumes was a statement carefully crafted by his public relations team:
Said King Crab: "I have nothing bad to say about the players that I left and the team. I wish the organization the best. And I wish the fans, more than anything, the best because we had a lot of great years together."
That's some serious change of heart. I guess he remembered that God sees everything.
Well, maybe not everything. I think even God is hiding his eyes when the Cavs play these days. And here's some more ominious data from the AP recap: "Cleveland's franchise...already owns the all-time NBA losing-streak record, a 24-game slide that spanned from March to November 1982."
Let's check their next four games: versus Indiana and their dead coach bounce (see below), at Memphis against the improving Grizzlies (see below), verus the Frail Blazers and at Dallas. In short: 25 straight is a very real possibility.
Said Cavs coach Byron Scott: "We just keep fighting. That's all you can do."
Well, that and Seppuku.
The Toronto Craptors: What killed the Dinosaurs? A meteor? Volcanos? Their disturbing lack of genitalia? Science may never know for sure. But last night, anyway, it was the dead coach bounce. Speaking of bouncing...
Frank Vogel won his Pacers coaching debut, and, trust me, there aren't many teams he'd would have rather debuted against than the Craptosaurs. They showed up with an 11-game losing streak and they left with a 12-game losing streak. Now that, my friends, is a considerate guest.
I'll give Vogel this much: He used his dark coaching arts to resurrect Roy Hibbert (24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocked shots). It was Hibbert's highest-scoring game since November 28. And Frank did it in such a novel way: By playing the big man where big men are supposed to play.
Said Hibbert: "It was an emphasis tonight of, 'Roy, get in the post, get in the post.' I don't think I made a lot of plays from the foul line area and the thing was, if you have a seven-footer, put them down low and make some plays."
Toronto was outrebounded 56-38 and went only 1-for-6 from three-point ra...wait...1-for-6? What is this? 1987?
Said Jose Calderon: "We have to be frustrated. Everybody is thinking we want to win. We have to keep working and take the positive parts. We just have to keep working and stay together."
Oh, yeah. That'll totally work.
Frank Vogel, quote machine: "They threatened to dump my head into some of their little ice buckets where they sink their ankles into. And then they threatened to dump those on me. And I said 'there's two of them, so whoever dumps me is going to get one themselves.' So they did not do that."
Last night's loss in Dallas was Washington's fifth straight loss...and it dropped the Generals to 0-24 on the road. That represents the third-worst road start in NBA history. Somewhat ironically, the 1992-93 Mavericks own the all-time worst road start, 29 straight losses away from home to begin the season.
Said John Wall: "You think about it every time you lose a game. You're disappointed and you've got to move on. We've got one more road game tomorrow [at New Orleans], and I think we're close to getting a win. We've got to learn how to finish and make the plays down the stretch."
The Orlando Magic: I keep seeing Orlando near to top of John Hollinger's Power Rankings, and I wonder what Mr. Wizard's Bat Computer is doing with these numbers: The Magic are .500 in their last 12 games and a mere one game above .500 on the second night of back-to-backs (7-6).
Oh, well. Numbers don't lie.
Speaking of numbers, Orlando's awesome D allowed the Care Bears to shoot better than 53 percent from the field and post six players in double figures. Mike Conley finished with 26 points and 11 assists...which was the first time he had more than 20 points and 10 assists in the same game.
Said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "Again, we dug ourselves a big hole and ... we fought back and came up short. It's becoming some of the same old story all the time."
The same old story. All the time. I hate that.
By the way, speaking of coming up short and the same old story...
Gilbert Arenas: Only 40 seconds to go. His team down two points. Gil steps to the line with a chance to tie the game. Makes one of two. His team goes on to lose a close one. I'm just sayin'...missed freebies costing his team a game. Sound at all familiar?
Dwight Howard: You want to talk about untimely technical fouls: His team down a single point with five seconds to go and someone on the other team (Conley) already going to the line. The Magic lucked out when Conley missed one of his two foul shots, but Z-Bo hit the technical 'throw, which put Orlando down three and forced a way-too-long three-pointer by Jason Richardson at the buzzer.
And worse: That puts Dwight two techs away from a one-game suspension.
The Charlotte Bobcraps: Since starting 15-5, the Jazz had gone 12-15, and they were missing Deron "I'm the best point guard in the league" Williams.
Instead of taking advantage, the Bobkittens had the same iffy decision-making, made the same mental lapses, and showed the same general ineptitude that got Larry Brown fired earlier in the season. Charlotte started 0-for-7 from the field, shot 35.6 percent on the night and finished with only 78 points. They also had 10 shots blocked and wasted a 27-14 advantage in free throw attempts.
Oh, and they failed to capitalize on the fact that Earl Watson was Utah's starting PG in Williams' absence.
Said Bobcraps coach Paul Silas: "It's still the little things. I don't want excuses...just admit, 'Hey, I messed up coach, and that's it.' I can accept that. But we still, as I've been saying, have a long way to go, but we are getting there."
The Milwaukee Bucks: Despite one of their best offensive showings of the season -- 98 points on 49.3 percent shooting and an amazing O-Rating of 112.3 -- the Bucks still lost to the Clippers and their O-Rating of 120.4. And get this: The Other L.A. Team has won 14 of 20 games against Milwaukee since 2001. If that's not a shameful statistic for any team, I don't know what is.
In related news, Blake Griffin.
The New Jersey Nyets: Memo to Carmelo Anthony: In Denver, you refuse to play for Nyets. In Soviet New Jersey, Nyets refuse to play for YOU!
Anyway, the Nyets led by as many as 19 points and knocked off the Nuggets 115-99, improving their record to 5-3 since New Jersey owner Mikhail Prokhorov said, "How you say in English? Ah, yes. Fuck Carmelo Anthony."
And that's exactly what the Nyets did, both to 'Melo and his team. New Jersey shot 53.2 percent from the field, went 9-for-15 (60 percent) from downtown, scored 27 points off 16 forced turnvoers, and outrebounded the Nuggets 38-27.
That's what we call ownage. But, as Anthony noted, the Nyets were motivated.
Said Carmelo: "Why shouldn't they feel a little extra motivated tonight in a game like this, knowing that their names have been in cahoots with the Denver Nuggets for the past couple of months."
In cahoots, 'Melo?
Oh, I love this little, ahem, nugget from the AP recap: "Anthony gave the fans who jeered and cheered him at different times a clear indication why he is so valued, scoring 37 points -- two shy of his season high -- to keep his team in the game."
To keep his team in the game? If you check the box score, you'll notice 'Melo had a game-worst plus-minus score of -18. I'm just sayin'.
Speaking of Mr. Anthony...
Carmelo Anthony, quote machine: "If I sit here and say I'm willing to lose 15 or 20 million dollars, I'd be lying to you. But at the same time this has never been about money. In my career so far I think I've made enough money. Now I'm focused on trying to win a championship. That's the only thing that's on my plate and on my mind right now."
Not willing to lose money...even tho' it's not about the money. Love it.
Chauncey Billups: The line: 4-for-11 and 7 turnovers. And his counterpart, Devin Harris, had a career-high 18 assists. Makes Chauncey my pick for Worst Player of the Night.
Chris's daily lacktion ledger:
Nuggets-Nyets: Johan Petro provided a 25% shooting percentage (on four attempts) in 9:42 along with four fouls for a 4:2 Voskuhl, while fellow ruble rouser Quinton Ross can now afford a private jet flight to Mikhail Prokhorov's compound with a 1.1 trillion (1:06)!
Cavs-Heat: Ryan Hollins had two points in 10:06, but also two fouls and a lost rock for a 3:2 Voskuhl. Samardo Samuels smoothly sidelined a field goal and two boards in 22:18 with four fouls and three turnovers for a 7:5 Voskuhl.
Also on the ratio list was Miami's Joel Anthony, despite a block in 25:02, as he garnered a pair of fouls for a 2:0.
Magic-Grizzlies: Xavier Henry delivered up a 2.85 trillion (2:52) for the baby cubs.
Generals-Mavs: Kevin Seraphin once again had a short stint on the hardwood, with eight seconds of eight-bit gaming for a SUPER MARIO!
For Dallas, Brendan Haywood certainly wasn't a hero tonight, bricking twice from the charity stripe in 9:22 and additionally fouling twice and giving away the ball once for a +5 suck differential and a 3:0 Voskuhl!
Bobcats-Jazz: Kyrylo Fesenko flaked out from field goal range once in 4:58 and also fouled for a +2 that doubled as a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl.
Bucks-Clippers: Rasual Butler retrieved a brick, foul, and giveaway for Donald Sterling's credenza in 9:47, earning a +3.