Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Worst of the Night: February 28, 2011

sactown fans
On second thought, let's not stay in Sacramento. 'Tis a silly place.

The Washington Wizards Generals: Ugly. Just ugly. The Generals finished with only 77 points on 35.6 percent shooting and lost by 28. In Washington. Chicago's starting frontcourt put the spank on (52 points, 26 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals), and the Bulls dominated both the glass (56-39) and paint-located scoring (48-22). By the fourth quarter -- which was strictly garbage time -- the home crowd was chanting "M-V-P!" for Derrick Rose and "Sca-la-breeee-nee!" for Chicago's human victory cigar. And they got him.

No wonder Mike Bibby essentially paid $6.2 million to escape this town.

Said Andray Blatche: "Our fans were trying to fight back for us, but it came to the point where we didn't give them no reason to fight back after we were down by 20-something."

Added Generals coach Flip Saunders: "Their bigs kicked our butts from the beginning. That first five minutes, they were getting every rebound, knocking us all over the place, and blocking every one of our shots. ... Some of our guys just never reacted in a positive way."

On the bright side, only 23 more games to go, Flip!

Meanwhile, Washington continued living up to their "Generals" nickname by being on the wrong end of the Globtrotters-like highlight reel:

John Wall: Before last year's draft there were some cutesy stories about whether Wall -- who had never appeared in an NBA game -- was already better than Derrick Rose. Seriously. Well, he's wasn't, and he's not. Last night's key stats: 3-for-14 from the field and a game-worst plus-minus score of -20.

The Atlanta Hawks: The Dirty Birds were the latest team to get gobbled up by the Wounded Tiger of Denver. Atlanta, playing on the second night of back-to-backs, were without Kirk Hinrich (sore right calf) and lost Josh Smith in the second quarter due to a sprained right MCL. Despite these tactical disadvantages, the Hawks kept things close until the fourth quarter, during which the Nuggets ripped off a 16-7 run to take care of bidness.

Key stat: The Atlanteans went 2-for-19 (10.5 percent) from downtown.

Denver has now won three of the four games they've played since 'Melo got his long-awaited trade to New York. Meanwhile, the Hawks finished their seven-game road trip with a 3-4 record. Speaking of which...

Larry Drew, coach of the year candidate: On his team's 3-4 road trip: "It's acceptable. It could have been a lot worse. That's what I told the guys."

Larry should get a side job giving pep talks to chemotherapy patients. "That anemia, hair loss, nausea and impotence? It's acceptable. It could have been a lot worse."

The Utah Jazz: Al Jefferson had a classic revenge game (28 points and a season-high 19 boards), but Boston's Big Four of Ray Allen (25 points on 9-for-15 shooting and a clutch three), Kevin Garnett (16 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a blocked shot), Paul Pierce (21 points, 11-for-11 from the line, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and Rajon Rondo (18 points, 11 assists, 2 steals) were too much for the Jazz, who lost their sixth straight game in Utah.

That's the team's worst home losing streak since 1982.

The Jazz -- who have failed in 16 of their last 21 games -- are 1-5 under new head coach Ty Corbin and 1-2 since Deron Williams was exiled to New Jersey.

Ty Corbin, coach of the year candidate: "We'll continue to build, and the guys will turn the corner a bit. But we need a little something good to happen to feel good about ourselves right now."

The Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin continues to kill himself (27 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal), but, damn it, he's playing for the Clippers and there's nothing we can do about it. Nothing. At least people on death row are eligible for a pardon from the governor. Blake is stuck on this bawful team until his current contract expires. Which can't be soon enough. NBA contracts should have a clause that gives time off for good behavior.

Anyway, kind of a sad night for the Kings, who won the game but might end up losing the war to keep them in Sacramento. As if renaming the arena -- it will change from "Arco Arena" to "Power Balance Pavilion" after this game -- wasn't enough.

The Kings wore the 1950-51 retro uniforms of the Rochester Royals -- who won the franchise's only NBA title that season -- and Kings fans organized a "Here We Stay" campaign to help keep the team in Sacramento. Arco sold out for only the second time this season and the crowd chanted "Here we stay," during player introductions.

Unfortunately, chants won't make dollar bills magically appear in the Maloofs' wallets, so Sactowners better find a new hobby.

But back to the losers. The Other L.A. Team gave up 23 points off 21 turnovers and suffered a patented Clippers fourth quarter collapse. Marcus Thornton scored 16 of his season-high 29 points in the final 12 minutes, during which the Clips were outscored 27-16. Kind of a big deal considering they lost by six.

Said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro: "We couldn't slow him [Thornton] down. We tried to keep him in an area, trap him on pick-and-rolls, but he was really aggressive. He was making shots, taking it to the basket and got to the free-throw line. He hurt us tonight."

Vinny couldn't devise a plan to stop somebody. Shocking.

Added Mo "And Here I Thought Life Couldn't Get Any Worse" Williams: "The last five or six minutes they really took it to us. Our turnovers [21] got the crowd into the game. They got some easy ones."

"Easy ones" is a good term for games against the Clippers.

The New Jersey Nyets: According to Elias Sports Bureau: "Deron Williams notched 18 assists tonight against the Suns, giving him 47 total assists in his first 3 games with the Nets. In the process he sets the record for the most assists by a player in his first 3 games with a team in NBA history."

Golf clap for Deron, folks!

Bigger golf clap, though, for Channing Frye. "Mr. Big Shot Frye" (as Grant Hill dubbed him) nailed a trey with 6.6 seconds left in OT to sink the Nyets. According to ESPN Stats and Information: "Channing Frye's go-ahead shot tonight against the Nets marked the 6th time since 2005-06 season a player had game-winning field goals in back-to-back games (Frye hit buzzer-beater Sunday at the Pacers). The last player to do so was Manu Ginobili in December 2010. Frye is the only player to accomplish the feat both times in Overtime over the last 6 seasons. It was also the only time both game-winning field goals came on road during that span. These marked the only 2 game-winning field goals of Channing Frye's career. A game-winning field goal is defined as a go-ahead FG with less than 10 seconds remaining."

True to Nyets form, with a chance to win the game, D-Will missed a shot that was seemingly tipped in at the buzzer by Kris Humphries. In the old days, that play would have stood and New Jersey would have won. But video review showed the ball was still in contract with Humphries' right hand with the clock at all zeroes.

Just another night of woe in Prudential Center.

Brook Lopez: You know that game-winner Frye hit? Dude was wiiiiiide open because Brook Lopez failed to switch on the play. Oh, and you know why that shot put the Suns up by one? Because Lopez bricked a freebie with 9.3 seconds left that would have put the Nyets up by three. Back-to-back fails by Lopez, brutal loss for tne Nyets.

Said Lopez: "It's definitely on me. We came back and Deron got a good look. I was right there, crashing the boards. I thought it was good. I will go to the grave thinking that."

Jesus. Morbid much, Brook?

The Phoenix Suns: Way to almost choke up the game, Suns. Phoenix went up by three points when Frye scored on a dunk off an inbound play with 8.5 seconds to go in regulation and the Nets out of timeouts. D-Will took the upcourt and found Anthony Morrow for a three-point attempt. For reasons unknown, Steve Nash actually went for the blocked shot and fouled Morrow with 2.5 seconds left. Morrow -- whom Nash, had he read the scouting report, should have known hits 90 percent of his foul shots -- knocked down all three. Phoenix called a timeout to set up a play, but they couldn't get the ball inbounds and were called for a five-second turnover. Sasha Vujacic missed a jumper at the buzzer and the game went to overtime.

The Suns pulled it out, thanks to Frye, but still.

Said Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry: "That's ridiculous. That's the worst basketball game I've seen down the stretch. That was horrible. We were lucky as anything to win the game."

Chris's Amazing Lacktion Ledger:

Suns-Nyets: Johan Petro parlayed 6:37 into a +4 via brick, turnover, and two fouls, also garnering a 3:0 Voskuhl.

Bulls-Generals: Welcome to the ledger, Mustafa Shakur! With one brick in 5:34, he makes his inaugural entry for the Generals.

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