The Boston Celtics: Memo to the Celtics: Get over your angst about the Kendrick Perkins trade, mmkay? It's time to wake the hell up and start playing the basketball again. You realize Perk only played with you for 12 games this season, right? You actually won games and played defense without him. You certainly didn't play any D last night. The Pacers -- who are 11 games below .500 and got blown out at home by the Kings last Friday -- finished with an Offensive Rating of 119.2.
Now, admittedly, they could have used Perkins last night. Shaq, The Drain and Troy Murphy were all out. Then, due to foul trouble, Nenad Krstic (17 minutes) and Kevin Garnett (25 minutes) spent more time on the pine than they did on the hardwood, and Roy Hibbert went berzerk (26 points on 12-for-17 shooting).
Said Doc Rivers: "Kevin and Nenad were in foul trouble, and tonight, we need that extra big body. Tonight, the foul trouble just killed us. It crushed us today."
Countered KG: "We became a great team because we were known to do it for 48 minutes. We seem to be missing that right now."
As a Celtics fan, I'm more concerned with the latter than I am the former.
Paul Pierce, quote machine: "In the most important part of the game, the fourth quarter, we couldn't get a stop right there. It's a weird time to be talking about this, when there are nine games left in the season."
Frank Vogel, quote machine: ""One day, probably when I'm old and gray, I'll try to figure out what was wrong with us -- why we can beat Boston, but lose to Sacramento and Detroit."
The Chicago Bulls: Late defensive stands and clutch play by Derrick Rose covered up for the fact that the Bulls didn't play particularly well against the Grizzlies and Bucks last weekend. Last night, the Windy City Stags again came out sluggish, trailing 27-13 at the end of the first quarter and 48-25 with just over four minutes to go before halftime. Their fourth quarter rally was busted up by Spencer Hawes, who hit back-to-back-to-back jumpers from 20, 20 and 17 feet. The comeback was also busted up by...
Derrick Rose: The Great Poohdini had a pretty sweet game -- 31 points, 12-for-24 from the field, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and a blocked shot -- but turned the ball over 10 miserable times. The kid also learned a valuable lesson: Being a superstar and MVP candidate doesn't mean you get the call every time you drive into contact. Rose had been earning whistles at will over the last few games. Last night, the refs swallowed their tweets, which led to missed shots and some of those turnovers.
The San Antonio Spurs: Eh, you expect a loss when Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all sit out with injuries, but the Spurs have lost four in a row and their seemingly insurmountable lead in the West has shrunk to 3.5 games. Time for all-out panic? No. Time for some serious, chin-rubbing concern? Yes, I believe so.
The Milwaukee Bucks: Faced with a critical, must-win game against a struggling team, the Bucks...
...missed their last 11 shots and went scoreless in the final 3:52 of their one-point loss to the Bobcraps. That's the kinda season it's been for these Buckaroos.
Brandon Jennings, who went 2-for-12 in the fourth quarter, said: "It was a must-win game and we came up short. We had chances to do it and I take it on myself that I should have came up down the stretch and made big plays. But I didn't."
In the fial 15 seconds alone, Jennings missed two layups and a three.
The AP recap mentions that Andrew Bogut "was scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting in the fourth despite a huge size advantage." To which I say, uhm, if he had such a huge size advantage, why did Brandon Jennings take 12 shots to his two? Because the last time I checked, Jennings was shooting 38 percent for the season.
Oh, and the 'Craps were without centers Kwame Brown (personal reasons), Joel Przybilla (knee) and DeSagana Diop (Achilles' tendon). Give it to your big man, Brandon!
But what do I know?
Said Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles: "With 11 seconds left to go in the game, if you say you are going to get two layups and a wide-open 3 to win it and you don't even have the ball, you would take that. We just couldn't make that."
The Orlando Magic: Look: We all knew this was coming. At some point, the Knicks were gonna dig in their heels and beat a good team. The Magic were unlucky enough to be that team. But, hey, it happened on the road in overtime, and Orlando was missing Jameer Nelson, Quentin Richardson and J.J. Redick. So, you know, circumstances. But still, you never wanna be the team that let's another team off the hook, you know?
Kudos, though, to Dwight Howard for fouling out and earning a technical when his team was only down two points with 1:16 left in OT. Should knocking the ball off the backboard have been at tech? Maybe not. But Dwight has to know his constant barking and complaining have made the refs extra senstive to, you know, his barking and complaining.
Said Howard: "There's nothing you can do about it now. I just went for the rebound. I think that should have been a delay of game. Every time you roll the ball down the court, they usually call a delay of game, but it's cool, you know. I'll try to get it rescinded. If not, I'll just have to continue to play."
Added Gilbert Arenas: "I mean 99.9 percent when you throw the ball down the other side, it's a delay of game warning. They've got to call it how they see it. You can't put too much on what they do. They're human, too. The calls they see is the calls they're going to make."
Let me get this straight...both guys thought it should have been some kind of call...just not a technical. Here's an idea then: DON'T DO THAT.
Interesting factoid from ESPN Stats and Information: "It appears the Knicks play to the level of their competition. While Carmelo and Company are just 1-8 against teams with losing records, they are 7-4 vs teams .500 or better with the defense allowing more than 6 points fewer than against sub-par competition. Four of the Knicks eight remaining games are against teams over .500."
So the Knicks are good against good teams...and bad against bad teams. Well, you know what they say: Ninety percent of the game is mental, and the other half is physical.
The Utah Jazz: Well, the 1990-91 Sacramento Kings are safe. They will continue to be the only team in league history to go 1-40 on the road. Sacramento may lose their team...but they'll always have that. Thanks to the frickin' Jazz, who missed 11 free throws in an overtime loss, by the way. Man, I'm glad Jerry Sloan isn't around to deal with this crap. Oh, and check this out, from the AP recap:
Still, the loss gave Washington a series sweep. The Wizards won, 108-101 on Jan. 17. At the time, few realized it was the beginning of the end for the Jazz.Giant, slapping facepalms, Batman.
They were 27-13 going into that game, but have gone 9-26 since to fall out of the playoff hunt.
Chris's Lacktion Report:
Celtics-Pacers: Sasha Pavlovic bricked once from the OneAmerica Tower in 2:08 for a +1.
Magic-Knicks: Malik Allen derailed Link's adventure in 11 seconds for a Mario.
For the Knickerbockers, Shelden Williams fathered three boards in 15:51, only to brick and lose the rock once each and foul out for 7:3 Voskuhl. Jared Jeffries was perfect from the field (on one attempt) in 22:11 and also had a board, but fouled four times for a 4:3 Voskuhl.
Sixers-Bulls: Marreese Speights spoiled a board in 5:28 with a brick and three fouls for a 3:1 Voskuhl.
Generals-Jazz: Hamady N'Diaye celebrated the silencing of the tabernacle choir with a 3.3 trillion gift (3:20).