The Philadelphia 76ers: They were battling the Knicks for the sixth seed in the Eastern Confernece, and they were playing at home, but Philly fell behind by 19 points before rallying to take a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for them, coming back from huge deficits isn't a good formula for success, and they got out-clutched by 'Melo and Tony Douglas.
Now they're in seventh place.
Said Doug Collins: "How many times did it look like our guys were just dead in the water tonight? Typical 76ers team of this year. Fought, fought, fought. Somehow, we had a one-point lead."
Yeah. And the patient almost lived.
Not that it really matters. Sixth or seventh...they'll be facing the Celtics or Heat, which will likely mean a very short playoff run.
Both teams shot 41 percent, but New York went 11-for-31 from downtown while the Sixers were 2-for-18. They also bricked eight freebies in a five-point loss.
Sadly, the Generals let the Pacers shoot 59.5 percent for the game and trailed by as many as 29 before helplessly succumbing to a 136-112 loss.
Thanks to this win, Indy has officially ended a four-year playoff drought. Much credit goes to coach Frank Vogel, who inherited a team that was 10 games below .500 and is now only seven games below .500. I'm sure you'll agree that's an amazing accomplishment and it's hard to imagine the Pacers improving by three games under former coach Jim O'Brien. Was that sarcastic enough?
Said Vogel: "I'm just really, really happy for a lot of people. I'm so happy for our fans. It's going to be a fun ride."
Yes, a very fun ride, for about four playoff games.
By the way, you know what this also means, right? Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s first ever playoff appearance! Yes!!
Said Funleavy: "It feels great, but I really didn't think it would take nine years to do this."
Yeah, right, anyway. For fun, here's Trey Kirby's list of the things that have happened since Washington's last three-game winning streak (via chris).
The Toronto Craptors: They trailed by as many as 22 and lost 104-96 at home to...
...the Cleveland Cadavers. Cut it up:
Bonus bawful stat: The teams combined to brick 23 free throw attempts.
The Charlotte Bobcats: They lost an overtime game at home to the Magic and were officially eliminated from the playoffs. But we knew that was gonna happen.
Time for the "Lonley Man Theme" from the old Hulk TV show, wouldn't you say?
The Orlando Magic: At what price victory? Yes, they win in Charlotte, but that victory is gonna cost them. Behold:
It's hard to imagine Dwight's tech being rescinded, and Richardson should almost certainly earn at least a one-game suspension for a two-handed face shove, which will leave the Magic miserably short-handed for their home game against the Bulls on Sunday. Sounds like it's time for Gilbert Arenas to step up!
The New Jersey Nyets: Deron Williams missed the game and Detroit shot 55.1 percent (despite going 1-for-7 on threes) and...the Pistons went to a zone because Brook Lopez was dominating (39 points) and...you know what? I can't even pretend to care about this meaningless game.
The Houston Rockets: The Hornets officially clinched a playoff spot at the expense of the Rockets, who built a 17-point lead but couldn't hang on. While
Give 'em credit, tho'. Despite all the injuries and misfortune, they had a nice run after the All-Star break and could have qualified for the postseason with a few more wins. Man, just imagine how good this team could be next year if Yao Ming stays healthy...
...oh, wait, nevermind.
I'm sorry, what's that, you say? Houston hasn't been mathematically eliminated? Well, that's true, they would have to lose a game or have Memphis win one to be truly and utterly eliminated from the playoff race. But let's be realistic.
Said Kyle Lowry: "It hurts. This can't be happening right now...with all the work that we've put in just to get this far and this close."
If ever there was a time for sad trombone, this is it.
Oh, and we have to do "The Lonely Man" again.
The Milwaukee Bucks: They beat the Dwyane Wade-less cHeat, which was nice, but they were officially eliminated from the playoffs when the Pacers beat the Generals.
The Miami cHeat: Yes, the were without D-Wade, but the Bucks were playing in Miami on the second night of back-to-backs. Milwaukee ended up taking a 17-point lead and then holding off a cHeat rally to win 90-85. Amazingly, Miami went with a zone defense for most of the game and then abandoned it in the fourth quarter...during which they got outscored 27-22. That was Milwaukee's highest scoring quarter of the game. Hell, I'd have to check, but it might be their highest scoring quarter of the season. Man, they suck on offense.
Anyway, this drops the cHeat a half game behind Boston for the second seed in the East. Even if Miami wins out, the Celtics would have to lose two games for the cHeat to overtake them. This won't matter for the first round. But it will probably matter if the teams face off in the second round.
It also means they're going to finish, at best, 14 games short of 72 wins.
Erik Spoelstra, quote machine: From Basketbawful reader Aaron: "Nobody said this was going to be easy."
Hubie Brown, unintentionally dirty quote machine: From BadDave: "LeBron is the best at catching people from behind."
The Minnesota Timberwolves: The good vibes from Kevin Love's epic double-double streak are long gone. In face, Love is injured and not playing. And get this: Thanks to the Cadavaers' victory over the Craptosaurs and Minnesota's 108-98 home loss to the Suns, the Timberpoops -- who have lost 11 in a row and 22 of theihr past 26 games -- officially have the worst record in the league (17-62).
Said Minny coach Kurt Rambis: "I feel bad for our guys. It's very hard emotionally on the players to go through a season like this."
I've said it before and I'm saying it again: 2010-11 has been like a season-long clothesline from Kevin McHale for Rambis and the Timberwolves.
Best of the Night: Darko Milicic: Manna from Heaven indeed. H/T to Basketbawful reader Nico.
The Los Angeles Clippers: This loss was just so Clippery. Blake Griffin scored 35 points and dunked the ball eight times [!!], but with the Clippers down 108-105 with 14 seconds left, Blake blew a dunk while getting fouled. Then he missed the first of two free throws, which pretty much screwed any chance The Other L.A. Team had of tying the game.
Said Griffin: "I should have made that dunk. I should have had a chance to tie the game. I am disappointed that I missed it."
Enjoy this, folks, 'cause the Clippers will slowly drain poor Griffin of the will to care about anything but escaping the ravenous maw of suck Donald Sterling has created.
In related news, the Thunder earned their first division title since 2006, when they were called the SuperSonics and located in Seattle. That means this franchise has two division titles in two different cities in the past five seasons. Meanwhile, the Clippers have never won a division title. Ever. And you know what? I didn't even bother to fact check that statement. I don't have to. They're the Clippers.
They are who we thought they were.
The Dallas Mavericks: Holy shit. Remember back when the Mavs were on that 18-1 run and everybody was talking about how great they were and how they could definitely go to the NBA Finals? But I kept saying, "Uhm, they're the Mavericks, just wait and they'll melt down."
I'm not saying I told you so. I'm not saying it. But -- courtesy of last night's home loss to the Nuggets -- Dallas has lost four in a row and are 8-9 in their last 17 games. And whereas, not too long ago, they had their sights set on the top seed in the West, now they're clinging to a one-game lead over the Thunder for the three seed. And OKC has the tiebreaker.
Said Dirk Nowitzki: "I don't think it does any good to watch [the standings] now. We've got to start playing better and feel good about ourselves going into the playoffs."
Added coach Rick Carlisle: "Right now, with our team, we're not about measuring sticks. It's about getting our physical and mental disposition where it needs to be and move forward feeling like we're making progress."
Mmm. Just sounds like a team ready for another first round upset, doesn't it?
The Excremento Kings: The Spurs shot 60 percent from the field and downtown, lead by 30+ points and won 124-92. The Paupers were basically a prop a San Antonio got their 60th win and locked up the first seed in the Western Conference. Speaking of which...
The Los Angeles Lakers: Ah, the 2010-11 Los Angeles Lakers. They're like the cool grandpa who tells these amazing, fantastic, phenomenal stories...but keeps dozing off in the middle of them. All season long, L.A. has had stretches where they just fall asleep at the wheel and drive right off the road. As recently as last weekend, the Lakers appeared to be this close to overtaking the Spurs and earning the West's top seed. Now they've lost three in a row, two at home, and two to sub-.500 teams.
Honestly, I had this game pegged as a loss after receiving the following text from chris: "Wow. Espn ticker notes that the warriors have only beat the lakers three out of their last 29 matchups. Mind = blown."
Talk about epic stat cursery. I mean, how else can you explain the Warriors leading by as many as 19 and winning 95-87 despite shooting 38.7 percent from the field and only 7-for-25 from three-point range?
And check out this paragraph from the AP recap: "The Lakers were in constant confusion and made mistake after mistake -- often in glaring fashion -- with Bryant shouting at teammates after seemingly every one. Some passes went into the stands, shots weren't falling and there was little hustle."
But, the Lakers haven't worried about winning or losing all season, so why worry now?
Said Ron Artest: "I'm not worried about us. We'll be all right."
Added Andy Bynum "We're not locked in. We're complacent. I just think we're going out there and playing kind of stupid basketball. We know that come playoff time, everything's going to be fine."
I like that "We'll try when it matters" attitude. Keep it up, guys.
Chris's Unfathomable Lacktion Ledger:
Generals-Pacers: JaVale McGee was perfect from the field (on one try) and added a board in 9:24, only to lose the rock twice and foul five times for a 7:3 Voskuhl.
Jeff Foster fomented two boards in 7:27, but fouled twice and turned over the ball once for a 3:2 Voskuhl for Indiana.
Happy Cadavers-Craptors: Manny Harris manhandled the celebratory activities tonight for Cleveland, bricking thricely in 12:44 and also fouling twice, taking a rejection, and giving away the ball for an impressive +7 suck differential!!
Bucks-El (Oh El) Heat: Zydrunas Ilgauskas ignored an assist in 4:20 with two bricks (one from Bicentennial Park) and a foul for a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Suns-Wolves: Garret Siler sauntered into lacktivity with a foul and turnover in 2:04 for a +2 and a 2:0 Voskuhl; Robin Lopez laid yet another mediocre performance by covering up a board in 6:12 with three bricks and three fouls for a 3:1 Voskuhl; finally, Zabian Dowdell hunted down a fortune of 3.4 trillion (3:24) in futile celebration.
The Purple Paupers Whose Fans Are Doing More For Getting A New Arena Here In Two Weeks Than The Maloofs Have In Twelve Years-Spurs: Pooh Jeter bothered to brick once in 2:58 for a +1.
Nuggets-Mavs: DeShawn Stevenson fouled twice in 5:22 as starting guard and added a turnover and three bricks (twice from the JPMorgan Chase Tower) for a +6.
BTW, a shout out to ESPNEWS's ticker this afternoon, which kept pointing out that the Lakers had won 12 straight and 26 of the last 29 against the Warriors. Great stat curse action, guys (as Bawful himself predicted in a text!).