The Cleveland Craboliers: Welcome to a special AnacondaHL edition of WotN! And what better way to crack things open than with our favorite undersea crawlers. Their efficiency in a 32-point first quarter was split in half when they scored only 32 in the second half of a 99-88 loss. That is, a loss to a plucky Magic team using an 'Antoni style seven-man rotation and one Tony Battie with 11 minutes of lacktion. Without Big Z in the lineup, Anderson Varejao stood at center in Dwight Howard's crosshairs. After licking his chops, Superman went off for 22-18, leaving Floppyjao with a team-worst +/- score of -25...and only one notable flop in the 1st quarter.
The Orlando Magic: Having sucked the meat out of their opponent's exoskeleton, up 99-74 with 5:20 remaining, the Magic decided to shift into mid-season cruise control that would make the Spurs proud. This led to a 14-0 fourth quarter run that would make even the biggest Suns fans do a double-take at the jersey colors.
LeBron James: Fresh off a triple-double, our succulent Ohioan King Crab nearly feasted on a second helping, with 28 points, 8 boards and 8 assists. However, his buttery claws were 10-for-27 from the floor and a bitter 3-for-6 on the line. Two of those missed freebies came in the third, where a steamed James was cooked for attempting a crustacea-esque maneuver after a foul call. Thankfully, TNT's Marv Albert was quick to remind the audience that it was not, in fact, a crab dribble. James's potential bucket was waived, yet was given two foul shots despite the travel.
Here's a fun transcript of the conversation between Jameer Nelson and Bob Delaney after the shot:
Delaney: "Because he walks after he catches and after the foul so he gets two shots but he can't score a basket on a walk..."
Nelson: "But you can't...but you can't score a basket on a walk so why is he shooting?"
Delaney: "Because he's fouled in the act of shooting!"
Nelson (jokingly): "I don't agree with that...!"
Delaney: "Well that's okay...we all don't agree with everything in life."
Nelson: (Walking away chuckling, holding back face of disbelief.)
Maurice Williams: Cleveland's only All-Star made some obligatory supportive-of-teammate leadership comments in favor of Mo's inclusion to the weekend in Phoenix. "He deserves it. Look at our record. Look at the way he's playing. … I'll be really disappointed because he's part of the reason we've played the way we have, and he's put up the numbers."
Aww. I'm sure everyone with 17-4-3 (cough) and low popularity deserves a spot. Anyways, with news of this snub, and the inclusion of Jameer Nelson and the $118 million Lewis to the All-Star game, the scene was ripe for a revenge game. Mo responded accordingly with 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting and a technical foul.
Man-region grabbing dunks: A belayed WotN to Nate Robinson who joins Lamar Odom in the junk dunk contest. Worst NBA trend since those single warmer arm/leg sleeves.
The Phoenix Suns: We've seen this same story for five years now. The Phoenix Suns are 11-21 against the Spurs since 2004-05, including three playoff exits. And to make matters worse, the Suns lead the league this season in TOs (16.2) while the Spurs are near last (11.6). This is like seeing a video called monkey on goat on cup on tight rope, and still being amazed at what you're seeing despite the clarity of the title.
Intermission -- Fun Shaq Fhaqs: The Suns are 8-2 this season when The Big Cactus shoots 80% or better from the line? And are 16-5 when he shoots better than 60%? And that Shaq was 3-for-5 tonight? And Phoenix was 49.4% from the field versus SA's 46.1%? And Steve Nash had 9 assists and 0 turnovers in the first half? And Nash properly submitted his revenge game, having just been snubbed as an All-Star reserve, with 16 points and 18 assists?
So pretty obviously, the Suns lost 114-104. Did I forget to mention that the Spurs were 14-0 when scoring over 100 this season? Shaqfu went 5-for-14 with 6 rebounds and Ginobili went off for 30 points. Jason Richardson's inconsistency continued with only 7 points and 5 fouls, which contributed to Ginobili's 18-for-18 FT clinic.
Amare STAT: Ok, so his line wasn't that bad, as usual. 28-10 on 11-for-23 shooting would be great, if it wasn't Matt freaking Bonner guarding him. A double fail to Nash, who tripped over Stoudemire on a completely generic pick and roll with 48 seconds left as one of their five fourth quarter turnovers, cementing the show like the goat walking off the tight rope via ladder.
The NBA: Where cop a feel happens.
Officiating: In addition to the plethora of confused looks on players' faces, technical fouls were called on Duncan, Nash, Shaq, and Stoudemire in effort to keep things from getting too feisty. Of course it didn't help that the Phoenix crowd was still pissed about everything that's happened in the last three years and were booing louder than I've ever heard any crowd boo on TV. The home court was promptly rewarded with a 25-to-44 free throw disparity.
Jim Beam commercial: TNT has become infamous among the NBA viewers crowd for their repetitive awful commercials. Well the major showing of tonight was this borderline NSFW Jim Beam commercial. Despite probably being the greatest commercial of 2009, there's just something unnerving about the lack of cleverness, her voice, her appearance, and the number of Lakers fans making comments on the video. Well, at least it's better than Kira Sedgewzczbiak's mug in my face. Needless to say, I will now purchase a bottle and drink it for 1.5 years, complaining to my imaginary too-perfect girlfriend about how bad the Suns are and remembering the good old days. And she won't care if I go to a strip club afterwards.
Update! TNT: Basketbawful here making one small addition to AnacondaHL's fantastic post. Received this email from Nick A.: "Saw this on the TNT Web site, thought of your blog. Notice that Game 2 is listed as the 'Sours @ Suns.' It seems inappropriate: Given Phoenix's play this season, shouldn't they be the 'Sours'? Maybe Chuck has been relegated to the web team."
Kobe Bryant: Mamba hacked Luke Walton's iPhone to sporadically activate iFart. He charged Luke's account to pay for the app. And then ate a puppy.
About the author:AnacondaHL is a grizzled Internet veteran who watches in despair as his favorite team, the Phoenix Suns, struggles towards June 2010. When not wasting time at his Clark Kent job to read BasketBawful, he can be found playing the Internet computer game du jour, learning how to make small talk at said job by watching some other TV shows, wondering why the Diamonbacks have seven team colors, and browsing other obscure things on the Internet. He hopes someday to learn four languages, discover the Higgs boson, name the largest number in the world after himself, have an intelligent conversation about anime with someone, and to eat a crab grown in Akron.