The San Antonio Spurs: Nothing makes a team look old and creaky quite like facing a young, running, gunning team on the road on the second night of back-to-backs. And that's exactly what happened to the "new-look" Spurs last night.
Sure, Tim Duncan (28 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks) tortured the Bulls like they had just cut off his mom's head, Mrs. Voorhees-style. But the rest of the Spurs? Well, if you're a San Antonio fan, watching them get walked all over by a less-talented Bulls team had to be almost as disturbing as these Robert Pattinson underwear:
Why, God? Why?
On the subject, come on, Twighlight fans. Is this kind of stuff really necessary? Isn't it bad enough that your beloved book-turned-movie series has finalized the emasculation of the American vampire -- which was begun by Anne Rice, by the way -- turning the former terrifying creatures of the night into day-walking teddy bears who spend more time planning for the prom than kicking ass without plastering your hunky star's vamp face onto the casing intended for a male crotch? Why not just write some fan fiction where Edward blows somebo...oops, too late.
How did all this start, anyway? Oh, right. So the Spurs not named Tim Duncan sucked ass last night. Tony Parker (former Finals MVP) and Manu Ginobili (who really, really needs to just shave his damn head) combined to shoot 7-for-22. The team was slaughtered on the offensive boards in the first half, giving up 10 for 19 second-chance points going Chicago's way. For the game, the Bulls (a notoriously bad rebounding team last season) outrebounded the Spurs 52-44 (including 15-8 on the offensive glass) and had a 23-12 edge in second-chance points.
Despite Ducan's 13-for-19 performance, the Spurs shot 42 percent for the game, 19 percent from downtown (4-for-21) and only 65 percent from the line (15-for-23).
Richard Jefferson: He was San Antonio's biggest offseason acquisition...and through two games, he's their biggest bust. This went somewhat unnoticed because the Spurs thrashed the Hornets on opening night, but Jefferson stunk it up in his first game for his new team (5 points, 1-for-7). He wasn't much better in his second game, scoring only 9 points on 3-for-9 shooting. I understand that it's going to take him time to adjust to Pop's system, but Jefferson has looked like a poor fit so far.
John Salmons: The Fish Man is supposed to be the Bulls' replacement for Ben Gordon (and Gordon's 20+ points per game). Well, Chicago fans who freaked out when management let Gordon walk had their fears partially justified last night. Salmons went 3-for-15 from the field and 1-for-9 from three-point range. It was like Gordon had left behind his shot selection but not his shot-making ability. For John's sake, let's, uh, hope it was the San Antonio defense.
Greg Oden: Last night featured a classic Greg Oden game. Minutes limited by foul trouble? Check. (22 minutes, 5 fouls) Limited offense? Check. (6 points, 2-for-5 shooting) Enough rebounding and shot-blocking in abbreviated PT to seemingly justify the continuing myth that Oden could be a elite center? Check. (9 boards, 2 blocks) But still, that's pretty disappointing for a former number one overall pick's third season, right?
But wait, there's more. With Portland trailing 95-94 with five seconds left, Greg stepped up to the line with a chance to tie the game or give his team the lead. And he shanked 'em both. Oh dear, free throw fail. And, yeah, it kinda cost his team the game. Said Oden: "This is a tough one. I definitely stepped up there with confidence thinking I was going to hit both and it didn't go that way. I put this loss on me. I need to step up and make those."
The Portland Trail Blazers: Don't put 100 percent of this loss on Oden, though. The Blazers shot 34 percent from the field. It's a little hard to win when you shoot that poorly, especially when your top two players (Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge) combine to go 10-for-31. So I'm wagging my finger at the whole team here.
Nate McMillan, unintentionally dirty quote machine: This nomination comes from Alex B., who lives all the way in Romania. After his team lost last night, Nate paid some unintentionally dirty homage to Carmelo Anthony's 41 points: "The guy showed tonight what he's all about. [The Nuggets] basically gave him the ball and rode him."
The Official (Short) Lacktion Report (by Chris): No night is too brief for lacktion:
Spurs-Bulls: Theo Ratliff's unproductive stint expired after 2:43, but not before he dropped down a foul for a +1 suck differential, also good for the very first Madsen-level Voskuhl of the year at 1:0!
Nuggets-Blazers: While the living embodiment of Geritol bricked from the charity stripe, Denver's Malik Allen mushroomed into a four-second Super Mario!!!!!!
Hey, look! It's the proposed 2009-10 NBA Coach of the Year...now 0-2.
The Philadelphia 76ers: The Orlando Magic were without Rashard Lewis, who was suspended for 10 games after testing positive for an elevated level of testosterone (I always knew he was on 'rhoids!), but it hardly mattered. The Sixers had to outscore the Magic 37-22 in the fourth quarter just to make the final score (120-106) look respectable. Philly actually enjoyed a 30-17 advantage in free throw attempts -- on the road no less -- but they missed nine of them, in addition to letting Orlando shoot a blistering 57 percent from the field and 55 from downtown. I guess "hand in the face" is a lost art in the City of Brotherly Love.
Can't you feel the love tonight?
Elton Brand: Philly's big free agent acquisition of 2008 was a big splatter of fail last season, but the return of a healthy Brand was supposed to make the Sixers a vastly improved team this season. Har, har. Elton looked just as bad as he did in the games he actually appeared in last year, scoring only 8 points on 2-for-7 shooting to go with 6 boards. For all the bad luck of the Clippers, it now appears that Brand's backstabbing farewell in free agency was actually a good thing.
The Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger (31 points, 10-for-18, 5-for-10 on threes) was brilliant in a double-digit loss. I may have to cut-and-paste that line for 50 or so Pacers games this season.
Best out-of-context picture of the night: This one is still making me laugh, especially the ref's fist pump.
Fun with box scores: RensTheRipper writes: "ESPN are into it already, giving a beautiful double negative 'non-unsportsmanlike technical' to Solomon Jones as he rampaged against his old team. I can't believe he committed a sportsmanlike technical. Thank you ESPN, I can't not non-dislike you for brilliant commentary."
The Cleveland Craboliers: So...the preseason pick for "best team in basketball" is now 0-2 for the first time since the 2004-05 season. But...but...they have the reigning Coach of the Year, the reigning MVP, and the supposed Most Dominant Ever! After getting punked by the Celtics at home in the season opener, the Crabs traveled to Toronto and lost to the Raptors by double-digits despite a 23/11/12 triple-double from King Crab. The Mistake by the Lakers shot a woeful 35 percent from the field despite adding one of the best inside players of all time. Speaking of which...
Shaq: The Big Creaky scored 12 points and grabbed 7 boards. Not exactly MDE material. He also failed to register a block or hit a free throw (0-for-3). Meanwhile, Chris Bosh -- whom the Big Mouth last season referred to as "the RuPaul of Big Men" -- had 21 points and 16 rebounds. Note that Shaq had by far the worst plus-minus score of the night (-25).
More bawful from Shayan of the Raptors blog Mediocre Forever: "What a season opener here in Toronto. I remember reading recently on Basketbawful about a comment from a reader saying how Big Z and Shaq are the slowest front court EVER to grace an NBA floor. And then tonight, I watched Andrea Bargnani, who went bonkers and was unstoppable (actually the referees stopped him with BS fouls forcing him to the bench), run circles around Big Z and the Big Geritol (God I love that nickname). It was like back in elementary school on the playground where everyone's outrunning the fat kid." Jinkies.
The New York Knicks: I thought canning Isiah after the 2007-08 season was supposed to improve the Knicks? If last night's 22-point drubbing -- during which New York shot 38 percent, missed 29 three-pointers, and let their opponent shoot nearly 57 percent -- is any indication, it's going to be a looooong season for Knicks fans. Again. Especially when you consider they have basically no chance whatsoever of landing LeBron next summer. Sorry, but you know it's true.
Nate Robinson: 0-for-8 from the field, 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, 1 point. Remember all the "The Knicks really need to resign Nate Robinson" noise from the offseason? As always, I'm just sayin'.
The Los Angeles Clippers: Can I get a "they are who we thought they were"? Despite playing at home and shooting almost 56 percent from the field, the Clippers lost 109-107 to a Suns team that now has to start Channing Frye at center. The biggest reason The Other L.A. team failed yet again was because they couldn't contain Steve Nash, who scored 15 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead layup with five seconds left in the game. The second-biggest reason the Clips lost? Probably the 12 missed free throws (15-for-27).
Fun fact: The run 'n gun Suns had 2 fast break points...for the game.
Steve Nash, quote machine: On his game-winning shot: "I went to the old-white-guy-at-the-YMCA shot and I was lucky to make something happen."
The Memphis Grizzlies: Opening the season at home, the Baby Bears shot 36 percent, bonked nine free throws and got hammered by the Pistons 96-74. And here's a sad little factoid for you: "The Grizzlies set an NBA record with their ninth consecutive season-opening loss, breaking the previous record of eight set by Atlanta from 1999-2006." Historic fail.
Lionel Hollins, inspirational quote machine: Here's what the Memphis coach had to say after his team got drubbed: "It was generally a bad night shooting. [Our players] just have to come down to Earth and realize winning in the NBA is very difficult, and it takes a lot of work and effort. Our young guys were like deer in headlights."
The New Orleans Hornets: It can't feel good to shoot 50 percent as a team and lose by almost 20. But hey, scoring only 13 points in the first quarter can do that to you. Remember how, two seasons ago, the Hornets were the Team of the Future? I guess the future was now for the 2007-08 Hornets. Too bad they didn't know that at the time. But hey, Chris Paul is awesome, so they still have that going for them...which is nice.
Peja Stojakovic: He came off the bench to play only 20 minutes, scoring 4 points on 1-for-2 shooting. Hey, wasn't Peja supposed to be a pretty big cog in the New Orleans machine? Too much whoring around, I guess.
All the teams that didn't draft DeJuan Blair: How in the world did this kid slip to the second round of this year's NBA draft? I was screaming for the Bulls to choose him -- twice -- but hey fell and fell until the Spurs gleefully plucked him out of the pool of dwindling talent at 37. Good call. Last night, Blair played 23 minutes off the bench, scoring 14 points (7-for-10), grabbing 11 boards (5 offensive) and even dishing out 3 assists. Hornets coach Byron Scott called Blair a "monster" and added: "You know, a 6-5, 6-6 center who comes in and plays 22 minutes and gets 14-11 is pretty impressive," Scott said. "Especially for a rookie."
"Nobody can go 82-0" is the new early-season excuse: I heard or read this about a dozen times the last few days after season-opening losses: well, teams can't go 82-0, so losing is kinda-sorta okay. Eh?! The latest of these quotes comes from Chris Paul, who said, "We hoped to go 82-0, but we knew it wasn't too feasible."
The New Jersey Nets: Dear God, this team sucks. They were bad last season with Vince Carter...and replacing him with Courtney Lee didn't exactly cause a spike in their talent level. And so it's not shocking that they opened the season by losing to a lowly Timberwolves team that wasted the fifth pick in this year's NBA draft on a kid who's probably never going to play for them and had to squeeze 20 minutes out of Brian "How In The Hell Is This Guy Still In The League" Cardinal (who actually had 7 points on 3-for-4 shooting to go with 4 boards, an assist and a steal). Mind you, Minnesota shot only 36 percent from the floor and went only 1-for-7 from the Land of Three. Of course, New Jersey was 0-for-8 from downtown, so I guess long-distance shooting was a bit of a wash.
The Nets might have won if they hadn't given up 18 offensive boards and committed 22 turnovers for 24 points going the other way. Brook Lopez -- who had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks for the Nets -- said: "We just got kind of careless with the ball. I definitely did. I turned the ball over three or four times. The last little span ended up costing us the game, obviously."
Fun fact that's not all that surprising: The Nets haven't won a game in Minnesota since November 23, 2002.
Fun fact that may cause milk to shoot out your nose (if you're drinking any): Get this: "The Timberwolves finished the game on a 24-6 run and are now 9-2 in their last 11 season openers. They're also 11-2 all-time in season openers played at home, the best such record in the NBA." Who knew?! If only opening night was every night for the poor T-Wolves.
Rafer Alston: This dude was so stoked last year when he got traded to the Magic. Well, if last night's box score is any indication, he's much less stoked to be playing for the Nets. Alston logged 23 minutes and finished with 3 assists, 3 turnovers and zero points on 0-for-2 shooting. I hereby dub him "Skip 2 My Gak."
Update! The Minnesota starting frontcourt: From NarSARSsist: "Bawful -- I think some praise is much deserved for the Minnesota starting front line. Not only did Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes combine for 19 points (5-for-20) and only 8 boards with 7 fouls, they also managed to get outrebounded by every small T-Wolf except Sasha Pavlovic. In addition, they even made Man Chair...errr Chairman Yi look good with 17 points and 12 rebounds." Praise given.
The Charlotte Bobcats: The runner up (to the Clippers) for last night's "They Are Who We Thought They Were" award. I would say that the Bobcats travelled to Boston for a historic defeat, but I'm not sure any of the Charlotte players actually, you know, showed up. Let's go ahead and call 'em the Charlotte Body Doubles okay? Alrighty then, so the Body Doubles shot 31 percent from the field, got blanked from downtown (0-for-10), missed 12 free throws (13-for-25) and committed 21 turnovers (which the Celtics transfigured into 24 points). By the end of the night, the BDs had scored only 59 points. Not only was that a franchise low for one game, it was the lowest point total for an opener in NBA history since the advent of the shot clock (1954-55). Guh. I think that just made all the milk in Charlotte curdle.
Larry Brown, quote machine: When asked whether he'd ever coached a team that scored in the 50s, Brown said: "I don't known if they call that coaching. Our team wasn't prepared. Weren't ready to play. That's nobody's fault but the coach." Those are nice sentiments, and it's sweet that he would try to cover his players' asses, but you don't coach height, and Tyson Chandler -- who's supposed to be pretty close to seven feet tall -- went 0-for-5 and didn't score. (It sure is harder to dump in points when Chris Paul isn't feeding you alley-oops, eh, Tyson? I can tell you this much: his performance last night probably earned Chicago Bulls management a huge sigh of relief. "See," John Paxson must have been thinking, "we were right to get rid of that guy way back when.")
Also, fellow starters Gerald Wallace (3-for-9), Boris Diaw (3-for-7), Stephen Graham (2-for-11) and Raymond Felton (3-for-11) all shot like hell and combined for 14 turnovers and only 5 assists (2 for Diaw and 3 for Felton). Their combined plus-minus score was -120. Seriously.
Brian Scalabrine: Veal earned a DNP-CD in a 33-point blowout? Really?! And remember: the Celtics are already down one member of their frontcourt rotation (Big Baby). Can somebody explain why the guy who got several starts when Kevin Garnett went down last season can't even get off the bench in garbage time? I mean, garbage time is Scalabrine Time, baby! I mean, right? Not last night, it wasn't. Update! My bad. Apparently, he's hurt.
Update! Tommy Heinsohn: An anonymous commenter said: "I think Tommy Heinsohn should get a mention for WotN. During a loose ball, Kevin Garnett landed on Raymond Felton's head, opening up a pretty nasty cut on his lip, which required 15 stitches. While Felton was laying on the ground motionless covering his face, Heinsohn was yelling, "That should be a three second violation on Felton!" It's funny in retrospect being Felton wasn't seriously injured, but I think Tommy finally crossed the line last night that separated passionate home announcer and sociopath." The only thing I can say here -- and it's not really a defense of Tommy -- is that Heinsohn crossed the line into sociopathy yeeeeeeears ago.
Stephen Jackson, "he just doesn't get it" quote machine: After dissing his team and demanding a trade during the offseason, Captain Jack was met with boos in the Warriors' home opener. Said Jax: "It is what it is. I don't expect everybody to love me. I heard it but I didn’t let it affect my game at all. To each his own. I've been booed many times. This isn't the first time." And, uh, doesn't that sorta tell you something, Cap?
The Official Lacktion Report by Chris: Not everybody can get a little action, but plenty of NBAers can get a little lacktion...
Crabs-Raptors: While Tarence Kinsey's crawling has been sorely missed on the shores of Lake Erie, Toronto's human victory cigar Marcus Banks admired a Power Glove for 25 seconds to accrue a Mario.
Knicks-Heat: New York's Jordan Hill climbed a brick wall in 1:45 on his way to a suck differential of +1 via missed shot.
Kings-Thunder: Donte Greene of the Kings averaged one miscue a minute - a brick, giveaway, and foul - for +3 in 3:37.
Suns-Clippers: Steve Novak turned the dial all the way to eleven on Guitar Hero for his Wii, pounding out 11 seconds of rhythm in his first Mario of the year.
Jazz-Nuggets: Jerry Sloan may never win Coach of the Year, due to his smart usage of a staff of lacktators. With Kyrylo Fesenko slumping into usefulness, Sloan quickly assembled a trio of time-wasters to warm the bench for the new season, starting with Wesley Matthews, who was crushed with youthful disappointment through a brick and block in 5:12 that resulted in a +2. The Jazz's 2009 first rounder, Eric Maynor, became the first baller to earn an interview with Robin Leach, after taking home a 2.85 trillion fortune. Finally, the ever-unmemorable Kosta Koufos spun into a brick in just 45 seconds, leading to a Mario AND a +1!
I have a new favorite video of all time. Watch as Phil Jackson, in all his infinite and goofy whiteness, tries to fist bump his franchise player. Only Kobe leaves poor Phil hanging, so P-Jax is forced to pass it off by fist bumping his own face. I kid you not. If you don't laugh at this, then welcome to the past, T-1000. And no, I have not seen that boy.
A great many thanks to Basketbawful reader Nick N. for sending in the link.
The Cleveland Craboliers: On paper, Cleveland's talent level is off the charts, particularly after the additions of Shaq, Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon. They got to open the season at home, where they lost only twice last season. Less than seven minutes into the first quarter, Shaq hit his third consecutive field goal to put the Crabs up 21-7. They earned (if you want to call it that) a 32-26 advantage at the line and scored 20 points off Boston's 14 turnovers. And, of course, King Crab himself was (as always) scary good (38 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocks).
I guess what I'm trying to say is: the Crabs had every reason to win this game. Only...they didn't. Meanwhile, Boston ended an 11-game losing streak in Cleveland (including playoff games) and "snapped a 16-game skid by visiting teams in games between the Eastern powers who figure to meet again sometime in May or June." Yeah, I know. Who keeps track of this stuff?
Anyway, the Celtics showed once again that offensive firepower -- however awesome, again, on paper -- can and will wilt under furious defensive pressure. The Boston D held the Cleveland O to 41 percent shooting, in part because Mike Brown didn't add many new wrinkles to his generic "Give LeBron the ball and let everybody watch" offense set, unless you count occasionally posting Shaq as a new wrinkle. Speaking of the Big Geritol...
Shaq: He looked unstoppable in the first quarter and finished with a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds). But from the second quarter on, the Celtics got away with single coverage as Kendrick Perkins simply pushed the Big Creaky off his sweet spots and forced him, as Doug Collins put it, "to make shots." Which he didn't, going 1-for-5 in the second half and missing both of his free throws. But that wasn't the worst of it. They Celtics turned him into the Big Defensive Liability in the closing minutes, putting Shaq into pick-and-roll situations and watching him fail to cover. As a result of the Big Slow Poke deficiencies, Paul Pierce got open for a couple clutch buckets that helped boil the Crabs.
Quick quiz: From Stephanie G.: "Quick: name a C/PF combo slower than Shaq/Big Z. Any year will do."
The Cleveland bench: The preseason talk that wasn't about Shaq and LeBron was about how freaky deep the Crabs are. Well, Boston's reserve corps outscored Cleveland's pine riders 26-10. In fact, Rasheed Wallace (12 points, 3-for-6 from downtown) outscored the Crabs' bench by himself. By game's end, the Cleveland reserves had more fouls (7) than field goals (3-for-11).
The Big Excuse Machine: Said Shaq: "We'd like to start off 1-0, but there are 100 games left. We'll be fine. I've been on teams that started 0-1, 0-5, 5-0, 10-0. Nothing matters unless you win the whole thing." Everybody remember that if the Crabs don't win the whole thing.
Shelden Williams: Teams don't usually let former fifth overall draft picks (as Williams was for the Hawks in 2006) just walk away. But Atlanta did, and for good reason. This kid has a debilitating case of Kwame Hands. Seriously, I haven't seen that many good passes go careening off a player's hands since John Stockton was feeding Greg Ostertag back in the late 90s. Does Shelden pre-soak his hands in Crisco before games? It sure seemed like it.
Update! Rajon Rondo: I almost forgot about how he got crab-blocked last night. Don't be bringing that weak, one-handed, cotton candy stuff, Rajon.
Fun with box scores: Basketbawful reader Murcy says: "NBA.com thinks Woody Allen is on the Celtics."
The Dallas Mavericks: Last season, the Washington Wizards were an NBA-worst 6-35 on the road. That didn't matter last night, as they smacked down the Mavs in Dallas by a score of 102-91. The Mavericks have now lost two straight season openers and three of their last four.
Der Blond Bombermeister scored a game-high 34 points but, as so often seems to be the case, didn't get the support he needed. Outside of Nowiztki, the Dallas O blew chucks, as the Mavs shot 39 percent as a team. Note that, excluding Jason Kidd (who had 6 dimes), the Dallas starters registered one lonely assist.
Shawn Marion: He had 16 points and 7 rebounds, but I find it interesting that the Mavs were -17 points when he was on the floor. Let's keep an eye on this.
Jason Kidd, super-dramatic quote machine: "[Nowitzki] would be dead by Christmas if we're going to let him be the offense. Our team defense stunk. We didn't rebound the ball well. Everything we're supposed to do well was a no-show tonight."
The Houston Rockets: I'll give them points for scrappiness, but if last night's 96-87 loss is any indication, the Rockets may end up leading the league in hard-fought losses this season. I mean, can you really expect better than 37 percent shooting from a group of roleplayers? Speaking of which...
Tracy McGrady: Knee-Mac is still in absentia due to recovery from microfracture surgery. I would now like a show of hands from everybody who's surprised about this. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
The Blazers Butterfingers: Portland might have won by 20+ points if they'd been able to hold on to the rock. The Blazers committed 26 turnovers, which is the most lost balls they've had since the 2007-08 season. On that subject...
Greg Oden: The big fella didn't do much scoring (2 points, 1-for-3), but he helped dominate with 12 boards and 5 blocks. Of course, he offset some of that good play by bobbling the ball away a game-high 7 times. I guess, like Shelden Williams, he had a case of the Kwame Hands. He also had, not surprisingly, 5 fouls.
The Los Angeles Clippers: What can you say? They are who we thought they were, you know?
You should have run, Blake. You should have run.
Amazingly, the Clips actually could have won this game had they not committed 20 turnovers (including 9 in the first quarter), thereby giving the Lakers 24 bonus points. That's kind of a big deal in a seven-point loss. Said Baron Davis: "We really felt we could've won this game. If you take away a lot of mistakes that we made at the end of the first quarter and all the turnovers we had, it would've been a different ballgame." Speaking of Davis...
Baron Davis: Get ready to be shocked. I'm serious. Get ready. Okay, are you ready. Here goes: Baron is hurt already. Good luck finding the socks that just got blown off your feet. Speaking of feet, B-Dizzle has a bruised right foot, which might explain the 1-for-10 shooting. How much did the Clippers spend on this guy again...? Oh, right: $65 million for five years.
Ron Artest's offense: Crazy Pills went 3-for-10 from the field, 1-for-5 from beyond the arc, and 3-for-7 from the line. Maybe he should spend more time at shooting practice and less time at the barber shop.
Here's a closer look, courtesy of Dan B.
Ron-Ron did have a game-high plus-minus score of +14 though. Does that make him the Lakers' MVP? On the other end of the spectrum was...
Luke Walton: In three minutes of lacktion (0-for-1, 1 steal), the Son of Walton managed to earn himself a team-worst plus-minus score of -8. Good thing Mitch Kupchak locked this kid up for five years at the low, low price of only $30 million back in the summer of '07. But at least he's not:
Despite the win, if I was a Celtics fan I'd be a bit worried for one reason alone: KG doesn't look good at all. It might be just rust though, that's definitely plausible. But it didn't look like KG's timing was off, it looked to me like he had hardly any of his athleticism and explosiveness out there. I had to keep reminding myself to watch what he was doing because for long stretches he was just... invisible. Boston's so loaded that they'll be able to hide whatever shortcomings KG might have (if he's indeed gonna continue to play like this), but against Orlando or LA/SA in the playoffs, they're gonna need him to be what he used to be if they want to have a chance to win.
If I was a Cleveland fan I'd be plain worried cause that team doesn't look to be good enough to be considered one of the 5 "true contenders" this year. It's the same ol' story: LeBron and a bunch of minnies. Shaq looks to be a really, really poor fit for that team, and Mike Brown is totally clueless about what to do (which is why once again the offense is to give it to LeBron at the top of the key and let him create everything). Orlando and Boston will lay treadmarks all over the Cavs if this is all they've got.
The Lakers looked either disinterested or just out of sorts due to the ring ceremony (or Artest's hair or Odom's new bride or take your pick). LA's bench was plain awful tonight, though that'll probably change a bit when Gasol comes back and Odom is a reserve again. Nevertheless, as I said after the first preseason game, if Artest is gonna be that unselfish and Bynum is gonna be that dominant, it's gonna be very, very hard to beat this Laker team. As always though, it was against the Clippers so take it all with a grain of salt. Too bad due to the uber-cushy Laker schedule to start the year, it's really gonna be a while before we'll get to see what they're made of (unless they collapse, that is, then we'll know they're just way overrated).
Greg Oden -- 26 minutes, 2 points, 5 fouls, 7 turnovers. Combined with the Vanilla Godzilla and LaMarcus "5 years/$70m" Aldridge, the supposedly imposing Blazer frontline was only able to score 15 points combined against a miniscule Houston frontline of Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola and Carl Landry.
Wasn't Dallas supposed to be much improved this year?
Lacktion report (by Chris):
The opening tip-off has arrived, so bring out the awful Craig Sager suits! Get paranoid over labor unrest! Conjure all the rumors of King Crab signing in Brooklyn come summer 2010! And don't forget figuring out which team honcho will be out on the street in 15 months, via that person's unlucky acceptance of the Coach of the Year award! But of course, in order for this to be officially another year in the life of the Association...
we've gotta have lacktion, and luckily some of the usual suspects were available to aim as low as they possibly could. Again.
So let's focus on our only honorees for October 27th...
Wizards-Mavs: Washington's Javale McGee kicks off this season of lacktion with his tribute to the unemployed plumber from the Peachtree State, taking a 42-second moment of silence (on the scoresheet) to put down the very first Mario of the year. Helping the Wizards out in their winning effort was Dominic McGuire, who fouled twice for a +2 suck differential in 2:20.
"We'll deal with it. I'm not going to call him 'Big Baby' anymore. He's Glen. He needs to act like Glen. We'll decide what to do once I talk to him, once we talk to him today. It's very likely he'll be suspended. And he'll have some time to think about it. It'll be a message, a teachable moment for the rest of the guys on the team."
Uh, sure, Wyc. But...who exactly on the Celtics needs to be taught not to injure themselves in fights with former college teammates? I sort of assumed that was a given, but maybe not. Also, I'm sure that calling him "Glen" instead of "Big Baby" will totally force him to grow up. In the meantime, I have a new entry for the Basketbawful Dumb Injury Hall of Shame.
The Clippers are going to be good. The parts fit. They have size, shooting and rebounding. They can play fast or slow. Their best player (Baron Davis) is motivated again. They have the Gordon/Griffin combo, only the NBA's best young inside/outside combo. They have a bench. They have cap flexibility (only $36 million committed next season). This is a playoff team. I'm telling you. And as I've written many times, Clipperland remains the most logical 2010 LeBron destination on paper. It's true.
Griffin apparently broke his kneecap during the Clippers' final exhibition game against New Orleans last Friday, perhaps after a dunk that left the power forward wincing in pain. The team initially said Griffin only had a sore left knee, making him questionable for the opener, before revealing the break.
Mind you, "back in six weeks" does not mean "back to 100 percent in six weeks." For the last time: Can we all just stop being surprised when this stuff happens to the Clippers?
Bonus quote: If you check out Kevin Arnovitz' season preview at ClipperBlog, you'll notice the following quote from yours truly in the "No You Can't" section: "The best thing the Clippers can say about the last 25 or so years is 'At least some terrible hell beast hasn't risen from the sea and eaten our team.' Yet." See? Even a month ago when I wrote that line, I already knew they are who we thought they were...
Mike "Dumbleavy" Coach of the Year? It could totally happen. Trust me.
Samahn from Italia wrote in to say: "I saw this and immediately thought of 'bawful. Special wag of the finger goes to Chris Sheridan and Royce Webb of ESPN.com for predicting that Mike Dunleavy will get Coach of the Year. Wow...I'm speachless. This is the same guy who, well, you know. Please but shame on these two ESPN writers and forever ingrave them in the 'bawful archives!
Actually, that preduction may not be too far out there. Let's look at some recent CoY recipients:
1. Mike Brown (2008-09): Subsequently outcoached in the Eastern Conference Finals, marking one of the only times in league history a team had both the MVP and the Coach of the Year yet failed to reach the NBA Finals.
3. Avery Johnson (2005-06): Subsequently fired following the 2007-08 season because the Mavs needed a fresh start. I'm sure those three consecutive humiliating playoff losses had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
4. Hubie Brown (2003-04): Subsequently retired 12 games into the 2004-05 season because, dear lord, the man is an ancient mummy creature! And why spend your twilight years coaching the Grizzlies, you know?
7. Mike Dunleavy (1998-99): And we come full circle! Subsequently fired after the 2000-01 season. From the actual press release: "Mike Dunleavy was dismissed as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, taking the fall for an underachieving team that failed to win a playoff game despite an NBA-record $89.7 million payroll."
Did I mention that Jerry Sloan still hasnt' won a Coach of the Year award despite a 1137-751 (.602) record and 12 50-win seasons? Oh, and in 21 years of coaching in Utah, the Jazz have have a losing record exactly...once.
So, to sum up, the state of the NBA Coach of the Year award is an absolute joke. As such, it would not surprise me in the least if Mike Dunleavy won it this year...and was subsequently fired within two seasons. After all, as you can see, history tends to repeat itself.
I'll let you be the judge. (But here's a hint: Yes. Or, at least, I hope it's the worst. Heaven help us if it isn't.) Also, is that The Big O Face or The Big Constipation Face? Or...is it both?!
Hat Tip: From Andy Gray's excellent SI Vault Photo twitter account, via Dan B., who said: " can't get over this picture. It made me actually laugh out loud at work. I mean, they didn't even have jackets this ugly in the early 90s when MC Hammer still had gainful employment."
The original man love pic. I guess now we know why Isiah avoided the lips...
As you may or may not know, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson have "co-written" a book together. (That is, they probably did a lot of talking while author Jackie MacMullen did the actual writing.) It's called When The Game Was Ours, and it comes out on November 4th. However, it's already making headlines...by making Isiah Thomas want to kick Magic's ass. The two main points of contention are:
1. Isiah spread rumors that Magic was gay or bisexual...or so Magic believes: Remember back in 1991 when Magic tested positive for HIV and had to retire? Magic's agent Lon Rosen claims Isiah told him: "I keep hearing Magic is gay." When Rosen reminded Isiah that the two men were friends and that Isiah knew him better than anyone, Isiah allegedly replied, "I know, but I don't know what he's doing when he's out there in L.A." In the book, Magic responds to this story by saying, "Isiah kept questioning people about it. I couldn't believe that. The one guy I thought I could count on had all these doubts. It was like he kicked me in the stomach.''
2. Magic (along with Michael Jordan) co-blocked Isiah from making the 1992 Olympic Dream Team: Said Magic: "Isiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him. ... Michael didn't want to play with him. Scottie [Pippen] wanted no part of him. Bird wasn't pushing for him. Karl Malone didn't want him. Who was saying, 'We need this guy?' Nobody.''
You can kind of see how this happened, right? Magic hears that Isiah might kinda-sorta wonder whether he's gay in 1991, because science at that time had proven that only homosexuals and junkies got AIDS. When he hears what Isiah might have kinda-sorta said, Magic gets pissed but doesn't say anything, because it's uncomfortable to address rumors that your best friend thinks you might want to put his penis in your mouth. When 1992 rolls around and it's time for him to stand behind Isiah's inclusion on the Dream Team, Magic exacts his revenge by helping to keep one of the best point guards of all time off the greatest team of all time. And now, after all these years, Magic decides "clears the air" in a book about his rivalry with Larry Bird. Without telling Isiah in advance.
Sounds pretty fifth grade, right?
There's only one problem with Magic's claims and assumptions. Isiah denies questioning Magic's sexuality, mostly because his own brother, Gregory Thomas, had HIV. Said Thomas: "What most people don't know is, before Magic had HIV, my brother had HIV. My brother died of HIV, AIDS, drug abuse. So I knew way more about the disease, because I was living with it in my house.''
You know what this reminds me of? More fifth grade stuff. You have two best friends (Magic and Isiah) and one bitter enemy to both of them (Bird). Only, by some strange twist of fate, one of the bosom buddies (Magic) becomes friends with the enemy (Bird). Suddenly, the other bosom buddy (Isiah) is on the outside looking in...and wondering what in the hell happened. But of course boys don't talk about their feelings, so the two former friends just drift apart. By 8th grade (or in this case almost two decades later), one former friend (Isiah) finally hears through the grapevine (or in this case a book prepared for mass distribution) that his old buddy thinks all kinds of bad things about him based on stuff that may not even be true.
Here are some of Isiah's responses to all this. Regarding the Dream Team cock-block:
"I'm glad that he's finally had the nerve and the courage to stand up and say it was him, as opposed to letting Michael Jordan take the blame for it all these years. I wish he would have had the courage to say this stuff to me face to face, as opposed to writing it in some damn book to sell and he can make money off it.''
Regarding the "I said Magic's gay" rumors:
"Magic acted and responded off some really bad information that he got. Whatever friendship we had, I thought it was bulls--- that he believed that. Let me put it to you this way: If he and I were such close friends, if I was questioning his sexuality, then I was questioning mine too. That's how idiotic it is.
"They weren't going to let Magic play in the All-Star Game; all the players were coming out [against him]. You know how that all got turned around? I had a meeting with all of the players -- because I was president of the players' association -- and I told them not only was he going to play, but we were going to shake his hand and give him a hug. And I was the first to shake his hand and hug him and give him a kiss, to let people know that's not how the virus is spread. And you can go back and check at the players' association. Call Charlie Grantham [the former union executive director and COO] and ask him how Magic got to play in the All-Star Game. Ask him who called the meeting.
"I don't discriminate. I don't believe any race or ethnic group or social group should be discriminated against, because I have been discriminated against, and I know it would be wrong for me to discriminate. I think Magic has been misled on a lot of things, and unfortunately this has been another one of them. I am hurt and disappointed that he has chosen to believe others as opposed to his closest friends. And I think you can go back and look in that era and see who his closest friends were, and who his closest friends are now. At that time, I don't consider Lon Rosen to be one of his closest friends; he was one of his business advisers making money off him."
Believe it or not, I feel a little bad for Isiah. The dude has been having a pretty rough decade or so. Misfortune and tragedy -- much of it self-imposed -- have dogged him at every turn. If you think about it, this all started in 1987 when he said that if Larry Bird was black he's be just another good player. Then, after a couple championships, he walked off the court without congratulating the Bulls after the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. Then he bombed as Toronto's GM. Then there was the CBA debacle. Then Larry Bird fires him as coach of the Indiana Pacers. Years later, he gets fired again after almost destroying the New York Knicks. Then he allegedly tries to commit suicide and says it was actually his daughter who did it. Now this.
Bad times all around.
It's hard to blame 1991 Magic Johnson for being upset. After all, back then being diagnosed with HIV was like a death sentence. And, frankly, it was easy to believe that Isiah would say something stupid like "I don't know what he's doing when he's out there in L.A." in light of his previous comments about Bird. And yeah, maybe he was too emotionally wrung out to deal with it by the time the original Dream Team was being put together. I get all that. What I don't get is why it's taken Magic -- who's healthy and has seemingly long since come to terms with his HIV-positive status -- so long to speak up. And, really, he should have told Isiah directly before putting it into a book that's not even about Isiah.
But if The Magic Hour taught us anything, it's that Magic doesn't always make the best decisions. Oh well. I guess it's better to have man-loved and lost...than to have never man-loved at all.
Update! I had to add this comment from BleedingHeartPessimist: "I can just picture Larry Bird, sitting in his Birdcave, looking at a giant flow chart entitled "Plan to Destroy Isiah and Magic", crossing off another box, and chuckling to himself."
Michael Jordan probably saw it as Magic letting him take credit, not the fall.
Top Secret Meeting of Dream Team Players
Magic: He's not my BFF anymore. That is so 1990.
Larry: I never liked him either.
Karl Malone: Speaking of manlove, if he gets on, my basketball other half is probably going to be left off. Down with Isiah!
Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen: We vote however Michael says, and everyone knows how he froze Michael out during that All-Star game.
Jordan: I want him off the team, too, but on one condition.
Jordan: He thinks I'm the one behind everything. He gets to sit at home all summer and think about how if he would have acknowledged my greatness, he could have been on the greatest team ever. The biggest mistake anyone can ever make is not acknowledging my greatness, you know. And I never forget, and I will dedicate the rest of my life to humiliating anyone foolish enough to motivate me by -- anyone got a pen? This is good stuff, and I want to save it for my hall of fame induction speech.
Malone: Make sure John gets to be the other point guard, and he'll make up something about wanting to be brought into the hall of fame by another small dominant guard so Isiah can be there in person when you make the hall of fame speech!
The Chicago Bulls were on their way to England a couple weeks ago when Derrick Rose celebrated his 21st birthday. As you can see, great fun was had by all. Well, as much fun as you can have eating cake on a plane that's rocketing over the Atlantic ocean.
But wait, there's more. Or, at least, there's going to be more. Apparently, ClubNet360 is throwing D-Rose an "official" birthday party this Saturday. Here's the suitably dramatic promo graphic:
Apparently, Derrick's birthday party will be extra flame-y.
Let's see...I'm over 21 years old and enjoy going to clubs. I'm able to attend and host weekly events and socialize / network with new people. I'm energetic, outgoing, presentable. I have an electronic presence and transportation. I'm so in!
Or maybe not. The ad doesn't say "women only," but I'm guessing I have too much sausage for ClubNet360's (not to mention D-Rose's) tastes. But I RSVP'd for the party anyway...and my RSVP has already been confirmed! Here are the details:
This Event Is Already Abuzz In The City!!! Celebrities Are CONFIRMED! The NBA's Rookie Of The YEAR & Reigning NBA Skills Champion Will Have An ALL-Star Birthday Celebration. The Entire Chicago Bulls Team Will Attend This Ultra Plush Event...as Well As Some Of Chicago's Most Famous Celebrities. This $30 Million 2 Level Venue Provides An Atmosphere Like No Other...Built Around Elegance...There's No Finer Venue In Chicago. This Is An Event That You Don’t Want To Miss...A Portion Of The Proceeds From This Event Will Benefit Charities.
YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THE $2 MILLION BACK DROP
Guest List Includes: Vince Vaughn, Judge Greg Mathis, Jeremy Piven, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas, Derrick Byars, Aaron Gray, Brad Miller, Chris Richard, James Johnson, Jannero Pargo, Jerome James, Taj Gibson Lindsey Hunter
I simply cannot wait to meet Aaron Gray, Chris Richard and Derrick Byars. Time to get my tux pressed! Seriously, though, since when are Vince Vaughn and Judge Greg Mathis "Chicago's most famous celebrities"? That's kinda sad if you think about it. Couldn't ClubNet360 at least have gotten Adam Baldwin or that guy who played Ross in Friends?
The weirdest thing about this is that Derrick Rose is so shy and unassuming, I can't imagine him even going to a party like this much less being the guest of honor. I guess it's like they say: you always have to watch out for the quiet ones.
Mario West may never be scored on by LeBron James again.
Think about that. Did you get cold chills? Me too...me too.
Mario did more than inspire a new word of the day that revolutionized the way we report lacktion. This kid stuck around the NBA -- alongside the best basketball players in the world -- on sheer determination and effort.
If I worked as hard at my job as Mario did at his, I'd probably be typing this post from my secret Moon Base while Kate Beckinsale frolicked in my space pool and my pet dogs feasted on the bones of my enemies. Huh. I wonder if Mario would be interested in an internship opportunity now that he's unemployed...
Hat Tip: To everyone who e-mailed or commented to me about this sad news.
So your team captain has been banned for the rest of the season because he attacked a fan during one of your country's most prestigious basketball tournaments. And this incident also happened to take place during your league's 35th anniversary celebrations. What do you do?
If you're the Burger King Whoppers, you make him your BK Player of the Week! No, really. Check out their Web site...or this screen grab. Take special notice of Arboleda's stats (or lack thereof). Congratulations, Wynne!
I'd been wondering what was up with Arboleda's 'tude, but then I looked at his team bio. Check this out: "Played three seasons from the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) under Laguna Lakers (1998-2000)...." That's the problem! He's a former Laker! That explains it.
Thanks to Basketbawful reader Sam for the head's up and the screenshot.
Here's further proof, in case you needed it, that American basketball players in general and Ron Artest in particular don't have exclusive rights to The Crazy®: Wynne Arboleda of the Philippine Basketball Association recently made sports headlines you probably haven't read by attacking a courtside fan. Apparently, the fan -- Alain Katigbak -- "shouted profane words" at Arboleda after he committed his second flagrant foul during the PBA 2009-10 Philippine Cup. The second flagrant was turrible, but you can see a replay of the first flagrant foul at the 1:10 mark. It's definitely dirty enough to earn Arboleda a few profane words...and maybe even a short prison sentence. You know, unless the Philippines are a desolate, Mad Max-style wasteland. Although if that is the case: sweet!
Awesome, right? Even more awesome is the name of Arboleda's team: the Burger King Whoppers, formerly known as the Burger King Titans, the Air21 Express, and the FedEx Express. But awesomest of all is the fact that Arboleda was the team captain of the Whoppers and the son-in-law of the team owner. Not exactly the behavior you expect from a team leader, or anyone not infected with rabies for that matter. I'm sure Alain Katigbak didn't expect it. As hottie sideline reporter Patricia Hizon said, "no one ever really thinks that could happen to them." (Memo to the NBA: it's time to start importing sideline reporters from the Philippines. I understand that "all the ballaz around the world" love Cheryl Miller and everything, but I'd replace her with Hizon faster than Zach Randolph would skip an optional practice session.)
As a postscript to the incident, PBA Comissioner Sonny Barrios took a page out of David Stern's notebook and suspended Arboleda for the rest of the 2009-10 season without pay. It's the heaviest sanction in PBA history. Sound familiar, Pacers fans? Despite this harsh punishment, the PBA can't be too upset about Arboleda's freakout, considering the fact that it's been great for business: "Figures made available showed a 55.78 percent increase in sales during the Oct. 11 opener, which also hit a remarkable 108.45 percent increase in attendance compared to the same period of last year's Philippine Cup." Let's fight? Them's fightin' words!
Meanwhile, Arboleda issued a rather remorseless non-apology: "I take full responsibility and express regret over the unfortunate incident. My action was provoked by the incessant name-calling and cursing uttered by the said fan particularly to me each time I was within hearing distance. Even as I apologize to Alain Katigbak and his family, as well as the PBA fans, at the same time, I raise an appeal on behalf of other players to the PBA to recognize that provocations and invectives directed towards specific players unnecessarily test our limitations."
Translation: "I might have dispensed the contents of that can of Whup Ass, but the fan opened it."
Getting back to the Burger King Whoppers thing, I'm lovin' it. (Sorry for lifting your dandy slogan, McDonald's.) And the PBA is chock full of fun team names, like the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, and the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. Now those are some teams I could get behind.
I can only hope this imperialist expansion of American products into Filipino basketball naming conventions continues. Maybe someday residents of the Philippines will be able to watch thrilling matchups like the Vagisil All-Natural Douchebags versus the Tampax Panty Liners, or the Oscar Meyer All-Beef Foot Longs versus the Little Ceasar's Hot 'N Readys. It'll be like The Age of Aquarius: Part II.
More Bonus Fun: Here's a list of violent spectator incidents in sports. My personal favorite is the women's suffrage activist who was trampled to death by a horse. Who knew horses were so violently opposed to equal rights for women? I guess you could say they really put the "rage" in "suffrage." Sorry. I had to do it.
Hat tip: Thanks to Basketbawful reader Grizzly for the head's up.
A scene from Shaun of the Dead or a Larry Hughes jump shot sighting?
From TrueHoop: "On a more positive note, Larry Hughes of the Knicks hit a jump shot with 8:30 remaining to snap his 0-for-18 slump to start the preseason. Hughes finished 1-for-3, upping his accuracy rate to 5 percent in New York's five exhibition games." That's the Big Shot Larry we know and loath.
But don't worry, Knicks fans. After all, Big Shot Larry says he isn't worried about his cold shooting: "I haven't been getting a lot of shots that I want and making shots that I want. But it's the preseason. I think I'm getting limited minutes and not getting into a rhythm. But it will come. I've played in this league a long time. I'm not concerned." Well, you know what John Cusack would say: when they tell you not to panic, that's when you RUN!!
It's almost regular season time, and you know what that means: the return of man love! Basketbawful reader Clifton sent in this preseason pic of Channing Frye hugging Martell Webster as if his loins depended on it. That O-face is a sure sign that Frye has really been missing his Portland teammates.
Update! Did I miss one? Provide a story and citation, and I'll add it to the list!
Amare Stoudemire: On February 18, 2009, STAT suffered a partially detatched retina in his right eye against (of all teams) the Clippers, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. That doesn't sound all that dumb until you consider that fact that Stoudemire injured that same eye earlier in the season and was told he'd probably need to wear goggles for the rest of his career. Only Amare soon stopped wearing the goggles...and, well, you know what happened.
An unnamed Timbersolves fan: On February 26, 2006, during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, a frustrated Kevin Garnett (then with the Timberwolves) launched a basketball into the Minnesota crowd and pulped an unnamed fan's face in the process. Garnett was ejected (and later fined $5,000) and the fan was wheeled out of the Target Center on a gurney (during which the other fans booed him). According to a friend, the fan missed work the next day. Added that friend, "He is a victim, not a villain. ... He was not mad for a second at [Garnett]. He's mad at anybody who portrayed it that way. ... He's embarrassed about the whole thing. The only thing he's angry with is how the crowd reacted to him." (Thanks to Basketbawful reader Story for the reminder.)
BJ Tyler: According to Wikipedia: "Prior to the 1995-96 NBA season, Tyler was selected by the Toronto Raptors in the 1995 expansion draft. According to journalist Chris Young's book Drive, Tyler accidentally fell asleep with a pack of ice on his knee, severely damaging it and thus losing all the speed for which he was famed, and subsequently had to retire." Yeah, right. He just didn't want to play for the Raptors. Vince Carter feels him on that one. [Thanks to siukong for the head's up.]
Brad Miller: The former Boilermaker Miller needed nine stitches in his right index finger after almost chopping it off with a knife while doing dishes last season...on the same day he was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the second time in his career. Said Miller: "It's the last time I help do dishes." Said teammate Mikki Moore: "When I saw him, it was all wrapped up. So, I said, 'You're going to drop 20 and 20 in two games and then go and cut your knuckle off?' I said, 'That's real smart, Brad.' He said, 'Nah, that's my luck.'" [Thanks to Josh from The Garbagetime All-Stars for the reminder.]
Charles Barkley: Sir Charles has never been easy on the eyes...not even his own. Chuck missed the Phoenix Suns' 1994-95 season opener because the first layers of his corneas got burned off by body lotion during an Eric Clapton concert. Apparently, allergies and the dazzling stage lights caused him to rub his eyes, and he got lotion in them.
Conrad McRae: During the 1998-99 season, the Denver Nuggets signed McRae to a 10-day contract. Contrad, who was unaccustomed to the thin air in the high altitude of Denver, fainted while doing some pre-game sprints. He was treated by paramedics and did not play in that night's game for precautionary reasons.
Sad extra: McRae's fainting caused Denver's medical staff to evaluate him further and discovered that he had a heart condition and advised him that he should not play basketball again. He ignored that advice and died in June 2000 during a basketball practice.
Dajuan Wagner: He missed missed thirty-five games during his rookie year due to what was thought to be a bladder infection. He missed another thirty-eight games during his sophomore season due to an inflamed pancreas and liver. Then, 11 games into his third season, Wagner started suffering stomach cramps and the doctors thought it was just another bladder infection. Turns out it was colitis, and that's what had been causing all his problems. He had the colon removed and missed another seventy-one games. That was pretty much the end of Dajuan's career; he tried to make a comeback, but his team (the Golden State Warriors) simply bought out his contract.
Darko Milicic: Ah, Darko, Darko, Darko. He was put in for what was described as a "token" appearance in the Pistons' Game 5 blowout of the Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals (what we here at Basketbawful like to call the human victory cigar). He played 2 minutes, finishing with 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover...and 1 broken hand. Oh yes he did. The injury required surgury and sidelines him for eight weeks. (Thanks Harpreet.)
Derrick Coleman: Coleman -- whose NBA career was limited and cut short due to laziness, character issues, a giant fat ass, and, of course, injury problems -- got injured again, only this time it happened while filming an episode of the TV show Pros vs. Joes. DC was participating in a rebounding challenge against some "average joe" when he came down from a jump and landed awkwardly, hurting his always-troublesome knee. This means that Coleman has the dubious distinction of being the first Pro to ever get injured during battle with a Joe.
Derrick Rose: The Bulls rookie was forced to miss some practice time because, get ready for it, he cut himself under the elbow on his left forearm. In bed. From a knife he used to slice an apple. Said Rose: "Silly accident this morning. I went to get a bottle of water, forgot the knife was there and sat down and sliced my arm. I panicked when it first happened. I called [Bulls trainer Fred Tedeschi]. We got it stitched up about 8 [a.m.]. It was a large wound, but they healed it up. I'm good. I could have practiced, but they told me to wait until [today]. I can still dribble, shoot, do all that stuff. I'm hoping they'll let me play."
Of course, a lot of people are already questioning what "really" happened, since Rose's story sounds too bizarre to be true (kind of like the time I got run over by a horse while riding my bike). But, in my experience, it's the weird stories that totally ARE true. And Rose isn't worried about what other people think. "It's the truth, so I'm not worried about [people not believing him]. I called my mom, and she was like, what are you doing? It was just a freak accident. I was very scared. I'm going to get somebody else to cut [the apple]. I'm not cutting it no more." Ah, to live in a world where, after a freak apple-cutting accident, you can respond not by simply being more careful next time, but by hiring someone to peel apples for you for the rest of your life. Awesome.
Drew Gooden: In March of 2004, Gooden -- then with the Orlando Magic -- was hospitalized with what was thought to be a spider bite. Turns out it was a MRSA infection resulting from infected hair follicles on his leg. The infection was repeatedly drained and he needed three days of intravenous drug treatment.
I know it's tempting to laugh about this, but MRSA is a dangerous antibiotic-resistant infection that has been dubbed "the Superbug" in England. So if somebody you know gets a leg hair infection, do not laugh at them. Okay, you can laugh a little bit.
Dwyane Wade: I'm not saying the man wasn't hurt -- he was hurt really badly -- but people (like me) are still wondering why he needed to be taken off the court in a wheelchair for a shoulder injury. I guess the leg bone is connected to the arm bone...
Eddy Curry: E-City had to miss a game due to a badly sprained left ankle suffered at...a walk-through at his team's morning shoot-around. Nope. I'm not kidding. Said teammate Malik Rose: "How do you explain something like that?" Good question. A very good question.
Eddy Curry (again): Speaking of good questions, here's another: Can a player suffer a more embarrassing injury than spraining his ankle during a walk-through? Well, the answer is "yes" my friends. From the New York Daily News: "Poor Eddy Curry. He sat on the giant blue physioball during a break from Monday's practice and the ball exploded. Eddy fell and scraped and his wrist but should be okay. The ball, which is used for stretching exercises, was pronounced dead at the scene." This also answers the classic "How do you know when you're too fat?" question. I thought those balls were indestructible.
Francisco Garcia: He broke his arm. While lifting weights. On a physioball. No, really. Said Garcia: "'Just a regular day, lifting weights. I was out there, on the PhysioBall. We've got an understanding that the exercise was good. We'd been doing that, and it exploded on me. I didn't have time to react or anything. It's crazy, man. I keep reflecting in my head. It's crazy."
George McCloud: Prior to Game 3 of the 1992 first round playoff series between the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics, McCloud "held his ankle in a funny way" while talking on the phone. This somehow injured the ankle so badly he couldn't play in the game and had to sit on the bench in street clothes as his team got eliminated. [Thanks to 80s NBA for the reminder; this was actually one of my painful Pacers playoff moments.]
Gilbert Arenas: File this one under "unfortunate pube shaving accidents." Very unfortunate. I'll let Agent Zero tell the tale: "When I was new in the NBA the team veterans convinced me to shave, you know, down there, because they said the hair stinks. I used my girlfriend's razor, which was rusty and gave me keloids. The doctor prescribed medicine to dab on, but I just poured it all over. Three days later I woke up screaming. The skin was burnt off my scrotum, down to my crack, everything -- just raw flesh. I still had to run and play, so I used a numbing spray for a month until it healed. Now I use clippers." I bet he does. [Thanks to The Brazilian Guy for this one.]
Jeff Hornacek: Here's a good one from Marc: "You need to include Jeff Hornacek for tripping over a rake during the break the Jazz had between the 1998 Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. He had to get seven stitches. If Horny would have been full strength the Jazz would have won the title. Or so I tell myself every night." Finally a reason for everybody to get off of Karl Malon's case!
Here's the full story: "During the 10-day layoff between the Jazz's sweep of the Lakers in the Western Conference finals and the start of the NBA Finals against the Bulls in 1998, Hornacek tried to stay busy by doing household chores. While maneuvering a heavy ladder over and around the cars parked in his garage, he stepped on a rake, causing him to fall and drop the ladder on his head, opening a large gash. He yelled to his wife, Stacy, who rushed out and found him lying in a pool of blood. 'Blood was everywhere,' she said. 'I thought he was dead.' He was only mostly dead. Seven stitches closed the wound."
Jeff Ruland: After the 1985-86 season, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to flush their future down the toilet by trading the first pick in the NBA draft -- which became Brad Daugherty -- to Cleveland for Roy Hinson. Since that didn't do nearly enough damage, they also sent Moses Malone to Washington in exchange for Ruland. Moses went on to average 24 PPG and 11 RPG for the Bullets, while Ruland played only five games for the Sixers before getting sidelined with a variety of foot and knee injuries.
Ruland was out of action for five years but attempted to return for the 1991-92 season. However, the comeback ended because of...a luggage cart. Yes, a luggage cart, which was (allegedly) rammed into Ruland's leg by a Celtics employee as he waited for a team bus outside Boston Garden. (It should be noted that Ruland was not a popular in Boston, and he was even nicknamed "McNasty" by the Celtics' late great broadcaster Johnny Most.)
Said Ruland: "I got run over by a luggage cart. That's hard to swallow. It can't be accidental, they were moving too fast. Whoever could foresee anything like this happening?"
Jermaine O'Neal: BadDave nicknamed him "The Drain" because of his propensity for getting injured. And it all began back in December of 200, when he got injured...by a sneeze: "Jermaine O'Neal may have an NBA first: Injured while blowing his nose. The pressure on the sinus caused the Indiana Pacers center's right eye to swell last week, leaving him with blurred vision. He played only 10 minutes at Boston on Friday night, then logged 38 minutes in Saturday night's overtime victory over Charlotte despite the limited vision. 'It was an old nose injury plus sinus problems,' O'Neal said. 'When I blew my nose it made a small hole in my sinuses.'" (Thanks to thebigticket.my for the head's up and the link.)
John Starks: Oh my God. I've been laughing about this one for about five minutes. Thank you, Sturla, for bringing this joy back into my life. (Although I'm sure Starks would punch me for it.) Back in 2001, Starks suffered -- wait for it...wait for it -- a twisted testicle! No, I am not making this up. The scientific term for this is testicular torsion, and it happens when the spermatic cord that provides the blood supply to a testicle is twisted, cutting off the blood supply, often causing orchalgia (that is, intense pain in the nutsack). Prolonged testicular torsion will result in the death of the testicle and surrounding tissues. Starks had to undergo a procedure to "open up and untwist the testicle." Ouch.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Over the course of his 162-year NBA career, Kareem broke his hand twice. But that wasn't just the law of averages in operation, folks. Both injuries were cases of extreme dumbosity. From Kareem's Wikipedia page: "While remaining relatively injury-free throughout his NBA career, Abdul-Jabbar twice broke his hand. The first time was during a pre-season game in 1974, when he was bumped hard and got his eye scratched, which angered him enough to punch the basket support stanchion. When he returned, after missing the first 16 games of the season, he started to wear protective goggles. The second time he broke his hand was in the opening game of the 1977-78 season. Two minutes into the game, Abdul-Jabbar punched Milwaukee's Kent Benson in retaliation for an overly aggressive elbow. He was out for two months."
Kendrick Perkins: Boston's big man missed time last season due to a right big toe that was injured when he dropped a bed on it. "I was asleep. I guess whoever put my bed together didn't put it together right when I moved, so one side of my bed fell. My bed was tilted, so I got out of my bed to go push down on the other side. And when I was about getting ready to push down on the other side, the headboard started coming in. So I tried to push the headboard back so it wouldn't fall over. My foot was under the bed and the other side of the bed fell on my foot." Man, I hate it when that happens.
Kevin Johnson: During the mid-90s, KJ won a regular season game on a buzzer-beating shot and received a crippling bear hug from teammate Charles Barkley. And I mean "crippling" in the literal sense. Chuck squeezed Kevin so hard his shoulder was dislocated. (At least Barkley didn't rub any body lotion in KJ's eyes.) Unlike Dwyane Wade, Kevin didn't have to be carted off the court in a wheelchair, but he was out of action for the next two weeks. KJ also had hernia surgery in 1996 after years of abdominal problems that were allegedly brought on by picking up teammate Oliver Miller to celebrate a play.
Kobe Bryant: He hurt his back. Vacuuming. But he says it's because of vacuum size discrimination. Seriously. Watch the video. [Thanks to rich muhlach for this one.]
Larry Bird: In the fall of 1988, Bird was attempting a comeback from dual-Achilles surgery when he permenantly injured in his back. How? He was undercut by Michael Jordan, who then fell on Bird...in the Kenny Rogers Charity Basketball Tournament in Kentucky. According to his second autobiography, Bird Watching: On Playing and Coaching The Game I Love, Bird said: "We were in the final minutes of this charity basketball game when I went up for a rebound and came down a little sideways. Michael Jordan was going for the ball too, and he landed on my back. Right away I knew I was in trouble. I had torn additional portions of the disc wall, and my back was really traumatized. I didn't know it then, all the way back in 1989, but that was the beginning of the end…I never came all the way back." Yet another reason I hate Michael Jordan.
Latrell Sprewell: The man who once choked his coach broke his hand by taking a swing at the boyfriend of a female party guest who threw up on his yacht. But it seems that Spree's punches were roughly as accurate as his jumpers (42 percent lifetime): He whiffed and punched the wall instead. Sprewell tried to cover up the incident, but some of his guests leaked the story and the Knicks fined Spree $250,000 for not reporting the injury. Sprewell, ever the victim, complained about it to the press. "They talk about being a family but they're not sticking with me. The biggest thing to me is that I'm hurt. So don't kick me when I'm down." But...but that's the best time to kick somebody!
Lionel Simmons: The L-Train was an absolutely amazing basketball player. In college. He finished third in all-time NCAA scoring with 3,217 points, trailing only only Pete Maravich and Freeman Williams. He also won both the Naismith College Player of the Year award and the John R. Wooden Award. His NBA career, on the other hand, was barely more than decent. But Lionel's greatest contribution to the pro game was the injury he suffered during the 1990-91 season: He missed two games with wrist tendonitis caused by overtraining on his Nintendo Game Boy. I can only hope he defeated King Koopa and saved the Princess.
Luc Longley: During the 1996-97 season, the Bulls lost Longley's services for seven weeks after he got hurt body surfing. Yeah. Luc was body-surfing off the coast of Los Angeles coast when an unexpectedly strong wave drove him shoulder-first into the ocean floor and knocked his clavicle and shoulder out of place.
Luc Longley (again): Back in the 1999-00 season, Luc got stung the the scorpion...and I'm not talking about the Spider-man villain: "The runaway winner for injury of the year goes to Phoenix C Luc Longley, who was stung twice by a scorpion while sitting on the floor at his home sorting through his CD collection -- once on the foot, once on the buttocks. 'If I was unable to play,' Longley said, 'I'll be the first player ever to have DNP-ass bite on the box score.'" Oh how I wish that would have happened. (Thanks to goathair of the Blowtorch -- great, great site, btw -- for the stinging reminder.)
Michael Jordan: Yep, even MJ has a place on this list. Although he was already kinda sorta unofficially retired (again), Jordan severed a tendon in his right index finger (i.e., on his shooting hand) while using a cigar cutter in January 1999. Officially listed as a "a laceration of the flexor tendon," Jordan needed surgery to repair it and six weeks of occupational therapy to rehabilitate it.
Monta Ellis: Shortly after inking a six-year, $66 million dollar contract extension, Ellis torpedoed Golden State's 2008-09 season when he tore a ligament in his left ankle and sustained a high-ankle sprain in a "low-speed" mo-ped accident. So not only did he screw his team over, he lost serious Man Points for getting injured not only on a mo-ped...but while driving said mo-ped at low speeds. Oh, the fail.
Moochie Norris: In March of 1999, Moochie -- who was given his nickname by his grandfather, who loved the Cab Calloway song Minnie the Moocher -- asked his team (the Seattle SuperSonics) to put him on the injured list because of insomnia. Apparently, Mooch had suffered from insomnia since his mother had died of cancer in 1989, and he (supposedly) only got about two hours of sleep on most nights. The Sonics weren't fond of that excuse, so a few days later they waived Moochie to make room for John Crotty. Yes, John Crotty.
Mo Williams:Mo missed a game against the Pacers last season with pubic symphysitis. (Editor's note: That's an injury to the pubic symphysis, which is a cartilaginous joint above the man region.) I have no idea how you injure this sensitive joint, but surgically cutting it allows more of the penis to hang outside the body, thereby increasing its length. I'm not trying to insinuate that Mo had elective surgery to make his dong longer, but...no, actually, that's kind of what I'm insinuating.
Muggsy Bogues: The tiny, tiny man (who was playing for the Toronto Raptors) missed the second half of a game against the Portland Trailblazers after accidentally sucking in some ointment fumes during a halftime treatment. ("Ointment fumes"...so that's what the kids are calling it these days? I guess I should double-check with Josh Howard.) Said Bogues: "Never happened to me before and I hope it never happens again. That was one of those fluke things you don't even dream about."
Pat Riley: As the NarSARSsist pointed out, back in January of 2007, while his NBA champion Miami Heat were falling apart around him, then-coach Pat Riley had to take an indefinite leave of absence after having surgery on his right knee. The cause? Nobody's quite sure, but he had apparently kicked a locker room door following a loss in Chicago the previous week. While that kick hadn't caused the problem, it certainly exaccerbated it. Allegedly. Riley still never has admitted to kicking that door. Said Riles: "What I do in the locker room really has always been my business." Here's what Alonzo Mourning had to say: "Typical Riles. All the years that he's coached me I've seen him tear a lot of things up." As always, I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
Pervis Ellison: From Roger Williams: "In his second to last season with the Celtics, Pervis 'Out of Service' Ellison missed the entire season after dropping a table on his toe while helping then teammate Greg Minor (he of SI cover story fame) move to a new apartment." Yep. It happened.
Ron Artest: Ron-Ron threw his back out of whack...driving his wife's Mercedes. This is apparently what happens when you stuff an extra-large body into an extra-small space.
Ruben Patterson: This entry harkens back to 2003, during Portland's infamous "Jail Blazer" era. Patterson ended up with a shiny black eye thanks to a five-knuckeled "hello" from teammate Zach Randolph. Patterson, who earlier that season had been arrested on suspicion of domestic assault, was arguing with Qyntel Woods, who himself had been recently cited by Portland police on marijuana possession charges after a traffic stop, when Randolph stepped in and sucker-punched Patterson. While, it should be noted, Patterson was being restrained by teammates. Nice, huh? Patterson then promised not to retaliate...until his probation expired in May (it was April at the time). Good times all around. (Thanks to Dunpizzle.)
Scott Williams: While playing for the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan-less 1993-94 season, Williams had a string of bizarre injuries. First, he missed four days of practice after straining his shoulder at the team's annual bowling outing. A few days later, he hurt his back lifting a TV he bought on sale. Then, later in the season, he injured a tendon behind his right kneecap while stretching, and that was the end of his season. That kind of injury proneness would make even Bill Walton wince.
Slobodan Jankovic: From chris: "This ain't NBA, but it is (no pun intended) mind-numbingly dumb: 'Published: May 1, 1993. A Serbian basketball player was reported to be improving yesterday after spinal surgery to repair a neck injury suffered when he slammed his head into a concrete block in anger at a referee's decision. Doctors at KAT Hospital in Athens said Slobodan Jankovic, a 30-year-old center, may recover use of his arms and legs as a result of the operation late Thursday. Jankovic rammed his head against a cement support of the basket after being called for a fifth foul that put him out of a semifinal game in the Greek championship playoffs on Wednesday night. The blow fractured his neck, damaged Jankovic's spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the waist down.'"
Tony Allen:He blew out his knee -- tearing both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) -- while trying to throw one down after the whistle had blown. That's a direct message from the Basketball Gods, and it can be interpreted as: "Thou shalt not showboat, mortal fool!" Oh, and the worst part (as several people have pointed out)? He blew the dunk. Video below. [You can thank LooseChange and her amazing brain for this one.]
Tracy Murray: Courtesy of Damon: "Don't forget the Tracy Murray / Rod Strickland 'he's gay!' dispute, which led to a Get Shorty-style punch that left Murray with seven stitches. From Sports Illustrated: 'Rod Strickland vs. Tracy Murray, 1997: Murray told a lady friend, who was tape-recording the conversation, that he thought Wizards teammate Strickland was gay. The woman then replayed the words on Strickland's answering machine. Later that day, a few hours before a game in Charlotte, Strickland knocked on his teammate's hotel door. When Murray answered, Strickland landed a haymaker to Murray's left eye. Murray needed seven stitches to close the wound; both players were fined $25,000 by the team. In addition, the girlfriends of both players were reportedly upset by the reports linking their men to the tape-recording woman.'"
Vladimir Radmanović: In February of 2007, Radmanović separated his shoulder falling on a patch of ice in Park City, Utah. Or so he claimed. But a few days later, Radmanović admitted that he had actually hurt himself in a fall while snowboarding. Said the Radman: "The truth is that I hurt myself in a fall while snowboarding. Being young and sometimes immature, I initially panicked and made up a false story about how I hurt myself. However, over the past few days my conscience has been bothering me terribly. I am not a dishonest person and could no longer live with this deception. Therefore, I came forward today and told the truth to the Lakers." Mind you, his contract specifically banned him from taking part in activities that involve significant risk of injury, including skiing and snowboarding. The space cadet was fined $500,000 for his stupidity. [Many thanks to plonden for jogging my memory on this one.]