The Chicago Bulls:
The Bulls sunk to 1-3 on their annual circus road trip, with the sole win coming against the sadsack Kings and the three losses coming in hapless blowout fashion against the Lakers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers. Last night's game in Portland perfectly illustrated that the Bulls are marshmallow soft on the inside.
Chicago was outscored 50-32 in the paint and outrebounded 47-27 (including 14-8 on the offensive glass). Greg Oden committed only 4 fouls (is that a season low?) while matching his career-high by scoring 24 points (7-for-8 from the field, 10-for-12 from the line). Oden also snared 12 boards, blocked a couple shots and neutralized Joakim Noah (7 points, 8 rebounds, 5 fouls). Meanwhile, LaMarcus "I would have been a Bull if John Paxson hadn't traded me for Tyrus Thomas on draft night" Aldridge tortured his coulda-been team (not to mention poor Taj Gibson) with 24 points (10-for-16) and a game-high 13 rebounds. Hell, even Joel Przybilla (8 points, 3-for-3 from the field, 2-for-2 from the line) lit up the Bulls in limited minutes.
After getting outscored 35-23 in the second quarter, the Bulls came out smoking in the third, hitting their first nine shots to get back into striking distance. But the Blazers ended the quarter on a 10-5 run and then won the fourth quarter 32-18 to win by 24. Said Derrick Rose: "We have to find a way to polish the game off and finish. It's very hard to rebound when you have someone like 6-foot-6, 6-7 boxing out 7-footers. We have to find a way to get rebounds and run."The Bulls bench:
Chicago's reserve corps got outscored 47-24, and that number would have been even worse if Jannero Pargo hadn't had one of his patented scoring outbursts. It doesn't help that Tyrus Thomas is out with a fractured forearm. But still.John Paxson:
Remember when he traded Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas on draft night in 2006
? I'm just sayin'.Sacramento Kings:
Only a few short games ago, they Kings were on fire. Now? Well, let's just say it turns out they are who we throught they were. Four -- count 'em -- four straight losses. Their opponent, the almost equally depressing Memphis Grizzlies, shot 54 percent from the field and had a 42-23 edge in free throw attempts. (The Griz ended up +14 in points from foul shots.) But the problem that's been plaguing the Sactowners -- turnovers -- once again reared it's ugly head. The Kings bobbled the ball away 21 times, including a game-high 5 for point guard Tyreke Evans (versus only 4 assists) and 4 each for Andres Nocioni and Spencer Hawes.Fail.
Said Sacramento coach Paul Westphal: "If we can't throw the ball to our team, it's going to be a long year. We started out the game turning the ball over and kept it up for most of the first three quarters. ... We just couldn't get anything going because our ballhandling was so atrocious."Kings-Grizzlies interior defense:
The two teams combined for 122 points in the paint. Was anybody protecting the rim? Oh, wait, Zach Randolph was playing. Never mind, then.Allen Iverson:
Anybody else notice the Grizzlies have won four of their last five games? Ditching The Not Answer has actually improved Memphis in the short term. I say "short term" because it's a long season and they'll have plenty of opportunities to start sucking again. But for now, waiving Iverson sure feels like a case of addition by distraction subtraction.The Minnesota Timberwolves:
Dan B. forwarded me this tidbit from Marc Stein in his ESPN.com Power Rankings
"It must be worrisome for the Wolves, to say the least, that they've played
almost into Thanksgiving and somehow Ricky Rubio has tasted victory in the NBA
only one fewer time than fellow Wolves lottery pick Jonny Flynn."
Ouch. Major Ouch. But pretty much on the money.
If it weren't for the still-winless New Jersey Nyets, the Timberwolves would easily be the league's most pitiful team. If watching these guys play doesn't make you want to sit in a bathtub full of warm water, turn on Radiohead's How To Disappear Completely
, and slit your wrists, I don't know what will. Last night's 91-87 loss to the Clippers was Minny's 13th consecutive loss. And Baron Davis -- who got benched for a couple turnovers in the third quarter and entered the final 10 seconds 0-for-9 from the field -- swooped in for the game-clinching layup with 8.5 seconds to go. DEFENSIVE FAIL.
Kurt Rambis' offense is so bawful it makes me want to pour something toxic in my own eyes. The Timberwolves have been held under 88 points in six consecutive games since their 145-105 loss at Golden State back on November 9. And let's face it, scoring 105 points against the defenseless Warriors is like scoring 80, maybe 85 points against pretty much anybody else. But, as has been the case so often this season, Rambis was ready to place the blame squarely on...his young players. "We were taking sloppy shots during the fourth quarter and we were not executing. We tried to do too much at one time. We play as individuals and not as a whole team, and that's when we get into trouble." And by "we" he really means "they." Shot selection wasn't the only thing that was sloppy, as the T-Wolves gave up 22 points off 21 turnovers."You're offense sucks. You know that, right?"
Minnesota is now 1-13 and hasn't won since opening night. Oh, and in case you've forgotten, that one, lonely "W" was a two-point victory over...the winless New Jersey Nyets. Oh yes, it really is that bad. The T-Wolves have now matched the worst 14-game start in the franchise's 21-year history and they're closing in on matching their 14-game losing streak from last season and possibly surpassing their worst-ever losing streak of 16 games in the 1991-92 season
. By the way, that '91-92 campaign also featured losing streaks of six (twice), seven, nine, and 11.Mike Dunleavy:
From the AP game notes: "The victory was Dunleavy's 200th as Clippers coach during the regular season -- against 307 losses -- and put him within two wins of 600 overall. He is one of only four coaches to guide the Clippers to the playoffs during their 26 years in Los Angeles, including Larry Brown and Bill Fitch." Coach of the Year! Coach of the Year! Yeah, right. Make no mistake, kiddies. His Clippers almost lost at home last night to as hapless a team as they're likely to face this side of the Nyets. Seriously, the Timberwolves took a lead into the fourth quarter for the first time this season. It was only one point, but still. I will never understand how Mikey Boy still has a job.Lacktion report:
From Chris: "Still on a boat...and still musing over the mind-numbing mediocrity that is today's lacktion."
Kings-Grizzlies: Ime Udoka can now sit in the same suites as the Maloofs, with a 2.7 trillion (2:41) for the purple paupers; for Memphis, Marcus Williams powered up his Game Boy Advance in a mere four seconds for a Super Mario!!!Bill Simmons:
Bucks-Spurs: Malik Hairston lost the rock once in 3:26 for a +1 suck differential.
Bulls-Blazers: James Johnson bricked twice (once from the Sears Tower) and fouled once in 7:20 for a spin into suck differential territory of +3.
Wolves-Clippers: Brian Cardinal dedicated two fouls for the Clotheslines for a +2 in 2:20, while Steve Novak bricked once from Broadway for a +1 in 3:04.
Wild Yams forwarded this one to me: ESPN grounded Bill Simmons from using Twitter for two weeks
. Boston Bill referred to Boston radio station WEEI as "deceitful scumbags." (Here's some history
.) However, they are deceitful scumbags that have a partnership with ESPN. Whoops. Not too surprising, really. Simmons is the same guy who bends stats and even reality to sync up with opinions he's alrerady formed, and who incorrectly reasoned
he could talk himself out of any speeding ticket in Seattle because "Seattle loves me for defending its Sonics after Clay Bennett hijacked the team and moved it elsewhere." He can also turn water into wine...hadn't you heard?
Update! Here's Bill's side of the story
Labels: Allen Iverson, Chicago Bulls, Kurt Rambis, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Worst of the Night