The Associated Press: The Heat snapped their three-game losing streak with a homecourt blowout of the Washington Wizards Generals...a team that entered the game 5-10 overall and 0-7 on the road. Impressive, right? Am I right?
Anyway, I love this opening to the AP recap: "LeBron James and Erik Spoelstra had a pregame meeting Monday afternoon to talk about Miami's offensive woes. Early returns suggest it was a productive chat."
What...because the Heat scored 105 points on 45 percent shooting? That's productive? For a team featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? Facing a depressing Generals squad that came in ranked 26th in Defensive Rating and was without John Wall (bruised right knee), Al Thornton (ankle) and Ji Jianlian (knee)?
I should also give a special shoutout to ESPN Stats and Information for the following: "The Heat stepped up their transition defense on Monday, in the process outscoring the Wizards 21-8 in transition." We are then treated to a table indicating that Washington scored only 8 points on 37.5 percent shooting and committed 3 turnovers in transition.
I'm sure the absence of Wall had nothing to do with that.
Anyway, it just feels like the media wants us to get all excited that the Heat finally won a game against a crappy team. Yes, yes, I get it. Blowing out bad teams matters. It's a good thing, too, because Miami's next two games are against the Pistons and Cavaliers. So I boldly predict a three-game winning streak and 17.4 tons worth of drool from the Associated Press and other media outlets...
...and plenty of vomit among NBA fans.
That said, there was at least one NBA fan who was feelin' the Heat last night. The Other Chris said: "I'd like to thank the NBA, ESPN and whoever else makes the national television schedule for fellating the Nazgul as the feature game. This means I get to watch New Orleans/Oklahoma City game on League Pass instead of it being blacked out, as it would be any in any sane universe, as it is the vastly superior basketball game. Thanks, LeDouche!"
Associated Press, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "Wade's personal spurt ended with 3:17 left in the period..."
Hilton Armstrong versus Joel Anthony and Juwan Howard: I know I should take something like this more seriously, but come on. It looks like something out of a Three Stooges short. And isn't it amazing how easily NBA players go down these days? They're like a bunch of Bop-a-Clowns.
Said Armstrong: "I wasn't really trying to hurt him or anything like that, I just didn't want him to have any easy dunk or an easy lay-up. You clearly saw he lost his balance when he was in the air. I didn't mean to hit him that hard, but he fell. I went to go try to help him out, but then Howard came and pushed me in the back."
Added Erik Spoelstra: "I think it's great."
I don't know about great, Erik. But bawful? Absolutely.
Dwyane Wade and the Miami broadcasting team: An anonymous reader said:
This actually just happened, no exaggeration.
After Dwyane Wade airballed a dunk attempt (hereafter known as "pulling a Joel Anthony"), the Miami announcers came back with this gem. "That hangnail is really bothering him".
I've been laughing for the past 2 minutes. Bawful in it's purest form right there.
It's true. According to one report: "Dwyane Wade briefly left Monday's win over Washington with what the Heat called a hang nail. He returned wearing tape on his left wrist and could not get into any kind of rhythm early on in the game."
For the record, WebMD defines a hangnail as "the strip of skin that separates from the side of the cuticle."
Simple home treatment can help prevent problems with hangnails:
Do not pull at or bite off a hangnail. This may cause the skin to rip.
Clip off the hangnail neatly with sharp, clean cuticle scissors.
Massage hand lotion or cream into your cuticles 2 to 3 times each day.
STOP BEING A DAMN VAGINA!!
Sadly, I don't have video of Wade's blown dunk. I do have this tho':
And because Sorbo provided the link, here's one of the great airballed dunks in the history of Western Civilization:
The New Orleans Hornets: Make it four losses in their last five games. I won't say the ship be sinkin'...but it's definitely dropped temporary anchor in the Sea of Suck.
The Hornets actually played some pretty stiff defense -- holding the Thunder to 95 points on 37 percent shooting -- but they were pounded on the boards (56-36 and 16-5 on the offensive glass) and simply ran out of gas during the fourth quarter. Over those final 12 minutes, the Thunder used a 14-0 run to outscore New Orleans 27-19.
Said Hornets coach Monty Williams: "I thought we competed our tails off tonight on the road in a tough back-to-back. The ball didn't go down. It happens in this league."
You know what else happens in this league?
And man, how about that Russell Westbrook, huh? The line: 25 points, 11 assists, 5 steals. And he scored 12 of the points in OKC's 14-o fourth quarter run. That's right, it was Westbrook -- and not Kevin Durant -- who took over in clutch time for the Thunder. And as ESPN Stats and Information pointed out: "He is averaging almost 24 points a game, and along with LeBron James, is the only player in the NBA averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists."
This truly is the Age of the Point Guard.
Monty Williams, quote machine: Regarding Westbrook's various miscues with the basketball: "He had eight turnovers, but I thought it worked in his favor."
Russell Westbrook, quote machine: "Whatever the game tells me to do, that's kind of what I do."
But...but what if the game tells you to kill mommy and daddy with lawn darts? I would suggest selective listening, Russell. Can a game that made Greg Ostertag a multi-millionaire be trusted? I say no.
The Houston Rockets: I know they were playing on the second night of back-to-backs after a gritty win over the Thunder. And I know the Mavericks were playing at home and, frankly, are one of the best teams in the league right now. And of course Aaron Brooks and Yao Ming are still out. But damn, this team is starting to depress me.
Dirk Nowitzki, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "When a guy is hot like that, you've got to milk it."
Rick Carlisle, coach of the year candidate: From the AP recap:
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wasn't calling plays during the third-quarter stretch. All of Butler's points came in what the Mavs call a "flow" offense.
"When a guy gets going, our guys do a good job of finding him," Carlisle said. "We aren't doing a lot of play-calling right now."
The Milwaukee Bucks: Ugh. The Deer were without Andy Bogut (sore back), Drew Gooden (foot), Corey Maggette (flu-like symptoms!) and Carlos Delfino (birthing a human-alien hybrid from his stomach). As a result, the biggest deficit the Jazz had to overcome in this one was two points. They did, however, build a 24 point lead before kicking back and cruising in for a 109-88 win.
Said Deron Williams: "Any time you play a team that's missing a lot of guys, it can be a dangerous game because youo expect to win, you know you should win. But at the same time it's the NBA and these are NBA players. They played hard. They were just a scrappy team tonight."
Yeah, well, Team Scrappy got outshot 55 percent to 34 percent, outrebounded 48-26 and outscored 54-18 in the paint. The Bucks should thank their stars and garters Utah committed 20 turnovers or they might have scrapped their way to a 40-point loss.
On the bright side, Chris Douglas-Roberts scored a season-high 19 points and Ersan Ilyasova added a season-high 18.
By the way, ya think the Jazz have adapted to Al Jefferson and vice versa? Last night, Big Al had 20 points on 11-for-14 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Speaking of which...
Al Jefferson, quote machine: "When we want to, we can play defense."
Of course, that's always been the case with Jefferson. He's just never, you know, wanted to before. But now he knows Jerry Sloan will kick his ass if he doesn't D up. Makes a difference.
John Salmons, Worst Player of the Night: Remember how Salmons caught fire when he was traded to the Bucks right before the deadline? Yeah, well, the Bulls had the same experience the previous season. The Fish Man had been red hot when Chicago dealt for him the previous February and then started the season on ice. Well, he went 1-for-11 against the Jazz last night and 36 percent on the season.
Check out his splits from last season. He's pretty much on target for his early season production. Or lack thereof. And considering how key Salmons was to Milwaukee's late-season run last season, it's not hard to understand why they've been struggling to score points (30th in both PPG and Offensive Rating) and win games.
On that subject, last night I was at the doctor's office and they had the Sports Illustrated NBA Preview issue in the waiting room. SI expected the Bucks to control the Central Division this season...even though Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden and John Salmons made up three-fifths of Milwaukee's projected starting lineup.
And all I could think was: "Has anyone at SI actually followed the these guys' careers?"
Look, I know the Bucks have had some injuries and illness or whatever. But they're 6-11 overall, 2-7 on the road, and currently scraping the bottom of their division. Scott Skiles can work minor miracles with crap rosters, and he'll probably scream this group of misfits back up to .500-ish at some point.
I'm just not Fearin' the Deer is all I'm saying.
Al Jefferson, quote machine: "They were short tonight, but that's a great team."
Andre Kirilenko, quote machine: "You've seen the Energizer Bunny. [Earl Watson and Ronnie Price] are our Energizer Bunnies. They come on the floor and give us a big spark on offense and defense. They are amazing."
Huh. I wonder if The Russian Rifle wants to use his once-a-year deal for an amazing night with Price and Watson.
Tracy McGrady, unintentionally dirty quote machine: Basketbawful reader Wade Wisdom e-mailed this instant classic Knee-Mac quote: "That guy might be getting off, but the other guy [isn't]." If you demand context, here it is.