Mike Brown: Lakers coach. Don't pinch me. I wanna keep dreaming.
The Chicago Bulls: It went from Christmas cookie to Black Monday for the Bulls. Other than Luol Deng (22 points, 10-for-15, 10 boards), everybody played like leftover turkey. Stephen Curry locked down Derrick Rose (13 points, 4-for-17, 1-for-8 on threes including one airball). Carlos Boozer (6 points, 3-for-7) and Rip Hamilton (10 points, 5-for-12) spent the fourth quarter handing out Gatorade during timeouts. C.J. Watson got picked clean by Kwame Brown.
The Bulls gave up 22 points off 20 turnovers and the Warriors racked up 16 steals and 20 fast break points. Chicago got outscored 42-32 in the paint and gave up 31 free throw attempts. On the bright side, Mark Jackson got the first win of his coaching career. Speaking of which...
...Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls: You're BETTER than that.
The Cleveland Cadavers: Does the city of Cleveland even know the lockout is over? Do they wish it wasn't? Probably. Last night, the Cadavers were led by Ramon Sessions (18 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds) while number one overall pick Kyrie Irving finished with 6 points on 2-for-12 shooting. And, as the AP recap pointed out, half of those points came off a "meaningless three-pointer in the final minute."
Said Irving: "I was a little bit too tentative out there and thinking about my shot. I have to push through it mentally and physically."
Alonzo Gee: Damn. Not only did this dunk almost kill him...it was waved off 'cause he travled.
The Detroit Pistons: Freed of the cancer that was Rip Hamilton...Detroit went on to set a franchise record for scoring futility.
From ESPN Stats and Information: "The Pistons 79 points scored are the fewest scored in a season opener in franchise history in the shot clock era (since 1954-55 season). Previous record was 81 points in 1992."
Ouch. That explains why the Pacers were able to blow them out despite shooting 36.8 percent from the field.
Said Detroit coach Lawrence Frank: "We just have to play a whole lot more together game. More ball movement, more working to get rhythm shots. It just shows you where we're at right now. We've got a lot of work to do."
Added Rodney Stuckey: "Now we know what we've got to do. We've got to stop complaining, we've got to rebound the basketball, we've got to play harder. That's it."
Huh. Maybe I don't know anything about this earth "basketball," but it seems to me a team with a starting five of Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey needs more than better rebounding and less complaining.
Lawrence Frank, quote machine: Regarding Indy's win over his team: "It's one game. What's the big boulevard down here? I don't know if there's going to be a parade this year. They're a good team, it's one game, they outplayed us tonight."
The Houston Rockets: When are Daryl Morey's revolutionary moneyball concepts going to turn the Rockets into anything more than a mildly interesting overachiever mired in mediocrity? No, really. When?
Every Houston loss always feels about the same. Scrappy. Hangs in there. Gets beat.
Said Rockets coach Kevin McHale: "Mentally, we're asking them to do a lot of different things with new coverages and a lot of different things with new calls and stuff like that. Some of that was blown. Overall, I think this team will play hard. I think we're feisty. I think when [Samuel Dalembert] gets in shape he'll help us out a great deal."
If Houston's hopes are riding on Sammy Dalembert getting in shape...
...they are so thoroughly fucked.
The Washington Wizards Generals: They held the Nyets to 39 percent shooting but got raped on the boards (58-39) and choked away a 25 point lead in a 90-84 home court loss. And, because these are the Generals we're talking about, there just had to be some post-game drama (via the AP recap):
Afterward, there was a bit of drama in the Wizards' locker room, where power forward Andray Blatche -- who opened a pregame speech to the home crowd by saying, "This is your captain, Andray Blatche" -- voiced displeasure with the play-calling and said he should get the ball down low more than out on the wings. He then repeated that complaint on Twitter.
All it took was one regular-season game for the in-fighting to start in Washington.
"Is it trust? Or is it, 'I think that I can make a play to get us going again,' and you try to do it individually? In our league, you can't do it, unless you're one of the elite players," coach Flip Saunders said. "We don't have anyone that's at that elite status right now."
When a reporter relayed the gist of what Saunders said, Blatche responded: "He probably was talking about me, because for the simple fact that I said that I need the ball in the paint to be effective."
"You can't keep having me pick-and-pop and shooting jump shots. Give me the ball in the paint. That's where I'm most effective at. I've been saying that since training camp: I need the ball in the paint. I don't want to be the pick-and-pop guy that I used to be. It's not working for me," continued Blatche, who shot 5 for 13, scored 11 points and was called for a technical foul. "I'm not saying the offense has to run through me, but I prefer to be in the paint."
He shook his head. He stared at the carpet. He shrugged his shoulders. And then he sat in front of his locker, in full uniform, for a good half-hour after the game had ended.
Blatche offered a simple analysis of how Washington went from being ahead 37-16 in the second quarter to trailing in the third.
"Our blessing was our curse," Blatche said. "Getting up by 20 so early and so easy was a curse for us, because then guys started to get relaxed, and then we all wanted to start to play 1-on-1 basketball."
Which, as Wall explained, isn't something that generally will work in Washington's favor.
"We have nobody on our team that's THAT great," Wall said, echoing his coach.
Yep. After one game.
Bucks versus Bobcats: Milwaukee started Mike Dunleavy Jr. Charlottte started Corey Maggette. Dear God. I cannot care about this game.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: On the one hand, the T-Wolves have assembled some talent: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams, J.J. Barea, Anthony Randolph. On the other hand, they're still starting Darko Milicic and Luke Ridnour. And they managed to lose at home to a Thunder team playing on the second night of back-to-backs despite outscoring them 60-36 in the paint and forcing 17 turnovers.
Of course, this is, after all, a team that as the AP recap pointed out has "lost 132 games over the previous two seasons and hasn't been to the playoffs since 2004."
Bonus bawful from ESPN Stats and Information: "The Thunder have won 10 straight vs the Timberwolves. The last time the Thunder/Sonics franchise won 10 straight against one franchise was from November 1999 to January 2003 when they had a 14-game win streak against the Warriors."
Ever notice how stats like these always involve teams like the Timberwolves, Clippers, Warriors...
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, quote machine: On Ricky Rubio's debut: "I've been hearing about him for six years and I saw him for the first time 30 minutes (ago) and it was like he is real. Like a folk hero."
The Dallas Mavericks: Yikes. This is gettin' ugly.
The reigning champions have quickly become a team everyone wants to play. There's no telling which is worse right now, their offense or defense, their conditioning or chemistry, as they were drubbed for a second straight game, losing 115-93 to the Nuggets on Monday night.
Dallas gave up 20 straight points in the second quarter and had a stretch of 14 straight missed shots during a 9:52 drought between baskets. It was so bad that their player of the game, Sean Williams, threw up when he left the court.
Williams, the 13th and final guy off the bench, was so gassed from scoring 12 points in 11 energetic minutes that he vomited in front of the team's bench. Teammates and owner Mark Cuban laughed, and fans in the area gave a light-hearted standing ovation while an usher mopped up the mess.
The Mavs trailed by 33 in the third quarter, a day after being down by 35 in the third quarter against Miami. Counting a pair of preseason games against Oklahoma City, Dallas has been behind by at least 23 points in every game since being crowned champs.
Like I said yesterday, see what happens when Mark Cuban starts getting stingy?
Said Dirk Nowitzki: "We look old and slow and out of shape -- a bad combination. I still think this team has a lot of potential. But we have to turn the corner."
Added Shawn Marion: "We're not comfortable with each other on both ends of the floor. We're trying to get acclimated and you can tell it's not flowing the way it should be and there's going to be some bumps."
Concluded coach Rick Carlisle: "We're going to recharge tomorrow, have a hell of a practice on Wednesday and then we've got to go up to Oklahoma City and we're going to have to play a lot better. I've got a lot of work to do."
The way I see it, Dallas is only about 11 trades from getting right back into champioship contention. No problem.
Lamar Odom: 6 points on 1-for-10 shooting. Good trade. Gooooood trade.
Sean Williams: The Mavs are so bad it made poor Williams throw up in his own mouth:
Said Williams: "It was awkward, man, pretty awkward. It's never happened to me before -- not ever, even in a practice."
The Memphis Grizzlies: Glancing at the box score, I see Z-Bo's line -- 10 points, 3-for-8, 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 1 assist -- and I think about that contract extension he signed at the end of last season. And, you know, I don't think the Grizzlies are going to be the scappy overachievers they were last year.
Of course, it didn't help they gave up 28 points off 25 turnovers.
Said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins: "We didn't play very well. We did turn the ball over alot, but we didn't guard. We didn't guard them in the pick in roll. We gave up transition points. It was not a very well-played game by us at all."
Manu Ginobili, quote machine: "Zach was off. He didn't have one of these games in the playoffs. That happens the first game of the season. We all need time to get back in shape. "
The Phoenix Suns: Dear God. I don't ask for much. But please let Steve Nash get traded to a contender. Thank you.
The Los Angeles Lakers: All I can say is: The Mike Brown era has begun.
Okay, okay. I can also say this: The Kings beat the Lakers for the first time in more than three years.
L.A. went 1-for-16 from downtown, gave up 19 fast break points, and trailed by as many as 15.
They're STARTING Josh McRoberts and Devin Ebanks. Troy Murphy played 24 minutes.
And, yeah, they'll probably be better when Andy Bynum is back in action.
But still: happy face.
Kobe Bryant, quote machine: "It's not a rivalry. We beat them every year. Oh my God. I don't care if they beat us tonight. I like (Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof). I hope they enjoy this."
Chris' Lacktion Ledger:
Nyets-Generals: New Jersey's DeShawn Stevenson was severely curtailed in his hunt for Goombas, only getting 12 seconds of court time in a Mario.
Bucks-Bobcats: Jon Leuer had a 78 second moment of lacktivity that raked in 1.3 trillion.
For Charlotte, Bismack Biyombo lost the rock once in 6:08 for a +1 suck differential.
Rockets-Magic: Marcus Morris lived out his dream of hardly working by bricking twice from Thornton Park in 4:20 and adding two fouls for a +4.
Orlando's J. Harper gathered up a payout of 1.4 trillion (86 seconds).
Thunder-Wolves: Oklahoma City's Nazr Mohammed countered a field goal and two boards in 15:10 with four fouls and a turnover for a 5:4 Voskuhl.
Grizzlies-Spurs: Brian Skinner bricked once and took a foul in 4:22 for a +2 and a 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Lakers-Kings: Donte Greene had half a minute of 1Ups in a celebratory Mario!
Sixers-Blazers: In the highly unanticipated rematch of the 1977 Finals, Chris Johnson collected a brick and foul in 110 seconds for a +2 that doubled as a celebratory 1:0 Madsen-level Voskuhl.
Bulls-Warriors: Omer Asik had a loveable three-foul, one-rejection, one-brick line tonight for a +5 in 9:59 that doubled as a 3:0 Voskuhl.
For East Oakland's ballers, Ishmael Smith tossed two pieces of masonry and added on a brick in 4:16 for a +3 that also counted as a Madsen-level 1:0 Voskuhl.