by Lang Whitaker

• Got home from work last night and started cooking dinner, because that’s what I do. It was cold out yesterday, and soup sounded perfect, so I started from scratch, rendering the fat off some bacon while chopping a collection of onions, carrots, leeks and celery. I was about three cuts into the onion when I caught myself being kind of careless, and I thought to myself, Be careful, we don’t want to cut any fingers off.

So I slowed down and mowed through the pile of veg. As the bacon crisped up and it was nearly time to reach for my slotted spoon (what!), I had to finish the celery. I was literally on the last stalk, dutifully chopping away, when the knife hit something hard. Looked down and realized that hard thing I’d hit my left index finger. While my knife kept right on going, I did not. Blood was shooting all over the place, there was presumably some fingernail and flesh mixed in with my large-diced celery, and the bacon was about to burn.

It didn’t really hurt, at least not immediately, and initially I wasn’t sure what I’d done. Once I stopped the bleeding, I figured out exactly what had happened. The knife had come down and basically shaved off half of my fingernail (and a good hunk of the meat it was attached to) from my left index finger. You can see a fittingly grainy picture of the immediate carnage at left. Not fun.

Until about 20 minutes after the incident, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated fingernails. They are more than just decorative — they serve an important function, such as shielding all the incredibly sensitive nerves that I’ve discovered live just below your nail.

• Why did the Knicks really lose to the Pacers last night? Because of Marc Berman, NY Post beat writer. He explains it all really well here.

Also, after the game, Isiah said, “A lot of things have been said about me, teams that I coached. The way I played, I’ve never been accused of not having heart or competing.”

Um, Isiah? How about the 1985 All-Star Game when you refused to pass the ball to Michael Jordan because you were jealous that he was getting so much media attention? That doesn’t seem like you were very interested in competing. Or if you want to talk about heart, how about when the Bulls swept your Pistons out of the Playoffs in ’91 and you walked off the floor before the game ended and refused to shake hands with the Bulls? That doesn’t seem like you had a lot of heart.

I’m just saying…

• My man Dan Steinberg at the DC Sports Bog continues his urban-ification, today figuring out that DeShawn Stevenson’s post-shot celebration is actually Tony Yayo’s dance thing from about five years ago. (I was wondering when they’d get it.)

Now, Dan, ask DeShawn why he ripped off Tim Thomas, who did that same Yayo move in the Playoffs with the Suns two years ago after what seemed like every basket. Jack McCallum even had a thing about it in his Suns book.

• This blog Busted Coverage is doing a tournament of blogs, and they’ve got SLAMonline (which isn’t really a blog) going up against FreeDarko.com. Calling SLAMonline a blog is like calling ESPN.com a blog. There are certainly blogs within SLAMonline.com, but SLAMonline.com itself isn’t really a blog.

Anyway, they’ve got us up against FreeDarko in the first round, and Shoals and the fellas are killing us, which sounds about right to me. (As I told Shoals, I voted for them.) I’m not saying you should go over there and vote for us, but I do think you should go vote your way through their brackets. Have fun with it.

• How about those Atlanta Hawks? They put it on the Jazz last night and moved to 12-12, making the latest in a season the Hawks have been .500 since they last went to the Playoffs. I’m not going to say anything else because I don’t want to jinx anything.

• I was a little surprised that the Clips cut Ruben Patterson (a.k.a. The Nanny Stopper) last week, but I’m even more surprised that nobody’s inked him up yet. He’s not the greatest offensive player but I love his defense and his willingness to get dirty (in the basketball sense). I’d sign him if I was the Hawks.

• Don’t see the movie “Juno.” Just don’t. Not worth your time or money. But if you have HBO, check out the documentary “Mr. Wamth,” which is about Don Rickles and is hilarious.