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Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 at 4:33 pm  |  56 responses

Links: The Dirty 30

Still holding down that number one spot…

by Lang Whitaker

First of all, Happy New Year everyone. I realize this is the first time I’ve chimed in here on SLAMonline in the 09, so let’s get the good wishes out of the way. After going home for Christmas, I took a few days off and washed ashore on a Carribbean isle, which was nice, even if Khalid immediately pointed out I didn’t get any sun — hey, just because I’m at the beach doesn’t mean I have to be on the beach.

Now I’m back in the SLAM Dome and things are off and running on SLAM issue 126, which has another crazy cover shot and in the books. I went out to Jersey last night for the Nets/Kings game to work on a story, and caught what was actually an entertaining game. The Kings built a huge lead in the second quarter and then the Nets slowly but surely took the game back. The Kings are…well…a mess. They weren’t running much of an offense, which meant Kevin Martin was free to shoot at will. K-Mart went for 36 and his team lost. (By the way, I don’t know who’s training Kevin Martin these days, but along with making him dribble the ball hard and all that stuff, can someone get dude to eat a sandwich? He must weigh 140 pounds soaking wet. Maybe the Maloofs can get him to that all-you-can-eat buffet at The Palms.)


And because so many Nets staffers asked me to rate the pre-game meal, I’m going B-minus. The chicken was fine but the potato wedges were underseasoned and a little soggy. Oddly, Spencer Hawes ate his pregame meal in the press dining room. First time I’ve ever seen a player come straight from running drills to the media dining area. Not much else to report. Oh, traffic from Manhattan to Jersey was so light that we made it out there in about 20 minutes, and the Kings team bus made record time as well — Beno Udrih said he only made it through half an episode of “Heroes” on the bus because the ride was so short. Also, got to sit next to the always entertaining Michelle Beadle. She’s cool…for a University of Texas fan. (Now lets see if she has google alerts.)


Anyway, let’s get to this thirty dirty. The previous Dirty 30 is here. Compare, contrast, whatever…

RANK PREV TEAM RECORD COMMENT
1. 1. Los Angeles Lakers 27-5 I still feel good about bumping the Lakers to the one spot two weeks ago. I’m curious to see how they play the next few weeks with Luke Walton on the chilling list. And hopefully Bill Walton doesn’t force Luke to undergo some holisitic healing in his backyard teepee or anything.
2. 3. Cleveland Cavaliers 27-6 Honestly, I think they’re just microscopically ahead of Boston, but I didn’t want to wuss out and list them as tied. Meanwhile, as Zydrunas “Zzz…” Ilgauskas prepares to have his mainframe rebooted and a series of screws, pipes, sprockets and gizmos re-jiggered in his ankle, I’m expecting the Cavs to finally notch their first L at home eventually.
3. 2. Boston Celtics 29-6 Let’s take it from Rajon Rondo, on Boston going 2-4 in their last 6 games: “I don’t think we’re in a slump. We still have the best record in the league. I don’t think it’s a slump.” So in case you were wondering, it’s NOT A SLUMP. Got that? Not a SLUMP. Stop asking about a SLUMP. Also, how awesome is it going to be when Stephon Marbury saves the Celtics?
4. 4. Orlando Magic 26-8 They just peeled off an 8-2 run, too. Now they have a home-home against the Hawks starting tomorrow night. Yep, two of the top ten teams in the League playing twice in a row, and you know which national network the games are on? None of them! Thanks TNT! Thanks ESPN!
5. 5. San Antonio Spurs 23-11 Despite juggling line-ups and screwing with their rotations, the Spurs went 11-4 in December and have yet to lose in January. Can we start the Tim Duncan for MVP campaign yet?
6. 8. Atlanta Hawks 22-11 Yessir! My Hawks are flying high once again. Really interested to see how we stack up against O-Town in the doubleheader.
7. 6. Denver Nuggets 24-12 According to Yahoo!!!!!!!!!: “If one takes into account how Nene finished the Dec. 31 game at Toronto, he has made 23 of his past 29 shots and 26 of his last 34.” And with Melo out for the next month, I’d suggest getting Nene about 50 shots per game.
8. 15. Detroit Pistons 21-11 Since I figured they were done and started to write them off, they’ve reeled off 7 wins in a row. Also, Allen Iverson gets quote of the week for his description of Antonio McDyess’ dislocated finger: “When I saw that finger, I knew he wasn’t coming back into this game here.” OK, AI, but what about that game there?
9. 9. New Orleans Hornets 20-10 They play at L.A. tonight, which should be a great League Pass game. Also, check the Hornets-related note down at no. 30.
10. 10. Portland Trailblazers 20-14 Anyone notice that against LA, with Rudy in the starting five, Portland’s bench got demolished by the Lake Show’s (outscored 38-9)? Plus, I already cast my vote for Slamadamonth. Mon dieu!
11. 11. Dallas Mavericks 20-13 If you missed this elsewhere, Mark Cuban’s tale of trying to buy the Chicago Cubs is well worth the read. I’m guessing The Tribune Co. didn’t want to sell to Cubes because they were afraid he’d trade their best young prospects for aging players with huge salaries.
12. 13. Phoenix Suns 19-12 I liked Bill Simmons’ ESPN the Mag story on Mike D’Antoni’s impact on the NBA, but the entire time I read it I was thinking, What about Joe Johnson? Not even a mention? Then one of my favorite Atlanta sports bloggers, Michael at Braves and Birds, broke it down with numbers and everything. (Great point about Q-Rich, too.)
13. 14. Miami Heat 18-15 I loved Udonis Haslem’s double-negative analysis of Miami’s loss to San Antonio: “You can’t say we didn’t play well.” I can’t say I didn’t not understand that sentence, either. And Orlando coach Stan Van Jeremy has a great line about Miami’s reserve center: “Jamaal Magloire has a role, and that role is to beat the hell out of people.”
14. 7. Houston Rockets 21-14 And they’re freeee, free-falling! Artest on his sprained ankle: “Not much has changed, really. I’m going to be fine. But right now is not the time.” See, he’s still a rapper!
15. 12. Utah Jazz 20-15 How bad is the world economy? This bad.
16. 16. New Jersey Nets 17-18 All the Nets players (and even Lawrence Frank) call Trenton Hassell “Tennessee.” I asked why and was told it’s because he’s from Tennessee. Oh. But then why isn’t Vince called “Florida” or Yi called “Guangdong Province”?
17. 17. Milwaukee Bucks 17-19 Anyone notice we had the first Damon Jones sighting of the season in Milwaukee? Scott Skiles has finally come to his senses!
18. 20. New York Knicks 13-19 It’s impossible for me to say anything more entertaining about the Knicks than Omar already did yesterday.
19. 21. Toronto Raptors 14-21 Check out Andrea Bargnani’s numbers when he’s starting at center the last few games. Hmm…
20. 19. Chicago Bulls 14-20 Henry Abbott linked to these attendance figures today and I was checking them out…the Bulls have been seen in person by more NBA fans this season than by any other NBA team?
21. 18. Philadelphia 76ers 13-20 Since Christmas Day, Sammy Dalembert has played a total of 100 minutes and totaled 0 assists.
22. 22. Charlotte BETcats 12-22 Since adding Boris Diaw, the BETcats are 5-6 (they were 7-16 without him). That’s a change we can believe in.
23. 23. Indiana Pacers 12-22 Free Danny Granger!
24. 26. Golden State Warriors 10-26 Again from the Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!! summary: “Jamal Crawford is the living definition of inconsistency. In his last 17 games, he has averaged 24.6 points on the odd-numbered nights—with six games of 22 or more—and 13.3 on the even-numbered nights—with four games of 11 or fewer. Monday, in the 17th game, he followed the pattern with a 28-point explosion on 10-for-20 shooting.” But doesn’t that mean he’s actually incredibly consistent?
25. 24. Memphis Grizzlies 11-23 OK, the Darius Miles watch is officially on. He’s actually playing in Memphis, and the Grizz have until Wednesday to sign him until the end of the season. If that happens, he’s still, as of today, 9 games of PT away from screwing up the Trailblazers’ cap space and pushing them into luxury tax territory this season.
26. 25. Los Angeles Clippers 8-25 Since we’re talking about Hollywood, here’s a great internet timekiller.
27. 28. Washington Wizards 7-25 We need to get Konate to review one of these in This Is Why It’s Hott.
28. 27. Sacramento Kings 8-27 No comment.
29. 30. Minnesota L-Wolves 8-25 Books I read over the holiday break included this, this, this and this. Thumbs up to all of them.
30. 29. Oklahoma City Thunder 4-30 Perhaps you recall the story from the preseason about Thunder forward (and Linkstigator) Nick Collison losing his dog? Well, according to Nick, not only was the dog found near his house soon after he put the word out, but the dog was rescued by, swear to god, Byron Scott’s daughter. Apparently the Scott’s set up shop in OKC the season after Katrina and one of Byron’s daughters still lives in the area. I asked Nick if Byron’s daughter had her arms crossed when he got the dog back. She did not, he said.
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  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I am the Dirty!

  • j4zz m4n

    yup lakers need to maintain this pace i don’t want another false dawn

  • Jackie Moon

    How did the Wiz drop a spot?

    They should move up at least two spots based solely on their hilarious reactions to “CrabGate”.

  • Jackie Moon

    Oh wait. They moved up. OK. Good. Note to self: Learn to read charts.

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi T

    It’s not a slump, it’s a tail-spin

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Lang has interesting, if not ecelctic, taste in books.

  • Homie

    Shadow of the Wind: great read. Highly recommended.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Actually, I read Susan’s copy of The Shadow Of The Wind. The Grisham one I bought at the airport and it’s not terrible. Artie’s book is entertaining but kinda sad. And the book about Lincoln is great, probably my favorite of the four.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I think we need to start a new spot for that Pharrell suit. “This is why it’s Amechi” has a nice ring to it.

  • RayRayJr

    La La Lakers! YESSIR! Yes very interesting to see how they play without Luuuuuke tonight though. If the LakeShow can put away the hornets by 10-15 pts without him they should be just fine

  • http://www.kicksonfire.com Anton

    I’m disillusioned about the Hornets this season. They still need a few more pieces but that’s no excuse for the way they’re playing. CP3′s gotta be pissed.
    Also, the Pistons should be ahead of the Nuggets.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I just know Lang hates moving the Heat up the list.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Interview with Larry Bird that I HAD TO post here:

    It’s been a journey, the NBA. It’s taken me a lot farther than I ever expected.

    Magic and I came in at the right time. He happened to be in the West. I happened to be in the East.

    My job now is a lot of different things. When there’s action, there’s action; when there’s nothing going on, it’s just dead. Usually, in the middle of August, it’s dead, and I get pretty damned bored.

    I used to love the feeling of running, of running too far. It made my skin tingle. When I used to play, if I was in my room and I was on the road, I’d just go out for a run before games. In the city. Around the parking lot. On the track. I’d run around the top of the arena. Just something to keep me moving. A lot of players just couldn’t do that. It wore them out for the game. I always thought it was better to run.

    I always got nervous before every game I ever played. Right up until game time. Horrible feeling.

    I played football for two years. I never did like the practices in that game. Never did make a lot of sense to me. Playing the game made a lot of sense.

    I wasn’t real quick, and I wasn’t real strong. Some guys will just take off and it’s like, whoa. So I beat them with my mind and my fundamentals.

    The key to being a good shooter is balance. Everything follows balance.

    When I was a kid, I never thought about anything. Never had to think about where I was going to school or what I was going to do. I just lived minute to minute. If I was playing basketball and someone said, Let’s go to the baseball field, we would go. Never had a vacation. We never had the funds. Being outside, that was my vacation.

    In high school, I went from six two to six six in one summer. You put on a pair of pants and you go, “Them ain’t working.” I’d get my mom to put extensions on them. And they’d be no good a month later.

    When I went to college, I went from six six to six nine. If I had been six five, I never would have been in the league. That four inches made all the difference.

    When I was playing for Boston, that was all about team and history. Pride’s when you play for your country.

    I never played when I didn’t want to be the best out there every night. Not once.

    Robert Parish, he was the best. He had a lot of respect for his father.

    If my wife says she’s taking the kids and leaving for a few days, I just say, Have at it. I’m good at being alone for no apparent reason.

    I was a garbageman. I had no problem with that job. None. I’d go back and do it again if I had to.

    Eminem. My son was listening to that and I was like, “What is that junk?” Then I started listening and I thought, You know, that kid is pretty good. It’s the storytelling.

    The best basketball announcer is one who allows you to close your eyes.

    Johnny Most could set his clothes on fire, spill his coffee all over the place, and he still became an icon.

    Always foul ‘em under five. That’s not the rule. It’s my rule.

    I always know what a dog is thinking. I just look at a dog and I know. It’s: I’m hungry.

  • http://4point0show.com Wes

    CLE > BOS next week?? NO!

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I always know what a dog is thinking. I just look at a dog and I know.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    “I had all my teeth filed down to small spikes to be more recognisable to my fans and have a trademark as a recording artist,” he said.
    “It’s a big decision getting rid of my teeth and could actually cost me my career, as I don’t know if I’ll be noticed with white teeth.”

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    didnt john wilkes booth jump off the balcony and break his leg? wasnt he caught then?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Does Bargnani really count as the teams starting Center if he doesn’t take a shot within 15 feet of the basket?

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    The Bulls shouldn’t be higher than 45th.

  • Young C

    This whole tracking how many assists Dalembert has has gotten way past stale. It was only mildly funny the first time.I mean if he was a point guard, or anybody who handled the ball any amount of time I would understand the need to continuosly point it out. But c’mon. Sam Dalembert? Almost all of his minutes are being eaten up by Speights and Ratliff anyway because he sucks so much, even though he still starts. If your too lazy to give the 76ers analysis then just do like you did with the Kings and say “no comment”. But tracking the assists of a mechanical center who hardly touches the ball says more about you then it does about Sam.

  • Jackie Moon

    I read Siddartha by Herman Hesse over the break.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Zero assists in 100 minutes of play is still pretty (un)impressive no matter how you slice it. That’s Yinka territory.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Yeah Lang. An accurate analysis of the 76ers like “Poor Thaddeus” or “The most overhyped, overpaid, and underachieveing team this season” or “Elton Brand is no KG” would’ve been much more appropriate.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    “FREE LOU WILLIAMS!” How about that? Or maybe: “Clarence Weatherspoon must be rolling in his grave.”

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Tarzan: Actually, Booth shot Lincoln, jumped from the balcony and broke his ankle upon landing, but managed to escape and lead cops on a manhunt for 2 weeks. It’s an amazing story, even more so because nobody knows anything about it.

  • Young C

    Actually Russ and that is better. I know the Sixers suck right now, but I want analysis of WHY they suck. And B.Long: Who has the power to overhype a team? The media. Who’s part of the media? Slam. I think most sober Sixer fans saw that the team still didnt add any decent shooters and still didnt have any bench besides Lou Will.Thats why they started Willie G. and had Thad coming off the bench before Elton got hurt. If anybody overhyped the Sixers blame the supposed “experts”.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    Didn’t they trap him in a burning barn at the end? I wouldn’t say nobody knows anything.

  • http://slam Swish

    Bargnani’s a beast.
    TRADE JO!!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Rondo hasn’t played well in those last games that Boston lost. Any connection of note? I certainly think so.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    He’s a poor mans Dirk at best.

  • http://www.kicksonfire.com Anton

    good lord, losing to the bobcats is the ultimate sign of a slump

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    The Knicks beating the Celtics and losing to TTFKATSS in the same week is awesome.

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    “But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?”

  • http://www.kicksonfire.com Anton

    Hornets needed that win against the Lakers. Badly.

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  • Joey

    they really did.
    but that win was fools gold.
    West isnt gonna erupt like that again, Pau and Bynum were absent, no LO in the 2nd half, no Luke, no Farmar, Lakers went ICE cold in the 4th and not because of NO’s defense. fools gold. the lakers are still FAR superior to the Hornots

  • http://www.lineofthenight.com/ Shannon Booher

    It’s never, ever too early for the Tim Duncan For MVP campaign.

  • Logan

    i think a portion the Slam cover curse has carried over to teams topping the Dirty 30….the team on top invariably loses the day they are put on top…i hope the LO injury is not serious…
    the Kobe two hand block was sick btw

  • DJ Pierrot

    “Can we start the Tim Duncan for MVP campaign yet?”
    What about a TP for MVP campaign ! … At least All Star …

  • Logan

    i meant ‘a portion *of* the Slam cover curse’

  • Logan

    the Spurs are building that scary momentum again…however if the ongoing trend continues this season, the hype for Lebron getting MVP is going to be hard to ignore for the decision makers

  • Plasticman

    @Lang, didn’t you post that link to the rapper selling his gold teeth last week? Or maybe I’ve just seen it somewhere else.
    The link to the movie fx was great, but one hell of a time killer!

    @C-star, far too many awesome things in that Bird interview! Larry Bird:Dog listener! “Them (pants) ain’t workin”, He likes Shady?! “when I was a kid, I never thought about anything”…!

  • Myung

    I think we’ll win tonight and lose in Orlando… although for some reason, we play really well against Orlando (just like we play really poorly against the Suns and Nets), so it wouldn’t surprise me if we took both games. BTW, my wife is a Texas Longhorn (just mentioning it because you posted up a link to Michelle Beadle) so tomorrow night’s game is THE worst bowl match up you could ever have for our UGA-Texas marriage (UF-OU).

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Thankyou for dropping Houston.

  • a_whiteman

    The stats in the article on phx and antoni are wrong because amare did not average 27 a game last year so I don’t give that journalists analasis much merit

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I think Ryne or Lang need to seriously consider adding a Slamonline book club or to review some books for consumption like O does movies. I’d be all for this. Make it happen.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    co-sign TAD. I like books.
    ^simpleton statement, but true.

  • http://njnets.com sussman sez

    with regards to your rating of the pre-game meal…have a salad next time and stay away from the starches…Slamtastic!!

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    The Sez knows all.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    The Sez is getting some love in print next issue. He’s certainly earned it!
    Also, Lang, thanks for the Cuban link. Great stuff.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    For accountability’s sake, I’m just gonna post this everywhere today:
    “H to the Izzo Posted: Jan.6 at 10:33 am
    Ryan:If your Nittany Lion (whatever the hell a Nittany Lion is) manage to beat Purdue I’ll shave a portrait of Joe Paterno onto my head.”
    Do they have good barbers in Dublin?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I found out today that suss alerts are more powerful than google alerts.

  • http://www.kicksonfire.com Anton

    @Joey – that’s true, and that’s exactly why they needed the W.
    But Bynum is always absent in the 4th quarter, whether he’s in the game or not.

  • Candice

    Russ, did yoiu know that the Bull’s are 2-8 without Gooden? I was shock to find that out yesterday and Pax said expect a trade to happen.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    thanks lang. my dad will probably say that he told me that it took two weeks to find him and he will be right….after the consecutive nash mvps(yes, that did actually happen), i havent cared about the mvp at all. the spurs definitely look poised to take another odd year. really, all it depends on is manu getting on track, and he has until april

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