Much like the New Jersey Nets, The Roundup has been on vacation for two weeks.
First thing’s first. Before we plunge into the rest of The Roundup, I’d like to give you a quick update on the Juiced One. In the week since his Feb. 4 renaming, Juice Hellmanns’ scoring has fallen precipitously to 14.3 PPG, his rebounding to 2.3 RPG. His assists are flat at about 3 a game, and most disturbingly, his field goal percentage has tanked to a Rafer-esque 39 percent.
It’s only been three games, and I can already tell you with absolute certainty that we’re not trying hard enough. Case in point: I have yet to see “JUICE” written in big chalk letters on any part of the University of Florida campus. This disappoints me. The Juice Hellmans 2010 Campaign cannot happen without petty acts of vandalism.
And to Grizzlies fans – the three of you: Let me caution that my fair-weather fandom allows me to easily and without shame turn this into an elaborate reverse jinx. If you’re not invested, I’ll just as soon claim that I never liked Big Country’s godforsaken Vancouver franchise in the first place. I. WILL. DO IT. Don’t put it past me. I have few morals when it comes to the NBA.
Now let’s talk about The King, because that’s what we do in The Roundup.
As of Wednesday morning, LeBron James was averaging a Big O-like 34, 6 and 10 AST in February, a month that’s already included a 47-8-8/6-threes game against a certain Manhattan team that has no chance in hell to sign him.
On Tuesday, New Jersey took their 1-26 away record to The Quick in a matchup against the LBJs and their 22-3 home clip. These days, seemingly every Nets contest is good for some did-you-know?-worthy statistical anomaly, and last night was no different: biggest win differential of any two teams with at least 51 games played. Ever.
In a shocking turn of events, the Nets beat the Cavs… in the first quarter. Unfortunately for New Jersey, the NBA requires teams to play 36 more minutes.
Asked after the 97-104 loss to characterize James, Nets coach Kiki Vandeweghe told reporters, “There aren’t accolades to describe his game.”
Vandeweghe added, “Really? You want me to come up with accolades for LeBron James? I’m rocking a point-oh-seven-eight winning percentage… and you want me to describe the most indescribable player to ever live? Going into that question, what were the odds that you’d come away with a satisfactory answer? Better or worse than my chances to get John Wall?”
Vandeweghe continued, “Remember when LeBron was going to join this franchise in Brooklyn? Now my hellhole of a city is best known for a guy named ‘The Situation.’ I already have to live with the emotional scars of ‘Kiki.’ The only way my life could get any worse is if people mispronounced my name ‘Vand-a-wedgie’ and a fringe sports blog started misquoting me.”
The Nets’ seventh straight loss ties them at 4-47 with the ’72-’73 Sixers for the worst 51 game start in NBA history. They have won approximately 0 games since I wrote about their epic failures two weeks ago.
For the sake of perspective: in the span since the Nets last won, Mo’Nique was nominated for an Oscar and the Saints won a Super Bowl.
Let’s move on.
To celebrate the firing of head coach Mike “Pinstripes” Dunleavy, the entire Clippers roster has taken the week off. Unfortunately for interim coach Kim Hughes, the Clips had games scheduled for Saturday and Tuesday nights – both home losses to San Antonio and Utah, respectively.
Moving on to the Brotherhood of the Dunk Champion, Kobe Bryant is grounded with a bum ankle and mulling sitting out All-Star weekend. Vince Carter is grounded with old age and mulling sitting out a clutch moment should the opportunity present itself.
But the 33-year-old, who’s shooting 39 percent from the field on the season and coming off a 28 percent January (no joke), turned back the clocks in Orlando Monday with a 48 point outburst against the hapless Bucks.
Usually I’d crack some snide joke about Vince (flirted with the “When Vince asked Rashard Lewis to split more shots, he didn’t mean those kinds of shots” PED riff), but I can’t top the Superman himself…
Dwight Howard to TNT’s Cheryl Miller after the game: “I thought I was dreamin’ tonight! For real. Vinsanity is back! AHHHHH! Oh my god. Vinsanity… I’m just happy to see Half-Man Half-Retired back at it.”
On that note, it’s time for this week’s edition of Streaking: Everybody’s Doin’ It!
The “In Underwear for Charity Run” Streak: The Nuggets almost stole this spot with their Bono-esque With-Or-Without-You-‘Melo play over the last three weeks (10-3 since Jan. 17). But the Jazz, as Scott Van Pelt’s Ego might say, are ON FIYA! By my count, the Mormon Pride have won 13 of 14 and 9 straight, all by at least 7. What’s better, Andrei Kirilenko – 17-5-5, 3 steals per in Feb. – has yet to tank the whole shebang by involving himself with the Russian mob.
The “Still Partially Clothed, But A Little Tipsy and It’s Getting Chilly” Streak: The perpetually hot Kingsmen… Yes, this is how I started the last Cavs/Streaking section. And, yes, it still applies. The best team in basketball has built a 6 ½ game conference lead by stringing together 12 in row.
The run does make you wonder if GM Danny Ferry would be screwing with a good thing should he pull the trigger on Andre Iguodala, Antawn Jamison or Troy Murphy deals, especially given the recent frontcourt play of Shaqtus (13.6, 8, 58% FG in last 5 GP) and J.J. Hickson (10, 5, 55% FG in last 5 GP). But this is neither here nor there.
More to the point: still no shears in the Cleveland locker room, which means Bron Bron’s follicle growth continues unabated. Remember that Samuel Jackson ‘do James was rocking in those old Nike commercials? I swear I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes… but I think he’s going there. Fasten your seatbelts, because something special is happening. Think Jordan ’90, but with hair.
More thoughts on LBJ below…because he deserves his own footnote.*
Proof that Shaquille O’Neal is not yet a bitter old man
The “Birthday Suit But, Hey, It’s Dark Outside” Streak: Durantula claimed the Wimbledon streak in the last roundup and, since then, his Thunder have ripped off a 6-game winning streak. To answer your question, yes – Durant has notched 25+ points in 27 straight games. Only Jordan (40, twice) and Iverson (27) have had longer runs. The scary thing: KD couldn’t buy a beer 4 months ago.
The “Wild Wimbledon, Only Clothes Are These Painted Flags, ‘Lookout, Queen Mother!’” Streak: The Capitals. Hockey doesn’t get a lot of love in The SC. So I’d like to throw this if-I-was-Canadian-or-Eastern-European-you’d-be-changing-my-life bone to Alex Ovechkin and his ice-melting Washington troupe. If you’re an 8-year-old in D.C., the only thing better than being snowed in from school every day is being snowed in from school with no bedtime and a favorite team that never loses on TV every night. In case you havn’t heard, the Caps have won 14 in a row – 5 in a row on the road.
Sports Casualties is catching puck fever, and should Alex The Great keep this up, I for one, will consider some major changes. I might grow a mullet. I might work “Kasparaitis” into my vocabulary. I might start calling my jerseys “sweaters.” I might annunciate my I’s. And I might, I just might, start writing about hockey.
As always, it’s been real. Let Shannon dunk.
*LeBron Note: How great would it be if King James went to Memphis? I mean, apart from the whole “Memphis” part. You’d have the potential for the greatest sports-music collision in the history of the world. Think of the potential synergies: LeBron moves to Graceland, LeBron impersonators at the FedEx Forum, LeBron marries Lisa Marie… Can you imagine? That’s like one degree of separation between Elvis, LeBron and Michael Jackson. I’m shaking. Somebody get Chris Wallace on this, because I’m not 100 percent positive he knows who LeBron is.