The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who is in no way related to Kevin McHale and has taken the necessary legal steps to ensure that it stays that way. When he's not working on his underground bunker in preparation for the Lakers world domination, he can be leading a ragtag group of rebels at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
• See? That Gasol trade was a big mistake. I guess you could say Pau Gasol enjoyed his first game as a Laker. The Spanish Stingray scored 24 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and savored the sweet taste of not sucking as the Blue and Gold cut down the Nets 105-90. However, there was one ominous portent for the Lakers: Kobe Bryant shot a Jason Kidd-like 3-for-13 and had more turnovers (7) than points (6). Clearly, Kobe and Pau's games just don't mesh. My suggestion? Kobe should demand that Mitch Kupchak trade Gasol to Chicago for Ben Wallace. That would mean more shots for Kobe, more Lakers highlights on SportsCenter, and more Pau Gasol for the Bulls. See? Then everybody wins. And by "everybody" I of course mean "my team and not the Lakers." Anyway, the Nets got 27 meaningless points from Vince Carter and double-doubles from both Kidd (11 points, 10 assists) and Bostjan Nachbar (19 points, 10 rebounds).
• Those leprechauns sure have a dirty mouth. Lebron James thinks Boston's Celtic Pride runneth over, since the C's talk more trash than your average sanitation worker. "They're up there. Them and the Pistons. Sometimes it can get annoying, but they can back it up." Know who else can back it up? Bruce Willis. Yippee-ki-yay mother fucker! Anyway, King James stuck his foot in Boston's mouth with an almost triple-double of 33 points, 9 rebounds, and 12 assists. Zydrunas Ilgauskas also made his feelings known on the matter with 21 and 10 as Cleveland edged Boston 114-113. Ray Allen had 24 points for the still KG-less Celtics.
• Respect our authoritah! After Mike Dunleavy Jr. and friends shot almost 70 percent in the first half, Gregg Popovich was all like, "Hey bitches, we're the defending champs, yo!" The San Antonio defense then came out and kicked Indiana in its collective man region . The result: A 9-point third quarter for the Pacers and a 116-89 blowout for the Spurs. Tim Duncan, who enjoys the beauty of interpretive dance boogied his way to 19 points and 15 boards, while Manu Ginobili got his funky chicken on with 15 points and 7 assists. Danny Granger scored 15 for the Pacers, who also got 14 a piece out of Dunleavy and Travis Wiener. I mean, Diener.
• Okay, maybe they aren't better without Agent Zero. After Washington won back-to-back games against the Celtics a few weeks ago, everybody started talking about how nasty and gritty they are on defense (without Gilbert Arenas) and how efficient and unselfish they are on offense (without Gilbert Arenas). Surprisingly enough, this caused fans and writers across the country to pose the following shocker of a question: Are the Wizards better without Gilbert Arenas? The short answer: No. The long answer: Very no. Last night, the magicians choked up a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter by missing 15 of 20 shots, clanking all 10 of their three-point attempts, and turning over the ball seven times. Seriously, the captain of your high school chess team would have done a better job scoring at the Playboy Super Bowl Party. Not surprisingly, the 76ers won 101-96 behind Andre Iguodala's menacing stare. (Oh, he had 20 points, too.)
• Bear trapped! You really don't expect a team to win when it gets a combined 60 minutes of playing time out of Darko Milicic, Kwame Brown and Brian Cardinal. And the Grizzlies didn't. But man, they came a lot closer than anybody thought they would. Mike Miller poured in 32 points and Rudy Homosexual-Last-Name added 21, but the Bucks pulled their hoof out of the trap for a 102-97 win thanks to the hot-shooting Mo Williams and his 32 points.
Bad idea. Very bad idea. Rocky 5. Michael Jackson's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley. Selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Aerosol cheese. New Coke. Opening Al Capone's vault. Leisure suits. New math. The eight-track tape. Michael Jordan's baseball career. Smell-O-Vision. The Maginot Line. Ishtar. Spray-on hair. Thong underwear for men. The Edsel. Spandex clothing in plus sizes. These historic blunders will one day pale in comparison to "Shaq to Phoenix." Actually, scratch that. They already do.