Epic Fail In Oakland (And Dirk Is A Space Monster!)

The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who would do anything for love, but he won't do that. No, he won't do that. When he's not memorizing Meat Loaf lyrics, you can find him karaokeing them at Basketbawful. Enjoy!

Hey Warriors...what's that on your face? I'll tell you. It's egg. And mud. And there's a little destiny mixed in there too. Golden State had every chance to take the pole position in their race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They were at home, their fans were waving "We Believe" posters, and they even finished the first stanza with a 15-point lead. Then it all went to hell. Starting in the second quarter, the Nuggets jumped all over them, led by Carmelo Anthony (25 points, 9 rebounds) and Allen Iverson (33 points, 9 assists, and three-point dagger to stop the Warriors' final run). J.R. Smith also knocked in 24 off the bench.

Golden State got 29 from Monta Ellis and a triple-double from Baron Davis (20 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists), but B-Dizzle (9-for-25) and Stephen Jackson (5-for-17) shot poorly, and that bricklaying killed their team. The win gives the Nuggets (48-31) a one-game lead over the Warriors (47-32) with three games left. And Denver has the tiebreaker. With the Nuggets defense, anything can happen, but it doesn't look good for last year's miracle team.

Who is that man and what has he done with Dirk Nowitzki?! It's official: The space invasion is underway, and those green bastards have started with our foreign basketball players. I knew something was up when Rasho Nesterovic unexpectedly returned to life and started averaging 15 and 8. But a clutch Dirk Nowitzki?! All I can say is, you'd better get used to a daily dose of anal probing and learn how to speak Martian — at least the common phrases, like "Please don't disintegrate me!" — because nobody's walking away from the alienpocalypse. Nobody.

Mork from Ork ... I mean, Dirk ... .scored 32 points and hit a clutchtastic three with 0.9 seconds left to lift Dallas to a 97-94 victory over the Utah Jazz. The win — the Mavs' second straight over a top-tier team — not only helped Dallas reach the 50-win marker, it also secured their playoff berth. Not bad, Lord Xenu. Not bad. Deron Williams had 18 points and 12 assists for the Jazz, and he banked in a game-tying three-pointer with a handful of ticks left on the clock before Nowitzki won it with nobody in his mug. Said Jason Terry: "How do you leave the MVP wide open?" Good question.

Memo to Dirk: I know you're excited about hitting those game-winning shots. And we're all excited for you. Really. But please, for the love of God, please stop popping your jersey when you do it. Securing a playoff seed does not give you the right to become an arrogant cocksmith, even if it's in the Western Conference.

The Lakers swept the Clippers. Actually, they did more than just sweep them. They beat them with the broom and then shoved it up their ... pick and roll. It's the first time in five years that the Showtimers have swept the season series against their bizarro clones, and they won the four meetings by an average of 26 points. Who run Barter Town? The Lakers run Barter Town. Luke Walton presided over the 106-78 piledriver by scoring a team-high 18 points on 7-for-12 from the field, which made up for some foul shooting by Kobe (6-for-17) and Derek Fisher (3-for-10). Elton Brand scored 23 for the Clippers in his fifth game back from a left Achilles' tendon explosion. Al Thornton had 22 and 10.