Bernucca: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the 2013-14 NBA Season

espnscrewupThere were 1,230 games during the NBA season, and I read the stories and boxscores for every single one.

That is how I compile Page 2 of my weekly notes column, which features the categories Quote of the Week, Line of the Week, Line of the Weak and the Trillion Watch.

It’s also how I find gems like Mo Williams mysteriously playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.

After my column is published every Monday, I take the winners of those weekly categories and save them in a file to create this column, which summarizes the best and worst the NBA had to offer this season.

I do this because no one else who covers the NBA does it. I hope you enjoy it.  PoppBEST QUOTES OF THE SEASON: Two folks made multiple appearances this season, and both were coaches – the terse Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and the garrulous Mike D’Antoni of the Lakers. But neither made the final cut.

Those who did comprise an eclectic group that included not one but two members of the previously uninteresting Charlotte Bobcats. It also included a coach, the POTUS and a player from another planet, as you will see below:

Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson, after a reporter suggested that the fourth-quarter scoring duel between 184-pound teammate Kemba Walker and 185-pound Stephen Curry of Golden State was like a heavyweight championship fight:

“Well, maybe a featherweight championship fight.”

New York Knicks forward Metta World Peace, on why he wasn’t present when owner James Dolan met with the players:

“I was in another galaxy yesterday with my galactic friends.”

President Barack Obama, sounding entirely like a second-term president and getting in two zingers at once while addressing the Miami Heat media contingent during the team’s White House visit:

“Why don’t you make like the Heat fans in the last two minutes of Game 6 and leave?”

Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, after  a 117-89 loss at Chicago on TNT:

“I felt like tonight we had some guys that just decided they weren’t going to play tonight. They weren’t going to put forth any effort to get the job done. It’s unfortunate, it’s a nationally televised game, we’re professionals, and as a staff we have to beg guys to give effort when they play. I told our team that I wish paychecks were predicated on night-to-night performance. If you play like a star on a given night, you get paid as a star. If you play like an uninspired player, then either you don’t get paid, or you get paid like an uninspired player. You can’t just pick and choose when you want.”

Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson, responding to teammate Jannero Pargo’s assertion that he doesn’t pass the ball once he gets it in the post:

“Well if I pass it to you, I’ll get a turnover, because you’ll be on the bench.”

20140101_Corey_BrewerBEST LINES OF THE SEASON: There were appearances in this category by some highly unlikely candidates – Tony Wroten, George Hill, Brandan Wright and Corey Brewer, who in the last full week of the season stuffed two weeks worth of points into one game.

Two players made multiple appearances. Not surprisingly, they were the same two players vying for NBA MVP – Kevin Durant and LeBron James. They both made the final cut, which was filled with perennial All-Stars.

Here’s the best of the best:

Chris Paul, LA Clippers vs. Golden State, Oct. 31: 37 minutes, 12-20 FGs, 2-6 3-pointers, 16-17 FTs, two rebounds, 15 assists, six steals, six turnovers, 42 points in a 126-115 win. Paul became the first player since steals became an official stat in 1973 to go 40-15-5. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and rookie Michael Carter-Williams also had terrific games during this week, but not one-of-a-kind games.

Carmelo Anthony, New York vs. Charlotte, Jan. 24: 39 minutes, 23-35 FGs, 6-11 3-pointers, 10-10 FTs, 13 rebounds, zero assists, zero blocks, zero steals, zero turnovers, 62 points in a 125-96 win. Anthony obliterated a career-best effort from Terrence Ross as he set Knicks and Madison Square Garden scoring records while becoming just the 21st player in NBA history to score 60 points in game. According to Elias, it was the most points without a turnover since that became an official stat in 1977.

James Harden, Houston at Sacramento, Feb. 25: 31 minutes, 11-20 FGs, 6-9 3-pointers, 15-16 FTs, two rebounds, eight assists, three steals, five turnovers, 43 points in a 129-103 win. yes, we noticed Goran Dragic and Trevor Ariza had career-high 40-point games. However, Harden established a season high despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter. After Dwight Howard exited with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter, he scored Houston’s last 18 points of the period.

LeBron James, Miami vs. Charlotte, March 3: 41 minutes, 22-33 FGs, 8-10 3-pointers, 9-12 FTs, seven rebounds, five assists, two turnovers, 61 points in a 124-107 win. James became the 22nd player in NBA history to score 60 points as he established a career high and a franchise record. In the third quarter alone, he scored 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-5 from the arc. “The King” turned the 38 points and 19 rebounds by Charlotte’s Al Jefferson into an afterthought.

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City at Toronto, March 21: 52 minutes, 15-32 FGs, 7-12 3-pointers, 14-19 FTs, 12 rebounds, seven assists, one block, one steal, five turnovers, 51 points in a 119-118 double-overtime win. Durant has had better shooting games but took on the scoring burden when Russell Westbrook went down in the third quarter. He scored 27 points in the fourth quarter and overtimes, including a game-winning 3-pointer from 30 feet with 1.7 seconds left. .

WORST LINES OF THE SEASON: This category was dominated by Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, who jennings tattoosomehow appeared three times. Honorable mention to the Brooklyn Nets, who had three different players post the worst line of the week this season, and Harden, who did it twice by himself and one more time as part of a group, as you will see below.

Harden also was one of three players who appeared on both the best and worst list during the season. He was joined by Anthony and Brewer.

Here’s the worst of the worst.

Paul Pierce, Brooklyn vs. Indiana, Dec. 23: 15 minutes, 0-7 FGs, 0-2 3-pointers, 0-0 FTs, two rebounds, one assist, one block, zero steals, two turnovers, zero points in a 103-86 loss. This was just the second scoreless game of Pierce’s career. The first came in his 1998-99 rookie season. And that one didn’t include a flagrant-2 foul and a $15,000 fine.

Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City, second half, Jan. 16: 120 minutes, 7-36 FGs, 0-14 3-pointers, 5-10 FTs, 23
rebounds, eight fouls, 12 turnovers, 19 points in a 104-92 loss. After scoring 73 points in the first half, the Rockets had a season-low 10 points in the third quarter, followed by a season-low nine points in the fourth quarter. The 54-point discrepancy between halves is the largest in NBA history.

Brandon Jennings, Detroit vs. LA Clippers, Jan. 20: 28 minutes, 0-7 FGs, 0-3 3-pointers, 0-0 FTs, zero rebounds, six assists, zero steals, zero blocks, five fouls, one turnover, zero points in a 112-103 loss. One of the game’s most overrated players, “Young Money” was held scoreless for the second time in his career.

Joakim Noah, Chicago at Sacramento, Feb. 3: 19 minutes, 1-6 FGs, 2-2 FTs, four rebounds, two assists, one steal, zero blocks, two turnovers, three fouls, four points in a 99-70 loss. Some numbers not mentioned above: Noah also was a minus-10 and collected one ejection and a $15,000 fine after distributing three F-bombs, one to each referee.

Roy Hibbert, Indiana vs. Atlanta, April 6: 9 minutes, 0-5 FGs, 0-0 FTs, zero rebounds, zero assists, zero blocks, zero steals, one turnover, zero points in a 107-88 loss. The start of a spectacular week for Hibbert, who was benched for the second half of this game, benched with his fellow starters Wednesday at Milwaukee, “bounced back” with five points and one rebound in 34 minutes of Friday’s loss at Miami and shot 0-of-9 vs. Oklahoma City on Sunday.

KCP Detroit PistonsOUR TRIBUTE TO TRILLIONS: There were 18 different players this season who posted at least a 5 trillion, the same number as last season. Among those, there were three who did it twice.

Among teams, the Thunder and Bulls had three different players make the table, while the Pacers had two. Four of the biggest disappearing acts came against Charlotte, while three each were against Detroit and New York.

One of the players appearing twice on the table is Thunder forward Perry Jones III, who during one game this season was told to “Wake the bleep up!” by teammate Kevin Durant. On Feb. 27 vs. Charlotte, Jones sleepwalked to a 10 trillion, matching the best lack of effort this season.

But the winner on a tiebreaker is Pistons rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had a 10 trillion of his own on Feb. 18 vs. Charlotte and followed that with consecutive 3 trillions. Really. Check out his game log.

Here is everyone who had a 5 trillion or more this season.

 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit vs. Charlotte Feb. 18 10 trillion
 Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City vs. Charlotte Dec. 27 10 trillion
 Tornike Shengelia, Brooklyn at San Antonio Dec. 31 8 trillion
 Tony Snell, Chicago vs. Detroit April 11 7 trillion
 Rashard Lewis, Miami vs. New York Feb. 27 7 trillion
 Darius Miller, New Orleans vs. Denver Dec. 15 7 trillion
 Doron Lamb, Orlando at Detroit Jan. 28 6 trillion
 Luc Mbah a Moute, Minnesota at Utah Jan. 21 6 trillion
 Byron Mullens, LA Clippers at Brooklyn Dec. 12 6 trillion
 Nazr Mohammed, Chicago vs. Boston April 2 5 trillion
 Hasheem Thabeet, Oklahoma City at Toronto March 21 5 trillion
 Cartier Martin, Atlanta at Charlotte March 17 5 trillion
 Rasual Butler, Indiana at Charlotte March 5 5 trillion
 Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City at LA Lakers Feb. 13 5 trillion
 Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City at Miami Jan. 29 5 trillion
 Ish Smith, Phoenix at New York Jan. 13 5 trillion
 Doron Lamb, Orlando at Sacramento Jan. 10 5 trillion
 Archie Goodwin, Phoenix vs. Memphis Jan. 2 5 trillion
 Erik Murphy, Chicago at New York Dec. 11 5 trillion
 Solomon Hill, Indiana at Portland Dec. 2 5 trillion

As always, we are grateful to our readers. Enjoy the playoffs.

Chris Bernucca is the managing editor of His columns appear Monday during the season. You can follow him on Twitter


  1. A.J. says

    I wish the Internet was big back when Chris Gatling played for Golden State. That was my all-time favorite box score, back when the only place you could read a next-day detailed box score was in USA Today. Nothing will ever come close, I wish I had saved it and framed it.

    Chris Gatling – DNP: Inflamed hemorrhoids

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