About Last Night: Boom, Boom, Pau

Pau GasolIn case you were busy settling up with Alamo Rent A Car after just driving, man, went horribly awry, here’s what you missed in sports on Wednesday.

  • The Los Angeles Lakers’ troubled season continued, as forward Pau Gasol has been ruled out for at least six weeks after tearing his plantar fascia. Back in the Lakers’ locker room, a frustrated Mike D’Antoni was confused by the diagnosis. “Oh, first Dwight is in and out of the lineup with undiagnosable shoulder pain, and now Pau tears a damn ribbon, and he won’t play?” said D’Antoni, whose native tongue is Italian. “No, coach,” interjected Lakers point guard Steve Nash, “I’m pretty sure fascia in English refers to the frieze of a building. Or like, the space around a column? His home must have suffered some cosmetic exterior damage, and that can be a real pain to deal with.” D’Antoni countered, “Well, that’s no reason to miss six weeks; with the amount he’s paid, that’s one week out tops.” Metta World Peace then chimed in: “I don’t mean to be a bother, but fascia can also mean ‘bandage’ in Latin. Perhaps we should give the Spaniard the benefit of the doubt and assume that he ripped a bandage, and then got one of those antibiotic-resistant infections.” A dark hooded figure then emerged from the corner of the room, and bellowed, “Stai zitto!” A hush fell over the room until World Peace asked, “What’s that mean, Kobe?” Bryant, deflated, responded, “It means ‘shut up,’ Ron. In Italian. Man, why’d you have to ruin my badass entrance. Whatever. All that matters is that Pau is feeling pain. Do we know whether or not he’s feeling pain?” At this point Gasol himself got up from the trainer’s table and said, “Uh, guys, I’m right here, and it’s just a foot injury. I should be back in March.” But his rational explanation came too late, as Kobe had already decided he was owed pain.
  • The Miami Heat overcame a monster night from James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets at home, 114-108. “I’m glad we contained that guy at all and escaped with a win,” said Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade after the game. “I mean, we all joke around about that beard, but it smells like a really gross sneeze, like a sneeze that’s somehow both runny and chunky, combined with like, old corn? Seriously, it’s foul. People think he has a quick first step. But he doesn’t. No one wants to stay in front of him in case he rubs against them and they break out in hives. That happened to [Shane] Battier. I’m not kidding. Why am I the only person willing to talk about this publicly?”
  • The San Antonio Spurs, despite missing Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, won their 11th straight game, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-94 on the road. After the game, Spurs point guard and Frenchman Tony Parker mused, “I do not miss my fellow Spurs, for to miss is to long for an absence, to be no more than a dog longing for its dinner.” Parker then pulled a Gauloises out from behind the ear of a reporter and said, “Yes, I am magic, but the real magic lives in the heart of a child, right after he sees that death is real. Perhaps that comes when he finds his favorite bird devoured by a hungry dog, for then he has become a man, and so he is not a child, which means there is no real magic.” Parker then disappeared in a cloud of smoke, which cleared to reveal an adorable French Bulldog sitting in Parker’s locker, chewing on a Gauloises.
  • Freshman phenom Ben McLemore and the Kansas Jayhawks were shocked by Big 12 cellar-dwellers TCU, 62-55, after being held to just four points in the first 15:30 of the game. This was the Jayhawks’ second straight loss. McLemore attributed his recent sluggish performance to “all the tail I’ve been pulling because folks assume I’m related to that rapper Macklemore. And [Kansas Center Jeff] Withey’s been all like, ‘Yup, I’m Ryan Lewis’s cousin,’ so we’re exhausted. Just physically drained.” When asked if he was serious, McLemore shook his head glumly and said, “Yeah, man. I don’t get it either, but Midwestern college kids love Macklemore, so I have pretty much no feeling from the waist down.”
  • Indiana State improved its chances of securing an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, upsetting Creighton at home, 76-57. Indiana State coach Greg Lansing credited the win to his team’s defensive preparation and his rousing pregame speech, titled “Larry Bird Is Not Walking Through That Door.” Sycamores guard Jake Odum responded by saying, “Really? Coach gives that same damn speech before every game. We know Larry Bird isn’t walking through that door. Dude is old. He has no college eligibility left. He has a ton of money. Why would he walk through that door? But, frankly, it would be nice if he did drop by once in a while. Guy thinks he’s too good for his alma mater?”
  • Stanford’s upset bid against Arizona fell short as the Wildcats pulled out a 73-66 win at Tucson. “We’re not disappointed, as this was the statistically expected outcome,” said Stanford forward Dwight Powell. “Though we did have a strange feeling of wanting some statistical variance to lead to a result in our favor. We have hypothesized that this feeling could be what we have heard referred to as ‘hope.’ We’re going to take some blood and skin samples and test them in the lab when we get back to Palo Alto in the ‘hopes’ of understanding the physical underpinnings of this human emotion.” Powell let out a chuckle and added, “‘Hope.’ What an imprecise word concocted by an imprecise species.”
  • The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team team lost its first game of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying ‘Hexagonal’ round, 2-1, to Honduras. The Hondurans leveled after falling behind early, with a fantastic bicycle kick from Juan Garcia, which was set up by a cross from Victor Bernardez, who plays defense for the San Jose Earthquakes, whose games are called by Gus Johnson, who … oh, no … will not be calling the World Cup until 2018, which … oh, no … will clearly have to be a year of redemption for the Americans, after the … oh, no … Americans fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Johnson Prophecy hath been writ. Shall it be fulfilled?
  • Alabama followed up its second straight BCS National Championship by finishing at the top of the football recruiting rankings for the second consecutive year after a solid showing on National Signing Day. Head coach Nick Saban credited his team’s success to his four recruiting principles: hard work; single-minded focus; finding a hate in your heart so deep and black that sleep, food, and love become mere afterthoughts in the hellscape that is your damned existence; and using the Internet to broaden the talent base you’re drawing from.
  • Arkansas recruit Alex Collins could not commit to the Razorbacks on Wednesday after his mother, Andrea McDonald, refused to co-sign his letter of intent, hoping to persuade her son to stay closer to home and play for the University of Miami. This marks the first time that a mother has hoped her son would play football for the University of Miami.
  • A rare baseball card from 1865 depicting the amateur Brooklyn Atlantics baseball club fetched $92,000 at auction on Wednesday. The card, which is not the near-mint 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card sitting in a binder at my mom’s house, is one of two known copies of the Atlantics card in existence. The other resides in the Library of Congress, and not in a binder in my old closet marked “Best Mariners’ Cards DO NOT TOUCH!!!!” Cards from that era featured the entire team, and not just one future Hall-of-Famer who managed to escape the steroids era with over 600 home runs and an untarnished image. The seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, was pleased with the final price, and is not me.

Filed Under: About Last Night, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Pau Gasol, San Antonio Spurs, Stanford

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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