Over at Fansided, the HP crew super-overreactionized on the first round of the playoffs. We had more #HotTakes, but they just got way too steaming #hot that it began to boil the servers. I tried to grab them with industrial strength heat gloves (which are totally a thing), only to receive third degree burns. So, we decided to put the rest of the takes here. Careful, don’t get too close, or you’ll singe off your eyebrows.
Mark Jackson’s Misplaced Faith Punishes the Warriors
by Jordan White (@JordanSWhite)
Mark Jackson fancies himself a faithful man. Yet if he is indeed so pious, why didn’t his Warriors prevail in Game 7 Friday night? The answer is simple. Jackson wasn’t rewarded for his faith because he was being punished. That punishment wasn’t for pride, though one can certainly see how that might be the case, given Jackson’s tireless and tiring “us against the world” bravado. But no, instead, Jackson was penalized for an even graver sin: idolatry.
It’s great that Jackson’s pre-game chapel sessions has created such chemistry and harmony amongst his team. But would they have followed him had they known he was ushering them down a path of sin? That in leading them in prayer, he leading them astray? Those poor souls. They gave their all on the court, yet they were doomed from the start – they just didn’t know it. The lord was never on their side, because the lord was playing for the other team the entire time. He’d had enough of Jackson’s idolatrous cries, and on Friday night, on the Sabbath, he chose to silence them, at least for a few months.
For as it was written on the stone tablets Dr. Naismith carried with him as he descended Mount Sinai:
‘I am the lord your Point God. Thou shalt have no other god beside me.”
The Curse of Tyson Chandler
by Ian Levy (@HickoryHigh)
It took just minutes for the San Antonio Spurs to gather up every one for the Dallas Mavericks, usher them behind the woodshed and begin the violent work of putting down their season. The weapon of choice was a steady parade of Tony Parker layups and tear-drop floaters. The Mavericks’ interior defense was so soft, so thoroughly exposed by penetration, that one can’t help but draw a direct line from this Game 7 to the ultimate cause for the Mavericks’ demise:
I know Chandler has been hobbled by injuries and mostly ineffective with the New York Knicks but, let’s be honest, that’s because they’re the New York Knicks (team motto: Turning Lemonade into Lemons, since 1974). Besides the Mavericks had Samuel Dalembert to protect the rim this year, which is basically the same thing as having Chandler roaming the baseline, right? ….. right?
Time to be honest with ourselves. The Spurs were motivated, they were focused, their execution is surgical and they probably would have dissected just about any defensive arrangement the Mavericks put together in Game 7. But not having Chandler was not about having the wrong players, it was about the psychic tax being extracted from the Mavericks organization for their hubris by the Moirai, the Fates. So much bad juju has befallen Dallas since letting Chandler leave that it is hard not to arrive at the obvious conclusion: his departure has initiated a Babe Ruth-ian curse which will take the Mavericks are least 100 years of solitude and misery to break.
By my count, the decision not to re-sign Chandler after the 2011 season has now cost the Mavericks three consecutive NBA titles. When you have the kind of talent that locks down championship defenses, you don’t trade that talent just because they would like to be paid slightly more than they deserve. Especially not when your owner is wealthy enough to arrive at every game by personal jetpack. Dallas looked at Tyson Chandler and thought they could do better with their piles of money. They were mesmerized by the possibilities of Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. But after voluntarily dismantling the greatest team the world had ever seen, the natural order of the universe had been disturbed. There is no way such signings could happen.
Obviously, missing out on a trio of NBA titles is bad enough, but let’s not forget all the other tragic collateral damage. Mavs fans have had to endure full seasons of madcap escapades from O.J. Mayo, Monta Ellis, Chris Kaman, Lamar Odom and Elton Brand. They had to watch the basketball talent of one of their original heroes, Jason Terry, melt away like he had just snuck a peek inside the Ark of the Covenant. And worst of all, they have utterly and disastrously squandered the end of Dirk Nowitzki’s career.
The Spurs may well win the championship this season and if they do, this first round challenge by the Mavericks will be but a footnote. But the slowly grinding wheels of time will reverse our collective memories. In a century only Basketball-Reference will remember who won the title this year and the 100 consecutive season to follow, in which the Mavericks don’t win the title, will be what none of us can forget.