Monthly Archives: October 2007

The 15 Footer 11.1.07

The 15 Footer helps you find reasons to pay attention to the games of the day. Feel free to leave your own in the comments.

Last night’s F*$k Lion:


(Thanks to drunkathlete.com for the picture, obviously).

Hmm…. remind me not to piss in the Nets’ Wheaties again, will ya? Richard Jefferson did not take kindly to my underestimation of their chances to win the East. So he went out and pissed all over the Bulls for 29. KDu did, with 18 points and 5 boards, not enough for a win, but enough for a good showing. Zero hit the dagger, but not the free throws, and the Pacers (the Pacers?!) took over in overtime. Mike Dunleavy gave a monstrous performance. Let me say that again. Mike. Dunleavey. Gave a monstrous performance. At basketball. 25, 12, and 4. Ah, early season. I’ll prep the MVP banner.

Tonight only features three games. Screw it. I did it on opening night, I can do it again.

Here’s your 15 for tonight’s games.

1. This game rules! (In 1994!): Tonight Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Penny Hardaway will all suit up for the Miami Heat. That’s a dozen film appearances, 5 kidneys, a bazillion commercials, and 5 Championship rings. And with the awesome additions of Ricky Davis and Mark Blount…Look, just tune in to see what Wade’s wearing.

2. “My Name is Tracy McGrady. You Killed My Playoffs. Prepare To Die.”: The Jazz and Rockets meet for the first time since Carlos Boozer and company gave TMac a nervous breakdown in game 7 of the first round last year. The Rockets are coming off of a close one against the Lakers where Black Mamba almost bit them right in the ass. The Jazz, conversely, beat the Warriors like they stole somethin’. Even the party with the GSOM folks was dampened by the royal beatdown the Jazz put on. (Thanks to GSOM)

3. “You May Remember Us From Such Films As ‘David Stern Screwed Us’ and ‘Yes, We Can Go Faster'”: The Suns are back, and the goal is to bring the super-offense to an even higher level of productivity. The Suns will most likely be looking for some revenge on the league. Their first victim? KDu and the Chris Wilcox show. Plus, we get to see Amare and his freak of nature knees.

4. I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Spurs: Ah, the Pistons. Solid. Disciplined. Talented. Repetitive. They’re not as nearly as bad as the Spurs, of course, and I actually really enjoy watching all of them play individually. I think we’ve just gotten tired of watching them in the ECF at this point. Anyway, they should beat the crap out of the Heat tonight. Of course, there’s always the Rasheed Wallace ejection drinking game to entertain yourselves.

5. Young, Dumb, and Full of Missed 3 Point Shots: The Sonics play like a young team. Loose, fast, and streaky. KDu has started off with a bang. He attacked the rim a lot last night, silencing critics like myself in regards to his aggressiveness in the NBA on account of his size. If the Sonics are going to have any shot against the Suns, they need to improve their shooting percentages. And maybe Durant shouldn’t shoot threes. Ever.

6. Somebody Get the Guy a Yardstick: While we’re asking him questions, would someone want to tell Yao Ming he’s 7’4”? It’s not that I don’t appreciate that he’s got touch. Or that he’s actually more comfortable a few steps from the basket. But really. You’re just bigger than everyone else. So when pesky shooter teams come within range, don’t you think you might want to inch that big Asian ass closer to the little round hole? Against Boozer, AK, and Okur, they have to get Yao into the paint. Well, I guess there’s our answer.

7. “I Didn’t Even Have to Use My AK, I Gotta Say It Was a Good Day.” Andre Kirilenko is at least trying. That’s one thing you have to appreciate about the malcontents in the NBA. They still show up each time and give it their all. We’ll see if AK can work on the Rockets. On Tuesday, AK went off like everyone was wearing a Jerry Sloan mask (which is way scarier than the Clay Bennett mask). We’ll see if he can get in similar Terminator mode tonight. (Thanks to Super Sonic Soul).

8. Kobe! Again!: Get used to this as long as he’s not traded and we’re running low on games. Last night ESPN reported on a dead deal that would have sent Artest and Wallace to LA, Gordon and PJ Brown to the Kings, and Kobe to Chicago. That deal’s dead. ESPN is reporting that the big piece of the puzzle is Deng. The Laker’s won’t pull the trigger without him in the deal, Kobe won’t pull the trigger with him in the deal. Got to say Kobe’s right here, even if it sounds petulant. The man wants a chance to win now, not rebuild, and losing Deng would seriously hurt the Bulls. There’s only two ways this works out. Buss gives up the hard edge and takes the value deal he can get from the Bulls, or someone else sneaks in the back door. Since we know it won’t be Dallas, well, we’ll get to that later today.

9. “Hey, Guys! Remember me? I’m Grant Hill!”: So, tonight probably wont be the definitive answer on whether the only meaningful offseason acquisition for the Suns (HP Favs) will be the man who can help lead Moses Nash and the boys to the promised land. However, if the Suns team doctors can help Hill the way they have helped Nash and Amare, it should be a step in the right direction. But most importantly, if anyone can telepathically convince the Matrix that being a team with a title shot is better than being “The Man” on some scrub team, its Hill.

10. Mike Jones! What?! I mean…Mike James!: So, of course T-Mac and Yao had great games the other night, but anyone watching the Rockets can see that how Mike James goes, so goes the Rockets. He is a seamless outside shooter who can get the ball to both of the big guns right where they need it. I mean, he ain’t dropping dimes like Kidd or Nash, but he could be the central piece to helping Adelman integrate his offense. Tonight will be a great test for him against one of the best young frontcourts in the league for the Jazz.

11. He’s not fat, he’s a veteran mid-level exception!: This could really be his year. Word on the street is that he has slimmed down, been a total gym rat all offseason, is tenacious on defense and lead the Heat in assists during the preseason. He is going to be the lynchpin in another magical Heat run to the NBA Finals. Even his name singles all tingly shocks running down my spine. Oh wait, what’s that Matt? Walker isn’t with the Heat anymore? Really? C’mon? You mean the man who single handedly led them to the title in 2006? Really? Huh, he’s in Minnesota? Seriously? Damn, well there goes that logic. Never mind. I miss you already Toine.

12.”Hi Boys and Girls! You can call me Uncle Kevin!”: As freakishly good as we think Durant will be, this article has to scare you I’d rather have been a die hard Sonics fan and taken my kids to Clay Bennett’s house for Halloween than to let play video games with KDu. I jest, of course, but that is a weird way for the journalist to play with those quotes. But anyways, KDu should be more fun than sugar rush tonight as he gets to run up and down the court all night against Phoenix. I mean, chasing Phoenix. Which is better than raising Arizona. Which is what Shawn Kemp does. What? One of his kids has to be named Arizona. We’re rambling.

13. The Great White Hype: We only use this phrase in love, and to refer to the fact that our man Booze is from the “Great White North,” but did anyone see what Carlos Boozer did to the Warriors the other night? Dear Lord, can’t the best player ever from Alaska get some love? Get used to it guys, when he is running with Deron Williams, this is going to be the norm. Expect more big things against the Rockets tonight.

14. “This was the largest auto that I could afford. Am I therefore to be made the subject of fun?”: Alright, we here at HP don’t really care about the Heat. We just want one more chance to show you in the blogosphere this clip. Oh, when will Udonis Haslem be hosting SNL? I can’t wait.

15. Underrated Superstars, That is What You Are: Along with Mike James and Durant, tonight features a slew of rising stars and guys due for big years. Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Rafer Alston, DJ Strawberry, Nick Young, and absolutely no one on the Heat.

The 15 Footer 10.31

The 15 Footer helps you find reasons to pay attention to the games of the day. Feel free to leave your own in the comments.

Well, that was quite a differential between games 1 and 2, wasn’t it? Game 1: Exactly what you thought it would be, except for LaMarcus Aldridge coming in and making a statement. Barkley was right when he said they have to move Roy to the 2. Of course, not getting the crap physically beat out of you by Leg Sweep McGee will help, too. Game 2: The Rockets pretty much screwed around for a quarter before remembering how ridiculously more talented they are than the Lakers. Ronnie Turiaf didn’t have many points, but every time the guy touches the ball the team gets a spark. Kobe started just going psycho at the end. I was ready for him to punch the referee, punch Battier, punch Farmar, anything. The crowd really thought they were going to win, too. Wonder if this will add to Kobe’s frustration and desire to bolt or make him think maybe he can win with these scrubs.

Here’s 15 for tonight…

1. KDu. Du or Don’t Du? Supermegalomegarookiestar Kevin Durant is supposed to transform and roll out tonight for the season opener for the Sonics, but he’s still hobbled by a left ankle. The latest news from the AP is he’s going to play, which I’m sure ESPN TV execs are doing a little dance over, since the entire reason the Sonics are on ESPN twice this week is because of Durant. Everyone is sold lock, stock, and barrel on Durant winning ROY. I’m pretty big on Al Thornton myself, but there’s a reason Durant is the consensus choice. Tonight should be a pretty good opener for him, as he’ll have to answer questions about his size and durability against a pretty meastly Nuggets crew.

2. Mavericks or Cavs, Will The Real Conference Power Please Stand Up: Mavs win most games in the NBA last season behind MVP Dirk Nowitski. Get smoked like a blunt at SJax’s house, even if Dirk did have extenuating circumstances. Cavs win the East. Get rolled by the Spurs so bad they didn’t even need bad officiating. The Mavs have been heavy in the Kobe talks, have had questions about the little general, and Josh Howard has an injured wrist on top of his suspension for punking Brad Miller. The Cavs had two holdouts up until yesterday (now they’re down to 1), and made no moves, added no rookies, and went pretty much nowhere in the offseason while the rest of the East improved. Both teams have a knack of coming out and thumping when they’re doubted. Their openers are a big test for both teams.

3. Darko Side of the Moon (via the Corndogg): We all know what the former #2 overall pick thinks of Serbian officiating, but what do you think he will have to say after Duncan puts another 24/13 performance on him while he draws 6 fouls in less that 12 minutes of action. Seriously, we love Darko (he’s on my fantasy team), but if only he had a translator after The Big Boring does his work tonight in Grizz City.

4. No Bling, Please. But Would You Care For Some Cookies and Milk?(via the Corndogg): The battle begins tonight between two of the least ghetto-fabulous young prospects in the League. Former #1 overall picks Dwight “Big Bay Jesus” Howard and Andrew “Super Australian” Bogut will go head to head in their openers tonight. Neither guys rolls pops Crystal or rolls with an entourage, unless you count Howard’s carrying of the Magic on his mammoth shoulders an entourage (yes, we mean you, Rashard Lewis, and your gigantic wallet). And, of course, we all know too well what the Flying Wallaby thinks of NBA-types , but they are both extremely talented and extremely ready to prove they belong in the next line of great NBA pivot men.

5.CP3, PO, PT, OOPS, W(via The Corndogg): No, that is not jibberish. We are talking about our main man, Chris Paul, who is pissed off with the minimal amount of hype the Hornets are getting. He is ready to lead this nomadic group back to the promised land, the playoffs. Well, if the rest of his crew can get some PT without having too many OOPS, injuries — yes, that means you, Peja; then CP3 can help get them a WIN and start the NOLA hoops renaissance off on the right foot. Just not too much on the right foot, we don’t want to hurt those fragile Hornets. Seriously, these guys are more banged up than Eddie Murphy in Another 48 Hours. We’re pretty sure Peja was in a car that flipped 17 times.

6. Iggy vs. Bosh (via The Corndogg): So, I am loaded in my fantasy league on the frontcourt. I mean, seriously, I have Howard, Duncan, Biedrins, Darko, and Melo. I have no one who can do all the intangibles and help me in scoring, steals, and all the other minor categories. So, I traded Bosh for Igoudala straight up and tonight will be the first head-to-head matchup showcasing how much of an idiot/genius I am. Oh wait, you don’t care. You want to know about the game. Iggy blows up, but Toronto blows Philly out. Sixers suck. Hope you’ve got a pension plan, Mr. King.

7. There’s Always Time To Resign Chris Webber!: Mike Bibby? Out. Spencer Hawes? Out. Artest? Could get suspended between now and gametime, you never know. The Kings are in disarray. They could go a long way in calming the fanbase by pulling off a win against the upstart Hornets tonight. On the other hand, rubbernecking is popular in this country.

8. MARSHA, MARSHA, MARSHA! KOBE, KOBE, KOBE!:Yeah, that guy. You know. The one who hates his team, cant find any love, and dropped 45 on the Rockets last night. Him. Oh wait, they aren’t playing. Doesn’t matter. His name will be on the mic more than anyone else tonight, as his potentially new team (Chicago) and the team I said he should have been traded to a month ago (Washington — take that ESPN!!) will both be in early game action. And yes, Dallas is playing too, but you don’t seriously think “No Sleeves” Cuban would seriously trade away his precious German for the guy who could put his Mavs over the top, do you? Nah, neither do we. The guys over at Awful Announcing should start an award for the amount of time a broadcaster not covering a Lakers game talks about Kobe. This could be the beginning of the end, and God, we here at the Paroxysm, hope so. Who cares? This movie is like Titanic. Hey, maybe we can get Manu to play the little friend of his!

9. La La La La La La Bomba… : Juan Carlos Navarro makes his debut tonight for the Grizzlies. He’s been highly touted and the Wizards kind of sort of look dumb for giving him up for so little. Plus, the dude’s nickname is La Bomba. As in, “The Bomb.” Wonder if he’s got any trouble catching flights.

10. And Your Eastern Conference Champions…What The Hell?!: I was ready for all the Celtics buzz, even though I’ve dated marketing majors with more depth. I can stomach the Pistons because picking them is liking picking red at roulette, a pretty safe bet. But all of a sudden, people are throwing their lot in with the Nets? When that came out of Barkley last night my head shot up like a German Shephard. Not the Celtics? Not the Bulls? The Nets? With the Douchebag and the injury machine? I’m baffled. Maybe these guys can explain the hype as to why they’re so much better than last year with a win over the Baby Bulls tonight. Speaking of which…

11. “Don’t Leave Any Sharp Objects Near The… Tyrus, NO!”: The Bulls open up play tonight and it’ll be interesting to see if Tyrus Thomas goes Private Pile a la Full Metal Jacket . Skiles has been drowning the explosive first round pick for a year. I’m waiting for him to try electroshock.

12. And On The Main Stage, Zero!: The Gilbert Arenas Contract Year Show begins tonight against a Pacer’s squad that’s…um…yeah. Zero is coming back off of injury, and has a lot to show a lot of people. Attention on him is at an all time high. He might score 40. He might go 2 for 20. He might get naked. Join the fun!

13.”And Lo, I Saw a Pale Rider. And His Name Was Booby.”: Yes, the starting small guard for the defending Eastern Conference Champions is called “Booby.” I love the NBA.

14. Blue Light Special On Aging Power Forwards…”: KMart returns from microfracture tonight. You should probably watch because getting to see him play healthy is a lot like seeing the Loch Ness Monster. You only see it maybe once in your lifetime and then there’s lots of roaring and Scottish tourist ware.

15. It Could Be Worse. We Don’t Know How, But It Could Be Worse: How often did you think would get to enjoy the debut of a dynamite team like Stuart Scott, Stephen A. Smith AND Bill Walton? Maybe, once, twice in your life, unless you count when you get to Hell and are stuck watching them for eternity?

NBA Opening Night 2007

7:05PM Okay, here we go! We’ll have a nice quick intro and then the tipof….what? The Spurs are getting their rings? Okay. That’s fine. We’ll got to the studio and come back… wait, what? Okay, well, this shouldn’t take long…

7:10PM FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

7:11PM “AAAAAAND THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF JANITORIAL SERVICES, MR. ALAN MUCKRAKER!”

Good God. What was Stern thinking?

“Hmm… no one outside of San Antonio can stand them, they’re a small market, they’re at the center of the biggest scandal in NBA history… I know! Let’s bring them on television with their boring selves for 20 minutes!”

7:20PM Finally. Woah, La Marcus Aldridge decided to come and play.

7:22 Pryzbilla should get good. His name is too close to Godzilla for him to suck.

7:26PM And Bowen makes his first attempt of 2007 to try and cripple a great player. Welcome back, Bruce. Die.

7:27PM It takes me 5 months to forget how much I hate Tony Parker. And about twenty seconds into the season I’m right back there. Welcome back, jackass.

7:28PM Duncan misses a baseline 15 footer. How do you leave that guy open? How do you forget Tim freaking Duncan?

7;29PM Aldridge is pretty much bringing the noise.

7:30PM Michael Finley is turning into Robert Horry 2.0. Just hangs around, plays defense, fills a whole, and then drives the dagger when he gets the chance.

7:31PM The wife loves the Great Pumpkin. Considerably more than she likes the NBA. She’s not winning this battle, sadly for her. Of course, I pretty much feel like Linus at the end with the Suns. “Someday the Great Pumpkin will come! And he’ll bring the Suns a championship! And it’ll be great!”

7:33PM The Blazers are rebounding well. Unfortunately, they’re not defending Parker well. And by that I mean, letting him do whatever he wants.

7:34PM I love how what would be a reach in on anyone else is a steal for Manu Ginobli. That Argentinian must give great head.

7:35PM Duncan’s court vision is ridonkulous for a man of his size.

7:36PM Duncan’s jumper is not great tonight.

7:39PM We’ve got our first “Manu Ginobli drives with absolutely no regard for his or any other player’s safety.” of the season. Wahoo!

7:43PM Who was that masked man?

7:44PM This is going to get ugly and boring really fast. Again, who in the hell thought this boring ass, unbelievably talented, hard working, disciplined, ridiculously unfun to watch team was a good idea for opening night?

7:46PM Matt Bonner: The Spurs latest absurdly undertalented dude that gets tons of points and opps just by crashing the offensive glass.

7:47PM Robert Horry, 15 seasons, 7 rings, 1 massive cheap shot. A legacy in the making.

I am stunned by how well coached the Spurs are on the offensive glass every year. They make so many points on just following through and exploiting mismatches.

7:51PM Over on NBATV, I hear this little piece. “Pop, before they drafted him, went down and visited him, and they just walked on the beach, getting to know each other.”

Um.

Yeah.

7:55PM I’d rather watch the Blazers lose than the Spurs win. They’re just more fun to watch. It’s so bizarre. I know it’s been said a million times. And I don’t even know what it is, there’s just a matter of something about them that’s unfathomably unfun to be around. Seriously. If I were a Spurs fan, I’d be on Prozac. They’re also amazingly good at everything from rebounding to finding the open man, to ball rotation, to floor vision, to strength and conditioning. It’s infuriating how excellent they are. I hope that helps them sleep at night.

8:00PM The Spurs beg you to collapse on the drive. Then they dish on the lift, and just kill you with the guys on the perimeter. You see it coming and there’s nothing you can do about it. Also, if someone will please tell me another team Oberto would be a starter on, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

8:03PM Brent Barry. The Gary Shandling of the NBA.

And the Spurs put the foot on the throat. Back later when Rockets vs. Lakers gets going so that there’s something that doesn’t depress me happening.

And Yea, The Lord Returned The Season To His Followers

Thank you, oh, Lord, for returning the NBA to us. Just as the shine from football starts to fade (*yawn* Patriots win everything, *yawn* Ohio State gets killed by SEC team in the BCS Championship, again…), you bring us the insanity, the measured malevolence, the sheer disregard of logic that is the NBA regular season.

Thank you, Lord.

We’re getting in gear here at the Paroxysm.

Here are 15 reasons to watch the 2 games on tonight.

For more season opening stuff, check out the always popular and therefore unnecessarily linked TrueHoop and Basketbawful.

1. The Greg Oden Supporting Band, starring LaMarcus Aldridge!: LaMarcus Aldridge is a pivot point for the Blazers. If this team hopes to head in the right direction in preparation for Senor Oak Tree’s arrival next year, they’re going to have to get some production out of the 4 with Aldridge. He showed bright spots last year. This year, he’s got to put it together. Stepping up tonight against the Champs and at least making a showing would be a good start.

2. Yao Ming’s opening salvo in the MVP war: The big Yang to McGrady’s Ying, Ming’s gotta be the guy this year for the Rockets. This gives him a great stage to show how dominant he can be, against a still green Bynum.

3. Manu Ginobli and the Plus/Minus Rating of Hell: Here’s a list. Dwayne Wade. Paul Pierce. X Player. Dirk Nowitski. Who’s the X? Manu. What’s the list? Top +/- last year. Don’t get me wrong. I despise pretty much everything about Manu Ginobli. His game. His face. His continued existence on the mortal plane. But why do I hate him? Because he’s a bad guy? Because he flops too much? Because he kills puppies? No. Because he’s really, really, really ridiculously good. And he is the nitro boost to the Spurs’ otherwise Ford Sedan-ish offense. His numbers are just sickening.

4. The Kobe Bryant Suicide Watch: He’s listed as inactive for the game tonight, which means it could be 3 hours of Dick Stockton analyzing the Chicago/Houston/Phoenix/DC/Brazil/Detroit Shock trade. If he does play, can’t you just see him stealing the ball from his own teammate, draining a fallaway three and then turning to Jackson and screaming at him while he trots back upcourt? I’d love to see the guy just go maniacal bad guy tonight.

5. Franchise Back in Town: You know, for a coach that doesn’t like bench players much, Adelman’s got a pretty big one. Stevie’s got 3 players in front on the depth chart, but he still might catch some daylight. And he’s either going to be surprisingly good for a bench guy, or, well, you know… Steve Francis.

6. Luis Scola: International Man of Mystery: He’s Argentinian! He’s good looking! He’s 6’9”! He’s one of the biggest pickups in the offseason! He’s starting! We have no idea about anything else about him! Come witness the wonder!

7. Rick Adelman Is Hungry… For Blood!: Wouldn’t you be pissed if you brought a team out of darkness and into the warm light of playoffs only to be shown the door because you couldn’t overcome the combined might of Kobe, Shaq, and the refs? And what does this guy do with a loaded roster?

8. Channing Frye, Back in Black: I’m a firm believer that anyone that was trapped in IsiahLand is worthy of a second shot. Frye’s got size, some touch, some agility. He could be an absolute wash. Then again, what if all he needed was to get out from the All Seeing Eye?

9. Michael Finley Cares Not For Mortality: Screw Brett Favre. This guy’s a gunslinger. Old, crusty, banged up, and still able to knock you to the saloon faster than a stiff shot of whiskey. He’s back in the starting spot. Again. Knocking down threes. Again. The guy has a world of heart, even for the soulless Spurs.

10. Tim Duncan Is Great: There’s nothing else I can add to this. He’s simply one of the greatest players of all time, and any time you can watch one, you should.

11. Eva Longoria Parker: She’s hot, and much more fun to watch than her husband. Who just cut to the basket, missed a runner, flopped, and drew the foul by the way. Repeat. Ooh, Eva.

12. Josh McRoberts on the Bench: There’s always a chance we’ll see the big white Duke player doing something silly, like playing with an etch-a-sketch or something.

13. Jordan Farmar: “Ooh, the Lakers have no point guard.” “Why won’t the Lakers get a point guard?” “If only the Lakers had a point guard!” You know what? Joardan Farmar is pretty damn good. He had a great preseason, and he’s another of those up and comers. Should be fun to see him stick it in people’s faces.

14. Ronnie Turiaf Is An Excitable Boy: Turiaf plays hard on every play. He explodes to the basket, works the boards, sacrifices his body for possessions, the whole thing. On a team that’s uninspiring, Turiaf is worth watching.

15. Bruce Bowen’s House of Pain: Call your friends, and take bets on who Bowen’s going to injure with the Cobra Kai leg sweep tonight. Fun for the whole family.

The Sweet, Tempered Joy of Preseason

How to know if you’ve become a full-on NBA junkie, volume 1: “You find yourself hearing the words, ‘NBA Preseason Game from China, Cavs vs. Magic on ESPN 2′ and say ‘Wow! This is great! This makes my day!”

Aaaaaaand it did.

You ever try explaining to a woman you’re getting married to in 10 days that you want to stay home so that you can watch two mediocre Eastern conference teams battle it out in Shanghai in a preseason game that has no bearing on standings and probably won’t feature the starters for more than a quarter or so? Oh, yeah, and did I mention I already know who wins, since it’s on tape delay?

But still!

The NFL preseason is infuriating. It’s like football, only not. Sure, you’ve got the guys playing hardcore for roster spots, but for the most part, it’s two yards, a missed tackle, a slipping running back, and a cloud of dust. So it’s a lot like the Chiefs offense this season.

But the NBA preseason is a rare combination. It manages to combine the ridiculousness of the inherent nature of the preseason, while adding in players that are busting their ass to prove their worth, the B level players looking like Gods and getting you to bite on them in fantasy, and the stars annihilating the B squads and sitting out for most of the game.

Take last night’s replay of the Shanghai game. In one game, you had the ridiculousness of the game being played in China, LeBron waving a flag at halftime, Shannon Brown going 3 of 11 in 21 minutes and still putting up 12 points (and looking like he’d be happy to shoot twice as many), and Dwight Howard just absolutely annihilating the Cavs second string.

Hubie Brown on commentary actually said “well, yes, Howard is dominating, but it’s against the second string.” You still have to look at the guy and realize that with his combination of size, talent, and now this crazy desire to destroy everything in his path, Howard could be in for a monster season, even more so than last year. He was second in the league in double doubles behind “El Tigre Monstruoso.” He’s also a freak of nature. He’s also 21. “Big Baby Jesus” was like a child God last night. There was absolutely nothing the Cavs B team could do to him. It was nice, to be able to show the crowd in China the kind of talent he has.

Now, in a preseason football game, you’re not going to see the starters play for more than a series. LT didn’t play in the preseason at all.

But LBJ? Three quarters, 17 points, still led the Cavs in points, and spent the fourth just hanging out and getting face time. It’s nice to see him make the trip, and continuing on his path to the icon he is.

The main show, however, was Thunder Lips. You had to feel bad for the backup Cavs as Howard basically said, “Nah. It may be preseason, but I’m still not losing.” Seeing the Cavs try and stop him was like watching Billy Madison play dodgeball. Just not fair.

The nice thing about these games is that while they’re not regular season caliber, they’re not far from it. And with the deadspot that now exists with baseball’s seasonal demise, Tuesday and Wednesday are free of sports competition! So why aren’t these televised more often? For example, tonight’s game is the first ever meeting of Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant in an NBA regulation game. Exhibition or not, that’s good TV.

Thanks, But Steve Nash Doesn’t Need Your Acquittal

The following is a response to The Cosellout article on Steve Nash and how it’s not his fault the media has a favorable bias towards him. The arguments made in the post are sound, and he brings up a valuable point. I just happen to disagree with him. If the tone in this comes off as acerbic, it should be attributed to my own particular voice when writing, and no undue offense is intended for the original author. It takes guts to post an article that essentially demeans the efforts of a two time MVP. And right or wrong, he should be commended for that. However, I felt it necessary to respond, based on my own feelings on the subject. Also, Kobe sucks.

I get it. You’re counter-counter-culture.

You think the media is unfairly nice to Steve Nash.

Let’s go through your arguments one by one.

1.) MVP Consideration: So, in essence, your argument, if I’m to understand, is that you don’t agree that Nash was the MVP (but that’s okay, because you ROOT FOR STEVE NASH!), and that the majority of voters did think he was the MVP, and voted as such, and that makes it racial bias. So wait, in a completely subjective discussion, a large number of people that follow basketball decided that Steve Nash was the superior player, and because not enough of them just went ahead and voted for someone that wasn’t white, that makes it a racial bias? Really? So if Steve Nash had won by a hair, then the media is not racist? What about if he won by a little less of a landslide? You don’t think for a second that maybe everyone just voted for Nash, because, I don’t know, his team won more games than Kobe’s and LeBron’s and , and he was largely the attributed factor?

Nah. It’s because he’s white! It’s not that Lebron faced questions that season about his focus, leadership, and jumper, or that, you know, Kobe is considered (right or wrong) a ball-hogging pure shooter and we all know it. NO! It’s because he’s white!

What, are you kidding me?

Nash won because sports writers will look at stats, and make the case for lots of players on lesser teams. But you know what counts most to them? Wins. Otherwise there would be a statistical formula for the MVP, or we’d just give it to the scoring champion. Nash was voted MVP because he put in ridiculous numbers, led his team to wins in both seasons (including one without Amare), and did so as the pivotal player on a highly explosive offense that could not run without a player of his singular caliber.

Look, I get the fact that you think LeBron should have won, even though that season he had significant questions about his leadership, clutch shooting, and oh, yeah, jumpshot. And I understand you think a better case could be made for Bryant because HE SCORES LOTS OF POINTS! HE SCORED 81 IN A GAME! A SINGLE GAME! WHAT?! YES, I KNOW HE ONLY GOT THE SEVEN SEED, AND HE WAS QUESTIONED OFTEN FOR BEING TOO SELFISH ABOUT HIS OWN SHOOTING. BUT…HE SCORED 81 IN A GAME!!!!!!

Doesn’t cut it. Nash has the numbers. He has the personality (which like it or not, is going to be a factor in a subjective race, and that same factor is going to help LeBron over the next ten years). He has the leadership, and the wins, and the intangibles. That’s why he won.

Just because you can ask the question, “Was it because of RACE?!” does not mean the answer is automatically yes. Our defficiencies as a culture do not equate a lack of qualification on Nash’s part.

II. Athleticism: Again, let me get this straight. You think, in your heart of hearts, deep down in the cockles of your soul, that every white guy in America sitting on his couch watching league pass sees Steve Nash take the ball, break the half court trap, set the offense, fake left, drive right, stop, safely exit pass, negotiate the pick, retrieve the ball, fake right, go left, stop, no look pass to a streaking player for an easy lay-in, and we all go “Man! He’s just like me!”

You went ahead and had those few drinks you mentioned for the MVP conversation, didn’t you?

Another of the main problems I have with your argument, besides A. the “well you can ask the question so it must be true” argument and B. well, the argument in and of itself, is the way that both the main stream media and the average white fan are idiots. Essentially, we’re racially biased, socially ignorant people that believe in the perception that Steve is just like our friend at the pick-up game who’s really good.

I’m not entirely sure about your friends, man, but mine can’t ball like Nash. And I’m aware of this. I pay attention. I love the sport. And I know that Nash has unbelievable soccer skills and could rule at hockey or pretty much any other sport he were to play. And I know this because I pay attention. But you know what? Even if I didn’t know these things, I would still be able to speak volumes about Nash’s athleticism. Why? Because I can figure out that he gets paid millions of dollars to play basketball for a living. It’s not like some part of me is like, “ooh, it’s all want-to.” Come on! The man runs what is essentially a high speed shuttle drill weaving in between 7 foot monsters for 40 minutes a night. Yeah, you know, maybe that guy’s got some physical skills.

III. Ah, I see. The fact that our culture is obsessed with stars and pays more attention to them than “average” professional athletes is clearly an indication of racial bias in the media! Yeah, that’s it! It’s not because Etan Thomas (who’s game I sincerely love and who I genuinely hope is having a safe and healthy recovery) has had trouble getting floor time because of known all-worlder Brendan Haywood, or because he plays on a team as a role player to the eternally amusing Agent Zero. No! It’s because he’s black! That’s why he’s given such a hard time! Nash also never went out and was going to media outlets saying “I want to talk about how messed up the War in Iraq is.” (If you want to get into a discussion of whether he should or not, we can another time, and that one we’re more likely to agree on.). The media is historically bad when it comes to people it views as “loudmouths.” It wants the only loudly voiced opinions to come from them. These does not mean that they’re racist.

IV. Again, I understand. Of course! The fact that one instance of generosity is done by a 2 time NBA MVP in his prime versus an aging center that would like to know who wants to sex him, yeah, that has nothing to do with this conversation. One is white, and one is black! Therefore, it must be a race issue! If we can question, we can confirm! Yay!

Is Etan Thomas an admirable guy who’s clearly intelligent and has important things to say about issues and is using his fame as an athlete to do so? Absolutely. Is Dikembe Mutumbo a generous human being? Of course.

Neither of these statements have anything to do with the fact that people pay more attention to Steve Nash because he’s a star. Not because he’s white.

V. Ohhhhhh, I see. So in the vast sea of MSM voices that are constantly plugged into your ears, Jon Barry’s offhanded comment that is said specifically in order to build hype for the current playoff matchups and to provide hype, that is definitely the sole voice in the malaise.

Dude, take a second, listen to Steven A. Smith,and things will feel much more balanced (Note: first time that sentence has been written. Anywhere.). Jon Barry does a bit of instant history and he’s part of a vast white-wing conspiracy to supplant black NBA stars of the past with Nash and his army of Canadian clones. Dan Shanoff does instant history and he’s just another voice in the “underground” of sports blogging. Dude, here’s some salt.Get a grain of it, take it with you for future emergencies.

And finally, thank you. Thank you for bringing to light the most convincing argument for Steve Nash’s racially based media bias. The fact that some cop let you off with a warning. Thanks. That clears up so much for me. Here I thought it was a complicated issue based on a longstanding systematic oppression of people based on their skin color, spanning economic and sociological factors, influencing health care, employment rates, education policy, and communication systems. No, what it really boils down to is that $80 ticket you got out of because you convinced some backwardass cop (another concept that is purely shocking in this country) to let you out of it.

Let’s be clear. America is still racist. Lots of sports fans are racist. Lots of media personnel I’m sure are racist. Race influences almost every situation that our country enjoys, from employment to religion to economy to family. My argument is not that we don’t need to ask ourselves if we’re racially biased, or if our media is exhibiting that bias. We hide from our darkness enough as it is.

But Steve Nash is not some barrier we need to break through in order to achieve a higher sense of social enlightenment. He’s not an icon for white America (he’s a Canadian soccer player, for God’s sake!). He won the MVP two years in a row because of his talent, leadership, and production. He is noticed more by the media for his community service and political statements because you know, he’s the MVP. He’s well liked because, shock of all shock, he’s likable. Nash is spending money on camps for kids. Kobe’s spending money on rings for scorned wives. This plays a factor in a voter’s mind, likely moreso than race, because the interaction is not on a personal level.

Just because you can point to this situation and ask, “Is race a factor?” doesn’t mean the answer is yes.

Atlantic Division Preview

The Atlantic Division: 50% Less Shitty Than Last Year!

No-Looks:
Nenad Krstic was voted 3rd most eligible bachelor by a Serbian version of People Magazine. Very nice!

Juan Dixon’s aunt is the Mayor of Baltimore.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Stephon Marbury is kind of the man and/or insane, and Isiah Thomas is kind of a dick to women.

Kevin Garnett? Yeah, he likey da futbol!


In the Time of Chimpanzees, I was a monkey.” Who Won’t Win the Division:

Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers decided last season to finally scrap it and trade Mr. Practice. wait, I mean, Mr. Practice is Cool.
The Sixers were to enter a rebuilding mode. This was a good thing, as they were entering into the greatest draft in recent history. So now’s as good a time to tank as any, right? Wrong! By some grace of God, this team managed to finish just below .500, barely miss the playoffs, and,
in a briliant, glorious display of how God really does think Billy King is a moron, managed to completely miss out on the sweet part of the lottery and end up with Thaddeus Young. Now, Young could turn out great, he was a value pick for where he was at (one of the few things
King does right). But he won’t make enough of an impact to turn this team around. This team overperformed last season, and should settle in nicely for the OJ Mayo Sweepstakes. Andre Iguodala is nice, and they’ve got a nice trading piece in Andre Miller, once they figure out what to do with him, and it never hurts to have a big man like Samuel Dalambert down low. But the East got too good over the summer. Good news, though! Next summer there are a ton of great superstars for Billy King to pass up in favor of one of the lesser pieces he will surely overpay!

New York Knickerbockers: Wow. Just wow. We all thought that the sexual discrimination suit might get ugly. But this? And this? And Stephon Marbury? In the back of a car? Wowzers.

So funny, we thought that it would have been Isiah Thomas’ idiot managerial moves that did him in (you may remember such classic hits as this, or this, or this). Who woulda known it was a pissed off lady who’d had enough that would come in and bring it all down. And this after Isiah had a pretty good summer, too! Had another pretty good draft, landed the big asset to complement Eddy Curry in Zack Randolph he was looking for, and he’s still got David Lee to smother on the bench! There are going to be some pretty bad consequences coming out of this case for the whole Knicks organization. This team could do anything at this point and it
wouldn’t shock us. Bottom out and hit the lottery, make the playoffs as the sixth seed, finish just below .500 and the playoffs, become a roving dance group…again, really, we can’t get a feel for them. But with all the distractions and the fact that Eddy Curry still can’t hang onto the ball and Zack Randolph still has trouble with whole “throwing the ball to the other guys” bit, we can’t see them going too far. Marbury’s pimp, though. And we like his kicks.

New Jersey Nets: Jigga like “woah.” Very few people are as excited as we are for the Nets to move to Brooklyn. The combination of NBA personalities, Brooklyn, and Jay-Z as an owner is just irresistibly fun. Until then, though, we’re stuck with this incarnation. Hey, did you know Jason Kidd is good? Like, better than John Stockton? Too bad this team is kind of like my college girlfriend. She looks good and all, but she can be kind of a freak, and when she’s in a funk it’s a disaster. Also, get her loaded up on peach schnapps and she could completely lose her shit. Richard Jefferson is perpetual trade bait, always good enough to be considered valuable enough to trade, but not great enough to keep. Vince Carter is Vince Carter. Scorer. Superstar.
Douchebag. Him dumping the Raptors in last year’s playoffs only added to his infamy. We look forward to watching his slow decline and increasing injuries. Losing Mikki Moore is going to hurt these guys. They’re going to be scrapping for that 8th seed, especially with how much bigger everybody else got in the East.

Toronto Raptors: Holy Hell! Basketball in Canada works! Salvation, thy name is Chris Bosh. The Raptors took the leap last season, winning the division and nabbing the #2 seed in the East. They built themselves around Bosh and a number of young, athletic European players, including rookie Andre Bargnagni who came on strong at the end of the season. Unfortunately, God must hate Canada (or at least the douchebag that owns that site), because He allowed Vince Carter to come back and beat his old team who he screwed over in oh, so many ways. This team will have another year under its belt, has added the services of Kapono, a pure shooter, and Bargnani will have another season under his belt. Bosh is a Superstar, when healthy, and can annihilate the insides of puny Eastern teams. So they should win the division, but, oh, Christ… you’ve got to be kidding me…

The Big Kahuna:
Boston Celtics: Look, it doesn’t make us any happier than it does you. And we know they’re old. And they have no depth. And Ray Allen is an egomaniac. And we’re pretty sure the Hamburgler is starting at point guard. We. Don’t. Care. This is the Eastern Conference. The same Eastern Conference where the presumptive “best team”‘s primary scorer is an English bred Duke player named Deng. (We kid, we kid Chicago, you know we love you). This is the Eastern Conference where Isiah Thomas, Billy King, and Billy Knight have been employed for several years. Where Rashard Lewis gets more money than Brad Pitt, and Zack Randolph is a “primary big man.” And you’re telling us KG, Allen, and Paul “Dear God, Save Me, I’m In a Basketball Snuff Film” Pierce can’t win this division? The Celtics could turn into a bigger flop than the Garth Brooks pop alternative identity disaster. They could win 60 games. Garnett could spiral into a Jim Morrison like depression and head out to walk the earth like Caine, in Kung Fu. Pierce could get seriously, tragically, yet ironically injured. Allen could remember he’s 32. They could miss the playoffs. They could win the championship. Nothing is more up in the air than this team. But we’re afraid that if we don’t pick them, Kevin Garnett will come in the night and eat us. So we’re sticking with them.