REASONS TO WATCH THE GAMES OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION TONIGHT:
REPENT! And Thou Shalt Be Saved (Orlando at Chicago):
This game is on, like, right now. NBA schedulers, you are truly a wacky bunch. I know just how incredible Derrick Rose is and is becoming, but all I can think about is the following: 1) how infuriating Nocioni is, 2) how underwhelming Luol Deng is, 3) how Ben Gordony Ben Gordon is. Not to say that the team’s unwatchable, but the aforementioned three always seem to distract me from the meaningful action. Also, since I’m a recent convert to the church of Jameer Nelson, I was told that I still need to do some unsolicited praise to make up for my past transgressions against the tiny point guard deity. Jameer is fair and just, and he does no wrong. All hail the midrange jumper.
Watching Pistons small-ball feels like pouring acid in my eyes. It’s not that I don’t like the players. More likely, deep down inside, I find Tayshaun Prince playing starting power forward deeply disturb to an almost unspeakable level. Dude’s a 3. He’s a skinny 3. And though his shift to the 4 isn’t exactly to blame for Detroit’s fall from grace, I’ll be plenty relieved if the whispers of Amir’s full-time return prove to be true. In the meantime, they’ll fine tune and spin their wheels against the Nets. Jersey has been impressive for stretches, but the Pistons are still the Pistons. Kind of. Still, give ‘em the benefit of the doubt, even if they do lay an egg against some powerful weak teams.
Evidence of what, I’m not so sure. I was completely oblivious to the delightfully odd streak of success the Bucks have had at the expense of the Spurs, until Graydon’s cohort Tim Varner at 48 Minutes of Hell was kind enough to point it out to all of us. Last night, Tim either jinxed the sh*t out of the game or simply laid forth a convincing argument, because SanAn fell short once again. Be afraid, Rox. Be very afraid. (Actually, don’t. Seriously. This one’s going to be a breeze.)
No more Nuggets. I am so convinced that this team is supposed to not be good, that I refuse to talk about them anymore. Chauncey Billups has rocked my world in a way that I’m not ready to embrace. Toronto…is just a constant reminder of the ways in which I will always be wrong. I so thought that this team was ready to overcome their depth issues. Instead, Chris Bosh plays like a superduperstar for one minute, and a middle of the pack all-star the next. Meanwhile, Jose Calderon is so efficient he’s invisible, but so unimpressive that his additions to his team aren’t enough to balance for the weak bench. Jermaine shows up every other game, which apparently is not enough. So basically what I’m saying is: find your own damn preview because one of these teams is dead to me and the other only represents my deep-seeded fears of actually being wrong.
Gotta love these. The Warriors may not be the wonderful cesspool of anarchy they once were, but they may just be woefully wonderful in an altered state of anarchy. Call me crazy, but the team has been infinitely irritating, and though they frequently get demolished, they occasionally wreak a level of havoc (to both themselves and other teams) that is unparalleled. But while the success (or lack thereof) of the Warriors reads like a seismograph, the Thunder have been remarkably consistent. Consistent in their own unique brand of suck, consistent in their inability to pull out close games, consistent in their subpar level of talent. The Thunder fight, and they fight hard, and so do the Warriors…sometimes. The contrast is as interesting as it is awesome. Can’t wait.
For all of their flaws, I still do find some joy in watching Golden State, OKC, and even Toronto. But despite Al Thornton’s best efforts, I hate watching the Clippers. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette each had their own niche of curiosity, but the intrigue this team once had has faded. There’s no more “hey, will this thing work?” with Baron, Camby and Kaman have rarely hit the floor together due to injuries, and Dunleavy refuses to cave to madness and start Randolph, Kaman, and Camby. Keep building those walls, MDSr. Keep building the prison that cages you, your players, and the franchise. In the meantime, I’ll dodge Clips games like the plague, especially when they’re playing a marginally interesting team in the Sixers. Brand’s injured, and even when healthy he had already lost some of the tragic hero mystique that made him so damn interesting. Instead, we’re forced into watching Andre Iguodala’s sometimes successful attempts to salvage the season