I was always fascinated with dynamite as a kid.
It wasnâ€™t in the â€œI played with a magnifying death ray burning ants on the sidewalk, hope to find a friend with an illegal firework so I can play Russian roulette with my handâ€ sort of fascinated with dynamite way. It was totally legit. Whenever the coyote was chasing the roadrunner and had a trap set with some good â€˜ole ACME TNT, I waited for the explosion and the colored stars to go pulsating through the screen without really caring about the end result.
What can I say? Explosions easily amused me as a child (and probably still am).
Well, when the Human Dynamite Stick, Josh Smith, threw down the TNT plunger with the walk-off tip dunk against the Orlando Magic Wednesday night, it had roughly the same affect on me. I didnâ€™t necessarily care about the carnage it may have caused or left behind.
Take a look at it.
The shot goes up from Joe Johnson. Dwight Howard was left in No Manâ€™s Land defensively as he canâ€™t really get over to challenge the shot but also has to provide the threat of a hovering missile defense system in order to deter Joe from waltzing into the lane. This leaves the rebounding job up to Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis who are averaging 7.4 rebounds per game between them. Considering one of those guys is a Keith Closs blowout away from being seven feet tall that seems kind of like a paltry number.
This is the point in the cartoon in which you realize the dynamite isnâ€™t working with the coyote. Even though it appears to be complying throughout the entire process, itâ€™s going to end up exploding in the face of the coyote when itâ€™s least expected.
Josh Smith had been hanging around the perimeter on this final play. He wanted the ball. He was just sitting out there, praying for a kick-out pass that would be entrusted to him to save the day. The pass never came. As internet sensation and two-time TrueHoop Network blogger, Sebastian Pruiti, pointed out, â€œhe calls for the ball at the three-point line and doesnâ€™t get itâ€¦ last year he pouts and doesnâ€™t go for the board.â€
Josh Smith is out at the three-point line and normally would just sulk his way into overtime. It appears the dynamite is working with the coyote. But the dynamite doesnâ€™t work the way you have always expected it to. Instead, the Human Dynamite Stick goes flying into the paint unabated. He rises up into the air (pulls the detonating plunger up into the air), catches the ball on his wrist and brings down the hammer (thrusts the plunger downward to ignite the explosion) as the buzzer sounds.
The result is pulsating stars filling your television screen. Ka-plooey.
Normally, Iâ€™d smile at the screen, wait for the credits to roll and move onto the next show. But this time Iâ€™m interested in the carnage and aftermath.
The Atlanta Hawks donâ€™t matchup well with the Orlando Magic. In the past three seasons (including this current one), the Hawks are just 4-8 against the Magic. They canâ€™t seem to handle Dwight Howard on the inside or the jump-shooting goodness on the outside. The styles donâ€™t mesh.
But eventually, all that can change with one big catalyst. Itâ€™s funny how one buzzer-beating tip dunk can erase an entire mentality of being owned by another team. You forget that you donâ€™t match up well with them. You forget that you struggled profusely on offense and could only manage 84 points in the first 47:59 of this game. It doesnâ€™t matter. The dynamite exploded and the Orlando Magic have to wear it.
Now the Hawks are feeling good about themselves and the Magic are dealing with defeat. Might I add that theyâ€™re dealing poorly with the loss?
According to Brian Schmitz from the Orlando Sentinel, Rashard Lewis and Matt Barnes are not happy with coach Stan Van Gundy:
Lewis privately muttered something about Van Gundyâ€™s offense on a night he was 2-of-9 for six points. Matt Barnes was seething at the coach, too.
Van Gundy took out defensive specialist Barnes for a long stretch in the fourth period, trying to get the Magic back in the game with shooters, and Barnes took it as a personal affront.
â€œHe obviously doesnâ€™t trust me down the stretch,â€ Barnes huffed.
I find it hilarious that the 6â€™10â€ forward with the $18 million price tag is blaming the coach for not getting him enough shots when a clearly missed box out of the second most dynamic athlete on the court is the reason the Hawks walked away with the home win. Throw a body on Josh Smith and keep him from getting to that board and you leave Flip Murray Mario West (I’ve had Flip on the brain lately) trying a desperation tip with Jameer Nelson all over him. Seems like a lot more of a low percentage shot than Josh Smith converting an unmolested tip dunk.
If Lewis boxes out Smith, the carom goes harmlessly off to the side and the players get ready for the overtime period. In this period, Matt Barnes gets a chance to make a difference and Rashard Lewis probably gets four or five more shot attempts to botch to satisfy his ego. The Magic go into their normal wing-clipping mode against the Hawks, pull out the tough road victory and head home with a season sweep of Atlanta.
Instead, Lewis got lazy, the rebound got crammed home and the Hawks now have a little swagger against Orlando that was previously nonexistent. Orlando now has to face internal issues that are being immaturely aired out in the media.
You can thank the uncooperative Human Dynamite Stick for that.
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)