It's The Little Things
Consider this my belated BethlehemShoals-like semi-threatening LAST POST BOUT THE PLAYOFFS till they're over. I maintain a great amount of angst over the Suns' failure to advance, but in my deepest of hearts knew that after game one of the series, it was not meant to be. Epiphanies that a) nobody on the Suns boxes out for the first 3 quarters of a game, and b) it is not that Nash is a poor defender, it is that he flat out REFUSES to play defense, made me feel very sorry for Phoenix fans everywhere.
I echo Shoals' sentiment: THIS IS A LEAGUE OF STARS. However, I would remiss if I did not defend the Pistons as not only a watchable team, but perhaps the most likeable team in the Association currently. Seriously, tell me a Pistons player who you hate. They have Darko. They have 'Sheed. Even the guys they cut are named "Smush" and "Del-fino." And all this man knows how to do is pass and be a fan favorite...
Yes sir, folks, the Pistons are the heterosexual version of the Spurs. Quasi-boring, but evocative of the same feelings I get when watching the Patriots beat everysinglefucking body based on strategy alone. Thank you, Larry, for being the best basketball mind of our time. Better than Phil, Rudy T, and better than Pop. Everywhere he has gone he has gotten the most out of his players, and he doesn't promote that goopy smirking, Walton-orgasm-inducing, "aw shucks, all we know how to do is be smart and play de-fense." Ben Wallace still punches people. Rasheed and Chauncey still get ill-advised technicals. Rip bats the ball away from Dan Crawford. LB himself goes for delf behind the scenes. No puritanism, no implicit code of ethics, no "we don't yell at the refs" tirades The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he was "playing the right way." Larry's too Brooklyn for that. He's too TarHeel for that. He's too Detroit for that.
(Segue into finally determining reasons underlying both my annoyance with the Spurs, and why this whole playoffs has fallen out of favor with me).
I prematurely spoke when I said that the playoffs are really all about Wade now. Truth is, the playoffs died when the Sonics were eliminated. They were the soul of this season, foreigners, thugs, a goofy 7-foot high schooler, and Jesus Shuttlesworth himself just
"doing them." The Sonics embody personality and cool, two elements that NONE of the conference finalists (not even the Suns, who seemed a little to mainstream for my tastes) could muster up. Whereas the Bulls and Wiz were amusing in the same way watching a
bunch of 4-year-olds smash a pinata are amusing, the Sonics were solid gold soul. Either you're with Fortson, or you're against Fortson. They're the type of team you could watch on mute with your girl in the room, and she might not like it, but she would UNDERSTAND.
The Spurs are the antithesis of all that. I can't think of a single Spurs player whose jersey I could wear in public and feel like I had a chance of getting laid. It's not that they're
boring, it's that they are cold and metallic. And the Heat don't offer much more...I'm sick of Damon Jones. The "Shaquille" reality show has further reinforced that he is truly the
high school lackey to the Homecoming King, and he savors that role. He's like a less arrogant version of Freddie Mitchell, but still milking his playoff spotlight for all it's worth. Zo and Laettner have been unlikeable for years, and B-Shoals blew my mind when he said what we were all thinking, that Wade is secretly boring. I will still cheer for them, however, because the Shaq-switching-teams-to-win-the-championship subplot is all I have left in this world.
As Shoals hinted, I will be stockpiling draft and free agency material over the next few weeks, as well as breaking down in full depth the 05-06 Golden State Warriors, which as of now, are looking like the most entertaining team of the Darko era ever. Not to mention, that barring a lockout, it will be this man's time. Oh yes.