"We Slummin, G!"

Check the 1000 words I dropped on life and basketball up at McSweeney's today. We're celebrating our 10th article anniversary.

Not to go all self-righteous on you guys, but last night's Cavs/Wiz game reinforced my theory about the playoffs embodying all or nothing simultaneously. Just as B-Shoals (see below) can see that the contest was "sick beyond sick," I can just as easily point to that game as making me sick to my stomach. What we were watching were two inexperienced teams give us "skill by default" but at a level of athletic maturity ten times below that seen in the Kings/Spurs series ( (a) who am I? (b) the Kings/Spurs joint is by far the best series in this playoffs and more slept on than Boxcar Sessions). Nobody, outside of Gilbert--who strangely did not get the ball into his hands until the last 6 seconds of overtime--wanted to go for the jugular. LEAST of them being LeBron. To recap:

LeBron is clutch.
LeBron is not clutch.

The Wizards are poised.
The Wizards are flustered.

The Cavs/Wiz game last night was a classic. The Cavs/Wiz game last night was not a classic. Suns/Lakers Game 4 was an undeniable classic. Kobe was undeniably clutch. LeBron lost his marbles at the end of the fourth quarter and regained them with 3 seconds left in OT. Sportscenter will paint LeBron's drive (aka Jamison's folly) as a Jordan-esque moment. More thoughtful observers will construe it as the development of a man's psyche. The moment a child learns to masturbate or to catch a filet a fish with his knife and bare hands.

Perhaps I am negating my own original thesis here, trying construct a linear narrative, when again, Ol' Shoals has suggested that perhaps the Playoffs point to the uselessness of constructing anything but a PARADOXICAL narrative for any of life's events. THE HISTORY OF BONZI WELLS IS BEING RETOLD RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES PEOPLE, his Portland days reimagined as a time of he being a key role player, his Memphis days constructed as a prelude to breaking out, his role on the Kings painted as KEY TO THE TURNAROUND. I see him merely as a tough matchup. Too big for Bowen and Manu. Too quick for Finley. Is there a truth to be told?

As a brief aside, let's say John Daly blew $20 million. Let's say Chuck blew a cool $10M. And just for good measure, let's say Wayne Gretzky's wife lost $5mil. Would anyone then doubt that the losses of the quietest man on earth are in the 9-digit range? Zen, bitch.


At 5/04/2006 12:24 PM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...

I would have killed (or payed the $10K buy-in) to be in the room when the Dream Team was playing five and six figure poker in their posh digs in Barcelona. I have no doubt that Jordan is capable of uttering: "$25 million on black." The world has never been enough for the man whose Alexander the Great moment (and the death of his dad) caused him to leave his conquered lands in search of a new conquest: America's national pastime. That was a gamble that probably cost him $20mil in salary, let alone much prestige.

At 5/04/2006 12:39 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'll say it again:

-the wizards are playings physically, transformed by the playoff and unwilling to let lebron have his way
-the wizards can't defend and gave the game away

are these contrasts over the course of games? serieses? if it happens over a series, or a couple of games, why not read it into a single quarter?

apologies to dlic if he said this already.

At 5/04/2006 12:39 PM, Blogger c-los said...

"What we were watching were two inexperienced teams give us "skill by default" but at a level of athletic maturity ten times below that seen in the Kings/Spurs series"

Teams have to start somewhere. It takes postseasons of hardship to ascend to the elite levelin the NBA. It's not football where you can come out of the blue one year and suck the next. Lebron is more athletically mature than all of the Spurs/Kings combined. I see Bonzi as a guy who knows he's in a contract year and is trying to get paid.

At 5/04/2006 12:41 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

what about this one:

-bonzi is artest
-bonzi is artest
-bonzi is artest
-bonzi is artest

At 5/04/2006 2:45 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

I'd second that as far as talking about being a mismatch on offense goes - just being way stronger than you should be allowed at your position.

Remember TrailBlazer Bonzi just abusing Kobe?

WV: yetydr

At 5/04/2006 3:04 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

bonzi ate kobe up. kobe has trouble with big guards who can post him up.

At 5/04/2006 3:59 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Cavs - Wizards is exciting. It's also possibly the opposite end of the spectrum from the Pistons/Spurs nexus, measured on the axis of sloppiness to controlled.

It's fun to watch, it's also not "good basketball" or a situation where either Agent Zero or King James are imposing their will upon the game. It's more of them taking advantage of the situation than creating it of their own will.

At 5/04/2006 4:02 PM, Blogger El Huracan Andreo said...

Lawrence Taylor once beat Michael out of 40k on one round of golf.

At 5/04/2006 4:57 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

In the five games he has played in the playoffs thus far Lebron has scored 32, 26, 41, 38, and 45 points for an average of over 36 points per game. He has also hit game winners in two of those games. Those statistics are tempered by the Wizards defense to be certain, but scoring 36 a game in a division III playoff is an incredible feat. He's brought it bigger and better than I could possibly imagine, and you're going to miss out if you discount it because of Jamison's closeout or an obvious travel.

Yes he travelled on the first game winner, (though he was fouled), and yes Jamison gave up the baseline, but he still did it. I don't take anything away from Kobe's two shots in game four. Nash made two blunders much more boggling than Jamison's, but Kobe did it, and it's no accident when the great ones do it. And yes, if the Cav's win they are gonna get blasted by the pistons, and yes the wizards can't play D. But 36 a game is dominating. It's 36 points a game! This Cleveland team he's on is terrible. Even though the Wiz don't play D, they are the better team. I think people would agree that their talent level, outside of the Lebron-Arenas matchup is higher than Cleveland's. So we don't have to go overboard comparing him to the greats yet. But give him his respect for doing what he's doing. I didn't expect him to make that last shot, so let's give him some cred for doing so.

At 5/04/2006 5:04 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

Oh, and I also keep forgetting. Those three seconds were the series for the Cav's. They lose that game and they're not coming out of game 6, it's one of those things you just know. The Wiz still have a chance to win it, but if Bron misses that one the cav's are through. That shit was good.

At 5/04/2006 7:00 PM, Anonymous futuristxen said...

I don't agree that the Wizards have more talent outside of Arenas-Lebron.
It's that the talent outside of Lebron hasn't shown up yet in the playoffs. Zydrunas Illguaskas is one of the top centers in the game, and he's been dominated by Brenda Haywood. Larry Hughes has really only played one game(the last game) well, but historically he has been better than Butler, and depending on the day Jamison. Then you have the frontcourt players of Gooden and Verejao, who are both better than any of the Washington Big men, when they perform. Then there's Flip Murray who is probably a just a level below Antonio Daniels.

Honestly, the story after Lebron-Arenas in this series is Jarred Jefferies. I keep wondering if Jefferies could do Tayshaun Prince's job in Detroit, and thinking he could do it better.

At 5/05/2006 4:23 AM, Anonymous johnny5 said...

"I see Bonzi as a guy who knows he's in a contract year and is trying to get paid."

Who's this year's Jerome James, Wells or Tim Thomas? (Not that both of them combined can do as much damage at the Hometown Buffet.)

At 5/05/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger c-los said...

Yeah right. Tayshaun is a much better player than Jared. Tayshaun can shoot. And how can anyone say Jared is the story of the series besides Bron and Gil. The guy he is guarding is averaging 36 a game over 5 games.

At 5/05/2006 7:18 PM, Blogger Snorri Hergill said...

Actually, Wells' production in the SAS-SK series just makes me more than a little sick. It's so ... blatant. Anyone for the over-under on Isiah signing him for too much this summer? It's just... the inevitability of it all. He averages 13.6 and 7.7 for the season, then 24 and 12 for the last 5 games when he's under contract? After having been kicked out of Memphis and Portland?

Does the whole Jerome James Syndrome not rankle anyone else?


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