6.09.2006

Sprigs of assurance



Motherfuck Blogger. I started this as soon as the game ended but have been forced to mull over it for much longer than it deserved.

Hardly feeling any urgency to roll out Game 1's gurgling innards, which is both disorienting and utterly pleasant. I find it strange that my main position on this game seems to be a moral one: the Heat are reprehensible, and it takes precious little on the part of the Mavs to qualify them for heroism. Plus I couldn't help but enjoy this game as part of my proverbial "fuck you" toward the Spurs and Pistons: this is perfectly sound, sober basketball, minus the corner-cutting blemishes and saboteur's rejection of rhythm and cadence. To loosely quote something the Recluse said in the boardroom, it's kind of refreshing to attack from the extreme right for a change.

Instead, I'll hit you with some old familiars. Brick asked me earlier this week what exactly was FreeDarko about the Mavs; I stand by my richly convoluted explanation for how they've healed the Association's goriest wounds. But after an emboldening conversation with Shoefly, I'll let that take a backseat to one fundamental vibration: Josh Howard. Fuck Pride and Prejudice; Othello?!?!?!?! So bow-legged as a youth that he had his legs broken and reset twice? I've been trying for a minute to adequately explain why I find his game utterly mesmerizing, and that anecdote has now saved me any further trouble. If my problem with Wade is that even his missed shots might as well have gone in, Howard's beauty comes in the fact that even the makes look like misses. It’s all in those flailing, miscalibrated limbs, which seem intent on scrambling every sensible basketball impulse that emanates from his pedigreed torso.



I would also like to pile on to what’s sure to be tomorrow big storyline: he doesn’t make them when he has to anymore. If Shaq and the Heat had shot from the stripe what a remotely competent team registers from the floor, they would’ve wafted out of AAC on a smarmy cloud of entitlement. In the same way that any number of well-meaning experts have numbly mouthed “SHAQ SHAQ SHAQ” when asked to break down this series, the Heat’s confidence can very easily verge on complacency, answering my question of what Lakers phase they most resemble. I know I overstated the case against Shaq-as-instant-championship, but Game 1 should have every remotely considerate NBA fan looking long and hard at:

1. ONE FOR NINE

2. WADE HAS NO THREE-POINT RANGE, AND IS DICEY ON THOSE GIMMES

Even more so than with the Lakers, this team needs one thing: role players who can move the ball and hit three’s. This is NOT a team to coast on its reserves of talent or washed-up stardom; because of his FT anguish, Shaq is more limited than ever; while Kobe just didn’t look for the three much, Wade couldn’t find it if he wanted to. Everything within eighteen feet of the basket is taken care of by these two men, but they need their asses covered because of the damage they do/void they create through their inability to convert from the line and/or bomb away. When someone else does get a shot, chances are they should be looking to shore up that deficiency. I will now remind everyone of how, for a split second in NBA broadcasting history, it became fashionable to officially announce the discovery of Toine’s tremendous basketball IQ.

With the Heat in this series, I think the question is not can they adjust, but did they ever really hit a championship stride in the first place. In the same sense that the Frankenstein Lakers never really did, and probably only lost to the Pistons because of that. Not saying that they would have definitely won, or that they could have gotten to that special place, but their failing to do so definitely seems to have settled shit in advance.

20 Comments:

At 6/09/2006 10:42 AM, Blogger c-los said...

"Howard's beauty comes in the fact that even the makes look like misses"

Very Tru

 
At 6/09/2006 11:46 AM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

I was starting to warm to the Mavs, and then Terry had to do his little jet routine. Give me a fucking break. The whole team is now on my shit list.

 
At 6/09/2006 12:13 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

my girl is attached to terry the way i am arenas or kobe, so i have kind of lost all perspective on someone who always seemed kind of minor to me.

also hubie brown is totally freedarko. he's the smartest, most useful, most endearing commentator we have in this league, but also one of the most ridiculous and idiosyncratic. did anyone else fall out of their couch last night when he said "if you blink an eye, or think that you might want a sandwich, you'll miss points being scored."

wv: noosq (now our sons quit)

 
At 6/09/2006 1:07 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Absolutely agree about Hubie, but they need to give him his telestrator back and encourage him to do more X-and-O analysis during half-time and breaks. Before his time with Memphis, he'd do a couple of telestrations each game, and each of them improved my ability to watch and understand.

 
At 6/09/2006 2:02 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6/09/2006 2:04 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

I would personally love it if they went with a commentary team of just Hubie Brown and Dr. Jack Ramsey.

Most of the broadcast would be silence, interuppted by tactical discussions and rambling anectodes about the ABA.

It would be tremendous!

 
At 6/09/2006 2:43 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

I don't know if i quite agree with the Heat=reprehensible idea. I loved watching the suns this playoffs, even as i was rooting for them to lose, because one of my friends who i watched the games with is a huge knicks fan, and everytime tim thomas did anything he would dissolve into a seizure of impotent rage. the reason these cast-offs are so hard to watch is beacuse they constitute a living, breathing indictment of their previous teams.

this is only more true with the miami oncology institute. at some point in their careers, some manager looked at each of these heat role players and said, "we cannot win this way." (in boston, danny ainge said this explicitly). the heat, like the suns before them, prove that the most common problem in the nba is not a lack of talent, but a lack of imagination. for fans of a team that hasn't been playing for months, that's a tough pill to swallow.

when tim thomas runs down the court with his fizz face on, or walker wiggles in front of the opposing bench, us partisans of the defeated clearly understand the animus of their celebration: "there are more things in heaven and earth, than dreamt of in your philosophy."

 
At 6/09/2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

no one was ever transfigured by playing on that heat team; they're still the same miserable bastards they always were, just barely under wraps for the sake of ring-chasing. if they falter, the demons will come out to play—maybe even before the series ends.

what makes the suns system such a revelation is that it's maximized otherwise unremarkable or underwhelming players. the heat are minimizing them in the least imaginative way possible; i'd say that stack, terry, or diop have all undergone more dramatic, lasting transformations than anyone on the heat. terry and diop are not only more useful, they're better. stack, maybe just a better teammate, but his rebirth still makes the heat role players look like prima donnas.

the heat deserve to come out of the east; that doesn't mean they're not one whoppingly tenuous means to an end, rather than anything resembling real chemistry.

wv: yhhiv (yids hate heroin intravenously)

 
At 6/09/2006 3:28 PM, Anonymous mugettee said...

So Miami is imaginative for hiring a bunch of over-the-hill stars and ring chasers to surround the most dominant guard/center combination in the game. And Pat Riley has creatively fit these castoffs into a winning system. I think a few favorable rule changes and with Wade being where he is now and last year's Heat are exactly where they are right now minus half the losers.

 
At 6/09/2006 5:09 PM, Anonymous JuneMonsoon said...

The weird thing about this Stackhouse rebirth is that it already happened. When he was moved from Philly to Detroit numerous stories were written about his transformation into a selfless leader. I know it was a few years ago but I can't be the only one who remembers this.

 
At 6/09/2006 5:28 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the season stackhouse averaged 29, they had an interview with him that aired during the half of some game that mattered concerning "his quest to win a scoring championship." i think the next year things changed, but shipping him out of town for hamilton would suggest that no one ever really bought it.

i have no distinct memory of what he did in dc or last year in dallas, but this is the first time that he's actually seemed valuable, as opposed to merely inoffensive or a "veteran scorer."

 
At 6/09/2006 6:21 PM, Blogger T. said...

I will forever and a day hate the Mavericks for the sins they commited against the city of Houston during last season's playoffs. Who cheap shots Yao Ming? (Josh Howard, that's who).

Plus, I have disliked JET since his Arizona days when he used to sit on the bench behind Stoudamire, Geary and Reeves and talk trash to the students. Punk.


WV: opuxsl: Olden Polynice University - Xtra-Small Living

 
At 6/09/2006 7:13 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

the point is exactly that the heat do not require transfigurations of their players. the mavericks success is predicated on players reconfiguring their hopes and styles, if only by scaling them back. the heat, in a way that seems improbable and, to my mind, interesting, take these cast-offs and exhort them to keep doing what they have always been doing. it is redemption without any confession or humbling.

 
At 6/09/2006 7:18 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

maybe stackhouse has scaled his hopes back, but compare him with finley on the spurs (except for a couple of playoffs games). he's a key player who still gets plenty of chances to assert himself.

terry and diop have both never been better. dirk, too, has found himself. let's not forget that.

that suns team causes its players to transcend themselves. the mavs make them apply themselves, that "what you're really made of" that i said was the heart of the playoffs.

 
At 6/09/2006 10:03 PM, Blogger T. said...

Totally unrelated, but . . .

I think the NBA team needs a bit more size on the left and right backs - what Tony Parker can play football just because he's French? I'd like to see Diaw as a center-back. Artest in goal would totally rule though. Much better him there than at center.

 
At 6/10/2006 12:26 AM, Anonymous august strindberg said...

In DC Stackhouse had one semi-glorious season, and then the next season he messed up his knee and declared he was "shutting it down for the season," maybe heading off to a beach house in Rehobeth or some such. Team trainers were dumbfounded. (Things degenerated to the point that it was seen as a brilliant move to send him and Devin Harris for 6th-man Jamison, even with Jamison's max contract.)

The argument that the Heat are somehow brilliantly capitalizing upon Walker's, Williams's, etc unique skill set is nonsense. They're just extra coats of paint on the cracked wall; enough paint will do the trick, but that doesn't make it smart.

 
At 6/10/2006 2:41 PM, Blogger Talented Mr Hathaway said...

I remember Stacks rebirth in the D. Although when you say rebirth now, I still hold my breath everytime he takes a shot down the stretch. Its the same way I felt when Walker was in Boston, everytime he would throw one up down the stretch all I could think of was that Paul should be taking that shot.

 
At 6/10/2006 11:40 PM, Blogger barkan said...

Funny you should mention the Frankenstein Lakers -- I was so psyched about the Glove/Mailman signings that I nearly wet myself. But, HOFers be them as they may, neither were range shooters and had a nagging tendency to hold onto the rock (Payton more so than Malone). The Heat strike me as more of a cast of from DC Comics, but a less mainstream one like Birds of Prey or Power Girl.

I still say they win in 5. Why? Wade guards Terry. I think I might need a sandwich...

 
At 6/10/2006 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

listen darko you don't have enough about the world cup...anyone who is interested check this place out http://pogsports.blogspot.com/

 
At 6/11/2006 11:42 AM, Blogger jon faith said...

Why thanks Herr vacuous, the World Cup has been on since Friday with nary a thought about hoops.

That said, it saddens me to ponder that cleavage is now taboo in the NBA; recent Republican efforts to heighten penalties for network indecency has led the camera to pan away from all front row hotties in lieu of potential Bible Belt outcry.

 

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