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.