They Called It Ragtime
Anyone wishing to further discuss Michael Ray Richardson should click here immediately. I know FreeDarko has a responsibility to the Jewish community, but there is an even higher power to which we respond better. . .
Actually, the AP deemed it "battle of the bad," but had judiciously removed that headline when I checked again just now.
Praise due to the anonymous commenter who reminded me this was on. As longtime readers know, a certain past Bobcats/Hawks game was a landmark in my basketball development—despite my not having seen a second of it. Tonight's showdown was to prove no less influential, but in a different way. If that baroque meltdown brought into focus all that FreeDarko stood for, this one confirmed many theories that I have long kept buried deep within my armpits. Or just done such a shitty job of articulating that they might as well have never existed.
Before I lose all restraint: the AP also has a story up by the title of "Tanking? If Only the NBA's Bad Teams Were That Good." The gist, of course, is that teams don't need to try to lose. However, I liked my initial interpretation better: that the sorrowful teams whose names we know well have absolutely no control over themselves. Winning, or losing, are both as involuntary and accidental as passing celestial gas.
The most moving part of last night's game was that, in all honesty, I couldn't tell whose announcers I was listening to. Early on, one dude said "I would pay to see Gerald Wallace and Josh Smith anyday," which practically bowled me out of my seat. It turned out to be the Hawks crew, but it was like rooting for the Hawks somehow necessitating also supporting the Bobcats for all they could ever be worth. Maybe it was because they were brothers in failure, and needed each other to matter for life to go on. But I prefer to think that, unbeknownst to everyone, Hawks or Bobcats fandom inadvertently leads to some version of FreeDarko ideology. Not as a form of denial, or compensation, but because it exposes you to a particular, fractured version of basketball from which you can never return.
It goes without shorts that the event of the evening was Wallace/Smith. Both were playing insane, and so much like themselves it was sickening. Multiplicity followed a 15 point first quarter with an almost silent second; Smith continued to take McGrady's languor to the next level, as he basically drops in and out of consciousness over from one second to the next. Even when he takes flight to create something magnificent, you can follow the movements of the on/off switch that regulates his brainwaves. I used to think he was just humble, or shy, or young, or dumb, but now I see that it's a far more profound state. Just as Wallace wanders around aimlessly until he starts getting into the paint and becomes unstoppable, Smith is a constant inner battle between daydream and cyclone. All that can stop him is his own ruthless periodicity; if circumstances allow him to momentarily coast and perk up in time for the crux, he's fine.
For some reason, the Atlanta announcers knew that Wallace goes out of his way to remind people how sick he was as a high school football player.
Watching Marvin Williams struggle is like seeing a pretty face meet puberty. You know he'll get through it, but the interim can be hair-raising.
Eventually, someone will realize that Childress is capable of polish and aggression, not just smartness and effectiveness.
Raymond Felton crossed up the entire Hawks team several possessions in a row. Salim is a deadly shooter and needs minutes; however, he dribbled off his foot three possessions in a row.
If you thought Ginobili plays bizarre, get a load of Walter Hermann when he decides to cut loose. I can barely describe it without looking upward for help; maybe like the lead in an East German sitcom about a state-engineered Dr. J.
You know the competitive level is diminished when Jake Voskul stars delivering absolute monster blocks.
I had to turn the game off with five minutes left when my girlfriend and I got in a fight about exactly how sketchy our neighborhood is. When I asked Dr. LIC if I missed anything, he admitted that he'd switched the channel to watch Boogie Nights.