5.14.2007

Honesty's Organ



If anyone's been paying attention to me over the last week, you might think I'm off the Warriors bandwagon. From the standpoint of traditional bandwagoneering, which is basically ad hoc fandom, I'm a failure. My rhetoric has cooled down during the Utah series, and I even said on AOL that I kind of wanted the Jazz to advance. I didn't write anything after Friday's game because I was out of Houston for the weekend, but a more ardent Shoals might have found a way. It comes down a simple formulation, one that would make a blancher out of anyone who BELIEVES: in these playoffs, I only like the Warriors when they're winning.

Everything I've said about the Warriors refers to them as an ideal. As detailed in a previous post, under any number of circumstances this Golden State team forfeits its identity. I suppose that these gaps could be part of who they are, but I'm not referring only to the "go hot and you'll eventually go cold" rule, or "risky basketball leads to dazzling turnovers." It's the rote trading of baskets, getting banged around by Carlos Boozer, moving the ball deliberately moments in which they lose all swagger but still somehow compete. Unless they succeed or collapse in pyrotechnic fashion, my interest is deflected.



Maybe I'm a little too callous about such matters. I don't think it's a stretch, though, to say that players are sometimes more themselves than they are at times. This isn't the iconography of the poster or the highlight; rather, I'm saying that dominance is hardly generic in nature. When a star is on, his presence gets definitively asserted, and the action takes on some of the contours of his personality and style. I stop caring about a player when, for whatever reason including injury, he ceases to regularly manifest himself in this manner. Without these demonstrations, what do they stand for in my eyes? And how can I be expected to maintain loyalty when mine is to acts, not man? I'm all for humanizing sports, but make no mistake: without style, we're left only with an unknowably flat bio sheet.

I'm only now beginning to see (thanks to Silverbird) that this works differently for teams. While teams do have styles, they also represent more complex ideals. If anything, the Suns have decreased in appeal exactly because they've become nothing more than the sum of their parts; what Phoenix is the the interactions between components, rather than dependence on a shared essence or energy. The Warriors, on the other hand, mean little without their demonic zeal. I get that it's about winning and losing, but there's a poignancy to "out of character" that only a casual supporter can appreciate.



Oddly, the Spurs are another prime example of this. Fast Spurs, slow Spurs, it's all mush to me. But get them needing a late comeback, or buckets from unexpected sources, or pulling away to ruthlessly extinguish the light in the tunnel. . . then, you see their soul in sharp relief. There's a reason why San Antonio often seems to hang around listlessly, or indecisively trade baskets, until those crucial moments: then, and only then, do they realize their identity and take identity-laden action. That's how I read the Warriors' earth-scorcher on Friday, and why I seriously doubt Phoenix's chances at this point: they don't ever seem to hit on who they really are. They're becoming much like the Mavs, who fell to a Warriors team that was simply more invested in its meaning. It's not enough to just believe, or believe in the team. You have to believe in something.

46 Comments:

At 5/14/2007 1:39 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Right on. The Suns do seem to have lost some their enegry, especially compared to two years ago. It's almost like everything's been formalized and made routine. Now, the exception of this is Steve Nash, who still seems to pull of extraordinary things on the court on a regular basis; but everyone else on that team seems to have settled into their predictable roles.

Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's just that they seemed a lot more appealing when they were prone to unpredictability.

 
At 5/14/2007 2:03 AM, Anonymous youshoottoomuch said...

that's about as close to shoals articulating exactly what's in my brain. this is either a function of the apparentness of the thesis or the fact that i've been greatly influenced in my understanding of basketball by daily free darko readings. i think its more the former, given how elemental the thesis happen to be. be yourself and people will like you. try to be something you're not and you will fail. not to trivialize the piece. this a dead-on observation. all praise shoals.

as far as liking any of the rest of these playoffs . . . i can appreciate the spurs as dominators and the jazz as executors but i can't forsee being as riveted by it as i was watching the warriors exert their species-being.

 
At 5/14/2007 2:04 AM, Anonymous youshoottoomuch said...

the end of the first sentence should be "as it gets."

 
At 5/14/2007 2:59 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

I'm not nearly as down on the impending Jazz victory as YSTM above me is, because I find them endearing for a great many more reasons than simply being impressed at their execution. The Jazz remind me of that Asian kid in School of Rock who didn't speak, wore a cape, but rocked the crap out of the keyboards. I don't know if it is because of DW's hunched-over point play, or AK47's splotchy anguish, or what Boozer looks like when he smiles, or the feeling that Millsap did all of his homework in school...but I feel a real joy in watching them transcend their own awkwardness. Or maybe I'm just talking myself into liking them in hopes the can take down the Spurs.

 
At 5/14/2007 9:08 AM, Anonymous Cyanide said...

Completely off-topic, but I figure anything GS related is FreeDarko appropriate at this point. This had me rolling at work:

"It's a loose bunch. After Mickael Pietrus missed two free throws that probably would have won Game 2, he refused to shoot free throws the next day at practice.

'If I practice free throws today, I will think about it tomorrow,' he explained. 'I'm going to go home, play with my puppy, take him to Golden Gate Park and make him happy.'"

Yeah, puppies. GOLDEN STATE IS REAL.

 
At 5/14/2007 9:40 AM, Blogger emynd said...

I take full responsibility for the Warriors losing. Every single time I've watched these mugs in the play-offs, they've lost. However, I've decided to resume my schedule of just going to sleep and reading ESPN in the morning for the box score. The Warriors should win again once I start doing that.

There is some sadness in watching a team that previously only knew how to be itself kind've buckle in moments where they have to decide whether to be themselves and/or play "the right way." You can sense the inner-turmoil while it's playing out and you just want to Stephen Jackson to start hoisting some 3s instead of attacking the basic awkwardly trying to draw a foul. It's really fucking frustrating, but it's also completely understandable. It's nearly impossible to "be yourself" when it becomes a necessity to do so—like how impossible it is for me to remain perfectly still when my hair-dresser asks me to so she can trim the hair around my ears without snipping away at the cartilage. Nothing makes me move more than someone telling me “Don’t move or I’ll accidentally cut your ear off.”

It’s kind’ve funny that when faced with the prospect of playing “smart basketball,” the Warriors are suddenly laughably ineffective. I suppose this speaks to Shoals’ idea that teams need to stop aping the identities of previously successful teams (namely, Spurs, Pistons, etc) and find their own identity to work with, and you can see the identity crisis playing out on the court pretty clearly. The fact of the matter is, the Warriors simply aren’t capable of playing anything close to “the right way,” the same way that someone like Papoose isn’t convincing when making a club track or Luke isn’t convincing when making a “conscious song.” I guess this is all just a way of saying that the Warriors need to AT ALL TIMES REMEMBER HOW THEY GOT TO WHERE THEY ARE, but they’re having a hard time throwing out all the hegemonic basketball “right way” dogma when faced with some adversity. The Warriors rely so heavily on an unbridled basketball instinct that I think it’s a mistake to say that in every single loss in these play-offs, they’ve been “over thinking” things. Instead, I think it’s more accurate to say that in these losing moments, they resorted to playing under the guidelines of the prevailing, dominant basketball “right way” themes in an effort to eke out a win the old-fashioned way that nearly every single coach and announcer and parent has taught them is the way to win games.

Which begs the question, do we even WANT the Warriors to eke out a win in this manner—winning by using the master’s tools against them? Hell no, we don’t! (I mean, we do… but we don’t.) The Warriors winning 94-90 in a game where they play smart basketball; take good, smart shots; play smart defense; box out; make free throws; etc, etc, etc effectively destroys the major point of their mini-revolution.

[billups]These dudes need to go out firing on some “As long as I’m alive I’m going to live illegal” or some “No matter how much loot I get, I’m stayin’ in the projects forever” shit.[/billups]

Live fast, die young, off the dome, and in the wind

(By the way, I know I’m coming dangerously close to exoticizing the Blackness of this Warriors team by using relatively loaded words like “smart” and “instinctual,” and I obviously don’t mean to do that, but I think it’s kind’ve undeniable that a good 89% of the time, the Warriors play a brand of basketball that’s not as “methodical,” “meticulous,” and/or as “cerebral” as anyone else in the league. There is of course a certain high level of intelligence and calculation involved in the madness, but I can’t think of better words than the loaded ones I’ve been compelled to use throughout this response.)

As for the Suns? The only reason they’ve lost their glow is because they’ve been canonized just as Public Enemy lost all of their political import as soon as they were widely accepted as “good music.” I think there is some truth to the idea that there is a bit more to this than simple canonization, but I also do think that the widespread acceptance of their mode of existence lulls the effectiveness of what they were rebelling against.

I think this is all just a long-winded way of saying that the Warriors need to AT ALL TIMES, summon their inner 2 Live Crew and play some offensive (i.e. ability to offend) basketball.

SCRUB THE GROUND.

-e

 
At 5/14/2007 12:23 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said...

Whatever the reason, I don't think I feel like watching the rest of the playoffs.

 
At 5/14/2007 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

J-Rich is a little bitch. That was a CHEAP-ASS foul on Okur at the end.

Just like the rest of the Warriors (minus say, Monte and Andris) these guy wouldn't know class if it bit em in the ass.

Considered this fluke bandwagon DEAD.

 
At 5/14/2007 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After those 2 cheap fould by Baron and Jason will they even play next game?

 
At 5/14/2007 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.nba.com/news/407273.html

Don't forget to watch Shaq.

 
At 5/14/2007 1:48 PM, Blogger bobby said...

It appears to me that Shoals thesis moves beyond basketball, and simply pertains to the abstract idea of expression. Expression is a beautiful thing regardless of the mode or model it takes.

We stand and applaud when someone's sincerest feelings and identity comes out (Tiger crying after winning his first Masters), we cringe when that expression seems forced or contrived (Kobe most of the time), but the fact is, the expression is the driving force of our observance. And that is why basketball has taken a predominate place in my life, because it is the sport which allows for the most personal expression.

 
At 5/14/2007 1:51 PM, Blogger Brother Joshua said...

re: what i said in my comments on the last post about davis' dunk changing the series: okay, maybe not.

 
At 5/14/2007 1:52 PM, Blogger Vinnie said...

emynd--I like your point about the Warriors succumbing to the "right way" style in tense moments. But that's inevitable. During the Dallas series, the Warriors had nothing to preserve--no expectations, no legacies, etc. But now they do have something to preserve--their mounting hopes of playing in the finals. And the further this thing goes, the further they take these hopes seriously, and, consequently, the more they harp on the preciousness and rarity of the opportunity. Even though we see them as a phenomenon, they're still only human.

The Warriors understand that they play a very high risk-high reward style, and while that may get them the 20-point margin, that's not necessarily the best way to preserve it--at least not as long as basketball is a timed game. And really, I don't mind if that chokes off their style toward the end of a game if that's what it takes to win. After all, the game is for the fans to enjoy; wins and championships belong to the players. It's okay for them to persue what is theirs to want.

 
At 5/14/2007 1:59 PM, Blogger Vinnie said...

So anyway, my point which I forgot to make was this: I think the Warriors are more self-aware than we'd like to believe. The shifts into "right way" basketball are not guilt-formed corruptions of their soul brought on by the ghost of Adolph Rupp's paternalistic growl, they're simply conscious accomodations to the rules of basketball and the innate desire to win.

 
At 5/14/2007 3:41 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

emynd: spot on, just spot effing on. I only have one thing to add. The Suns/PE analogy must be taken to its' logical conclusion; Warriors/NWA.

PE always had a message, something proactive, even when they were hated and feared. They were taken seriously and though extreme, recognized as a form of political discourse with its' roots tracing back to the Black Panthers, Malcolm X and cats like the Last Poets/Gil Scott Heron, etc.

NWA's nihilism was infinitely more disconcerting and shocking than PE because of how inconceivable their vision seemed. And, unlike PE, there was absolutely nothing reedeming and positive that you could point to.

I mean, like even when the Suns were all brash and new and stunning it was still basketball, you know? It was smallball and Euro-influenced and run'n'gun but there was still a framework of sanity, enough so that the "right way" traditionalists of the world could eventually reconcile it with their conception of basketball. GSW, on the other hand, seems to be playing an entirely different sport that makes all the adjectives that announcers and talking heads try to harness it with seem ludicrous and artificial. As in they're going to shoot 40 3s, get outrebounded by 20 and routinely throw insane behind the back passes in traffic, win or lose, while Hubie Brown's head explodes.

But, as you said, it becomes about a gazillion times more difficult to just "be yourself" once you're trapped in the harsh, sterile, unforgiving spotlights and 1 million sportswriters are frantically screaming gibberish at at each other about the perceived minutaie of your style. Whatever happens I think it's clear that all the Warriors, Nelly included, really lucked (of course that ridiculous trade helped quite a bit) into the perfect situation for them with no "veteran leaders" to make S-Jax stop tossing up crazy 3s or to tell the kids to stop playing fast and wild and, of course the one coach in the world will never, ever yell at one of his players for taking a bad shot.


this is a quote about Straight Outta Compton I read on Straight Bangin':
"the effects of this record still leave me confused as to what the net effect of N.W.A. was on rap."

Would it surprise anyone if that could be said about the Warriors and basketball 5 or 10 yrs from now?

vinnie: You're equating the Warriors playing the "right way" with a greater chance of them holding leads, which is just patently untrue. They blew huge leads at Dallas and Utah by holding the ball and trying to run time off the clock. when they've won they've done it by continuing to pressure, push the ball and quick 3s very late into the game.

 
At 5/14/2007 4:04 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I'm sticking with my long-running take around here that the Warriors and Suns are a gimmick that's destined to lose under current NBA rules. The "right way" isn't the right way, it's just the smart way given the way the rules currently are set up and the way the refs call the game. Until there's major shake-ups in those departments there are a few things which will always win titles in the NBA: inside scoring, half-court offense, execution down the stretch and defense, defense, defense.

For all their flash and their strengths, the Suns and Warriors are both miserable in all these areas. Neither team has an inside presence on offense or defense (neither team is good defensively at all, actually); neither team plays half-court ball very well and instead rely far too much on the fast break and 3-pointer; and most importantly, neither team plays well in a game that's contested late. The Warriors are 1-3 in the playoffs in games decided by 10 points or less and three of their five postseason wins came in games that were absolute blowouts. They've also blown very late leads in two road games they should have won. Phoenix, meanwhile, is 2-3 in the playoffs in games decided by 10 points or less and four of their five postseason wins came in games that were blowouts (they had a 20 point lead with 5 minutes to go in Game 4 in the 1st round and a 16 point lead with 5 minutes to go in Game 5). In two of the Suns' 3 playoff losses they were tied with less than 2 minutes to go and failed to execute down the stretch.

As fun as these teams are to watch, they're not the kind of teams that win titles in today's NBA, cause you just can't expect to blow out a good team 4 times in a week and a half, and it's especially unlikely to do it at all on the road. All a good team has to do to beat the Warriors or Suns is try to slow them down enough to stay close to them till the last 7 or 8 minutes of the game. Do that and you give yourself a great shot at winning.

 
At 5/14/2007 4:44 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

wild yams: You're right. Teams with all or at least most of the things you mentioned have a far better chance of winning an NBA championship. I was just saying that since the Warriors have none of those it's suicide for them to start pretending like they do once it gets to crunch time and they want to hold on to a lead/stay in a closely contested game. What's mind-boggling is that with all those deficiencies they STILL were only a FT or two away from winning Game 2 and having a legitimate shot at the Conference Finals.

 
At 5/14/2007 4:51 PM, Blogger Vinnie said...

padraig--What I'm saying is that in general playing that toned-down, low-risk style is more effective in preventing the opponent from going on a big late-game run, so it is understandable that the Warriors would apply this logic to their own situation.

It is possible--and, from the small body of evidence that these playoffs comprise, seemingly apparent--that the Warriors are particularly bad at this style of play and should not try to convince themselves otherwise. From what I've seen, I would agree with you--the choice of low-risk / "right way" is a choice of gradual and certain death for this team. They're better off risking that big opponent run--which is bound to bite them every X number of games--than to pretend they can kill clock and play stiff, stay-at-home defense.

 
At 5/14/2007 4:54 PM, Blogger Vinnie said...

Ok. That was in response to your first comment, Padraig. I basically just repeated the comment you just wrote above mine.

 
At 5/14/2007 6:16 PM, Blogger Steve said...

The Warriors are at their best when the game is relentlessly up-tempo, which favors raw atheleticism and instinct rather than designed plays, 'smart' basketball, etc. But there's a difference between playing recklessly and simply being careless.

AK may have said it best-

"It's different -- it's [a] very energetic game, lots of running, lots of possessions," Kirilenko said of playing the Warriors. "It's [a] very intense game, lots of plays, lots of shots. Not less thinking, [but] quick thinking. You have to react in any situation much faster."

I think the 'trying too hard to be themselves' point is valid, but only if the Warriors themselves are overthinking it. Otherwise there's nothing for them to do, other than go out and try to set the temp of the game. They CAN be themselves, regardless of the thought process. But their style of play doesn't just mean, for example, jacking threes- there's a difference between hesitantly shooting a three on your heels because you don't know what else to do (and are too timid to try to drive even with the defender daring you to do so), and Baron driving hard, drawing the attention of the entire Utah defense, and then kicking out to another Warrior who is spotting up for a 3.

Before Game 4, I figured that if the W's won Game 4 then they'd take the series. Now? Well they're going to have to reach pretty deep. But I think they can still do it. Heck, they're THAT close to being up 3-1 themselves.

No matter how far the Warriors got in the playoffs, and even as I was celebrating their destruction of the Mavs, I never thought the Warriors style would bring them consistent, long term success (I mean in a 60 win season type of way.) It's too relentlessly physical, too much for them to handle for a long NBA season. Baron Davis- how much gas does he have left in the tank? I have a funny feeling that he is either going to drop 40 next game, or totally flame out along with the rest of the team. It could really go either way, like Schrodinger's cat.

I am also not as crestfallen that the Warriors are down, which maybe makes me a bandwagoner as well. But I really used to hate Utah, and now respect Williams, Boozer, AK, and even Mehmet for God's sake. And no matter what, we'll always have Dallas... (literally, since I have most the games saved.)

 
At 5/14/2007 6:37 PM, Anonymous neck of eackles said...

This narrative of the free-love Warriors only thriving when they self-actualize and throw off the shackles of "right way"... I just don't think it describes the actual game. They lost because their threes weren't falling. (Maybe also because Jackson couldn't dominate Harpring/Giricek quite as easily as he thought he should, and because Richardson forgot how to create his own shot.) I'm not necessarily saying they shouldn't have chucked up all those threes -- some were definitely bad shots, but those bad shots are what got them this far, so who knows -- but I didn't really see them trying anything particularly smart or "right."

 
At 5/14/2007 7:17 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Maybe the Suns, Nuggets and Warriors losing has less to do with their style of basketball and more to do with the fact that this is the first year for each respective starting five. I'm not saying you guys are over analyzing it, I'm just saying that you are over analyzing it. Let these teams keep the same starting five for more than a year and then lets see how they do.

The Spurs and Pistons know who they are because they're GMs have been pretty consistent and not shaken the whole team up like Cuban did with the Mavs when they signed Jamison and Toine. Let these guys have a chance to grow as a group. Don't split up the Suns if they lose to the Spurs. Bring back the exact same team plus Noah and beat the Spurs next year.

 
At 5/14/2007 8:11 PM, Blogger BenQRock said...

Iverson fan, I'm guessing you would disagree with Bill Simmons' latest column, in which he states the Suns must trade for Kevin Garnett if the Spurs eliminate them from the playoffs. Put another way, you'd be more in favor of letting the Suns, and other such teams, incubate for a period before dismissing the run-and-gun trend as dead. Right?

 
At 5/14/2007 8:22 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Where's Bethlehem Shills today? I can't even find him over at AOL, Scott Hastings breakdowns notwithstanding.

 
At 5/14/2007 9:41 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Anyone else catch Vince Carter snarl "I'm gonna get your ass" at Sasha Pavlovic? High comedy.

 
At 5/14/2007 9:41 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Iverson Fan, there's some validity to that, although I daresay that the Mavs probably had more stability this year in the playoffs than the Warriors did. I just think that even the most runningest-and-gunningest of teams have to be able to settle down and execute in a half-court set without being overly reliant on three-pointers when it's time to do it. Even the Showtime Lakers could set up their offense and could execute in crunch time after fast-breaking all game long.

The way the Suns and Warriors are currently constructed, their game plan seems to be to try to run the other team out of the building, and if the stretch at the end comes and the other team is still there then Phoenix and GS have failed and will end up taking a loss. Just doesn't seem smart, banking the game on hoping you're so far ahead with five minutes to go that execution in crunch time won't matter any longer. Experienced coaches like Popovich and Sloan aren't going to fall for that same gimmick four times in one series, not with the plethora of good players that they have at their disposals. Teams built like the Suns or Warriors can get loose on anybody on any given night and blow the game open, but it's just silly to think that's any way to win a series against a good, experienced team. Having your point guard penetrate and run around the inside then wildly throwing it to the rest of the team arrayed around the 3-point line is not good execution, no matter how crowd-pleasing a bunch of three pointers are.

Make no mistake, even if Phoenix makes it past this round (which I don't believe they will), they're going to have a grueling battle to win the title. Utah's proving they can win against that style of play, and if they make it past the Jazz then I think the Pistons would probably pose the biggest challenge to the Suns yet simply because of all the big, pounding inside players they have this year. Nash would be pretty worn out playing against Tony Parker then Deron Williams (and Derek Fisher) only to meet Chauncey Billups in The Finals. Rip Hamilton would keep Raja Bell's hands full, while Tayshawn and Marion would probably play to a draw. But Amare, Kurt Thomas and Boris Diaw would be badly overmatched going against Sheed, Webber, McDyess, Maxiell and Dale Davis. Look at that Pistons lineup, they legitimately go 12 deep. They would pound the Suns into oblivion.

WV - kidnq: Dominique Wilkins' son

 
At 5/14/2007 9:52 PM, Anonymous Bluebeard Curry said...

LeBron James - Mild basketball retardness? He's just taken two improbably bad shots in a row with the game well in hand.

 
At 5/14/2007 10:09 PM, Blogger T. said...

Even the Showtime Lakers could set up their offense and could execute in crunch time after fast-breaking all game long.


Well, the Showtime Lakers did happen to have the best offensive post player of all time, and one of the top 10 post-up small forwards of all-time. So that kind of helps. Plus, that Magic guy wasn't too shabby at playing on the block either.

 
At 5/14/2007 10:33 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

But T, isn't that the point though? Get yourself some post scorers if you want to win championships? Isn't that the tried and true formula of almost every champion of recent years? Even with the Bulls in the 90's Jordan was a consistent post scorer. It seems to be strangely effective, wouldn't you say? Surely Amare Stoudemire could become a consistent low-post threat that they could rely on and run their offense through, right? Or Kurt Thomas or Boris Diaw? But no, better to just have Nash run all over the court with the ball looking for Raja Bell or Leandro Barbosa spotting up from 3. Of course if the game's close when it's down to the last few minutes, then you just pray that those role players are on fire...

This is the whole point: the style that the Suns and Warriors implement is fun to watch but it's a gimmick, and it doesn't win titles. You wanna see Phoenix win some titles in the near future? Package off Nash in the summer for someone like Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O'Neal. Try and pry Dwight Howard out of Orlando or Bosh out of Toronto or something. You don't think that Amare paired with one of those guys alongside Shawn Marion with Diaw and Thomas off the bench and Bell and Barbosa in the backcourt is a hell of an imposing team? You don't need Steve Nash to create open looks for Bell, Barbosa and Marion if you've got Amare and Jermaine O'Neal or KG on the inside. It's called inside-out scoring and it's proved highly effective on playoff teams for years.

Will Phoenix do this if they lose in this round though? Of course not. Why? Because they're under the delusion that Steve Nash is a guy to build a championship team around. Never mind that the guy's never even been to The Finals or that he's 33 years old. He's a multiple-time MVP winner who "makes his teammates better". No, instead the Suns will probably trade Amare or Marion and will try again to build around Nash. Meanwhile Nash will just get older and slower with Barbosa eventually playing more minutes than Nash does, and Phoenix will continue to have good regular seasons and disappointing playoffs. They can be this decade's Sonics. And then maybe, just like Gary Payton, in the twilight of Nash's career he can go to a contender or two elsewhere and get a ring rinding some other player's coattails. How sweet it is.

 
At 5/14/2007 10:36 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Wild Yams, I disagree with ya a bit. The Warriors have defense. The Suns, no, but the Warriors, definitely. They can steal and block and play defense by whatever measure you have.

The Warriors may not win close games, but that's because close games come down to rebounding, and to hitting free throws, the two things that kill the Warriors.

But the Warriors have been blowing teams out in the playoffs because they can get turnovers to start the fast breaks. And they have an inside presence in Biedrins. No, he can't stop Boozer (I'm not sure anyone in the league can), but he's as good an inside presence as anyone still left in the playoffs right now except for maybe Duncan (Ilgaukas? Gooden? Mikki Moore? 'Sheed? Webber? Only Ben Wallace, and he's old and almost eliminated)...

Anyway, it may be a little too early to bury the Warriors. I'll believe they're dead when I see the corpse....

But I agree with everything you said about the Suns.

 
At 5/14/2007 11:36 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: I don't know if you read Simmons today or not, but he suggests that the Suns essentially should send a package including Amare to the T'Wolves for Garnett. Personally, I think that deal has absolutely no chance of happening (the salaries don't match up), but if it were I think the Suns would be much improved.

As great as Amare is, his long-term health is still a serious question. If I were the Suns, I'd move Stoudemire before either Nash or Marion, simply because he isn't as valuable to that team as those two are.

 
At 5/14/2007 11:45 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: Dude, Nash is already slow. As long as he can shoot and pass, he'll still pretty much be the same player as he is now.

And do you really think Orlando or Toronto trade away their franchise cornerstones? Please! That has as much chance of happening as a LeBron-for-Kobe deal.

In regards to the current PHX-SA series, I think it is simply a matter of SA being an overall better team. No one on the Suns can guard Duncan, and Bowen is playing great (although extremely dirty) defense on whoever he guards. I don't care how many All-Stars there are around Nash; neither of them (Marion or Stoudemire, that is) can really create their own shots, and both need Nash to get them open looks. And with the Spurs playing suffocating defense and all, well . . . You get the picture.

(By the way: I often fantasize about a badass run and gun team that will someday just walk all over teams like the Pistons and Spurs. If we could only bring the Showtime Lakers to the presend day . . .)

 
At 5/15/2007 12:04 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

It's going to be a lot fun watching the Spurs bitch about every foul called on them for the next two rounds. Woo-hoo!

 
At 5/15/2007 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Shot Bob doing it the Right Way [TM] tonight....

 
At 5/15/2007 12:43 AM, Blogger sasha said...

I suppose you could call it "the right way" if that way is "old time hockey" -- that was a fine hipcheck into the boards.

Lebron is going to coast his undeserving ass into the second round and get curb-served by the Pistons in a righteous fashion.

 
At 5/15/2007 12:55 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: Man, that Steve Nash guy really sucks! What the hell is he even doing on the court?

 
At 5/15/2007 12:55 AM, Blogger Sergio said...

There will be riots if Stoudemire and Diaw are suspended. If Stu Jackson makes that call, the playoffs are dead to me.

 
At 5/15/2007 1:44 AM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Or maybe the Suns won't need to incubate and wait until next year. Maybe they can play some D and get some baskets by running screen and rolls. Maybe every empire comes to an end at some point. Tonight felt like when the Sonics finally stood up and beat the Rockets back in the 90s.

All I'm saying is give the Suns a chance. Are they leaving some shooters open? Yeah. But they are trying to defend against a team that has one of the best post players of all time and two of the best one on one players in the game today. Finley and Horry and Barry are gonna get open shots. How would you play it if you were the Suns? It's a catch 22. At some point you gotta hope the Spurs come back down to earth and miss a couple of shots.

When Kemp and Payton finally took out the Rockets, it wasnt like they were suddenly just able to defend against Dream and his team of shooters. Elie and the crew were still getting their shots, they just werent going in like they once did. And the Sonics offense was good enough to trade baskets until the Rockets finally missed.

Yams, I've watched a lot of Suns games this year and I just don't agree that they can't play in the half court. I think the Warriors can play in the half court too. And I think both teams can play defense.

You never think a different style will be able to win until it finally does. If the Colts can win, so can the Suns. And I guess the Jankees would be next.

 
At 5/15/2007 1:53 AM, Anonymous Vernon Maxwell Explosion said...

Need a key win on the road in San Antonio? Steve Javie and Jack Nies TO THE RESCUE!!!

A 29-14 Suns FT advantage? In San Antonio? In a game the Spurs controlled the whole way?

Henry's right.

Just a vintage Javie performance tonight. Maybe not on par with Dallas shooting 43 FTs in Game 2 at San Antonio last year, but it got the job done.

 
At 5/15/2007 2:43 AM, Anonymous spider said...

A quick note about Amare and Diaw. The NBA rule says: "During an altercation, all players not participating in the game must remain in the immediate vicinity of their bench." On other chat boards, everyone is debating whether the players left the immediate vicinity. It seems to me that there's an easy way for the league to avoid suspending the two Suns. Just declare that there was no altercation prior to Amare and Diaw standing up (merely a hard foul), so the rule doesn't apply. Yes, Raja Bell got into Horry's face, but that happened a couple moments later.

Altercation (noun): a noisy heated angry dispute

 
At 5/15/2007 4:55 AM, Anonymous Bluebeard Curry said...

Wow. Big shot Bob's mystique crumbles. Known tricksters like Bowen and Ginobli are one thing, but Horry? Show some class man.

 
At 5/15/2007 9:57 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

As a Knicks fan, I'm sorry, but Amare has to get suspended. That is all. The precedent is there, as any Knick fan who can remember Ewing walking away from the bench will tell you... no cute excuses.

It is a stupid rule, but one the NBA supposedly takes very seriously....

 
At 5/15/2007 12:38 PM, Blogger T. said...

just wanted to note that there's new billups up at gabe said we're into movements.

 
At 5/15/2007 2:20 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I'll come in here and take my lumps. The Suns did exactly what I said they couldn't do last night, in that they executed down the stretch, and they did it on both ends of the floor. If the league suspends Amare that'll really be a shame because this very well could be a watershed moment for the Suns and the league if Phoenix can get past the Spurs, and it now looks like they've got a good shot to do that. There was a big FT discrepancy last night, but that's not what lost the game for the Spurs. Duncan had a few questionable fouls called on him earlier, but he had some major boneheaded plays down the stretch and his last two fouls were legit, and that's what hurt his team.

I give a lot of credit to the Suns because that was a game last night that did not go their way and IMO Nash was having a really bad game until the last 5 minutes or so; but Phoenix managed to beat the Spurs playing that controlled tempo and they out-executed them down the stretch. I think that Barkley was right after the game last night in that the league really does need to suspend Amare and Diaw if they're going to stick to previous precedents and continue with that rule, but it's a stupid rule and it would really be an awful shame if those guys can't play in Game 5. Just as a basketball fan I'm really pumped for the last 3 games of this series and want to see these teams slugging it out to see which style and stars prevail, and to take away Amare for the next game would destroy all of that.

 
At 5/15/2007 2:45 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: I agree with everything you said. I'm afraid, though, that even if Amare isn't suspended, the Spurs will still win the next game in Phoenix. I really hope it doesn't happen that way; but SA has been here before and doesn't get rattled easily.

(Wouldn't be great, though, if Amare and Diaw were both suspended, and the Suns won anyway? Now that would be something.)

 
At 5/15/2007 3:09 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I'm still gonna stick to my guns and think that the Spurs will still win this series, even if nobody gets suspended from either team. I was really shocked by what happened last night with the way Phoenix was able to close out that game, and until I can see them really do that consistently in closing out a team like the Spurs I'm forced to think there's a good chance it was just a fluke. Only time will tell.

Last night's game did make me think that this year's eventual champion will be Detroit though, because Duncan's foul trouble I think exposed a problem that I've long suspected about the Spurs this year (and which led me to boldly and incorrectly predict months ago that they'd be out in the first round): San Antonio has a rather gaping hole in the middle. Against a team like the Suns it doesn't look that way, because the Suns have absolutely no middle at all, and against the Jazz it still wouldn't be that apparent because Boozer isn't enough to expose Duncan, and Okur will be out by the 3-point line. However, against Detroit Duncan would have a really hard time handling all those big guys over the course of a series, and Horry, Oberto and Elson are really no help at all against any inside imposition. Duncan's foul trouble and having to sit and/or play rather carefully at the end suddenly transformed the Spurs into a jump-shooting team in crunch time, and that's typically not the way to win. This is not a problem, however, for Detroit, even if Sheed and Webber both get in foul trouble (as was the case in Game 2 against the Bulls) cause they've got so many other guys to turn to to keep playing the same way.

That's a ways down the road though. For this series I'll still contend that if Duncan can keep himself out of foul trouble the Spurs should be able to win this series. That Phoenix crowd is gonna be absolutely riotous I'm sure though for Game 5, especially if there are no suspensions.

 

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