I'm Trying Not to Hate You Right Into My Heart
I appreciate no one bringing up everything I said about T-Mac's presumptive postseason. Those two games in Utah were hard to watch, as both a fan of the beautiful game and someone smitten with the ever-elegiac McGrady. But while game five wasn't quite the phantasmally scripted affair that 1 & 2 were, it was still one hell of a watch. As much as I delight in T-Mac peering down from on high, it's gratifying to watch him dominate in a rugged, playoff-ish way. He had more than a few moments of brilliance, but they were the kind that proved that he's not just some ethereal creature who knows only flight or crisis.
While I still don't like the Jazz, I've got to hand it to them: they are perhaps the ideal NBA foil. They're active, cocky, athletic, and would not back down if jawing got commenced. If Boozer were on the Cavs, they would make the Finals; mark my words, everything that will eventually drive LeBron out of Cleveland can be traced back to that bungle. Deron Williams is disciplined like he's still pissed about it. And Kirilenko's gross Russian turmoil seems to have animated him; he was frightening last night in the courtly skull-plate way we'd always hoped he could be. Most importantly, they make Yao and T-Mac work without thwarting all that is skilled about them. You got elegance and feeling and all that, but rising out of a muck of leaping, grabbing, Euros and half-breeds. My favorite shit was in the fourth, when Yao caught the ball in the post, threw his weight around some, and then lightly extended his arm to drop the ball in for the two points he so deserved.
The real reason this stirs me so is that HA, I can now summarily tell the Spurs to jack off into a helicopter blade. When Horry hit that shot, I got several identical forms of communication that all said FUCK HIM, no paraphrase needed. As Silverbird so piercingly put it later, "Melo and AI must have had like a dozen heart-stopping, standing-ovation moments--and for what? Robert Horry and Fabricio Oberto knock down a few uncontested jumpers and suddenly it's all completely meaningless." With more sadness and eloquence than I could muster, Silverbird articulated what I tried at on Saturday. You have to admire the casual ruthlessness of it, but there is a certain Shaq-like quality to the Spurs' methods. With the exception of Duncan's usual surgical ballet, nothing notable happened for the Spurs organization in half two. The Nuggets, on the other hand, showed heart, courage, and just generally followed the runway into playoff ecstasy. Before the clock ticked down, though, the Spurs intervened, like the basketball gods' very own E-snipe, and claimed it all on cunning alone.
I've made this rhyme so everyone can tell their kids about it: the Jazz are an admirable foil, the Spurs the epitome of playoff spoilers. If someone really wants, I guess this could be extended into the realm of lit theory and 24 fan sites, but I'm fine with some dictionary definition simples.
No comment on J.R. Smith's rushed three. I will say, however, that the announcing crew (sorry, they all run together in my head unless it's Hubie) went astoundingly easy on him. And I thank them for this.
BASKETBALL IS JAZZ: The illustrious J.E. Skeets informed me earlier today that Vince Carter's hotel alias is "Eddie Calhoun." I'm not going to pretend I knew this off the top of my head, and he didn't either, but Eddie Calhoun was the bassist in Erroll Garner's corniest trios, and also seems to have played with Ahmad Jamal and Ray Bryant. I stand corrected! TNT, send me video of that commercial! I know you see me!
On that note, GO WARRIORS:
DON NELSON 4EVA!!!!!