5.01.2007

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!!!!!

40 Comments:

At 5/01/2007 10:52 AM, Blogger Martin said...

Fuck Horry and Fuck the Spurs. B-Rob's last show robbed me of my will to watch playoff basketball. I dont have the strength to endure such story lines. Narratives that leave you with nothing but a bad-taste in your mouth and bitterness on your mind. The games conclusion left me broiling with an internal turmoil that I cant quite articulate but is somewhat akin to what Shoals has laid out in this post. I can best describe my emotions during the game as- 'That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight, I'm
Losing my religion'. It brought back memories of the Sheed, Pipen, Bonzi et al. Blazer team I loved that was repeatedly disemboweled by the B-Rob and KB8/SO34 Lakeshow.

From now on the only series that I am watching is G-State vs. Dallas! It is the only series that is allowing me to preserve the innocence of my carefree basketball theology. Of course that could all change with three straight Dallas wins- fuck I deeply hate "the right way" basketball.

(Speaking of the 2001-03 Lakers I haven't quite reconciled my feelings on them. I don't know if I loved or hated them. I was enthralled by the conflicted brilliance of Kobe, I hated the inevitable dominance of Shaq, I despised the conceited proclivities of scrubs like Fox, Devean and Fisher despite their firm grasp on the KB/SO coattails, I was morbidly curious about the tabloid-fodder details of the KB8/SO34 relationship, I admired PJ's brilliance in successfully coaching such a volatile mix all while appearing to be nothing but a place-card holder reserving Jack Nicholson's court side seat.)

 
At 5/01/2007 10:55 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Your anxiety towards the Spurs speaks to unresolved issues in your childhood. You are who you are. Embrace this and you will embrace them.

 
At 5/01/2007 11:08 AM, Blogger Martin said...

I will not embrace the dark side!!.....well unless I have to.

 
At 5/01/2007 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Spurs fan so I can't say last night had me saying Fuck Horry... but I could see how the whole game could piss a denver fan off. Denver did bring mroe to the table but at the end of the day it's playoff basketball and the Spurs are that good.

 
At 5/01/2007 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key to this series has been the descent back to earth of Kleiza and JR Smith. The Nuggets are getting absolutely nothing from their bench- only Najera is trying but his skill set and abilities are too limited. That won't cut it against an SA team that is bringing Manu, B-Rob and Vaughn of the bench. Looking at the box score I realized Denver may have the thinnest bench in the West playoffs, their 6-8 rotation is rivaled by only LA in mediocrity.

 
At 5/01/2007 11:50 AM, Anonymous westney said...

I don't get the hate.

First off, practically all of Horry's career clutch shots have been of the "hand-in-the-air" variety. At least they're pretty. And what about his dunk over three Pistons two years ago (the one where he practically disengaged his shoulder to get to the rim)? No respect there?

Also, every time someone lambastes them for playing the "right way" I think of Ginobili dribbling it off his foot, or getting ripped, or giving a stupid foul. I think of Barry contributing as little as could be imaginable (did you see those bricks last night???) yet still getting crunch time minutes. I think of Parker clanging jumpers. I think of Duncan clanging free throws.

But what's wrong with a team that knows how to win? Last night TD took all his frustration from a first half of "assault and battery" (Chuck) and focused it on being flawless when it mattered. In the battle of little quicksters, Parker proved he's still one of the best slashers and FINISHERS in the league. Bob proved he's, well, Bob.

And what about Game 3? The Spurs won that not through any kind of mechanical precision, but by a long, steady control of the tempo of the game. They were walking it up in 7 seconds even when they were down 5 in the third as if to say "don't panic... we got this."

I don't remember where I read it (I think it was here), but someone said of these Nuggets, "alley-oops don't win in the playoffs." That's the first thing I thought of as Camby dished to the baseline-cutting Melo to cut it to one. That high-flying stuff is great and all, but isn't the dunk contest supposed to be dead? Now, Melo's earlier ball fake/drive/dunk was an absolute masterpiece. But it only counted for two (well, three) points. And unless he's going to do something similar on every possession, what good is it?

Don't get me wrong, I love these Warriors and I'll admit that I didn't even know anything about their play until the playoffs. But I love their style because IT WORKS, for whatever reason. Same with these Spurs; yeah, their style isn't exactly jaw-dropping, but it is a style. And I don't so much love it as appreciate it, because it works. But I see no reason to hate it.

Finally, since it seems music is no longer off-limits here, I'll say this: think of the Spurs as music, but not jazz... more like a classical symphony. There's abundant substance there, and even style... it's finely crafted, has a longer trajectory, delays satisfaction, and saves its best stuff for the climactic moments. I don't think that's "right way," it just requires a longer attention span.

Now the Bulls...

 
At 5/01/2007 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Westney,
While I respect what you say, and see where you are coming from, and even see how someone (not me) can latch onto that, it is apparent that you don't understand the FD way of watching basketball. The Nuggets are nearly as FD as it comes, and they had it in their grasp last night, and lost it. Pure and simple. The Spurs, even when they F up, are completely not FD, and that is what causes the agony of most readers/writers here.

Now, about the Nuggets. Isn't it just blatant at this point that they can't mesh together? Shouldn't we blame Karl for this? The problem isnt AI and Melo both being Alpha Dog, its that they don't know at what point either of them is to step up. It looks like they are afraid to step on each others toes, and neither takes charge when they should. There is room on that court for both of them, but they haven't done it, and I blame Karl.

 
At 5/01/2007 12:09 PM, Blogger Joey said...

I love the Spurs. You can see them being smart, and that complements the fact that they can ball. Also, whereas some might curse that an Oberto could knock out the beatified style deities who toil (in vain) in the Rockies, I see his personal contribution as an affirmation of the team's winning culture. And I appreciate that.

Also, how can you hate Roberto Horry? All the dude does is hit big shots. He even openly admits that the regular season is a waste of his time--that's hilarious.

On the other end of the floor, I continue to miss whatever it is that makes the Nuggets worthy of my passion or even tepid support. They take dumb shots; they don't play consistent defense; and they so obviously can't impose their will on an opponent long enough to win. That makes the personal narratives of a Carmelo or Smith or AI much less sympathetic, because they are ultimately part of a problem.

 
At 5/01/2007 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True the Nuggets have no bench but playoffs are about adjustments and in this department Karl is getting punkd like a biyatch in AveryVsNelson like proportions. If I'm furious George I go bold in game 5 to match Pop's Manu startegy. Bring AI off the bench! Iverson may be the most emotionally high-strung individual on the team but basketball wise he is the most mature. I don't think AI cares much about rhythm- lets be honest, he has yet to see a shot he doesn't like or pass up an attempt because he is having an off-night.

So start JR and try to get him some rhythm, ride Melo hard during the opening moments. Bring in AI to spell JR and Melo. Iverson is clearly Denver's best player at creating shots for the bigs. Nene got at least 3 easy dunks off AI's drive and dish plays. Plus AI is pretty good at creating his own shot.

 
At 5/01/2007 12:27 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

I don't know if any single basketball player has ruined my day as much as Robert Horry. I dont know if I've ever rooted for a team he's been on.

That being said, I think Horry is a Hall of Famer. I dont care if his stats aren't good enough. To me he is the most clutch shooter of this era. How many rings does he have? 6?

Put the man in the Hall of Fame. I could argue him over many of the obvious candidates.

 
At 5/01/2007 12:44 PM, Anonymous dj superflat said...

all those people who wonder whether clutch exists? bob shows it does, even if it's only willingness to take the big shot (rather than making more of them at the end of games). unlike baseball, where you've got to go to the plate regardless, in hoops you can defer, not take the big shot, and lots of guys do that. i appreciate bob's willingness to take the shot and his hustle. no way a guy who's 37 should have some of the blocks and steals bob has, i like how he represents for the old guys.

as for hating the spurs cause they ruined some narrative, come on. to be truly free darko (if that means anything worthwhile) seems like you've gotta be the warriors -- not just play a certain way with a certain style, but win, show that is works, is worthy, beautiful, whatever. and if being free darko means something underdoggish about a certain flash style, well then you need a vader-like spurs or other villain to keep ripping the throat out of the free darko dogs. (once it goes mainstream, you'll just drop it anyway, cause what fun is it if it's no longer you're own little underground thing?)

 
At 5/01/2007 12:46 PM, Blogger Martin said...

while I still maintain my Fuck Horry stance due to my disdain for the teams he plays on, game does recognize game. And I was very impressed by the can of mad game Rob opened last night.

Whereas Horry last shot was totally clutch it came as no surprise to me, dude has only been hitting big shots since high-fades and rebook blacktops. What did blow me away were the two or three dunks he had on drives and put backs. Those plays totally sneered "yeah I'm old as shit with creaky knees and 300,000 miles on my odometer but in the playoffs I can out-athlete explosive yung-gunz like Nene and Camby"

 
At 5/01/2007 12:49 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Robert Horry is the closest thing to special teams that basketball has.

He's like the anti-golden state; he has a specific, confined role, and he's as happy as a pig in shit when he's in it.

There is something unfair about the way they just put him in to twist the knife, but unless Denver can play better defense, there's nothing to complain about.

Anyone notice how on that 3 he made, Camby was cheating inside for the big block on Parker? Either you stick to Horry on the outside or you take the just desserts.

 
At 5/01/2007 12:57 PM, Anonymous westney said...

Anon 12:06 -

All I did was defend the Spurs against those who indict them for being style-less.

Let's be clear here... AI is only a recent inclusion in the FD club, and that only by popular demand. Carmelo was more FD back when he was troubled and fragile. JR Smith was all fun and games back when he was all potential and doubters, but now he seems more like a reckless team killer.

If I may be so bold (and I'm going out on a limb here, ready to be torn to shreds), I think the Nuggets have more "FD upside" going into next year as they coalesce around Melo, AI and Nene, and the creativity they all exude. Actually, I'm really excited to see what they'll do, but this year isn't it.

Somewhere along the line, winning has to enter into it, right? The Nuggets were a playoff team before AI and Smith, and without Nene. If they can do no better but look good doing it, I don't think it qualifies as you say.

Arenas = winner
Stoudemire = winner
GW = winner on a team with no chance

and so on.

 
At 5/01/2007 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bringing a guy off the bench who plays 43 minutes a game is nonsensical...J.R. Smith and Linas Kleiza have been the problem for the Nuggets, and it was painfully obvious that they should not have been on the court in the 4th quarter, especially Kleiza...Najera's performance has never been a problem for the Nuggets, he's one of their few consistencies.

And while this will not be discussed because of the end result, the shot that Robert Horry took last night was a very stupid one...I don't know what Popovich was thinking, and I don't care how clutch Robert Horry has been in his career...with a one point lead and THIRTY-FIVE seconds to go on the game clock on the road, you don't run a play to take an outside jumper until you've at least run 15-20 seconds off the clock.

If he misses that shot, Denver has 2 timeouts left...that gives them the option of pushing for a fast possession out of the TO or pretty much holding for the last shot...having those two options makes it much harder to defend with no fouls to give...especially with 2 guys that can create on the opposing team...I think the fact that it was such a bad shot makes it that much more frustrating

 
At 5/01/2007 1:03 PM, Anonymous randyduck said...

Dee Brown just said the Mavs have to foul the Ws when they penetrate, to make Baron, Monta, and S Jackson "think twice." This might work on Baron, but does he really think Monta and Jackson think once before they drive?

 
At 5/01/2007 1:12 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

In Utah it's just deserts. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Just_deserts

 
At 5/01/2007 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bringing AI off the bench is a way to try and get JR Smith's fragile game psyche going. I suggest AI because I think he is the least likely to have his game thrown off by coming off the bench. Either Karl plays his starting 5 48 minutes which is impractical due to fatigue and foul trouble on the bigs or he finds a way to get JR and Kleiza going. I say start JR and it just might get him going.

 
At 5/01/2007 1:31 PM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

Even though basketball is not jazz, Nellie may be Mingus. Apt. GS was beneath the underdog for real going into this series. They may yet triumph. And Nellie is their pimp-leader.

Dallas News:
"It was there I realized what I had suspected before, that Nellie really preferred to be the underdog," Cuban said. "Even with the possibility of a championship at stake."

 
At 5/01/2007 2:19 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

This year's playoffs are really fascinating vis a vis proven, championship "right way" teams on a collision course with all things FD. The Warriors and the Suns are carrying the FD torch, but it just seems inevitable that the proven methods (and coaches) will eventually prevail and it'll be deja vu all over again. As I've said before the Mavs are losing cause Avery is so green and the Suns are winning just because Phil's only got one bullet in his clip. Can't you just taste that Van Gundy (or Sloan) and Popovich are gonna take the wind out of Nellie and D'Antoni's sails in the next round?

The revolution won't be televised not because there aren't enough cameras but because there really is no revolution.

For the league to truly get back to fast-breaking success they've got to implement some drastic rule changes. They've got to do away with flopping and intentional fouls and people trying to draw charges. The clear path rule needs to be more strictly interpreted and needs to carry a harsher penalty. Any and all exploitation of loopholes need to be done away with. They may need to increase the dimensions of the floor on which the game is played. The real revolution needs to come from the rules committee, and only then will the league truly be able to return to its FD roots.

 
At 5/01/2007 2:37 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

I never understand it when people say you can't run your way to a championship. If I remember correctly, the Showtime Lakers won five titles, and they did a whole hell of a lot of fast breaking.

 
At 5/01/2007 2:40 PM, Anonymous LaPhonso said...

I'm new to FD, so I may not have a handle on this yet. However, I see AI's game as decidedly un-FD right now. Pounding the rock for two thirds of the shot clock and stifling Melo's creativity do not great style make.

Last night was a far cry from '01 steppin' tall over T Lue and sticking it to the KobeShaqs.

I love AI, always have, and hate the Spurs (especially Manu) but game does indeed recognize game. And Manu's clairvoyant flip over the outstretched Nene off the top of the board was as FD as anything we've seen this side of the Baron yet in these playoffs.

My question then is this: is it possible for a team to be so un-FD that it unwittingly becomes FD? And can the converse be true for someone like AI? For example, Dirk's performance in Game 4 (missing everything badly until a dead-eye final minute) seemed to be a truly FD performance from a non-FD performer.

 
At 5/01/2007 3:17 PM, Blogger ~CW~ said...

I hate the Spurs, as I envision them as everything slow and wrong with the league. Sadly, I notice more and more that they can run and when they do, they run well, two things not everyone in the NBA is capable of.

With that tossed aside, I think the two reasons I dislike them is that Duncan, Manu and Parker are given all the credit, yet they get carried by their role players when the lights are the brightest. Parker was a non-factor in 2003, as Speedy Claxton, Stephen Jackson, Richard Jefferson's lack of a jumpshot and Kenyon Martin's late flubs led to victory. In 2005, Manu certainly shined in some of the games, but the only thing I'll remember in that series is how terrible Tim Duncan was playing in Game Five and the look on his face as he realized his legacy was being taken from him, only to have (who else?) Bob Horry completely turn things.

My other problem is the non-stop whining and flopping, which eventually leaks over to their opposition in an attempt to compete with the Spurs, who seem to always get the calls(I'm not saying they do or don't, but they always seem to). Manu's flopping coupled with Duncan's exasperated looks drive me mad, and while I'll admit it may not be rational, I'll continue to hate the Spurs.

 
At 5/01/2007 3:19 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Sean said - I never understand it when people say you can't run your way to a championship. If I remember correctly, the Showtime Lakers won five titles, and they did a whole hell of a lot of fast breaking.

It was a different game back then. In the modern era I think that basketball can be broken into two eras: pre Bad Boys and post Bad Boys. Those late 80s-early 90s Pistons changed everything. Before them defense was cursory at best and hard-nosed rough play was part of intense basketball without being dangerous.

Here come the Showtime Lakers and Bird's Celtics, winning games by scoring 130+ a game, giving the NBA its "golden era". The Celtics sure weren't a fast-breaking team, but like everyone else in the 80s they sure put up the points. Magic and his Lakers were really the class of the league though, running and gunning like nobody before or since. Detroit comes along and introduces thuggish defense, intentional fouls, intimidation, "The Jordan Rules", and most importantly, the flop. Nobody did any of this stuff before Detroit (although it was quickly adopted by Phil Jackson's Bulls and Pat Riley's Knicks), but once they won back-to-back titles with these tactics it set the table for what NBA basketball has become.

Many NBA fans (and not just around here) are hoping that a team like the Warriors or Suns will come along and win a couple titles playing that old-school fast-break ball and that it'll hopefully have the watershed effect on the league that those Bad Boy Pistons did, ushering in a new era of fast, fast, fast. But color me a pessimist, I suppose, cause I think all Detroit did is exploit loopholes in the rule book that still exist, and until the NBA closes them, you're gonna get pound-it-down-low, defensive champs year in and year out.

I can't help but wonder though, if Byron Scott and Magic don't pull their hammies and the Lakers 3-peat in '89 would the game have ever changed in the first place?

 
At 5/01/2007 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LaPhonso I was thinking the same thing while watching AI last night. Could it be that the mediocrity of the Sixers provided an adequate shield to mask the demise of the legend of "AI the unguardable". Watching youtube clips of Iverson highlights make me want to pour out some liquor the homie that we lost.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nAffB3sIXc&mode=related&search=

AI's playoff hiatus and the passably-impressive game one performance kept the legend alive. However, now I may be coming around the reality that we may never again see the Iverson that was good for 40plus points in a big playoff game and had all 5 defenders scrambling in vain to contain him.

 
At 5/01/2007 3:32 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: I agree, especially with your last sentence.

 
At 5/01/2007 3:44 PM, Blogger Aaron said...

I dunno. I can't get behind Horry's end of game trey. But earlier in the game, his insane put-back slam? Give him credit for playing hard when his team needed him to. I think I would hate Horry if all he was was the guy who comes in at the end of playoff games and hits impossible shots. But this is a guy who contributes all game in tiny ways. Gotta give him props.

 
At 5/01/2007 3:47 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

Love the Mingus clip.

Mingus' "Tensions" should be the soundtrack to your Mavs/Warriors posts. It works for both teams.

 
At 5/01/2007 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think being 'FD' is reserved for those players, teams, and styles of play that are on the rise and defiant to what has been generally accepted as a standard for greatness in the league...the fact that Iverson's game has defied for so long that it is no longer defiant does not make him any less 'FD' in my opinion.

Look at Dwayne Wade for example. I'd go as far as to say that Wade would be considered very 'FD' if the Heat never aquired Shaquille and struggled through the first few years while Wade played his ass off. His style of play makes you want to root for him...when he's not already winning. But instead, Wade had a breakout year and was rewarded far too much without enough struggle, as he became an NBA Champion and finals MVP. Then all you saw was Wade, Wade, Wade for this entire year.

Iverson is probably one of a handful of players that set's the standard for 'FD'. He's 31 now. And despite the numbers, which somehow people seem to think indicate the quality of Iverson's play, he has been on a steady decline in his ability to consistently dominate since after the 2000-01 run. The numbers he has posted since Larry Brown left Philly have been extremely deceptive. They are a product of a FAR more up-tempo style where his team has had a slew of extra possessions. And, people don't like to mention this either because he is basically the energizer bunny, but Iverson doesn't hustle on defense like he used to; he saves energy for offiensive efficiency by playing half-ass defense.

All that said, Iverson is my favorite player, and I think that when it is all said and done, there will not be a career that defines 'FD' more than the career of Allen Iverson.

 
At 5/01/2007 4:06 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Damn. What a bunch of knee jerks. A week ago AI was back, and now he's back in the toilet. You all really live for the moment. We might as well just crown Baron Davis, huh?

Off the bench. How bout J.R. just starts hitting some shots? Let's bench McGrady so Kirk Snyder can get into his groove. Fucking stoopid.

 
At 5/01/2007 5:00 PM, Blogger emynd said...

Absolutely heart breaking loss. I want AI to win now more than ever.

Manu's tear-drop fast-break lay-up over Nene was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen though. That shit was gorgeous.

-e

 
At 5/01/2007 5:07 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Iverson Fan, welcome to the NBA playoffs, where you're a hero one day and a goat the next. Look what happened to Kobe's reputation last year after Game 4 and then after Game 7.

That said, George Karl is the wrong coach for the Nuggets if they ever want to win anything. Just like Steve Nash, Karl's great for the regular season but can't get it done in the playoffs (though Karl did at least get to The Finals once, even if it was more due to Shawn Kemp's last brush with greatness than great coaching, per say).

 
At 5/01/2007 5:33 PM, Blogger Stumbleweed said...

Hey, it's an emynd sighting. NPF misses ya.

And yeah, that game was everything that I'd hoped wouldn't happen to my team. Just heartbreaking to see them sticking so close throughout this series, always on the Spurs heels (or even controlling the game as they did in this one), but only being able to put it away once. Bruce Bowen's steal (gotten via a Steve Blake with absolutely NO help) and ensuing dunk is what killed it for me. Horry's three was just one of those things that happens when you've already resigned yourself to the fact that you're about to lose the game. Yeah, it sucks, but our spirits were broken before that happened.

As far as AI, I really have no idea what's going on with his layups. They're just not going in. It's like the free throw woes he had the past few weeks -- totally inexplicable. If he made 2 or 3 more layups, we would've won two more games. It's just sobering that the margin between thrilling victory and crushing defeat is as small as the spin on a ball and the way it contacts the rim. I would've rather had the Spurs come out and just dominate us in 4 games than be so close the entire series and end up in the same boat (but with more mental scars and self-doubt).

Melo's drive/dunk was absolutely filthy though. And Ginobili's shot over Nene was the one time I actually liked the guy. But yeah, the Spurs are the physical embodiment of the grim reality of anything bad that's ever happened to you setting in. Little kids being taken to the dentist's office instead of Disney World.

Fuckin' Spurs, man. That's all you can really say after a game like that... fuckin' Spurs.

 
At 5/01/2007 5:40 PM, Blogger Stumbleweed said...

And yeah, I've been saying all year that we need to start AI, JR, Melo, Nene, and Camby because that's the lineup composed of our 5 best players. It's nice to have a Manu-like force to come off of the bench, but we have a young core (Camby aside) that can play lots of minutes, unlike the Spurs.

Gelling a real starting lineup is what we need to progress to the next level. I like the way Steve Blake runs the offense sometimes, but nobody is scared of his penetration (or his jumper, really), so he tends to get into trouble when he tries to be aggressive and then pass off. He's a nice backup PG, but unless we can get a real starting PG, I think AI should be running the point with as many guys who can hit shots around his as possible (hence JR).

And why George put Najera on Manu (and Duncan) is beyond me. The guy hustles and plays good defense, but you absolutely cannot make up for that size/speed differential. Camby was doing a nice job manning up on Duncan (for once), and I have no idea why George took him off and put him on Horry (who primarily shoots jumpers, which isn't Marcus' strong point at all)...

Bleh... I'm still holding on to some kind of hope, but Melo looked pretty destroyed after the game. Losing to the Spurs can take a toll on you -- I know I felt emotionally drained after the game. I'm surprised no fights started in the parking lots -- it's times like that when you just want to feel something instead of that heavy nothing that shit can get wild.

 
At 5/01/2007 7:09 PM, Anonymous the raccoon said...

This 2 games in a row that George Karl has done some mind boggling shit.

game 3, switching carmelo onto parker down the stretch. Plus leaving JR smith in waaay to long in that 3rd quarter

game 4, the Najera/camby assigments that stumbleweed pointed out.

Also, i dont see why everyone acts surprised that AI aint the same guy anymore. He's 31 years old, and hes taken an absolute beating. I still think hes got enough if some shots start falling...


maybe next year...

 
At 5/01/2007 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

obviously mcgrady played an amazing game. but how come no one is mentioning his meltdown at the end of game. he missed 2 free throws, missed a layup, few shots, and shot an air ball from 3 point line with like minute left and a chance to basically seal the game. i realize it's hard to win, and i get tight playing 3on3 without whole world watching, but i think it's worth mentioning. at least.

and another thing, i dislike the notion of people discussing freedarkoness of a player. yet, i gotta do it. i dont think i agree with fd way of valuing players, but please because i respect you all, please remove jr smith from the list, officially. because he's just terrible. i saw the game where he had a turnover which basically changed (robert horry hit a 3 pointer of it) the flow of game, and then few failed attempts to make plays on offensive end and make up for it.

anyway, thanks to all of you for blogging.

 
At 5/01/2007 7:25 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Iverson fan: AI is my all-time favorite player. I know AI is hot but I am yet to see WHY he's hot. I cant delude myself into believing he is having a good series, game one was average AI, not amazing AI. The amazing AI I know would have torched the Spurs for 45pts or 'been dominant' ala Baron Davis. And like Yams pointed out in playoff basketball you can go from hero to goat overnight, or in the case of Dirk go from MVP to softer than a melted snow cone (cant remember who put that out there)

 
At 5/01/2007 9:50 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Martin said - in playoff basketball you can go from hero to goat overnight, or in the case of Dirk go from MVP to softer than a melted snow cone

It almost happened to Nash last year as well when his team (much like Dirk's) was down 1-3 in the first round to a much weaker team. But D'Antoni was able to overcome Phil's gimmick and get the Suns back to playing Suns ball and Nash's legacy stayed in tact. Guess we'll see if Avery can pull the same trick in overcoming Nellie's gimmick to get the Mavs back to playing Dallas ball en route to preserving Cuban's sanity & Dirk's legacy (whatever it may be).

 
At 5/01/2007 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me the head of JR Smith on a platter.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2007/news/story?id=2857204

 
At 5/02/2007 1:25 PM, Blogger John said...

Totally agree with CW:
"My other problem is the non-stop whining and flopping, which eventually leaks over to their opposition in an attempt to compete with the Spurs, who seem to always get the calls(I'm not saying they do or don't, but they always seem to). Manu's flopping coupled with Duncan's exasperated looks drive me mad, and while I'll admit it may not be rational, I'll continue to hate the Spurs."

My Spurs hatred began when they got Duncan in the lottery over the Celtics when they did not "deserve" or need him. (David Robinson hello)

Currently I hate them for their constant flopping, whining(& never getting techs called against them), praise from the broadcasters & kid-glove treatment from the refs. Bowen getting away with murder. I've hated Horry since his Houston days. He always wins the game for the team I'm routing against (Houston,LA,San Antonio)...

 

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