Kick Like it Matters
Actually, let's get on with life Or rather, divert ourselves long enough for the pain to subside. I know that the Warriors would have embarrassed the Rockets, and that Utah will make for a much better series. But still, that feeling remains. He would have been in the second round. Seriously, I don't think I've ever been this upset by a sporting event—just as very few things in my sports-watching career have inspired me like Golden State's Thursday did. I will say, though, that Jazz/Warriors will be a fascinating match-up, and that the repressed swag of Williams, Boozer and Kirilenko is its own kind of magisterial sadness.
By the way, in case some of you don't read Deadspin, we're previewing each and every playoff series there. The Suns/Spurs one I did seems kind of relevant to the last two paragraphs.
We need to stop the presses on this "basketball is now jazz" thing, because I didn't mean to set off a field day. The reason I followed with the Ornette reference is that the Warriors aren't any and all jazz, they're Coleman's Atlantic sessions. Actually, if any other basketball is jazz, it's probably closest to Ornette; only in his music do we find an ever-shifting assignment of background and foreground coupled with a relatively linear sense of purpose. But almost all NBA remains somewhat wedded to traditional roles, which would be like if Giant Steps was a never-ending exchange of four's between Coltrane and Paul Chambers. The Warriors fit this half-jokey comparison exactly because they've embraced existential flux on an individual level, and as a team do so as much as the laws of competition will allow for.
I don't think a person-by-person makes any sense; the Recluse notified me that Andres Biedrins is not Charlie Haden, and from there it all goes downhill. However, the conceptual parallels between the Ornette's most classic recordings and these Warriors really make me belch. Aside from what I outlined above, both explode the distinction between simple/complex, childish/sage and joyous/foreboding.
Golden State may be advanced in the sense that they challenge convention and add all sorts of variables. At the same time, their play is the kind of thing that's accessible even to people who don't know shit about the sport. To arrive where they have through the halls of basketball orthodoxy involves a lot of rationalization and explanation, or it can come from an ecstatic ignorance of the canon. The genius of both the Warriors and Ornette is that it's some of both, or at least the viewer will never know for sure which one's in charge. Don Nelson is a drunken lunatic and a juggler of possibilities; Coleman's harmolodic theory jived with the Western avant-garde, but he played a plastic saxophone and used to get beat down when he walked off the bandstand.