5.06.2007

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.

13 Comments:

At 5/06/2007 3:02 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

The worst part isn't the loss itself. the worst part is--with a good second half from yao, decent contributions from skip and battier, and a favorable foul situation--mcgrady's own culpability.

watching that game was so frustrating, and i say that as someone who's had t-mac near the top of my list of favorite players for years.

grief and sorrow.

 
At 5/06/2007 3:12 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i hate to link to espn, so instead i'll just quote the dime that went up after the game:

McGrady did more than try, actually. His 29 points, 13 assists and three blocks were what helped rally the Rockets from a double-digit second-half deficit to briefly take a lead in the fourth quarter.

[...]

But for T-Mac to say he could have done more requires some serious nitpicking. Between the points and assists, McGrady accounted for all but nine of the Rockets' field goals, an immense offensive load that helps explain why even his best wasn't quite good enough tonight.

The truth is, the Rockets weren't designed to win games by scoring 100 points. Not when all their role players are defense-first types like Chuck Hayes, Shane Battier and Dikembe Mutombo.

And unfortunately for the Rockets, a Utah offense that had been stuck in the mud for much of the series was clicking on all cylinders tonight, making it imperative that Houston break the century mark.

 
At 5/06/2007 9:41 AM, Anonymous db said...

The worst part isn't the loss itself. the worst part is--with a good second half from yao, decent contributions from skip and battier, and a favorable foul situation--mcgrady's own culpability.

Skip was clanking from everywhere, and his and Yao's pick and roll defense was pretty poor. I can't lay this one on T-Mac.

 
At 5/06/2007 11:26 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

Houston is obviously a flawed team. However, when they came back in the second half, they did so because every time t-mac went to the basket, something good happened. But as soon as the rockets got the lead back, he stopped, and instead started missing step back jumpers. Steve Kerr, along with every other houston fan in the world, were yelling "drive" at he tv to no avail.

 
At 5/06/2007 12:20 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

given that he was consistently dealing with two, sometimes almost three, defenders at the top of the key, and one of them was kirilenko, i don't think we can totally fault him for either going for the jumper twice or finding someone else for the shot. maybe i'm trying too hard here, but this was hardly a dirk-like performance.

 
At 5/06/2007 1:12 PM, Anonymous Freddie said...

Does anyone else find that the Warriors have already switched from exciting underdogs to annoying media darlings?

 
At 5/06/2007 2:07 PM, Blogger Jerry Hinnen said...

Can you fill me in on the correlation between the post and what appears to be a pic of Terry Pratchett, world's greatest living fantasy author?

Also, the Rockets lost as a team, specifically as a function of their team D. Can't allow your opponent to shoot 51% on the road. That, and bad luck--every one of those late-game caroms either went right to the Jazz or into open space.

 
At 5/06/2007 2:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i could invent one, but sadly, the choice was totally random. i was in the clutches of melancholy and just put it up because he looks funny in it.

i will change it now.

 
At 5/06/2007 3:10 PM, Anonymous amphibian said...

given that he was consistently dealing with two, sometimes almost three, defenders at the top of the key, and one of them was kirilenko, i don't think we can totally fault him for either going for the jumper twice or finding someone else for the shot. maybe i'm trying too hard here, but this was hardly a dirk-like performance.
Absolutely agree. Two less clanks from the 4th quarter spot shooters and maybe one made ridiculous off-balance shot from McGrady over two defenders and the Rockets would be through.

Joey nailed it as usual in a throwaway line: Yao needs to get faster on the lateral moves.

 
At 5/06/2007 8:38 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

If nothing else I think T-Mac and Kobe have proved beyond doubt this year that you simply cannot ask your designated scorer/star player to contribute the bulk of your offense and simultaneously facilitate that offense on a majority of possessions. No matter how transcendental that player is it's an impossible task. That (and Yao as, unfortunately, a serious defensive liability) is what sunk the Rockets because Rafer just isn't an NBA starting point guard (not strong enough, too inconsistent, doesn't shoot the 3 well enough) and the Rockets literally have no one besides T-Mac who can reliably create for himself and others.

How much crazier does it make this loss that JVG just retired? What the hell's going to happen to Yao/T-Mac now?

Freddie: No.

 
At 5/06/2007 9:12 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

T-mac's performance was not like Dirk's, that's true. The mavs should have won, but collapsed and didn't. It's not that t-mac should have, but that he could have.

 
At 5/06/2007 11:43 PM, Anonymous Freddie said...

Freddie: No.

You will.

 
At 5/08/2007 2:54 AM, Anonymous Rick Paulas said...

Is that, by chance, a photo of a girl with a paper mache copy of George Bluth's head?

 

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