5.17.2007

Not Yet Unbreathing


Thanks to J Weez for sending this photo.

I can't decide whether this dude is more East Germany or West Germany, but I think he gives us hope for irreverence during potential conference finals of doom.

42 Comments:

At 5/17/2007 12:44 PM, Blogger Josh said...

this really is the first thing I've seen all day that actually makes me feel a little better after the traumatic events of last night. kudos sir.

 
At 5/17/2007 12:45 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Why do you call it conference finals doom? I'm looking forward to a LeBron/Pistons conference final in the east and a Spurs/Jazz or Suns/Jazz conference final in the west. I think there is still a lot of great basketball left to be played...

 
At 5/17/2007 1:15 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Let's be honest, the Eastern Conference Finals is only going to be interesting in spite of itself. Detroit's up 3-0 and can't close, getting blown out twice in a row (once at home). The Nets are facing elimination on the road in Cleveland, only score 6 4th quarter points and still win by double digits after only scoring 83. LeBron and the Pistons looked to be on a collision course a week ago, now they appear to be sleepwalking towards each other. The excitement heading into the ECF is akin to what one might feel while watching a couple turtles engaging in a game of chicken.

The WCF should be interesting though.

 
At 5/17/2007 1:20 PM, Blogger Joey said...

I can't stand watching Cleveland and I am very upset with the Pistons, who I collectively view as my little brother for some reason. So the ECF is not a tantalizing prospect right now. But I have really enjoyed watching Utah (though not Boozer, who I nonetheless acknowledge for his effectiveness) and I love the Spurs, so if that is how things shake out in the West, I'd be fine with that.

People can romanticize the Suns' effort last night, and I certainly don't think that Amare and Diaw being held out "felt" right, but let's not ignore Tim Duncan and Manu. The former was great, especially when helping on defense in the second half. His work shutting off the basket when Nash has come in the paint has been masterful. And the latter is quite the psychodrama. He has looked visibly defeated at times this series, and yet last night he summoned the courage needed to step up when his team needed him. The 2005 Manu was so much fun. I hope that last night might help bring him back a little.

 
At 5/17/2007 1:47 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Does anyone else feel like these playoffs are like a boxing pay per view with the Eastern Conference games being the undercard to the main event of the West games?

Has there really been any games in the East that were compelling at all? Almost every West game/series has been entertaining and you can't even try and say that about the East.

Even on the TNT postgame, they dont want to show the East highlights again after the West games because there has been little drama at all.

Suns in 7. Hopefully.

 
At 5/17/2007 1:57 PM, Anonymous Alap said...

ohmygod. veronica mars got cancelled.

 
At 5/17/2007 4:00 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

West/East Germany is too hard to call, there's so many conflicting elements.

Let's just cop out and go with 'Berliner'.

 
At 5/17/2007 4:58 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

I say neither West nor East Germany, definitely looks like he's from Great Britain or maybe the Netherlands. At second glance, I say the Netherlands.

No German in his right mind would have such a crappy soccer ball (with the Italian flag on it, the team that beat Germany in the semifinals of the World Cup last year) and, more importantly, drink beer out of such a strange glass. Trust me on this, the Dutch guy probably got the jersey from his friends because he sort of looked like Dirk and would have completed the full set of stereotypes if he had just had a pair of Lederhosen.

(hides in fear of being proven totally wrong if the origin of this photo is indeed known)

 
At 5/17/2007 5:15 PM, Blogger ~CW~ said...

Paul Shirley is the man:

"I can't imagine how anyone could root for the Spurs. It would be like cheering for cancer. Of course, they're really effective (unfortunately, so is cancer), but I don't know if a roster of such easily disliked basketball players has ever been assembled."

If the Suns and Veronica go down in the same week, I don't know if I'll be able to take it.

 
At 5/17/2007 6:23 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

CW, thanks for passing along that quote. It's now my wallpaper.

 
At 5/17/2007 11:48 PM, Anonymous Outsider POV said...

I have started reading this blog daily during the playoffs because I heard that it is a good one. After a month of reading quietly, I am convinced that you are all a bunch of whining babies who will never be happy. You all love that the warriors beat the mavs because they play a style that holds the interest of people that have no other reason to be interested in the playoffs. If the team you root for is not in the race, then all you care about is that the style of play by the remaining teams is entertaining by your standards. I get it already. Guess what... the fans of the teams that are still in the show still give a fuck. The rest of you will never be pleased unless every team plays like the warriors which is impossible if you give it any thought. All of you freedarko types only like what is on the fringe. As soon as it would become mainstream you would all be crying for something else. This is true and you know it. I wish you would all find something more productive to do with your time and stop WHINING. WAaaaggghhhh... the playoffs are boring... the NBA sucks... I don't even want to watch... Waaaaagggghhhhh.

Then start watching midseason MLB and shut the fuck up already.

 
At 5/18/2007 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fantastic piece of insight from such a worldly scholar, "You think you know BORING?! Watch baseball! Now that is BORING!"

 
At 5/18/2007 1:26 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

I suppose watching entertaining basketball is beneath you, Outsider. Are you this man, by any chance?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v73/incurock31/x2z9842.jpg

Because that would explain a lot.

 
At 5/18/2007 2:54 AM, Blogger T. said...

maybe i'm dense, but i don't see how If the team you root for is not in the race, then all you care about is that the style of play by the remaining teams is entertaining by your standards is "the fringe"

People who aren't fans of the remaining teams LIKE to watch boring, grind it out machine like basketball? Really? That's the mainstream? Maybe I [b]am[/b]out of touch.

(I do like boring, grind it out basketball, by the way. I'm a Rockets fan. But as soon as they choked out, I threw my lot in with the Warriors, then Suns - because if my team ain't in it, it might as well be fun.)

Today's meta-thought: If the collective FreeDarko nation is whining, then what is whining about the whining? The sound of one hand posting?

 
At 5/18/2007 4:11 AM, Blogger ian said...

Can I love Freedarko and the Spurs at the same time? Does that make me a bastard?

 
At 5/18/2007 7:56 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Outside POV: If you like baseball, and hate the NBA, what the fuck are you doing reading this blog? Here's an idea, asshole; go take a baseball bat and shove it right up your narrow ass, you piece of shit.

 
At 5/18/2007 9:22 AM, Anonymous westney said...

Don't feed the trolls.



GO SPURS GO!

 
At 5/18/2007 10:48 AM, Anonymous Outsider POV said...

Sean, Ben Q, Anon 12:37-

I honestly cannot believe that all three of you completley missed the point of that post.

I love basketball and cannot stand the boredom that is baseball. I am completly entertained by basketball.

My whole point is that I have spent the last two weeks reading posts by you guys in which YOU complain that these playoffs are boring and unwatchable aside from the Warriors.

I would think if anybody would unserstand sarcasm it would be you cynical bastards. Jesus.

 
At 5/18/2007 10:53 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

outside pov--there's a difference between a comment and a post.

 
At 5/18/2007 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outsider almost makes a good point in his original comments. Among the regular commentors here, there is a tendency to take "fringe" fetishism past the point of legitimacy.
Only a game or two into the Warriors/Jazz there were commentors already jumping off the Wariors bandwagon. What was different about the Warriors except that they had become "mainstreamed" by picking up national fans and some good press? Is turning on them a choice fueled by basketball aesthetics or something much more middle school?

The problem with Outsider's premise is that these playoffs are in danger of becoming real, real dull.

-MostKnown

 
At 5/18/2007 11:08 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

fuck it, i'll write a post on playoff boredom in a minute, but for now: i was pretty clear about why the warriors were losing their luster to me. if they had kept playing crazy, i wouldn't have cared if trent lott was their coach.

 
At 5/18/2007 11:12 AM, Anonymous Outsider POV said...

My bad shoals. I know the difference, I just slipped up. Thanks.

Anon 11:02-

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The warriors point you made is the perfect example of what has been bothering me. This is the first time I have ever gotten anybody on here to even consider my point of view. Very stubborn folks here!

 
At 5/18/2007 11:45 AM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

Is that tree in the photo real? Amazing.

 
At 5/18/2007 11:59 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Look, I think we all know that part of what made the Warriors run so special was its unexpectedness and its probable irreproducibility. Nobody wants every team to play like the warriors. But when the proverbial lightning is in the bottle, you watch it precisely because it's rare.

And beyond being rare (for the warriors at least), the Golden State run signaled that the field is wide open for Nellieball again, and all we can do is pray that basketball orthodoxy is shaken into a tremendous chaos, both because "right way" hoops gives jobs to tightwads and migraines to viewers, and because basketball should be unrestrained expression.

The Spurs and Pistons are a necessary counterpoint to FD-preferred style, but here's the kicker: People here really are rooting for change, for a more aesthetic, freewheeling, and fun game than is exemplified by Duncan or Rip Hamilton.

Basketball as a game is about way more than rooting for the home team.

Also, being an outsider no more validates your point of view than being a lurker or Thai. It's immaterial. These comment boards have a lively enough discussion regardless.

 
At 5/18/2007 12:54 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

The Warriors, at least in part, wound up as victims of their own hype. Not that they went out of their way to create it; it's just what nearly inevitably happens to every David that comes along and topples a giant. The sports media, desperate for storylines, sniffs the blood in the water and everyone who originally felt some kind of connection to the team for traditional and/or aesthetic reasons is suddenly bombarded with waves of mediocre articles/talking heads reducing something that is vibrant and unique to an amalgamation of hackneyed cliches while at the same time being swept up in the sea of bandwagoneers. It sucks because if you were there all along it makes it really tempting to take an elitist stance and also induces bitterness about how everything you love is being watered down. With the GSW it was twice as bad b/c many were rooting for their style and personalities as much as for the team itself and they weren't even really the massive underdog they were made out to be; I still feel like the GSW is on some kind of weird level that is completely alien to a better/worse spectrum. How can you judge a team that will as matter of fact put up 40 3s and likely get outrebounded by 20, win or lose, and be happy about it? I'll bet they gave oddsmakers nightmares.

Oh well. The whole concept is just too crazy to stay coherent for 82 games but if they can rest Baron enough so his body doesn't just fall apart, if Stephen Jackson doesn't go to jail for offenses past or future and if they can avoid a total meltdown then perhaps we'll be back here next year but without all the unwanted 'underdog' detritus. Also S-Jax's interview with John Thompson (featuring him w/his mom walking at Lake Merritt! hella Oakland!) was one of the best moments of the season; it made me realize he has become my favorite player, crazy and all. The fact that he'd probably be widely reviled by all the bandwagon suburbanites who deadened the Oracle for the Jazz series if they knew his history just makes it that much better.

 
At 5/18/2007 1:00 PM, Anonymous Thai lurker said...

Fair enough.

btw, I don't know why it bothered you that I identified myself as an outsider. Since my comment was about what I have noticed as a trend among FDites in the short time I have been reading here, I thought it was relevant. picky picky!

 
At 5/18/2007 1:10 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Jazz/Spurs may be like watching paint dry, but it's also about huffing it at the same time.

 
At 5/18/2007 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said, padraig

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=13&entry_id=16647

 
At 5/18/2007 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said, padraig

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=13&entry_id=16647

 
At 5/18/2007 1:19 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Rick Adelman to coach Houston. I think I'm excited.

 
At 5/18/2007 1:50 PM, Anonymous Pippen&Sheed&BabyJermaine&MightyMouse&Arvydas said...

Say what you will about the Warriors and their late-game "cheap shots (and plenty of people have) but as someone who has competed before, I think that stuff was just frustration of a loss. Did it look like Kirk Hinrich was so frustrated at the loss last night that he could have thrown a cheap elbow at Billups? No, the only time he did that was at Flip Murray during a win. In fact, the only guy on that team who looked so angry that he could have thrown a random haymaker at Sheed was Ty Thomas. Yeah, Ty Thomas, the difference maker in the series. The only Bull who looked like he actually wanted to win. Call the Warriors "cheap" or "thuggish" if you want, but I call them true competitors. Maybe that stuff isnt the best way to show that emotion, but at least they showed emotion and a will to win.

Whatever happened to the late-game phenomena of "reaching down deep" and trading thrilling baskets. I can count on three fingers (maybe less) the games that I saw that. Instead, we have seen teams trade turnovers and missed shots, and no one (save for Derek Fisher and f**kin Bruce Bowen) has taken a game into his own hands and put it away. It has sickened me. I'm frustrated.

 
At 5/18/2007 2:06 PM, Blogger Nate said...

My whole thing is that I can't understand why people don't enjoy efficient basketball. People call Tim Duncan boring because he doesn't really show much personality. But if you actually like basketball, you can't help but love Tim Duncan. He's spectacular in every sense of the word. On top of that, he's consistent. The Spurs play smart consistent basketball. There's nothing wrong with sacrificing a little bit of flash, versatility, and personal notoriety in favor of winning. If my Lakers would have done that during the Shaq and Kobe days they'd probably still be together winning titles. Speaking of which, other than Kobe, what's more exciting about the Spurs than the Shaq and Kobe Lakers? Seriously, aren't they pretty much the same teams. Basically Shaq has a personality and Tim Duncan doesn't. Shaq dunks and Tim Duncan kisses it off the glass. Also, what's not exciting about Tony Parker and Ginobili? Both are sensational players that I enjoy watching a lot (minus Ginobili's annoying Euro flop tactics).

 
At 5/18/2007 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy on the front is Belgian, maybe French.

 
At 5/18/2007 2:39 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Outsider POV: If you are serious in what you're saying, then I apologize. I tend to get a little snappy when people come on this site and insult its creators and readers, and if you were just being sarcastic then I apologize for being so.

 
At 5/18/2007 5:21 PM, Blogger Matt said...

nate: It's not so much that people can't enjoy efficient basketball, and the Duncan periscope routine (apropos of the diagrams from a while ago here) is amazing when you watch it.

But I've watched him, man. I seen the guy get to the finals many times, and I want the stories told here to mix a little.

 
At 5/18/2007 5:52 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Nate, I completely agree with you in your comparison of the Shaq-Kobe Lakers to the current Spurs (and made that same point a few days ago as well). Phil wanted those Lakers to plod it up court and dump it into Shaq all game long for dunks. People criticized Shaq for the first half of his career that if he could develop a jump shot like Hakeem or Ewing or Robinson, then he'd really be something incredible; but Shaq understood the calculated efficiency of his game, regardless of how rote it was. He could set up on the low block for dunks and "chippies" all game long against anyone, so there was no need to add anything else.

Duncan is very much like that in one sense, even if his method of attack is vastly more diverse than Shaq's ever was. Duncan knows his method of play is as brutal in its efficiency and consistency as it is in its boredom for many people. The difference between millennium-era Shaq and Duncan is that Shaq has maybe one of the biggest egos in the game while Duncan has one of the smallest, and that Shaq had a teammate to genuinely challenge him for Alpha Dog status. Without the personality-clash and brashness that Kobe brought to the table, those Lakers would have been every bit as uncompromising in their dullness as they were in their dominance, just like the Spurs have been for years.

 
At 5/18/2007 5:58 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Yams: Speaking of efficiency, check out my little post comparing Duncan to Garnett. I say KG is more talented and certainly more flashy, but Duncan is more successful because he plays more efficiently. Basically although capable of being more versatile, Duncan sacrifices versatility in favor of efficiency. Here's the post:

http://www.aolsportsblog.com/2007/05/17/kevin-garnett-vs-tim-duncan-a-comparison-of-two-of-the-league/

 
At 5/18/2007 6:50 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

I think you're both underappreciating Millennial Shaq a little. He was obviously never a finesse player, but he was incredibly agile and more crafty than often given credit. For me, it was the combination of power and agility that was captivating.

And I've noticed an increasing number of posts about the Spurs and TD that refer to their efficiency. I would never argue that about either of them. I would further concede a certain appreciation of machine-like efficiency. But machines are rarely inspiring. They do the same thing unerringly, resulting in efficient work, but their narrative is short and their psychological revelations limited. In this regard, the Spurs and TD, to me, are like Flannery O'Connor (or Katherine Ann Porter to increase the geographic relevance): I can appreciate her economy and the effectiveness of her storytelling, but she only ever tells one story, and that story only tells us a few things about the characters and themselves. That's the Spurs to me: economical but routine and a rebuke to the League of Psychology. The recent "villain" veneer changes none of that for me.

To provide a contrast, with all of the recent discussion about the Spurs, I've tried to think about why I can't stand them but so enjoyed the 90's Bulls. After all, the triangle isn't necessarily inspiring, and the Bulls were a highly economical and efficient team. MJ and Pip are certainly a big part of the difference. But a significant factor as well was the absolute psychopathological aspect of the team. They wanted and attempted to destroy everything in their path. And once the league was at their feet, they still wanted to crush the competition at every opportunity. Somehow their tyranny and completely anti-democratic domination was enjoyable (no Mass Psychology of Fascism). They were machines+. The Spurs are just machines.

 
At 5/18/2007 7:20 PM, Blogger Nate said...

I'm not underestimating Shaq at all. Even more so than Duncan, Shaq (beyond his free throws) was incredible because of how efficient he was. I'd love to see a shot chart of his from back then. I think Yam's point was that people used to rag on Shaq for not developing other parts of his game, when for him there was no need for him to develop those aspects of his game, because there was no need way to stop him down low. My point with KG is that it's great that he has a well rounded game. But even so, he wasted a lot of good years by not focusing on the most efficient deadly part of his game, which is his low post work. I love seeing great low post footwork. I don't think Duncan is robotic at all. He has great footwork and a plethora of moves. Let me ask you something? Was Kevin McHale considered boring or Robotic? No! You know why? Because he played in Boston and he had a great personality. Duncan is a mute who slouches, and that is why people don't find him entertaining. Believe me, if he were to talk a little more trash or put a little more flare on his dunks or his moves, you'd think he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

 
At 5/18/2007 7:39 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

What TD might be doesn't change what he is or what the Spurs are.

And McHale was boring. He was just an asshole. There's a difference.

 
At 5/18/2007 8:02 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Nate, we're definitely on the same page here. Shaq stuck to dunks and chippies cause the opposition never figured out how to prevent him from doing that. The Hack-a-Shaq was the closest anyone came, and that's not a real defense. I remember thinking that Shaq's offense for his whole career was like Jordan's early career. Early Jordan rarely shot from the outside simply because nobody could stop him from driving to the hole. Eventually following the Pistons' lead teams began playing much more physical defense and that became less and less of an option to Jordan, and combined with him getting older he began to rely more and more on his fadeaway jumper and three point shot to give him room to operate. But Shaq never ran into anything like that so he was content (rightly so) to just hammer it at the rim while defenses simpered, helpless to defend against it.

I further completely agree with your assessment of KG v TD, and I'll even throw someone else into that discussion to further illustrate your point. 5-10 years ago when people would regularly have the KG v TD debate, I would always like to say that Rasheed Wallace could be better than either of them except that he was so insistent on shooting threes (Chris Webber also suffered badly from this issue, as did Vince Carter, albeit at a different position). When Rasheed was on his game and was playing in the post, he was almost as unstoppable there as Shaq was, due in large part to his long arms, his above-the-head shot and his intensity. That Rasheed could also shoot better from outside than Duncan or Garnett made him even more dangerous on paper, but that's not where the games are played. Sheed's inconsistency, his instability and his insistence on displaying his versatility always removed him from the KG v TD argument, and rightly so. For the exact same reason TD is a better player than KG is. Duncan realizes it doesn't matter whether people know he can do lots of different things out there, just so long as he keeps going to what the opposition can't stop.

 
At 5/18/2007 9:38 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

wild yams, nate: KG v TD is one of my favorite perennial NBA arguments, especially b/c you have to legitimately enjoy post play and have a soft spot for the rare PFs who really know what the hell they're doing to care about it. I agree completely with your assessment and the 2nd half of Game 5 was a perfect example. TD recognized what Kurt Thomas simply could not stop and instead of doing what most players would do and netting an easy basket or two off of it he just hammered at it so relentlessly that D'Antoni was forced to double him as aggressively as possible. Could anyone envision Garnett, or even Sheed, doing that? With such an amazing force of will?

That's a big part of what has always endeared Duncan to me. The dude isn't even remotely close to the elite in sheer physical talent. I know he's the Big Fundamental and his footwork, hands, etc. are all great but what defines him to me is that will. His entire focus is to find a weak spot and kick it until it breaks, he's smart enough to find that chink in your armor and it just isn't possible to faze him. That's a very rare quality, especially in big men, and the essential component that KG and Sheed both lack.

that said, we should probably give up on this thread because once a Wilhelm Reich has been made there's nowhere to go but down.

 

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