5.15.2007

Singin' Till That Day



New column up at the Haus, where I try once again to pin down my dislike of the Spurs. Or at least bring it to a wider audience.

I couldn't really use "tautology" in it, but that's the point that seemed new to me. Namely: Spurs' style can be described as no-frills winning. This is compelling insofar as it yields a win. These wins are of interest only to those who already want the Spurs to win; there is nothing in the means to produce an outsider interest in the end. Ergo, the Spurs exist to fulfill their hometown fans, and everyone else can go to hell. That's not an insult, it's explaining why they're bad for the playoffs in a way that the Warriors or Suns never could be.

72 Comments:

At 5/15/2007 4:40 PM, Blogger ~CW~ said...

The majority of the people who read and comment on Fanhouse are the main problem with the internet. I suppose you could try to explain style to them, but they wouldn't get that either.

 
At 5/15/2007 4:48 PM, Anonymous MaxwellDemon said...

I don't like the Spurs, but I feel compelled to defend them (minus Bowen--you're on your own, Happy Feet). Ginobili and Parker add some flash to the game. Even Duncan and his backboard magic have a certain amount of flair. So I'd say they have considerably more style than, say, the Stocklone Jazz.

Still don't like them though. If Amare gets suspended I will self-immolate.

 
At 5/15/2007 4:53 PM, Blogger emynd said...

The comments section over there really makes me appreciate the comments that get thrown around over here.

Man. What a bunch of idiots.

I rather liked that piece.

-e

 
At 5/15/2007 5:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i think it goes without saying that this is one of the better comments sections in the history of the internet (no walton).

also, keep in mind that the fanhouse has more readers in one day than freedarko has had in its entire lifespan. the commenters are a self-selecting bunch--as are the numerous bright people who think commenting there would be a waste.

what if, for the sake of god knows what, we tried to have a freedarko-style discussion of that column over there? just to see what kind of looks we got.

 
At 5/15/2007 5:26 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

and not like this needs to be said, but when one of you clicks over to my column there, it ups their page view total, which makes AOL view them more favorably, which helps me in all sorts of ways. several of which, incidentally, help freedarko.

 
At 5/15/2007 5:29 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

I think everyone who posts on FD on a regular basis should go over to Fanhouse and show those retared commenters how it's done.

 
At 5/15/2007 5:30 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

I can believe I spelled retarded wrong. Makes me look like . . well, you know.

 
At 5/15/2007 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading the comments over there is the sort of experience that makes one regret loving basketball.

 
At 5/15/2007 5:38 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Nice job summarizing why teams like the Spurs or the Pistons are unwatchable until the playoffs, at which point they face opponents actually worth caring about: the Suns (because they're actually interesting) and the Magic (because [a] their young core of players is really promising and [b] I live here).

There's nothing remotely exciting about the Spurs; in fact, their lack of stylistic flair makes them antagonists, at least to me, and I consistently hope for their destruction. The Pistons are similarly restrained in style, although to a lesser extent, and thus draw similar ire from me. At least Rasheed provides some emotion, and occasionally Tayshaun does something that people that freakishly skinny ought not be able to do.

re: Fanhouse. It surprises me that some of those people who left comments can operate a computer. That's not an exaggeration. Then again, it is AOL. I was 11 when I realized how retarded that shit was.

 
At 5/15/2007 5:47 PM, Blogger Notorious D.I.G. said...

While I'm not a Spurs fan I have to say that I do enjoy their style. Their game is like peanut butter and jelly. Nothing flashy what so ever, but it's got a lil flavor, and always seems to hit the spot. When they lose it's usually because the other team really stepped up and brought their jocks with them to the gym; that way, you never end up with the kind of unfulfilling seasons the Suns and Mavs continue to drop on their fans.

 
At 5/15/2007 6:06 PM, Anonymous ZMarker said...

Reading Fanhouse comments is like watching the Spurs win.

 
At 5/15/2007 6:28 PM, Anonymous cmg said...

Fuck the haters Shoals. That dentist line was tremendous. Nice breakdown of Suns-Spurs Game 4, also.

If they should meet, I doubt I'll watch much, if any, of a Spurs-Pistons final. I'd rather watch a seven game series between Atlanta and Memphis, which makes me ponder how much of a basketball fan I truly am.

As a Suns fan, I strongly disagree that the last two seasons have been unfulfilling. Two consecutive conference finals, especially last year's without Amare, have been pretty damn enjoyable.

 
At 5/15/2007 6:46 PM, Blogger Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

Good work by cousin Longform.

Seriously though, reading the FanHaus posts and then following up with the AOL commentz gives me the reverse emotional swing of watching the Eastern Conference games and wanting to stab my eyes out and then feeling saved from the jaws of hell with the start of the Western Conf games.

I got an angry voicemail last night during the Nets-Cavs debacle from a buddy I hadn't heard from in three months, simply for a cathartic rant about the game being the worst display of basketball he'd ever seen.

The Spurs certainly make a worthy villain and playoff antogonist, but at least they bring the heat. The FanHaus commenters, on the other hand, are the Nets-Cavs of the world - no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

 
At 5/15/2007 7:22 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

in case people haven't heard yet: horry suspended two games, amare and diaw one. world in flames.

 
At 5/15/2007 7:26 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

TD and Bowen should also be suspended a game.

Suns should seek immediate TRO. See how Stern likes that one.

 
At 5/15/2007 7:38 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

Good luck hating on "right way on and off the court" players. That shit doesn't fly with sports sheep.

I actually like Duncan and Manu aesthetically; I can't stand the Spurs, though, for the same reasons that you cite.

However, I think it's unfair to lump the Pistons in with the Spurs; the Pistons have a personality and can be quite enjoyable. The problem is that when they face certain teams, they are hell to watch, as are the Spurs when they face all teams (except maybe the Suns).

But yeah, A Spurs/Pistons rematch would be as enjoyable as watching Rosie Odonnell ass floss.

 
At 5/15/2007 7:52 PM, Blogger Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

@eauhellzgnaw: Agreed on the Pistons. There's definitely a discrepancy between the idea of Detroit and Utah basketball and the actual product on the floor.

Both teams suffer from the burden of their legacies. It almost feels like some people expect to see Larry Brown and Karl Malone.

Not to get ahead of things, but both Jazz/Pistons tilts in the regular season were games for the ages.

 
At 5/15/2007 7:55 PM, Blogger Captain Caveman said...

I feel like Charlie Brown on the gridiron when I read FanHaus comments. I know that it's going to shrink my brainpan, yet I go ahead and do it anyway.

On the other hand, I could probably tolerate being in a room with them longer than I could a bunch of Slate commenters.

 
At 5/15/2007 8:24 PM, Blogger Trey said...

Fanhaus commenters are the kind of people who would use the word 'retarded' to describe other commenters.

 
At 5/15/2007 8:38 PM, Blogger Cameron said...

Ginobili circa 2005 was the most entertaining player in the finals by far. Props for nailing the point about Pop's suppression of him...

 
At 5/15/2007 8:42 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

"20. The Spurs no fun?

Man, you really don't follow the Spurs closely. They have one of the loosest and most inclusive locker rooms in the NBA. Tim Duncan plays D&D for chrissakes!"

I rest my case. TD is a D&D player, and that makes him cool? Amazing.

 
At 5/15/2007 8:53 PM, Anonymous MaxwellDemon said...

TD should roll again for a higher charisma. His dexterity is pretty impressive though.

If you haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth, it 1) rocks and 2) emphasizes the moral bankruptcy of the blind adherence to rules and the abuse of authority. David Stern needs to watch it posthaste. Then he needs to be kicked in the achillles tendon and kneed in the sack. Schmuck.

 
At 5/15/2007 8:56 PM, Blogger ghostlightning said...

Here's the thing, I like TD, Parker, Bowen, and Manu... but as individual players; as the Spurs they bore me.

I can imagine Manu playing for teams like the Suns or Washington and I'd thoroughly enjoy myself. I can imagine TD in Indiana or Orlando (imagine him with Grant Hill and T-Mac) and it'd have been a great east/west rivalry with Shaq's Lakers (more interesting than the Spurs/Lakers one IMO).

Would I have gotten bored with J-Kidd should he have signed with San Antonio? Maybe.

 
At 5/15/2007 9:11 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

I obviously disagree with all of this sentiment. I understand that most basketball bloggers hate the Spurs and all that they allegedly stand for, but it's never made sense to me. There are certainly some really intelligent basketball heads who like the Spurs and ARE NOT SPURS FANS, but I've never understood why so few seem to get it.

I like watching running and high scoring, but I'd be really fucking bored with basketball if it was only played at one tempo. My soul has never been satisfied by any one thing, be it type of food, genre of music or brand of basketball. And while the league is filled with guys who can run and dunk, THERE IS NOBODY who can do the things that Duncan does.

I love watching him play. I really do. I love watching him work in the post with his seemingly endless supply of post-moves and angles. I love seeing him consistantly out-smart his competition. More than that, I admire his competetiveness and the sheer physicality he exerts on the court.

I don't think any of us will ever understand the type of toll taken from the daily grind of the NBA. I can only imagine the amount of strength, both mental and physical, required to lace them up night-in and night-out and spend 35 minutes banging on that block with the biggest men in basketball. He does this in an age where most other big men prefer to stay outside and avoid the constant beating down low. This means something.

Basketball is not football, but it's still a sport.

 
At 5/15/2007 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's impossible not to respect the Spurs in the same way that it is impossible not to respect a millionaire patent attorney. They perform their job exceptionally well and reap all the rewards that one would expect for such a performance.

At the same time, it lacks artistry. (To be fair, I seem to recall a time when I was mesmerized by Duncan's low post game. That time has either passed or it is only entertaining against worthy defenders. I have yet to decide.).

 
At 5/15/2007 9:40 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

MaxwellDemon said - TD should roll again for a higher charisma.

That may be the best comment of all time.

I'm fully on board with ya, Shoals, and the typical ratings plummet during each Spurs "deathmarch to the Finals" shows how right on the money you are with this. I will say one of the more interesting (to me, anyway) and apparently overlooked storylines with this series is the fact that the Spurs seem to have embraced their evilness. Duncan essentially calling the Suns wimps by comparing their toughness unfavorably to Denver, the questionable dirty play, Horry's foul. I even noticed what looked like sneers of derision on the faces of a few Spurs players as they were going into the huddles for timeouts last night while they still held the game in their vile clutches.

Nevertheless, I look at the Spurs and Pistons as the direct result of the real issue, not as the actual problems themselves. As I've said before, this was all put in place with the the way the Bad Boy Pistons of the late 80's/early 90's stripped away all sense of showmanship and ideals about the way the game should be played and supplanted them with rather ingenious exploitations of loopholes in the rule book. Before Detroit, if you intentionally fouled a player it was meant to send a message to that player, like McHale's clothesline of Kurt Rambis in 84; but Detroit decided it was more efficient to rough the other player up because two trips to the line was statistically better than a layup. Detroit also showed us it's OK to have your manhood and sense of pride questioned by flopping for fouls if the refs are rewarding you. Detroit took the gloves off and every other team was forced to follow suit. This led the smart coaches of the league to look for every loophole to exploit, eventually turning 80's Pat Riley into 90's Pat Riley and leading Phil Jackson to invent the Hack-a-Shaq in Chicago.

The league could have stopped all this though, way back when. They could (and should) have looked at how teams played and decided if some bizarre or underhanded exploitation of the rules was actually good for the game and whether it served the game's first order of business: entertainment. But the league was complacent or quite possibly scared. That these Pistons came along at the tail end of the league's "golden era" and during the ascension of the game's greatest (or most marketable) player of all time might have made the league gunshy about fixing what was wrong. They buried their heads in the sand and rode Jordan's coattails through the 90's and told themselves everything would be alright. Then they did the same thing with the Kobe-Shaq-Phil triangle and they hoped for the best, but that trio was a mirage due to the personalities, drama and Kobe's willfulness. Without that, the Lakers would have been a plodding, methodical team like San Antonio, who wanted nothing more than to walk it up court and throw it inside to "the Wall of Meat" all day long.

The personalities and the drama carried the league, but no more. Now the championship blueprint is so formulaic and stale that one can't even say "the right way" without a sardonic grimace on his face. Has there been a greater misnomer in recent sports lingo than "the right way" when applied to basketball? Our frustration is complete, as we watch with a sense of dread as people like Nellie and D'Antoni frantically search for their own loopholes in the hopes of righting this whole mess. Unfortunately the league's continued apathy over the last two decades turns these bright spots into examples of a modern day Sisyphus, damned by god David Stern to eternally push that rock up the mountain. It's time for Stern and the rest of the gods to put and end to this stupidity this offseason by righting the oversights of the past.

 
At 5/15/2007 9:50 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: A ban on flopping, perhaps? What else do you think could be done to fix this issue?

 
At 5/15/2007 10:18 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I think a good rule of thumb the league could start with is this: if the ref thinks that in a play one of the players was initiating contact to force the refs to make a call, give that guy the foul. You could maybe even expand this to just say if you think a player is relying on the refs to decide what happens on a play, give him a foul. The idea should be that the players just play and don't even spare the refs a thought until after the whistle is blown. No more of this nonsense where a player runs in front of someone who's driving hard in the hopes of getting a charge (or worse, running underneath a player as he's elevating). No more intentionally fouling a guy if he's got a breakaway or if he burned the defense and has a gimmie layup (just count those as goaltends and play on). And no more flopping. If you flop, you get the blocking foul. Let the refs take a second to confer on these plays if they need to.

I think that's a prime place to start. Another place would be to drop this stupid zero tolerance in regards to fighting, "rough play", taunting and anything else that's a result of people playing with passion, especially in the playoffs. Seeing a series and season decided due to lame suspensions is a worse black eye for the league than a big fight would be. Suspend players one game per punch landed. If they throw a punch that doesn't connect, kick them out of that current game, but that's it. If people get off the bench during a fight and don't throw punches, give them a technical (if they throw a punch, they get an ejection, and if the punch connects, an ejection & a suspension). No more technicals if a guy hangs on the rim after a dunk (or if he untucks his shirt like Baron did after The Dunk). No more suspensions if a player picks up a bunch of lame T's.

The problem with Stern and his cronies in the league office is that they hate to admit that they're wrong; but basketball fans everywhere would be so overjoyed if they came out and said "we're not happy with some of the current rules and how we think they're negatively impacting the game, so we're gonna make some changes" that fans wouldn't care that the league admitted to being wrong. I mean, everyone already knows they're wrong, all they have to do is own up to it.

 
At 5/15/2007 10:29 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

I wish people could at least admit how compelling and NECESSARY the Spurs are in today's NBA. I mean, what series are you following the most closely? Chicago-Detroit? Cavs-Nets? Does anyone give a shit about the East? Jazz-GSW was compelling for the first few games but now it's over.

Every year the Spurs give the league some of it's most memorable battles. This year it's the Suns. Last year it was the epic 7 gamer against the Mavs. Before that it was the 7 game Finals with the Pistons, Derrick Fisher's .04, the Steve Kerr/Steve Jackson game against the Mavericks, and Elliot's Memorial Day Miracle against the Blazers.

Your hate is misplaced.

Hate the Hawks, Clippers, Grizz and Sixers for their eternal shittiness. Hate the Wolves for the way they wasted KG's career and the Cavs for the way they're about to waste Lebron's. Hate the Knicks for depriving Basketball's Mecca of any real basketball. Hate the Pacers for destroying a talented, entertaining crew and bringing in Dunny and Murph to appease the white fanbase. Hate the Celtics for tarnishing one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. Hate Yao and T-Mac for never being as good as we all think they should be. Hate the Mavs for being mere pretenders. Hate the Heat for openly mocking the regular season. Hate the Warriors for making us wait 13 years to see the Bay crowd in action. Hate the Jazz for their insistence on Right Way/White Way. Hate every other team that has allowed the Spurs to become as significant and as dominant as they've become.

But don't hate the Spurs. They more than hold up their end of the bargain. They have gravity. They provide meaning. They are a legit heavyweight in a league of bantamweights. Do you have any idea how much better this league would be if more teams competed as hard and as smart as the Spurs do?

 
At 5/15/2007 10:44 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Brickowski, you make some excellent points about the Spurs. They are indeed necessary in today's NBA, yet I think that adds to my distaste for them. I want to reject the notion that the NBA needs at least one dominant, boring, old-school team with no personality, but now I can't. Balance is key, and if every team played at Phoenix's breakneck speed, or had Golden State's reckless mentality, the novelties of those respective styles would wear off.

I'll call the Spurs 'a necessary evil' then.

 
At 5/15/2007 11:05 PM, Anonymous Tinns said...

I hope Amare's lying like an idiot about "checking into the game" had something to do with his lack of leniency. As has been shown throughout this series, the dude really needs to start growing up now. He is acting like some boneheaded kid while Nash is out there killing himself and acting like a man. Don't even get me started on Marion's patheticness.

 
At 5/15/2007 11:19 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: I'd also think it'd be nice if referees didn't feel the need to blow the whistle at the slightest sign of contact between players. Watch games from the 80s and early 90's (or even college games now); the referees actually let the players play the game! Too bad some of this guys feel the need to make themselves the stars and not the actual players.

 
At 5/15/2007 11:30 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Gordan Giricek will not sleep easily tonight.

Presented with a once-in-a-season opportunity to make a driving dunk, he rose up... and slammed the ball into the back of the rim. Nicely done.

 
At 5/15/2007 11:45 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Even though I'm not a fan of the Spurs, I respect and admire them for their success. That being said, their supporters
are the most unsufferable group of NBA fans I may have ever encountered. According to these people, the Suns are a bunch of whiners because they don't like getting kicked in the balls, getting kicked in the heel when going up for a dunk, or being body checked to the ground. I'm sure if it was another team that was committing these same acts against the Spurs, we'd never hear the end of it.

Note: Congratulations Spurs fans! Your team is going to win because of a bloody nose, crappy officiating, and a cheap shot. Gotta love the "Right Way"!

 
At 5/15/2007 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say the Spurs aren't playing "right way" with all their horseshit but they are playing old-school (translation: dirty). Also, this blogging made me realize that I find international ball and the Spurs boring for the same reason.

 
At 5/16/2007 12:06 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Kevin Hench sums up this situation pretty well:

"Which brings us to the bigger picture: The sad state of the NBA. That pop you just heard is the bubble bursting on the long, uninterrupted NBA boom.

Ask the dwindling number of hardcore NBA fans about this season and they'll tell you it sucked. Spurs-Suns was the last great hope to salvage something from this year-long walkabout in the hoop wilderness. And now Stern, via his button man Stu Jackson, has taken that away from us, too.

So now we can ready ourselves for the inevitable showdown between San Antonio and some Eastern Conference pretender — probably Detroit — and yawn our way through a series of 85-80 games in which both teams shoot 38 percent. Woo-hoo. Yee-haw.

The biggest basketball fan I know just sent me a one-line e-mail: "I hate the NBA."

Mission accomplished, David Stern."

 
At 5/16/2007 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jalen Rose will be UNLEASHED tomorrow night- the dream ain't dead yet!!!

 
At 5/16/2007 12:46 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said...

I wish people could at least admit how compelling and NECESSARY the Spurs are in today's NBA.

I don't need 'em.

 
At 5/16/2007 12:49 AM, Anonymous shauna manning said...

does anyone know if matt harpring comes from a football family?

 
At 5/16/2007 12:51 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

I can't speak to Harpring's football background, but I know he used to play pickup basketball with his brothers with a "no blood, no foul" officiating policy.

 
At 5/16/2007 1:22 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

1. I thought Shauna was being sarcastic. They've mentioned his football background no fewer than 20 times this series. Basically his whole family (dad, bros, etc.) played collegiate football.

2. That T on Barnes was another example of the War on Drugs.

3. Sean, don't jump off the bridge so soon. This Spurs-Suns series is far from over. I think Suns win it in 7. But also, let's admit that while all the suspensions suck, the Suns are as much to blame for them as Robert Horry. Everyone who has ever watched NBA ball knows about the "Don't Leave the Bench Rule." Amare and Diaw are talented but they are also young and they made a dumb mistake. The Suns have allowed the Spurs to came out in their head this series.

4. I'll concede that Bowen is dirty (then again, what championship team didn't do a little dirt?), but Horry has been in the league for like 30 years and doesn't have a history of dirty play. Finley tried to foul Nash, the refs didn't call it and Bob committed a hard frustration foul much like the one Raja committed on Kobe last year. Amare's got to keep his head.

5. Who is Kevin Hench?

 
At 5/16/2007 1:31 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Did they just play "Simply the Best" after getting through the second round?

 
At 5/16/2007 1:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AK-47 has soul & conscience.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:00 AM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

And so ends the worst day in the 06-07 NBA season. I need some Valium.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:07 AM, Anonymous Trev said...

does anyone know if matt harpring comes from a football family?

From Harpings NBA.com bio
[Harpring] Comes from a long line of college football players: his grandfather Norb played at Navy, his father Jack played at Michigan, his uncle Chip played at Notre Dame, while brothers John and Brian played at Akron and Northwestern, respectively.

The man is a bruiser. Watching him play all the finesse 2/3s out there is painful. I keep thinking he's going to hurt Ray Allen.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, if the Spurs had never won a championship, sure they'd be a nice team to root for because Tim Duncan is likeable for his sarcasm and general nerdiness. But they've won 3 championships, and could have very well had a Bulls like hold on the league for the past 4 years if it weren't for some freak shots made. And i'm not exactly jumping for joy at the fact of having the same champion for 6 years.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:27 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Anon 2:17, I completely understand where you're coming from. That's always seemed to me to be the most reasonable reason to dislike the Spurs.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To hell with the Spurs. Their being kinda boring is nothing new, but their deriving enormous benefit from Cheap Shot Rob's assault on Nash? Who could root for a team that manages to be both boring and dishonorable?

I'm rooting for whoever the Spurs are playing against - this year, next year, every year. This is going right up there with my eternal Yankee-hate.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:47 AM, Blogger T. said...

I'm not sure why I hate the Spurs. I love Manu. I respect Duncan's Donald Duck in Mathmatica dominance of the backboard. Hell, I even like Popovich for having come from Pomona-Pitzer's basketball team (East San Gabriel Valley/714/909 stand up!)

But, their continued group excellence - meh. Of course I root for history's dullest team, so what do I know?

Fanship ain't rational.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:59 AM, Blogger S-Love said...

"Jackson brushed aside a suggestion that Tim Duncan violated the rule in the second quarter when he rushed onto the court after Francisco Elson dunked and landed on the shoulders of the Suns' James Jones.

'Both players got up,' Jackson said. 'There was no altercation, and they ran down to the other end of the court.'"

--This is the problem. Horry was able to define the situation. His cheap shot became a 'fight'. His push of Bell made the situation a 'fight'. By Stu Jackson's logic, if Jones had punched Francisco Elson, Duncan would have to be suspended. Jones is punished for keeping his cool; Horry is rewarded for losing his.

And this "Hey, it's the rules" argument just seems like a refusal to argue. The suspension has been handed down, so the law and order rhetoric isn't exactly necessary: you won already. Now you have to argue that the rule makes sense. For me this situation shows that the rule is awful and should be abolished. Who isn't going to react to a friend hitting his head on a table?

 
At 5/16/2007 3:38 AM, Anonymous Maxwell Demon said...

Brickowski, you make some deep points. Ultimately, I think my hate is not for the Spurs but for the way Stern is facilitating their wins. In an Association where Stephen Jackson gets tossed FOR CLAPPING, there is no excuse for the Commish's tacit endorsement of Bowen's health-threatening antics.

Oh, and Bowen. I do hate Bowen.

 
At 5/16/2007 3:39 AM, Anonymous Maxwell Demon said...

Othello + Iago = Bowen

 
At 5/16/2007 4:09 AM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Just a couple things:

Brickowski's 100% right about the Spurs, and that's why I said I don't hate them, but rather consider them the natural result of the NBA rules being what they are. Until the NBA changes a couple things, teams are just stupid if they don't play the way the Spurs and Pistons play, cause otherwise they're not giving themselves as good a chance to win.

Sean, I wholeheartedly agree with you about how great it would be if the refs would stop calling so many ticky-tack fouls. I also think the refs and league need to cut out nonsense like suspending Kobe Bryant for flailing his arm around after a shot. Let all that bullshit go and just let the game flow.

In addition to the point S-Love made above about Jones punching out Elson, you can also read on TrueHoop that in recent years the Suns traded away Luol Deng and Rajon Rondo on draft day for "future draft considerations" in an attempt to keep their payroll down. Reading that made me almost feel like the Suns deserve what they get. Still sucks for us fans that we're likely getting screwed out of what could have been one of the best series in recent years.

WV - nutydear: What David Stern's wife said when he asked her what she thought of the suspension

 
At 5/16/2007 4:13 AM, Blogger T. said...

What David Stern's wife said when he asked her what she thought of the suspension

Supposedly DJS's wife gives him a lot of pressure over the league's continual and growing emphasis on China (and working hand in hand with the government here)

Um, I'm not sure why this is relevant.

 
At 5/16/2007 5:16 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

Wild yams, you nailed it. Hating the Spurs is missing the point; Pop, TD and Co. are just maximizing their chances of winning under the current rules/policies. To do so they have to partially muzzle some of the individual elements that make TD's staid brilliance or Manu/Parker's creativity so compelling on their own. It's not Pop's fault that defense, post scoring and halfcourt sets are the most succesful formula for championships.

I think the Suns are really on the brink of turning the Spurs into the kind of villain it's much more fun to root for. I'm as sick of Nash/Amare complaining off the court as I am of Manu's flopping and TD's raised eyebrows. Any team that has Nash, Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas should stop and think before complaining too excessively about flopping and dirty defense.

Horry was certainly execssive but is it any suprise that he (or S-Jax or Amare) was driven to the breaking point by the beyond awful officiating? No one knows what's a foul and what isn't, what the hell constitutes a T or a flagrant or what what will get a player suspended. I mean, Matt Barnes got a loopy, nonsensical T tonight for pushing Boozer ON A REBOUND ATTEMPT. Even though I love the GSW, how was J Rich not suspended for trying to take Okur's head off while Amare/Diaw get nixed for standing up and taking two steps onto the court for thinking better of it? With the kneejerk suspensions made to honor a poorly written rule that is universally acknowledged as terrible and incompetent nutjobs like Javie and Bennett Salvatore manning the whistles I feel like the NBA's "make the only people that actually give a damn about our league throw their hands up in disgust and say enough's enough" campaign has been upped to whole new scorched earth level. How else could they allow ABC to inflict the Pussycat Dolls on us?

T: Did you see that list of Chinese nicknames for NBA player? If so, is it at all valid? Because 'Stone Buddha' for Duncan is one of the best, most accurate athlete nicknames ever.

 
At 5/16/2007 7:21 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Brickowski: Yeah, I do fault Amare and Diaw for leaving the bench; they should have known better. But if the series is decided on that . . . It would be pretty infuriating.

Hench is one of the NBA writers at Fox Sports.

 
At 5/16/2007 9:46 AM, Blogger T. said...

padraig - I haven't seen it - link? My reading Chinese isn't quite fluent, but I'd like to see it. For some reason the less-fluent in English fans around here think Shaq's name is "Shark"

 
At 5/16/2007 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't all of you asswipe FD columnists LOVE the Rockets? I mean, they DO have Rafer Alston - wasn't he in AND1 or some of that other clownishly "high-style" shit?

Should we now discuss the semiotics of Crispin Glover?

 
At 5/16/2007 11:49 AM, Blogger T.A. Negro said...

maybe the Spurs are like Christianity? We kind of need them, we use them as our moral compass. All that is good and bad in the basketball universe is ultimately measured vs the Spurs template. Before that is was Jesus Jordan. As we continue to live and push for other means of exploring our individuality, other roads for success, we rebel against the Christian Spurs. Its boring. They're hypocritical -- that is to say, the Spurs win, but they're not what's being marketed to us as fans. All that said, at the end of the day most of us get older and eventually find our way back to this rote model for success.

Perhaps FD is an ode to agnosticism, or more likely atheism. It'd be interesting to poll the religious ardor of the FD community.

 
At 5/16/2007 12:08 PM, Anonymous blindblue said...

To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less. -- John 3:27-30

TD = Jesus
KG = John the Baptist

Discuss.

 
At 5/16/2007 1:12 PM, Blogger MCBias said...

^ Mixing the Bible and the NBA? Ooh, no end to the possibilities. I would say more that KG is Philip the evangelist, who does some great stuff but can't finish the job in Samaria on his own. Tim Duncan is, of course, James, the apostle who quietly leads the church in Jerusalem but gets little to no coverage.

I wrote a recent post on why the Spurs are so unpopular while the Patriots are so popular. Both emphasize no-frills winning, after all. As a commmenter said, it may just be because of Tom Brady making the Patriots slightly more interesting, and the Spurs have no such media-savvy star. But I have my doubts.

 
At 5/16/2007 1:19 PM, Blogger Matt said...

The essential religious conflict of the day, though, is that the more humanity discovers through rigorous thought, the less blind faith is neccesary to make sense of the world.

And in a scientific sense, the Spurs have solved basketball; they've sucked the spontaneity out of it, reduced it to a set of rules, accounted for the variables, and designed the ultimate basketball-playing program. They're like Deep Fritz demolishing every human player in their path. They have no use for faith. They're establishment, certainly, but more of a technocrat establishment than theocracy.

The Suns engage in humanism, then, or at least a degree of it (probably not to the scale of the Warriors). They trust in their essential natures to produce alchemy, and they defy the laws laid down by the Spurs best-guess approximation of the basketball universe. Because a solved game is uninteresting, we see the Suns as opening basketball up for drama again.

To extend the metaphor to its most trite, the Jazz are religion, then, desperately masquerading a broken, ancient mechanic with the facade of pop relevance, leaning heavily on easily-duped, phenomenally talented youngsters. *ducks*

 
At 5/16/2007 1:23 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

But don't hate the Spurs. They more than hold up their end of the bargain. They have gravity.

Their Spirit of Gravity is exactly the problem.

Two dancers competing is humanity attempting to self-overcome. It is also entertaining.

One dancer contesting with a block of cement is not a compelling narrative arc in which the block provides a necessary dramatic foil. It is immorality embodied.

 
At 5/16/2007 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not THAT kind of gravity, you idjit

 
At 5/16/2007 2:21 PM, Anonymous blindblue said...

MCBias: I can see that. Acts 18:20, the sermon at Minnesota.

'When McHale saw that the Finals were within reach at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

Spree answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with so little! I've got to feed my family." Then he choked Simon and departed for his yacht.'

 
At 5/16/2007 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The follwong statement is completly objective...

What a bunch of fucking LOSERS.

 
At 5/16/2007 2:49 PM, Blogger H2AZ said...

It's a pretty sad day when the biggest shot Big Shot Rob can nail is the one that sends the Real MVP through the scorer's table.

I used to respect the Spurs and particularly TD for their gritty and technically sound play, but of late it seems that they resort to cagey veteran moves (whining, cheap fouls) over skill and heart.

 
At 5/16/2007 3:13 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Anonymous: "Shouldn't all of you asswipe FD columnists LOVE the Rockets? I mean, they DO have Rafer Alston - wasn't he in AND1 or some of that other clownishly "high-style" shit?

Should we now discuss the semiotics of Crispin Glover?"

Excuse my French, but who the fuck is this cocksucker? Instead of being a pussy and issuing cheap shots behind a veil of anonymity, why don't you come out and really debate the people who read this site? Too afraid, motherfucker?

Anonymous: "The follwong statement is completly objective...

What a bunch of fucking LOSERS."

I wonder if this is the same Anonymous I just quoted. In any case, if you're talking about the people who read this site, well, thank you. I'd rather be a loser than a coward, you fucking douche bag.

 
At 5/16/2007 3:18 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Anon 1:57

(Assuming you're being serious) There's no difference in this case. Please consider the implications and full meaning of the word "gravity," even as originally used by brickowski.

 
At 5/16/2007 5:32 PM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

I love FD but I feel like its lost at sea a bit in the post-season. The playoffs are a grind. The random, incoherent poetry of the regular season doesn't duplicate itself in the pursuit of the ring. I know Shoals is trying to keep the FD ship on course, but even that has me scratching my head. I still can't get over the celebration of the Jazz as being worthy of FD love. Can you get anymore "play the right way" than those guys? This endorsement makes me question what FD really stands for. The playoffs have thrown everything overboard. I'm not sure if FD is just intellectual bandwagoning. Or perhaps its finally found its purpose, which is Anyone But The Spurs. That seems to be the case.

So is this critique just another way to say I'm a Spurs fan? Yeah, pretty much. To align oneself with the Spurs now is like supporting OJ - its going against the grain but there's nothing to be gained. It's stabbing oneself in the eye. I get that however I'm not going to lose sleep over what the rest of the country thinks. Villainy brings a (laughable) notoriety that I'll get used to.

Shoals writes that the crucial reason he hates the Spurs is not that their dirty (I'm still looking for the missing link from evolving from the softest team in the league to the dirtiest within two weeks) but that they show no passion. It's true they show no passion. But as a lifelong fan who lives in SA, I wonder why they would show passion. The Spurs basically don't care about anything except the ring. When you're good enough to win a title every year, there is no need to rush.

They're not playing for any other ulterior motive. There is no other lure that manifests itself down in San Antonio. Its the ring or nothing. This singular pursuit, with all the fascinating distractions The Life brings, to me, makes them extremely odd in today's game. They are normal in a general sense, but their normalcy is taken to bizarre extremes. Their ability to maintain is a perversion of the norm.

Why? SA is Siberia. Its gulag. Though the team could easily give in and go in to an Atlanta Hawks like cave of obscurity, the team remarkably finds ways to stay motivated.

And further, the team doesn't even live in SA. They have little connection to the city. They're all holed up outside of town in the Hill Country like French monks on top of Mont St. Michel.

I find it remarkable that they can maintain their level of play when everything suggests they should just give in. The country hates them. The media ignores them. The fan base has less stamina than the team. The team keeps winning but the fans have begun to slowly erode out of their own complacency.

I'm not saying any of this to try and change anyone's mind. Obviously. To me the team isn't boring so much as they are a mystery. A poet, a stoned surfer, a wine grower, a rapper, a D&D playing sword collector? To me this isn't boring but an enigma.

They are like a foreign army dropped behind enemy lines. Most of them don't speak the language but they rely on their themselves and create a strong sense of family. Not surprisingly they succeed when the odds are against them. All the more reason they are going to lose game 5 tonight versus Phoenix.

My rambling is done. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind but perhaps offer a window into the reality down here. Not that anyone cares.

 
At 5/16/2007 5:49 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Mr. Six, I didn't really understand your comment and don't think we used gravity in the same way.

I was essentially saying this: The Suns (or any other team who's never gotten to the promised land) beating the Spurs is full of significance and meaning. The Suns beating the Jazz is not.

 
At 5/16/2007 6:44 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

From a basketball standpoint we should all be rooting for Jazz/Suns. Their first three tilts were compelling viewing, filled with runs. Spurs/Jazz is like a big brother holding candy out of reach of a little one, and boxing his ears. It should be noted that Pop modeled his approach after the Jazz when they were mindnumbingly boring. And now they are not.

 

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