2.23.2008

All Else Is Unreal



First, read Shoals’s soul-searching here. Then take a trip through tonight’s Hawks/Warriors game:

- Warriors’ color guy Jim Barnett’s keys to the game were all titled after Best Picture winners. I was talking during them and couldn’t hear, but they were: Rocky, Lord of the Rings, and Unforgiven. So I guess the game will be about underdogs (even though the Warriors are the favorite), homoeroticism, and genre revisionism. Actually, that last one makes some sense.
- It’s only five minutes in and it’s safe to predict there won’t be three set plays the whole night.
- Anyone who doesn’t value the importance of style to a team’s performance needs to watch the Warriors with Webber on the floor. He’s actually playing pretty well right now (some rebounds and smooth passes), but you can sense a general state of lethargy enveloping the majority of the team. I stand by my belief that he only needs to play substantial minutes against teams that can make the Warriors play at a slower pace.
- These teams completely demolish our assumptions about the function of the pass. On a regular team, the pass connects parts of the coherent system. On these teams, the pass just gets the ball from individual to individual – the concept reigns over the parts. It’s like the difference between Hitchcock and Malick.



- Childress, Johnson, Marvin, J-Smoove, Horford. My favorite lineup in NBA history. Woodson should start that group and consign his name to legend.
- This game might be too loose for the Warriors. Their style thrives off of other’s teams’ stiffness; I’m not sure the Hawks are even conscious of what the other team does. If the Warriors are Gravity’s Rainbow, then the Hawks are Tender Buttons.
- Is this a pickup game? It doesn’t feel like one. Maybe it’s just what pickup games look like when they’re played by real athletes.
- This is seriously the only time the Warriors have looked conventional. They at least have plays where they get the ball to Baron and let him work. The Hawks just throw it around. They practice basketball nihilism. Say what you want about the Warriors’ style – at least it’s an ethos.
- Monta Ellis dips his hands in hot wax before games. Apparently it helps his fingers get loose. That’s probably the weirdest pregame ritual that doesn’t involve Moises Alou soaking his hands in urine.



- This game is proof that Brandan Wright needs to play more. He fits the style perfectly; there’s no reason he can’t be a more versatile version of Biedrins.
- Conceptually, the Warriors’ problem is that they don’t have Stephen Jackson – his complete lack of conscience would match the Hawks. There’s a big gap in the Warriors here that wasn’t so obvious against the Celtics.
- Everyone said the worst part of the Bibby trade was that he’s not a pure point guard, but his style might make more sense within the team’s overall concept. He’s not exactly monopolizing the ball, which means that Johnson, Smith, et al. still have plenty of freedom to drive without much thought. This might be the only team for which having a top-shelf point guard would make them less interesting.
- The Hawks are up 18 at the half. We can only hope that Jackson is back on March 4 for the rematch in Atlanta.
- I don’t want to live in a world in which the Suns play a 43-30 half.



- There were 18 combined fast break points in the first half. How do you even differentiate a fast break from a normal play in this game?
- After a few minutes of the second half, it seems like it’s not quite as crazy anymore. This will help the Warriors on a night when they don’t have Jackson and Biedrins.
- Wright is perfect for a game like this. He doesn’t have to worry about getting pushed around in the post and he can use his length to do things like finish over Josh Smith. Nellie gets deserved credit for letting his players play, but his unwillingness to try rookies for any substantial amount of time is upsetting and doesn’t seem to fit with his overall philosophy.
- I don’t know why Atlanta looks more conventional this half. Some of it probably has to do with the Warriors trying harder on defense, but they seem to be coasting on the lead. Golden State has something to counteract now and they’re coming back.
- I could watch Monta challenge Josh Smith at the rim forever.



- My pro-Stanford bias definitely affects this take, but Josh Childress is one of the more underrated players in the league. I’d love to see him go to a contender this offseason and turn into the coolest legitimate role player around.
- Al Harrington is the poor man’s Antawn Jamison. Especially if Jamison decided entire sections of games should only involve threes.
- In retrospect, the Warriors didn’t have much of a chance in this game without Jackson. He means too much to their overall philosophy. And the lack of Biedrins obviously didn’t help the defense.
- Looking at the Suns/Celtics score right now (67-56 with eight minutes left) just makes me cry. We all need the Lakers to beat these teams and win a championship for the good of exciting basketball.

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20 Comments:

At 2/23/2008 2:36 AM, Blogger rebar said...

i never thought i'd see a suns game with under 90 points.

the big cactus: 4 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, and the nba.com headline

ugh.

 
At 2/23/2008 2:42 AM, Blogger Seth said...

Love this post, if only because it agrees with what I've said all season.
Free BWright

 
At 2/23/2008 5:09 AM, Blogger Brotools said...

The Suns are embarrassing to watch. All they do is foul. They're going nowhere.

 
At 2/23/2008 10:56 AM, Blogger avery said...

good Pynchon post as well...thanks for the link.

 
At 2/23/2008 11:50 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Great recap, Ty.

First off, blaming the Suns for the low score of that game yesterday is ignorant. That falls on the Celtics, the #1 defense in the league. They forced the Suns into like 70 turnovers; the Suns just played awesome defense for the first time in 4 years. Sorry it ruins everyone's day, but that's a good thing for them as a franchise.

But they can and still do run... did you guys see the fast breaks in that game? There weren't as many as normal, but again, this Celtic team is long and fast and the toughest defense in the league.

I would put money on the Suns topping 100 points every game this week, plus 110 at least once. So let's not write the fast breaking Suns off just yet. The good news (for Suns fans) is that they can also play and win in the tough, get in your grill, games now, too. Did ya'll see KG and Perk trying to deflate Amare yesterday? Damn near got in his head, too. That's why Shaq's "leadership", if it really exists, would be a good thing...

 
At 2/23/2008 1:26 PM, Blogger steve said...

the suns game was just bizarre from beginning to end. but NO WAY did Amare ever stand down. i thought if anything the whole game showed amare single-handedly taking the KG "hungry" crown away from him and KG just accepting it. the game was all amare from start to finish, it was an absolute joy to watch (albeit during an incredibly strange game)

 
At 2/23/2008 4:32 PM, Blogger Louie Bones said...

On the same night Gerald Wallace's career began to wilt and crumble, did J.R. Smith's begin to breathe anew?

 
At 2/23/2008 6:14 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

It makes me sad to say it, but Gerald Wallace was destined to be carried off the court in a stretcher. We all knew that.

 
At 2/23/2008 8:06 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

Gerald Wallace = Icarus . . .

 
At 2/23/2008 9:30 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I missed everything last night. But whaever, it's not like I don't know who these players are.

Apparently Wallace has a concussion, which isn't the end of the world. I was worried when I first heard (and hadn't yet seen the play) that he'd fallen out of the sky. But I think he'll be fine. Remember, dude used to be a running back in high school. Also, I hate to say it, but at least no one can fuck with this injury. Nothing "fragile" about this.

I was slightly upset that I'd missed Smith's big game, but it's not like I haven't seen him go insane before. I thought it probably had something to do with revenge, and the fact that the Bulls are terrible. . .until I saw that Chicago won!

 
At 2/24/2008 11:40 AM, Blogger avery said...

baron davis as film reviewer
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/movies/24mcki.html?ref=arts

 
At 2/24/2008 3:37 PM, Blogger BW said...

nothing finer than a sunday afternoon with amir johnson.

 
At 2/24/2008 7:58 PM, Blogger Sean said...

I understand the Warriors as a missile, but how are the Hawks connected to an experimental verse book named after a slang term for "clitoris"?

 
At 2/25/2008 2:17 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

It's more about style and structure. GR as the impression of a coherent structure even though it's only really hinted at and not quite there (plus all the other stuff I say in that link). TB as the breakdown of language and general disarray. Does that make sense?

 
At 2/25/2008 10:05 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Ghostface in a Chris Webber video?

http://nahright.com/news/2008/02/24/video-chris-webber-ft-kurupt-gangsta-gangsta/

 
At 2/25/2008 11:45 AM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Too soon to conclude that Shaq killed the Suns?

On the upside Hellboy's jumper is looking nice, and the Right Hand of Doom seems to have returned to service.

 
At 2/25/2008 11:56 AM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

And I too have been wondering since early in the season why Brandan Wright isn't getting more run. He's put in effective minutes every time I've seen him play and seems like a perfect fit.


duqwy: duquan asks, "why?"

 
At 2/25/2008 2:06 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

The comment about how important style is to a team's performance has never been more true than in these last two Suns games. They look messy as hell out there. Back to back games of less than 90 points for Phoenix? Anybody else notice the dearth of shooters down there? Barbosa, Bell and Nash. That's it. Everyone else is a mid-range player or a finisher or Shaq (who seemingly has no offense at all anymore unless it's a wide-open dunk). How sad is it to see Nash running pick and roll with Shaq, only to have Shaq run right alongside him into the paint and clog everything up? Or to have Nash run it with Hill or Diaw, only to have those guys just pass it back to Nash so he has to set everything up again? Equally sad to see the Suns' fastbreak end with Nash kicking it out to Diaw and Hill in the corners only to have them brick three after three.

No, Mr. Six, I don't think it's too soon at all to conclude that Shaq killed the Suns, with a little help from Steve Kerr.

 
At 2/25/2008 2:52 PM, Blogger The Hypnotoad said...

Agreed that the Suns are now finished. We don't need to see the quiet first round exit to prove this, though that will happen as well. Alas, the Suns fell victim to the machine much like the Kings before them. The nail sticks its head out, just to get hammered back in.

 
At 2/25/2008 6:30 PM, Blogger Amphibian said...

That second picture looks an awful lot like the grassy zone from The New World (a Malick film) - but it's not.

It seems to be the house from that famous artwork which name I cannot remember at the moment with the polio-stricken girl looking back up at the house she can't get to.

Grant Hill has been unusually cold lately. If he can hit a couple more shots a game and perhaps run point while Nash spots up, the Suns could be running better.

 

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