No One Will Perish at Night

Let's get all pale and reflective for an instant here about this weekend. Well actually, I just want to weigh in on the Sixers. Contrary to what some of you may believe, I have paid attention to them some during their little flare-up. For the first few minutes of today's game, I was shredding pure plant. That's how much fun it was. However, like everything I've seen of them this year, it's a ridiculously crude form of up-tempo that tells us more about the Eastern Conference than those men in red, white, gold, and black.

Ask the Recluse, my Thaddeus Young color don't bleed, which is part of why I'm so nonplussed by that win. You heard the announcers (sorry, I lost track): They made that Korver trade to play Young, and maybe even Carney. Shit was stylistic cleansing, plain and simple, and it worked. So why did he semi-vanish as soon as that opening assault faded?

The truly depressing answer, that everyone already knows by now: The Sixers won that game with Reggie Evans, Andre Miller's palsied slashes, and some good luck at the line. I guess that's baby steps playoff basketball, but is that why a team burns up the map and turns instead a pyrotechnic souffle? That, good people, is the movie where robots take over the state house, not the one with the aliens whose eyes secrete Rembrandts.

I look forward to Game Two, which hopefully brings more Thaddeus Young, for he is the J.R. Smith-like key to that team's identity. And without identity, what has one but toil in the shadow of the master, hoping to rise up only by tracing out imperfect fractions of his designs? So Sixers, you are not in Heaven. You have been dragged into Hell with the promise of nobility. Kindly flutter, flutter up, and bring fire to where it does not belong!

Sidenote: With all as my witness, I hereby acknowledge officially that Amir Johnson isn't going to save the Pistons. At least not this year. I guess this means I have to stop talking him up in polite media circles.

Part of what I love about the Playoffs is how quickly fortunes, or at least their appearances, changes from game to game. 1-0, that's momentum; 2-0, done deal. 2-1, back in it. 2-2, one team in collapse, and so on. My absent-minded ravings aside, it's either the perfect—or melodramatically imperfect—example of this effect. So the upset happened. Does anyone seriously think that the Sixers are the better team, especially after that underwhelming performance? Hopefully, not. However, what combination of numbers will it take to loosen that judgment? If they go up 2-1 once back home, do we jump to conclusions?

I think with Golden State, it was so easy. You could feel it in the air. And yet in any series, there that world-unto-itself quality, a new reality where virgin rules are set and relationships forged afresh, on totally self-contained terms. If this is the case, or at least part of it, it's hard to overestimate the ebb and flow of a series. It would be just as wrong to tune out the first three quarters of a game (playoff or otherwise), then pay close attention to the forth with only broad history in mind.

It's why the series will always be superior to the single-elimination, and why basketball's 48 minutes and 100 points will always excited me more than 2-0 in the 9th. Process counts for something, damn it; a playoff series is resolution through process, and any NBA game is a process that spits out a final product. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to appreciate tension, but this is why I'm all for this sport, in which rash conclusions are simultaneously buttressed and undermined by constant activity. Otherwise, we live in a universe where there is nothing, then something, then nothing again. That's not for me. GO SIXERS, be unto rightness.


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At 4/21/2008 9:29 AM, Blogger oliver said...

A thousand tymes have I herd men telle
That ther is joye in Heaven, and payne in Helle;
And I welle accord that it be so,


At 4/21/2008 10:20 AM, Blogger Ziller said...

God bless Reggie Evans for allowing this to be unleashed.

At 4/21/2008 11:21 AM, Blogger Morty said...

Hell yeah go Sixers! Reggie Evans will cut you, man.

Thanks for the write up, it's so hard to believe this is the same team I watched in November and December. In addition to being bad, they were boring.

Here's the thing about that game, you're right, the Sixers did not play their best, but still won after being down 15 in the 2nd half. That shows me something. That's not a fluke, especially it being their second straight win in Detroit.

Also, their up tempo is crdue in some ways (they only began playing like this after the King firing), but it's also different from Golden State, Phoenix, etc. because they key their break more off their Defense than those others. Meaning they are more of a fast break team than an up tempo team, if that makes sense.

Last point. Thad Young is a monster in the making.

At 4/21/2008 11:29 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Imagine that, me selling defense short.

They make the Warriors look like a well-defined college scheme. A lot of the time, it just looks like they're trying to freak out their opponents by jumping around a lot. That's why I'm having trouble seeing if Evans is part of their style or a handy outlier. He's almost too focused to matter.

At 4/21/2008 12:08 PM, Blogger I Don't Practice Renteria said...

Reggie Evans is no doubt an enigma. He does not fit the scheme of this team and would make more sense next to a Korver than a Young (to reference your own observation), but he just plays hard and gives hysterical post game interviews. Cannot hate on that.

At 4/21/2008 2:57 PM, Blogger Morty said...

"They make the Warriors look like a well-defined college scheme."

On defense? They are looking for steals. It's almost as if they are a "steal and run" instead of "run and gun."

I think Evans definitely fits into their style, in that they are a gritty team thats needs to out-hustle, out-energy other teams to win. As you know, they have a never say die attitude, and Evans feeds in to that. Of course, last night was probably the best I've ever seen him play, and I'm not expecting turnaround 18 footers to become a part of Evans' game. Usually, he can be more than painful to watch, even when he is having success.

Suffice it to say, he's been a contributor to this team. Good guy to have on the bench.


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