5.16.2008

An End to Thick Resistance



I'm really going back and forth on this one. Those offensive fouls were bullshit, but aren't most Spurs flops? The hit on David West was fucked-up and unfortunate, sure. Was it all that different from their usual screening practices? I've become so numb to these two questionable aspects of San Antonio's play that, immediately following the game, I didn't even register outrage. The Spurs did the Spurs, the Hornets were susceptible to it, and it worked. The acting, the hit . . . I've lost the capacity to call them wrong. They happen every year, and at this point, it's pointless to resist or protest. My initial reaction, lame as it sounds, was "well, that's par for the course, not especially malicious or arrogant." At least it wasn't Horry on Nash.

The thing is, I actually find San Antonio quite watchable these days. Manu is brilliant, Parker's directional changes have come into their own and provided a great metaphor for his emergence as someone I don't fervently hate. Oberto passes well. Duncan in small doses allows you to appreciate his impeccable movements. Even more so when he's either perfect or ineffective. However, today the utter resignation I feel toward the Spurs is like never before. It's even gone past the "they win by faith healing" thing I propose on Deadspin.

This team is dirty, disingenuous, sanctimonious, and have conditioned us to expect nothing less, to excuse them, even. The sad thing is, they could probably win games without that element. If you just said "Barry Bonds" to yourself in your head, I won't blame you one bit. And there is totally a media conspiracy to preserve their reputation. The entire lexicon of post-season commentary is designed to lionize their strengths, gloss over their weaknesses, and turn their sins into feats of wonder.

Labels: , , ,

23 Comments:

At 5/16/2008 1:19 PM, Blogger Carolyn said...

. . . dirty, disingenuous, sanctimonious . . .

That's one. What about the other four?

 
At 5/16/2008 1:45 PM, Blogger VH said...

its one thing if they get those calls at home. if they get them in game 7 i won't be able to hold back the anger.

 
At 5/16/2008 2:07 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Spurs = Bush43 Administration.

They are the team of the '00s.



wv: tgrxvkdb--the great virgin vodka database

 
At 5/16/2008 2:15 PM, Blogger J.R. said...

This is one of those columns that reminds me I'm not alone, though I must confess my rage-hate is running pretty high. I looked back over an old issue of the believer to salt the wound with their centerfold on the comparisons between the Suns/Spurs last year and Billy Budd.

 
At 5/16/2008 2:54 PM, Blogger The Hypnotoad said...

We all know whats happening.

Pistons vs Celtics
Lakers vs Spurs

Fuck parity in the NBA. It's still the same goddamn teams it always is.

 
At 5/16/2008 3:25 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

The two pushoffs on Paul were legit. Now, as for his palms ...

 
At 5/16/2008 3:29 PM, Blogger Justin said...

With the Big Shot/Cheap Shot Brob vitriol boiling over today, FD got it right. As always: well done.

In Japan, the greatest sumo wrestlers reach the categorization of "Yokozuna" (meaning "horizontal rope," which, by the by, is tied around their waist as a visual symbol of their upper echelon awesome-itude). When age and deteriorating skills catch up with a Yokozuna, he is expected to retire, rather than sullying his reputation and his rank.

Robert Horry, once the Yokozuna of Diabolically Accurate Late Game Shooters, has devolved into the "Hack-a-Chandler Guy." It's probably time for him to, well, hang up his Spurs.

 
At 5/16/2008 3:37 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

First of all, I'm with Skeets on this one -- Horry was setting a pick to let Ginobili turn the corner and get baseline, and unless he's a psychic he couldn't have known that West would jump. If it wasn't Horry setting the pick nobody would even think twice about the play (and how does one hip-check in a 15 year career make someone dirty?). We've seen dirtier picks set in these playoffs (KG on Zaza) and harder fouls (Kidd on Pargo), but because this is the Spurs people want to act like the world is ending.

More importantly, when did Playoff Basketball stop being Playoff Basketball? Yeah, the Spurs get a little gully every now and then. What champ hasn't? The Bulls, Pistons, Lakers and Celtics all understood this. It's not that the "entire lexicon of post-season commentary" was designed to lionize the Spurs. Far from it. The Spurs play the way they do because it is a style that has always been successful in the playoffs. The lexicon was in place long before Pop was coaching the Spurs.

(Please, please don't make me say "all in the game!")

The funny thing is that these Hornets get it! The Suns had to play the victim role because they were never built for playoff ball. But don't cry for these Hornets! They neither want nor need your tears. Paul has always shown that he's willing to get grimy (ask Hodge) and this little piece of method acting is as fine as anything Manu's ever submitted. B. Scott has this group playing tough basketball. He lived through Lakers-Celtics and knows how the game is played at this level. Frankly, I can only see this incident helping the Hornets. West has 4 days to get his back right, and Paul will have everyone else motivated by the Spurs fans chanting "Horry."

 
At 5/16/2008 4:12 PM, OpenID Jerry Vinokurov said...

I've been reading FD for a long time, but this is my first post. Hope I'm not violating some sort of protocol.

Anyway, the difference between the dirty pick KG set on Zaza and Horry's foul on West is that Horry appears to me to have purposefully gone fouled a guy right into his injured back. I mean, there's no way he didn't know West had some back problems, and the contact looks to me to have been exactly where you'd expect those problems to be. That's the dirty part of it, not that he played a little too aggressively or whatever. And for what? The game was already won, Spurs were up 21; that kind of play could have made sense if the game was that close, but under the circumstances I can't see it as being anything but a cynical attempt to put the other team's best (or second-best) player out of commission. Yeah, the KG foul was stupid and classless as well, but at least he wasn't trying to intentionally injure the guy to keep him out of the next game of the series.

 
At 5/16/2008 4:57 PM, Blogger The Other Van Gundy said...

My problem with Horry's pick is he lowered his shoulder to deliver that hit. Watch the replay, he's leaning into it.

Has anyone ever met a Spurs fan who isn't from Texas?

 
At 5/16/2008 5:38 PM, Blogger oliver said...

I meant to leave this comment before the series began, but god, I'm lazy. Anyway, here it is: the Hornets are the new Spurs. And you can take that to the bank. The money bank.

I'm not going to explicate my statement in any way (because I am lazy), but I'd like to see a few 3,000 word responses either defending my assertion, or tearing it apart.

 
At 5/16/2008 5:54 PM, Blogger crazylegsjackson said...

TOVG: Yeah, this is the key to me. Yes, Horry got set in time, yes he gave West a step, but yes he also leaned so far into the hit he was up on his toes at contact, and this is why it was a dirty pick.

 
At 5/16/2008 5:58 PM, Blogger David said...

Manu comes from Argentina, a pure soccer culture where flopping and acting are only natural. Even so, he has refrained for most of the series because his help is needed from the perimeter while Tony drives. But if you watch CP3 closely, you will find him throwing his body around strategically (a shoulder here, an exaggerated spinning fall there) on both sides of the court. He is the scrappiest, dirtiest player on the court. And the best. So what is his excuse? And how much longer before he punches Bruce Bowen in the balls like he did Hodge?

 
At 5/16/2008 6:13 PM, Blogger The Other Van Gundy said...

Martin - I think CP3 can get away with his dirtiness because of his size. I've heard plenty of first-hand accounts (most recently on this very site) about how charitable Paul's 6'0" listing is. And when you have a little guy in a league full of giants, you're going to get some leeway from the fans.

Look at the popularity of Spud Webb and AI - NBA nation embraces the little dude. Who cares if he throws a little dirt to compete with the big guys?

 
At 5/16/2008 7:15 PM, Blogger Hallamore said...

Not that I disagree with anything you (Shoals) have said about the Spurs, but I'm uneasy with all of this nostalgic-passive lament of last year's Horry v. Nash (saying that at least Horry's hit on West wasn't Horry's hit on Nash).

It seemed wrong for the Suns to even complain as they did, or for Suns fans to complain. Because really, the Suns have Raja Bell.

What it is. In neither case (Bell on Kobe, Horry on anyone) is it at all in the spirit of the game, or even in the spirit of 'game' itself.

But I always had the sense that the Suns had some of that not-playing-in-the-spirit-of-the-game stuff in them. The back pick on West hurt me a bit more. But I'm not a tough guy.

 
At 5/17/2008 1:59 AM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

I'm starting the movement here: Kirilenko to the Knicks. I want the first ever 6'9" point-center. Build the franchise around him.

 
At 5/17/2008 12:47 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

Kirilenko to the Knicks = the entire neighborhood of Brighton Beach comes out to MSG = the chants in the stands will be like the opening credits of the Hunt for Red October. An interesting idea, but what the fuck do we do when Donnie Walsh drafts Tyler Hansborough? Is that redundancy or the beginning of something?

 
At 5/17/2008 2:14 PM, OpenID tredecimal said...

@ Carter B: see also Johnson, Earvin.

"Magic" to his friends.

 
At 5/17/2008 3:38 PM, Blogger Carter Blanchard said...

Nah man. I'm not talking about someone who's just a big PG, or a point-forward type of thing. I mean maybe the historic Game 6 in 1980 could be the prototype for what I'm envisioning, but outside of that game, those teams still had Kareem down low. I want AK becoming what Diaw would be if he were a franchise player. Positional revolution pushed to the breaking point. Rotating positions with every possession. Hybrids of hybrids. Let D'Antoni's genius shine free of the shackles of Nash's 6'2"-ness.

 
At 5/17/2008 4:02 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Carter: That was the hallucinatory dream of this Warrior fan when the team traded Mr. Richardson in transparent hopes of landing KG. If anyone would be ludicrous enough to try the Point Center, it would've been Nellie. I saw it so vividly: KG bringing the ball up, feeding Baron in the post---a thing of silly beauty. The pick and rolls would have been a thing to behold.

 
At 5/17/2008 6:25 PM, Blogger Sweat of Ewing said...

If that Marbury-for-Diaw/Barbosa trade went through, I would have only been happy with it if they also got Kirilenko. Picture the starters: Barbosa, Crawford, Robinson, Kirilenko, Diaw, with David Lee coming off the bench. Nothing would ever have been so dysfunctional, nor would a team ever have been so ungainly and beautiful.

 
At 5/17/2008 11:18 PM, Blogger Amphibian said...

But we'd lose the hilarity of Kirilenko running unrewarded baseline sweeps on every single fastbreak for three quarters.

Actually, that hypothetical team would be something very akin to Total Football as practiced by the Dutch back in the '70s.

That system stressed the repeated practice of 4 on 4 to get the players comfortable with being so mobile and touching the ball constantly for short periods of time. Henry Abbott's said many times he likes 4 on 4 basketball games for its fluidity.

Kirilenko, Diaw, Crawford, Barbosa: 4 on 4 dark horses.

 
At 5/21/2008 4:58 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

Every one of that string of fouls (what was it? Five in a row?) on the Hornets' stars was absolutely correct. But they all would have been one hundred percent, just as correct if they had gone the other way. That might be the most frustrating thing about the NBA: the refs decide so many games, more than we'd like to admit; not out of some insane conspiracy, but through human fallibility and random chance.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home