Burp In Rest's Name
The degree of frustration I'm feeling right about now cannot be put into words. But since I can't link up the webcam and dance for all of you, I suppose I set forth on a sloppy, piteous post about these playoffs.
But first, a documentary in two languages (at the same time) about my favorite international prospect. DraftExpress has him going lottery next year. You can draw your own conclusions from the one snippet of court action in this video:
Now, the immediate business. Seriously, I am numb from toes to shoulders. The home court dominance utterly flummoxes all attempts at drama, or odds-defying, or myth-building. Plus, as I've said several times before, shouldn't teams with acid in their step be stoked to play on the road? Not overwhelmed by young confidence, but ready to step up and fight back the city worth of hostiles. That aside, the cold calculus of these playoffs really drains the life out of these games. The Jazz/Lakers games have been the most dramatic, and intense, but in the end, they fall beneath the cruel blade of determinism. Plus, it makes the Celtics' ordained title even more rote.
Once again, the Celtics match the Spurs of yore, but times a thousand.
The home team advantage has short-circuited the very notion of playoff greatness. It's like there's an unseen force deciding these games. A command Chris Paul performance at home is all in the cards; were LeBron to really up his stock, he'd win on the road. You know, like Louis Williams and Rafer Alston managed to against far longer odds. That's what makes it so spooky—this was a problem in the more skewed first round, but not this egregious. Deron Williams is my playoff hero only because he's the one guy struggling mightily against the New Playoff Order. He takes it personally, or missed the memo. West, too, has had some of that, but in his case it's been a stage to prove his real worth. Still running into that large, ordinary wall of law.
So heading into tonight, I plan to leisurely watch the Spurs play clean-up man while snacking and soaking my feet.
NOT speaking of Skeets, and the Hornets, he and I had a conversation some time ago about the alley-oop, and whether it wasn't the most indefensible (in a good way) play on earth. Usually, we think of them as statements of facility, arrogance, or daring. But New Orleans has made it into a key feature of the offense. Not even a variation on cutting and leaping—they genuinely rely on the Paul/Chandler connect. It's the heart of this attack, not an incidental or ornamental feature. The other night, I suddenly realized that there hadn't been one in forever. Suddenly, one happened, the crew proclaimed "first in three games," and the Hornets took off.
That's sublimated style in a nutshell. You could say this is a step back from the Suns or Warriors—after all, there's a lot that's fairly conventional about the Hornets. Or is that same maniac spirit turned into something viable. Chandler is functional, not a looming isotope. Weirdly, there's a seven-footer who spends a lot of time away from the paint but doesn't take jump shots. He just waits to swoop in. Also, the "put your finger on David West" game is through, so what about Chandler? Have you ever noticed how unimpressive his stats are? Yet he comes across not as a hustle, intangibles guy, but rather a dominant defensive big man. It's like his presence alone is a major statement.
What's funny is that so much potential glory awaits in the next round. Lakers/Hornets or Jazz/Hornets would be positively important, I guess, but the pall of "home team wins" really makes we wonder what the purpose of it all is. Inevitability doesn't cheapen play, but it certainly reinforces conventional wisdom, which operates on a broad level and cares little for the more nuanced sparks and parries of, well, style. Competitive and otherwise.
Oh, and for the first time in history, I fully believe in an NBA conspiracy. D'Antoni to New York, then in Beijing, then in a position to woo LeBron. . . you'd have to be an idiot, or from Cleveland, or have some sort of perverse attachment to noble suffering and life in a hole, to not want that. And that's when conspiracies happen: When it's in enough people's interest to put that ominous undercurrent out of me and go with the fun.
I only hope Dolan understands that he's now back in the good graces of Stern.
Okay, out of gas. I'm reading Loose Balls for the first time, and am frankly a little humiliated I never got to it before. For what is Hawks/Bobcats, if not a league of hard-to-assess talents doing amazing things in an empty gym with little or no record of the matter?