While You Were Sleeping VII: The FreeDarko EVERY GAME PREVIEW
We proudly present the sixth and final installment of the FreeDarko EVERY GAME PREVIEW--as featured on NPR'S All Things Considered!
August readers of FreeDarko, we are on the verge of an historic triad of Tuesdays. First, tomorrow, we have the inaugural games of the 2008-09 NBA season. If you want to know in advance will happen tomorrow night and for the rest of the month of October (and November), click here. If you want to know what will happen in April, then read on, brothers, read on.
Before you do that, I must speak on the sacred right that belongs to all American citizens who have reached the age of majority and who may or may not be ex-convicts, that is the right to elect the next president of this great nation. I myself have already voted, but Tuesday, November 4, is the traditional, and indeed final, day on which you may exert this right. We, the authors of this site, like to stay above the fray when it comes to politics, but I will remind you that only one candidate in this election stands 6'3" and possesses a wicked jumpshot. Let your conscience be your guide.
At last, we arrive at the third and most gravely important of these Tuesdays--November 11, the day the Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac is made available for public consumption. Stay tuned to this location for more information. And, while I am on the subject of sports books, I would be remiss if I did not direct you to purchase Big Daddy Drew's opus Men With Balls, which officially drops tomorrow, or to PopMatters, which features Comrade Craig's disquisition on the vast literature dedicated to the study of LeBron James.
On a final note, we were humbled by a request to select our favorites from the many worthy stories that have appeared in the lofty pages of Sports Illustrated magazine. Please feel free to list your own favorites in the comments.
And, now, to the entrails!!!
[Note: Bethlehem Shoals wrote a good deal of the odd days.]
Apr 01 Toronto@Orlando: The Magic start their second unit as an April Fool's prank, but those oh-so-international Raptors pretend not to get it and jump out to a 30 point lead from which Orlando never recovers. Afterward, SVG realizes that Chris Bosh is from Texas and Sam Mitchell was born in a barbed wire pumpkin patch, and that this revolutionary double April Fool's maneuver will make him a goat for all of history to see.
Apr 01 Charlotte@Boston: After the game, Kevin Garnett takes Raymond Felton and Sean May out to Sligo's, where the three swap Rashad McCants stories well into the night.Apr 01 Detroit@New Jersey: Devin Harris badly outplays Chauncey Billups and Rodney Stuckey, but nobody notices.
Apr 01 L.A. Lakers@Milwaukee: Derek Fisher really loves that Steinwand Colby cheese.
Apr 01 Miami@Dallas: Dirk Nowitzki plays aggressively all game, leading the Mavs to a 111-98 victory. Asked whether he thought Dirk was extra motivated to play against the Heat, Wade remarked, "Oh wait, is that the team we beat in the Finals?"
Apr 01 Houston@Phoenix: Luis Scola and Ron Artest bond while listening to Scola's prized collection of Argentinian psych vinyl (all originals--NO REISSUES!), and he lets Ron Ron pick one record to keep. When he selects the one with a nude Raul Porchetto on the cover, Luis looks at him quizically, "I really thought you were going to go for the Orion's Beethoven."
Apr 01 Sacramento@Golden State: In order to exploit mismatches, Reggie Theus starts Beno Udrih, Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia, John Salmons, and Donte Greene. The Warriors win 136-129, and Ronny Turiaf somehow scores 40 points.
Apr 01 Washington@Memphis: Hakim Warrick takes Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison out to Boscos, where the three swap Kwame Brown stories well into the night.
Apr 01 New Orleans@L.A. Clippers: Surprising everyone in attendance, Cuttino Mobley marries Emmanuelle Chriqui in a special halftime ceremony.
Apr 02 Milwaukee@Philadelphia: Luc Mbah a Moute has a big night off the bench, fueled by his frustration that "The Large Glass" is never on display when he's in town. Who cares about early 19th-century Chinoiserie textiles anyway?
Apr 02 Cleveland@Washington: DeShawn Stevenson, preoccupied with devising a gimmick for the first round of the playoffs, allows Delonte West to score 37 points.
Apr 02 Utah@Denver: Benefitting from the thin air in Denver, Kyle Korver heats up from outside to complement Williams-to-Boozer, and the Jazz win going away.
Apr 03 Miami@Charlotte: Gerald Wallace tries to block a Beasley dunk, and they both end up with their heads sandwiched between the rim and the backboard.
Apr 03 San Antonio@Indiana: Before the game, Gregg Popovich closes on a new house in Martinsville, commenting: "This is my kind of town. I can see myself retiring here."
Apr 03 Atlanta@Boston: Joe Johnson treats this trip to Boston like it's a huge rivalry game and is therefore befuddled when the Celtics sit the Big Three and still win the game courtesy of a strong performance from Leon Powe.
Apr 03 Dallas@Memphis: Gerald Green and Greg Buckner switch teams at halftime, and everyone feels much more comfortable.
Apr 03 Portland@Oklahoma City: Want to know something cool? Raef LaFrentz and I (Recluse) have the exact same birthday. Want to know something even cooler than that? Raef is "fear" spelled backwards.
Apr 03 Cleveland@Orlando: While trying to convince Lebron that they would play really well together, J.J. Redick refers to himself as "the white Damon Jones."
Apr 03 Minnesota@Utah: Due to certain off-season trades and acquisitions, the Timberwolves have become extremely popular in Utah, and the game unexpectedly sells out.
Apr 03 Sacramento@Phoenix: Amare Stoudemire sets an NBA record for most dunks in a game.
Apr 03 New Orleans@Golden State: Ben Braun, former Cal basketball coach, attends the game and is shocked to see his former player Sean Marks in an NBA uniform.
Apr 03 Houston@L.A. Lakers: Ron Artest and Lamar Odom eye each other suspiciously throughout the game.
Apr 04 Toronto@New York: Nathan Jawai and Andrea Bargnani go visit the Statue of Liberty. Roko Ukic declines the invite.
Apr 04 New Jersey@Chicago: The Nets get comped tickets to see "Jersey Boys" at the Bank of America Theatre, but aside from Vince Carter, they come away disappointed.
Apr 04 Detroit@Philadelphia: Playing in his hometown, Rasheed Wallace completely dominates Elton Brand, reminding everyone of potential never fully realized.
Apr 04 Orlando@Atlanta: Rashard Lewis loves playing in Atlanta because he can get good Korean BBQ. Have you ever tried to find decent kalbi in Orlando?
Apr 04 Miami@Washington: Nick Young and Dominic McGuire cover Dorell Wright's hotel room in mayonnaise, but Wright gets the last laugh, dropping a career-high 34 points in a Miami victory.
Apr 04 Memphis@Milwaukee: Early in the second quarter, Marc Iavaroni pulls O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley, and Javaris Crittendon, and replaces them with Darko Milicic, Marc Gasol, and Hamed Haddadi.
Apr 04 L.A. Clippers@Denver: Baron Davis and Paul Davis run around Denver with video cameras telling everyone they're brothers. Most people just look annoyed or scared, but they think it's hilarious.
Apr 05 San Antonio@Cleveland: LeBron outcoaches Pop, is immediately presented with a tithe for which he has no use and hundreds of loyalty oath greeting cards.
Apr 05 Phoenix@Dallas: Kidd arbitrarily decides to look at this as a revenge game. Nash, insulted by someone taking away his revenge game, outplays him badly.
Apr 05 Charlotte@Detroit: Larry Brown, coaxed back to the bench by Tar Heel pride, gives a pre-game speech about how it was all Ben Wallace's fault. Fans all reach for the envelope that's been glued under seats since The Malice, remove the bottom piece of bread from their sandwiches, and pile them up in the parking lot.
Apr 05 New York@Toronto: Add Bosh to the list of players D'Antoni would love to have in his offense. And like that, he's on the 2010 radar in the New York tabloids, quietly amused by this new development.
Apr 05 Portland@Houston: Why is it that Yao/Oden just doesn't seem like a battle of the thunder lizards?
Apr 05 Denver@Minnesota: There are certain games that a coach hands over, gift-wrapped, to a lesser player. McCants, sing for us all.
Apr 05 Utah@New Orleans: This is the game where we all officially stop drooling over Bron/Wade match-ups, and recognize why Yao/Oden doesn't get our turnips sprouting in the least. It's because, for individual stories, league-wide trajectories, and plain old draughts of feeling, Paul/Deron can't be topped.
Apr 05 Indiana @Oklahoma City: Scrunch up your mind's eye to the fullest and you can imagine Durant playing for the Pacers when they were in the ABA, which is a really cool thought.
Apr 05 Philadelphia@New Jersey: Really easy opportunity to do a one-by-one comparison of these Sixers to the golden age of State Prop.
Apr 05 Golden State@Sacramento: Don Nelson has convinced Mullin to sign those little "tooth fairy" monsters from the last Hellboy movie. Don't trip, it's only ten days. It seems to make sense at home, but when they start stripping Hawes's legs clean, a collective "ewwwww" rises up from the league and Nelson's suspended for a game.
Apr 05 L.A. Clippers@L.A. Lakers: Someone wins the pennant! Someone wins the pennant!
Apr 07 Philadelphia@Charlotte: Jason Richardson has somehow put up MVP-like numbers, despite being on a Larry Brown team. This cancels out the "but your team sucks" objection.
Apr 07 Atlanta@Toronto: Acie Law figures out before the game that if you look at the skyline of Toronto backwards, like on a negative, it's identical to that of Atlanta. Begs Woodson to make this part of the strategy for the night, and who knows, maybe he did
Apr 07 New Orleans@Miami: The Heat demand to play the Saints instead.
Apr 07 Portland@Memphis: Grizzlies decide to hand out Willie Mitchell mustaches for fans to wear, forgetting that they make white people look like John Waters. Incidentally, Waters will always carry a torch for Bob McAdoo.
Apr 07 San Antonio@Oklahoma City: Clay Bennett announces that the new arena will be shaped like the sphinx. Games will take place in the feet, each of which will be a separate arena. The rest will be a casino. The Spurs are frankly impressed.
Apr 07 New York@Chicago: For some reason, this "I wish we had this guy" is particularly poignant for the Knicks. Come to think of it, why do they have that sentiment so much? Because Isiah used to sign anyone in sight?
Apr 07 Orlando@Houston: The Rockets are a lot better than the Magic, Hedo or no Hedo.
Apr 07 L.A. Lakers@Sacramento: Trevor Ariza starts to wonder if he's actually on the Kings and just hasn't realized it yet.
Apr 07 Minnesota@L.A. Clippers: Corey Brewer decides he could be the Theo Ratliff of steals.
Apr 08 Washington@Cleveland: Delonte West and Lorenzen Wright force Terence Kinsey to watch the movie "Kinsey." He is so horrified that he immediately converts to Islam and changes his name to Aasim Jafari, Aasim meaning, "person who keeps away from sins."
Apr 08 Toronto@Indiana: Roy Hibbert has a break out performance with 17 points, 12 boards, and 6 blocks. People around the league are already whispering, "Next Andrew Bynum," even though Hibbert is actually a year older than Bynum.
Apr 08 Memphis@Orlando: During the third quarter, Rudy Gay and Hedo Turkoglu get into an in-game three-point shooting contest, which Gay wins by hitting 5 out of 6 to Turkoglu's 3 of 7. He is immediately pulled for Kyle Lowry.
Apr 08 New Jersey@Boston: Dana Goodyear interviews Chris Douglas-Roberts before the game for a New Yorker piece she's writing about professional athletes with hyphenated last names.
Apr 08 Detroit@New York: Mike D'Antoni gives Stephon Marbury the nickname "Cancro," which he likes because it's "on some Godfather or Soprano type shit." Danilo Gallinari can't look at Marbury without laughing.
Apr 08 Atlanta@Milwaukee: Realizing the team is headed back to the lottery, Scott Skiles plays Joe Alexander 47 minutes, and he responds with 34 points, 11 boards, 7 assists, 3 steals, and a block in an Atlanta victory.
Apr 08 Phoenix@New Orleans: After being thoroughly outplayed by Chris Paul, Steve Nash goes into the locker room and bloodies his own nose at halftime. The Suns come out fired up and win the game by 18.
Apr 08 Portland@San Antonio: The Blazers keep running fresh young players at the Spurs, who look as if they're playing in slow motion. On the sideline, Nate McMillan is positively beaming.
Apr 08 Oklahoma City@Denver: Desmond Mason is one of the top three or four abstract painters in all of Oklahoma. No shit.
Apr 08 Utah@Dallas: At halftime, Jason Kidd passes an actual torch to Deron Williams, who is initially confused, but then humbled and honored.
Apr 08 Minnesota@Golden State: Mark Madsen makes plans to take Kevin Love to a Stanford frat party, but Love bails on him to go to a strip club with Stephen Jackson.
Apr 09 Philadelphia@Chicago: Samuel Dalembert is late to shootaround due to long lines at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Apr 09 Houston@Sacramento: In his first game back in Sacramento, Artest focuses exclusively on defense and refuses to shoot the ball. Amidst near-constant booing, Houston wins 70-63 in the lowest scoring game of the season.
Apr 09 Denver@L.A. Lakers: While in Los Angeles, Linas Kleiza meets with some agents about launching his acting career.
Apr 10 New York@Orlando: Dwight Howard is the only person on both teams who shoots a field goal that isn't from behind the three point line.
Apr 10 Cleveland@Philadelphia: J.J. Hickson, flexible aggression.
Apr 10 Indiana@Atlanta: T.J. Ford dunks over Josh Smith and Al Horford and is still able to walk afterwards.
Apr 10 Miami@Boston: Having missed most of the previous season, Dwyane Wade finally realizes how good these Celtics really are.
Apr 10 New Jersey@Detroit: Amir Johnson and Sean Williams block each other's shots on four consecutive possessions.
Apr 10 Phoenix@Memphis: HAVE YOU PRE-ORDERED THE BOOK YET?
Apr 10 Charlotte@Oklahoma City: The Thunder try to sneak Blake Griffin onto the team, giving him Johan Petro's jersey. No one notices until midway through the third quarter. Oklahoma City later wins the draft lottery, but has to forfeit the pick due to their chicanery. Cheaters never win, kids.
Apr 10 Washington@Toronto: JaVale McGee is stopped at the border for having absurdly long arms.
Apr 10 New Orleans@Dallas: Julian Wright out-Josh Howards Josh Howard with an impressive display of slashing, play-making, and long-limbed defense.
Apr 10 Utah@San Antonio: Remember when these two teams used to meet in the playoffs every year? God, that was boring.
Apr 10 L.A. Lakers@Portland: Kobe spends the entirety of the third quarter trying to dunk on Rudy Fernandez. When Gasol realizes what's going on and confronts him about it, Kobe smiles sheepishly and denies it.
Apr 10 Houston@Golden State: Shane Battier rents a customized Prius convertible and spends the afternoon driving on the PCH with DeMarcus Nelson.
Apr 10 Sacramento@L.A. Clippers: Eric Gordon is ejected from the game for punching Francisco Garcia in the face after Garcia called him "Stewie."
Apr 11 Orlando@New Jersey: Jameer Nelson and Devin Harris face off in a game of stocky versus rangy. Stocky wins out this time.
Apr 11 Phoenix@Minnesota: Mike Miller and Kevin Love have by this point established a rhythm where Miller leaks out early to receive Love's outlet passes. Combined with his uncanny shooting skills, this allows Miller to lead the league in scoring while only playing 31 minutes per game.
Apr 11 Charlotte@Chicago: Adam Morrison takes the train out to Oak Park and does a walking tour of Frank Lloyd Wright houses.
Apr 11 Oklahoma City@Milwaukee: This game matters only to Desmond Mason.
Apr 11 Golden State@Utah: Monta Ellis is just now nearing his peak, having missed the early part of the season due to injury and injury-related suspension. He feasts on the Jazz backcourt, and the Warriors drop Utah a notch in the Western Conference standings.
Apr 11 Portland@L.A. Clippers: Although Travis Outlaw lost his starting spot early in the season, he carries the Blazers down the stretch, helping them clinch a playoff spot.
Apr 11 Detroit@Indiana: Jeff Foster, one of the two players left from "the brawl" team, goes into the stands and punches a fan, just for old time's sake.
Apr 12 Dallas@New Orleans: Ever since the election, Erick Dampier has been reading presidential biographies, and his interest in the life of Andrew Jackson makes him see New Orleans with new eyes.
Apr 12 Boston@Cleveland: In a hard-fought battle for playoff position, the forgotten Daniel "Boobie" Gibson seals the win for the Cavs with some clutch fourth quarter shooting. He is visibly angered when a reporter calls him as the "Stephon Curry of the NBA."
Apr 12 New York@Miami: Jeff Van Gundy, on hand to announce the game for ESPN, agrees to have his picture taken holding on to the leg of any fans who stand 6'5" and taller.
Apr 12 Philadelphia@Toronto: For some reason, Thaddeus Young has a huge following among Chinese-Canadians, who come out in full force to show their support.
Apr 12 San Antonio@Sacramento: Spencer Hawes explains that he was not joking when he demanded a trade to the Raptors, "I mean, I just can't live under a socialist regime like what Barack Obama wants to do to this country. Stephen Harper knows the true meaning of freedom."
Apr 12 Memphis@L.A. Lakers: A huge number of Persians come out to support Hamed Haddadi, making Jordan Farmer really uncomfortable and leading to an 0-fer shooting night and 6 turnovers.
Apr 13 Cleveland@Indiana: Travis Diener continues his quest to register the lowest FG% ever by a Caucasoid guard.
Apr 13 Toronto@Washington: Before the game, Eddie Jordan suddenly realizes the key to utilizing Blatche: Give him a player on the other team to observe and emulate during the game, and damn it, he will. So today he's Chris Bosh, and bests his model. Like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers version of Odom. "Snatch up your body" is a mid-1990's rap phrase that so epitomized the era that if it had ever been used, the earth would've ended and become inhabited by plastic bottles.
Apr 13 Chicago@Detroit: Amir Johnson and Tyrus Thomas spend the night trying to one-up each other, forcing Sportscenter to run over by five minutes and clip the opening credits to Sports Trivia for Women Who Have Seen Athletes Naked.
Apr 13 Charlotte@New Jersey: Important for lottery position, and I can guarantee you, neither franchise is well-suited to making that count for something.
Apr 13 Orlando@Milwaukee: Statisticians working overtime underneath a volcano in Iowa realize that, if you map out a social network for the entire NBA, no two teams end up more closely linked than these two.
Apr 13 Minnesota@Dallas: Corey Brewer tells Josh Howard he's always sought to emulate his game; Howard scores a disappointing 12 points on 6-20 shooting, but can nevertheless tell Brewer he's got a long way to go.
Apr 13 New Orleans@Houston: Ron Artest convinces Rafer Alston to break out his old streetball moves, which results in an NBA record 16 steals for Chris Paul.
Apr 13 Sacramento@Denver: Game is postponed while the Nuggets laugh at Spencer Hawes for fifteen minutes. He responds with some very cheeky rebounding.
Apr 13 L.A. Clippers@Utah: Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles accidentally hold hands for a second and are benched for the rest of the season.
Apr 13 Memphis@Phoenix: Shaq makes an offensive remark about the background of Hamed Haddadi, and no one can decide whether they should come to his defense or not. O'Neal takes it upon himself to apologize when he remembers he's a Muslim, is subsequently accused of being a Muslim for apologizing, and yet never admits it to the public.
Apr 13 Oklahoma City@Portland: By this point, the suspense of the 2007 draft will seem distant and nonsensical. Instead, the Blazers let Shoals deliver a halftime sermon on what a moron Ron Christie is.
Apr 13 San Antonio@Golden State: "I'm sorry, I refuse to take the court with a team that's signed Steve Martin's ghost to a 10-day contract. Steve Martin isn't even dead!"—Pop
Apr 14 Miami@Atlanta: Hands down the most exciting game of the year.
Apr 14 Boston@Philadelphia: After the game, KG joins Elton Brand and Werner Herzog for a private screening of "Rescue Dawn."
Apr 14 Utah@L.A. Lakers: The post-game embrace between Kobe and Deron Williams is long and intense. Kobe is heard murmuring, "I would move to Salt Lake City for you."
Apr 15 Philadelphia@Cleveland: The top two teams in the East battle for homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. The Sixers clinch it with a Lou Williams triple at the buzzer.
Apr 15 Milwaukee@Indiana: The Pacers obviously throw the game, with Josh McRoberts going 1-9 from three point range.
Apr 15 Charlotte@Orlando: On the last day of the regular season, Sean May has finally played his way into shape. He hits from all over the floor and snares rebounds like Rodman in his prime during a meaningless Bobcats win.
Apr 15 Washington@Boston: Having missed most of the previous season, Gilbert Arenas relishes the chance to go against the champs and abuses Rajon Rondo for 43 points. The Wiz lose.
Apr 15 Detroit@Miami: This game is like watching Gwyneth Paltrow eat tapas.
Apr 15 New Jersey@New York: Both teams are out of the playoffs, so Jay-Z, Woody Allen, and Spike Lee spend the night playing poker at the 40/40 Club.
Apr 15 Houston@Dallas: There is no reprise of that magical game where Dirk and T-Mac traded buckets all game. No, this night belongs to Yao Ming, who dominates inside, leading the Rockets to victory.
Apr 15 Atlanta@Memphis: Marvin Williams and Al Horford combine for 67 points and 43 rebounds, ensuring a return to the playoffs for the Hawks.
Apr 15 Sacramento@Minnesota: Brad Miller laments that it's too warm to go ice-fishing, but he and Spencer Hawes go sit in the woods and drink beer anyway.
Apr 15 Toronto@Chicago: On the occasion of Tax Day, Chris Bosh gathers players from both teams to inform them that, contrary to popular belief, the top federal individual income tax rate in Canada is actually lower than in the United States. He even has a PowerPoint presentation.
Apr 15 New Orleans@San Antonio: Having clinched home court advantage for the first round, both teams rest their starters. George Hill scores 48 points in a loss.
Apr 15 Golden State@Phoenix: The Suns win 83-75. Mike D'Antoni, watching at home, weeps.
Apr 15 Oklahoma City@L.A. Clippers: Both teams are mathematically out of the playoffs, and the absence of pressure allows Jeff Green to show off his "Tim Thomas with a brain" game to the fullest, thus embarrassing the actual Tim Thomas.
Apr 15 Denver@Portland: J.R. Smith actually plays better when he’s high and drops a career-best 62 points, exclusively on dunks and 3’s. The Nuggets still lose the game and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2003.