Where Shenanigans And Poop Jokes Happen: A Special, Non-Utah Jazz NBA Playoffs Readers Forum (or, “If Scott Guldin Told Me Fourteen Years Ago I’d Be Pulling For The Chicago Bulls, I’d Have Sworn He Was Trying To Sell Me A Bridge”)

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The most commented-upon posts in our blog’s brief history are the 2009 and 2010 NBA Playoffs Readers Forums. (Last year’s post had 170 comments, on topics as diverse as Scott Hastings’ Shoe Cam, Yoda’s age, T-shirts you regret buying and whether or not Mike Breen’s eyes are actually located in his colon. Plus there were some diarrhea jokes. Good times all around.) This is in part because the playoffs stretch on for two months (or what feels to Erin like two bazillion years). This is also because Scott Guldin and Denys “Yellow Thunder” Lai are devoted readers and diehard NBA fans, while Matthew Leathers cannot stop rambling on about the Vancouver Canucks.

What’s different about the 2011 NBA Playoffs is that my (Ben’s) beloved Utah Jazz are not in them. It’s been five years since Utah missed the postseason. It did so in stunningly self-immolating fashion. First Jerry Sloan left, then Deron Williams was traded, then — in a perfect summation of the way things went this year — Andrei Kirilenko and his expiring contract missed a layup.

What do Utah Jazz fans do with all this free time in April, you ask? Answer: Photoshop. (To appreciate the humor here, you should know that the theme is “Gone Fishing.”)

What else do we do? Find a new horse. Because I can’t not obsessively follow the NBA, watching a postseason without Utah is usually an exercise in rooting against teams (i.e., the Lakers, Spurs, Heat, etc.). This year, though, I’m pulling for two teams: the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I’ve previously written about my change of heart with regard to Chicago. The Thunder are just a likable bunch. They’ll run the Spurs out of town in the second round and maybe, just maybe, take down the Lakers in the Conference Finals.

My preseason prediction was the Lakers over the Celtics in the Finals. My head says I should stick with that. My heart says it’ll be a Bulls/Thunder championship, with MVP Derrick Rose delivering Chicago its first post-MJ title. If it doesn’t happen, Scott Guldin will say I jinxed it. Believe me, Scott — this is not a latent desire to avenge Utah’s Finals losses, or the time you made me wear a Bulls shirt into Peirce. I hate everyone else in the East. Everyone. Plus your Bulls are practically Utah East, what with Boozer, Brewer and Korver. (I’m here for you anytime you need to talk about Boozer’s maddeningly inconsistent postseason play. I’ve been there. It’s not easy.)

Join the conversation in the comment thread.

Go Bulls! And Thunder!

56 Comments

Filed under NBA, poop, readers forum, sports, Utah Jazz

56 responses to “Where Shenanigans And Poop Jokes Happen: A Special, Non-Utah Jazz NBA Playoffs Readers Forum (or, “If Scott Guldin Told Me Fourteen Years Ago I’d Be Pulling For The Chicago Bulls, I’d Have Sworn He Was Trying To Sell Me A Bridge”)

  1. Ben

    I’ll kick things off here.

    – My theory on Dr. Jack Ramsay picking Manu Ginobili as MVP and Keith Bogans as Defensive Player of the Year is that someone at ESPN.com is trying to sabotage him as helplessly senile. Probably Dr. Jack picked Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard like everyone else, and then some resentful young staffer, filled with covetousness, switched his picks. Right? That’s the only plausible explanation, isn’t it?

    – Watching the Spurs and Lakers lose Game 1 at home was quite satisfying. I don’t for a second think the Grizz or Hornets can pull out a best-of-7 series, but at least it’ll be interesting.

    – Watching Brandon Roy these days is sad. Hearing him bemoan his lack of PT when he’s been killing his team is even sadder. I have to remind myself he’s a three time All-Star and former ROTY. I’m not counting Portland out of the series just yet though.

    – I did a double take during last night’s Blazers/Thunder game because for a second there I was sure Bill Murray was Denver’s new head coach.

    – Is anyone else alarmed that Joel Anthony’s +/- for tonight’s Game 3 was plus 16???

    – I’ve never liked Jermaine O’Neal, and I really hate him as a Celtic. Total punk.

    – I don’t see the resemblance between the Gasol brothers. But Marc does not appear to have been birthed by an alien.

  2. Matt Brenner

    Last year’s playoff forum alerted me to the presence of atdhe.net Sadly, this web site was “seized by ICE – Homeland Security Investigations.” (Seriously? Homeland Security? I’ve heard of “terrorists,” and “eco-terrorists” and probably other kinds of terrorists. But how does free sports on the internet constitute a terrorist threat?)

    Anyone got an alternative, or should I just pony up the cash for cable already?

    (Hi, Secretary Napolitano! When you come for me, can you at least send an agent who is a Bulls fan? Thanks.)

  3. Matthew Leathers

    My goodness, have you seen the last two Canucks games? It’s an abomination! AN ABOMINATION!

    I’ve only watched a handful of NBA games so far — once the Nucks blow a 3-0 lead, I’ll get right into the swing of things.

    Uneducated thoughts so far:

    * Not sure about the Bulls yet. Three close games with the Josh McRoberts All-Stars? Not so convincing, while the Heat are crunkin’ the Jodie Meeks Freaks. I need to see them blow out the fourth game before I jump on board the bandwagon.

    * Nice to see those Game 1 upsets, but no way the Spurs, Lakers and Mavs lose their respective series.

    * A Beast From The East is winning the title: Mark it down, jabronis.

    * Sometime after game 3, every member of the Canucks decided to form a Castrato Chorus. WHERE’D YOUR SACKS GO?

  4. Tad

    http://www.hogville.net/yabbse/index.php?topic=46466.0;wap2

    Scroll down to Silvertip’s post near the bottom of the page. Third party confirmation. Sort of.

  5. Ben

    Right after I slammed Brandon Roy, he turned in one solid performance (game 3) and one spectacular performance (game 4). Yesterday he outscored the Mavs by himself in the fourth quarter and scored/assisted on 14 of the Blazers’ last 17 field goals. My brother Dan left a despairing voice mail during the third quarter, then texted eight bazillion times during the rally. He did better play-by-play than Mike Breen (not saying much).

    Meanwhile, I’m elated to see the Spurs crap the bed against the Grizzlies. This is to take nothing away from Memphis and its ragtag squad. (Seriously. Look at that team and tell me how they’re beating the Spurs.)

    Sidenote: Erin hates him, but I’m withholding judgment on Jeremy Renner’s suitability as the next Jason Bourne.

    “Thor” looks absolutely terrible.

  6. Ben

    Matthew, I expect a Game Seven preview and breakdown sometime before Tuesday night.

  7. Did you know that Utah’s payroll has the fourth highest average salary in the NBA and that they are paying Russia’s highest-paid athelte, one AK-47, almost $18m.

    Hang on.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

  8. Ben

    Coach,

    I did know this. How it got this way, however, still baffles me. Even once AK-47’s $18 mil is off the books, we’re still paying #13 mil for a sub-All Star (Al Jefferson), $10 mil for Mehmet Okur’s one good ACL, $9 mil for Devin Harris, $3 mil for Raja Bell’s locker room “presence” and $1 mil for the corpse belonging to Kyrylo Fesenko. We also gave Ronnie Price $1.5 mil to average 3.3 ppg this year. That’s like paying PD to make a Chipotle run for you and then he comes back with Taco Bell. And he’s already eaten half of it.

    I’m disappointed you didn’t work in a diarrhetic dog joke in your comment.

  9. What was the bigger performance this weekend – Roy pwning the Mavs or CP3’s triple-double? Did you see Kobe give Gasol the stink-eye when he dropped that admittedly awesome pass? Kobe is such a little bitch.

    Coach, you started reading Pale King yet?

  10. Ben

    Neither — the biggest performance this weekend was Reese Witherspoon’s dazzling turn as Marlena in the moving, powerful Water For Elephants. I cried.

  11. Matthew Leathers

    I’m going to have a hard time setting the table for tonight’s Game 7 massacre. My head and neck still hurt after Sunday’s overtime loss and I haven’t slept more than 6 hours the last two nights. I am not taking this well.

    I cannot stress enough how important tonight’s game is. For the uninitiated, Vancouver Canucks fans are like Red Sox fans pre-2004. They are absolutely convinced they are cursed, that the whole league is conspiring against them, nay, that the whole world is conspiring against them. Yes, their history is not as rich and painful as Boston’s, but they act like it is. Their pain cannot be dismissed. 40 years of losing, of losing in painful ways: 16 straight years of losing seasons in the 70s and early 80s; swept by the Islanders in the ’82 final; 12 more years of losing, until the improbable run to the finals in ’94 against the Rangers; Nathan LaFayette hitting the post in game 7; getting absolutely demoralized by the Blackhawks two years in a row; Luongo crying in the locker room; and now this, the potential biggest choke job in NHL history. Blowing a 3-0 lead as a 1 seed, benching your franchise goalie, who, by the way, has a 12-year contract, and simply looking like panicky fools. This has people waiting with arsenic in hand. The Canucks are viewed as weak-minded, as fakers that only win when nothing’s on the line. They have their all-time best record, they ran away with the President’s Trophy, this, by far, is their best chance to win the Cup.

    With that nonsense out of the way, this is what needs to happen for the good guys to win tonight:

    * Shorten the ice, meaning lock down your man. The Hawks have been skating freely for 3 straight games. They are a team of pure skaters, so letting them gain momentum is the worst thing possible. They lost on Sunday, because Marion Hossa was allowed to skate right into the zone without the fear of getting clubbed in the face. Stand on the blue line and dare them to come at you.

    * Limit mental miscues. The 1-on-nones in the last 3 games have been something like 9-0 in the Hawks favor. They’re sneaking past the last man, which should never, ever happen, and it has like 2-3 times a game.

    * The refs need to stop being dicks. Yes, I know this sounds like a fan simply whining, but the Hawks have been getting away with murder. They’re slashing after the whistle, hitting up high, tripping, and doing whatever they can with the hopes the refs will swallow theirs whistle. And so far they have been. Just not in Vancouver’s favor. The last 4 games the power plays are 22-12 in Chicago’s favor. What. The. Hell. This is where the “conspiracy against us” stuff comes in. The talk is that the refs are making up for the lack of a suspension against Raffi Torres and this hit. I tend to believe it, because I’m also a crazy person.

    * Finally, Luongo needs to be the Gold Medal winning, Vezina Trophy candidate that he is. Not the rattled sieve he’s turned into for 3 straight years. If he loses tonight, man, I don’t know what becomes of him. He’ll never shake that tag. Again, 12-year contract.

    My prediction? If they play like they did on Sunday, they win by 3. Do I THINK they’ll play like they did on Sunday? I don’t. That was their best game of the series and they still lost. This isn’t a reverse jinx, I genuinely think they lose a close one. The Hawks are just tougher, and until Luongo proves me wrong, I can’t place my faith in him: 4-3 Chicago, and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth in British Columbia.

  12. Matthew Leathers

    Also, also, to further prove my “the refs are dicks” theory, this hit on Kevin Bieksa on Sunday. Flat out identical to the Torres hit, and there wasn’t even a 2-minute minor called. Ridickleiculous.

  13. Ben

    Phew. I’m winded after all that.

    Here are the actions I have taken as a result of reading your comment:

    1) I forwarded your astute analysis to Alain Vigneault and kept the jokes about his wussy-sounded French name to a bare minimum.

    2) I forwarded the comment to Gary Bettman and asked if it’s league policy to hire “dick referees” as well as coaches with wussy-sounding French names.

    3) I called 911 and asked that paramedics be present outside the fire escape of your building should the Canucks lose this evening.

    My main concern — aside from your mental and physical well-being, of course — is that a poor Canuck performance does not detract from the quality of the musical performance of The New Pornographers at Bogart’s this evening. THAT would be a shame.

  14. Matthew Leathers

    We did it! We’re the champs! Oh wait, that was only the first round. Shoot.

    Anyway, that was almost the worst defeat in the history of the game. Giving up a tying goal while dominating the entire game, in the last 2 minutes, when you’re on the power play? These things only happen to damaged franchises. I had them dead in the water, especially when they took a penalty 30 seconds into overtime. Still can’t believe that ended happily. Was Burrows’ goal their Dave Roberts’ theft of second base? Let’s hope so.

    Also, thank you for making fun of Vigneault. I don’t like him, he just seems weak. Dude, your name is Alan Vignut. Deal with it.

    Also, also, I heard the New Pornographers show was disappointing. My pal gave the NP a D+, but The Walkmen got an A. Thoughts?

    Also, also, also, THERE’S the Bulls I was looking for.

  15. Ben

    NP sounded bad. 1) It was Bogart’s. 2) They couldn’t get the sound mixed correctly the whole night. The vocals were drowned out by the drums, and all the harmonies were just a little off (which, when you’re NP, means everything sounds a lot off). Neko kept being a prima donna and telling the sound folks off stage to jack the sound up, down, left, right — a k a, to the crowd, “It’s not MY fault I sound terrible.” Also, A.C. Newman started the show off with, “I think it’s our first time here” (meaning Cincinnati), which came off as, “This is the first time we have chosen to acknowledge your existence on the face of this earth, and we still haven’t decided whether that was a wise decision.”

    The Walkmen, though, were fantastic. I have overlooked them for too long.

    Since I was at the show and I do not have a smart phone, I was unable to follow the proceedings of Game 5’s Bulls/Pacers. Scott Guldin kept me updated though. This was my favorite of his texts: “BOGANS IN THE ZONE!!!!! 5-6 FROM DEEP!!! ANGELS WEEPING!!!”

    Naturally I assumed he was making this up — the Bogans part in particular. I was astounded when I saw the highlights.

    I hate the effin’ Spurs.

  16. Ben

    We’re into round two. Even though Chicago, Oklahoma City and Los Angeles all wasted a game at home, I don’t think any of them lose the series. But if I’m worried about any team in particular, it’s the Thunder. Memphis matches up well with them (took the season series 3-1) and is playing with an insane amount of confidence. Who knew Zach Randolph had this in him? Not I.

    Even though Miami looked good in game one against Boston, I still think the Celtics take the series.

    I bet Dr. Jack Ramsay is just thunderstruck that Dwight Howard beat out Keith Bogans for Defensive Player of the Year.

  17. Ben

    Bill Simmons goes to “The Wire” for his playoff analysis.

    Clearly I overestimated the Lakers — and, perhaps, underestimated the Mavs. During last night’s game they had a taped interview with Dirk where he talked about how he’s still haunted by the 2006 Finals. If we see a Dallas/Miami rematch (decent odds, at this point), and Danny Crawford is scheduled to officiate any of it, I just might forsake watching the NBA for the rest of my life. Aside from the Kings/Lakers Game Six travesty of 2002, I have never seen such terrible, biased officiating as what took place in the 2006 Finals, when David Stern told the refs to whistle anyone for even looking sideways at Dwayne Wade.

    Couple other playoff subplots:

    – Ho Grant calling for Carlos Boozer to step up or sit down. When he was with Utah, I was long accustomed to Booz underperforming in the postseason. But 10 and 10 through seven playoff games? And some atrocious defensive rotations and all around spaciness? Scott Guldin must be ripping his hair out.

    – The city of Memphis falling in love with professional basketball. Nothing about this Grizzlies team should work on paper, and they dismantled the Spurs and then stole game one in Oklahoma City. I’m still pulling for the Thunder, but I never knew I had a soft spot in my heart for Z-Bo.

    – Jamal Crawford’s insane self-esteem. Simmons alluded to this in his column. I put Crawford somewhere between the Tony Allen Level and the Vernon Maxwell Level of Irrational Confidence … closer to Vernon Maxwell since I hated him too, but without Maxwell’s proven track record. After all of Crawford’s talk after game two (If that was their best shot, we’re ok), you’d think he’d have delivered more than 7 points in 29 minutes last night.

  18. Yellow Thunder

    Ding dong – the witch is dead!

  19. Ben

    It has taken me two days just to let L.A.’s beautiful self-implosion sink in.

    I did not see the game. (I was at work.) But I watched the highlights — and rewatched, and rewatched them — and, in a way, this was even better than the meltdown in game six of the 2008 Finals. The stakes were bigger then. But this had the air of finality to it. This Lakers team is done. Kobe is not winning a sixth title. Plus I just loved seeing that smug bastard Phil Jackson have to shake Mark Cuban’s hand.

    The score alone was satisfaction enough, but what made L.A.’s humiliation all the better was Odom and then Bynum showing their true colors with those cheap shots. You stay classy, L.A.

    I think what gave me the most satisfaction was not Kobe eating his pre-game remarks about how L.A. would come back and win the series (though that was, admittedly, tremendously satisfying). It was Derek Fisher’s “Hey, I’m The Grizzled Veteran Who’s Gonna Rally The Troops” routine during a timeout that fell flat on his face. Fisher’s always fancied himself a little pugnacious leader of men — I remember him writing a pep talk letter to the team in a similar situation when Utah was up 3-0 on them in 1998, right before the Jazz swept them — and I love that he tried it again as Jason Terry was absolutely destroying them. He at least refrained from trying to break every one of J.J. Barea’s ribs with his elbow.

    How about that Thunder/Grizzlies game last night?

  20. I have nothing substantive to add. I just wanted to say that I told one of my reports who is an ardent Lakers fan today, “Well I know you have a lot of work but at least you will have more time since you won’t need to watch any more playoff basketball.””

    I am waiting for the chance to say, “Hey, you think Kobe knows what it feels like now to be completely dominated and embarassed like the poor girl he raped in CO?” but I am not going to force it. Let the game come to me if you will. (Too much?)

  21. Ben

    I’m not going to touch that one.

    I’m glad I’m not one of your reports. Yikes.

  22. Mike

    Derrick Rose could be a college senior. That’s just crazy.

  23. Ben

    The Onion on the Thunder’s post-game 7 victory party.

    Dirk Nowitzki may not be Larry Bird, but he played like it last night. 48 points on 15 shots! And someone needs to stop J.J. Barea.

  24. Scott G.

    Before Game 2 of the ECF, Ben texted me: “Keys to game 2? Get the ball to Bogans and clear out?” My response was partially a joke: “K-Bog and Asik. That’s where it’s at.”

    The Bulls are 31-2 this season, including playoffs, when K-Bog scores six or more points. Bogans quickly scored five first-quarter points (“quickly” and “scored” always being relative terms where K-Bog is concerned), and then missed ALL of his remaining shots, including two free throws with five minutes left in the first quarter. I should have known then.

    Asik had his typically brilliant defensive game, and when a ghastly cut on his chin required three stitches in the fourth quarter, it was little coincidence that the Heat surged ahead for good while the Turkish Hammer was off the court.

    Something else I have been pondering in this interminable break between games: WHY DO I CARE SO MUCH? I’ve been in a deep funk since Wednesday night. Why, though? I don’t know any of these guys personally. Past history and common sense suggests that they probably aren’t the world’s greatest guys (a certain bloated, Hitler-mustachioed gentleman with a near-psychotic competitive streak comes to mind). So why does it matter to me whether they win or lose a child’s game?

    What do you think, Voreblog readers? I have a few ideas but I want the theories of others to wash over me like a healing salve.

  25. Scott G.

    See what I get?

  26. Scott G.

    It feels like the Bulls are behind in this series 8 to 1. Not sure what they do in Game 4 to turn things around. It’s times like these that I’m glad the coach of the Bulls is no longer Vinny del Negro. (“times like these” = all time, ever)

    This Bulls playoff run has been pretty miserable to watch. I think I’ve enjoyed — really enjoyed — about three days of it. From the first game of the opening round it was almost as if they were deliberately trying to prove their doubters/detractors (read: John Hollinger) correct: that they overachieved in the regular season by never taking any days off, while other teams (Miami, say, or even Memphis) had the good sense to coast/conserve energy/tank as a more strategic approach to the war of attrition that is the playoffs; that the Bulls’ otherworldly strength (defense) would seem, if not pedestrian, then relatively vincible in the glaring light of the playoffs as all teams slow down and tighten up on D; that the offense was entirely too one-dimensional to survive serious tests against teams with more diverse scoring options; that they were too young or untested to deal successfully with true adversity; Carlos Boozer. And yet…the Bulls are still playing games, and that’s more than Kobe/Duncan/Shaq/Rondo can say. And that’s a beautiful thing.

    Still, the euphoria after Game 1 feels like forever ago. Won’t somebody hold me?

  27. Matthew Leathers

    I can tell you this: I am way too confident about my Canucks. This cannot end well. I watch every game expecting them to win by 5; this was never the case before. They’re simply better than the remaining 3 teams. If they DON’T win it all, the entire Pacific Northwest might sink into the sea. Clinching game at home tonight. They haven’t been solid in those so far, going 2-4 in the previous two series, but the Sharks look toothless, so I expect it to end tonight. And there was much rejoicing in British Columbia.

    And I was in Cincinnati this past weekend. I was car-less and stuck in Florence the day I wanted to come visit. I will now flog myself like an albino monk.

  28. Mike

    Hopefully OKC will (mercifully) be put out of their misery tonight. They’re just not there yet and the Mavs (Dirk) have timed it all just right.

    I’m not convinced that it’s capital O over for the Bulls, but it looks like it is. I think they’re a piece away, cause Boozer ain’t it.

    It’s really, really easy to hate the heat. We shouldn’t have forgotten how good those guys are, though. The term “unstoppable” may, in fact, not truly do justice to LBJ in the open court.

  29. Ben

    Scott,

    I’ve been thinking about your original question — why do I care so much? — and recalling how Utah’s playoff losses, particularly when Stockton and Malone were still playing, could send me into a deep funk too. This will sound crazy to the non-sports fan, but I think I preferred those funks to the relative emotional stability I experience now, with Utah missing the playoffs this year.

    Last night was a heartbreaker. And then we find out the Turkish Hammer is out for the season. Sorry, my man.

    Things that might cheer you up though:

    1. Anyone with a soul is rooting against the Miami Heat. Even if the Heat win this series, they are still Hell’s Team.
    2. You totally burned Pat Riley all through college when you called him ‘Rat Piley,’ and no one’s ever taking that away from you.
    3. Vancouver is going to the NHL Finals. (Whoops, that just cheers Matthew Leathers up.)
    4. Somehow this season I became a Chicago Bulls fan. That’s worth something, right?
    5. You’re my man.

    Finally, let me tell you something about the 98 Finals, with which I know you’re well familiar. I’ve rewatched Game Six many times. But I’ve watched Game Five almost as many, and maybe even more, because to me that was one of Utah’s finest hours. Everyone in Chicago was already planning the victory parade. And the Bulls got out to an early lead. But the Jazz kept chipping away and chipping away and took the lead in the third, then held on behind Malone’s 39 points and some clutch shooting from Antoine Carr. I was so proud of them for that game. They could have folded, but they didn’t. Chicago was still the better team in the series, but Utah proved it belonged there.

    Point being: You find out something about your team when they’re on the ropes and everyone has counted them out. And I just think there’s too much heart and hustle on this Bulls squad to count them out yet.

    I’m calling it now: Bulls take Game Five!

  30. Scott G.

    Ben,

    You always have just the right words. Thank you, sir. I definitely think you’re right — I would take the gnarled funk I’ve been in over the Tim Floyd/Bill Cartwright/Jim Boylan days in a second.

    I also think that at least part of my bewilderment has to do with the sheer investment of time. It’s not a stretch to say that, because of NBA League Pass, I watched at least 70 of the Bulls’ games this year, maybe even 75. The swift and inevitable end of the season always makes that investment feel silly, even foolhardy. It’s worse when the team you love so much betrays its own identity, making the type of stupid mistakes it avoided all year. Worse still when LeBron James and Dwayne Wade are prominently involved.

    I didn’t particularly care who won in the West, but it hurt pretty bad when the Thunder collapsed like it did, if for no other reason than it felt like a preview of coming attractions, and the narrative so simple: THUNDER = YOUNG! THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO WIN YET!

    Wilbon: “Earvin, you know that you have to LEARN how to win, right?”
    Magic: “That’s exactly right.”

    Well, no. Magic won a title in his rookie season, at the age of 20. Not exactly a prolonged learning curve there.

    I realize I’m just babbling at this point.

    I’m hurt, I’m pissed, and I gotta find a new job.

  31. Ben

    Well, that was a major bowl of suckage.

    I have refrained from texting you during games, Scott, unless the following conditions were met: 1) the Bulls were routing their opponent; 2) it was a close game but appeared to be swinging decisively in Chicago’s favor; or 3) a commentator said something so mind-numbingly inane that it had to be shared. (Another Magic example, speaking of Dirk’s Game 1 gem: “Look at this fallaway … Off one leg, off two legs — he might have three legs tonight, the way he’s shooting.” Uhhhhh.)

    So last night I thought I was in the clear when Ronnie Brewer — Ronnie Brewer! — hit a three to put Chicago up 12 with a little over 3:00 to go. To Scott I simply texted: Ronnie Brewer! To Mike Allen, because we had a running Pirates of the Caribbean joke going, I texted: Ronnie Brewer just released the Kraken! (Scott texted back: Kurt Thomas!)

    I did not think there was a way Chicago could lose that game.

    I also did not think Chris Bosh had a series like that in him.

    I knew Carlos Boozer was a lemon in the playoffs, but I had no idea he possessed the superhuman power to disappear completely. (The fact Scott could text me Kurt Thomas! says all you need to know about Boozer in this series.)

    The most frustrating non-MJ, non-Lakers Finals I have ever witnessed was 2006. Not that I especially loved the Mavs, but I’ve always loathed the Heat, and I really loathed the NBA anointing Wade MJ-status and giving him every favorable call imaginable.

    You know what else I loathe? No NBA games — at all — on Memorial Day weekend.

    Is there a reason the Finals start Tuesday?

    Lame.

    Scott, keep your head up.

  32. Scott G.

    The only thing that is bringing me any kind of basketball-related solace right now: http://bit.ly/ko91h0

  33. Ben

    That brought me a bit of joy as well.

    The New York Times has devoted a full-length article to the hideousness of Shawn Marion’s jump shot. Here’s the best line: “In the moment before the ball is released, Marion’s hands are tucked to his chest, like a Tyrannosaurus rex.” I’d never made that imaginative leap, but it’s EXACTLY what it looks like. Like he’s a freak with these tiny T Rex arms and somehow or another the ball almost always goes in.

  34. Ben

    Is Rick Carlisle’s strategy to intentionally get behind by 15 points with just over six minutes to play? If not, why does it always work?

    The talk at work today was Heat in 5. Short of Miami completely folding (which I don’t think will happen), the series is coming back to South Beach. But this was exactly the kind of meltdown that plagued the Heat off and on during the regular season, and I kept thinking it would happen in the playoffs sooner than this. Now that it has, I think they’ll never get the doubts out of their head.

    I’m going Mavs in 6 now. Dirk’s going to get his.

    • Scott G.

      Oh, Ben. You’re cute.

      Don’t you ever learn? Can’t I just enjoy this moment without sure-to-be-wrong predictions bumming me out?

      (Sorry. Still bitter over here.)

    • Scott G.

      Oh, Ben. You’re cute. And ravishingly beautiful. AND A TOTAL FREAKING GENIUS. Nice prediction there, mate.

      Now can you get off the Bulls bandwagon? You’re bad luck.

  35. Mike

    Dallas has to keep taking what Miami is trying to hand them (the game). Next three in Dallas is a good sign. I’m backing off the Heat in 5, but I’m still not feeling good about the Mavs chances.

    What kind of an idiot makes a series prediction after the first game? ;)

  36. Ben

    Scott, I’m sorry for my irrational exuberance. Why can’t I learn to celebrate the present moment instead of reading (usually incorrectly) great import into future events? What makes me this way?

    Also, did you know Brian Cardinal was still alive? Given that he played 18 years at Purdue, I thought he was six feet in the ground by now.

  37. Ben

    Robert Weintraub at Slate and Michael Grunwald at Time both make variations on the ludicrous argument that “the Miami Heat is the team every NBA fan should love.” Riiiiiiight. Does Grunwald really believe, when he writes of “the Heat’s play-hurt, dive-on-the-floor ethic,” that this was a foreign concept to the NBA until Wade, Bosh and James all deemed it necessary to teach America about these great, misunderstood virtues? Weintraub adds, “I realize that being a fan of the Heat these days is about as populist as being a fan of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.” Hey, you said it, not us.

  38. Mike

    It just sucks because anything short of a championship would have been a Heat failure.

    All a Dallas win tonight means is that it goes six instead of five. Good chance Lebron will be a beast tonight. Did you see him smack down Greg Doyle?

  39. Ben

    John Hollinger ranks the Top 50 playoff series of all time: the Jazz/Bulls Finals of ’97 ranks 5th, while the Jazz/Bulls Finals a year later come in at #2. You have to be an Insider to read the rest, but Utah also shows up at #17 (’96 Western Finals against Seattle), #31 (’01 first round vs. Dallas) and #42 (’95 first round vs. Houston). Utah lost all of them.

    As usual with John Hollinger, you get some cockamamie statistical results that somehow mean the ’06 Spurs/Mavs series was the third best of all-time. Sure, John.

    No predictions before tonight’s Game 4. I don’t want to hurt Scott anymore.

    • Scott G.

      Brian Cardinal plays = Mavs win.

      (or)

      Ben doesn’t make a cockamamie prediction = Heat lose.

      Hmmm…

      Sorry to hear about Dirk and his poops.

      But what I REALLY want to know is: How are you doing, Yellow Thunder? If you would like me to counsel you through the “The Coach of My Team Has No Coaching Experience, On Any Level Whatsoever” roller coaster, I have two years’ worth of experience under my belt.

  40. Mike

    “Good chance Lebron will be a beast tonight.”

    Biggest. Jinx. Ever.

    Good chance Miami wins the series. Good chance Erik has three more kids. Good chance Tad wins a cornhole tournament.

  41. Ben

    Good chance Mike will release the barbeque Kraken.

    Good chance we won’t all be mauled by chupacabras.

    Good chance I’ll never make an NBA prediction again.

    I think David Stern should declare that the Finals will be determined by the winner of a game of 21 between Juwan Howard and Brian Cardinal. That would be awesome. And by awesome I mean, “the worst idea of all time.”

  42. Mike

    Good chance Scooter Thomas will coexist with your child. Cute kid by the way- nice meeting him in person.

    Do you think Juwan Howard is getting AARP mailings yet? I know he’s not old enough, but they start sending them a few years in advance.

    I’m serious.

  43. Ben

    More reasons to love Charles Barkley.

    I’m glad he says what everybody else knows but won’t acknowledge. Miami players are whiny! And their fans just generally suck!

  44. Scott G.

    Confession: Even though I’ve always thought LeBron was a douche (check last year’s playoff threads if you don’t believe me), I really wanted him to end up on the Bulls.

    Every fan of every team with cap space did.

    Somehow I think we forget about that…

    Pretty incredible playoffs this year. Now for the depressing and interminable lockout. Sigh.

    Stats of the night: LeBron James = -24 Brian Cardinal = +18. (Tied for high and lows for both teams).

  45. Pingback: Everyone Loves Dirk; The Last NBA Post You’ll Have To Suffer Through For Some Time | What We Blog About When We Blog About Love

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