Friday, May 28, 2004

THINGS TO SAY TO THE LAKERS FANS YOU KNOW: And you probably know some. Just use Bushian rhetoric. Set the Lakers equal to evildoers, and--you know--say something like, "You like the Lakers? WHY DO YOU HATE FREEDOM?" "If you're a Lakers fan you are objectively pro-terrorist, at this point." "A win for the Lakers amounts to appeasement, regardless of what the win meant in its own context. It suggests moral cowardice. Churchill must be spinning like a top right now, and with good reason." Well, you probably wouldn't say these things to anybody since it isn't exactly Bushian rhetoric but pro-Bush warblogger rhetoric and hence has more of an impact in the form of text, but you get the idea. Just remember that the Lakers are the evildoers and let it run from there.

In a related vein, make up goofy names for the Lakers:

"LAL Qaeda" or "LA Qaeda"

"Phil bin Jackson"

"Chemical Kobe"

And so on.

Bill Simmons is bringing the love for the much degraded (including on this blog) Pacers-Pistons series. Here he is on Game Two:

Remarkable game. Just remarkable. Was anyone else disappointed by Barkley casually dismissing it with his "that was just crappy offense" barb? I can't remember seeing a team protect the rim like the Pistons did. It was like watching a hot goalie in an NHL playoff game. Nineteen blocks? Are you kidding me? And has there been a better block in a big moment than Tayshaun's rejection on Reggie in the closing seconds? That looked like one of the blocks at the end of "Above the Rim," when the crazy guy who practices without a basketball -- because that's certainly a realistic thing to do -- joins the climactic game wearing jeans and tennis sneakers, then starts swatting layups off those nine-foot rims.

Hey, Reggie -- next time you might want to think about the dunk.
Here's the problem: Since there isn't anyone in the series who can create his own shot -- like Kobe and Cassell in the Western finals, or even guys like Mike Bibby or Dwayne Wade -- the defenses are just too good for the offenses. This isn't like those Heat-Knicks series from the '90s, with both teams pulling a Johnny Ruiz, slowing things down and thugging it up because they couldn't think of anything better to do. These Pacers and Pistons teams are too much alike -- it's like watching two boxers slugging it out with the exact same styles.

Now it's coming down to one question: "Who wants to win more?" In many ways, it is like a boxing match. A good one.

You should really read the whole thing, as they say. It's so good having Simmons back and writing about his baby, the N-B-freakin-A. Not that I'm sold on the goodness of this series, but he's watched a lot more NBA than I ever have, so I'm paying a lot more attention tonight.

How does Jim Gray stay on the air? I can understand, say, Craig Sager keeping his job once he had it--he's not good, but he's inoffensive and possibly even entertaining in a culty way, though he's not singular enough to inspire true cultishness. But Jim Gray isn't good. He's annoying, his questions are always inappropriate, and he's not somebody who entertains while he annoys. He makes you want to mute the TV or change the channel while he annoys.

Slate has an article claiming that the Pacers were the first to play sound effects (that Indy car engine noise--which only points to the increasingly anachronistic name of the NBA Indiana franchise; remember when the Indy 500 was a big sporting event? I don't--not old enough--and am thinking at this point the Pacers are at least as famous as the race they're kinda-sorta named for) during NBA game-play. It also states something I didn't know: "The angry hornet sound didn't follow the team to New Orleans, but Baron Davis baskets are still followed by a canned clip of pro wrestler Ric Flair's patented 'Woo!'" Because Ric Flair may hail from Charlotte, but he's The Man everywhere.

I just heard the ESPN NBA talking head (the one who isn't Screamin' A. Smith, Greg Anthony, or the white guy) say "what a game" about Lakers-Wolves last night. Yes. What a game it was, watching the Wolves get completely smoked there. Yep.

Speaking of Slate, here's Hitch defending his Chalabi-love. It's weak in the sense that he acknowledges that if the charges against Chalabi are true, all the stuff he's using to defend Ahmed--Saddam needed to go anyway, everybody's playing games in the new Iraq, everybody's talking to Iran--will no longer be much of a defense. Not that they are right now. And saying this:

I do not know what happened at the Petra Bank, and not even Andrew and Patrick Cockburn, who have done the most work on the subject, can be sure that Saddam Hussein's agents in Jordan were not involved in the indictment of Chalabi by a rather oddly constituted Jordanian court. It could be, for all I know, that he was both guilty and framed. The litigation and recrimination continues, and it ought at least to be noted that Chalabi still maintains he can prove his case.

Is realllly weak.

Things to do this weekend:

Get up early, return crappy books to the Science Fiction Book Club before they send me to the credit agency. You order the John Wright Golden Age 3-in-1 collection and a volume of classic Robert E. Howard Conan and they send you their usual sword & sorcery featured selection crap.

Then watch Crystal Palace play their way into the Premiership, DADDY! They are incredibly unfavoured, but they should take heart in having captured the hearts of those Americans who pick their English soccer teams on the basis of the names of the franchises.

Work some more, build a little bigger overtime-fuelled check before class starts Tuesday.

Go with brother to other brother's house for barbecue. Is it a tradition yet if you do it two years in a row?

That is all. Gawd, who unplugged the Pistons? Simmons can't be liking this Game Four here.

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