Monday, May 21, 2007

The (Western Conference) Finals

I think the Jazz and the Spurs are two of the more aptly-named teams in sports. The Jazz, like the music that emanates from nowhere near Utah, can be up-tempo, slow, complex, simple, whatever. They are classy and the leader is the game's best practitioner.

The Spurs, if you ask me, are best stuck in a horse's ass. But that's just me.

Of course I hope the Jazz beat the Spurs because of my bitterness towards the fellows from the Alamo. However, I also think that the Jazz are a good team with many interesting and disparate athletes, and they happen to be coached by the coach who coaches coaches, Mister Jerry Sloan.

Though, unlike Don Chaney, Sloan has not won an NBA Coach of the Year award, Jerry Sloan is one of the all-time greats. Whether measured by his motivational skills, his strategic planning, or his sheer tenacity, Sloan is a man with few peers. As a basketball player, he was the slowest man on the court (he used to lose wind-sprints against the Bulls' backup center), but he was lithe, lanky, and ceaseless. By some inconceivable coincidence, as a coach he possesses a mind that allows him to translate everything that made him a skilled player into a skilled conductor.

Sloan has been blessed with great players and cursed by bad timing, and through it all he has consistently fielded teams that played with more talent than the sum of their parts. In a wide-open year, I think he may be poised to strike and finally ascend the pinnacle of coaching greatness.

On the other end of the court, Sloan meets his match in the Greg Popovic, who resembles Splinter both physically and in his ability to turn ordinarily shitty players into valuable parts of a very good team (Both Splinter and Poppa successfully built around boring leaders [Leonardo/Duncan] with a nice mix of asshole/talented ones [Raphael/Bowen]).

Game one was interesting. The Jazz had an excellent performance from the heretofore streaky Deron Williams, but got nothing out of anyone else. The Spurs got a great game from everyone, including the best game in recent memory from human coat hanger Fabricio Oberto.

If there was one huge, glaring problem for the Jazz, it was the shooting guard position, where they gave up a combined 37 points and 10 assists to Finley and Ginobili. I think if the Jazz lose, this is where they'll lose it, which makes me only the 312th person to say that.

Still, there were hopeful signs for the Jazz. They should be able to sustain a considerable rebounding advantage throughout the series, because for the first time, they are a much, much more physically imposing team (Amare nonwithstanding). They held a 49-33 advantage in game one, and if the Spurs hadn't shot a robust 54% (which they won't every game), the Jazz would have had it well in hand. And that was on the road. (Of course, Deron Williams doesn't get 34, 9, 6, and 1 every game, but hey, Mehmet Okur doesn't usually go 3-15 either).

I think the Spurs are due for some bad luck and some bad calls, and though Poppa is a master coach, he has had the benefit of one Mr. Duncan for a very long time. Carlos Boozer isn't going to neutralize Tim Duncan, but I think that he will effectively neutralize the advantages a team with Tim Duncan has - he can match the hardnosed, fundamental play pretty well.

It has been more years than I can remember since the Western conference has produced a truly nasty team. They have had good ones for sure, but these Jazz are the kind of team that harkens back to the old Knick teams of yore, and even the Bad Boys, I dare say. Popovic was used to being the toughest guy in town, but there ain't no way he's prepared for Jerry Sloan with a good team. Jazzy Jerry in 6.

It's hard to believe how long it's been since the Eastern Conference Finals were solvent. I remember when it used to be such an event, and how for the whole conference finals week, every game every other day seemed like it was an incredible matchup.

Detroit's probably going to win, and I don't like it, but it'll probably be in five. The Cavs just don't have the pieces (they don't have a shooter! they don't have a point guard! they don't have a bench!) and the Pistons do, and then some.

The only good thing I can say about the East is that I am interested by the prospect of a Pistons/Jazz Finals. As for Pistons/Spurs, well, that is pretty much Braves/Yankees for me.

As always, e-mail me at

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Nellie

It is a bittersweet birthday for Don Nelson, who, last night (which was actually his birthday), got eliminated by the official Don't Give Up second-chance team. He did one hell of a job this year, though, and despite the bittersweet occasion, I am sure Nellie, who knows that there is more to life than basketball, had a little fun. We salute you.


It all started when PJ Brown, who like Bruce Bowen was a tough, skilled defender that didn't mind supplementing his defense with a trip and a crotch grab from time to time, threw Charlie Ward, point guard for the Knicks, to the ground. The game was almost over, but that didn't matter.

(Believe it or not...) There was a time when New York Knickerbockers actually stood up for each other, and on top of their team spirit, just happened to be some guys you didn't want to fuck with. Neither was PJ Brown. Needless to say, a fight for the ages ensued. Pat Riley, a great coach who is also a magnanimous asshole, blamed Charlie Ward for fighting for position on a rebound. "Realistically, the game is over with. Why would Charlie Ward try to do that? Why make that kind of play at that time. You let the game go...they didn't let it go."

Two nights ago, Robert Horry, who used to be my favorite player, shoulder-checked Steve Nash at the end of the game, which was already out of reach.

Greg Popovic, who is a good coach, showed his shithole colors by noting (erroneously) that "It was just an end-of-game foul and Steve fell down. I didn't think it was such a big deal." As you can see from the video, it appears almost as if Steve tripped and got in Horry's way, causing Big Game Bob to inadvertently hit him on the way down. Hard to believe what you can get suspended for these days, right, Greg?

The players who were suspended in the Knicks brawl were Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, Larry Johnson, John Starks, and Charlie Ward. Because nine players must suit up for a playoff game, the NBA decreed that the Knicks, who were up 3-2 at the time, would lose Ewing, Houston and Ward for Game 6 and LJ and Starks for game seven. Miami won both games. (PJ Brown was suspended for two games.)

In the current melee, Amare Stoudamire and Raja Bell have been suspended for the next game, and Robert Horry is suspended for two games.

Needless to say, having your best players suspended is crippling for any team. It certainly contributed to the Knicks blowing their 3-2 lead and losing to Miami in what was perhaps the Knicks's best year and best chance to beat the Bulls.

It remains to be seen how the shorthandedness will effect the Suns - they still have their MVP, and will be able to go small better than most teams (the Knicks were forced to play Scott Brooks). The Spurs don't have a lot of frontcourt depth, so they can't really go big and kill the Suns, and the Suns can probably get a good game out of a proven playoff performer and tough man for the ages, Kurt Thomas.

We'll see tonight, and if the Suns lose, it will be a sore disappointment for any fan. Whenever something like this happens, there's someone to blame. Amare and Raja should have known the rules and sat their asses down on the bench. If they were tempted to get up, Suns coaches should have physically restrained them, screamed in their faces, whatever.

That said, I do not like the automatic suspension rule, and I wish it had been done away with after the Knicks series. Leaving a bench is instinctual, and if you're not out there throwing punches, you may actually be helping the situation. But the bottom line is that it doesn't make sense - suspension should only be for physically endangering somebody, and leaving the bench isn't doing that.

I would propose that there be a far greater penalty for leaving a bench and getting into a fight, and that there be a monetary penalty for leaving the bench at all. That way, it would be discouraged, and the players that actually contributed to mayhem would get their just desserts. However, NBA series wouldn't swing based on the League Office unless people were actually endangering one another.

The way things shake out, though, all we have is a damn shame where a dirty player has helped his team with a dirty play, the coach has shown his approval, and the fans don't get what they're paying for. It may be fair, but it isn't right.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Oh how things have changed

Baron Davis could have put last night's game away by hitting one foul shot, though he did outplay Deron Williams. AK-47 looked like he is back in business. The Jazz won, and I think that it will continue that way for the rest of the series.

I am happy that the Jazz won, because I said that I thought they would.

That said, despite the fact that he had just flown back from emotional surgery to save his 10-month old daughter's life, I just can't feel that good, because I just don't like Derek Fisher, and it frustrates me when he gets himself in the playoff limelight.

I know, I'm an asshole. A prick. But I honestly felt more emotional about writing about Rony Seikaly for his birthday than I do about the Jazz/Warriors. I don't know why.

There's only one thing I care less about, and that's the Detroit-Chicago game tonight. I will probably check it out and report tomorrow, and I really hope Chicago makes a game of it.

If you care more than me, e-mail me at

If Nice Guys Finish Last, Then This Must Be The Nicest Guy In The World


Don't Ever Give Up supports winners and sinners generally, but on this tenth day of May, I'd like to give a little literary respect to a fellow who, despite having a successful college and professional career in basketball, tends to...well...lose. Not just in basketball. Rony Seikaly loses in life.

Despite a negative image of Rony Seikaly that exists to this day (in terms of talent, at least), he was a pretty solid ballplayer. He took his Syracuse team to the national championship game. He was the Miami Heat's inaugural pick. He won the NBA's Most Improved Player award. He once hauled down 34 rebounds in a game. He also once a running hook shot from about eight feet out of bounds, behind the backboard, arcing it over the shot-clock and in. The man had could play, and he was also a humble guy, quoted in the The Black Game saying "If 80% of the league is black, that means that black players are better than white players...the black players are superior. No doubt." You don't hear too many white centers say things like that.

Unfortunately, in terms of winning, Seikaly found himself in just about the worst situation possible, all the time, for his entire life.

It all started when he was born. Where, you ask? Perhaps in Lithuania or Yugoslavia? No. Rony Seikaly was born in Beirut, which was the home of one of the world's nastiest civil wars. It started when young Rony was ten [and continued for 13 years]. (Interesting fact: Steve Kerr and Keanu Reeves were also born in Beirut.) Fortunately, Seikaly, who would have made one big target, moved with his parents to Greece, where he went to an American high school.

Seikaly seemed like he was on the right track when he went to Syracuse and played center for noted monster mack Jim Boeheim. Playing for the Orangemen, Seikaly made an immediate impact. He had only learned to play basketball in high school, but he was a polished inside scorer and a strong rebounder. He shot 56% over his career and in his senior year was a second-team All-American who averaged 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds a game, along with more than 2 blocks.

Seikaly was never a perfect player. His foul shooting was...inadequate. He had a knack for fouling out of games (perhaps due to his Beiruti battle-heritage). In his Freshman year fouled out of a full third of the games he played.

(From the webpage:) "It was in the NCAA tournament his junior year that Seikaly put his game together. Fueled by some caustic remarks by announcer Brent Musberger, Seikaly exploded for 33 points against Florida and the Gators' highly-touted Duane Schintzius." If that's not the best sentence I've ever quoted, it's close.

Everything seemed in hand for the National Championship, as Syracuse, which also had Derrick Coleman and Sherman Douglas (who was ill in college to the tune of 18.2 ppg, 8.2 apg, 2.5 rpg his senior year), played Indiana University, who had professional bums Steve Alford and Keith Smart. The Orangemen were heavily favored, and Seikaly was probably thinking that he was on the way to a long, wonderful career. Unfortunately, despite taking a one-point lead with about 20 seconds left, Seikaly and the Orangemen lost on one of the most famous shots in the history of the NCAA tournament, college's version of "The Shot". (As you can see in the video, poor Rony (#4) plays solid defense on the play, but there's just nothing he can do.)

At the time, Rony was not used to losing, and he probably just figured that with Douglas and Coleman coming back next year, he would have a good shot. Things were going as planned until Sherm the Worm went down with illness right in time for the NCAA tournament. Even teams with the two best big men in the country can't win without a point guard (ask Shaq and Stanley Roberts), so Rony was once again shit out of luck.

When Seikaly was drafted by the Heat with the eighth pick in the draft, he still had a lot of his career ahead of him. Things looked like they could work out. Then his team went 15-67.

Then they went 18-64.

Then they went 24-58.



Seikaly (who averaged around 17 and 10 consistently) made the playoffs for the first time when the Heat, whose nucleus of Sherman Douglas, Seikaly, and Rice had been together for years, finally went 42-40. They lost in the first round, and Seikaly was traded. His first year: 26-56 with the Golden State Warriors.

The next year, the Warriors went 36-46. Suddenly, though, there was hope. Seikaly was tabbed as the man to replace Shaq alongside Penny. The team went 45-37, and things were finally looking up!....then they lost in the first the Heat...Seikaly's old team.

Then: 41-41 (no playoffs).

And Then: 16-34 (strike shortened).

And Then....Rony retired. His career record? A sphincter-shattering 337-533. What is most devastating, though, is the consistency with which Seikaly lost.

A torturous career, no doubt. But it gets worse. If you search for Rony Seikaly's image to, say, write a column about him, you get a bunch of photos like the one on the right. Why, you ask? Is it because the internet is so depraved that even a nonentity like Rony Seikaly gets connected to pornography?

No, sir. That is Elsa Benitez, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, and she is Mrs. Rony Seikaly. (Rony once wrote an article about how people try to steal her.) Or, rather, she was Mrs. Rony Seikaly. Now you're starting to dig this guy's bad luck in a big way, I suspect. (Anther interesting fact: Benitez had tickets for TWA flight 800, which crashed on my birthday. She was sitting in the airport, and went nuts, calling Seikaly and telling him that the plane was going to crash. He told her she had nothing to worry about. She refused to board. She would have been toast.)

The final blow came not on the court or in the bedroom but at the beach. Rony tried his luck this past April as a professional volleyball player and entered the AVP Cuervo Gold Crown Miami Open. He actually faired pretty well, but in the end, lost 21-9 and 21-18 to Craig Demott and Dameon Holmquist, who as we all know are beach volleyball powers to be reckoned with. Seikaly said after the game "I'm in shape, but this is different. The sand makes a difference." I would note that his former wife seems oblivious to the sand. Perhaps this was behind their falling out.

So Rony loses a lot. He did once refuse to play for the Jazz (who didn't in the early 90's?), but he also challenged Magic Johnson to a game of one-on-one after his HIV diagnosis to show that it's fine for an HIV-infected player to play basketball. He also works to fight cystic fibrosis. Could this be the basis for my theory that he is the nicest guy in the world, and is therefore doomed to finish last in ways that are more heroic and devastating (losing a championship, and a swimsuit model) than the average nice guy? Perhaps. But perhaps not.

Rony had his number retired by Syracuse this past year. He had an article written about him by a Heat fan recounting his first days of Heat fanship rooting for Seikaly (and learning the "Bullshit" chant from Seikaly screaming it). Perhaps after hitting rock bottom (beach volleyball), Rony will get some of the respect that has eluded him for so long.

Or perhaps not.


As always, e-mail me at

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Predictions Are Shitty, Volume II

Dear Reader(s):

My predictions have been pretty shitty. I'm really sorry. I suck.


Jimmy V

Glad I got that over with. I am still pretty upset that Houston didn't make it past Game 7, which I was surprised they even had to play in the first place, considering their 2-0 lead. I am even more upset that Van Gundy is (or may be) leaving the team, which will surely ruin them. (As a Knicks fan, I am obligated to wonder, no matter how impossible it is, if Van Gundy will return to the blue and orange. Please god let this happen.)

I have to admit that Utah made everyone on Houston take its medicine, and made Yao look fairly European. Skip did not skip and Chuck chucked repeatedly, and the whole thing was a wash. What's a Van Gundy fan to do? (Move on to better things, apparently.)

Pursuant to Jimmy V's rules of predictions, this means I now officially name the Utah Jazz as the 2007 NBA Champions. A hard position to argue, I admit, but not untenable, thanks to the most dedicated and knowledgeable coach in the game. That's a story for another day, though.

I want to get to discussing the Spurs/Suns series. Every single person in the world thinks the Spurs, especially with their home court advantage, are a mortal lock. I do not understand this, for the following reasons:

(-I have been bitter towards the Spurs for, oh, about nine years now.)

-Game 1 was a tie game, and both of the Spurs' stars played exceptionally, along with Finley. They still barely won because Steve Nash wasn't allowed in by the Magic Johnson rule. The chances of this happening again are very slim, and I have to be honest, I think if Nash stayed in that game (and the referees didn't assume that every time Tim Duncan touches the floor, he has been fouled), the Suns would have won it.

-Steve Nash is not a pansy. He has to be furious. The refs kept him out of a game and his teammates proceeded to run patently shitty offensive sets (maybe D'Antoni deserves some blame here). I think he's the best guy on the floor, and he's surrounded by talented players. If they can just hustle, they can win going away.

-Let's just stop this charade and start Raja Bell or Lee Barbosa. (I am ordinarily against the shortening of names, but to me Leandro just doesn't sound like the stone-cold killer Barbosa is. I like Lee.) He is clearly unguardable because of his quickness, and he is reminding me more and more of one of my favorite players in the history of sport, Mr. Latrell Sprewell.

The above was written yesterday. I just logged on to my computer to find that the Suns had beaten the Spurs by 20. Yes and yes.

Last night, Tony Parker woke the fuck up, and scored 13, bringing his average back down to, well, his average. Steve Nash had 20 and 16. The Suns absolutely owned the fourth-quarter, traditionally the Spurs' best period. I don't think the Spurs can win this series. They're just not good enough.

The crazy thing, to me, is that Shawn Marion, who I have suggested is not quite right, had only five points. And they won by 20! Lee Barbosa also played a below-average game.

One factor in this series that I think will be important is free-throw shooting. The Suns will probably get an easy ten points every game because they are very good at shooting free throws, while the Spurs are very bad.

Suns in six, homey.

Back to playoff bullet points:

-The Cavs beat the Nets last night behind a Herculean effort from The Bron. Everyone on both teams played pretty well, but the difference was at center, where Ilgauskas attacked Jason Collins like Collins was a lesser Balkan country. (Yes, I know Zydrunas is from a completely different part of the world. I'm an ugly American, okay?)

-It's interesting to think that with Nenad Krstic, the Nets might be a Finals team. Has their ever been a team with a weaker history of post players? Derrick Coleman is the only one that comes to mind (and while Kenyon Martin was a great forward, he was not a post guy in my book). Kind of embarrassing for the front office.

-The Nets shot 52% and held the Cavs to 45%. The Nets shot 57% from behind the arc to the Cavs' 26%. The Nets only made four fewer free throws than the Cavs. However, the Nets gave up 19 offensive rebounds to the Cavs (to the Nets' three), which allowed them to get off twenty more shots. That's the story, right there. (Mikki Moore and Jason Collins, the Nets' two seven-foot players, played a combined 69 minutes. If they had each had four rebounds, that would be pretty depressing, but they had four combined.)

-I can't believe how badly the Pistons are pantsing the Bulls. They look more dangerous by the day. Ben Wallace is doing nothing to stop Chris Webber and it appears to me that he may be do for a little over rated chant. I may be echoing The Sports Guy here, but letting Tyson Chandler go was very, very dumb. (In contrast to Mr. Simmons, I don't think a trade for Gasol would have changed much in this series.)

-That said, Tyrus Thomas looks like a keeper. Imagine if he was opposite Chandler and not Wallace! The frontcourt would be an absolute nightmare for opposing coaches, especially with the excellent post-play of Luol "Deng that guy's good".

-What the hell is PJ Brown doing starting? Phonix starting Kurt Thomas against the Spurs makes some sense to me, but PJ Brown against the Pistons? Great idea, Skiles. Did he think he could bait the Pistons into starting Corliss Williamson and then realize that he hadn't been on the Pistons for five years?

-Deron Williams played unbelievably last night. I don't know if that was because Baron's a little slowed by his hammy or because Deron has been having a great year, but it's pretty significant considering the importance of Golden State winning the point guard war.

-The Warriors will have a lot of trouble covering Boozer in the post, and even Harpring will have a size and skill advantage.

-For the first time in the playoffs, everyone on the Warriors (even Al Harrington!) played well, and they still lost. Boozer and Giricek went a combined 8-25, and the Jazz still won.

-Kind of cool that Dee Brown had two huge forth-quarter shots. He qualifies as the Floyd Mayweather Jr. of basketball, who I don't really care for but god damn is that guy quick. Jerry Sloan might be wise to use him to throw the Warriors off if he wants to up the tempo

-Despite all of the above, the Warriors did seem to have this game in hand, and only blew it because they were playing against the coach who coaches coaches. I think they still have a chance. Jazz

-One last thought: I was bitching about Greg Popovic not putting Brent Barry in against the Nuggets. This was a stupid complaint, and I should have recognized the Michael Finley is the guy you want in the playoffs, not Brent Barry.

As always, e-mail me at

Friday, May 04, 2007

Warriors - Mavs: America at War

On this day, we awake to a world in which Don Nelson and Baron Davis's Warriors have soundly defeated Avery Johnson and Dirk Nowitzki's Mavericks (after last night's game, it seems almost ludicrous to use Dirk as a possessive) .

Perhaps coincidentally, it was on this day in 1945 that the world awoke to find that a once-heavily-favored North German Army surrendered to British General Bernard "Beret" Montgomery. Perhaps the parallel is just a coincidence. But, perhaps it isn't...

The Nazis (and the Mavericks) were regular-season contenders unlike any the league had ever seen. Their flawless execution and team-first attitude, along with their heavy spending, gave them a significant advantage in the early stages of battle.

The Nazi's biggest asset was the strength and incisiveness of its technologically-advanced armored divisions (in the Mavs' case, Dirk "Witzkrieg" Nowitzki ). The rest of Europe, known for spending lots of money on the military equivalent of Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson, was simply unprepared for the sudden, violent thrusts that the German army could make with the support of its mechanized cavalry; there was nothing that could stop them. (Likewise, no one could stop a seven-foot shooter with a post game.)

It seemed as though Hitler (Mark Cuban) had built himself a winner for the ages, increasing his country's potential far beyond his that of early 20th century Germany. The pre-Wiemar German army hadn't been half-bad, having lost in the finals in World War I (Mavs/Heat). Comparatively, though, Hitler's (Mark Cuban's) meteoric rise to power saw unprecedented growth of the German military machine. The only thing in Germany that rivaled the military rise was the prodigious distension of Hitler's (Cuban's) ego, which helped energize his team initially, but had crippling effects over time. Hitler (Cuban) had a vital, fatal flaw: he believed that his own meteoric rise made him, and anything he controlled, invincible, and that his decisions were infallible. That was not to the case.

The reason was simple: The Nazis (Mavs) were simply not a playoff team. They worried so much about offense that they assumed their defense, which was more than adequate but far from perfect, would not be seriously tested.

A big problem was that Hitler (Cuban) assumed America (Don Nelson) was out of the game in the wake of World War I (Nelson's final years with the Mavs). America was indeed in an isolationist period (Nelson had "retired"), and interested itself in military exercises that could hardly be described as world-moving (like coaching the Warriors).

The thing that Hitler didn't realize was that America had three advantages: Personnel, Resources, and above all, Will. America's isolationism had been exacerbated by a great depression (the Warriors suffered serious injury problems) but it was still a military giant ready to awake. When it did, spurned by the magnanimous words of both Winston Churchill (Don Nelson) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Baron Davis), and countless others...[as they say in historical circles]...shit was fucking on.

Game 1 took place in and around the coast of France. Allied (Nelson) bombers and paratroopers did noteworthy damage, and before the Nazis knew it, they found that the Allies had taken Game 1 right out from under them...afterwards, there were many exclamations to the effect of "we'd better get our act together for Game 2". The problem was, the Nazis (Mavs) didn't really feel threatened...they just figured the early loss was a fluke and that when the real fighting began, superior Nazi might would crush the Allies. If they had taken the loss more seriously, who knows what would have happened...

The Germans fought hard in the second game (D-Day) and were somewhat successful, scoring many enemy casualties. However, this only stroked their military ego, reinforcing their mistaken belief that there was no way they could lose. The Nazis were unprepared for the steely determination and calculated recklessness that Allied commanders like Eisenhower, Montgomery, and Bradley (Don Nelson, Stephen Silas, and Keith Smart) had instilled in each and every one of their men, even those de la France (Mickael Pietrus).

In Game 3 (D-day + 1), The Allies, having feinted attack from the British coast, already had the Germans confused with their scintillating small ball (Mavs didn't expect Davis to kill them). With the Nazi big men out of sync, the Allied attack on the coast that had started with an effort to establish a tenuous beachhead expanded into a full-blown invasion. The Blitzkrieg (Dirk) was not a tool the Nazis could use for defense. They were befuddled. (Dirk sneered.)

Game 4 (Summer of '44) saw the United States press its advantage, and there was nothing the Germans could do to stop it. They had grown complacent, and even though their future was on the line, nobody could find away to overcome the discord among the officers or the low morale among the troops. The German coach, Heinrich Himmler (Little General) complained about even his best men, some of whom were considered regular-season MVPs. The owner (Hitler, I mean Cuban) was furious, but there was nothing he could do. The team that had been executing all year had run into a problem: they had never been tested or put on the defensive, and though they had propagandized and paraded about their steely wills and pugilistic yearnings (the Mavs went as far as growing beards and eschewing standard haircuts), they weren't ready for what they got: a good, old-fashioned fight.

Finally, in Game 5 (Winter '44), after being pushed back to Luxembourg (Dallas), the Nazis were in position to counterattack and thereby use the Blitzkrieg. It almost worked, but the Americans were pioneers of the "bend but don't break" defense. One man, Anthony McAuliffe (Matt Barnes), dug his heels in despite facing a military front that was capable of traversing almost half of France (Dallas had six players in double figures in Game 5). McAuliffe's tenacity exemplified the fighting spirit of the Allies; he would not be battered or besieged by any blitzkrieg, and McAuliffe inspired civilians and soldiers alike with the exceptional bravery that augmented his offbeat personality.

In Game 6 (Spring '45), the blitzkrieg (Dirk) having petered out, and angry Hitler (Cuban) went from strategic visionary to broken, befuddled and borderline insane. His own team hated him, his coaches berated and embarrassed their players, and there was even an assassination attempt. When the final whistle blew, the normally charismatic Hitler (Cuban) was nowhere to be found. He had committed suicide in his own barracks.

My point here is that the Warriors, much like the Allies, are the kind of team any red-blooded American ought to root for. They are an example of what journalists, pundits, and the almost everyone interested in politics or morality spends their lifetimes looking for: the Good Guys. It's hard to find the genuine article, but when it's clear who's who, Good guys have an intrinsic advantage over opponents that are driven by money, greed, ego, and a quest for historical recognition. There's more to the game than that, my sunzo. Much more.

As always, e-mail me at

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Devin Harris: MVP

It really bugs me how journalists are trying to find the story they think everyone wants to read: that the 'lil general pushed the big storm trooper and the MVP finally pushed his team to victory. It's bullshit. Patent bullshit. You know who the MVP of last night's game was?

Devin Fucking Harris. That man above scored or assisted on every single point in the fourth quarter that wasn't a free throw. Every one. He hit Dirk for both of the two field goals he scored... (all of the rest of Dirk's points came on free throws). He got the scoring started. He assisted Croshere, the only other Maverick with a field goal in the fourth quarter. Dallas would be in its off-season right now if it wasn't for him. Dirk played a big part, but Devin was the guy.

And while I'm on the subject of Dallas players, let me just say that Jason Terry is the biggest non-Bowen cocksucker in the NBA (even if Baron was acting). What a cheapshot move he pulled on Baron Davis, who was smoking him mercilessly (again). I like guys who play a little rough in the spirit of hustle, who foul you on what should be an easy layup and put themselves at risk because they want to win so badly. I don't like guys like Terry who throw cheap shots when dudes aren't looking, when the ball's not live, and when they're getting smoked because they suck. I have always been lukewarm to Jason Terry, and now I just think he is a big pussy. There is no explanation for the referees leaving him in except for fear instilled by Mark Cuban's incessant attempts to get the commissioner's office to discipline them for not making more pro-Dallas calls.

Just in case it's not clear, I now officially hate Dallas. Mark Cuban, ever the class loser, said of coach Don Nelson, who is making Cuban and his team look like foolish, spoiled front-runners: "I said it [to him in 2003] and I think it [now][that he only performs well as an underdog]. That's one of the areas we didn't get along. Some people are afraid to lose. You can't be afraid to lose if you're going to be a winner. You see it in business all the time. Guess what? No balls, no babies, right? You've got to go for it and I don't think Nellie's got that attitude. And that was a conflict. That was a big conflict."

Yeah, I'm sure the second-winningest coach in NBA history, who has won three coach of the year awards and was voted by his peers to be one of the top-10 coaches in NBA history in 1997, who turned the Mavericks around with his unconventional thinking, and who can go home at night and polish a championship ring for his thumb, index, middle, ring, and pinky (that pinky one is the hardest) finger is really afraid of winning. He probably needs to learn how to win from a guy who invented streaming radio and got bought out by Yahoo! at the height of ridiculous tech buyouts, a real winner whose life was going nowhere until he stumbled on a good idea. The only bigger bullshit than Cuban implying that Don Nelson is not a winner is his implication that he is some sort of businessman. I could be a businessman, too, if I had scored a billion bucks off of a pet-rock idea.

Well, Don't Ever Give Up supports real winners, and that is one thing Mark Cuban ain't (unless you're talking about the lottery). As always, e-mail me at