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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Jimmy at 9:18 AM