Monday, May 24, 2010

Top 11 Tiresome NBA Playoff Memes

11) The refs are horrible. Quick: name me a time in your life where NBA refereeing was good. A definitive year and Finals, rather than a generic era as a cover for your Curmudgeon Ways. You can't, because complaining about the refs is like complaining about partisanship in politics or traffic or the weather; it's always there, always available for the go-to kvetch. Short of an obvious case of theft like the Mavs-Heat series, the Lakers-Kings games of the early part of the century or the Tim Donaghy Experience, the refs are what they are, and have always been. So move on.

10) Closing out quarters is vital. Did you know that points scored at the end of the first, second and third quarters count more than points scored during the middle of the quarter? I didn't, until I listened to Doug Collins, who seems religiously committed to the idea that if you have to sit still and dwell on the plays that happened before the commercials, you'll completely lose your mind. Or something. I can't wait until Collins bring his two minute quarters to Philadelphia next year.

9) Zone defenses are a gimmick. Well, sure, in that no team plays it as their main defense, because man-to-man is ingrained in the soul of basketball... but the plain and simple fact of it is that in basketball, for the most part, defense fails.

8) The NBA wants a Lakers-Celtics final. Of course they do, and they get it more often than any other result. But if media markets mattered that much, the Knicks wouldn't suck this much, the Clippers would make the playoffs more than once in a lifetime, and the Spurs would have never landed Tim Duncan. Besides, the long-term pain of basketball not mattering outside of a handful of major media markets will overwhelm the short-term gain. I hope.

7) The Magic have tuned out Stan van Gundy. Just as the Cavs tuned out Mike Brown, and the Heat tuned out Erik Spoelstra? Believe it or not, the Celtics are allowed to be better than their opponents without the benefit of a bad opponent coaching. Or even a media and referee conspiracy.

6) Ron Artest is crazy. He's also a 30-year-old man who has made over $52 million playing basketball, despite playing on five different teams in ten years with a 42% career field goal percentage, and he's 30 years old. Is it possible, just a little bit, that Testy's talent for tabloids has gotten him more run than players who just, you know, play?

5) The Celtics have veteran savvy and heart. Well, OK... but doesn't it rankle anyone that this team committed Grand Theft Salary for the last 30+ games of the regular season? What they've got is health, a playoff schedule that favors old legs, a real home-court advantage and an ability to mitigate any run by getting to the line or scoring off a make. Let's not service them for more than we have to, OK?

4) The games aren't decided before the last five minutes. That assumes the game isn't a blowout -- really not the case for most of the NBA playoff slate this year, which is a big reason why it's been a weak year -- and that you don't care who is in foul trouble, what the flow has been like, which bench players have stepped up and which ones have faded, or if there has been any bad blood or physical play that might have an impact on the ending.

If you really want to just watch the last five minutes, all you care about is who wins, rather than the sport. So just wait until the game is over and read the box score, OK?

3) Sideline reporters suck. Yes, they do. Just like in every other sport, along with commercials, free agency, young people joining the league without spending the same amount of time in college as when the viewer was young, and a million other things that we all know have gone to hell in a handbasket. You don't have to pay attention to any of that. Only the game matters.

2) The schedule is crazy. And seeing how the games are dictated by All-Father Stern, who hasn't adapted to this complaint any better than All-Father Selig has adapted to the problem that his games are four hours long, or All-Father Goodell hasn't adapted to the problem that all of his players will be dead due to brain trauma by age 55... well, complaining about things that don't change is not exactly an indication of sanity. Moving on.

1) LeBron James is going to... watch the rest of the playoffs with the rest of the world, just like he's done since getting his ass swept by the Spurs years ago. Sure, his free agent choice is going to change things in 40-odd days, but since that's in six weeks, and there are actual games to watch between now and then, maybe we can just give it a rest. Just in time for the Carmelo Anthony Free Agent Countdown of 2011!

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