Sunday, February 20, 2011

All-Star Ehh

I'm an odd kind of NBA fan: I like the games more than the moments, want to think about teams, and generally dislike the whole need to go all-in on Alpha Dog Magic Man thinking. Which is why things like the All-Star Weekend don't do much for me, especially when they are as predictable as the Los Angeles Darlings (Blake Griffin for the Slam Dunk Championship, Kobe Bryant for the All Star Game) rule the roost and get the love.

(Props to Griffin for arranging the choir and giving the trophy to the family of a dead high school teammate, though. This man is going to change the league's competitive balance as soon as he gets out of ClipperLand.)

But it's still a little telling to see moments like Rajon Rondo blowing a layup to try to set up LeBron James for a follow-up dunk, or Kevin Durant having a quiet monster game on points, or the Celtic-heavy East lineup failing to have defensive intensity as the West pulled away. Because these are telling points, really. As was the James' effort to throw it off the backboard and dunk while down 15 with 9 minutes left; turnover, no highlight, no biscuit. They tell you that Rondo cares more about his assist numbers to the point of detriment, that Durant is fantastic but might not ever be the *best* player in the league, that the Celtics conserve their energy better than anyone in the business... and that James might just be, shh, an attention-seeking glory hound. Though watching him dunk like a runaway freight train never gets old. (And only a curmudgeon would note that the train dribbled as much.)

It was also interesting to see the East trim the lead late, if ony to watch the best players in the world caring hard for the final five minutes. James had a triple-double, the crowd started to sweat it out, and we actually got a few minutes of hard hoop. How hard is a matter of debate, of course, and it will all pale in comparison to a good seven-game series between talented teams that don't like each other. It was just nice to see James go into full coach / leader mode; it told me that the Heat's upcoming playoff loss might not be quite so pre-ordained. Though watching him defer to Chris Bosh for a missed three, then watching Bosh blow the defensive rebound, tells me that if you get them to the final minute of games, you will go home happy.

But all of this is, of course, water under the bridge, because it's a meaningless exhibition game played in mid-February, which is to say it's a game that should not ever be watched, and yet is. When Bryant takes a flat-footed free throw miss rebound, then hits the jumper to follow for a three-point play, you are no longer watching basketball; you are watching basketball-esque masturbation. And, well, you should probably stop. And be grateful that the West won in regulation. Real games again on Tuesday.

1 comment:

Atlanta Roofing said...

Mature athletes who are good at their craft always enjoy the opposition going at them 100%. That's why you play sports, to go against the best. It's the beauty of competitio­n and glad that Kobe responded this way instead of getting angry at Lebron for going for the block. Kobe saw it coming and took it on as a personal challenge to finish the play.

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