by Justin Cherot
You know what I realized today?
If I have added you as a friend since last March (and yes, that somewhat coincided with a certain event that I will only link to precisely one more time on this site) you probably don’t even know that I used to bless my FB/Twitter folk with basketball knowledge/humor/verbosity on the regular.
But outside of a half-hearted March Madness post… it’s been about ten months of ambiguous song lyrics, memes, and women that just disappear from my timeline because, well, I’m apparently a handful.
No elongated hoops insight. None.
But that changes tonight. Personal reasons have spawned my return to my parent’s house for the night, and armed with access to a Hi-Def TV, a Free Preview of NBA League Pass and a laptop (at my apartment right now I’m slummin’ it with just the HDTV), I give you two hours of…
Random League Pass Thoughts!
8:18 PM: How freakin’ nuclear are the Atlanta Hawks right now? Kyle Korver is throwing down transition dunks. Yes… THAT Kyle Korver.
Ho-hum style, Atlanta is running away from the Indiana Pacers up double Diggy Simmons in the second quarter.
Damn you, auto-correct.
8:26 PM: Checking out ESPN’s marquee Thunder/Wizards match-up… not because I’m necessarily interested in the game, but I just want to see Dion Waiters… you know… “touch the ball“. Actually, to be more accurate, I want to see him dribble the ball until it becomes severely deflated.
Just kidding, Wizards’ fans. Of course I’m intrigued. Two of the top ten point guards–Russell Westbrook and Andre Mil… I mean, John Wall–in the game? The intensifying #kd2dc talk? Talk of the Thunder being the best eight seed ever? What’s not to like?
And, despite all that, I just smile happily as Waiters knocks down an ill-advised step-back jumper to cut the Thunder’s deficit to three as they trail, 23-20. Because, you know… he got to touch the ball!
8:37 PM: What would one of these posts be without checking into my Dallas Mavericks, who have re-invented themselves in a way that, at the very least, gives them an opportunistic puncher’s chance (not to be confused with a “puncher’s chance”) of winning the title this season. Tonight they’ve got the T’Wolves, and just as I switched I saw Anthony Bennett get to the rim and throw one down two-handed from near the middle of the lane. Yes, he’ll probably end up being a disappointment like Anthony Randolph (curse of the Anthonys, maybe?), but it’s insane how talented he is.
Despite the random Bennett sighting, the best team in the league (and possibly the best team in the history of the universe) leads, 34-27 in midway through the second quarter.
8:43 PM: If you would have told me before the season starts that the possible “Game of the Night” on Jan. 21 would be the Toronto Raptors and the Memphis Grizzlies, I would have claimed you as a resident of Colorado and asked if you had some couch space I could spare (not really… but if you said “yes” I would definitely have to think about it).
8:51 PM: What would a League Pass Free Preview surfing session be without switching just in time to see Los Angeles Lakers’ guard/forward/socialite Nick Young knock down a contested corner three? I’m a sucker for Irrational Confidence Guys With Polarizing Hip Hop Girlfriends!
8:54 PM: Yeah, back-tracking to the comment about the Raptors and Grizz… 28-27… five minutes left in the second quarter… I might have to come back to this one in the 4th quarter.
8:55 PM: Meanwhile in Detroit, the exact opposite is happening: 82-69 early in the third. Victor Oladipo just did a Melo Trimble impersonation on a step-back three. Doesn’t look like much “D” is happening in the Motor City this evening.
Side-note: I really want to see Brandon Jennings in a playoff series. 15 assists with just over three minutes left in the third. Just playing at an uber high level tonight.
9:01 PM: Portland and Phoenix are getting ready to tip-off. I was talking to someone earlier today and the following topic came up:
Everyone just assumes that the Thunder are going to leapfrog past the Phoenix Suns and make the playoffs… which is mildly insulting to the Suns, no? Obviously, OKC is playing at a much higher level now with Kevin Durant and Westbrook back… I mean, they even ran off a nice winning streak when both of them came back. But the Suns are in the middle of playing .700 ball themselves, and they’re not exactly going to hand the Thunder that eight spot. Now, they are entering the tough part of their schedule… but I wouldn’t completely write off the Suns just yet. That’s ignorant,
9:09 PM: Speaking of something I never thought I’d say at the beginning of the season: “Ermagosh… I forgot the Cavs were playing tonight.”
My whole take on Cleveland: there’s definitely been a steep learning curve/adjustment period for “The Big 3” learning how to play together,,, an adjustment period certainly not helped by injuries to, at times, all three of them. But, now that they’re getting right and relatively healthy (assuming they don’t blow a 12-point lead against the Utah Jazz with two minutes left, that’ll make it four straight for them), rumors of their demise will end up being greatly exaggerated. You’ll see. I’m not saying they’ll win a title… but tell me again how much you REALLY trust Atlanta, Washington, Toronto or Chicago in the East.
9:17 PM: Just switched to the Suns/Blazers game, and nice little track meet we’ve got going on. 18-16… and we’re not even mid-way through the first. It was also awesome to see Alex Len completely fake Chris Kaman out of his boots with an array of post moves… even if it was against Kaman, that’s an encouraging sign for Suns’ fans.
9:21 PM: Something I would have imagined saying a last year: “Ermagosh, I forgot the Heat were playing tonight.”
Just saw Mario Chalmers just do something kind of silly in the waning moments of the Heat/Hornets game:
Scenario: the Heat are down two coming out of a time-out. After Chris “The Infinite Homosexual Meme” Bosh misses a three off a set play, Chalmers grabs the rebound with four seconds left, and instead of shooting a mid-range jumper or trying to get to the rim, decides to re-treat back to the three-point line and shoot a contested, double-pump triple.
It did not go in.
“The Eastern Conference: Where Two Under .500 Playoff Teams Play a Nail-Biter Without Cracking 80 Happens!”
9:30 PM: Sooooo… remember when I said that the Mavs were going to roll the T’Wolves? Justin knows his hoops. Mavs up 22. Get some rest, Dirk Nowitzki. We’re going to need you in June.
9:33 PM: Later on tonight (and I’ll probably be up… I mean, why not, right?), MVP candidates 1 and 1a will square off against each other as the Golden St. Warriors face the Houston Rockets.
If you’ve been living under a rock, based upon the first half of the season we’re looking at either Stephen Curry or James Harden will be your 2014-15 NBA MVP… which may be the best thing for the NBA in a long time. In a season where LeBron James has looked somewhat human on a slightly above .500 team (although playing devil’s advocate 26-7-6 is pretty damn good) and reigning MVP Kevin Durant missing significant time, it’s good to see two guys grab the torch and ascend to superstardom.
Who gets Justin’s vote? Despite Curry being my favorite player in the league, I can make a better case for Harden. But… I’ll let Grantland.com’s Kirk Goldsberry do it for me.
In summation if you don’t want to click the link, it just seems like he has to do more with less. The analysis on how he creates opportunities for himself and others is pretty eye-opening.
I always like the “if you took that player off the team, what would happen” argument. My opinion: I think the Dubs would be a fringe playoff team. Taking nothing away from Dwight Howard… okay, maybe I am taking something away from him, whatevs… it just looks like a cast of misfits who can’t create for themselves, and D-Ho cannot carry them to the playoffs. It is what it is.
All this said, I hope Curry wins it… just so Colin Donohue‘s head will explode.
9:49 PM: Dude… tell me again how the Thunder are going to catch the Suns? You all may be focused on that tremendous Westbrook/Wall match-up (65-62 Wiz right now)… but the Suns are absolutely rolling the Blazers right now by 26!!! Every time I switch, it’s like an Isaiah Thomas parade to the rim… which is amazing because if we were standing face-to-face I would be looking down at him. I don’t know why I’m shocked each time he goes to the rim and finishes. It just doesn’t seem humanly possible.
9:57 PM: I’m about an hour late on this, but the New York Basketball Knicks beat the 76ers tonight, 98-91, meaning…
…is this right…
…THEY’VE WON TWO STRAIGHT!!!
10:13 PM: Having grown up maybe not a typical Bullets/Wizards’ fan but watching a crap ton of games on HTS and CSN, I have to say it’s refreshing seeing “The Phone Booth” packed and emotional. Not going to be a bandwagon fan or anything, but my goal is to at least make it in the building for one game between May and June.
10:18 PM: Wall races end to end and finishes with the lay-up, cutting the Wizards deficit to three, 87-84. Not that I don’t take them seriously (29-13, same record as my Mavs… not exactly an accident)… but pulling a low-scoring home game when they didn’t play particularly well would go a long way in influencing my opinion about them.
10:24 PM: “My name is Paul Pierce. I might miss the first six threes I take… that next one is going down, doe.” Gives Washington the lead, 89-87.
10:27 PM: “My name is Paul Pierce. I’m 76 years old. I really can’t guard anybody anymore. I can barely get off the floor. #butistillgotthatstrokedoe
Gives Washington the lead AGAIN, 92-90 with 34 seconds left.
10:31 PM: But in Russ They Trust. Westbrook gets to the lane and ties it up at 92. 26.1 left. Who shall Randy Whitman go to?
10:33 PM: Solid defense by Andre Roberson on Wall, forcing him to take a contested jump shot. Time-out OKC, 2.1 seconds left.
10:35: Fitting that this one goes to overtime. I half-expected Durant to drain that one over the outstretched arms of Nene.
Two hours and twenty minutes later, I’m also overtime. And selfishly, I just want to stop typing and enjoy. I realized just exactly how much I missed this, how much I missed waxing poetically about hoops while simultaneously mixing the jargon of a 12-year-old girl into my writing.
Aesthetically, I know this isn’t one of my better posts. But I just needed to spew. I’ve had all these relatively cool thoughts that I’ve been laughing at with myself for the better part of ten months.
I’m back. And I’m hopefully I’m not just visiting.