There are reasons why most basketball fans will glory in a Miami LeBrons’ defeat tonight, while tipping their hats to San Antonio, even though the Spurs blew a double digit halftime lead in their loss to OKC last night, eliminating them from another title shot.
All pro Tim Duncan on the game: “We had a great first half, we got control of the game, and they continued to fight. They continued to get back into it. Their talent’s just overwhelming. It was impressive.”
Sixth man extraordinaire Manu Ginobili: “There’s not much to complain about. We had a great run. We just couldn’t beat these guys.”
Irascible SA coach Greg Popovich, when considering that OKC to make the Finals beat LA, Dallas and his Spurs, the three franchises that have won every prior Western Conference title since 1999, and 10 championships in that time: “I think it’s pretty cool for them.”
Stephen Jackson was amazing, throwing in 3s from Texarkana. The confident, sometimes cocky Spur was dead on in his assessment of the game: “It sucks. But those mother fuckers were just better than us.”
In other words, the Spurs, who lost four in a row after winning 20 straight, probably overachieved this season, and were beaten by a better team. And remained as classy in defeat as they have been in victory.
Which makes the Heat with it superduperstar trio of wannabes look all the more transparent as they stand on the precipice of not making it to the Finals for the second straight year. Recall this please. After taking his talents to South Beach, and through smoke and strobe lights while standing on a riser above the adoring multitudes, the not so regal LeBron James promised not to bring a but a single title to be celebrated over pastrami and latkes at Rascal House, but more than six championships.
Lucky for him, the hometown fans could give a shit, as long as the party is ongoing and there are shots and Dom P to be downed in the bar underneath the stands.
But the rest of us are taking notice.
Make no mistake, Boston is far from a lock in this series. I know I’m not the only one expecting to see parts falling off this well-traveled vehicle at any moment. Besides there’s that part of us, though we’ve seen it with our own eyes time after time, which can’t conceive that LeBron won’t close the deal.
He seems a decent sort. Doesn’t get in trouble. No 4:00 a.m. DUIs. No mysterious deaths at his manse. No trysts with any of the Kardashians. That said, there’s that vexing sense of inevitable superiority he carries. Which I guess comes from being told titles are going to happen since you’re 13 years old.
So I’m hoping tonight is Miami’s last game of the season.
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This is not the time to discuss the status of the sinking ship that is the Courier-Journal. I’ll get to that some time soon.
But I do find interesting the different headers the once great newspaper used while covering the Stephan Van Treese situation.
The C-J’s web site, which can best be described as unattractive and counter-intuitive, uses this headline: “Forward Stephan Van Treese Granted Release From Louisville Basketball.”
In the paper’s print edition, the headline writer did not mince words, bluntly telling the truth: “Pitino Tells Van Treese To Leave.”
The kid, whose parents I’m sure were promised by The Rick that he’d make their son a player and a good citizen, didn’t feel the need to gloss over his disappointment: “It stinks because I was real excited for this year to get started and get back on the court.”
The game we love oh so very much has simply gotten cutthroat. And good kids like Van Treese — and Jared Swopshire before him — get drowned in the wake as the SS Pitino sails on.
– Seedy K