Tag: Basketball

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I’ve got a real hard time with basketball.

The FranchiseAll the rage in Boston today is over the late night Kevin Garnett trade. And I’m certainly excited for Boston to get him – devil knows the Celtics could use anything up to and including Boston College-level point shaving to get a winning season again.

But apparently, you can get one player in exchange for “five players and two draft picks” and still come out ahead on the deal. ???? ??? ??????

This makes no sense to me. It doesn’t even read right. Imagine Bill Belichick trading eleven players and the second and third round draft picks in exchange for Carson Palmer. Imagine Billy Beane trading his first, second and third basemen for Tom Gorzelanny.

I know, I know, apples and oranges. ????? But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have a hard time with basketball because I don’t like the inordinate influence one player has on an entire team. It’s not about the billion-dollar superstar or the sneaker deal. It’s about teamwork! It’s about ball handling! It’s about the fundamentals! Gene Hackman doesn’t give a damn whether Jimmy plays or not!

The level of despair that Boston sports fans exuded after the Celtics drew fifth in the draft lottery reached, well, truly Bostonian proportions. At that point we were just waiting out next season – Paul Pierce listlessly dribbling down the court, waiting for the shot clock to expire before bouncing the ball off his shoe and weeping – until next season, when maybe the air-driven path of a Ping Pong ball would favor us again. ????? ???? ???? Now, suddenly, with the addition of a guy from the Timberwolves (?!?) to our line-up, SI puts us at third in the East. “Instant contenders.” The hell?

I’d like to be proven wrong, mostly because I like the spirit that comes from living in a four sport city. And Kevin Garnett’s a nice enough guy – just look at him! – that I’ll have no problem rooting for him. But somebody engraved in my brain at an early age that it takes more than one man to win a championship, and I’ll always be skeptical of the exception.

The Mild World of Sports


Here is a list of Popular Sports and their Improvised Indoor Equivalents:

Sport: Football

Equivalent: Paper Field Goals

Paper FootballSetup: Fold a piece of 8.5 x 11 paper in half so it’s long and skinny. Fold it in half again the same way. Now triangle it up like you’re folding an American flag. The resulting wad should be a very compact little triangle. If you don’t know how to fold an American flag, join the Boy Scouts and suffer like the rest of us did.

Rules: One guy holds his hands up, palms out, and touches the tips of his thumbs together. The other guy tries to flick the paper football through the open space in his hands, like a field goal kick.

Accuracy: This game omits every aspect of traditional football – running, passing, blocking, tackling, play-calling – except kicking field goals. As such, it’s a remarkably faithful imitation of a Ravens / Colts game, but otherwise not very close.

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Sport: Basketball

Equivalent: Trashcan Basketball

Setup: You need a trashcan and anything that can be held in one hand. This can be a crumpled up piece of paper, a crushed soda can, a ball of rubber bands, a stress ball, anything.

Not strictly necessaryRules: One player attempts to throw the projectile into the trashcan. The other player plays defense. If played in an office, the players may confine themselves to wheeled office chairs for an added challenge.

Accuracy: Remarkably close. What the game loses in scoring and fouls, it more than makes up for in the volume of trash-talking.

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Sport: Hockey

Equivalent: Coin Hockey

Setup: Three coins of equal denomination and a long smooth surface, like a conference table.

Rules: Put the three coins together like a triangle. Tap the coin closest to you very firmly. The force will be transferred to the other two coins, causing them to scatter.

Real hockeyYou then work this trio of coins up the table by sliding one of them between the other two. The moving coin can’t touch either of the stationary coins and it can’t fall off the table, or play changes hands.

If the coins get to the end of the table, shoot them through a goal made by the other player’s hands.

Accuracy: Notional. There’s a goal and you slide a flat object through it. It barely has any correspondence with the game of the same name. I mean, come on. It’s like people don’t even watch hockey anymore.

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Sport: Baseball

Equivalent: Home Run Derby

Setup: A small object (same size as Trashcan Basketball) and a long, flat object. A binder full of procedures, a cafeteria tray or a textbook will work just fine.

Rules: One player throws the object. The other player swings his “bat” at the object and sends it as far as he can. He then imitates his favorite announcer’s method of describing a home run.

Accuracy: Most people don’t even keep score.

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Sport: Mixed Martial Arts

Equivalent: You Wanna Go?

Setup: Two guys in a hallway, conference room or classroom.

He wants to goRules: After a mock insult is exchanged between the players, they bump chests, throw their arms up into the air, and taunt each other with some variety of, “You wanna go? You wanna throw down, cupcake? You gonna back up that tough talk? What? What you looking at? What?” This continues until one or both players back down, saying some equivalent of “That’s what I thought” or “Yeah, you just wait.”

Accuracy: Close enough.

The NBA has drafted

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Joakim Noah Crazy SuitSo last night was the NBA draft; and draft they did. ???? ????? ??? ???? There were no surprises early as Oden went first and Durant went second. Since I’m a Boston fan, I was wondering who the C’s would get. ????? ???? ??????? Now my knowledge of basketball is quite minimal, I was a fan in junior high school and some of high school (so about 15 years ago) and I have a terrible memory, but I do know the Celtics are in need of someone at every position because they currently suck. So I didn’t actually watch the draft (though I should have, just look at the hilarious picture [left] of Joakim Noah), I just followed the tickers and website reports. I get the info that the Celtics use the #5 pick to get Jeff Green from Georgetown.

So I do my due Google diligence to learn of this “Green” (look it works… Green plays for the green) character. I find this lovely chart:

Intangibles Chart

Wow, his intangibles are pretty high… Wait they’ve figured out how to measure intangibles!? Lets get Jeter tested and find out where exactly he falls on this scale. I guess with intangibles like this it’s good that we got him instead of my choice of “the Chinese guy.” Danny Ainge must know what he’s doing. ???? ????? ????

Well, since I live under a basketball rock, it was at least an hour before I checked in on things again and realized that Green was part of a “super secret” trade. Would you look at that, another good player on the Celtics. Welcome to town Ray Allen, maybe I’ll write a song about/for you.

Don’t Blame LeBron, Blame the Funk

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So, the Cavs went and got swept. ???? bingo Watching game 4– no, wait, I don’t want to lie, I (like most of the American people) failed to watch any of the NBA Finals, or, well, any of the semis, or in fact, any basketball since they cut away from that Knicks-Rockets game for the OJ chase. Where was I? Oh yeah, I forced myself to watch the last 2 minutes, in adherence with my long-held belief that the last 2 minutes of any given basketball game is the only part worth watching. Impressions: walked into a low-scoring game, Spurs playing well, Varejao’s hair is outstanding, these guys have spent an awful lot of time in the tattoo studio. ????? ??? ?????? 1.9 seconds left: Manu Ginobili is not who you want to be putting on the line. Nice pair of threes at the end, that’s a tough beat for LeBron and Co.

And holy shit, I cannot get that fucking filet-o-fish ad out of my head.

Well, cheer up Cleveland, neither the McDonald’s ad nor the Cavs’ truly pitiable performance in this series is LeBron’s fault. It’s tough to carry an entire team, let alone the hopes and dreams of a championship-starved city, and I’d imagine the pressure could get to even the most super of heroes. And to go up against Duncan, Ginobili, and that guy who’s marrying the slutty desperate housewife, well, that’s not gonna help matters any. ??????? ???????? But to LeBron’s credit, Tim Duncan had nothing but praise for the ‘kid’ in his postgame interview. Indeed, I think it’s safe to say the finest thing that can be said of an NBA player in regards to LeBron James: that he never fakes the funk on a nasty dunk, to wit:


But the “Cavs Scream Team?” Well, they faked the funk. They popped and locked pretty well, but I think history will show that they faked the funk with a …purple …thingy. And that left the Spurs a cakewalk to the title, free of possible interference from the funk.

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[Business Day One] Saving The Drama For One’s Mamma


Lou Piniella Yelling at an UmpMay has been an interesting month in the world of sports, and June is shaping up to be the same. Sure, the Stanley Cup Finals are going on, the NBA finals are just starting, and baseball is nearing midseason, but that’s not what’s making it all so interesting. The really compelling thing is the media coverage, which has trended towards sensationalism more than I’ve ever seen in the past. For me, May was a watershed month. For the first time in my adult life, I looked at SportsCenter as a television last resort instead of an integral part of my television day.

I’m at my wits’ end and I don’t think I can take this anymore. Sports reporting has had little or nothing to do with actual sports for over a month. Beat writers are finding stories about sluggers canoodling with ex-strippers, dugout fistfights, and the racial impact of black guys hard-fouling white guys. Oh sure, they throw a highlight in of an actual play on ESPN or make mention that a game was played in the papers. But I haven’t been able to sit down and watch a clean, “sport first” television show since sometime in April.

Well, if that’s the evolution of coverage in this over-saturated media of ours, so be it. ???? ????? ????? I have to adapt with the times. And I think the first step towards that is taking stock of the top stories. I’ve picked six that have received most of the sports coverage over the past few days, and I’m going to score them in three categories: Coverage Level, Entertainment Factor, and Sports Value. Scale of 1 to 5.

Let’s dance:

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Cleveland over Detroit in 2OT


So I watched a basketball game last night.

I was out with a crowd of friends at a bar in Watertown and the last quarter of the Cleveland/Detroit game was on. Between speculation as to which upcoming films based on Marvel properties were going to suck (Transformers, probably; Fantastic Four 2, certainly), we watched some postseason basketball.

Things I Still Don’t Like About Basketball:

  • The inordinate influence held by one or two players. “Name three Cleveland players other than LeBron James,” a friend observed. I’ll bet all the plays in Mike Brown’s playbook have four squiggles for the other players and a gold star for LeBron.
  • The repetitive dynamic of play. The most crucial plays in a game of basketball will alter the score by no more than 3 points for either side; in a 100-point game that’s meaningless. Basketball’s more Mozart than Beethoven – too many notes to follow.Rasheed is charging up his attack
  • Courting fouls. As one girl at the table pointed out, Rasheed Wallace is particularly operatic in his play, clutching at wounds real or imagined and shaking his fist at heaven if a foul isn’t called. He’s an understudy for the Fisher Theatre’s production of Twelve Angry Men this fall.

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“[NBA] playoffs? You want to talk about [NBA] playoffs? Are you kidding me?”


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Other people hear that Dallas was knocked off and cheer. I hear it and immediately say, “Wait – didn’t the NBA just have playoffs?”

I seriously cannot keep track of the NBA’s season. Baseball and football have traditional seasons associated with them (spring and summer in the former; fall and winter in the latter). But until the NBA starts playing outdoor games, I’ll never have a concrete sense of when it’s “basketball season.” However, you can get the latest and most up-to-date NBA picks when you need them most only here at NBA picks and predictions!

NBA.com tells me that the playoffs started on April 21st and could end on June 21st. That’s two straight months of playoffs. Consider that pre-season games begin in early October and you’ve got an 8-month season. Can you imagine if football started in July? Or if the first pitch was thrown in March? That’s the level of absurdity we’re talking about here.

So here’s my new and improved NBA schedule, designed using science and shit.

(1) You play everyone in your conference twice.

(2) You play everyone in your division an additional time (so, three times for them in total)

(3) You play eight games out of conference, I don’t care against who. Are the fans really dying for a Clippers / Bobcats match-up? I don’t think so. Read More