Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crawling from the Wreckage

The NBA playoffs are a perfect example of why I never, ever, ever bet on sports.

It's not because I haven't devoted enough time studying them; in fact, I probably spent too much time. I should have spent more time learning something useful, like Mandarin for instance, and less time reading various Sports pages and blogs...

No, it's because, as William Goldman once famously remarked about the motion picture industry, "nobody knows anything."

Nobody* knew the Lakers would fall apart like a cardboard suitcase and end up taking cheap shots at everybody they could throw an elbow at. Classy.

Nobody* knew the Mavs would actually be better with Caron Butler out for the year.

Nobody* knew Dirk Nowitzki would suddenly morph into some kind of Teutonic Larry Bird. Sure he had great offensive skills, but all of a sudden he has the cold blooded heart of an assassin to go with them.

Nobody* knew the Thunder would panic at the end of every game. For their sake, let's hope it was just the nerves of youth and not some deep seated pathology. Westbrook is just a kid, after all. It'll be a few more years before we know for sure whether or not he carries the deadly Stephon Marbury, "me first" gene.

As far as the Heat go, and I'm assuming they'll finish off the Bulls eventually if only because I'm rooting for the Bulls, everybody knew they could be great, but nobody but their immediate families and the people of Miami wants them to be great.

I haven't enjoyed watching a Pat Riley team play, (and whoever their coach is, Miami is Pat Riley's team), since the Showtime Lakers. His Knicks were like a roving gang of muggers who played the ugliest basketball I've ever seen. The Heat are infinitely more skilled, but that whole 'taking my talents to South Beach' circus left a bad taste in my mouth. LeBron James is a great player, but I find it very hard to like him.

The Mavs seem to have an edge on the inside, the Heat on the wings. Miami is faster and more athletic, Dallas better in the half court. Miami has more superstars, but Dallas has a deeper bench. And so on and so forth...I guess we'll see how tough Dirk really is, because the Heat will beat him up for 48 minutes every game. (That's the way the Eastern Conference team always plays.) Meanwhile, LeBron will crash through the middle like Lawrence Taylor chasing Joe Theismann, with nary a whistle to be heard. And so, once again, the championship of the NBA may be decided by how many fouls are or are not called...

* With the possible exception of Charles Barkley, whose commentary has been the most consistently entertaining thing about the playoffs...

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