Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Tweener: Chasing a Record, Crowds, and Flops

On February 26 I wrote an inaugural Tweener column.  As we push back each of our weekly columns in honor of Memorial Day, today becomes "Tweener Wednesday."  Here are this issue's quick hitters, and by quick I mean somewhere between short and TLDR:

>>>> The San Antonio Spurs complete their ground pounding series sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies over the holiday weekend.  They didn't win games in resounding and crushing fashion, but there was just this sense of inevitability.  In fact, since Westbrook went down, it has just felt that way about the Western Conference (I feel that way about the Heat and the Eastern Conference as well - it just feels like Lebron can just finish this when he wants, even though the series is now 2-2).  Lebron has played 128 playoff games already in his career.  That's a lot.  Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker have won 98 games together in the playoffs.  That's good for second all time, behind a group led by this guy:

Ok that's actually Michael Cooper, who played with Magic and Kareem.  So maybe he wasn't the leader.  Anyway, those three guys have won 110 games together, which means the Spurs trio can catch them by winning two games in the NBA Finals this year, two series next year, and two games in the Conference Finals next year.  Definitely conceivable.  And what's amazing is that the Spurs have had so much success, and Tim Duncan only just now realized he has arms:

>>>> I thought about changing the title of this week's column from Tweener Tuesday to Weener Wednesday, but didn't want it to get confused with either Weiner Wednesday (when now-NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner sends his email list a new picture of his junk) or Wiener Wednesday (when everyone in Vienna gets drunk and goes to see a Rapid Wien soccer game).  But that reminded me of this:

I miss European soccer games (a fact rubbed in by the Champions League final on Saturday).  Roughly, they have the intensity of a college basketball game at Allen Field House or Cameron Indoor, the alcohol flow of Oktoberfest, and the singing of 1,000 choirs.  My favorite part is the whistling.  Instead of booing a bad call, fans either yell obscenities or rip off an ear-piercing whistle.  They also do this any time someone they don't like has the ball.  Imagine 1,000 fans doing that in an indoor arena any time Lebron catches the ball.  Damn.  That might actually be distracting.

>>>> Here's a link to an ESPN article about Congressional representatives asking the NFL and DC to change the Washington mascot.  (You'll recall this piece I wrote in the winter that included a rant about how I refused to use the mascot name.)  I just want to take a moment to say I fully support this.  But I also want to share Paul's response: "I have something better to do that this."  The "they" there refers to Congress.  And he's right.

Which is not to say that they shouldn't care about how offensive this mascot is.  Or how much of an asshole the Washington owner is for saying he 'will never change' it.  But...there are other things to do.

>>>> I would like to take one more moment to discuss D-Wade.  And because I like making's a short one.

(a) He looked like he was so out of practice of taking crunch time shots last night that he froze up and didn't know what to do. He's not a good three point shooter...but he passed up an open look...and then passed up an open try and get off a three pointer.  In the process he got called for a (debatable) travel.  But even if that wasn't the right call - Wade: Lebron is on the bench! You have to do something! What is going on in your head!

(b) What was probably going through his head was a well oiled plan to injure someone else and have the TNT announcers apologize for him.  Seriously.  Wade's dirty play on Stephenson (video below) and egregious flop have called into question his character, which is too bad because he used to be loved by everyone (except maybe Dallas fans, but even they had a little respect for him).  Stop it - don't try and say this elbow was an accident.  He didn't have to jump, he could have lifted his arm up, and Stephenson wasn't even moving to be in his fact he was moving out of his way.  Now Wade's into retaliation and theatrics.  It's not a good look for you Wade.  And it gives me a legitimate reason to hope the Spurs crush you in the finals.

But what actually upsets me is the TNT reaction.  I know they probably know the players and don't want to badmouth them.  BUT GIVE ME A BREAK.  "Oh yeah Reggie that's definitely not intentional."  Shut up.

How he didn't get suspended for that I will never know.  Or fined for this:

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