Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the First Day of Christmas, I Really Tried to Watch: 12 Hours of Basketball

In case you had to spend your Christmas with family members, or doing something other than watching over TWELVE HOURS of basketball – don’t worry, I tried to do it for you. This was me at 12:30 last night:

12:00PM EST – Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls

Q1 – 12:00Scrimmage Game #1 today features a rematch from the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last May. You can understand why the schedule included these two teams – Derrick Rose was supposed to elevate the Bulls to ‘contender’ status, and the Nets have spent more money on players than...actually than nothing. They've spent more money on players than anyone has on anything. Ever.  However, the teams are a combined 19-34 this year, somehow failing to be a part of the playoff picture in a dismal Eastern Conference. But Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich are both back in the Bulls lineup (they’re still missing Luol Deng), so maybe they’ll continue their upward trend from their last 10 games (6-4). The Nets, meanwhile, get Kevin Garnett back in action, which is a major boost after losing their leading scorer/rebounder/pickup line artist/basketball player Brook Lopez for the season. Plus...DJ Augustin!

Can you tell I’m trying to convince myself it is worth sitting in front of the TV for this game?

11:43 – Predictably, the Bulls first possession ends in a Carlos Boozer turnover.

10:43 – After the second Bulls possession ends in a Carlos Boozer turnover, the Nets also turn the ball over. I will not be blogging much of the rest of this game.

5:00 – 15-10 Brooklyn, and so far, Deron Williams is doing his best Utah Jazz Deron Williams impression. Really I’m done saying anything about this game, except that I just looked up stats for Chicago so far this year to find out they are LAST in the league in points scored per game, and are SECOND to LAST in points allowed per game. That’s going to have to change if they want to find themselves in the playoff picture.

Q2 11:44 – HA. What are Jason Terry and Paul Pierce wearing, and why did it take me this long to notice?

Q4 8:45 – Chicago is up 82-61, which means the reason anyone would want to watch this game – the prospect that it would be a close finish, filled with multiple sets from either team that don’t create any offense and end with Dunleavy or Teletovic heaving 3-pointers – has completely disappeared. One thing I will note – Jimmy Butler doesn’t really look like someone who has made ‘the leap,’ or even a mini-leap. If the Bulls plan on making the playoffs, or if they were planning on contending with Rose around, that was something they needed. Anyway...snore...

Is there a sim-to-end button?

2:30PM EST – New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Q1 12:00 – This isn’t really a contest – I may skip this game entirely. Durant leads the NBA in scoring. The Thunder are top 5 in the league in both defensive and offensive efficiency. The Knicks are 9-18. The Knicks' only chance in this game (Carmelo Anthony going 25-40 and scoring 65 points) was just erased – Melo is out with a sprained ankle. The Knicks’ “point guard” Raymond “stick of butter” Felton is also out.

Actually though, why is my TV on?

5:12 – You may want to sit down before reading is 18-18, and Andrea Bargnani is keeping the Knicks in this game. You know...this guy:

At 3:37 it was 23-20 Thunder, and the Knicks had the ball. The following Knicks possessions went: Beno Udrih attempts a shot over the backboard (and misses), JR Smith attempts a fading turn-around 20-footer (and misses), timeout, JR Smith contested three (miss) with a put-back from Chandler, Tim Hardaway Jr. contested three (miss), crazy possession with 2 near turnovers finishing with a Hardaway Jr. layup and foul, Hardaway fast break layup off a missed Westbrook dunk, a Smith layup, a missed JR Smith three after Amare Stoudemire nearly knocked him over (probably confused about why he was even on the court to begin with).

At the end of the quarter it is 35-29. The Thunder could be up 39-25 without doing much differently.

Q2 11:29 – Amare travels, meaning he has now messed up both possessions he has been involved in.

Q3 2:42 – Westbrook, Durant, and Ibaka hit back-to-back-to-back 3s to put the team up 77-55. A few minutes later, OKC is up 82-60. At the timeout, Amare Stoudemire says some words, causing Kendrick Perkins to put his stank-face on and get ready to fight. Amare must have confused Perkins for Hansborough, and himself for Metta World Peace:

"Oh, Ron, my bad, my bad."
Q4 - At some point, this happened.  Lol:

"Udrih, an open 3! ...ohhh..."

5:00PM EST – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat

Q1 12:00 – Game 3, or should I say nap 3, of the day features the defending champs against a team with a starting lineup roughly resembling the intramural teams I played on in college. Yet that Lakers team is 13-15, good enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve proved feisty at times this season.

Make no mistake, I expect most of the game to go like this:

But...where's the Lakers' defense?
So far the games that were suppose to be blowouts ended up being blowouts. My distaste for the Heaties is well documented, and while I will be rooting against them, I don’t expect to be sitting on the couch for more than a few minutes of the first quarter.

9:37 – The Lakers start 4 of 4 to go up 10-5, followed immediately by a Wade dunk to pull it up to 10-7. Side note: these tshirt jerseys look so tight in the shoulders – does that really not affect a player’s shooting motion?

5:45 – The Lakers are up 16-13 at the TV timeout. If I have to actually watch this game I’m going to be a little upset; it was almost naptime.

Q2 12:00 – Lebron drills a 3 to end the first quarter, but the Lakers still lead 27-21. Can they score and play defense like this all game?


Can they come close enough to keep it competitive? I guess we’ll see.

8:12 - Text from Paul: “New most interesting subplot of this game – can Nick Young aka SWAGGY P take a shot every minute?” Yet somehow, despite Swaggy’s 1-for-7 start, the Lakers are still up 34-31?

3:42 – The Heat put together a run, and are now up 44-39. So the Lakers call a timeout. As they walk over to the bench, a camera catches Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni mouthing to a courtside fan, “See, I told you it wasn’t sustainable.”

0:00 – The Lakers recover to go into the half down only 5, 51-46. Kobe tells the courtside reporter, “See, if you add in the 13 points per half I would average in games like this, we’d be up by 4.” Confused, the reporter questions his math, to which Kobe responded, “Obviously I’d also have hurt Nick after his 5th field goal attempt so he would have scored a little less.”

Q3 5:00 – Somehow, it is 66-64, the Heat are ahead. Wait...

4:17 – The Heat scored...but SWAGGY P went one on one to get another bucket! 68-66!

Q4 9:30 – Miserably bad call on what should have been a Norris Cole turnover. Instead, two points MIA to tie it at 81.

5:11 – Lebron stares down Brian Kelly and says, “I’m bigger, stronger, and baster than you. Plus you’re ugly and pale.” He then drives and finishes the play, putting Miami up 90-83. That was probably the game.

1:51 – The Lakers play an offensive possession entirely through Nick Young, sorry Swaggy P, which ends in SWAGGY P hitting an off balance three. The Lakers are within 5. What???

0:00 – Well, this one was certainly closer than expected. I think we learn a lot more about the Lakers than we do the Heat here – the rag-tag group they’ve put together is beginning to understand how to play in a way that generates shot opportunities. They still need plenty of work on the defensive end (they gave up a lot of open corner 3s), but they certainly know how to make a good team sweat out a win. And in a loaded Western Conference, that’s bad news for everyone.

8:00PM EST – San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets

1Q 12:00 – FINALLY we get a game with more than one good team! I have little more to say before this game – the names involved are enough: Leonard, Parker, Duncan, Ginobli (who, by the way, has decided he is over the severe bout of dysentery he must have been fighting during the NBA finals), Harden (gametime decision), Howard, Lin, Parsons (just kidding) (not really).

Welcome to Christmas Night.

Q3 8:02 – Did I doze off? Yes. Did I turn the game on to find the score at 67-56 Houston? Yes. Did the next two possessions feature two classic Spurs possessions ending in easy buckets in the paint? Yep. Surprise.

Q4 4:45 – James Harden has scored 11 in a row for Houston to push their lead out to 100-90. He’s kind of good.  I think that's all you'll need to know about how this game ended.

2:27 – Time is running out on the Spurs, down 104-92. However, in a great moment for everyone, Tim Duncan just did his vintage “you called a foul and my eyes are bugging so far out of my head.”

10:30PM EST – Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Q1 12:00 – Everyone’s darling out west, Golden State, currently holds the 8th seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps it’s a bit early to be concerned about exactly where everyone stands, but the Warriors could use a big win over the 20-9 4th seed, both in terms of their standings and for their confidence. Plus, the last time these teams played each other, blood boiled. This should be fun.

Oh, did I mention Stephen Curry plays for the Warriors?

Q4 0:00 – Cards on the table, I didn’t write this live. What! It's been a long day! I did watch almost the entire game, including the banked-in three at the buzzer, the ejection of Draymond Green, the second technical and ejection of Blake Griffin (lol got him!), Chris Paul’s teenage-girl-like fit with one second left when he didn’t get a call, and the scrap at the end. During this scrap I learned three things:

1. Brian Scalabrine is an assistant coach for the Warriors? What? Yes – this guy is now a coach:

2. Stephen Curry does not want to actually fight anyone. Remember when this happened?

3. Perhaps the most important thing I've learned all day: Brian Scalabrine is an assistant coach for the Warriors.

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