The Moonball Blog

Friday, June 27, 2008

Another Wolves Bunglectomy?

In the draft last night, I was hoping the Wolves would take after the Portland Trailblazers, and at least make some moves. Didn't see much to get excited about -- the expected Mayo pick, the Center I had never heard of who's playing in Greece for a few more years, and Mario Chalmers, who was traded to Miami for those dreaded words I remember from the Foye-Roy trade -- "Cash Considerations." Ugh!

Meanwhile, the Nets seemed to make out like bandits after the Milwaukee trade, with Lopez and Ryan Anderson and Chris Douglas-Roberts who all will fill needs for them. And Portland -- what, did Paul Allen have his tech buddies build a time/space black hole that has an infinite number of roster spots housed behind the Blazer's Rose Garden bench? How many promising young guys can one team have???

Anyway, I wake up this morning to find out the Wolves DID make a move. A big move! Given their history -- it's hard not to think that we've been screwed out of another potential star in this league, all for a Teddy Bear looking galoot that Kevin McHale had his eyes on. But here's hoping it's not that simple.

I hate to say it, but I like this trade (and that should send red flags up to anyone who remembers me waxing poetic about Marko Jaric when we sent Cassell packin' along with a first rounder). Two wrongs don't make a right, but one of the nice things about this trade is the Wolves managed to shed Marko's ugly contract, along with Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner -- (granted, they took back Jason Collins and Brian Cardinal...but both their contracts are up before Marko's). Meanwhile, the Wolves get Mike Miller in the deal -- who has some serious shooting skills, and absolutely killed the Wolves every which way last year. He is a pretty nice player (although he seems to break down every once in a while), and I hope he will help space the floor to give Big Al some room to work.

As far as Mayo vs. Love...I haven't watched drafts for very long, being a new cable customer. But it seems like the puppy cage at the pet store. You kinda want to take home every one. And when I watched Memphis draft Kevin Love, it kinda hurt. I know McHale likes him, which is a bad sign. But I liked how he played as a freshman in the tourney, and he did a lot of things well. Plus, I watched a LOT of Wolves ball last year -- and I saw enough combo guards, and not enough help for Big Al. It seems like everyone on the Wolves was small for their position. Kevin Love is probably not the perfect Center option -- he might play more as a PF with Jefferson at the 5 again. But at least he's got some size, is a threat to score, and can pass. Plus he sounded genuinely ecstatic to be coming to Minnesota, going as far as calling it his "new favorite city" and "a colder Portland" in his press conference. And that (plus Mike Miller) is enough for me -- even if Mayo becomes a pretty good NBA player. If Mayo becomes the second coming though, Gods help us, we are losers.

I'm happy for Memphis -- at least they have a box office draw. But they have so many guards, they will probably have to fix it with more trades. (At least they replaced JC Navarro...) I still think there will be many lottery picks in their future.

Post trade I think the Wolves are stronger and more evenly spread, top-to-bottom. And it might even be nice to have some beefy scrubs like Collins and Cardinal to spell Mad Dog. (I'm guessing the Mad Dog fans will go nuts for Cardinal as well, when he gets out there at the end of games.) It will be interesting to see who else the Wolves choose to keep -- I think they have to stick with Gomes, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to give Bassy another shot. He is restricted. Still don't know what to do about McCants. Shrug.

Some problems, though. I heard Mayo was a defender, and I liked the idea of him paired with Brewer, hounding people. With their new configuration, I can't think of any impact Wolves player that can defend very well...although every starter now is a good rebounder. The other thing is that Kevin Love is supposed to be a great outlet passer. But I've never seen anyone on this team that wanted to run. Maybe it was the bad knee, but Randy Foye sure looked like he wanted to go into a half-court set every time up the court -- he'd usually dribble for a while and force up a bad shot. Maybe if the Wolves start to coach more transition ball, they might be better off. I just haven't seen it yet, and I don't know if it's in their makeup.

That's my two cents -- congrats to the other people who read this board, I think most of your teams had good drafts. May we all meet in the playoffs again some day...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ba-Dop-Ba-Ba-Ba (I'm Lovin It)

Could not be happier about the Celtic's championship: The parade, the interview with Champ Garnett and Champ Pierce, the wild first pitch at Fenway, and now the Shaq Attack on the Kob-ster. Beautiful.

The circus around Shaq's diddy is pretty funny, from the newly arrived 'comprehension' of free-stylin to debates of whether Shaq left the moral high ground. But the clincher of stupid takes on Shaq's escapade is that of Joe Arpaio, a human rights abuser going after Shaq for his language. Like Arlo Guthrie getting classified as morally unfit to join the Army for littering all over agin.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Schadenfreude finals

The only pleasure I took in the Finals match-up this year is the knowledge that one of those teams had to lose. Rather than reveling in a Boston and/or KG triumph like others, I could only enjoy the demise of the Lakers, who suffered almost as complete a Finals destruction as they did against the Pistons in 04. In the process, Kobe takes a big hit. Not only did he revert to a chucker baby, the mask of leadership he has been trying to sport this year was ripped off once the going got tough. So at least we have that going for us.

As for the Celtics, what can you say? They were the best team in the league wire to wire this year and it now just seems odd that everyone thought they'd get beat in the Finals (me included). Props to Weedie, not only for getting to bask in the glow of this victory but for having the vision that saw it coming in the first place. Other than thinking that Eddie House would be a good weapon against a Pistons team that could pressure a point guard, he had it all right. How sweet must that be?

The sad thought for many of us is that I can easily see this finals again next year. I think you have to see the Celtics as a favorite to repeat; they will only be better next year. The big 3 won't fall off that much and the young guys will only get better. In fact, the big question leading into the season and the playoffs, whether younguns like Rondo and Perkins could contribute enough in a supporting role, has been answered in a resounding way. If Rondo adds even a mid-range J he has elite point guard status written all over him. Hell, he might be there anyway--I don't remember a better ball hawk (Mookie? Scottie?). And Perkins was fantastic, at least in the two series I tuned into closely. He was a force against the Pistons and the Lakers--it was very telling that Pau and Odom got off only in the game he was out. He was very impressive.

As for the Lakers, their road is much tougher: Spurs will be in an odd-numbered year, Hornets will be better, Blazers on the rise, etc. But they should add Bynum back, giving them a most fearsome, if a little soft, front court, to go with the Beef. Their young bench should improve, too, and they'll be hungry after the embarrassment.

As for my own team, I'm intrigued to see what Joe D. does with the roster, but will be a little sad if the core gets broken up. It's probably the right thing to do, but this group has brought great highs to Motown and I'll miss anyone shipped off. I'm feeling the Michael Curry hire, though. I just hope he has some good technicians as assistants.

Another season in the books, now hope springs eternal...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What More Can I Say?

Top Billin

The Truth as MVP: He went toe to toe with Kobe and clowned that sucka


The play that broke L.A.: And 1

P.J.s block on that Kobe spin move was more dramatic, but the old man stood tall vs all Laker chumps


Thank you KG, Paul, Ray, Kendrick, Rondo, Posey, PJ, Leon, Eddie, Sam, Glenn, Tony, Scal, Scott, Gabe, Doc and Danny. Celtics fan have waited 22 years to return to the pinnacle.

Top of the World! Top of the World!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Boston Celtics Just Won the NBA Finals, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

KG finally won a ring -- in stunning fashion. He and the rest of the C's truly earned it with the vision they found to turn this team around. Ray Allen had some beautiful stretches too -- Doc Rivers was first-class, and the bench was huge in every game.

But no doubt -- what the Celtics already had made the biggest difference. During this NBA finals, Paul Pierce pushed the Celtics into greatness. KG brought defense and consistency that changed the culture and helped start the Finals on the right foot. Then Pierce brought this championship home.

Peace to my Boston brothers -- enjoy it.

As hard as it has been to see KG in another uniform this season...the Celtics thoroughly embarrassing the Lakers so many times throughout this playoffs has at least brought some satisfaction.

Meanwhile, the howlin' will continue up north.

Anyone who's not a Laker fan -- even the Wolves and Al Jefferson can take hope from this. As KG said in his postgame interview --- Anything's possible. Anything's POSSIBLE!!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Stormin Mormon

The story goes something like this...
Red called Danny with intent of bringing him into the fold and adding depth to a Celtic back court that featured an aging Tiny Archibald. Danny said something to the effect of "I dunno Red, I wanna try this baseball thing and see how it pans out."
"Bullshit. You're a basketball player," Red retorted.
Not so long after that the cigar smoking genius from Brooklyn strolled through the Celtic locker room and spied Ainge and Kevin McHale playing cards for money. "Danny," Red said. "I thought Mormons were not allowed to gamble."
"Playing cards with Kevin is not gambling," Danny replied.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I Was Dreamin When I Wrote This

In what is turning out to be perhaps the greatest year in all of Boston sports fandom, it is hard to even imagine anything greater than the Celtics historic comeback. Down 21 after 1, 24 in the 2nd, 18 at half, 20 midway through the 3rd. As the Lakers piled it on, the pain and anger exploding in monkeyshoes's living room was reaching the point of unacceptable human behavior. Odom has his tongue wagging through a goofy smile. Gasoft was getting easy looks on the screen role. The Laker bench pixies were getting all happy as the point margin swelled. Will Smith, Jaunty Jack and all those tinseltown Fakers thought they had a ticket to Summer action flick blockbuster.

When Kobe drained a J with Paul's hand in his face in the 3rd to get the Lakers back up by 18, an infinitely frustrating game seemed all but done. The huge early lead, built on LA shot making, Boston shot bricking, and a series of crazy no calls on the Laker defenders, seemed to steep to climb. The Kobster, the greatest front runner of his generation, seemed poised to cement a pounding on the Celtics that would have switched the momentum of the series.

Guess again.

Where was the moment the game turned? What was the Brian Shaw bank-shot moment? Pauly swatting that Kobster's patented turn around was a helluva play, snatching the ball and leading Ray out on the break with an insta-outlet. So was the sequence where Perk hurt his shoulder denying a highlight dunk from Lamar Odom, whose subsequent foul shots matched the Laker high water mark of the 2nd half. Strangely, the consensus game changing moment in Che-monkeyshoes was the few minutes delivered by one Tony Allen is the late 3rd. Posey had just picked up his 5th. Doc originally motioned for Powe to check in. Then following one of his oft-criticized hunches, Doc stayed small, inserting bench bound Allen. He did little that will register in the box score--a defensive board is all history will record. But he played his role. He defended his man, and executed the team scheme. With injuries and fouls adding to the Celtics' challenge, Tony Allen gave his teammates 3 minutes of energy, consistency and execution. Ubuntu.

Pauly makes that crazy three point play. PJ dunks on Kobe's eye. 2 point game going into the fourth.

And how bout Mr. Eddie House? He got some serious guff on this chat board before the Piston series. He is, after all, just Eddie House. But, as he kept shouting after all his big second half bucket: I am a motherf*cking shooter, I am a motherf*cking shooter. Remember that, Jordan Farmar, you front runnin scrub.

I'd be lying if I told you that I am waiting for a 4th win to celebrate. Lakers are done. Their weak will has been broken, just like Ray Ray broke down the happy hacker Sasha Vujacic on that last drive. Just like the Red Sox did the Yankees in roughing up the great Rivera in Games 4 and 5, a loss like LA's will sit with them for the rest of their lives.

As for Celtic lore, this one is one of the sweetest. The best thing to happen to the Green since Magic dropped that hook shot stunner back in 1987. There was a great camera shot as the Celtics headed back to the locker of Danny Ainge, flushed and perhaps teary eyed, tugging on Posey's jersey as he headed into the tunnel. The Celtic mystique has returned.

The next win will not come easy, but it will come. The big score board will read Celtics 17, Lakers 14. Paul, KG and Ray are all going to the Hall with Rings.

Holy shit!

Can you believe the guts in Kevin Garnett? Faced with the possibility of Kobe looking anything other than a fool, KG and company shut the ass rapist down. I am embarrassed to use those words but I don't know any other which adequately describe the situation. If there were any justice in the world, Kobe would not be able to show his face on network tv.

I wish I was not so compelled to root against Phil but I will get behind Farragut's best player ever defending Mike's legacy before I consider the possibility of Jackson winning 6 with two different teams.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vincent of the Black One

Do you want to coach the Bulls? Can't get there if you don't go through Phoenix.

Rookie coach, #1 draft pick, how could this go wrong?

At least the Sox are 5 1/2 games up in the AL Central.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Punks Get Up to Get Beat Down

2-0 heading to L.A. Paul not only looks healthy, he has been the series best player hands down. Rondo is dominating the ancient Fisher. Ray Allen has found his stroke. KG is being his dominant self. The bench is going nuts. Best of all, the Lakers have yet to effectively defend the Celtics for a period more than 5 minutes. The Championship is nigh.

My two favorite parts of the game were the respective blocks by Rondo and Pierce on Laker threes. We got these suckas.

Despite the Lakers furious comeback in Game 2, they are a team in disarray. Brutalized by a 6-8 bench player, the Lakers have shown little or no appetite for physical basketball. Instead, the 'embittered because we entitled' duo of Kobe and Phil spent their post game interview pointing fingers at the officials. Better still, Pau spent his post game wondering aloud why he doesn't get the ball more often. Fun stuff.

The irony of Kobe, Phil and the Laker's front running fans complaining about calls is too sweet for words. To think of every heavy elbow the Daddy dropped into Sabas' jaw for an 'and one', every touch foul Kobe 'earned' 23-plus feet from the basket. . . or better yet, to think of the Laker bloggers and chat board geeks belittling of officiating complaints of Blazers, Wolves, Spurs and Kings fans over their run early in the millennium.

Sure there were some tough calls versus LA last night. Both Kobe and Farmar literally had their arms grabbed on whistle-less drives to the hole. But have you seen Kobe put his body on the line once this series? Remember Bron getting knocked to the earth again and again versus Boston? Dude knew that to get into he paint against the Celtics means taking a hit. Kobe knows that too, and yet he chooses to blame the refs. Pitiful. How was it the refs' fault that Leon Powe dribbled 3/4 court for a two-handed cram shot?

The Kob-ster talked about learning some things from the Lakers' 6 minutes of scoring in the 4th quarter. What did they learn? When the Celtics stop concentrating that the Lakers can play well on offense? Good luck building on that edge.

The Celtics see the blood in the water. The travails versus the kiddies in the ATL, Cleveland's Team LeBron, and the Motor City marauders have prepared them well. All 12 guys are locked in. If L.A. has a weak first half at the Staples, this series is a sweep. Unless L.A. has a radical change in character, there is no way Boston is not winning at least one out West.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Feelin Good, Feelin Great

I am so pumped up after the Celtic's Game 1 victory. Of course I am worried about Paul's knee. . . I think he will certainly be having surgery after the playoffs end. But what get me so excited was how the C's won as a team. Pierce's heroics would have been a footnote is PJ Brown didn't get his hands on practically every loose ball in the second half, if KG didn't pour in 16 first half points, if Rajon didn't win his matchup with old man Fisher, if Ray hadn't been wettin his jumper. You get the point. Great execution of defensive rotations, bangin those LA suckers on the boards, closing the lane to the Kob-ster: All of that made Game 1 possible. That good news, cause that is simply the style Boston plays.

I was more pleased watching the post-game media session with a bitter, and almost petulant, Bryant. The best player in the League was pissed because he missed some 'bunnies.' When asked if he should be going more to the hoop, Bryant basically said that the Celtics' D made that impossible; he would simply just have to hit his shots. Now, we all know Kobe is capable of hitting most every shot he missed in Game 1. But if one of the best scorers the League has ever seen in conceding driving the lane (and getting himself to the foul line), I could not be happier. Further, his 'this is all on me' attitude plays exactly into the best case scenario for the Cetlics to prevail: The Kob-ster wants to fly like Superman and he forgets to play team ball. Finally, his weak comments about responding to the Celtics' physical play (we can adjust just like we did with Utah) tell me that L.A.'s leader has a bit of Charmin in his game.

Of course a hobbled Pierce could end my good feelings quickly. The Celtics' captain has been a defensive monster and an explosive scorer. I do think it would be possible for the C's to win without him, but only under the most magical of storylines. Tony Allen's quote about Pierce's dramatic return says much about Pierce's influence on the team: "I could see it in his eyes, he willed himself back. You know, that's The Truth, man! That's The Truth!"

I am moved to speak on KG for a moment: What an intro to the Game's biggest stage. KG was amazing. His scoring kept the Celtics in the first half. His rebound follow slam on Gasol's fugly mug shut the door in the 4th quarter. The defense, of course, was a constant. The Lakers are helpless to stop KG. Watching him dribble around Gasol like he was an orange practice cone means great things for Boston. KG can get whatever he wants the whole series.
In his post-game media session with Paul, KG made a comment (to Paul, not the reporters) about the importance of yoga breathing exercises during the game to calm his emotions. Dave and I had been noticing how during timeout, KG has been closing his eyes and sitting almost motionless. I thought it was the sleepness nights. But no. Like a Jedi waiting for the blast shield to rise, he rests in quite meditation, waiting to kick ass as soon as the action resumes. Winning without Paul would be near impossible. But as the ad says, impossible is nothing to KG.

Boston is winning this thing.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How the Celtics Defeat the Lakers (and other thoughts East)

Let me start by saying, Kobe scares the F outta me. He is a killer, plain and simple. Now that he has some running mates who can play, stopping him from grabbing the ring is a tall, tall order.

KG is a tall, tall order. . . but I will get to that in a moment.

Despite the prowess of this Laker jugernaut, I see two areas where the C's can (and must) make hay. The offensive boards, and a defense geared to make Kobe shoot early and often.

As good as Pau is in the paint, he has a consistent knack of missing his box out. Further, rumor has it that Odom will start out on Perkins. That gives both of the Celtic bigs a huge advantage on the offensive glass. The Lakers are going to put up some points on the board. Getting some cheapies off rebounds will be needed to off-set the Laker explosiveness.

As crazy as Ray Allen guarding Kobe might sound, there is method to the madness. Shutting down those dunk alley-oops to Gasol is more important than stopping Kobe from dunking himself. Letting the Kob-ster get happy with his jumper may mean he drops 50 and beats you. But removing the impact of Kobe's running mates is the key to the series. Whatever advantage the C's bigs may have on the offensive glass, stopping Gasol and Odom will be major under-taking. Unlike Kobe, stopping those two is at least possible. KG, Perk and PJ are up for the task.

Beyond (and behind) the on-court dynamics, the series will likely be decided by which team wants it more. What defines greatness is always about the will to win. These are two evenly matched teams. The reason the Lakers are the favorite is Kobe's well established will to be the best. What so many overlook is those cats in green known as KG, Pauly P and Jesus Shuttleworth
have got their own score to settle. Gasol, Odom and all those sucker Lakers are gonna fold when the Celtics bring the heat. The series will be tough, maybe even going 7 games. But with Ray Allen playing well and Celtics having rediscovered themselves on the road, the time for Banner #17 is nigh.

* * * *

Since I'm rambling, couple notes on the East: I can see where Flip had to go, but I hope Joe D doesn't break up that nucleus quite yet. . . Ray Allen has a hilarious line in his explanation of why he started wearing a protective sleave: "I wore it because I had all these scratches on my arm from Rip," said Allen. "His nickname is appropriate". . . Collins to the Bulls is good news for NBA fans tired of listening to that groveling Kobe lover. Can you imagine how sucky it will be as a Bull to listen to Doug gush over Kobe in the prep sessions for next years LA-Chicago games? . . . Trading Dwyane Wade would be Super Stupid. . . If Boston beats LA, can we start talking abut the end of the East-West imbalance?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Historic St. Paul Evening

Craziness - the 25 minute walk to the end of the line was the wildest part. It was exhilarating to see so many, many people waiting in line for Barack, even when they didn't have a chance of getting in. Along with 17,000 others, I did manage to get in, with 2 minutes to spare. (15,000 watched from outside.) A great night.

Everything but the great hands

Scottie Pippen said it. So did Dale Davis. Kenny Smith says it still.

'Rasheed Wallace has all the tools to be the games' best'

Almost all of the tools. Rasheed, ya see, has regular sized human hands on his superhuman extendo body.

Now, I am actually of the school that what truly defines greatness is the will to win. But at the highest level of any sport, the invitation to the party requires a certain level of physical gifts. Rasheed certain got an invitation to the damn party. And while some may argue that his greatest shortcoming is his short temper/uneven intensity (I do not disagree), you cannot discount the impact of Sheed's small hands when it comes to his scoring and rebound numbers. His small hands also explain his relative lack of in-game handle for such a highly skilled big.

When Sheed first came to Portland, he was skinny kid who had trouble holding his spot on the block. The Blazers were guard dominated in those days, with Kenny Anderson and J.R. Rider carrying much of the scoring load. Sabas was in the pivot or the high post, and all of that added up to only a handful of looks for Sheed in the post. Worse yet for the young man, it seemed like almost every other time the ball was thrown his way, his defender would bump him and he would cough up the ball. Mychal Thompson, who doing Blazer post game radio at that time, did a little expose on Sheed's tiny hands. His conclusion was that though Sheed could do a lot to strengthen his hands and his overall body, his hands would always limit his ability as either a big time scorer or rebounder.

Well, Mychal knew something. Sheed now longer gets jostled on the block, but receiving the ball against an aggressive double team and rebounding in traffic are two things you will rarely see from him. When he scores big, most often he has taken advantage of the open shots within the offense. Force feeding Sheed does not work well, because you increase the chance that he will have to catch in traffic. We have all seen him lose his grip on the ball when he swings into the lane off the dribble for that 'guess you could call it a hook' shot. But hit him in rhythm on the break or spotting up from 3: Sweet music.

As a fan, I have struggled a bit more with Sheed's rebounding. So long and so quick to the ball. How is it he cannot board with the best? Isn't rebounding about desire. Well, yes. But rebounding has a specific invitation to the greatness party that has to do with hands. Reggie Evans has those hands. So did Larry Smith Rasheed is not invited to this party.

But one of the many things I love about Sheed is how he sticks to what he does well. So he is not a big time rebounder. He is always the best team defender on his squad, covering for the mistakes of perimeter defenders as well as helping in the paint. Only KG compares on defending the pick and role. Rasheed is also great on the box out. He may not grab the board, but he often clear the way for teammates. Like his scoring, his rebounding is situational. He will certainly grab them if they come his way, but he does not chase the ball like the great board men.

Ultimately, Sheed has figured out the limits of his hands, and has built an All-Star level game on both ends of the floor. Compared to the other great power forwards of his time (Tim, KG, CWebb) his number will always pale. And he still lets his temper overwhelm his will to win. He will never be 'The One.' But most night, Sheed excels by letting the game come to him, caring only about the numbers on the score board. Pretty right on, by my account.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

3 OT classic and props to The Rat House

Jenny, oh Jenny. To Quote Larry Bird, “You said it all when you said right there.” Things have a way of coming full circle. As an NBA fan I spent the last twenty years rooting for things to be interesting. Yes, I got behind the Blazers (still do) but they will never be my team. Yes, I remember the Jim O’Brien days in Boston but those teams truthfully sucked. Now I am back to where you want to be as a fan. I have degrees of hate for all other teams in the L. So I hope you can enjoy basketball for basketball and the intrinsic value of the NBA Finals. But you should be melancholy. I appreciate that about you.

Monday, June 02, 2008


How Do I Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Celtics?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a fan these days.

KG was traded, and a few days later, the bridge collapsed. (Bizarrely, Flip Saunders happened to be driving on a parallel bridge a few hundred feet away and witnessed the whole thing as it happened. But more on him later.) Obviously and understandably, nobody here was talking about KG then – and our grief over the trade was truncated.

Given my druthers, I would have taken the year off the NBA all together. (Does such an emotional response make me a “good” fan, or a “bad” one?) My plan was to wear black, cancel my 10-game ticket package and just sit my melancholy ass out. In the ultimate twist, for the first time in Moonball history I actually had a competitive team, and due to my competitive nature, after a brief interlude I didn’t take the year off after all.

Intellectually (if you can use that term at all in this context), I thought I was ready and willing to root for KG. I don’t blame him one iota for the situation and circumstance under which he left. In fact, the better he does, the more it sticks it to McHale. But when it came down to the rooting question, I just couldn’t do it. No matter, I thought. I’ll certainly root for him when he’s in the playoffs. But, I find, I still haven’t been able to. I’m not sure why.

I can’t articulate it beyond saying that it’s incredibly painful to watch him.

For those who speak in this blog of “easily discarding,” however you choose to define “discard” there is nothing easy about this.

I felt that as Wolves fans we went through the awful experiences with KG. The bad teams, the bad management, the bad drafting, the loss of even the option of bad drafting, the revolving door of point guards: Stephon, Terrell, Chauncey, Sam (his inclusion on that Celtic team just adds insult to injury to a ridiculous degree), Thud, etc, etc, etc. In the long run, maybe it wasn’t so bad, though, because oh what a joy it was to cheer for KG. (And for those blogging about how great KG is: Yeah, yeah, we know. We've known this for years.) KG so deserves to win and I don’t begrudge him it, but find myself selfishly thinking that we Wolves fans deserve something, too. And now we’ve been left behind. Because KG doesn’t do anything half-assed, he has embraced being a Celtic so wholeheartedly it’s as if he has always been a Celtic. I find myself the jilted lover, wondering, “did he really mean it when he said he bled blue and green?”

The story goes that when Marbury left Minny, Flip Saunders was never quite the same – as either a coach or a man. Broken, perhaps. Maybe that’s what it is I’m feeling now. Maybe being a fan is just a series of “breakings.” Kirby Puckett going crazy; Game 7 Suns v. Rockets; Game 7 Blazers v. Lakers (for the record, I can't even watch these clips, so many years later)…and after each, I haven’t been quite the same.

My being a basketball fan has had an odd trajectory. I started as a fan of one man: Charles Barkley. He had no relation to my location. It didn’t matter to me much when he left Phoenix for Houston. Then, when he retired, my surrogate hometown team the Blazers. Top to bottom, that was real team love. Hell, I even loved Scottie Pippen when he showed up on the scene, for chrissake. And through it all, the Timberwolves. And to me, KG was the Timberwolves. So what to do with the love when KG leaves? Is it the team or the man? Is it the city? And what is more legitimate in terms of being a fan?

I’m not sure why, but there’s something about the notion of being a fan that is somehow tied up with a concept of honor to me – from the time that I told Mike I had been called a “fanatic” and he said he was proud of me (the moment I have always credited as the moment that I actually became a fan). I have followed a fan code of ethics of sorts: you don’t leave early; you don’t boo your team; you cheer hard - always. It’s why my being a fan of KG was such kismet. He himself is an honorable player, with his own code: you don’t take games off; you care for your teammates; you play hard – always.

So, now it’s the ultimate situation. The finals. KG vs. the most loathsome team, the most loathsome player, in the history of my fandom. It’s a situation just begging me to weigh in, and again I’m feeling a little melancholy. I can’t say where I’ll be on Thursday. Don’t worry. Whatever the situation, I won’t be rooting for the Lakers. Just not sure how I'll be feeling about the Celtics.

What's the point of the post? Ah, hell, I don't know. Just chalk my ramblings up to that truncated grief. And why James Caan, do you ask? Mostly just wanted to knock a Celtic off the top of the page, for a short time anyway. Also, he’s one of my favorite second bananas in all of the movies. Speaking of second bananas, this one would like to congratulate David on a great Moonball season.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Shuffling the deck while basking in the glow of sports' greatest city.

The Celtics got mad heart and P.P. is way better than people give him credit for. The Truth reps Inglewood and he’s gonna make Kobe cry. Doc Rivers might be the new Terry Francona; you wanna keep saying he is fuckin up but his team keeps winning and his players love him.

The Red Wings have some of the best unis in sports. Congrats on the imminent Cup, Tom.

Manny hit 500 tonight but this link is my favorite play ever.