Hey, everybody. It's been a long time and a lot of strange shit has happened.

If you find yourself here for any reason, I want you to know that I appreciate you. Whoever you are, wherever you be, I love you.

This may be my last post as Basketbawful. (Better late than never, I hope.) Or it may not be.

If it ~is~ my last post, then I have one final thing to say.

Okay, a ~few~ final things to say.

Steve Nash deserved the MVP over Kobe because he put his team first.

Derrick Rose deserved the MVP over LeBron because he put his team first.

Steph Curry is the GOAT because and because he put his team first.

That's just how I feel.

Stats (I'm looking at you, Player Efficiency Rating) don't tell a player's story. Those are just nuts and bolts. Tools. They're like a wave in the ocean. Cool in their own way, but they aren't the ocean.

Championships don't tell a player's story, either. They tell the story of 12 players, several coaches, team personnel, owners, etc. etc. etc. all the way down to the guy running the credit card system for the stadium concessions (you know who you are, and I love you, too).

In the end, "basketball" is a story we all tell about a game we all share. The truth -- if you're the kind of person who's looking for it -- is in your own lived experience. That's it. That's the secret. If you were looking for one of those as well.

Again, and I'm stressing this: Steph Curry is the GOAT. To me. In my experience.

Steph, if you ever happen to see this, I want to thank you personally for inspiring me.

Thanks for reading, everybody. 

~Matthew Danielle Morningstar~

P.S. Firstly, let me say that a P.S. is not less important than the rest of the post. It's actually just as important -- more important, actually, because the above was made to entice you into reading this part, which is purely personal. 

Some thank you's are in order. Ahem.

Thank you to my best friend Mikey for creating Basketbawful with me. All the joy it brought me wouldn't have happened without your friendship and inspiration.

Thank you to my previous life partner, Amanda, who willingly and lovingly sacrificed a sizable chunk of our union to this little passion project of mine. I will be forever grateful.

And thank you a fuck ton to Chris and Dan, my faithful sidekicks on the adventure. I could not have managed the day-to-day writing without your logistical help and your friendship, which I am blessed to enjoy to this day.

I love you all so much. I hope you knew. And if you didn't, I hope you do now.


In terms of bawfulness, there probably would have been no better outcome at the NBA's first annual award ceremony than for LeBron to win over James Harden, generating the gif that would be playing below of a slow motion zoom on Harden's face--the perfect portrait of enraged disbelief.

But alas, the voters made the obvious choice, and there is no such gif. There are few players that have ever seemed to want an MVP as clearly as Harden has, something he hasn't made a secret. Although I don't believe that he's actually the best player in the game, not giving the MVP to the player who led the league in scoring on the team with the league's best record would be unprecedented and absurd, not to mention unamerican.

Another obvious choice was Ben Simmons. As impressive as Donovan Mitchell's scoring exploits were, Ben Simmons' rookie numbers were eerily similar to Magic Johnson and the 76ers finished third in the east. It's a testament to how competitive this award was that the best rookie might not have been either player.

So smooth, so very smooth

I'm not sure if the Coach of the Year award eases the pain of unemployment for Dwane Casey or not, but it should look nice on his resume. I would've gone with Brad. He may have won four less games, but he was coaching a team in flux with plenty of injuries, which strikes me as more impressive than continuing to be successful with your two established stars playing 158 games.

Lou Williams got his compensation for not making the all-star team with his second Sixth Man award. Perhaps if he was still playing for the team he won the first one with, Casey would have an award aaand a job right now. Was Lou the right choice? Does anyone care? Well, maybe Eric Gordon, but in a year where the third most votes went to Fred VanVleet, might as well just give it to Sweet Lou.

Victor Oladipo was a slam dunk.

The hardest award to assign this year felt like DPOY. Green is always a solid choice, but didn't really do much to distinguish himself this year beyond what he'd already established. Davis comfortably led the league in blocks and is Anthony Davis. Drummond led the league in many advanced defensive stats, but something tells me this is an indicator that it's hard to create advanced stats for defense (still, I'll have to watch closer if the Pistons ever get on national TV again). Horford, Oladipo, George, and Capella deserve some sort of mention. Ultimately, Gobert took the award, which doesn't seem entirely unjustified as he is the anchor of a strong defense, but is still a bit of a headscratcher for me.

Obviously Gobert is not the guy you want waiting for you at the basket, but he didn't lead the league outright in any defensive statistic and played only 56 games. I'm also not aware of him leading the league in any advanced defensive stats, although he did often place in the top 5; so did Simmons, for that matter, and I didn't hear any noise about him being in the running. I'll go with Anthony Davis because he's fucking Anthony Davis and call it a day.    
There was a moment in these playoffs where it really looked questionable whether the Warriors and Cavaliers (both down 2-3 in the conference finals) would be making it to their 4th showdown. Then of course, Paul's hamstring went and the Celtics realized their best player can't buy beer (OK, maybe 2nd best, but I'm looking into the future in this post), and the outcome of the 2018 NBA campaign went back to feeling as obvious as it did before the season even started. Warriors roll Cavs, Durant does something awesome. Last night was that inevitability come to life. Not that there weren't some highlights along the way.

Despite ridiculous highlights from the King and a solid team performance, somehow even when the Cavs were tied in the 4th it felt like they were down 10. There was never, for me at least, a strong feeling that they were about to win it. Instead, it felt like everyone was just waiting for the moment when this would happen.

It's an added touch of cruelty that this is essentially the exact shot that Durant used to break Cleveland's back last year, except from further out. It's almost as if the entire 2017-18 NBA season was just an excuse for Durant to show that he could add another six feet to that dagger. Like it was all some bet he made with Curry in the offseason.

There's not much else to say here. We all saw this coming, except maybe during those couple days, or when the Cavs were struggling mightily against the Pacers and people were wondering which eastern team would be a foil for the Warriors greatness. I think I'll just include a couple of soul crushing images, one from Game 1 and one from last night, before we can all go back to speculating where LeBron is going (it's Houston. I don't know how, but it's Houston).

This is pretty much what you expect

This is just cruel

Losing a game at home where the Cavs have three of the five best performances and Rodney Hood, RODNEY HOOD, technically outplays Steph Curry? LeBron's starting his summer in a vendetta kind of mood.
Hello all.

It's been a long time. The last time I posted Steph Curry had never been to an NBA finals. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe were on NBA rosters. Basketball fans were obsessing over LeBron's offseason decisions...OK, some things haven't changed, but there have still been countless stories that came and went in the interim, many of which I wanted to post something about. It just simply didn't happen.

Partly to blame was my return to fulltime employment. My hat is off to anyone who can work a forty hour week and still manage to frequently update a blog with amusing, insightful material. Apparently I just didn't have it in me.

A lot can change in four years. Not just in basketball, but in the world and the culture we live in. In a strange way, I feel like mainstream sports reporting has caught up to this blog, but not necessarily in a good way. Attempts at objectivity have largely been replaced by opinion and derision. The blogger and the journalist have melded to a point where I can't tell one from the other anymore. So what used to be our job, mocking J.R. Smith, has now been handed over to Sports Illustrated. And you know what? They suck at it.

Which brings me to why I find myself with the need to communicate something right now. Like many of you, I've been reading coverage of the J.R. Smith brain fart from Game 1. For a fan of NBA absurdity, this should be an enjoyable experience; however, the more I read, the more I find my reaction turning from amusement to horror at the stupidity. Not at Smith, whose mistake occurred in real time without the benefit of being able to edit, but at the coverage. And last night I read something that has been buzzing around my head uncomfortably ever since.

In the insanely titled "Three reasons why J.R. Smith can never be forgiven," a Sports Illustrated writer whose name I'm not going to bother to type wrote the following statement: "There is nothing more fundamental to the game of basketball than the literal score. It’s what separates humans from animals."

Somebody actually thought up and wrote that last sentence, and Sports Illustrated decided to publish it. If a human can remember a score and an animal can't, then by implication this writer is calling J.R. an animal. Maybe it was meant as a joke, but it isn't a good one. It's far too close to what seems to be at the heart of bad sports writing: a disregard for the actual people who make up the sport.

Did J.R. make a mistake? Clearly. Does he deserve to have his humanity questioned for it? I don't think any sane person could really think so. But here we are. Apparently making a mistake in a ballgame now strips the player of their humanity and makes them unforgivable, far more so than a death row inmate who at least has the option of accepting Jesus before the switch is thrown.

Is this face beyond forgiveness?
Let's be honest. Not a single person reading this (assuming that there is a single person reading this) could snatch an offensive rebound away from Kevin Durant, which is what J. R. did to set up his gaffe. The sportswriter questioning J.R.'s humanity sure as hell couldn't. And even if any of us did get that rebound, we'd probably do something far more embarrassing with the ball than J. R. did. But he can never be forgiven because despite preventing the Warriors from getting the ball in a critical situation, he messed up once he had it.

I love basketball: the good and the bawful. But sometimes reading and hearing what people have to say about it makes my stomach churn.

Anyway, that's what I couldn't resist sharing. My fulltime employment has evaporated, so perhaps I'll write again before four years have past and the NBA Finals are being decided between the East all-stars and the heavily favored remnants of the Warriors Rockets merger (which will include a triple double averaging 37 year old LeBron). I hope you are doing well and enjoying the playoffs. And I hope J. R. hits a game winning three at the buzzer tonight. Maybe then, and only then, will sports commentators be forced to admit that there's such a thing as redemption. Even for J.R. Smith.

If by any chance you haven't already seen Paul George break his leg, and you are not really into watching people horribly injure themselves, save yourself some mental scarring and don't watch it.

I definitely regret seeing it.

Basketball supports suddenly fill me with a distinct uneasiness, and I find myself feeling grateful for my own lack of hops.

It's a painful irony that an injury like this required George's otherworldly athleticism. I can only hope that one day he is able to reach those same heights again.

Sorry to the Pacers fans out there. This has been an amazingly shitty offseason so far.

So... two?

Don't worry Heat fans; LBJ probably has two or three of these decisions left in him.

Meet the new Hondo

I don't have anything sardonic to say this morning.

Congratulations to the Spurs and their fans. We have all witnessed some beautiful team basketball.

OK, maybe I have a few sardonic things, but I'm going to get to that in another post. For now, let's just all bask in the glow of Kawhi Leonard becoming the youngest NBA Finals MVP since Tim Duncan, of Gregg Popovich sitting alone with his emotions on the bench while the celebration raged, of an endless barrage of three point swishes, and of Tim Duncan being... fucking Tim Duncan.

Here we go...

You don't even need your friends to carry you

You can do it while you watch TV

As anticipated, Parker struck back hard and decisively Sunday night, tying the series meme war at one game a piece.

Addressing reporters after the game, Parker had this to say:

"I saw all the attention that James generated with his theatrics, and yeah, to be honest, it made me a little jealous. I mean, I like attention too, and it's not like LeBron is the only guy in the league who can make grown men turn away in disgust by writhing in pain. Honestly, I've been doing that since before he even entered the league."

As of press time, Mario Chalmer's attempts to start a meme of his own had gone unrecognized, partly because of the physical difficulty of the memes he has been attempting, but mostly because nobody gives a fuck about Mario Chalmers.

At least the ref is impressed

One thing is for sure, whatever the outcome of tonight's game is, the Spurs and Heat will both be seeking that signature moment that will allow the rival team's fans to mock them pictorially over the next couple of days.