Hurricane Sandy: Postponing the first game of the Brooklyn Nets is probably pretty low on the list of grievances against Sandy, but it earns her a worst of the night, nonetheless.

Return of the Duncan face: Only one game was played on All Saints' Day, but that game certainly delivered in the Duncan face department. You might wonder what he's doing with his hand. I think it was part of his trying to stare down an official who didn't notice a Kendrick Perkins three second violation, but who the hell really knows. I'm just sad he didn't do this on Halloween, it would have been much easier to caption.

I call it "the 3"

They say that when it rains it pours. Duncan graced us with two Duncan face/cryptic hand combinations for the evening. This second one is even more inscrutable than the first. For what it's worth, it occurred after a Boris Diaw turnover.

Look, I'm a T-Rex

Human Mortality: Although his final box-score doesn't show anything out of the ordinary, Tim Duncan was the monster of old for a large stretch of the 2nd quarter. In short sequence he made a left handed baby hook, spinning bank shot; and then in a single play blocked Durant, made him miss the follow up, and got the rebound to make a full court one handed outlet pass that led to an easy bucket. He followed that up with a brutal posterization of reigning shot block champion Serge Ibaka. All this reminded me of a passage in Kareem Abdul Jabbar's book Giant Steps where he describes playing with an aging Oscar Robertson. As an athlete gets older they'll still have moments where they look like their prime version selves. Sometimes it's for a whole game, sometimes it's part of a quarter, but over time these moments become fewer and further between. As fans of the game, now is the time to enjoy this legend before he goes the way of all the greats before him.

Fucking split screens: It's a pity then, when us fans have to absorb these moments of fleeting greatness at half their intended size, because the NBA thinks we need to stare at an image of Ernie Johnson to understand what he's saying. Such was the case with the Ibaka posterization.

Maybe you can make out a dunk occurring in this terrible picture

Steven Jackson corrupter of youth: An one point during the game, Captain Jack and Serge Ibaka were both assessed technicals for jawing with one another. I don't know what Action Jackson was telling the young man from the Congo, but you can be pretty sure it's nothing that he needs to be absorbing while he's still solidifying his grasp on English.

Kendrick Perkins: Perkins committed the worst violation of the cylinder rule I have ever seen. Durant missed a free throw and the ball just hung on the rim for a second like sometimes happens. At some point, even though it would obviously result in a violation, Perkins jumped up and tapped it in. I think he just got impatient.  

There really is no mystery with this one

Reggie Miller: It's hard enough to watch the Thunder lightheartedly these days, I really could do without the announcer reminding me at every opportunity, "this would be the time that James Harden would be on the floor," or that "Martin has to be aggressive offensively with no Durant, no Westbrook on the floor....This is what Harden gave them last season." Perhaps, I'm being too sensitive. I've made no secret of Reggie's announcing being anathema to me, and I'm already sore about the trade. It just felt like Reggie came into the game with a mission to portray this as a good transaction. Even when Martin wasn't doing anything in particular he'd feel the need to let the bee in his bonnet buzz into his microphone while ignoring what was going on in the game. When Martin hit a shot, Reggie would usually jump on his chance to fellate the OKC management. At one point he even brought out the career assist averages of the two players in an attempt to show that Martin is an equivalent distributor to Harden, conveniently overlooking their disparity in minutes, or the fact that Harden is only now coming into his prime and his first couple of years skew the numbers.

Abusive broadcasting relationships: I just want to preface this story by explaining that all the quotes are real and recorded verbatim. I know that at times I exaggerate for comic effect, but the seriousness of this subject requires that I provide you with the actual words of those involved.

If a saying lasts long enough it's usually because of the truth it conveys, and such is the notion that you can't judge a man til you walk a mile in his shoes. I realized during this game that I'm usually too hard on Reggie Miller. Little did I suspect that all this time he's been a victim of abuse at the hands of his broadcasting partner Marv Albert.

Just look at those strained smiles

Reggie revealed this spontaneously after witnessing a player do what used to be known as a flop, but now is referred to as selling the foul in order to avoid fines. After seeing the exaggerated response of a flailing defender, Reggie came forth with the startling revelation.

"You hit me harder than that over here in the booth." Reggie confessed. Marv was stunned at Reggie's brazen outing of his abusiveness. An awkward moment passed before Marv decided it would be best to intimidate his partner into silence as we can only assume he's done countless times before. Marv threatened, "Well there's more to come." A cowered Reggie could only answer back bleakly, "I know". And so the cycle of abuse continues. Marv abuses Reggie. Reggie abuses the audience. In the end we all suffer.

Fun Fact: Kevin Durant scored his 10,000th point against the Spurs. He became the 2nd youngest player in NBA history to achieve this accomplishment, with only LeBron reaching the total at a younger age. The basket in question was a layup he strode in for through traffic, using his length to extend past Duncan and Diaw to within a wrist's flick of his target on the backboard and in history.

Charles Barkley: It was a historic night indeed, out by the Alamo. In addition to making a lot of Duncan faces, the Big Fundamental passed Sir Charles on the all time rebounds list by halftime. While staring at the graphic of the list, Chuck conceded that Duncan is the greater player but was shocked and displeased to find out Buck Williams has more rebounds than him. He exclaimed, "Buck Williams has more rebounds than me!" before breaking the news, "I gotta come out of retirement. I might go down to Mexico with you Shaq and try to catch Buck Williams." I have no idea what that last part means, but it sounds promising.

Reggie Miller shitty nickname giver: At one point Reggie referred to Tim Duncan as 'Old Man Riverwalk' paying homage to the famed San Antonio tourist attraction. Stop trying to make Old Man Riverwalk happen, Reg.  

Greg Popovich interview destroyer: I really feel badly for whoever has to do the between quarters interview of Greg Popovich on any given night. It's always death. This time the unlucky journalist was David Aldridge and the wrong marine was in rare form.  

It all began when Aldridge asked innocently enough, "How happy were you with the (Spurs) shot selection even though they came back." Popovich, immediately took umbrage with the perfectly normal wording of the question.
Happy? Happy's not a word that we think about, in the game. You gotta think of something different. Happy? I don't know how to judge happy, 
Aldridge clearly wanted no part of where this was going and tried to back out by saying "fair enough" before moving on to the next question, but Popovich wasn't letting him off that easily.

Does it look like I'm fucking happy?

"We're in the middle of a contest. Nobody's happy." Popovich lectured. Aldridge was clearly a bit shaken by all this and stumbled with the delivery of his next question.
I know your (he said your not you'll) want to get Tony and, uh...(he momentarily forgot the name of the Spurs franchise player for over a decade now) Tim some rest in the 4th quarter, how long do you think you can hold them out before you bring them back?
Popovich stared at him for a moment wearing a disgusted expression. "Rest?" he asked indignantly, "Who's resting? We're staring angrily!" At this point he slapped Aldridge's mic away. I can't be certain because the microphone was on the floor, but I'm pretty sure he mouthed "you're next" before returning to the bench.

Later on in the broadcast, Aldridge was happy to report that he'd come up with several words he might safely use next time, "pleased, contented, satisfied". I think you're missing the point, Dave. Popovich despises all these synonymous concepts.

The world's general disregard for defense: Kudos to Tony Parker on making the big shot, but does anybody mention that the Spurs only had the ball for the last shot because Kawhi Leonard had stripped Kevin Durant of the ball? I can tell you right now that I've made more open shots in my lifetime than I can remember, but I have never taken the ball away from Kevin Durant.

And why was Tony Parker able to get an open shot off? See the title to this entry. Russell Westbrook played some of the most inexplicable defense ever witnessed by mankind in the game's final possession. Don't believe me? I've got the pictures. 

Parker is the blurry figure in grey underneath the basket. He's darting to where he'll hit the shot. The blurry Thunder player who is running in the opposite direction is his primary defender Russell Westbrook. You might think he's running to collapse on a potential shooter on that side but there are already five Spurs players in the picture. Either Westbrook has mistaken the referee, who is clad in grey, for a Spur, or he is simply running towards nothing in particular while the leading scorer for the Spurs gets free for the game winner. Below is pictured the fateful defensive formation just moments before the play begins.

Sticking your man shouldn't allow enough space to park a Humvee

Time Warner Cable: It's easy to take so much about the world for granted, the sky of gentle blue, the scent in the air on a cool Autumn evening, and the basic assumption that if you live in a certain area you get to watch the local sports teams for free on TV. I can't stress enough how important this last one is to the basic fiber of this nation. It may be the only reason that we've survived difficult moments in our history without mass riots and chaos. The idea that any citizen could be deprived of this basic right would have seemed unfathomable to me even days ago. However, not only is it fathomable, it's real, and it's left many in the nations 2nd largest city without access to Lakers games. The greed of media moguls is to blame here, plain and simple. Time was, the world's bourgeoisie used to value providing the masses with opiates. Now they don't care. They simply are not afraid of us anymore.    

Because millionaires want more millions, those in the greater Los Angeles region who happen to have the wrong provider can now only turn to the Clippers to meet their professional basketball needs. Granted, this isn't as terrible a fate lately as it would've been historically, but it's still an outrageous affront to liberty.  This is bigger than regional rivalries and fandome. As that great patriot Walter Sobchak would say, "This affects all of us, man!" Maybe you can't stand the Lakers. That's fine. This is America. That's your right and you're free to exercise it, but there's another right that you might not always be free to exercise: The right for anybody, anywhere in this great country to enjoy their local sports team without switching television providers. This right should be inalienable against the media conglomerates of the world. Sure, today it's the Lakers. Maybe tomorrow it will be the 6ers, then one day you'll wake up and the Thunder will be gone, then they'll have taken away the Celtics, and then the Jazz and Spurs. The Pistons will be next, the Bulls, the Bobcats, thewell that might not be so bad, but you get the point. We're talking about our basic freedoms here people!  

Lacktion Report: Even in the face of tyranny, there's always room for lacktion.
Spurs-Thunder: Reggie Jackson went out and got himself a Mario. It's not really surprising that Scott Brooks didn't give Reggie Jackson more playing time considering that it was several decades ago that the slugger was hitting three home runs in a single World Series game. Patty Mills went way down under to bring back a +2 suck differential for the Spurs. He also was able to get his shot blocked in two minutes of lacktion. Tiago Splitter didn't disappoint, or did disappoint depending on how you look at it, with a 3:2 on the Voshkul scale.

Anonymous Linca said...
It's nice to try to give an "opposite angle" view of the game, but here the pictures are just reversed, which kind of makes it hard to recognize the game...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I really think with his shot attempts Westbrick will lead his team in ppg this season.

Anonymous Stockton said...
If OKC wants to win, Westbrook and Perkins need to go.

Blogger mvkMDiva said...
Your section on Reggie was great. "I've made no secret of Reggie's announcing being anathema to me" made me laugh so hard.

I'm not going to give any more criticism after this, I promise, but some of these were great accolades and not WOTN.

Nice post, nonetheless.

Blogger Wormboy said...
Well, Simmons pretty much sums it up:

Except for one thing: Ever since Howard and Nash went to LA, I haven't believed that they could stay healthy enough to win a title. Little did I know that Mike Brown was THAT bad a coach. Well, we'll have to give them time.

Blogger Wormboy said...
After all this time, it turns out that the name "Kwame Brown" is jinxed. Who knew? I think I owe an apology to the basketball player.

Blogger Glenn said...
That's a great article Wormboy. Interesting how Simmons refers to "Kevin Martin's offense as a one-year stopgap". It will be intriguing to see if he's in a Thunder uniform next season. I would have loved to see the Thunder try one of the alternatives to the trade he suggested. At least, Harden is making the most out of his minutes, but that bond Simmons captured in that picture can't be easily replaced.

MvkMDiva, it's good to know that my musings on Reggie made you laugh. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

Anonymous David said...
In other news, eddy Curry finds him self waived after only TWO games.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
In Houston, you have to have comcast to watch the rockets. If you have Direct TV or ATT Uverse, you cannto watch the games. It sucks.