Here are a few points of interest for those with short attention spans.
Webber is the Antichrist
Just kidding. It’s one game, people! If there’s one thing we know, the Warriors play to the perceived level of their competition (like they did against the Timberwolves in the game I pretty much did play-by-play for on MLK day).
To expect a Warriors team that took the previous five days off to come out guns blazing is foolish. They actually have thrived this year on the back end of back-to-back games, because they’re such a streaky team. The W’s require constant action, they need to keep playing to avoid losing their collective rhythm.
So they lost to the Bulls, Webber went for 4 points, one board and two assists, and the team shot horribly. There’s no bigger meaning here, even though they gave up 61 combined points to Chris Duhon and Joe Smith (!). Well, except for the fact that if Nellie’s crew misses out on the playoffs by a game or two, one can count to two horrendous home losses.
Shaq to the Suns
Wow, the Suns got old in a hurry, didn’t they? Nash is no spring chicken (and he’d best stay away from Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal if he was, as I’ll mention later), Grant Hill is going to play significant minutes, and now The Diesel is getting ready to act as a gigantic Jake Break on the semi truck that is the Suns.
When you hook up with Shaq (as a team…I’m not talking about as a woman, which brings a whole other set of safety issues), you win and you lose. The Lakers won three titles before Shaq and Kobe decided they could no longer coexist, and the Lakers only just recently recovered from the resulting strain on the franchise.
The Heat won a title, and then became the worst team in the NBA only two years later with a semi-healthy Shaq. They have to be ecstatic right now; if you asked Pat Riley two months ago what chance they had of getting rid of Shaq’s monster contract this year, he would probably throw some of his excess hair gel on you for putting him in a bad mood. Now they have a great second banana to put next to Dwyane Wade, and if it doesn’t work out they can let Marion go at the end of the year.
Now, the Suns are going to be a much better half court team, but my feeling is their squad is going to be a slightly different version of the Mavs: good enough to win games, but completely confused at times and unprepared to face teams with a different style in the playoffs (i.e. the Lakers, Spurs or Warriors). And if Shaq gets badly hurt (always a possibility), GM Steve Kerr better start practicing his color commentary skills.
Has anybody ever had a worse off-season than baseball? With a relatively boring free agency period, the Mitchell Report, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds’ indictment and now Dominican cockfighting all over the Internet, baseball can’t get their pitchers and catchers to report fast enough.
Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal are legally allowed to enjoy cockfighting in their home country (although if you “enjoy” cockfighting, you should probably start “enjoying” therapy), but the fact that they allowed themselves to be videotaped in the age of youtube.com shows just how uneducated and/or arrogant baseball players can be.
People can talk about cultural differences all they want – if they’re making their living in another country. Juan Marichal is one thing, he’s an ex-player who hasn’t been a San Francisco Giants employee for over a year. But if Pedro is going to feel justified in making over $100 million on American and Canadian mounds during his career, he should probably educate himself on what Americans and Canadians find horribly distasteful.