Tag Archives: Heat

Let’s Get a Few Links Off My Chest: The Challenge Hibernation Edition

To my few loyal readers who may not be as interested in the minutia and the “inside the competitor’s studio” unrelenting coverage of all things The Challenge, do not fear: my pop culture and sports identity has not lost its mojo (a fair presumption). The reality of covering the “Fifth Major American Professional Sport” (that also happens to be a TV show) full-time is that other writing takes a little bit of a backseat. With so much going on (NBA Playoffs! Game of Thrones! Colbert taking over Late NightThe remarkable cultural ascendancy of Billy on the Street!), I thought I could at least send you to the right places.

Without further ado, let us get a few links off my chest…

I am not sure I would call this the “greatest shot in playoff history” as some have suggested…

(greatness demands higher stakes than Game 2 of a first round series), but I would be hard pressed to find a more incredible basketball play and the replays only make it look better.

Beno Udrih’s reaction non-reaction (at 0:18) says everything.

For the record, this remains my favorite playoff basketball play that I ever seen (you are really watching what greatness is all about)…

Speaking of Larry Legend, Jalen and Bill have an interesting chat about LeBron’s place in the “greatest forward of all-time conversation…

They both reluctantly argue (and subsequently mourn) that if LeBron wins his third championship this season, he passes Bird on the all-time forward list. I may not be there yet, but this is not an erroneous argument by any means. LeBron, beginning the playoffs in his eleventh season, is already right there. Incredible.

While were still in the land of Larry, somebody finally got into a fistfight with Lance Stephenson, and, not so surprisingly, it was Evan Turner (not exactly anyone’s favorite teammate). Despite a decisive game 2 victory against the Hawks, Pacers championship aspirations are in a whole lot of trouble. At least Roy Hibbert isn’t for sale on Amazon.Roy-Hibbert-Cover

I had the pleasure of watching the epic game 1 showdown between Houston and Portland. Is there a more fun glue guy/crowd pleaser/enforcer in the league right now than Patrick Beverley? This is his response to being hit with a Mo Williams flagrant foul.

Thunder fans may object, but you have to love what this guys brings to the table.

If Patrick Beverley had played in 1980s, he would have been a perfect insertion to the Pistons. I certainly loathed the “yellow, gutless way” they did things, but it is hard not have some respect for the Bad Boys of Detroit as a compelling and dynamic basketball team (I had forgotten how eloquent Isiah Thomas is and how bizarre Adrian Dantley seems to be).

There have been many great 30 for 30 documentaries, but I am not sure one resonated (or provided a greater opportunity to relive and reminisce) more than this one.

Thank goodness for Robert Parish’s revenge enactment (start at 0:17). Amazingly, he was not ejected. Respect.

That’s what you do, Paul Pierce. That’s why the Celtics miss you so much.

On to the other spectrum popular culture, Season 4 of Game of Thrones has already been responsible for its share of reactions (SPOILER ALERT!) and has further proved why Westeros is apparently the worst place to have a wedding. This week brought out some mixed opinions about the transfer of a book scene to television. I am still ruminating on the ramifications of the scene in question and as a television viewer first and foremost (I have only read the first book and aim to stay at least two books behind because I enjoy watching the television show too much), I will wait to see where Mr. Weiss and Benioff take me, but for now, if you are watching, read Andy Greenwald because he writes amazing things about an amazing television show.

My feeling after watching this video: I think we may be witnessing the birth of a political star…

The future of late night is bright with these two. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight debuts Sunday night on HBO. I remember his final The Daily Show with a nostalgic fondness.

Speaking of Late Night television, I admittedly have never been a Letterman guy. This is entirely a byproduct of my age (too young), my sensibility (I appreciate a different type of comedic irreverence), and my late night habits during formative late night habit-forming years (I have been a loyal follower of The Daily Show, an affinity that first awakened to the brilliant laughter and learning combination in college). Notwithstanding, I get it. I get why and how Letterman inspired a generation and why he is justifiably a comedic and television legend. Bill Simmons carves out a beautiful piece of prose to put all in perspective. Stephen Colbert (a Daily Show disciple on his own right) is the worthiest of replacements and will add to the already thriving renaissance of the medium.

Yes, they may not be the most incredible pre-publicity images I have seen, but they are still images from Jurassic World!Jurassic World

Bryce-Dallas-Howard Director-Chair

While on the subject of Steven Spielberg properties…will a collaboration with Tony Kushner be his next project or will it be a collaboration with Tom Hanks? I will gladly take both.

Coldplay is making me very excited for their new album, Ghost Stories, out May 19-20. Every song they have put out thus far simultaneously sounds entirely unique and yet eerily connected to one another as if from some carefully constructed masterwork. The latest release (as a live BBC performance) of “Oceans” furthers this trend:

I have tried and failed to read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter follow up, The Casual Vacancy, four times now. The “right timing” stars have never aligned. Maybe this just announced HBO miniseries will quell the trend.

The Leftovers debuts this summer on HBO and has Damon Lindelof’s stamp written all over it. The long awaited return to television by The Lost showrunner presents something extraordinary.

Finally, two games in, and LaMarcus Aldridge’s 2014 postseason is OUT OF CONTROL. Whether the Blazers win the series or not (Houston is heading back to Portland down 2-0), Aldridge’s rise to one of the game’s elite players (and mid-range jumper master) has already happened.

Some NBA nights matter more than others…

And they do.  Yes, eighty two games is a long season and one off night or one blowout win is not going to make a dramatic standings difference.  Yes, early season marquee matchup games are often over-hyped and over discussed (Who can forget the unnecessary backlash after the first Big Three era Heat game did not go so well in Boston in 2010?).  Yes, sitting through any 76ers game at this point is a punishment that fits somewhere among descriptors “cruel,” “unusual,” and “depressing.”  The NBA regular season has too many games and too many nights that are mere afterthoughts of a much too long season (certainly in terms of games) that doesn’t find its full gallop until closer to the end of the race.  In a season where an average team’s intent to “tank” seems to be as pervasive as any attempts to “win,” this has been a particular problem in the 2013-2014 NBA season.

Last night was an exception to this way too common rule.  Of the three games broadcast nationally on TNT (an NBA Finals Heat vs. Spurs rematch, an LA battle between the Clippers and Lakers) and over the magical NBA League Pass invention (a thrilling offensive showdown between two teams with awkward weather related and plural/singular confused names – Suns and Thunder), one was an extreme blowout that speaks to the Tank-tastic state of the NBA, one was a savvy veteran defensive shutdown that has major big picture implications, and one was a close fought nail-biter that could be a first round playoff preview. Last night in the NBA mattered.  Here’s a quick game by game breakdown of why:

Spurs 111 – Heat 87

Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker

The final score, the most lopsided Heat defeat of the season, was a lot worse than it had to be after the Heat seemed to entirely fall apart in the middle of the fourth quarter.  LeBron may see the “popular with no one” sleeve addition to uniforms as part of the problem, but this does not give enough credit to the unrelenting and consistent excellent basketball that has come out of Tim Duncan and the San Antonio basketball team for the last 15 (!!!) years.  Every year seems to be the time for the Spurs to take a step or two backwards, but as game’s like last night continue to prove, the Spurs will again be in the mix to win an NBA Championship this spring.  After taste testing Duncan and Pop’s fifth title in Game 6 last year (Parker and Ginobili’s fourth) before Ray Allen went all “I am the best three point shooter of all-time for a reason on us,” this may have been the season to finally regress a little bit, but clearly not so fast.  Despite wonderful roster flexibility, a necessity against the Western Conference juggernaut row that they will have to face to get back to the Finals, and more experience playoff experience than any other potential opponent, it is not going to be an easy journey (especially now that Scott Brooks realizes that injured or not, Kendrick Perkins largely injures his team on the floor).  I just hope by now we have learned not to count out the San Antonio Spurs.

Suns 128 – Thunder 122

Gerald Green

Fact: It is March 7.

Fact: The Phoenix Suns are still in position to make the playoffs (currently in the seventh seed and a game and a half out of sixth despite losing Eric Bledsoe to injury for the past two months).

Fact: If you haven’t seen them, the Phoenix Suns are one of the most entertaining teams to watch play basketball.

Fact: According to the people who talk and write about the NBA for a living, Jeff Hornacek is the frontrunner to win Coach of the Year.

Fact: According to the people who talk and write about the NBA for a living, Goran Dragic is a legitimate third-place vote for MVP after LeBron and Durant.

Fact: Gerald Green had the following stat line last night: 41 minutes, 12-22 shooting, 8-13 from three, 9-11 on free throws, 41 points.  Again, this a fact (Yes it is 2014 and yes this is not some alternate universe in which the former Slam Dunk champion has become a perennial All-Star.  Yes, this is still Gerald Green).

Clippers 142 – Lakers 94 (and it wasn’t even that close)


In case math is not your forté, the Clippers beat the Lakers last night by 48 points (Wesley Johnson had a -40 +/-).  The neo-rivalry that had been a little feisty since David Stern dictated the end of the Chris Paul to Lakers trade a few years ago officially blew up in this Tank-errific demolition clinic.  These aren’t your NBA Champion Lakers and maybe even more so, these aren’t your cursed, Donald Sterling owned Clippers.  The balance of power in LA professional basketball reached the most extreme polarity it its history last night.  These Clippers are a legitimate threat in the West.