Tuesday, May 6, 2008

All This Useless Beauty

Seriously, what to make of it? Detroit looks focused and is up 2-0. New Orleans is looking to do what few thought they could and not only beat San Antonio but beat them resoundingly. The Lakers, meanwhile, are the Lakers, and the Celtics are who-fucking-knows what.

The Hornets' casual domination of the vaunted Spurs is probably the most interesting plot of the past 48 hours. You're going to hear a lot of noise about how the Spurs have never won a playoff series in which they were down 2-0, but that doesn't mean a whole lot since this is only the third time it's happened in the Duncan era. More crucial is the fact that they've been blown out in both contests and generally just don't look that good. Nobody has an answer for Chris Paul and my God, it's just fucking exquisite. Nobody gave the Hornets a chance in this series (check out the ESPN series page... bless you, Mr. Hollinger), and that's something of a minor outrage seeing that Nawlins played them even in the regular season and are currently the higher seed. Still, I turn on the television and hear a million and one talking heads wringing their hands and squealing that they can't believe the Spurs could lose this series, could they? Um, when you lose the first two games by 19 and 18 points, respectively, the answer to that question is: fuck yeah they could. Look, it would not entirely shock me if the Spurs came back to win this series; they have depth, experience, Tim Duncan, all that shit. But the fact is that the Hornets have them down 2-0 and are led by a point guard who's some sort of unspeakably beautiful miracle: it's time to start taking seriously the argument that it might not be the Spurs' year, and that there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

It's worth noting again that the Pistons look fierce. Wouldn't want to play them in the next round, were I hypothetically the fan of a team for whom that was a possibility. Some wacky shit went down with the clock at the end of the 3rd quarter--seriously, can't the NBA have one postseason without some sort of scandalously terrible in-game fuck-up?--and the Magic clamored long and hard about it afterwards, but the fact is they would have lost the game regardless. A good "basketball tip" is that if you'd like to win a game, shoot better than 25% during the 4th quarter.

Bob Ryan has a mildly entertaining/irritatingly lazy puff piece on LeBron in today's Globe that generally reads like it was written five years ago. Peter May has some sort of cutesy series-preview feature that made me stupider just by reading it. Keep up the good work, sportswriters. Celtics-Cavs at 8 tonight on TNT. I have no idea what to expect. None whatsoever. It's time to rebuild the trust in this relationship.

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