Saturday, April 21, 2018

Lessons from Today

Here's a basketball axiom that I believe in: "the team with the best player wins in the playoffs." (Note: this axiom does not apply to soccer, in league games, in England, to Liverpool, at The Hawthorns. Then you need to bring your own groundskeeper and referees. Note.) That axiom was proved true again today in the playoff basketball game between Philadelphia and Miami in America 2. The "Heat's" best starter is probably Goran Dragic. Goran Dragic would be at most the third-best player on the "7'6"ers." Dwyane Wade was the "Heat's" best player today and indeed the highest scorer on either team with 25 points but at 36 years of age Wade does not qualify as best player. He cannot start, he cannot go all game, he only went 26 minutes today (Phila had six players who played more minutes than did Wade), and so he cannot be impactful enough to disprove the axiom. As impactful as, say, LeBron James still is.

Which permits us segue into another lesson from today and another axiom: "Do not tug on Superman's cape." This is a lesson that the individual homo sapiens denominated "Lance" "Stephenson" has never learned.

For Lance asserted today that his Indiana "Pacers" have "full control right now" over the man whose face he is blowing into in that iconically Lance photo, and over his team. I wish Lance hadn't said that. Lance the LeBron Blower fancies himself uniquely able to tug on LeBron James' cape, to "get under his skin," to needle him, to distract him into doing...stupid things on the court. On what precedential authority Lance relies for his minority-of-one opinion court scholars are mystified. "We get another win in our building, and that's when I think they're going to start panicking." (Another win would put Indiana up three games to one.) As they panicked when they won their first NBA championship by coming back from 3-1 down to Golden State in the Finals? Eh, Justice Stephenson? I wish somebody had stuffed something in Lance's pie hole. I wish he hadn't said that for I was wishing for an Indiana win. But they didn't and he did and me thinks both of today's axioms will be proved anew tomorrow, for me thinks LeBron James, the best player on these or any other teams, will take his "Cavaliers," put them across his broad shoulders and carry them to victory, the while sticking one of his signature sneakers in Lance Stevenson's big, fat mouth. Too late for Indy's sake.

Jurgen Klopp Is An Asshole

This warrants another post. Klopp is an asshole. Klopp did not field a weakened team so he could not put the blame on that. In fact, he said he played such a strong lineup precisely to keep them in fighting trim for Roma on Tuesday. So, he blamed the pitch ("too dry). He blamed the refs. Weather and officials are the usual scapegoats the world of sport over. They teach those in coach school. So what Klopp is saying is that mighty Liverpool could not beat 20th West Brom on a dry pitch with these referees. Could not hold a 2-0 lead at 20th West Brom on a dry pitch with these referees. But Klopp was on a different world, Planet Asshole, when he also blamed West Brom for trying. He bitterly and mean-spiritedly dismissed them as a Championship side who had "wasted" points, his points.

"If you made a ‘set-piece Premier League’ where only set-pieces are allowed then West Brom would, for sure, not go to the Championship...We scored the first one. Then the pitch got drier and drier, that’s not an advantage for the football-playing side...It makes life a little bit more difficult.

“What do you think? Was it a penalty? Yes, I think the same. We agree.

“Hegazi on Ings? It’s a red card. But you see it, I see it, that’s not important. It matters only what the three or four gentlemen with the whistle say. We can’t change that.

“But if you have these situations, it’s different. I think if you are the better team you should win, we are the better team but we don’t win.

“We let the home team decide if they water the pitch or not. It’s not only about football, it’s dangerous for injuries too if the pitch is really dry. It’s difficult.

“I would have said nothing about that if we had won, though! We didn’t play a brilliant game, but good enough to win here.

""Useless comeback. I don't think that point will help West Brom massively, it is a complete waste of points: they don't need it, we would have needed it. 
They are happy, we are not happy, we stay in the league, they do not. It makes for a strange situation!

"The whole game was a plot on the goalkeeper, everyone loves it in this country, but it makes life difficult for the goalie.

"It was a difficult game as the pitch got drier and drier. West Brom decided not to water the pitch at half-time and that makes it difficult.

"It makes a massive difference. A team like West Brom do not need a wet pitch, they can do it next year playing on a dry pitch in the Championship."


ASS. HOLE.

Final


3 :( 58.2


1!


3


4. 1:45


6. 4:09 left.

Phila 17 MIA 7 in 4Q.

10


7

Phila has outscored MIA 13-2 in 4Q.
Six point Phila lead 91-85 at halfway point 4Q. The "Heat's" 4Q collapse.

87-83 Philly 8:27 4Q

11 straight points by "7'6'ers" from 3Q. Eight straight in 4th.
"I was not happy with the pitch. It was a tough game, especially after the pitch was getting dryer and dryer and we had the ball constantly so that makes it not so easy.West Brom obviously decided not to water the pitch at half-time...

"They can do it next year playing football with a dry pitch in the Championship. That's how it is and we have to deal with it."

Jurgen Klopp is a bit of a bitch.

MIA 83 Phila 79 End 3Q


"Heat" lead up to 10, 7:18 3Q. "7'6'"ers have called two timeouts in the last two minutes. Dragic's having a great game, 18 points so far, leading all scorers. Fourth quarter collapse coming?
Oh, tremendous tweet by CBS:

  1. Heat vs. Sixers is the only 2018 playoff series taking place in 1997
     
Oh hell that wasn't a fight. Simmons pushed Goran Dragic to the floor on a layup attempt. Simmons ended up leaning against the basket stanchion and James Johnson, who could have karate kicked Simmons into a tenor, pushed Simmons in the chest and they started jawing. No punches thrown. Bull shit incident. No fight.

Miami 61 Philadelphia 56 HT

According to ESPN there was a fight in the first half between MIA's James Johnson and Phila's rookie star Ben Simmons. Don't like that. This isn't hockey. You can get really hurt in a basketball fight, see Rudy Tomjanovich. James is a karate black belt, too.
China, you haven't been here that I've noticed in about a month. Could you check and tell me how much money I have in my Adsense account please?

West Bromwich Albion 2 Liverpool 2 FT

Not only did the league's anchor man draw with the third best but the third best squandered a 2-0 lead. Said Liver manager Jurgen Klopp post-match:

"Useless comeback. I don't think that point will help West Brom massively, it is a complete waste of points: they don't need it, we would have needed it.

"They are happy now, we are not happy. We stay in the league, they don't stay in the league -- it is a strange situation.''

Which is a strange thing for Jurgen Klopp to say! Sport is about competition. Jurgen Klopp did not want West Brom to compete; just wanted them to hand Liverpool the match, give them the three points Liverpool need--still need--to cinch the Champions League competition next season. "It is a complete waste of points." For West Brom to deny Liverpool the points. Strange in the extreme! Maybe this perplexing view by the manager is one of the reasons Liverpool have dropped points just as they did here all season. NEVER heard a sportsman say anything like that. Never.
Oh my goodness West Brom drew with Liverpool at The Hawthorns. One week after inflicting humiliating defeat on Manchester United (and delivering a frisson of schadenfreude for Manchester City fans) the "Baggies" bagged a point against the Man (City) eating "Cannibals."

There has been a pattern present all season for Liverpool that is evidenced here. The "'Balls" will beat City or another top club and then drop points against lesser opposition. I don't know if it's distraction (Liverpool are still playing in the Champion's League), lack of concentration, complacency or what it is but whatever it is it's the reason Liverpool are in third place behind Manchester United--with United having a game in hand!--and light years behind City, the champions they have defeated three of four this season. It is puzzling.

For West Brom the four points the last two weekends against the league's runners-up are almost are almost surely not going to be enough to keep them up.

Friday, April 20, 2018


JUST butt ugly unis, Indy has. Butt ugly. Go Butt Uglies.

Our Mistake: Cleve Blows 17 Point Half Time Lead, Falls to Indy 92-90

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The "Pacers" have now won two of three in this first round series, in which round LBJ had not lost in 21 straight before now. This is different, as the undersigned and every other carpel tunnel afflicted wretch wrote after the Pounding at the Pawnshop in Game One. The Canary and Blue twill be the canary in the coal mine for the Blood and Pus, formerly the "Wine and Gold."

Peter Bogdanovich lead the Pace with 30.

Oh by the way that gold standard of basketball evaluation metrics the +/-? LBJ  had 28 10/22, 12, 8, 1,1, 6(turnovers) and was a -1 +/- wise. So, Cleve woulda been better off without him. Aha, hmm-mmm.
What is the purpose of this? Cohen_lap_dog To humiliate Michael Cohen and to scare Trump. It is mean-spirited and has no news value. Co-authored by Maggie Haberman who often has written to tip off Trump.

For years Mr. Trump treated Mr. Cohen poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired, according to interviews with a half-dozen people familiar with their relationship.

“Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” said Roger J. Stone Jr....

Now, for the first time, the traffic may be going Mr. Cohen’s way. Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers have become resigned to the strong possibility that Mr. Cohen, who has a wife and two children and faces the prospect of devastating legal fees, if not criminal charges, could end up cooperating with federal officials who are investigating him for activity that could relate, at least in part, to work he did for Mr. Trump.

[Could not according to reports this week. Rosenstein told Trump recently that he was not a target of the Cohen investigation. If that is true, then there is no news value to this article except "human interest." ( En passant, is it ethical for the prosecutor overseeing the Mueller investigation to tell his boss--who wants to fire him--over said investigation that he is not a target of the Cohen probe?)]

Mr. Trump has long felt he had leverage over Mr. Cohen, but people who have worked for the president said the raid has changed all that.

“Ironically, Michael now holds the leverage over Trump,” said Sam Nunberg, a former aide to Mr. Trump who worked with Mr. Cohen and Mr. Stone. 
...
Mr. Stone recalled Mr. Trump saying of Mr. Cohen, “He owns some of the finest Trump real estate in the country — paid top dollar for it, too.” In Mr. Trump’s worldview, there are few insults more devastating than saying someone overpaid.
...
[Cohen] fought with the initial campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, later blocked him from coming on board. Mr. Trump never ordered his aides to make a place for Mr. Cohen.
...
Particularly hurtful to Mr. Cohen was the way Mr. Trump lavished approval on Mr. Lewandowski in a way he never did for Mr. Cohen. 
King Mswati III of Swaziland proclaims his nation will be henceforth known as eSwatini(WaPo)

Wenger Out-For Real

Arsene Wenger, 21 years manager at Arsenal F.C., The Invincibles, and of late the selling pop gunners and subject of constant WENGER OUT protests, has announced he is stepping down after this season with one year left on his contract

Philadelphia 128 Miami 108. Lessons Learned.

Talent will out.
Hassan Whiteside will be out.

A Dark Blessed Night

Leagues deep sleep. Vivid dreams. Rested. Reharged. Day: prepare to be seized by the neck and throttled.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

I Lyke Heather


Heather Lyke, the new athletic director at Pitt strykes me as smart, tough, decisive, committed, enthusiastic, honest, articulate and telegenic. She ran a squeaky clean program at Eastern Michigan before leaving for Pitt. She did not flinch in firing men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings nor women's basketball coach Susie McConnell-Serio. She made a universally applauded "late save" hire of Jeff Capel after failing on Dan Hurley. Usually at Pitt and elsewhere panic sets in when Plan A falls through. There is no Plan B. Ms Lyke did not panic, had a Plan B, and Capel was a good catch. This chick is going to succeed.
How Many More Times Can Justise Winslow Do That?
-Deadspin

Umm, none?

Philly 128
Miami 108

No Justise, No Heat!

Frigging Justise Winslow 19 points at the half :o. Usually takes him a week to get 19. 4/5 from 3.


He leads all scorers both teams.



Who the hell is guarding him?


And he's a -1.

+/- nonsense

D-Wade: 12', 0 0/4, 2, 3, 1, 1, 3 (turnovers), +7
Burning barn in Miami. "Heat" lead "7'ft 6'ers" 64-63 at half.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cleveland 100 Indiana 97 Final

Oh boy. If ever a win felt like a loss. If ever a team can take inspiration in defeat.

The Land needed 40', 46 17/24, 12, 5, and 2 from fill in blank, a 13-0, 19-3 start, 33-18 end-1, 58-46 half to hold off the "Pacers" by tres at home. Ooh. The "Pawns" led 74-67 end-3 but Indy closed to within three on Darren Collison's 3 with :51.2 left in the game. LBJ made 4 free throws and JR Smith 1 in the remainder to complete their scoring. As if to punctuate their invitation to Cleve for the next two in Indy the stellar Victor Oladipo hit a buzzer-beating 3 to make the final 100-97.

That kind of early burst then fade is usually the signature of an overmatched team, hang on or lose. Indy smells blood.

So this is a screenshot of the Pittsburgh P.D. email.





This is a clarification of Cmdr Joseph's email.

“The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police receives information daily that we evaluate and prepare for if the event should occur. Events can include anything from extreme weather to potential demonstrations,”

“Often the events we prepare for do not occur. However, through an abundance of caution, we attempt to adequately prepare for an appropriate response,” he continued. “We receive information regularly about potential events and/or threats, assess the credibility of the information and plan for a potential event. In this case, we have not assessed the credibility of the potential for disturbances, and we do not have any knowledge of the President’s decision-making process.”

-Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette termed Joseph's email "alarming"--ACCURATELY.  It was...inartfully drafted by Cmdr Joseph. "We have received information...There is a belief..." It sure sounds like the belief that Trump is about to fire Mueller imminently is based on "information" the police department "received," especially when the "There is a belief" part is given its own paragraph! Read differently however and in conjunction with Director Hissrich's clarification Joseph's "There is a belief" refers to the protesters, "There is a belief" among the protesters. I can't really fault Joseph. Stylistically, the email was inartful. 

"There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. "

“We have received information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District. There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice. Beginning Thursday, all Major Crimes detectives will be required to have a full uniform and any issued protective equipment, like riot gear, until further notice."

Golden

The Vegas "Golden Knights," an expansion team, swept Los Angeles last night four games to none in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They are the first expansion team to sweep a series. Viva Vegas.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Barbara Bush, First Lady of the former United States with her husband, President George H.W. Bush, and mother of President George W. Bush has died at age 92. Rest in peace.
Bill Kristol retweeted this with a recommendation that we all read a book on how personality cults and mass movements get started:

Candace Owens
@RealCandaceO
I truly believe that @realDonaldTrump isn’t just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well.

May God bless America— the last stand for western civilization.
10:18 PM · Apr 16, 2018

I have written many times of the "Svengali-like hold" that Trump has on his detritus, in fact, that was my first answer to a question posed by my-brother-the-klansman (and Trump voter, duh) when Trump first started winning primaries. "Why do you think nothing sticks?"

I thought of this again over the weekend. I was re-reading some China books ("Everything always comes back to China," my last girlfriend Carmen once said to me.) and I remembered Sen. Ted Cruz' debate with two Trump supporters in Indiana. "What do you like about Donald Trump?" Cruz asked. "Everything," detritus #1 answered. "Whatever Trump says, I believe," he went on. "Whatever is in the Bible, I believe," one of my other brothers once said to me. They are the savior's words. In both cases, and in Candace Owens' case, whatever the savior says is to be believed; he is the savior.

And, yes, that brings to mind China. In the case of Hua Guofeng, Mao Zedong's immediate successor. Hua's prescription to the Chinese people was,  两个凡是, the "Two Whatevers," We will resolutely uphold whatever policy decisions Chairman Mao made, and unswervingly follow whatever instructions Chairman Mao gave" since,

The east is red, the sun is rising.
From China comes Mao Zedong.
He strives for the people's happiness,
Hurrah, he is the people's great savior!
He strives for the people's happiness,
Hurrah, he is the people's great savior!


Good suggestion by Kristol to re-read some of the literature on personality cults and mass movements. Already have.

We Learned...

We learned that Goran Dragic made a layup with six seconds left. (?) We learned that this pissed off the "76'ers" coach and players (?). And one fan particularly. And we learned that this one fan can really write, really well. As a "Heat" fan, I take no offense; as a hobby writer I stand in gape-mouthed awe of Tyler's writing. I reprint his tirade in entirety in awe.

A calm, measured response to Goran Dragic’s end-of-game layup against the 76ers
Yeah, we’re salty.
By Tyler Tynes on April 17, 2018 9:05 am

It was an electric Game 2 in the Wells Fargo Center. Mark Zumoff’s deep brown suit was unnecessarily gorgeous. Per usual, several “Trust the Process” chants pinged around the arena. The soul of Sam Hinkie could be seen moonwalking the hardwood as the Sixers attempted comeback after comeback against the Miami Heat, each plagued with poor shooting and a sin of the Eastern Conference playoffs: the necessary “Dwayne Wade ‘bout to beat that ass” game.

I’m not one of those fans who believed the Sixers were going to sweep anyone this early in the playoffs. For whatever dumb sports reason that could be uttered, I believe a team as talented and young and handsome as this one needed to lose early so they could prove to the imaginary and real haters that they could get knocked down then get back up. Please cue up any scenes from Creed.

Eventually the Sixers’ gas powered, three-point-surging flamethrowers were going to run out. Somebody was literally going to try to fight Ben Simmons for 48 minutes in a bump-and-run style where WWE was enforced for several runs by referees Tony Brothers and Scott Foster. Charles Barkley was bound to say something dumb, which he did during the halftime show by suggesting, essentially, that Simmons and crew weren’t prepared for this because he’s never faced adversity in basketball thanks to not playing in March Madness.

What I didn’t expect was this. I need you to look several times, as I did. It felt as if Mortal Kombat’s Raiden launched 8,000 lightning bolts into my being and engulfed my soul in flames.

Dime on UPROXX
@DimeUPROXX
·
14h
Brett Brown and the rest of Philadelphia didn't like that late Dragic layup...
0:24
Embedded video

Let this be said now and remembered at this point of history when Philadelphia has established that it will destroy anything within it’s nuclear cloud: the Sixers will beat the Heat in this series and Goran Dragic will have to get jumped.

You may believe Dragic’s actions are no big deal, that players do this often enough (see Chris Paul vs. Damian Lillard and a zillion other examples), that turning the other cheek is something one should do when met with blatant disrespect.

I am here to tell you that’s horseshit. Disrespect must be met with an aggression so hot it melts away any thought that piling on a meaningless layup once the game is over will ever be OK. There must be a response, and it will come in a way only Philly knows and enjoys: a hate-induced troll that will taunt the heavens and a fan base willing to remember this every time Dragic comes back to Broad Street.

The Sixers deserved to lose Game 2. They shot like shit. They were muscled out of the lane. The were missing a part of the tenacity and fluidness that made them the NBA’s hottest team this spring. Wade was tremendous. And, they really shot like shit.

But from this moment on, Dragic’s late-game layup should be a rallying cry. We know the Sixers have the tools to become the darlings of the East. From this moment on, they should play like they like the underdog motif the city has leaned into since September.

So, thank you, Dragic. We needed a mental steroid. Whatever comes next, I can’t tell you. I’ll only say: don’t take bum-ass layups at the end of games, or death might meet you at your door in the form of an army yelling Beanie Sigel lyrics.

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/4/17/17245832/heat-vs-sixers-goran-dragic-layup-video-game-2-angry

Miami-Philadelphia: The Lessons

What have we learned? Any lessons we can take from the first two games of this series? Yes. We have learned that the team that scores the most points in basketball wins.

We have learned that Erik Spoelstra really does not trust Hassan Whiteside: 15', 4 points 1/2, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, +1. That's ineffectual.

We have learned that Miami can play Pat Riley/Knicks-type physical, shut-down defense. That Justise Winslow in that calling can call Ben Simmons a "pussy ass bitch" after taking a charge and leading the defensive charge for Miami.

We've learned... How Many More Times Can The Heat Do That? (Deadspin) that the answer to that excellent question is probably "less than 3." Less than three more times can 36 year old Dwyane Wade, 26', 28 11/16, 7, 3 assists, 2, 3, +16 (highest plus on the team) carry Miami.

We've learned that injured "Sixers" star center Joel Embiid is itching to get back into action and likely will Saturday if not Thursday. We have not learned what Erik Spoelstra will do with his starting center when Embiid gets back. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Miami 113 Philadelphia 103. FULL BAKE

A series hasn't begun until one team breaks serve. Miami did that tonight. The next two games are on the shores of Biscayne Bay. Philadelphia just kept throwing it up from distance. And few of them stuck. They finished 7/35, 20%. Just awful. Live by the trey...Yep, die by the trey. Good night to all the ships at sea.
9. 10.4. "Turn out the lights. The party's O-ver."
8. 16.4.
6. 25 secs left.
6. 1:48. No! 8. They took away a Phila basket. 8 point Miami lead, 1:01 left. It'll be "Heat" ball after a "Heat" TO. This cake's about baked.
8! 2:25 left. Phila full timeout. HEEEEAAATTTE!
Back up to 6!
4
2. 98-96. 4:29.
4. 96-92 and Miami calls timeout. 5:47 left. What is the German word for taking joy in one's own pain? Lol "Heat."
The "Heat" lead got up to 16 early in the 4Q. It's down to 6 now with 6:06 left.

Live By The Three, Die By The Three

Through three in Phila, Mia leads the Three-ers 86-75. Phila's three-point shooting has been MIA in this one. After going 18/28, 64%, in Game One, the Three-ers are pert near the Ofers in this one,  4-24, 17%. CRIMINY! It's unbelievable they just keep chuckin' it. Hasn't been cuz Erik has done nothin' artiste like. Young Whiteside started but has played only 15 minutes. D-Wade has 21 for the Heats. Philly's just missin' a ton. They're still in range. If they suddenly find their touch and get 3's in bunches like they did repeatedly in Game One, four threes would give them the lead, they can still win the game.

sean hannity is a michael cohen client
This here basketball savant cum soccer sage cum political potentate has just looked at the brushwork of artiste Erik Spoelstra's masterpiece, The Phiasco in Philly. This is Hassan Whiteside's involvement:

12:00. Whiteside jumped center to open the game.

11:49. Eleven seconds into the game he grabbed his first rebound, a defensive. Score 0-0.

Fast enough for you, Erik?

10:42. A minute eighteen into the game he got his first offensive rebound. 4-3 Heat.

A whole 1:18?!

10:41. First assist. On a Goran Dragic three-pointer. 7-3 Heat.

So in 1:19 he had two boards and an assist on a three.

10:26. First block. 7-3.

1:34 into the game he has two rebounds an assist on a three and a block. Fair to middlin'.

8:20. Block. Whiteside's second. Philly 10-8.

6:24. His first shot, a miss. Philly 17-12.

5:48. Offensive rebound, his second. 19-12.

5:45. Turnover, his first. 19-12

5:29. First basket. 19-14.

At 5:19 Whiteside is subbed out. That is a "normal" substitution of a starter about half way through the first quarter.  So when he was subbed out in the 1Q he two points--1/2--,3 rebounds, one assist, 1 turnover and two blocks but would have exited with a -5+/-. Lies, damn lies and statistics, I don't know what more could be expected of the guy. Of Philly's 19 points when Whiteside was in, nine points were in made three point shots (I know you are an advocate of positionless basketball, Erik, maybe Hassan was supposed to guard the three point arc?), two were free throws (foul not on Whiteside and eight were on at the basket makes, two layups, two dunks, that Whiteside absolutely was responsible for preventing, as he did with his two blocks. Still, 11 of Philly's 19 were not conceivably Whiteside's responsibility. But, he sat for the rest of the 1Q and during his benching the "Heat" re-took the lead and finished the quarter with a robust 35-29 advantage.

2nd Quarter:

8:38. Whiteside re-enters game. That's about a normal reentry time for a starter. Philadelphia led 39-38 when he checked back in.

8:21. First foul.

7:35. 4th rebound (defensive).

7:27. Turnover, second. Philly 41-38.

6:59. Subbed out. Philly 42-40.

NOT a normal substitution. He was done for the half after playing a whole 1:39 of the 2Q. For the rest of the half though, again as in  the 1Q, the "Heat" re-took the lead and closed the half up 60-56.

Third quarter.

12:00. Whiteside started the third. Long-ass break. Almost half the third plus the intermission.

9:10. 5th rebound (offensive). Philly 64-63.

9:10. Missed tip shot.

8:48. Missed alley-oop dunk. Philly 66-63.

8:43. 6th rebound, defensive. 66-63.

7:54. Subbed out after 4:06 of playing time with two more boards and two missed shots with Philly leading 69-63.

In the 3Q while Whiteside played Philadelphia scored 13 points, nine on 3's, one at the rim for 2, one distance undesignated 2. And he was done for the day. Miami was outscored 61-40 the rest of the way. The story of this game was 3's. Phila shot a sick 64% on 18/28. Whiteside in, Whiteside out, the Sixers were Three-ers all game long. Miami's perimeter defenders were game enders. Hassan Whiteside was not one of them.Could he have been? lolol. The "principle of verticality," Steven Adams on Steph Curry:


Lovey dovey turtle dovey on Steph.

Spoelstra had to do something. He decided--the book, this is the standard move--to sub the big guy out to try to get a smaller defender in there who could defend the arc. He tried everybody. Nobody could defend Philly from downtown. And Spoelstra did not blame Hassan Whiteside post-game. Did not say he subbed Whiteside because he was ineffectual. No, I cannot blame Erik Spoelstra for subbing Whiteside out so earlier than normal in the 3Q. The game had turned. It went from a slight Miami advantage at half time to a slight "Sixer" advantage at the time of the substitution.

What I do fairly fault Spoelstra for is reacting as if Whiteside was the problem. One of his explanations was Philadelphia went small. (?) THEY HAD TO GO SMALL YOU IDJIT! THEIR BIG GUY WAS OUT INJURED! The "Heat" had a potentially enormous size advantage on Philly. POUND THE ROCK! Feed Whiteside until he bursts. But see here's the problem. Spoelstra does not trust Whiteside with the game. Whiteside only got four shots. He was spoon fed, not force fed. Spoelstra doesn't trust Whiteside to carry the team offensively. I guarantee you that thought has never entered Erik Spoelstra's head. For all of his advocacy of positionless basketball Spoelstra has Hassan Whiteside firmly nailed to two positions: 1. Offensive garbage collecting/defensive shot blocker, or 2.The bench. Once he takes Whiteside out of a game Spoelstra's angina disappears and he forgets about him. Have Whiteside defend the perimeter a la Adams and Love? Spoelstra'd shoot Whiteside if he saw him out there.When the six point lead became 10 then 12, 15 then 18 all the way to 29 Spoelstra tried everybody and everything except putting Hassan Whiteside back in the game.

Spoelstra may have been able to slow the game down a little by running his offense through Whiteside in the paint and that may have gotten the "Sixers" out of their rhythm on the three point line, but with a 24 second clock you can't slow the game down much. Still, he didn't try. Whiteside had had a pretty decent game when he was subbed out for good in the 3Q. The "Heat's" small ballers sucked but Spoelstra had them trying to match Phila three for three. The "Heat" took almost as many three point shots, 26, as did Philly, but made "only" 12 of them for 46%. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hassan Whiteside played 12 minutes last night? 12?

SPOELSTRA!

That is absurd. Philadelphia was without their starting center. What, did Erik decide to level the playing field for them? Whiteside did not "make the most" of his 12 minutes, that's for sure. Two points on 1/4...Well, he did have six boards which equates to 24 if he had played 48 minutes, two blocks=8 over a full game, but two turnovers, also eight, 1 assist; he was a putrid -16 in those paltry 12 minutes but Josh Richardson was a -30 over 27'. At the end of the first half, during which Whiteside had the majority of his 12 minutes the "Heat" led 60-56. Whiteside was subbed out at 7:54 of the 3Q, at which point the score was 69-63 Philly. Whiteside spent the rest of the game on his backside. Philly's lead grew to as much as 29.  And after the game Spoelstra did not blame Whiteside's performance for the benching. Erik said things happen very fast in games and matchups, need to run oh gag me until I barf.

Erik Spoelstra is a tinkerer. He tinkers. He likes to get his little hands into the machinery and tinker with the parts. He likes to take this part out and put this one in just cuz he can. To Erik, he's not a coach if he doesn't tinker. No Steve Kerr is Erik! No sirree Bob. Last year the "Heat" won 41 games. Erik tinkered that team up to 30-11 over the second half of the season. Got the parts, the "matchups" he liked and finished 30-11. Stupendous job by Erik. Masterer tinkerer. Management liked the team's potential so much they brought near the whole concoction back again this year, at new voluminous salaries. You got everybody back, Erik, just let that thing roll! But no. "Miami has used 25 different starting lineups this season..." (Palm Beach Post). Erik is a tinkerer. I tinker therefore I am. He cannot stop tinkering. He tinkered this team up to 44 wins this year. 44. 3 more than last year. Piss poor job, Erik, PISS poor. Erik has never heard of "If it ain't broke don't fix it," never heard of Voltaire, "The perfect is the enemy of the good," never heard that the power not exercised is sometimes the greatest (that's mine :) ). Erik has heard of "Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief." Erik lives by that. Coaches by it. Erik will take the nice, shiny part of the machine that Mickey Arison is paying $22 million per year, and take it out of the machine and buff it and make it all shinier cuz it'll fake the other team out. "Bet they didn't expect that!" You fooled 'em, Erik, hmm mmm, sure did. He's thieving Mickey Arison's money and rusting the biggest, shiniest part of the machine. 

Indy Beats Cleve 98-80; Newcastle beats Arsenal 2-1

Or, as Deadspin put it:

Uhh, The Pacers Beat The Living Shit Out Of The Cavaliers


And, as Piers Morgan put it--Guess...


But...BUT...Arsene Wenger is obviously playing the 2017 Jose Mourinho card, play the reserves in the EPL, save the regulars for the Europa League. Arsenal are in the semi-finals and have a two-leg tie that begins Thursday at Atletico Madrid. Win the Europa League and Arsenal automatically qualify for next season's Champions League. Wenger knows which side his bread is buttered on and if he gives American owner Stan Kroenke Champs League money, the only thing Kroenke is interested in, Wenger will see out his contract (I predict). I do not see Kroenke firing Wenger if he delivers the Champions League for the umpeenth time, Premier League table be damned. That will not sit well with Arsenal fans, AT ALL, but it is clear as crystal that is what Wenger is doing. Speaking of that damned Premier League table Arsenal are a jaw-dropping 33 points off champions Manchester City. 33.

Speaking of the Premier League table, CONGRATULATIONS TO NEWCASTLE! Today was their fourth win in a row and they will be drinking Premier League champagne again next year rather than swigging Coca Cola with the likes of Shrewsbury. All hail Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez. As recently as December 30 when I was in the Bahamas Newcastle were tabbed as the second most likely club to be relegated. Now, my God, they're tenth and have a damn good shot at finishing eighth. GREAT accomplishment for Benitez and the club.

Now as to the "Cavs." Don't be cynical! This isn't the regular season. LeBron James teams just do not lose in the first round of the playoffs. By 18. Or any number. At home. Or anywhere.They haven't since 2012. Personally LBJ had won 21 straight playoff games. No, this is significant. It does not bode well for Cleve's post-season near future. And if they don't make it back to the Finals for a nauseating fourth straight re-do with Golden State that does not bode well for James' long term future in The Land of Mistakes. 

Schadenfreude

My son called me yesterday after the win over Spurs to bemoan what he termed the "lackluster" nature of City's title win this year whenever it occurred, today, or next week at Swansea: no sheer joy, no on-field celebration in front of the home crowd as there was in 2012. He was right. There is nothing better than that. And although we mentioned the possibility of securing the three points we needed by a United loss today it was unemotional math, neither of us thought it worth the emotion of hope. United were not going to lose at home to dead last West Brom. Neither of us thought about the emotion of schadenfreude that would come in to play today if...

In great sports rivalries there is schadenfreude that comes into play. Even if your team isn't playing there is still joy in your rival's loss. If City had beaten United last week 3-2 in a match well-played by a game United squad, there would have been the opposite, some grudging respect for United. There would have been some glory for United in gallant defeat. We wouldn't want that, would we? No we would not and so today's loss by United presented the inverse of the emotions of winning the title at home. We were presented the gift of City winning the title at Old Trafford by United losing in front of its own fans--who booed them off the pitch! Ah, exquisite  joy, that. Rare, unexpected, double joy, winning without even playing by your greatest rival losing, humiliatingly.

No, nothing, not this, not anything, will ever top the frisson of the QPR title win. This though can be savored by its own lights, in the bright light of triumph, and in the dark light of schadenfreude.

From The Guardian:



MANCHESTER CITY ARE CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND FOR THE FIFTH TIME!

MANCHESTER CITY EPL CHAMPIONS!!!

WEST BROM BEATS UNITED 1-0!!!!

NO! WEST BROM BEAT UNITED! CITY ARE CHAMPIONS! HAHAHAHAHAHA!


It took one half for the Philadelphia "Seven Foot Sixers" to get in gear last night. They did. A four point Miami lead was erased and the "Heat" obliterated 74-43 in the second half.

I saw the entrance to American Airlines Arena from a distance as I was driving downtown last week. These arenas are all shaped like petri dishes with the lids on. "Culture" was on the banner in front of the arena. That's what you do with petri dishes, right? You culture things in them, germs, bacteria, mediocrity.