Everyday is Perfect, Everything is Wrong.

It’s January in the Bay Area, and every day is perfect; nearly an exact replica of the day that immediately preceded it. The month doesn’t matter. The day is irrelevant, since the proceedings are roughly uniform across the spectrum. The muffled screams and yelps from the three children in the adjacent apartment — and the headache-inducing shouts from their over-matched, under-prepared parents, both of whom are younger than me, and who forget that the walls that separate our units are much thinner than they think — finally rouse me from my slumber. My eyes, still heavy with sleep, wander to my bedroom window, where I always pray to see grey, leaden skies and small rivulets of water falling down the pane. Instead, each day, I see brilliant blue skies, cloudless and carefree. As I rise from bed, yawning, stretching, scratching, and cussing to myself about absolutely nothing in particular, I shield my body from the sun, invading all the rooms in my house, warming the environment with deadly, ultraviolet rays. This is what it’s like in drought-affected California. Every day is July 4th. Every day is summer break.

By the time I’m strapped into my car and careening to work — continually in a rush to help treat a disability that cannot be cured — and the caffeine is fully incorporated into my bloodstream, I have calmed down a bit. My car windows are down, my elbow is propped up and protruding out, and Bay Area sports radio blares loudly. There always seems to be a lot to discuss on the 50,000 watt flamethrower; the status of the infield for the Giants following the departure of Pablo Sandoval, the status of the Santa Clara 49ers after a season that was more interesting off-the-field than on it. What doesn’t get discussed, even now, are the Warriors. All the hosts on KNBR offer jokes about how to nitpick the team, but even those are offered half-heartedly; more of a sports radio courtesy than anything else. What is there to say? The team is 32-6; one of the 10 best starts in NBA history. Every Warrior is having their best season as a professional, from the headlining stars to the end-of-bench stalwarts. Every single individual award is in play, from MVP (Steph), to Sixth Man (Mo Speights), to Most Improved Player (Klay Thompson), to Defensive Player of the Year (Andrew Bogut) to Coach of the Year (Steve Kerr). There has been a single overtime game (a win), and in the 38 games played thus far, only eight have been decided by three possessions or less (and the Warriors are 6-2 in said games). The negative headlines of previous seasons are absent. For Warriors fans, every day is sunny. Every day is perfect.

Yet, as I watch the games, and take in the platitudes that comes with preferring a team that currently rules the NBA, it is impossible to shake the feeling that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be; that something happening here is out of place.  Of course, much of this is due to the fact that no Warriors fan has any context for what’s happening (unless, of course, you are over 50 years old and witnessed the 1975 championship team, or the 1976 team than won 59 games but lost in the Western conference finals), and is learning how to be a fan of a contender on-the-fly.  There isn’t a frame of reference to understand how our team who, for the balance of our lifetimes, has been competitive at best, and crappy at worst, is now treating each opponent like a church youth-league team. Each blowout is like these sinister beautiful days in January, the sun shining brightly, the hills browned and parched. There’s no arguing with a beautiful day, unless something about that day just doesn’t feel right.

Each Warriors fan — and in some ways, each Californian, sun-baked and dried-out from a drought that seems like it will never end — is stuck in a strange place right now. There is nothing wrong with every day being glorious and gilded, sun-kissed serotonin as far as the eye can see. It’s hard to complain about a journey that doesn’t feature much of a struggle. For the first time, a Warriors fan can somewhat impatiently state, to themselves and others around them, yes, this is great, but I wish the playoffs would just get here. I wish it were May. For the first time, the shimmering mirage of a championship parade — something understandable because of the three-peat Giants, but inconceivable due to the general history of the Warriors franchise — seems to be within grasp. But the harsh realities of where we are, and what this is — a long haul in a harsh land, carried out by vulnerable mortals — has never fully gone away, has never fully vacated itself from our minds. This is California, after all: a place where everything is beautiful, and every day is perfect, yet peril seems to be lurking; watching with interested eyes, waiting for the correct moment to strike. Having what typically happens — a losing streak, a shooting slump, an injury, a controversy — would be more comfortable, more knowable, more predictable. Yet the beauty of never-ending perfection — even in January — is hard to critique, and even harder to understand and explain.

It is a strange feeling; longing for the glory of summer, yet at the same time, desperately wishing it would finally rain.

Posted in General | 1 Comment

GAMES OF THE WEEK 1/19-1/25

Good afternoon. My name is DOCTOR Corbin Smith, Adjunct Professor of Psychology here at Diss University, and I have some startling new research to share with you, my loyal readership. In my time writing this column, I have discovered some the relationship between the basketball games people watch and their psychological state. TO test my new system, I solicited game picks on the website Twitter.com and I will share my results with you today:

MONDAY: CAVALIERS AT BULLS,  7:30 EAST 4:30 WEST

What kind of person seeks out disappointment? Neither the Cavs or the Bulls will do anything in this game to inspire you. Either the Bulls looks anemic or the Cavs appear as a nightmare. This young man should be setting his standards higher, seeking new and exciting rushes, but he returns to the well he thought would have the cleanest healing waters in the beginning of the year. I suspect his childhood was a series of disappointments that were completely out of his control, and he has decided that was what he deserved. He will lead a life of never ending disappointments, until death, because he does not aim for higher ground.

TUESDAY: THUNDER AT HEAT: 7:30 EAST, 4:30 WEST

Well, straight out the gate, trying to get me to do two games, a sign of a deep and real greed, a greed that will someday drive this man down the deepest river of despair. Combine this greed with a game that is a Brokedown Palace 2012 Finals Rematch, and we see a man who is unduly nostalgic for a time recently passed, when he was able to exploit people for money. He has been stopped, by the police, or the FTC, or the Securities commission. He sits in him home, bitter and broken, waiting for a day when the money will flow freely again. He is a troubled person and he must learn that he can only find peace in nature.

WEDNESDAY: THUNDER AT WIZARDS: 8 PM EAST, 5 PM WEST

Kevin Durant has semi-openly discussed the idea of coming home to Washington to play for the Wizards. Mr. Bennett’s choice suggests a fascination with cuckolding. If I were to get a look into his dream life, you would be stuck watching complicated soap operas where dinosaurs were cheat on their spouses, then tell them so they can become excited by the grief on their faces. This is a pick of a sick man.

THURSDAY: SPURS AT BULLS: 8PM EAST, 5PM WEST

A battle of two parent figures. Popovich is a stern, orderly man, who keeps a clean house that feel suffocating. Thibadeau is a chaotic, sweaty presence who pushes you to be the best you can but leaves you confused and exhausted. Man’s struggle between comfort and progress is at war in RJ’s heart. Which will bring you to happiness? The answer is neither, because man and womyn are defined by their eternal dissatisfaction. The only way to escape is to be put in the dirt.

FRIDAY: NEW ORLEANS AT MINNESOTA: 8PM EAST 5PM WEST

Both of these teams exemplify a duality. Flip and Monty are two of the last men standing in the mid-range, and they both coach new, dynamic, athletic stars who capture our imaginations and turn out heads to the future. The patient longs for days past and manifests this longing in youth. He needs to realize that the future in inevitable, it is coming, it is necessary, the world is moving, and he can’t put his desire to return to the past on those who will be of the future.

SATURDAY: PISTONS AT MILWAUKEE 7:30 EAST, 4:30 WEST  

Patient has an insatiable craving for novelty. The Bucks were an unwatchable mess until this year, the Piston until this month. Always seeking the new. Will be impossible for the patient to settle down, he lives on the hunt for a new animal to devour. Someday his claws will fail him, and he will starve, emotionally, when he has to watch a Mavs-Spurs playoff series, like the rest of us.

SUNDAY: CLIPPERS AT SUNS 3PM WEST, 6PM EAST

I picked this game myself. What does it reveal in me? I can tell you, with eyes unclouded, because I have come to the place of perfect analysis. The patient wishes to see, if for even a second, Austin Rivers, recently traded to the Clippers, get hounded by Eric Bledsoe. He wants to see Austin humiliated and destroyed on a basketball court. He resents anyone who has a leg up in life. He probably watches tapes, actual VHS tapes, of rives making mistakes and missing shots, so deep does his hatred for nepotists go. It is unhealthy, and it is consuming his life. He has only watched Austin Rivers for three and a half years, trying to mine everything negative he possibly an out of his play. This recent move has made it worse. He has stopped sleeping, and he only eats water with protein powder and vitamins, so he can get nutrients while he prays at the altar of his hatred. His feces are so small and intert that he poos in a bucket in his HateRoom, a small room with only a small TV and VCR and a pillow he takes restless, hour long naps on. He is in big trouble.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Conflict, Contrition, Correction.

In 2009, during All-Star weekend, the Phoenix Suns fired their head coach Terry Porter, who at that point had been commanding the helm of a ship that had been sinking for 51 games. Though the termination was handed down — personally, at Porter’s home — by Steve Kerr, the general manager of the team, the mandate had been set by all of the important figures in the organization, from Robert Sarver, the owner, to Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire, the franchise players. The team had been predicted to finish second in the Pacific, and at the very least, as a low playoff seed in the West. But as the weekend’s festivities raged in Phoenix, the hosts stood at 28-23; a far-cry from the consistently successful D’Antoni years. Chemistry had been a issue; the team was slow to adopt to Porter’s defensive emphases and offense focused around Shaquille O’Neal. Nash had been openly devastated by a trade which sent Raja Bell and Boris Diaw to Charlotte for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley, viewed widely as a cost-cutting move, and perhaps a precursor for a blockbuster centered around Amar’e Stoudemire. With the season imploding, Porter was let go, replaced by assistant coach Alvin Gentry. Following Porter’s departure, Kerr expressed dual lamentations: that it hadn’t worked out with a quality professional and personal friend, and that to “save the season” — as they say — he had to try and correct an unforeseen mistake:

I hired Terry because I believed in him. He’s got a ton of integrity and dignity and class, and he’s got a great work ethic. I hired him because I believed he was the best man for the job.In the last month, it became apparent to me that, look, this is not working, what we’re trying is not working. I think we still can make this a very successful season. This was a move I think we had to make in order to give our team the best chance for success.

While it is analytically lazy to trot out a case study in an attempt to understand what is going on with the underachieving (at best) and imploding (at worst) Cleveland Cavaliers of 2015, there are a serious dearth of tools to explain the inexplicable: that such a good team, at least in the minds of those who think a lot about the NBA, would fall so flat, despite an obvious abundance of incredible individual talent and success. In this case, the aforementioned Phoenix Suns are a useful comparison. Despite obvious differences in both time period and personnel, there are enough broad comparisons to find some important similarities: two small market franchises, saddled with veterans, catering to free-agents-to-be, pushing the limits of the salary cap, self-consciously licking self-inflicted wounds from bad drafts and having liquidated future draft picks in order to assemble the current roster. In both cases, player dissent against the coach has taken public forms, from tangible expressions of concern, to open displays of deviance and doubt. For both the Cavs of today, and the Suns of yesteryear, the midpoint of the season has presented something of a breaking point: a lackluster start, a flurry of seemingly panicked trades, and an uncontrollable stream of negative reportage from credible sources that cannot be tempered by wins, simply because the wins, themselves, do not exist.

In situations where expedient success is placed at a premium, it makes sense that the prevailing question on most interested observers’ minds is: are the Cavaliers doomed? For that to be answered, one must interrogate their own standards, since there is no official benchmark stating what is considered to be success, and what is considered to be failure. By the strictest definition, the Suns, that season, were doomed, and the season was deemed by most to be a failure. Despite going 18-13 in the remaining 31 games, and losing Amar’e Stoudemire for the season shortly after the All-Star break, 46 wins were not enough to crack the top eight. But the next season brought further changes; with Terry Porter off the job, and firing-rod center Shaquille O’Neal shipped off to Cleveland, the Suns evolved under Alvin Gentry. Both Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley, the players received for former franchise stalwarts Diaw and Bell — became key contributors to a Suns team that regained their crowns as offensive champions, played just enough defense to win games, and made an improbable run to the Western Conference championship. An argument can be made that the Suns’ success of 2010 was directly correlated to the “failure” of 2009. With an understanding of the shortcomings of the Suns under Porter, a better product could be created under Gentry; the vaunted “retool, not rebuild” line which success-conscious general managers — pressured by profit-conscious owners — trot out with unsurprising regularity.

However, it must be acknowledged that the perception of what is happening in Cleveland is informed by our own insecurities, our own discomfort around not being able to fully understand or explain what is occurring with the Cavaliers this season. When a team underachieves, it is doing so based largely upon expectations placed by others, and in many cases, those expectations are filtered through our own privately held beliefs. It is not unreasonable to think that a team led by three all-stars, as well as the player many consider to be the greatest to ever play, should at the very least be above .500. Additionally, it is not unreasonable to believe that a group of handsomely-paid adults should be able to “figure it out,” and come to a series of compromises on-and-off the court as a way to make grounds in an Eastern conference that is honestly more top-heavy than its reputation implies. That compromise could easily include firing Blatt and promoting Tyronne Lue, who certainly seems to be the coach the players prefer interacting with; something evident from my couch a thousand miles away. But even then, a pressing fact seems to remain: a general insistence that something is wrong, and that something needs to change remains murky, simply because this was not expected to occur in any shape or form. No one in the NBA, from the teams, to the fans, to the media, expected such a layered-struggle in Cleveland; such a struggle to find an identity, and a search for success that seems to be marred by fractious infighting and high-risk general managing. The removal of the coach would be the quickest way for everyone to get clarity; to understand that there are mistakes that need to be corrected, and not simply ignored. And the Suns of 2009 show that, despite our own definitions of “hastiness”, “fairness” or “competence”, admitting a mistake sooner rather than later can be beneficial.

To me, it isn’t important whether or not David Blatt is fired today, tomorrow, or a decade from now. Nor really is it important to know, at the moment, whether or not the Cavs’ season is over, as our friends over at I Go Hard Now have grimly stated. Instead, what seems important to observe is the manner that the decision-makers in the franchise go about correcting the errors that clearly have been made over the last several months, and the amount of contrition that goes into the way those errors are corrected in an attempt to get this bizarre season on track. No situation is completely beyond repair, but often times, the hardest thing to get over are the beliefs we staunchly hold on to, even to the greater detriment of the group, and without thought of what success could possibly lay ahead.

Posted in General | 1 Comment

GAMES OF THE WEEK 1/12-1/18

stemilt-bartlett-pear

MONDAY: DETROIT AT TORONTO 7:30 EAST, 4:30 WEST

I am perpetually behind on watching the shit people are talking about. I still haven’t seen the Pistons play. I have been given the impression that they are good now, because they got rid of Josh Smith. I am hurt for Josh Smith, who I have enjoyed from time to time. Now I understand that everyone else has turned on Josh Completely, but, like I said, I am behind. For instance, I still think the Heat seem like a solid team and I think Cleveland is pretty scary. Richard Nixon seems like a guy you could have a beer with. Napoleon is a warrior for democracy. This Jesus guy seems like a kook, this shit will never catch on. Food? I will take moisture and sunlight, thanks. Uhh, my particles forming into a planet, NO THANKS.

Another sign of my genuine retrogradery is that I will probably watch the College Football Final instead of basketball. Foortball is a nightmare, I guess, but, man, you get to talking to me about a championship, I will watch whatever you stick in front of me. If we could get sports to a place where there is a title game every single day, I will eat that shit up like a big silly duck in a stale bread factory.

Also, I guess I am an Oregon partisan? It is probably the Pac-12 school that most resembles my Alma Matter, The Evergreen State College. And I like Kazemi. Them or Berkley. I would root for Berkley, I guess. Go Bears. Or Ducks. Or, uh, Raccoons. The Saint Magnus Fightnin’ Raccoons.

TUESDAY: SAN ANTONIO AT WASHINGTON 7:00 EAST, 4:00 WEST

Which member of the Spurs would make the best President? Baynes, Marco, Boris, Manu, Parker, Patty, Cory Joseph and Tiago were all born outside of the United States, so they’re straight up disqualified. Matt Bonner tried to become a Canadian citizen, the highest form of treason possible, so hell no to that guy. Duncan and Kawhai and Danny green don’t talk much, which is the currency of a politician, so they’re out.

It’s down to Kyle Anderson, Jeff Ayres, and Austin Daye. Ayres went to ASU, so absolutely not. Austin Daye played in the D-League, and if you can name a D-League president, I will say “Okay” and give it to him, but we haven’t elected one yet and there’s no reason to think anyone can overcome that stigma. Kyle Anderson went to UCLA, good college, he seems nice, and he isn’t too tall. I declare him President Spur.

2000px-Hopkinson_Flag.svg

WEDNESDAY: HOUSTON AT ORLANDO 7:00 PM EAST, 4:00 PM WEST

Why not!? You like bad feelings, and Dwight and Harden flopping their way to a victory against a bunch of young guys out there trying their hardest to compete, in front of a north Florida crowd that is angry and resentful and sweaty and salty and sad, this thing could really curdle into something unpleasant that you don’t want to miss. It’s like you walking down the street and someone says, hey, buddy, a guy is gonna chop off his own hand, you can watch for five bucks, you pony up, right? 3211285023_ff2782611b_z

THURSDAY:

You know what? I won’t pick. They’re all kind of interesting. Miluakee/Knicks is fun because you get to the the Bucks just WAIL on someone, Giannis leakouts, Kendall Marshall career games, pretty much everything you could want:from a basketball contest. Houston/OKC is an actual game between two teams who are natural rivals for reasons so obvious I will not review them here. Cavs/Lakers will answer the question that BURNS in your mind: “The Cavs can beat the Lakers, right? I mean, they lost to the Knicks, so who knows what the hell is going on with this thing. Will the train just COMPLETELY fall off the tracks tonight, and wipe out the entire NBA in its wake?” Watch the, all, they’re all masterpieces!

FRIDAY: HAWKS AT RAPTORS 7:30 EAST 4:30 WEST

This is a game between the first and second seeds in the East. The Hawks have taken the heart and spirit of the Spurs and are using it to flog everyone. The Raptors have been slumping. They both play team ball. It’s fun. I like these quality undetermined East teams, man, they’re funky. Offbeat. Interesting. Like a painting of a bottle of milk or something.

5406336174_0abf9c5739_b

SATURDAY: PORTLAND AT MEMPHIS 8:00 EAST, 5:00 WEST

Every time Memhpis plays Portland, I root for Memphis. I try not to, I swear, I feel like I am disappointed my family and my community when I pump my fist for roving pirates who throw the Blazers into the ocean every time they play, but they’re just so cool. Once, when the Blazers were bad, I went to a game and openly cheered for the Grizzlies, like a weirdo. At least I didn’t have a Battier jersey, like the dude who was sitting courtside.

SUNDAY: NEW ORLEANS AT TORONTO 3:30 EAST, 12:30 WEST

There are three games on, probably to avoid conflict with football. This is, by far, the best one. Anthony Davis will compete against Amir Johnson. It should be really great. I am looking at the word counter right now and trying to get to to 1000. I am at 866 right now. Okay, now I am at 874. What can I write 130 words about? I read a Lucy Kinsley travelogue book recently and I really enjoyed it. She went to Europe and kept a journal that resembled a very rough comic book. I am looking at another Lucy Kinsey book right now, that is why I thought about it. She uses drawings as a way of processing and organizing her thought and objectifying single moments, it’s really interesting. I am at 948. Man, this is surprisingly hard. I get why these horrible old columnists make up beef to grind into column space.  They’re at work, too, they just want to get out and get home to their families like everyone else. Just potshot a famous athlete, who gives a shit, he makes a lot of money, my daughter has a ballet recital and I need to get there in like half an hour.

 10511181_10204263789864109_288565556816318891_n

Posted in Games of the Week | Leave a comment

On Ghosting Greatness.

There is no set protocol for celebrating aging — or more appropriately, having aged — in the NBA. If anything, there’s a standard set of practices for decrying the aging process; an intricate cocktail of denial, anger, grief and, hopefully, acceptance of what cannot be changed; what can only be delayed, never fully avoided. This feeling exists for every participant in the NBA, from the players to the coaches; from the owners to the fans. One needs to only look at Kobe Bryant’s historically stubborn season to get an idea of how aging is viciously battled, with everyone — the player, the coach, the owners and the fans — holding on to the ideas of what things were more than the reality of how things are. Of course, this makes an incredible amount of sense, that aging is seen as an enemy rather than a friend one makes later in life, after the physical damage to the body has been done, and the mind has moved on to different things. No pregame celebration filled with dazzling highlights will replace the thrill of creating the plays being highlighted, no jersey in the rafters or touching video tribute will match the sheer, soaring elation of seeing the players play. The players are here to perform, and once the act is done, and the final bows have been made, the player fades from our minds. There is little to like about aging, in the NBA; in professional sport.

In this regard, the current case of Steve Nash presents an interesting conundrum. To their credit, the individuals who have brought you this exquisitely abhorrent version of the Los Angeles Lakers have been very civil about the Nash “issue,” as much as it exists as an issue in a season full of damn issues for a sour milk team like the Lakers. Naturally, there are certain rules and about discussing the absence of the former two-time MVP. After all, facts are facts: Nash has played 65 games over the course of two seasons, and in those games, either limped about the court, or failed to resemble even the most diluted version of the dynamic, debonair hardwood marshal who, arguably, was the most dominant point guard over the last decade. Head Coach Byron Scott — he of blank stares and vapid post-game pressers, who loves watching his team languish for interminable minutes on end while the other team runs up the score like an arcade game — has balanced his puzzlement with politeness when discussing the AWOL point guard, stating as recently as Monday that Nash would have a place on the team, if and when he decides to show up. Jeanie Buss, who has truly become her brother’s keeper, has answered “I don’t know,” when asked on the radio where, exactly, Steve Nash is, but also has been gracious and kind when discussing the politics of paying a man who seems to have no intentions of playing again, at least as a Los Angeles Laker. There are far more pressing matters in Lakerland these days than a sidelined great who never was all that great, at least as a member of the home team.

Aside from a small, unsurprisingly-humorous commercial — likely filmed before the season started, when it seemed like Nash was going to be, at least, a part-time NBA player this year — the ol’ boy Steve is gone. Like the Lakers, we, as fans of the NBA, have no idea where he is, and if he’ll ever be back. This is not the case for most former greats, who we can still vaguely place a finger on, even if their sneakers stopped squeaking for us ages ago. Nash has ghosted his NBA career; grabbed his coat, called Uber, and left the party without saying goodbye. The standard protocol for saying “so long” to a beloved player who also produced amply during his career — a celebration tour throughout the league, video tributes and campy jersey retirements, wistful recollections of brilliant Suns teams and a bento box of “what if?” moments — is going by the wayside, in this case. It seems as if Steve Nash will not submit to anyone’s emotions, and grant them a final chance to show their love. He will not play the role of Derek Jeter, waving appreciatively to crowds in foreign cities, standing and clapping, essentially, for memories, and not for individuals. He will not be Mariano Rivera, snapping shots with arena staff, and using his last days as a professional athlete to thank those who made him who he is. He is done, finished, wrapped up. Whatever emotions you have must be swallowed harshly, choked down like a wad of chewing gum. The chance for public remembrance is over, and frankly, we never had a chance to begin with.

In such a crowded league, where attention spans are short, and careers are even shorter, it is sometimes easy to forget that scores of players retire each year, and fade into the dusk completely. Many have led long, fruitful careers. Others barely had a chance to get going. For many of these players, these departures from the game are by design, and not by choice, and the endgame, of course, did not play out as seamlessly as was originally planned. In most cases, there is no celebration of aging; the player is not offered a contract, and so they do not return, to either the team they previously played for, or to the league that kept them handsomely employed for a period of time. In Steve Nash, however, we have a different scenario: a player who cannot perform on the court, but is still cherished by both the team with whom he currently holds a financial contract, and beloved by the fans with whom he holds countless emotional contracts. The accolades made by the player, as well as the memories generated from the accolades, seem worthy of some sort of recognition; a final curtain call, a hearty round of applause, a seat on the bench next to the coaches. But seemingly, for Nash, that doesn’t seem necessary; not on an awful team, not when the stakes are so very low. There need be neither a celebration against aging, or a last stand to try and fight it, and lace up the sneakers one last time. It seems as if the mind has moved on; to a place where the Lakers, NBA, or basketball can not reach him, and he can move on with his life.

If Steve Nash never showed his face again, not much would change. The focus of the average fan has firmly shifted to different players; younger stars who are starting to enter their primes and shifting the balances of power throughout the association. On a base level, this seems fine. Nash himself seems fine with it; a mutual parting of ways, peace made between two parties who used to have something special, but over time, have grown older; have grown apart. But to not go through the motions, and at least offer a chance to celebrate his accomplishments undoubtedly leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the average fan. It is not the expected outcome for anyone who once looked at his flowing hair, youthful exuberance, and blur of a body, and felt that the fun could last forever, or at the very least, for seven brilliant seconds.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

GAMES OF THE WEEK 1/5-111

If it seem like I only recommended weird games, it’s because there were not any normal games on this week.

MONDAY: WASHINGTON AT NEW ORLEANS 8PM EAST, 5PM WEST

Has anyone floated the idea that the East is secretly more functional than the West? Teams with young stars shouldn’t have to face a gauntlet of trails that threaten to tear their testicles off year after year. Your team should be allowed to fail a little, the you get competent, then you get good, then you get better than good! Unfortunate, competition and weather have gathered in the west and build a spiked marble wall that a team must climb. Why is the East dysfunctional? The Bucks SHOULD be able to compete! They have good young players! The West and its inequitable world where the rich get richer and the poor suck lemons is the immoral one!

piketty

TUESDAY: PHOENIX AT MILWAUKEE 8PM EAST, 5PM WEST

There are only two games on Tuesday’s slate. This is the better of those two games. I am kind of into it, because I am down with the deer, but if you’re not, this is an excellent night to do something else. May I recommend a movie? I watched Cries and Whispers the other night, and it was a devious construction and an emotionally wrenching affair all in one. Bergman also does fascinating things with camera movements and close ups. The movement, the co-dependency, the emotional horror and the European-ness make it a very Spurs-y movie. You like pop culture equivalencies, right? It’s good sportswriting, right?

WEDNESDAY: MEMPHIS AT ATLANTA 7:30 EAST 4:30 WEST

Atlanta has won a lot of game against Western competition lately. Maybe they are very good. Maybe the West is overrated. Maybe everything living in a fixed position in our minds is more unknowable than we know, and we should embrace that uncertainty and let it take us to new and exciting places.

14176345390_8ac04609e3_k

THURSDAY: MIAMI AT PORTLAND 7PM WEST 10PM EAST
If you come over to my house IN Vancouver, Washington, while this game is on, I will probably be watching it. I will let you into the house. “Do you want anything to eat, while we watch this game, the one on television?” No thank you, Corbin. “Oh. Do you want some special blanket, or sleeping bag, or pillow, to make yourself more comfortable while watching this game?” I am fine, thank you. “Drugs? I have some drugs, different kinds of drugs, you can take them and it might make the game better? Uppers? Downers? Pot? Holla-genics?” Uhh, not now. Maybe if the game isn’t very good, I will take drugs but I think I will just watch for now.

ShaqCavs

FRIDAY: CLEVELAND AT GOLDEN SLUMBERS 7:30 WEST 10:30 EAST

Halfway through this game, Kevin Love, who was NEARLY traded to Golden State, will have been thoroughly beaten and bruised by the team who spurned him. His teammates have abandoned him, subcumbed to injury, disease, and death (A Cav will die this week, yes.). Dion is floating around, clapping and doing things. He will stand at center court. The cheers will surround him. He will close his eyes and realize that the cheers aren’t really an upper, a pump that runs adrenaline into his blood and makes him run up and down and compete. The are a blanket, a gentle wave made from warm liquid cotton. He will lie down in the middle of the arena and sleep. He will sleep until the final buzzer sounds. When he wakes, the judgmental eyes of the words affixed to himself, the only self that ever gave him and peace, he will weep, for he now knows that happiness and comfort can never for him, that he can only chase and fail forever and ever.

Kevin-Love-Cavs

SATURDAY: DALLAS AT CLIPPERS 12:30 WEST 3:30 EAST

FUN NAIL ART PROJECTS FOR THIS GAME:

ONE: Paint both teams’ starting fives on your fingers. Chris Paul and Chandler parsons are the thumbs.

TWO: Oceans on one hand, for Clippers, and Horses for the other, because the Mavericks are spiritually attached to horses.

THREE: R-A-J-O-N R-O-N-D-O

FOUR: A tiny little ten-panel comic about Donald Sterling.

FIVE: Matted red and blue, paint it with house paint instead of traditional shiny polish.

SIX: Dump both of your hands into giant buckets of hot wax, then hold it to your face until it sticks.At the end of the game, scrape the wax from your face and hands. Make it into a candle. Mail the candle to the winning team as tribute. Paint your nails purple.

14523411118_f9be672af3_b

SUNDAY: CLEVELAND AT SACRAMENTO 6PM WEST 9PM EAST

Cleveland put a perfect team together and it has congealed into a pile of lumpy cream. Sacramento has been a pile of worse cream that was starting to become cheese, but the guy who ran the dairy-arium decided this cheese was not to his liking so he filled it with arsenic and told the world it was the future of dairy. These teams deserve each other they and they deserve to savage each other like the sisters in Cries and Whispers.

criesandwhispers2

Posted in General | Leave a comment

GAMES OF THE WEEK 12/29-1/4

MONDAY: WASHINGTON AT HOUSTON 8PM EAST 5PM WEST

I was watching John Wall on Christmas and I thought to myself, I thought, “Hey, I have been spending a lot of time with John Wall for the last few years, and I really like what this guy brings to the table, and I have decided that he is one of my favorite players.” I turned to my dog, Doggus, and I said “Doggus, when John Wall slings those passes to the corners, that is really really neat. He has managed to revive Rasual Butler’s entire career!” Then, Doggus speaks to me, through the psychic cloud, “CORBIN, I COMMAND YOU DO MY BIDDING. GO TO THE PIZZA SHOP AND BUY ME A WHOLE PIZZA. I WISH TO CONSUME IT, RIGHT HERE, AND BECOME KING OF THE PIZZA DOGS” Then I says “Doggus, you dummy, you just want to shit all over my carpet!” Then he says, “Aww man, you caught me. Please rub my belly now.”

14206861858_d58165e99a_z

TUESDAY: ORLANDO AT MIAMI 7:30 EAST, 4:30 WEST

WEDNESDAY: SACRAMENTO AT BOSTON: 1PM EAST, 10 AM WEST

I am only recommending this game because it is on early. You have to leave your house and go to a party for new year’s. No one likes it. Hell, I was at a party last year and I got overwhelmed and hid in the coat closet. I tried to tell myself it was a joke, like “Someone will open this closet and here I will be and it will be so silly” but after ten minutes I realized that this was about as comfortable as I had ever been, and this was not a joke, but a coping mechanism that was genuinely helping me get through the night. But I still went, because I should have, because I needed to get out and that was as good of an excuse as any.

THURSDAY: SACRAMENTO AT MINNESOTA 8 PM EAST, 5 PM WEST

There are only two games on on New Year’s Day. This one is definitely the best one. I do not remember what the other game is. Something along the lines of Bobcats/Jazz or something else no one really wants to watch. 80% of the audience for that game will be blogger trying to write something about it. “Exum did a good job guarding Walker off the bench, with his length,” or something. Take the stone in your hand. Squeeze it until your fingerbones shatter and cut through your skin. Look at the blood. Convince yourself the blood is actually from the stone. Write about that blood and put it on the internet. Hope someone reads it and decided to let you write for them. Keep doing this until you are Mitch Albom and you can serve up hot piles of moralistic garbage to old people for like 2,000 bucks a pop. Do this until you die. You will have lived the life of a writer. Congratulations.

7532999776_eb4057734e_z

Also, making the Kings play road games on and after New Year’s Eve is cruel.

FRIDAY: TORONTO AT GOLDEN STATE 730 EAST, 1030 WEST

This is a confrontation of the top teams in the West and East. The East is pretty bad, so that’s not as hefty as it sometimes is. But Toronto’s pretty good, they could jump out from behind the eastbush and give the Warriors a good mugging. Everyone thinks Kyle Lowry is this super bitter dude who will do anything to destroy the players everyone says are better than he is, and Steph is one of those players, so someone out there is like Oh Man Kyle Is Going To Take It To Steph but he will probably just try as hard as he always does because he wants to win games because he is a basketball player who is accustomed to winning. Maybe they feel like they represent the honor of the east, and they can bring glory to a faded house by delivering a fresh head to the God Of The Atlantic Division as a sacrifice for fertility and plenty. The NBA is riddled with Paganism, after all.

SATURDAY: MIAMI AT HOUSTON 8PM EAST, 5PM WEST

Saturday has a very bad slate without compelling games. This game was the only one I could make compelling by squinting to hard my eyes started to bleed. Dwight played in Florida once, and now he is playing in a different part of Florida! James Harden and Dwyane Wade are both shooting guard who are excellent and hated by people who obsess over the intangibilities of fairness, will their matchup create an outrage portal? Chris Bosh almost played in Houston, will Houston seek revenge, or will Bosh be looking for revenge against, uhh (Checks Houston roster) Josh Smith for, I don’t know, taking too many jump shots? Is that interesting? Is that preview worthy?

SUNDAE: DALLAS AT CLEVELAND 1PM EAST 10 AM WEST

This Sunday game is JUST LIKE A SUNDAE!

ONE: It’s happening in the mid afternoon, prime sundae time, the best time for sundaes!

TWO: Lebron James is like sundae ice cream, he is hearty and filling, but also sweet and smooth and beloved by all!

THREE: Kyrie Irving is like hot fudge hot and sweet and occasionally superfluous!

FOUR: Dirk is a lot like peanuts! Lots of protein!

FIVE: Kevin Love is like a plastic bowl, because everyone is dissatisfied with his performance! They wish he was a waffle bowl!

SIX: Tyson Chandler is like a post-sundae tummyache, because he makes people toss up garbage at the rim!

SEVEN: The entire experience is good, but not completely substantial, because there is not defense (Vegetables). Also you worry it’s not really food/basketball because the Cavs make you feel so empty in your deepest heart.

5703386063_6fdb37e363_z

Posted in General | Leave a comment