Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: Bouncy Castle Edition

This was a heavily hyped Finals matchup. Has it lived up to expectations?

Jacob Greenberg: Yes, I must begrudgingly admit that these Finals have lived up to expectations. All of the games have been extremely close, competitive, and for the most part, classy. Both Durant and James have elevated their games, and you have to be a damned gargoyle to not get excited when you see those two guarding each other in key moments in the game. Yet, for reasons I stated earlier, I am having a hard time getting emotionally pumped up for a battle between two evils. The basketball is great, but without a doubt I would’ve chosen different teams.

Omar Bagnied: Not quite yet. It will when LBJ and Durant both go for 40 in in an epic battle a la LBJ-Pierce in 2008. LBJ has been better, both offensively and defensively. As the whole world has mentioned, Durant’s poorer offensive performances are due to Westbrook’s excessive shooting. Durant knows he should be shooting more, especially in the clutch, but he defers to Westbrook in an attempt to build his teammate’s confidence and silence critics; D-Wade does the same for LBJ.

Similar to Jacob, I’m not a fan of either team. I was semi-rooting for OKC until I saw this documentary. I watch for good basketball and I like that every game is an event where you get together with friends to watch the game.

Andrew Snyder: This matchup has been great to watch. As a heartbroken Celtics fan (if only we’d had a healthy Avery Bradley and Jeff Green…) I can shamelessly root for the Thunder and hate on (albeit, respectfully) the Heat. LeBron and Wade versus Durant and Westbrook has not disappointed. Miami’s defensive effort has been the story of the series so far.

I’m not exactly sure what Serge Ibaka was thinking calling out LeBron for his supposed lack of defense, when LeBron has been doing a better job on Durant than Shane Battier, statistically speaking. I’m too lazy to provide links for this unsubstantiated claim, because it’s a combination of reputable sources - the five minutes of Around The Horn I just saw when I got home from work and the 10 minutes of sports radio I heard on the way to the supermarket yesterday. Feel free to fact check at your own discretion.

Jordan Durlester: When you have the two most exciting teams matched up against either, both of whom like to get out in transition, how could it NOT be enjoyable? The pace of the games thus far has been astonishing and the athleticism on display is almost too much to handle at some points. There’s no other way to say it: This series has been, and will continue to be, flat out fun.

Jairo Martinez: I have enjoyed and have been mortified at several points throughout this series. OKC has gone stone cold in key stretches. The Heat become complacent due to their stout D. Thus this sets up a fan’s hope come 4th quarter time.

What is up with D-Wade?

Jacob Greenberg: I think a lot of people forget that D-Wade is four years older than LeBron, despite the fact that they were drafted in the same year. More than that, D-Wade has made no effort (as far as I can tell) to change his game in the same way Jordan and Kobe did when they entered their thirties, and continues to drive to the hoop and take a heavy beating several times a game. Given how laborious Wade’s movement has been the past few games, one has to wonder if his body is beginning to betray him a bit. In any case, it will be a shocking sight in two years when D-Wade is moving around like B-Roy was towards the end of his career.

Omar Bagnied: I remember when D-Wade was affable. He was introduced to the league as a man already married to his high school girlfriend, and used to do those innocuously comical T-Mobile commercials with Charles Barkley. I think the shift in his personality was the most glaring in the league. LBJ and Bosh came to town. It then became apropos to turn “Hollywood“, date a supermodel actress and turn into a dirty player. As for his game, I already touched on it during the first question. He’s got superstar talent that deteriorates as he defers to LBJ.

Andrew Snyder: D-Wade has always been a weird personality, and I’ve never really liked him, especially after the amount of superstar calls he got in the 2006 NBA Finals. Sure, that’s ultimately not his fault, but the wild marjiuana sex parties probably were. Although for the sake of bias, the alleged claims were made by a “former business associate.” You know, like if Dan Gilbert writes something about LeBron James, it might not be objective.

Jordan Durlester: What made D-Wade so impressive in years past was his unmatched quickness - hence the nickname, flash. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you don’t hear many of the talking heads referring to him as that recently. The young guards in the league today can keep up with, and some surpass, his quick first step. This is just painfully obvious when you juxtapose his game with Russell Westbrook’s. Having to redefine his role on this team has also without a doubt thrown off his mojo.

Jairo Martinez: He is clearly hampered by injury. He is trying to contribute to lock down this title for LBJ, but he is not the Flash of old. Like many of my co-contributers point out, D Wade is older despite being in the same draft class as his Heatmates. His body clearly is wearing out from years of driving to the paint and carrying the load for Miami.

There are reports that David Stern and the League’s Technical Committee are looking into whether it is feasible to review video evidence and punish floppers retroactively (See ya later James Harden). Good idea?

Jacob Greenberg: Dude, whatever to flopping. Players of every sport try and “sell the foul”, or at the very least, behave in an “unsportsmanlike way” to give their team an advantage, just in a variety of different contexts. Wide receivers go flying and tumbling to try and get a penalty flag. Runners in baseball slide aggressively to try and prevent an infielder from making a double play. Point is: people use the sport’s rules to take advantage of the human variable that could make a difference in a game. Flopping in basketball (and soccer) is part and parcel with that. I think our hatred of flopping comes from a strange xenophobia that requires us to hate anything outwardly European. It really doesn’t bother me, and honestly I’ve been more distracted by the outcry over flopping than by the actual flopping itself. Give it a rest, everyone.

Omar Bagnied: “Flopping” is too subjective to regulate. I love soccer, but I know that diving pervades the sport and I hate it. Nevertheless, the only appropriate penalty for flopping/diving is the loss of an onlooker’s respect, which isn’t a small thing.

Andrew Snyder: I have two divergent opinions on flopping in the NBA. Number one, the Jeff Van Gundy school of thought. Flopping is out of control in the NBA - it damages the product, and it’s bad for the game. Number two, flopping is hilarious - some of the most notorious floppers in the NBA even get outright exposed on occasion, and the rare double flop (a double flop… oh my god… what does it mean?) is a sight to behold.

Jordan Durlester: Not a good idea. There’s simply way too much gray area when it comes to flopping and slowing down the game more is never a good idea. Flopping doesn’t bother me as much as some other guys, but I do think the refs should be more conscience of it when officiating a game. To combat flopping - you don’t have to punish the flopper, just stop giving them the calls.

Jairo Martinez: Flopping is a huge issue, and so is replay. The common denominator with both these issues is referees. The missed calls and the interpretation of calls (the phantom goaltending in game 2) has really put the spotlight back on the zebras not being able to manage and adjust to game situations.

The Diss turns one year old tomorrow. Any birthday wishes?

Jacob Greenberg: It’s been a year already? Yikes.

Omar Bagnied: To many more! I followed the blog before I was asked to contribute. If you watch basketball, the context that’s provided by this blog enhances your experience.

Andrew Snyder: I want some ice cream, a Thunder Finals win, and some ridiculous Danny Ainge trade before the start of the 2012-2013 season. Alternatively, the NBA could make an actual commercial highlighting double flops by their players. That would be a great BIG spot.

Jordan Durlester: An autographed copy of the Jeremy Lin bracket. Obviously.

Jairo Martinez: Happy Birthday Diss…..it only feels like yesterday when I met and started to hang out with you. Uncle Jairo owes you a cold one. Ok?

Editor’s Note: Symbol Lai did not answer questions for this edition of Wildish Speculation and Outlandish Guesses, but she did write this e-mail:

“i haven’t been able to watch any of the games due to work but i wanted it to be known that in honor of the diss’s first birthday, i just scarfed down two donuts, one with sprinkles on it.

also, in hawaii, the baby’s first birthday is very important. the family throws a huge luau in the park and it usually consists of renting a giant bouncy castle. hooray!!!”

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