Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to pitch a story where I’d be actively watching 11 hours of basketball the day after my 25th birthday. Maybe I was worried that I wouldn’t be “well” enough to focus on pick and roll traps and 2-3 zones. (Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting that.) Either way, the usual questions arose: Would I be functioning by the 1:00pm start time? Would my supply of Pepto make it through the day? When would I shower?
Regardless of my hygiene anxiety, on a drab Sunday in March where the ESPN/ABC family of networks nationally televised four NBA games, I did just that â€“ watched all 11 hours, from 1:00pm until midnight – gruelingly putting myself on the line to bring you the story of one man, eight teams and approximately 3,000 calories worth of delivery food. Let’s get to work.
Game 1: Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat
A daytime clash between two Eastern Conference juggernauts. Not sure if that was ever actually said by anyone but me, but every time something cool happened (i.e. every time Derrick Rose finishes at the rim) I would absolutely shout “in this daytime clash between two Eastern Conference juggernauts.” And yes, I was alone. Overall, this game was what two really good teams look like when they matchup really well against each other, play solid individual defense and can’t execute in the half-court late in games. I thought this might be the one that Miami pulls out late, especially with the way they were making Noah switch out to Chalmers and then burning him to the rack, but Chicago just straight grinded them down. It also doesn’t help when your bench contributes six total points to the effort.
Fleeting thought: That D-Wade shot that he bounced off the side of the backboard, caught in mid-air and put back himself in the fourth quarter was just plain laughable. Let us not forget how good he is.
Lasting thought: Los Bulls need to stop thinking Noah is athletic enough to switch out on these perimeter guys. It felt like a bad idea with the Chalmers lay-in late in the game – and it was – and I think Chi-Town dodged a bullet with him out on LeBron at the end. Here’s why:
1. LeBron jumps into Noah’s body and gets that call 1,000 times out of 1,000 (no idea why he didn’t).
2. With Noah out on the perimeter, your best defensive rebounder is a non-factor for the most important board of the contest.
3. Who is out there help-defending when Joakim is 30-feet away from the basket? You really want Noah, Noah’s ponytail and LeBron out on an island at the end of a game outside the three-point line? Nope.
The Bulls should be pumped they took that one down, but should also know that the full-on late-game switch is going to bite them in the hind quarters like a rabid Doberman in the very near future. Not that that’s ever happened to me (adjusts custom-made seat cushion).
Game 2: Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio just looked 100 percent overmatched in this one. The Lakers just bring too much skilled size inside for the Spurs (and really anyone) to contend with. And as much as I’ve personally been on the “Andrew Bynum is overrated” bandwagon, when the dude is on the floor, he changes games. If you don’t have a big that can stay with his athleticism and not get bulled over when he backs down, the man will eat you like day-old sesame chicken. And yes, after the Lakers lead hit 30, I ventured into the glory and heartburn associated with Chinese takeout. So what if the delivery guy had to wait until the under three minute timeout for me to come to the door?
Fleeting thought: I’ve never been so excited waiting for a Gregg Popovich halftime sideline interview as I was in this one. With the Spurs down 28 at the half, we were at potentially off the charts levels of Pop saltiness. Would he strike Lisa Salters in the face? Would he break a beer bottle and slowly back his way into the locker room? Oh, we don’t have Pop? We have a vanilla interview with Kobe about what it feels like to be destroying the team with the NBA’s best record. Downgrade.
Lasting thought: Since all the rest of this game’s notes were about second half commercials, I don’t really have one. Except that the kid in the flashback Stephen Curry NBA commercial is a total creep. “And we’ll be watching you.” Oh really, stalker? That kid absolutely spends over 8 hours a day on Facebook now. Oh yeah, and the Lakers are really, really good when they’re actually trying. And unfortunately for the rest of the NBA, now is around the time that they usually start.