88 thoughts on “May 29, 2018: Rematch”

  1. I stole this from somewhere else but it's too good not to pass on.

    Cavs v. Warriors: We’ve outgrown the trilogy and are now exploring the expanded universe.

  2. So, NBA playoffs. Cavs/Warriors. It seemed likely at the beginning of the season and that's what we ended up with, but it was, for sure, a long strange trip.

    In the East, the Cavaliers took the crown in 7 games. I've been joking on the intertubes that Larry Nance, Jr. carried them, but I don't want to toss too much shade on the dude. After all, he had a pretty darned good series in a limited role and he might have been the Cavs second best player in this series. I'm not sure I'm buying that because he didn't play that many minutes, but it's possible. This troll that follows me on twitter @docbrians* said just that the other day. Debatable. Arguable.


    LeBron just won the Eastern Conference with Larry Nance, Jr. as arguably his second best player! HOLY SHIT!

    It's no one else's fault that this is the team that the Cavs have. But, think about it. LeBron took this team to the NBA Finals. And they won on Boston's home floor in a Game 7. It seemed so unlikely, except I can never say with any certainty that a LeBron James led team, at this stage of his career, is out, until the clock reads 0:00. He may not win, but he's so clearly the best player in the world -- STILL! -- that you must watch if you care about basketball. It's true that the years have diminished him, he cannot play defense all game long and that's a problem. Then again, he played 94 of a possible 96 minutes over the last two games. That's gonna diminish anyone. If you love basketball, enjoy this man. Win or lose, he's something special. Going into the Finals, LeBron has 612 points scored. The NBA record in a post-season is 759. If the Cavs can extend this series, LBJ can get there. That record is held by Michael Jordan. All hail the King! ALL HAIL THE KING!

    An interesting footnote to game 7 is that Boston, at home, shot 9-35 from three. NINE FOR THIRTY-FIVE! At home! In a game seven! With an NBA Finals berth on the line! One of the biggest choke jobs ever!

    James Harden and the Rockets on seeing that result: hold my beer.

    Out West, the Rockets carried an 11 point lead to the second half, despite not shooting well. I'm thinking, well GSW has been especially potent in the third quarter all playoffs long, but Houston hasn't shot well tonight. This could get interesting. And it did get interesting.

    GSW did what they do. They shot 41 percent from three for the game. That's really good. They came on in the third quarter, like they do. When they got a lead, Durant started knocking down shots (it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Houston hadn't vomited all over themselves). Say what you want about Durant, and there were games in this series when people were saying things, he's a great closer. And Curry is an insane shotmaker. Insane. I honestly don't want to take away from what they did. They are Champions and they won their Conference and in all likelihood will win the NBA title. They are one of the greatest teams (if not the greatest) ever assembled.

    But holy mother of God. The Rockets MISSED 27 STRAIGHT THREE POINT ATTEMPTS. 27!!!!! AND THEY KEPT SHOOTING THEM! I don't want to take away from GSW because they shot well and their big three scorers made shots down the stretch. But HOLY SHIT! Some of it was that shots were contested. But, Houston melted down in a Jean van de Velde sort of way. They ended the game shooting 7-44 from three. SEVEN FOR FORTY-FOUR!!!!

    SEVEN. FOR FORTY-FOUR. 15.9%. Might have wanted to mix in a few open mid-range shots there.

    In the old days, the NBA used to award the MVP during the playoffs and everyone NBA fan of a certain age remembers David Robinson winning the MVP, only to have Hakeem Olajuwon undress him in the playoffs. I mean, it's no disgrace to have Hakeem do that to you. He was so good that he was chosen first in the NBA draft, ahead of Michael Jordan and I still think that was a defensible pick. Yes, if you do a draft do-over, you take the second best player of all time over Hakeem. But Hakeem would not have fallen below second, unless Portland really wanted Sam Bowie. It was clear, however, that Hakeem should have gotten that award. Regular season award, blah, blah, blah. It was clear that David Robinson, for as good as he was, was no effing Hakeem. Similarly, man is that awarding of the MVP to Harden gonna be awkward. The nervous laughter. The eye rolls. The calls for reform. The devaluing of the award. It's all gonna be there.

    Harden is a great player. He greatness is augmented by the fact that he able to get away with travelling on pretty much everyone of his step backs. It's unguardable! Because he travels! But, he was, at best, okay, in these playoffs. At best. When Chris Paul went down after delivering a Game 5 win in this series, any doubt about who would win the series was largely erased. But, still, that game was there for the taking, and Harden on Co. spit the bit. At one point, Chris Webber said during the broadcast, you have to take what the defense is giving you. Like an open mid range shot. The threes and layups approach is a good philosophy, but man, at some point, you have to realize that an open mid-range shot or five might make it tougher for the other team to defend you. Houston's "performance" in the second half was the biggest choke job on this size of stage since the Vikings had 12 men in the huddle.

    Ultimately, the two losers in these Conference Finals were not ready for prime time. Boston looks like their time is coming. Houston looks like they are poseurs. The two teams in the Finals belong there. And GSW is a clear favorite, an enormous favorite. You never know**, but sometimes you do.

    *I kid because I love
    ** GSW blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals

      1. Oh, that's you? I just thought it was some random dude who I follow just for the heck of it.

    1. Also, I am having trouble parsing the "no one else's fault" line. I hope you meant "Cleveland's fault," not "nobody's" fault.

      The Love injury was a "nobody's fault."

      The roster construction, however.

      1. I meant that it was Cleveland's fault. The word ELSE implies that it was someone's fault and that would be the people in charge of constructing that roster, or blowing it up.

    2. ...melted down in a Jan van de Velde sort of way.

      Man, that's been almost 20 years. Still the most shocking choke I've seen in professional sports.

      1. The thing about last night's game was that even though the Rockets had an 0-fer on threes in the third period, they still held the lead for the first half of the period. GSW didn't really grab what was in front of them until 6:00 left to go in the third. If they had shot 2-14 on threes in the third instead of 0-14, they could have had a chance (it would have been a one point game at the end of three!). And still, GSW only outscored them by 2 in the fourth. They had to absolutely implode to lose it. That's what they did.

          1. I've seen elsewhere that it was 1:118000. Based on current regular season schedule, that's just shy of 90 seasons. 72000 games is only 55 seasons.

              1. David Thorpe poo-poos the historical significance of what happened.

                Then again, he said that we need a Most Outstanding Player and an MVP. The MOP would have been Harden and the MVP would be Al Horford. He would exclude anyone eligible for the MOP from the MOP award. So, he basically wants to give an award to the best player not good enough to be all-NBA and call him the MVP.

                I say that it was extremely unlikely what happened. But the big problem is that Houston wasn’t smart enough to make adjustments.

          2. Ken Tremendous had a, umm, tremendous tweet hypothesizing about the missed shots.

            1. I believe a Houston Astros game makes it two pieces of evidence in favor of that theory.

      2. I only very, very casually follow golf these days, but I still remember where I was when that was happening.

          1. I watched it, too. Even chokier than Greg Norman's Masters choke a few years before.

          2. I mean, I have considered that shot, but to even think of attempting it on the 72nd hole of the most prestigious tournament in the sport's existence?

            Yeah, he was toast. It was crazy to watch that car crash gain momentum, I was frankly amazed that he was able to land the sand shot on the green for the up-and-down.

    3. I had a conversion with a NBA aficionado last week and he and I agreed that the league HAS to make it a point of emphasis to call traveling on those step backs where a guy picks up his dribble steps backwards with both feet before shooting. I can deal with how they call or don't call traveling on movements TOWARDS THE BASKET. But to be able to pick up your dribble and step back with both feet before taking a jump shot cannot be legal. That has to be called. If a defender moves toward the player who's doing that he's gonna foul and maybe end up under the player, which can cause injury.

      The NBA successfully cleaned up the continuation rule. They need to clean this up.

        1. If they call the two feet step back after picking up your dribble a travel, it would take away his primary move, which is patently illegal.

          1. I don't have any illusions that the Wolves would have beaten Houston, but their series would have had a very different complexion if Harden wasn't able to travel his way to 44 points in Game 1.

            1. What next, calling carrying?

              You guys so crazy.

              *Recalls LeBron's "crab dribble"*

    4. Getting caught up reading this almost made me late for work. Oops!

      I wish I had gotten to see more of last night’s game, but I worked until late. I need to see highlights of the 27-miss run. I would have taken that in round one, game four as I watched helplessly from the stands during the first playoff game I’ve ever attended.

    1. I saw someone say something to the effect of, "While it may not have violated the letter of the law, it sure violated the spirit of it". I'd agree with that.

      1. Yea, I don't like that at all. The catcher was well in front of home plate. Just because Rizzo was able to touch home plate on the slide does not make the slide ok.

    2. I guess I'd need to see the actual wording of the rule, but I can't believe that's a legal slide. He had a clear path to the plate, and went out of his way to make contact with the catcher. That's exactly what the rule change was designed to make illegal.

      1. I think this has to be covered by both the double play slide rule and the home plate collision rule. And I think he violated both rules by changing his pathway. He moved from outside the baseline to inside, for the purpose of initiating contact. That just irks me.

        Rule 6.01(j) – Sliding to Bases on Double Play Attempts
        If a runner does not engage in a “bona fide slide,” and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he should be called for interference under this Rule 6.01. A “bona fide slide” for purposes of Rule 6.01 occurs when the runner:
        (1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base;
        (2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;
        (3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and
        (4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.


        (1) A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the Umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the Umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball). In such circumstances, the Umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.

          1. I mean, it's essentially the same element that broke both rules... I just wanted to see if they looked at one versus the other, what would happen.

        1. Half joking, but someone will almost certainly make this argument, but Rule 6.01(j) refers to "bases" while home plate is not a base.

          1. Ah, but Rule 6.01 also specifically mentions home plate, and the only distinction it draws is that the player need not remain on the base. The fact that they only distinguish that specifically implies that they mean the rest to apply equally to home plate. Rules of statutory construction FTW!

            1. D'oh! Lawyered.

              I completely missed the parenthetical. Also, just to make it clear, I believe what Rizzo did to be bullshit and he should be suspended for it, whether a case could be made that it was within the rules or not.

              1. I remember when Dustan Mohr plowed over one of the Molina's and broke his leg to score the tying run with 2 outs in the 9th inning at the Dome and allowed the winning run to score when the ball got away. Mohr was treated as a hero and Molina was just a casualty of somebody playing the game "hard" or even the "right way." We've come a long way since then. I'll admit that I did not see anything wrong with it at the time.

                1. It was (Bengie) Molina’s wrist, not his leg — which would’ve been much more egregious, and which is probably why it was less of a big deal, even at the time.

                  In any case, the difference is intent. I doubt Mohr was trying to injure Molina when he collided with him; under the rules of the time, catchers blocking the plate were doing with understood risk to themselves, whether or not they had any business there under the rules. There were certainly collisions that were ugly and unnecessary, particularly if the runner was known to be a jerk (ahem, Pete Rose). But teams wouldn’t blink at sending a runner, either. Heck, the ‘91 series saw both the Braves and the Twins plowing into the other team’s catchers.

                  Rizzo’s slide was different. Sliding to the infield side of home plate (despite having plenty of lane and already being out) was a pretty clear attempt to break up a double play by initiating contact with the catcher, which has been verboten since 2014. Rizzo knows the rules, and the league rewarded him for breaking them.

                  1. I remember a Baseball Tonight breakdown showing how Bengie brought the break on himself by his mechanics or stance while trying to tag Mohr.
                    I think it was that it was a stabby tag rather than a sweepy tag.

    3. The league agrees with the Nation.

    1. "Based on his training and experience, the officer believed that Brown was trying to insert something into his rectum."

  3. Roseanne Barr throws out a blatantly racist tweet? Who didn't see something like this coming?

    I am very saddened to live in a world where "political correctness" has become a derogatory term, and boldly spewing out racial bias is often championed. This isn't a political tirade, but a human one, so i won't spoiler it. Common decency is now frowned upon by so many as a weakness. I feel like I fell asleep for 20 years and woke back up to some Bizarro world. WTF has happened to this country? It's not just Roseanne Barr and it not just one side of the aisle or the other. For the first 5 decades of my life it felt like the world was slowing coming together in a positive way. It was slow progress, but it felt like progress. Now, racist elements are becoming more and more emboldened. Common decency has been tossed aside. It makes me ill. Many people now seem to feel that it is ok to be racist and it is disgraceful to be politically correct.

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      2. I adore this response to the whole thing:

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    1. Have you ever listened to Gladwell's podcast episode where he talked about Australia's first female prime minister? It was cheered as the end of sexism but people were more sexist than ever. It was as if people had a mental scorecard for their actions and were able to convince themselves they weren't sexist because they had voted for a woman.

      I like to remind myself that progress doesn't happen in a straight line.

        1. People are so much worse at returning them in CT than MN. I've noticed fewer receptacles for carts here though, usually only somewhat close to the entrance of the store.

    2. I don't see it as the country is "suddenly" racist or more emboldened. I think it is just more exposed. Social media has made it very easy for people to express hateful thought that they would never say to someone's face. And what had become hidden from view, especially over the last 50 years or so, is now seeing the light of day and is being exposed. Roseanne found out the hard way you can't make a hateful comment and try to pass it off as a bad joke. Just like the #metoo movement, I don't think men are more sexist now than ever, it's just being brought to the light of day and people are being more bold to challenge hateful stuff being done or said. I think a giant rock has been turned over in the country and all the ugly stuff underneath is being exposed to the light of day finally.

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      2. One of the great things about the internet is that it allows you to find people with similar interests.

        One of the terrible things about the internet is that it allows people with awful interests to find each other, form a group, find safety in numbers, and amplify their beliefs.

        Off topic from Rosanne, I'll be honest and admit that I am very thankful to have grown up before the internet is what it is today. Part of me worries what holes I might have fallen down at some of my weaker moments...scares me to think of what messages might have been appealing. Like most kids, the teenage years were rough and I was often very frustrated with my social life.

        1. My own little "bows and arrows against the lightning" is snopes-ing Facebook statements that should have died years ago but still keep coming back. People, use some common sense please.

          I don't run into hate speech as such in any of my circles, but I do run into

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          1. I do that sometimes, too. The response I usually get is either a claim that the fact-checker is biased or "It doesn't matter, I'm still right. " I haven't figured out a good way to have a discussion with someone who says facts don't matter.

            1. Thankfully I usually get "Oh, okay, thanks", although a better response would be deleting the post, although most people aren't aware that you can actually edit and/or delete something you post.

            2. I've had similar experiences. I had a friend respond that "it may not be true but sounds like something that could be true so I'm leaving it up."

              That tells me all I need to know.

              1. I basically never engage. It's just not worth it. That said, I was blocked by a cousin yesterday because I kind of lost it.

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                1. Sweet god. I had a very similar exchange, though over email with my extended family / friends of extended family, and lost my shit when the memes started coming out. I'm not on the social medias because I think they're designed to make our lives worse in the effort to sell us things that make our lives 'better', but when that shit comes to my inbox from family ... yeah, a response is a coming.

                  1. Y'all are lucky you don't have this person in your backyard. I see her in our joint and around town all the time. I exercise an infinite amount of patience dealing with her.

                    1. She's in my 'professional' backyard and I take the same tack. I unexpectedly shared a panel with her in at an event in your neck of the woods earlier this year ... /quotes nibs/ sigh.

                    2. Can... I'm really curious about this, particularly in light of my above described call for education and confrontation of people holding offensive/bad ideas. Were there specific things that happened/said on that panel that needed to be corrected? Did you or others do so? How did that feel? How did the audience seem to respond? Etc.

                    3. Phil - I'm not really at liberty to expound ... at least, I'd be uncomfortable doing so. Suffice it to say, offensive/bad ideas did not come up.

    3. So, the responses to my little tirade are exactly the reason I frequent this site. Conversations like this are tough to have out in public with friends or family. You all bring a ton of thoughtfulness, sanity and levity to some of these crummy topics in our insane world. I guess I just get frustrated when I feel "common sense" no longer matters. I don't know how I ended up like I did when it comes to topics like racism, sexism, etc. My father said many openly racist things around me as I was growing up. Sexist things too. My mother was complicit by her silence. I am by no means perfect, but I somehow grew up to be very sensitive to these issues and very aware of how much my gender and race has benefited me in comparison to others of a different gender or race. I do hope that this is the last gasp of a dying generational mind set, but I just don't know. I have heard racist remarks come out of people that I least expected them from. In the end, whether it is a higher power that you look to or your own inner sense of right and wrong, common decency just isn't nearly as common as I once thought.

      1. This place is a little miracle. We have the occasional family spat, but always reequilibrate. That is pretty remarkable, given the Gresham's Law of internet forums.

        Thank you, Stick, for setting the standard. Everyone, pat yourselves on the back for maintaining this place.

        1. A friend once asked how it was that I didn't 'need' facebook, and I thought about this place. Although, it is hard to explain this place to people who aren't here.

          1. Although, it is hard to explain this place to people who aren't here.

            Hahahahahaha, yes.

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