That’s me in the gift store of the Barclays Center last night. As you can see, because I was in enemy territory, I opted for a stealth approach (I’m the one in the middle). The Barclays Center, resembling a Death Star that crash-landed into my home world of Planet Hipster, is only about a 10-minute walk from my apartment, so I decided to check out the game live. After successfully navigating through the many potentially hostile bearded and flannel life forms encircling the crash site, I made my way in, only to promptly see…
…a wide-open Nets 3-pointer, a Bismack Biyombo offensive foul on a dunk attempt, and an easy offensive rebound put-back by Brook Lopez. It’s like they knew I was coming! It was amazing: all of the worst attributes of our team—terrible 3-point defense, ineptitude from our bigs, and poor defensive rebounds—on the first three plays. This was the sports-suck equivalent of going to a Springsteen concert in which he opens with “Thunder Road,” Rosalita,” and “Born In The U.S.A.” I felt like I could have just left right there, because there was nothing else to see.
Instead I stayed for a game so brutal that afterward I was ready to name Bin Laden’s courier. The biggest highlight of the night had nothing to do with the game itself, it was actually MC Lyte making a PSA about proper behavior within the arena. It was one of those awesomely cheap deals where she’s reading from a cue card in a way that’s so comically obvious—even the “Hi, my name is MC Lyte and welcome to the Barclays arena” part, which one would presume she would have already committed to memory—that makes you wonder if it’s part of a community service sentence. For the game itself, there was a shot-clock violation by the Nets about halfway through the second quarter which caught me off-guard—I didn’t know other teams could commit those! Other than that, though, it was just dreadful—a tasting menu of suck: 38% shooting, Brook Lopez repeatedly getting in the lane and jamming the ball like a big toe, and Deron Williams overwhelming Kemba Walker on offense and silencing him like a mute button on defense.
“We’ve gotta play harder at the start of the game,” said coach Dunlap afterward. “We can’t spot the other team 33 points in the first quarter.” You can see why such poignant and powerful observations like these made Michael Jordan want him so badly. Not that this is Dunlap’s fault; Jordan’s asking him to make a filet mignon out of Hamburger Helper and Dunlap’s doing the best he can. Dunlap wisely excavated Brendan Haywood and threw him out there for 23 minutes, and Haywood put up an 8-and-8. But the Bobcats continue to malfunction in the post with more holes to plug than a power strip.
Why is it again that MJ didn’t pursue J.J. Hickson, who’s currently putting up a 21 PER for Portland? Hickson’s working off a 1-year, $4M deal (or roughly the cost of a weekend bender with Charles Barkley), he was more available than a striped Pittsburgh Steelers throwback jersey in the offseason, and he’s got the NC State-ties—why didn’t MJ take a flier on him? Who knows, but at this point I’m more frustrated than Mikhail Prokhorov after having to cancel a heli-skiing vacation.
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