Call it the “Dime Magazine
Cover Jinx.” The very night I got the latest issue of Dime,
which promised an in-depth article about Gerald Wallace on the cover, Crash got clocked by a Mikki Moore elbow and knocked more unconscious than Trent Green. Opening the magazine, I became uncomfortable straight away when the article began with a quote from Arthur Ashe. These comically earnest attempts to hold up athletes as transcendent, Christ-like figures are never
a good idea, and unless the subject is Mohammed Ali, authors should avoid it (especially if they’re later going to write that their subjects also like NASCAR and enjoy sandwiches from Chik-Fil-A). Yep, bad karma was everywhere, and I probably didn’t help things by dissing Moore the last time we played Sacramento. Sure enough, early in the third quarter, Mikki landed a shot to Gerald’s jaw that was better than anything in the entire Klitschko-Ibragimov bout.
Now Crash will be out for two weeks with a 3rd degree concussion (apparently, they’re measured like burns), and the hole he leaves in the lineup looms larger than Hillary Clinton’s Dunkin’ Donuts bill. Against the Kings, the Bobcats rallied to send the game to OT—thanks largely to a gonzo-ridiculous 3-poitner by Jason Richardson with 20 seconds left—but faltered pitifully in the extra frame, because we lacked Wallace’s scoring ingenuity. We had a 114-112 lead with 2:40 to go, and—I feel like I’ve written this before—POSSESSION OF THE BALL, and we proceeded to commit–in rapid succession–a shot-clock violation, two missed free throws, a missed layup, and a-(sigh)-nother missed free-throw. And yet we STILL had a chance with 3 seconds left and trailing by 1. But Raymond Felton missed a baseline jumper for the win, and Sack-Town (the Bay Area, and Back Down), went back to California, a state where they allegedly know how to party.
Anyway, apart from the Wallace injury, which was just plain tragic, there were some quirky aspects to this one. The strangest of all was Kevin Martin’s stat line of 15 points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field (and 13-of-15 from the foul line). There was also Francisco Garcia’s extraordinary 6-of-8 three-point shooting. Meanwhile, Ron Artest—who wouldn’t recognize ordinary if it threw a cup of beer on him—finished with 20 points, 9 boards, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. Finally, replacing Mike Bibby (although let’s face it, there’s no such thing as “replacing” a guy like Bibby), was Beno Udrih, with 17 points, 6 boards, 8 assists, a block (?), and, um, 6 personal fouls—weird…
One of the Sacramento announcers called Udrih the “Tasmanian Slovenian,” although I’m not sure if that actually works as a nickname. If you wanted to label him as a sort of whirling-dervish type, wouldn’t he have to be called the “Slovenian Devil”? After all, it’s the “Devil”-part of “Tasmanian Devil” that lets you know someone’s crazy and out-of-control; otherwise, the person is merely from Tasmania and not necessarily crazy (unless you’re prejudiced against Tasmanians). A “Tasmanian-Slovenian” would technically just be a guy who lives in Slovenia and has Tasmanian ethnicity, similar to an African-American here in the U.S.
Whatever. These are the things I try to concentrate on amidst the rubble that is the 07-08 season. The next night brought no respite from this barrage of hopelessness either, as we lost even more decisively to Washington. These were the same Wizards, mind you, that were coming off a loss to a Cavaliers team that essentially started LeBron James and 4 D-Leaguers. And Damon Jones, who ended up as the second-highest scorer of the game with 27 points. Actually, this was probably the worst thing that could have happened to us, because it meant Antawn Jamison would be pissed. Indeed, Jamison went for 22 points, 9 rebounds (almost every one of which seemed to be a Felton layup that rimmed out), 5 assists, and 2 steals. The Wizards were brutally efficient, finishing with just 7 turnovers and a staggering 22 offensive boards, good for 28 second-chance points.
Jesus, did Jeff McInnis play for Washington too? I thought I heard one of the Wizards announcers say it…Yep, he sure did: in 1998-99 he was with them. Huh. Traded for the immortal Isaac Austin (how could I have forgotten that blockbuster?). Having McInnis on your team is the equivalent of dating an older slutty girl, because you have to listen to all these other TV announcers talking about when they “had” him, no doubt smirking at the fact that he’s now your problem. Anyway, McInnis put in another 31 minutes, while Earl Boykins continues to play in the mid-teens. And speaking of PT, I know his 25 points were great and all, but why did J-Rich only play 39 minutes? Without Wallace, shouldn’t Richardson be on the court for basically the whole game?
In honor of the Razzies, my nominee for this game would have to be Nazr Mohammed. Besides owning a large share of responsibility for the appalling difference in rebounds, Mohammed went 1-of-9 from the field for 5 points and 2 turnovers. The worst supporting actor would be Ryan Hollins, who played 3 minutes and got a technical foul for taunting. It was just a bad, bad game. If this game were a hip-hop song, it would fall somewhere between “Ice, Ice Baby” and one of those Smash Williams “raps” at Dillon pep rallies.
I don’t know how much more I can stand of this. Like Axl Rose, I ain’t got time for the pain. Screw it, I’m done with basketball. I think I’m going to get back into comic books—cancel my subscription to Dime and replace it with Wizard Magazine or something. At least comic book characters never die or get seriously injured. Wonder what Captain America’s up to these days…This sports stuff is just too…real for me. My wife accuses me of being spacey and antisocial, but I think I actually need to withdraw further from reality—maybe I’ll play some World of Warcraft or D&D online and get into random arguments with strangers over who has more hit points and whatnot.
But it’ll have to be after Wednesday, because next up is the Knicks, and I’ll actually be in person for this one at the Garden. Oh yeah, Knicks-Bobcats, baby—I can hardly wait. If anyone’s going to be at MSG, let me know and maybe we can try and meet up. I’m guessing we shouldn’t have much trouble finding each other…