Lucy, I've got some 'splainin to do.
Tonight, as I sit here in a rented flat in Blenheim, New Zealand, I am watching my first NBA game since I left the Land of Guns in November. So, I apologize for that, I really do. Anyone who is still checking this blog - and I assume that is not one soul - has been grossly neglected. I offer only the excuse that I am 8000 miles away, in a land where there are 10 times as many sheep as people.
I'm watching the Jazz play the Spurs on ESPN, a game that probably happened a week ago and they don't tell me. They broadcast these games on Sky Sports, which is the New Zealand sports network. Basically, they jack the ESPN feed and edit out all the halftime and timeout banter, keeping only the game. So that means I get 15 minutes of action, then we go to commercial, I see an ad about snowboarding in Queenstown, and we're back... sometimes with a different score than we left. Whatever. I'm getting the fix, even though it's with two remarkably boring teams.
Ok, and I don't know if this is just this country, but they occaisionally run ESPN-sponsored commercials "explaining" american football. I can't even paraphrase this, but I'll try... they are saying things like "Unlike soccer, there are 15 minutes per period, and once the clock runs out, the game is over" and "Often, the team with a lead late in the game will try to run the football, which keeps the clock running. On the contrary, the team who trails will often pass the ball, and try to get out of bounds, extending the game." I'm honestly not making that up. Is that just here, or is ESPN running ads for invalids and fundamentalists who just happen to have a yearning for american football that has recently been awakened? What soul has ever tuned into ESPN and not known the rules for american football? Whatever... them explaining the sport just makes me think it's stupider.
Ok, so basketball then, or?
Here's what I'm thinking:
Jazz - what the fuck? Who are these guys? AK is having a shit game, but these other unshaven gravediggers are giving the Spurs all they can handle. What is this, 1991? Is Sean Elliot checking in soon? Anyway, Deron Williams is getting some big boys, and Mehmet Okur just jacks up threes when he feels like. I guess the ring gives him the nuts to do that. I don't know about this guy named Milsap, but he scores a lot and looks like he fits right in with the Jazz, which is to say he looks dumb and like I would never want to cheer for his success.
And Derek Fisher? WHEN DID THIS SHIT HAPPEN???? And he gets playing time? And they are kicking ass? Guys, guys, seriously. If the Wolves can't put something together and make the playoffs, I don't know what's going on anymore.
Spurs - What else is new? Tony Parker might be the most effective "first step" point guard of all time.... I'm sure someone will come in and shoot that down, but I went to the beach today, so I'm better than you. No, but he's a fierce son of a bitch, that's what. And then there's Timmy D, sporting an Ice Cube beard, with a bit of hate in the old eyes. Duncan is indescribable, one of the all time greats at his position, and so horribly consistent that it hurts to think about. All of this you already know. Which makes watching the Spurs like watching a lamb try to screw a dog. Sure, it's exciting, but you know what's going to happen, eventually.
Enough about this game though. It's giving me a headache. Hubie's helping, but not enough. Can't they pick a better color scheme in Salt Lake City? Christ, enough with the blue.
Now, when it comes to the Wolves, I honestly can't comment on anything. I haven't seen one minute of action, only been reading box scores and recaps. There was quite a sniff-up about AI, which of course didn't happen because Nice Things aren't allowed to happen to the Wolves. I honestly don't understand how they could've ever made a fair deal to Philly... what, were they throwing in Madsen? Anyway, it looks like Denver has turned the corner thanks to that trade, and rightfully so. I think the Wolves are finding quite a bit of talent in that young Foye character. He could be quite a gamer, from the stats I've seen and comments by Mr. Bliznewski. When in doubt, I rely on good NBA knowledge, and he definitely has it. Anyway, is there potential here? Is the team sufficiently ghetto enough to enjoy a run? I don't think so, but we still have Buckets (unless he's been traded in the week it took for this game to beam across the Pacific), so we still have the potential for an afro. Don't count them out yet.
March Madness is almost upon us, and Wisconsin... christ I can't even fake my way through it. You know I'll be drinking on St. Pat's day, but should I have a choice between swimming with dolphins and 12 hours of round-ball, I'm going to have to reach for my wetsuit.
They have basketball here, it's especially big in Auckland, being played in a fairly large stadium and attended by big audiences. I don't recognize any of the players, but they can ball pretty well. It's not really a dumping ground for NBA failures as much as a rec league by guys who are wickedly athletic but for some reason have been turned away by the rugby clubs.
Hubie just talked about power forwards in the western conference, and he threw out Duncan and KG, then said "and Carlos Boozer and Zach Randolph, who do it every year". Do what? Fail horribly at life and all of its trials? Cry while they sit on the toilet? Slip roofies into skanks' drinks?
Wow! Jerry Sloan raising his voice! This game's getting loud. Unfortuanetly, I am running out of patience for this, and I'm on a nearly empty battery. I can say though, before I blink out, that they still love their basketball in Utah, and it seems like this crowd is going to deliver a victory to the Boozer-less Jazz. Whatever, it's not like anyone's reading anyway.
I'll sign off for now, but honestly for anyone stumbling upon this blog, feel free to make comments or send me an email and I'll give you post access. I don't want this thing to die out, and I promise that for every game I am able to watch, a post is not far behind. And it will be undoubtedly as funny and riveting as this one.
In closing, they don't tip here, and at any bar that you see TVs, you can bet on sports through the bartender. And they only rake 8 percent. Take that, Stardust.