Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NBA Finals Blogging: Bleh

Perhaps it's the World Cup, perhaps it's the ludicrous officiating reaching its apex, but I just can't be bothered by the NBA Finals. But Simmons has a good column today, so I thought I'd pass along this nugget:
So here's my question: At what point are we compromising the competitiveness of these games? If you've ever played basketball, then you know that s---, um, staff happens during a competitive game. It's not abnormal for two teammates to start screaming at one another. It's not abnormal for someone to foul someone else a little bit harder than he intended. It's not abnormal for two opponents to start exchanging some good-natured barbs -- if anything, that kind of dialogue always livens up the game and gets everyone else going.

Believe me, I understand why we reached this point -- in the late-'90s, an entire generation of players weaned on hard fouls (like the McHale-Rambis clothesline), trash-talking superstars (like Bird and MJ) and constant woofing (from the Fab Five and UNLV in particular) ended up taking all three of those elements to inappropriate levels. I concede this point. But haven't we swung too much the other way now? For instance, when LeBron psyched out Gilbert Arenas at the free-throw line in the final game of the Cavs-Wiz series, that was one of my favorite moments of the playoffs -- not only that LeBron had the confidence to do something like that, but that it reminded me of something that would happen on the playground, just two ballers talking smack before a big moment.

Of course, the NBA decided that this was deplorable and ordered their referees to prevent this from ever happening again. (God forbid the last two minutes of an NBA game was anything other than formulaic and predictable.) But I think this is one of the reasons why I enjoy watching those games from the '80s so much -- not just because of the style of play (constantly moving, constantly going) but the competitive energy that never seemed to wane. Now guys are allowed to compete, but only to a point. It's like a glorified youth soccer game with more fans. And out of everything that's happened in the Stern Era, this was their biggest mistake. Well, other than continuing to have Bennett Salvatore work playoff games.
What he said. Seriously what's wrong with a hard foul? What's wrong with a little bit of jawing? What's wrong with Mark Cuban popping off at the league for the frankly craptacular state of the officiating?

I've thought that this has been the most enjoyable NBA season in at least 10 years, but after the second round of the playoffs, they pissed it away by allowing the Same Old Shit to come back in, (not to mention the absence of anybody besides D-Wade able to make clutch FT's. Looking at you Josh Howard...) I just don't care. I might watch tonite, but I probably won't. And of course, all this BS is driving Cuban himself to consider selling the team, because goodness knows the NBA doesn't need owners who give a crap about making the product better.

Seriously, this 'fine the guy a ton for saying something bad about us' development is the worst thing to happen to sports in forever. Instead of telling Cuban to shut up about how the refs are bad, make sure they aren't bad first. Now it just looks, well, Stalinist.

Feh! upon thee, David Stern.


Icepick said...

WRONG! Cuban should have been fined ten million dollars, minimum. He didn't simply complain about the officiating, he publically said AT A GAME IN FRONT OF FANS that the league is fixed. Cuban is the worst owner I have ever seen in professional sports. Fuck the league and fuck the sport just as long as he gets time in front of the cameras.

And he wasn't complaining when the Mavs perpetrated GBH on Shaq in Game 2 and got away with it. Really, am I supposed to believe that Dallas is a better defensive team than Detroit? That Dampier and Diop are better defenders than Ben Wallace? (Dampier and Diop: sounds like a law firm in Saigon.) Really, Cuban doesn't complain when the officiating is bad, Cuban complains when the officials don't fuck whoever the Mavs are playing.

Oh yeah, we may as well make this a multi-front flame war. I watched several World Cup games this weekend. And frankly, no soccer fan has ANY cause to be complaining about officiating in the NBA. Man, could that referee in the USA-Italy match have been any worse? The two plays with the red cards on the Americans were horrible. Those kinds of tackles weren't even getting yellow cards in the Ghana-Czech Republic game. And you think American should should watch this? Ay Carumba....

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Ice. I was happy for Cuban when they beat the Suns because I thought he was good for the NBA. But he's made a fool of himself in the Finals. It's become obvious that he's not interested in better officiating, he wants to intimidate the officials. The haircut and t-shirts should have tipped me to the fact that the guy is a classless baffoon. It's often said that he's not only an owner, he's a fan. What goes unsaid is that he's like the loud-mouthed jerk in your section who ruins the game for everyone around him.

Just Karl

Icepick said...

Buffoonery, a word well-known to Central Florida sports fans! The word fits Cuban like a glove.

Mr Furious said...

You know it's a good Simmons column when it's about the NBA, it's ten thousand words, and I read all of it.

Made me feel good that I gave up the NBA ten years ago. And vindicated when my uncle and cousin thought I was nuts for declaring the NBA fixed all those years ago.

Ice pick and anon both nailed Cuban perfectly.

really mike vanderjagt said...

Uhh, Cuban never said the game was fixed. Lord David himself even admitted as much in an interview later you fucking asshats.