Monday, May 21, 2007

Did We Play The Streetball Game From Hell?

We played our ordinary streetball game on friday morning... and then I came home, turned my personal computer on, quickly log on the ESPN’s Page 2 website and read Patrick Hruby’s ‘The ultimate hoops game from hell’ column. And then I realized: “Wait... holy shit, we’re like those irritating types of pickup players!”. At least in some ways. That’s why I present to you a blog about - what happened and who played.

Firstly, my team (Greens): me, Valdes, Enrico and my Dad. (We play 4-on-4.)

Sorry Valdes, but you’re definitely like ‘The AI Wannabe’. The best part of playing with him on one team is that he’s a confident man. He’ll throw the rock at the basket innumerable times. But he’s not only about bangs and clanks. He wears a green arm sleeve, a green headband and handles the ball with his sticky fingers. He usually fires from perimeter, because ‘trey is better than deuce’. He tends to go one-on-one and likes to go one-on-none. He’ll miss shots in a row, but he knows that the n-th is going down. However, here’s bigger problem with him: he prefers shooting to passing. But his game doesn’t look so bad, does it?

What about Enrico. This is easy - I’m tagging him with ‘The Coach On The Floor’. He’s out point guard and likes being talkative on the floor. From his playbook: ‘Switch. C’mon, switch!!’, ‘Get back. We gotta stop their easy baskets.’, ‘I said you that - front him two times and then defend him straight-up.’, ‘Pick-and-roll, ladies and gentlemen.’, ‘Rebound that fucking ball!!!’ and my favorite ‘Move guys, move!’. He organizes everything and everybody. But one thing is undeniable - he passes like the poorest man Steve Nash and crashes the boards like the poorest man Jason Kidd.

My daddy is ‘The Dirty Old Man’ and while he’s old (in his 40s), he isn’t in some bad shape. He likes to be physical for the entire game. (Bad Boys Pistons and Riley’s Knicks were his pleasure.) He’s kinda slow, can’t jump much and sprints only when he needs a toilet. A master of the game's gray arts, the he does all the irritating stuff that earns whistles in organized hoops. Kneeing, hand-checking, hooking, shoving, bumping, elbowing. Of course, he sets moving screens. He’s our center. This is our tactic: when he establises his bona-fide position under the basket, one of us throws him the ball and he ALWAYS score his boring lay-up. But two points are two points. Simply, he’s a solid player.

I would self-describe me like ‘The Marathon Man’. (Though I used to be in better shape during my teens.) I don’t know why, but perpetal motion is my biggest weapon. I never stop for cold water or Sprite. I run, run and run all the time. I’m still in better form than my teammates and opponents - and that gives me some secret edge. I’m a do-everything guy and a fresh-faced guy everytime. My biggest hindrance is that I don’t excel in anything. So I run. Hit me with a pass ‘cos I’m open. Yes. And back-doors are walk in the park for me. I’m not kidding, but I have got some Rip Hamilton’s DNA. My father told me that.

Let’s characterize our foes (Yellows): Marco, George, Pieter and Coco.

I start here with Coco. ‘The Playground Sheed’. Mr. Hruby must have got an inspiration from watching Coco playing/arguing. I can copy here a mating call from his column: ‘Ball! Ball! Check it up!... Are you kidding? That's not a foul!’. He has never committed a foul in his entire life. But hey, just say a word when you’re guarding him - and you called for a foul, by Coco. His quarrels with Valdes are legendary. He does have his immpecable shot, fadaway jumper from free-throw line or closer. When he’s got his momentum, he can dominate. And you can’t foul him - he’s able to hit 15 freebies from 15. ‘That’s a frickin’ foul!’.

Marco is ‘The Guy Who (sometimes) Doesn’t Know His Own Strength’. He’s a gentleman on the court, he plays fair play and he never ever whines about a foul/non-foul. He mans their center spot and man he can perform there - with his broad shoulders and little-giant-like stature. All you are advised to do, when you’re 6-foot or less and you have to defend him, is to be a flopper against him in the pivot. He’s energetic and he has sheer power in his body. But here’s the thing about him: he doesn’t care if you’re his friend in the real life, he’ll smash you into the basket support, foul you hard when you’re airborne or hit you with a wall-like screen. He's just having fun.

Next is George, ‘The Sweat Hog’. I think... he plays all-out, all the game and it shows. And then he simply wears a lot of perspiration on his clothes. On friday he looked like he spent some time in the shower. Well, the temperature was around twentyfive degrees Celsius... very hot (like in the hell). The sun kept blazing on him, leaving him with sweat. But at least, he always has some kind of towel on the bench, fortunately. Because I mostly end up guarding him, I know the power of his secretion. You have two possibilities battling him: give him room to shoot or be more wet. Ugh.

The last is Pieter, but he ain’t no ‘The Guy Who’s Too Good’. (That would be our late friend Richie. I wrote a blog about him in january.) Instead, Pieter is ‘The Guy Who’s Too Crazy’. His game routine includes using a cell phone to talk with his girlfriend (we have to stop the game for 5 minutes), showing some new moves (we have to laugh, it’s a comedy), trying to be as much uninvolved as possible (screaming on kids around the court) and hitting-a-halfcourt-shot-&-botching-five-layups. But again, he can play ball. The other thing is: when he wanna play. And that’s not often.

Friday’s Game Recap: The game was up for grabs in the clutch. (We play 20 mins + 20 mins; each side owns a basket.) Tied 58-58 and this followed - The Yellows had the ball, threw it to Marco under the net, but Daddy stripped him from behind, sent a pass to me and I had a chance (and the thrill) of leading a fast break. With Valdes two-on-one against George I assisted with a bounce pass to Valdes for an easy layup. Then they made a turnover, Enrico quickly run up the court and his jump shot ripped the metal net. Yellows responded with Marco’s cheap putback after a jumper by Coco. On our possession they double-teamed Enrico, he passed it to Valdes and I was wide-open in the post, hands up, palms out -and he launched a brick... whoops. We had to defend, but they moved the ball to the left corner and hit a three (Coco). We had the ball but Pieter jumped into the passing lane, stole the orange and scored an a breakaway layup. We run a pick-and-roll and finally scored two points. 75-74, Yellows. After we surrendered their attack, we let Valdes go 1-on-1 and he SCORED! On the next trip, they threw the ball into the hight post, George was a deisgned cutter - and a successful one. The asphalt was as hot as the hottest hottie and The Greens had a last shot to win (20 secs to go). Enrico handled it, Yellows were desperately attempting to stop him, leaving me open for a jumper, but Enrico lobbed it to my Dad who was close to the hole and he somehow muscled it there over Marco and scored the winning basket! We won, 78-77.

What a victory. What a heat out there.

That said, heaven really isn't always a playground.

p.s.: *if it wasn't steve nash, it wouldn't have been as big a deal,* said robert horry.
p.s.2: *duncan's the best basketball player out there at his size, offensively, defensively, attitude and emotionally he's the best,* said suns coach d'antoni.
p.s.3: *bruce /bowen/ had the toughest job on the team /defending nash/. i don't know how he does it. he doesn't seem to get tired,* said coach popovich.
p.s.4: *duncan's probably the best post-up player we have in the world. he has every move, he has poise, he never gets rattled. you can send a double-team at him, but he's 7-feet and he'll pass out of the double-team. if he has single coverage, he'll face you up and shoot off the glass, get the layup, spin-move baseline, right hook, left hook, fadeaway. he can do whatever he wants down there,* said carlos boozer.
p.s.5: when ginobili is good, the spurs are good. when he's great, the spurs are unbeatable. (-charley rosen)
p.s.6: /for cavs to win the series vs pistons/ lbj will have to surpass his kingship and become an emperor of both the inner and outer kingdoms. (-charley rosen)

Posted by Foreigner in CS - May 21 2007 10:41AM

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