Sunday, May 25, 2008

Guys Better Get Our Shit Together Before June 7

The Boston Celtics won their first road playoff game! As un-fucking-believable as it sounds, it doesn’t mean they have the Eastern Finals series in the bag. With the Pistons, noone knows what’s gonna happen. Finally, I gotta confess: I’m pulling for Boston. But I like Rodney Stuckey, Detroit’s rookie.

This Friday was horrible. We (BAFS) had our first official practice before June’s best-of-three series with BAFS Freaks... and the practice must have been cancelled. Then Friday’s blowout Spurs loss served only to reinforce the frustration, doubling the displeasure we (with the Spurs) experienced in their Game 1 loss on Wednesday, when the Spurs coughed up a 20-point lead in the final 18 minutes.

The sole consolation for the Spurs Friday: Gregg Popovich was able to get much-needed rest for key players who put in tough time in three games in five days. And for us? We were able to come to an agreement - the practice is Sunday afternoon.

Tonight is G3, and we can only hope that Manu Ginobili’s health is as good as can be. You know what? When our buddy Coco is able to come and play ball after two months of hoops-fast, the hobbled Manu’s able to score 20 on the Lakers and the next hot-thing - Sasha ‘I’ll-do-whatever-to-harass-you’ Vujacic. (If the Lakers win the title, I’m sure he’s capable of cutting his long freaky hair.)

So guys, the Spurs and BAFS, better get your shit together. Before Game 3 of the Westen Finals and before June 7, when the G1 of BAFS-BAFS Freaks (streetball) series is scheduled.

Quick for those who don’t know much about playing on the tarmac (no pun intended, my Spurs friends), but also for those who wanna know the rules and other matters...

Streetball is a city game, played on playgrounds and in gyms around the world. Streetball also doesn’t involve a rigorous schedule - participants may choose to play ten games in one day (if you have young legs and good lungs) or one game in ten days (if you’re a couch potato or your girl wants to go shopping with you day in and day out). Usually only one side of the court is used, but otherwise the rules of the game are very similar to those of professional basketball. The number of participants in a game, or a run, may range from two players, known as one-on-one (or mano-a-mano), to two full teams of five each.

Streetball is a popular game worldwide and some cities in the United States have organized streetball programs, such as midnight basketball (a very good thing, really), as a way for young people to keep out of trouble and avoid problems such as juvenile crime and drugs.

What about the rules and the look of streetball?

While the rules of streetball are essentially/theoretically the same as normal basketball, streetball places a higher emphasis on one-on-one matchups between the offense and defender. Often the attacker will perform numerous flashy moves while attempting to drive to the basket, including crossovers, jab steps, and other fake-out tricks. Streetball often features spectacular dunks and alley oops, impressive ball handling and trash talking (gotta love that!). Also featured in streetball - moves. A move is either used to trick the defender to look away or just to confuse. There are many different moves in the streetball world.

Certain rule violations in traditional basketball, such as carrying, do not apply in streetball. Style is often the determining factor in what is and is not legal in a streetball game - the proverbial if it looks good, it's not against the rules. In this sense, streetball is as much performance art as it is an athletic contest.

However rules vary widely from court to court. Almost invariably a ‘Call your own foul’ rule is in effect, and a player who believes he’s been fouled, simply needs to call out ‘Foul!’, and play will be stopped, with the ball awarded to the fouled player's team. The etiquette of what rightly constitutes a foul, as well as the permissible amount of protestation against such a call, are the products of local social norms, as well as of the level of seriousness of a particular game. An outsider at a playground should closely observe the status quo in these matters. Some areas where different interpretations of rules are likely to occur are: Travelling - whether a step is permissible prior to dribbling, and how many more than the nominally permitted one and a half steps should be allowed at the end of the dribble. Hand-(and leg)-checking on defense - how much can one touch the person one defends and how much physical pressure may one apply in so doing.

A common feature to streetball is the ‘pick-up game’. To participate in most streetball games across the world one simply goes to an outdoor court where people are playing, indicate a wish to participate, and once all the players who were at the court before you have played you will get to pick your team out of the players available and play a game. Many games play up to 7, 10 or 11 points with all baskets counting as one point (sometimes shots beyond the 3 point arc count as 2 points). Ballers often play ‘win by 2’ or ‘win by 3’, which means that the team has to win by a margin of at least 2 or 3 clear points. Sometimes a local ‘dead end’ limit applies; for instance a game may be played to 7, win by 2, with a 9 point dead end, which would mean scores of 7-5, 8-6, 9-7 or 9-8 would all be final, while with scores of 7-6 or 8-7 play would continue. The most common streetball game is 3-on-3 played half-court though often 5-on-5 full-court can be found. (Our series with BAFS Freaks: 3-on-3, half-court, winners out, two 20 mins halves.)

And now, we can do an quick interview with the leader of BAFS Freaks:

~(me) Hi dude, do you spend as much of your time as possible playing basketball?
#(leader) Hi my man, don’t worry, we do, we do.

~ What’s your daily routine?
# Outside of watching NBA playoffs ball, we practice some plays within our team and then we play quick games to seven of three-on-three all the way until the sun is well below the horizon.

~ Can you give me a sense of the level of play?
# The games are intense. We have also a regular physical training daily, so everyone is in good shape.

~ We need to know your rule: Winners outs or losers outs?
# What’s the rule for our June’s series?

~ Winners out.
# Yep, we use winners ball, too.

~ Are there a lot of arguments about calls?
# It all depends on the game. It varies from game to game.

~ After a day's jobs, aren't you all too exhausted to play?
# Sometimes it’s an issue, to get everybody on the same page, but we can’t take it lightly. We wanna beat you! But surely, occasionally there are days when we are just too busy or we just watch the NBA channel.

~ Are you looking forward to the series? Got any tricks prepared for us? Take care
# Definitely. And of course, we got tricks. You’ll see when we meet on the court. Bye boy

p.s.(special): Today in the morning, I had a call with my buddy Valdes about the 2008 free agents (How about the Bulls getting the first pick in the Draft? Is that fair?!). Last summer, a large group of free agents got a terrific dose of the realities of the new NBA hard cap. While Rashard Lewis, Billups, Gerald Wallace, Vince C. and Darko came away with big deals, only a handful of the rest of last season's free-agent class found anything near the money that free agents typically get on the open market. You still remember the Varejao debacle in the beginning of the season. As we know, a total of only six players from the 2004 draft who were eligible for extensions, cashed in. Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin, Devin Harris (way to go, Dallas), Jameer Nelson and you-wouldn’t-have-guessed-it, Kris Humphries in Toronto. The other 24 first-round picks, including stalwarts like Luol Deng, Iguodala and Okafor walked away empty-handed. (And got a harsh words from about everybody, including Mr. Agent Zero.) With fewer teams having cap flexibility, the opportunities for free agents to switch teams have largely dried up. That emboldens some owners to make lower-than-expected offers to players eligible for extensions. If teams are unable to pay them big money next season, why give them huge extensions now? Second is the league's nefarious luxury tax. The NBA has a hard cap. And for FAs, it’s a nightmare. That's terrible news for the stellar free-agent class of 2008. Here’s a list of 2008 FAs, you can guesstimate where they’ll end up this busy summer: ETO (early termination option) candidates: Elton Brand, Arenas, Marion, Baron Davis (headed to NYC), Jermaine O'Neal (headed to NJ), Iverson, Maggette (wants out), Artest (a big mystery); Top restricted free agents: Deng, Okafor, Iguodala, Biedrins, Josh Smith, Ben Gordon, Childress, Calderon, Monta Ellis, Shaun Livingston, Nenad Krstic, JC Navarro, Boobie Gibson, JR Smith & VU-JA-CIC (!); Unrestricted free agents: Antawn Jamison (who wants to pay a 30-something?), Ricky Davis (who wants to pay this troubled guy??), Mourning (maybe a retiree) and Kwame Brown (who wants to pay Kwame???).
p.s.2: *I thought Kobe went on vacation. I thought he went to Bermuda or something. I thought he went to the Bermuda Triangle instead of the sideline triangle, but we got him back this quarter,* said Phil Jackson on Bryant, who scored just two points in the first half but still finished with 27 in G1.

Posted by Foreigner in CS - May 25 2008 2:10PM

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