Originally posted by FiCS on March 25, 2007, 7:51 PM
Friday, March 23, 2007
This week, I decided going all out for my first ever running diary, and the game would be this year's final regular season game between the old foes - Spurs (47-20) x Pistons (43-24). My streetball buddies promised to come home to the town, to watch the Detroit vs. San Antonio showdown together and have a grand time. In this ongoing blog post of our evening/night, there’s going to be lots of mentions of (we're all college guys, so you can imagine…) junk food & beverages (I can't really write "alcohol", because my mommy might definitely read this someday). We got a brand-new LCD television, comfy sofas, a reliable laptop computer and even a personal lubricant prepared... well, everything is ready and set for thank-God-it’s-Friday's broadcast. Our crew got a consummate man cave of sports fandom in the basement of Valdie‘s house, called HOOPSROOM, where everything basketball-themed, the main colors are red & black, and they say the room smells like a coyote's urine. (Note: in our Central European Time zone, it‘s 7 hours later than in San Antonio, Texas.) So, let's go... here's what transpired:
8:00 PM - 09:00 PM
I just arrived at the spot... and Valdie’s dad welcomed me with the words: *Are you guys going to watch that stupid basketball again?* *Yeah, of course, we do expect having a great time,* I responded. *I'm gonna watch my wife naked in the bed,* he said, *and I do expect having a not so great time.* Valdie‘s my best friend on our streetball team, the BAFs; we're talking about yesterday’s NBA games a little, the Suns, coming of the home win in which Amar’e Stoudemire dominated the Kings (amassing 33 points, 21 rebounds), were 52-16, and Kobe (60 points) battled the Grizzly duo of Pau Gasol (35 &15), Mike Miller (33) in a narrow Laker victory. Then we watched the NBA Action weekly show noting these semi-important things: A) Avery Johnson’s ugly green tie, B) Jason Terry swimming in the pool, C) The Jet's cute little daughter, D) Ty Thomas‘ dunk on the Celtics (the Bulls wearing their special green St. Patrick‘s uniforms). After the show, the Galaxie-Sport (Note: a Czech sports TV channel) aired that Tullamore Dew commercial and it led to this question by Valdie: *You want a glass of Scotch?* Damn, the first hour of the diary and Irish and Scotch whiskies were mentioned.
9:00 PM - 10:00 PM
We got this text from our bro Crazy C: *IM THERE IN 5 MINS.* George, Pete and The Mammoth just came, thank God, with no trace of alcohol in their bodies... though we had no tool to check it out. Geez, I forgot to tell ya about HOOPSROOM's entry door which has got an inscription 'No Girls Allowed'. (It actually translates to 'No girls under 17 and no women over 32 years of age'.) We watched a highlight reel video of Kobe's aforementioned 60, discussed it some: The Mammoth: *How many points the Mamba gonna score tonite?* Me: *82?* George: *Around 30, cuz scoring more is mathematically impossible after his 65-50-60 explosion.* Pete: *What the bleep? Mathematically? You moron, why then Wilt scored more than 50 seven times in a row?!* George: *Holy shit, he played like 150 years ago.* Pete: *Man, I don't care. I'm just sayin‘ 55.* The Mammoth: *56.* Valdie: *He gonna kill 'em with 100.*
11:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Had a quickie half-hour nap, as always when watching games at night. This actually happened: Two hours gone and Crazy C is nowhere to be found... classic. Pete already drank two bottles of beer. Budvar classic. The Mammoth had a call with his control freak girlfriend, who accused him of wasting a time with "stupid, boozy, drunkish boys", instead of being with her. And it’s not like we all can be together ten times a week... Gosh, after getting married, there's no way for you to continue following sports night in and night out, please remember that. That's how it sucks. It’s just before the midnight and Marc‘s here! I knew he was reliable. This is probably getting a bit boring for you, but we are watching some youtube basketball clips now… Bonus: one girls-vs-boys link for your viewing pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD9V326LbEI. It’s titled Shower Time, Women versus Men. Go figure.
12:00 AM - 1:00 AM
We are fresh and ready for the basketball game to begin; Crazy C arrives, 12:12 AM! Here's his explanation: *Sorry guys, my plane was delayed.* My translation for you: he was drinking at some bar for two solid hours, then ended up going home with some teen slut and came after seven minutes, then slept for another two hours. Crazy C’s confession: he was at the Michigan bar (three hours), draining four beers and throwing darts at the same time. We can't fucking wait for this Spurs-Pistons clash. Valdie‘s raving about Shaq's Jordan-esque move, I'm nervous like hell, 30 or so minutes before a big game are the worst. Pete’s saying something about his recent windmill dunk (Crazy C: *Wow, that happened in 1992.*), Marc and The Mammoth are eating cheese pizzas and chocolate cupcakes. George (coke in his right hand): *Why they removed that Sprite ad before NBA games? Sad. Shit.* Da truth, baby.
1:00 AM - 1:10 AM
It's a minute past 1 AM and we are damn ready for the game to start. Crazy C is snuggled up to The Mammoth on the left sofa, me and Valdie have the right one, and George, Pete and Marc are sitting in the other in the middle of the HOOPSROOM. Marc: *Shouldn't the volume be higher? Don't wanna hear Valdie bitching about the game all night long... don't wanna hear his parents having sex as well.* Crazy C: *Is Chauncey healthy?* Me: *Yep.* Crazy C: *Me too.* Marc: *How many times will C pee during the broadcast? What’s the over/under? 8?* Crazy C: *You guys shut the fuck up. Zero.* The Mammoth: *Damn, hoping you’re right buddy.* Galaxie-Sport TV is kicking off its coverage and Czech play-by-play announcer Petr Janouch's voice is greeting all hoops fans in Czechoslovakia. Starting Lineups... Spurs starters: Tony Parker, Brent Barry, Bruce Bowen, #21, Francisco Elson; Pistons starters: Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tay Prince, Sheed Wallace, Chris Webber. Hmm, I know Detroit’s gonna fire on all cylinders from the get-go. Hopefully the Spurs too. The Mammoth: *Pop should start Manu. He drives me mad with that coming off the bench thing.* Well, the game is about to begin, AT&T Center is loud and raucous.
1:10 AM - 1:25 AM
We learn that San Antonio had lost two straight at home to the Pistons going into this matchup. Cisco Elson makes 16-foot jumper, yeah! And now Timmy with the ball in the paint, scores. Brent Barry threeee... yes!! 7-0, Spurs. I think Valdie's parents heard our roar upstairs. Barry drains another trey, this time a just-throw-it-in-the-direction-of-basket 25-foot bomb. 10-2. Tony Parker hits his automatic floater... but couple of possessions later his shot‘s blocked by Rasheed. Man, this Elson fellow somehow goes coast to coast, kinda, TP finds him, jumper is good, two points. George: *This WDFN [Pistons‘ flagship station] sucks. They're only showing the Detroit plays.* By the way, if you didn’t know that already, I’m a huge Spurs fan. What need I say? I’m very sorry for my homerism. Bruce Bowen hits a three-pointer! 17-6. Horry alters Tayshaun’s shot... a couple of sloppy possessions result in a layup for Barry, 19-7. What a start for Silver and Black! The TV screen is showing the Across The Board stats: Rebounds 12-2 for the home team. Parker bags his long-two jumper, 21-10. Pete: *The Spurs won‘t lose today.* Marc is trying to convince us to switch to the Blue Hustler channel. No. Way.
1:25 AM - 1:40 AM
Gotta say, I love Antonio McDyess. I want him wearing a Spurs jersey someday. Parker darts to the rack... yes, and-one! Wow, TP with a 360 quick turn, SCORES!! 25-12. Get buckets Tony! Manu Ginobili is finally on the floor, enters the game for Barry. Parker is virtually unstoppable tonight... scores among the trees (towers?) with a pretty scoop shot, 27-14. End of the first quarter. 30 seconds into the second quarter and Rasheed gets the 7777th technical of his career. I always enjoyed the Wallaces battling Duncan in the paint, though. Manu shoots a technical free throw, 28-16. Frankly, I must say, Parker and Eva Longoria make a pretty combustible pair. Pete: *I can’t really say who’s looking hotter, Tony or Eva.* Marc: *You gotta be kiddin‘ me. Eva!* By the way, tonight’s officials are Robbie Robinson, Bill Kennedy, and Eddie F. Rush.
1:40 AM - 1:55 AM
Michael Finley makes 18-foot jumper and draws a foul. Well, Matty Bonner loves those hustle plays, he just grabbed an offenisve rebound, then 20 seconds later snatched the ball in the paint again. Mike Fin shoots, hits the target, it‘s 32-26, Spurs. Duncan and Parker each convert only one free throw, the second of two. The score is getting tight, the Pistons just won’t go away... Duncan makes a running J, and-one! …clangs the free throw. Tony on his drive again, who can stop him?! 38-35. We are talking about Kobe’s next game which begins later this night. Me: *Wait, the Lakers are playing in a while... so who turned the laptop off?* Marc shots back: *Why you're looking in my direction?* Crazy C: *I'm sure it's broken.* Pete: *Nope, battery is low.* Valdie: *Who bought that crap? Guess it was me.* Me: *Just stop talking, you're bringing bad karma upon the Spurs. Manu especially, he’s sloppy in the first half.*
1:55 AM - 2:03 AM
TP makes another layup; Finley makes a technical FT after Coach Flip Saunders got a T. Oh no, Sheed is in his mad-zone, nails a three off the backboard. 41-41. Detroit has the first lead of the game, thanks to a Prince layup. Duncan somehow, someway, with a putback straight out of his marvelous arsenal, 43-43. And now Tony's putback gives the Spurs a two point lead, what a battle! The Spurs fans are chanting "DEE-FENSE, DEE-FENSE". But the score is 45-47, Pistons - Ronald Murray makes 9-foot jumper with five seconds to go. The first half’s over. Man, I really love these San Antonio-Detroit defensive showdowns. As far as I can say, it's the best rivalry. Even better than whipping the Mavericks‘ asses. Top 5 rivalries for the Spurs these days (just my humble opinion): 1) Pistons, 2) Allas Mavs, 3) Lakers, 4) Suns, 5) Heat.
2:03 AM - 2:18 AM
It's time for a break and time for some refreshment. The guys are sipping x-th beer from their bottles... terrific. When I‘m alone in the room watching American sports, the half-time break is a big pain in the ass for me - my body wants to sleep and my brain does not think it’s a great idea. Fortunately, I’ve never fallen asleep through the second half of any NBA game. Can’t wait until the next Celtics-Grizzlies horror show to test my resolve. Watching the game with friends around you is priceless. They’re wheezing, screaming, shouting... this is like a constant alarm-clock without beeping... and free of charge. Lemme tell you, NOTHING's better than watching your favorite sport with a bunch of good buddies. Of course, the big caveat here is that you have to have good neighbors, in case...
2:18 AM - 2:33 AM
The second portion of the contest begins, Dave ‘Big Red‘ Cowens (Pistons assistant coach) on Parker: *He's awfully quick.* TD’s one-hander in the paint goes in. Barry for threeee! Bones is now 3-for-3 from behing the arc. Bowen's DRIVE (!!) plus foul (he misses the ensuing FT) makes it a 7-0 run by the Spurs. You know what? There hasn’t been many times where Bowen did penetrate to the basket during his long pro career. Over/under is set at 6. Or 7? This just popped into my head: call it a rule - the team that leads by three points or less at the halftime of a big game, especially in the Playoffs, never wins. It‘s not scientific by any means, but it does happen more than you might think. Big Shot Rob with a block on McDyess. Barry hits 2 free throws and TP scores on his patented circus layup, plus a foul called on Billups! This brings the sellout crowd of 18,797 to its feet and The Mammoth just spilled a coke bottle all over his cell phone. The Pistons take a full timeout. We love Rob Horry, I know this is probably his last season and he's on his last legs but he still possesses some Horry-esque magic here and there. He just rebounded the rock, went to the corner behind the three-point line and nailed a three-pointer. Magical, gotta love this stuff. 60-51. Brent cuts to the basket, Manu finds him with a nice pass but he misses the shot. Quick poll in the HOOPSROOM: Horry's play deserves the Play of the Game honor.
2:33 AM - 2:48 AM
Galaxie-Sport is showing us some Around The Association stats: The Spurs offense (97,77 points per game) is fifteenth in the league, the Spurs D (89,49 points allowed per game) is the best. Barry‘s shot (a 3-pointer, no less) from the middle is on target (63-55). Duncan gets the ball in the post, goes one-on-one against a Pistons defender, good. Manu is in his pass-first mode, he just threw an alley-oop to the Dutchman Elson and he finished it off! 67-57. Maybe this is the Play of the Game (Pete says Horry’s was definitely cooler.). Interesting, we just saw the Pistons fans poll "Who should Detroit play in the NBA Finals?", the results are: 47% of the fans want Dallas, 20% for San Antonio, 20% Houston, 13% Phoenix. You see, maybe the Pistons fans don't like the up-tempo offense that much. Parker shoots a long two, money, 26 second to go in the third quarter. Ever heard of rolling out a whitewash in a basketball game? (Special thanks to ESPN's Bill Simmons.) I’m counting the whites on the Spurs roster... and immediately, Crazy C shouts out to nobody in particular: *What about the Spurs unleashing Beno Udrih, Ginobili, Bones, Red Rocket and Fabio Oberto?* Marc: *This ought to be banned by Stern.* End of the third, 71-61, SAS. (Quarters: 27-16, 18-31, 26-14.)
2:48 AM - 3:03 AM
Carlos Delfino is out there on the floor. This hombre from Santa Fe, Argentina (I looked it up on the Internet) should be rewarded with the 'The Most Laid-back Latinoamericano Ever', presented by The Nightclub of Santa Isabel. We got an Argentine match-up, Gino vs. Delfino and I apologize I can't give you any trash talk because I don’t speak Spanish that well... wait... my sister does, I'll call her. Bonner hits a corner three, count it, and it's 75-68. McDyess definitely has his sweet spot from that 17-foot range, 2 points for the away team. In the span of nine seconds, two Spurs were hit with personal fouls... the refs are giving us the first plate of B.S. calls tonight. George screaming: *You blind assholes, what the hell are you doing?!* Crazy C: *Chill out man... you know, that brings bad karma.* Me: *Coach Pop is getting mad, a tech is about to happen.* I’m always astounded how fast Gregg Popovich paces those sidelines. It feels like he‘s a 38-year old instead of 58-year old.
3:03 AM - 03:18 AM
TD's 11-foot jumper, good! 77-72. The greatest power forward ever makes free throw 1 of 2, the greatest power forward ever makes free throw 2 of 2. Way to go Tim. Ginobili, threeeee... 82-74, the Spurs-theme music is BLARING and it has me reminiscing about the 2005 NBA Championship memories. Wonderful, it’s like deja vu deluxe or something. Valdie's laptop is finally working, and the Black Mamba has 44 (George's theory went right into the toilet.) 3:46 to go and Manu hits a huge three, 82-74. Detroit full timeout. Ginobili‘s got an all-time clutchness in his veins, confidently scores on a patented left-handed finger roll, 85-76, after a slick handoff to him by Duncan. What a mad big man scramble in the paint, Ginobili with a big, big rebound. Bowen trying to quiet down Tim and Tony after TP was whisted for a foul on Billups. Bullshit! I’m sure this never happened in the NBA once: Manu, from the left sideline, throws a lob pass to Tony who‘s on the right sideline, only it lands out of bounds. Keep in mind it's the last minute of a close game... Manu's face tells it all, but you really had to see Popovich‘s what-da-fuck face - incredible. Eight seconds later, Chauncey drains a big 22-foot shot, almost a trey, 85-82, 50 seconds to go. Pop’s thought bubble: *I know Tony‘s capable of doing that, BUT Manu?!?* I can't write what the guys in the HOOPSROOM said on that blooper... my blog would get banned. Valdie yells out: *KOBE'S SCORED 50!* 65/50/60/50. I bet that someone (a math genius) will create a website to find a formula how many points KB24 scores in the next Lakers game. And it won't be George. 55 is my amateur guess.
3:18 AM - 3:30 AM
Fuck off, what a fantastic block by McDyess on Parker; Chauncey launches a three, wants a foul (knowing that the refs are horrible tonight) but no whistle this time... McDyess, who’s in the right spot at the right time all the time, catches the short shot under the basket and lays it up! 85-84,18.3 to go. What a game. The Clutch Manu at the charity stripe, makes both... 87-84... Across The Board stats: 3-pointers 8-16 (SA), 1-12 (DET). That’s probably the difference tonite. B.S. Call of the Game: Bruce guards Rip, Hamilton falls down to the floor and drops the ball, Bruce quickly gains it, has a chance for a breakaway layup BUT they whistled a foul on him AS SOON AS he touched the ball! Indeed, three blind mice. Rip's choke act follows, the masked fella misses both free throws (Cue the voice of Sheed: "Ball don't lie!"), the second one is pulled down by The Big Fundamental, 10.4 to go. TD is immediately fouled, converts the first one - Finley waving his hands on the bench, the second one is no good... 88-84, 8.3 secondf left. Billups calls a timeout... (We're cheering like crazy, the HOOPSROOM may explode in the maelstom of loud cheers and jumping.) ...and after the timeout hits a jumper, 88-86. Pete yells: *Bring some nooooise!* Fin trying to inbound the ball, has to call a T.O. (4.4 left). 'We will rock you' is blaring in the AT&T Center. Finley set to inbound for the second time, Ginobili runs for the ball, a foul by Delfino. I’m thrilled, I know Manu’s gonna ice the game with two freebies. Yep, makes both, and they're showing a sad C-Webb's face on the screen. Me: *I knew it guys, my theory is working, the Spurs won!* Crazy C: *Hooray for more beeeer.* George: *Bring on the Dallas Wavericks!* Pete: *Holy shit, I love it when the Spurs battle the Pistons, it's a treat for the real fan.* Marc: *I'm drunk and done, where’s my bed?* Valdie: *Lookin' forward to the Playoffs time! Janouch was great tonight, too. I love his voice when something exciting happens on the hardwood.* Never mind that Prince nailed a meaningless buzzer-beater three, making it 90-89. (Final Quarter: 19-28.)
3:30 AM - 4:00 AM
Crazy C’s telling us some silly jokes, I guess he’s in the mood. We are laughing like crazy. I’m having a beautiful time, my team just won, I wanna high-five everyone, I’m even high-fiving myself right now. This stuff happens when your team comes out victorious. Looking at the boxscore... Rasheed 21 & 7, McDyess‘ double-double (18 & 11), Rip scored 16, Flip played just eight guys - McDyess, Delfino and Murray came off the bench. Those last two guys and C-Webb shot an awful 4-of-17 combined. Duncan recorded 17 & 14, Elson had 10 rebounds, Barry scored 16 (3PM-A: 3-4), Manu a huge 10 points; the Player of The Game was Parker, 22 points, 7 dimes and 3 boards. The game had a playoff-like atmosphere, a chippy and a hard-fought battle. The questions is, did we just watch a preview of the NBA Finals 2007? NBA Upset Special today: Nuggets at Raptors 94-121, Heat at Pacers 70-95, Jazz at Clippers 72-104. We're switching off the TV, it’s time to wrap up the night and sleep a little in the early morning hours. We have to be fresh for a Saturday afternoon game. Said The Mammoth: *I’m ready, just gimme the ball*. Crazy C’s stat line reads like this: 6 beers in the HOOPSROOM and 4 trips to the pee-throw-line, we are literally carrying him to Valdie's car (I grabbed him under the shoulders and The Mammoth took his legs). The Mammoth, Pete and George are going home on foot. Pete: *See you soon. One more beer and I‘m done for 5 days.* Valdie is going to take Crazy C and Marc home by car. He’s got a sticker of Vince Carter jumping over that poor French dude on the left front window. Fly.
4:00 AM - 04:15 AM
I am on the way home too, happy and dog-tired, so here's my final tally: one great game. one awesome night. My buddies feeling great. Noone offended, embarrassed or arrested. No injuries for my Spurs. No bittersweet symphony. Watching basketball is a true delight or me. And the the most important thing is... WE WON. Gimme a high-five, Mr. James Naismith. I'm sleeping like a baby. Thanks for reading!