Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Consider Channing Frye

In the fine tradition of closer looks at Danny Granger and Chris Kaman, Love in the Time of Lebron would like you to consider Channing Frye. You may know Channing Frye from his role-playing heroics as the jump-shooting center of the Suns who recently helped the Suns take a 3-2 lead against the Trailblazers. But what do you really know about Channing Frye? How does even one go about learning more about Channing Frye? Well you read his blog of course!

But, Kellen, I don't have time to read the blog of every bench player / occasional starter in the league? Well, that's what I'm here for. I've read about a year's worth of Channing Frye's blog, and I am prepared to announce that he seems like a pretty cool, easy-going and down-to-Earth guy and, honestly, like a dude who you'd want to hang out with. Or alternately, he kind of seems like dudes you already hang out with. I will present the evidence:

1. Channing Frye has a blog. It's not some slick affair designed to promote his side projects, but rather a charmingly simple yet aesthetically pleasing WordPress joint where he writes about his hobbies and family. It's basically really average for a blog, which, considering that Channing Frye is a millionaire NBA player, is actually extraordinary. He likes to post things like videos of his dog, pictures of dumb tattoos and some tilt-shift short that he thought was neat.

2. Channing Frye writes restaurant reviews and they are actually interesting and a little funny. He likes Noble Rot in Portland, commenting on the "a great mixed crowd: older hipster, parents with babies, newly 30s, yet still cool and in the know, and flat-out retirees". Of Chino Bandido in Phoenix, he writes, "People, it's CHINESE AND MEXICAN. Together. BOOM! That just happened." He also likes some sushi from time to time. Hey you guys, we like sushi and Mexican and Chinese fusion! Channing Frye is just like us!

3. Channing Frye's media tastes, generally rule. He thinks the funniest show on television is Eastbound and Down and can't wait for the second season to come out and really appreciated the dry humor of The Informant. Yep, you and Channing Frye would have a good time watching DVDs. "I would have to say I'm a bit of an action-sci-fi-comedy-kung fu movie enthusiast. The last movie that I'd have to say was legit and that I was pleasantly surprised by was Jet Li's first action movie, the Tai Chi Master dubbed in English (not a big deal)." You know what the best part about that is? How he wants to address your concerns about him watching the dubbed version instead of the subtitled one and let you know he isn't going to be snobby about it.

4. Channing Frye is a nerd. He brags about his World of Warcraft rig and watches anime. Maybe this makes him a little-less relatable than I've been arguing for, but it does take the edge off the whole millionaire and world-class athlete thing.

5. And about that: Channing does talk some about basketball occasionally, but does it in an introspective and humble way. I love his simple explanation of where his there-point shot suddenly and abruptly came from and how much he enjoys playing with Steve Nash (who, you may have heard, was MVP twice despite being ridiculous). All of this just contributes to a picture of Channing Frye as just a swell guy.

Long story short, on the basis of his blog, I like Channing Frye, and, ironically, it's not because he's awesome, but rather because he seems really well-adjusted and reasonably average. I can't help but think, reading his blog, that if I knew Channing Frye, I'd want to be friends with this average, slightly-nerdy dude; that this is what almost any one of my friends would be like if they were in the NBA.

In any case, I guess I'm a Channing Frye fan, and I hope that someday he and Danny Granger can be on the same team, shooting threes, eating fusion cuisine, and playing World of Warcraft.

UPDATE: Channing Frye really is the best. I am definitely a Channing Frye fan now.

Micro-consideration of Sun's roleplayer's blogs not your thing? Rather read the log of my drunk girlfriend's reactions to the NBA play-offs? Of course you would. Well, you are in luck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Drunk Girlfriend Watching Basketball II: THE RECKONING

I had a number of really juicy play-off posts, but why bother? I know what you want, dear readers: You want another installment of Elizabeth drinking wine and breaking down ball. So fine. Here you go. I hope this makes you happy. My notes, as is apparently my new custom, will be italicized and can be found lovingly tucked between square brackets.

It's been almost a week, but I'm back to watch basketball again. I've actually watched a little bit since, but didn't write. In one game I watched the other night, at one point Dwane Wade was rolling on the floor clutching his knee, his face contorted in pain. The commentator had some wise words: "He's in some discomfort right now." [Almost certainly Mike Breen] ESPN cut to some commercial with doofy white businessmen cracking wise on an airplane, then back to Wade, still prone on the floor. The other game featured a terrifying blond man-beast who scared me even more than the giant from last week. Both of these things made me too uncomfortable to continue.

However! I've overcome all this just to cover the fourth Jazz-Nuggets matchup, even though I nearly got locked out of my house just before this and I accidentally caught a bit of the Spurs-Mavericks game while waiting, which means I saw the Beast, which means I'll surely have hideous nightmares tonight. Sacrifice, y'all. As of 9:46 p.m., though, it seems as if my wait is nearly over, and I will soon watch the two most-stupidly named teams in the NBA face off in Utah. ANYWAY. Time for some BASKETBALL.

9:51 Points already! Drinking and typing tends to distract me from the matter at hand, which is that two of our fine Nuggets are wearing long yellow sleeves (OK, one sleeve apiece) that don't quite reach their shoulders. Not knowing any single thing about who they are or what's going on with the Nuggets, I declare them Players to Watch. No word yet if they got the sleeves at the same place the Avril Lavinge girls at my high school got theirs, or if they actually got one pack of two sleeves and are sharing them in sort of the NBA equivalent of a split-heart BFF necklace.

They go shopping together.

9:54 One sleeve guy just passed to the other! I think the BFF theory is true.

9:58 Some scary dude just pretty much flew into another dude, claws out, toothy maw wide open. There was no explaination of this, except for the name "Boozer," which surely isn't real. TNT cut to a bunch of commercials (surprise: dorky white dudes!) right after this, which only can lead me to assume that they cut away lest at-home viewers be disturbed by the bloody cannibalistic mauling that surely followed. After learning about a number of fine products that dudes can buy to feel better about their lives, we're back at the game, and the crowd seems unshaken. They must be used to this in Utah.

10:03 One of the Brothers of the Sleeve is Carmelo Anthony, who I have heard of! What Kellen neglected to tell me is that this man is surrounded by a powerful force field; a guy from the Jazz just got thrown backwards through the air as Anthony approached the goal. Godlike! No word on whether his BFF also possesses mystical strengths [Whoops. Never got to that in the team previews. My bad.]. They are just passing back and forth to each other like crazy, though. Do you think the other players get jealous when they show up at practice with matching nail polish and little framed photos of them chilling at the mall or pool together? They're both wearing headbands, too. Don't rub it in, guys.

10:23 After some dude jumps in front of one of the Nuggets, knocking the ball out of his hand: "Now that's a playoff foul right there." What does that mean? It's a real skillful foul? In a playoff of fouls, it would go far? [He means a really hard foul. Reggie loves hard fouls. Or at least the idea of them.]

10:29 OK, Mauler is back, and apparently Boozer really is his name. That shot was pretty majestic, majestic enough that they showed it like three times in increasingly slow slo-mo. Also, one of the commentators noted that he's off to a "great start." Is halfway through the second quarter still the "start?"

10:32 The Nuggets' assistant coach TNT keeps showing looks like your friend's dad who is always pissed off but pretends (with a tightly clenched jaw and narrowed eyes) that he is so goddamn happy to have you over for dinner yet again and that he generally doesn't hate his life and everyone in it. He shouldn't look so mad! Denver is still behind, and even when they score it looks like they did it by accident. Actually, I just take that back: Smith just scored (even though he had to miss once before he got it in) so gracefully that a weird blond guy with too many tattoos slapped him lovingly on the butt afterwards [Chris "Birdman" Anderson]. That's something I can't unsee [Try this].

10:44 Only one sleeve is still on the court, but he just scored. Imagined thought: "I'm dong this for us." Also, I'm kind of frustrated by how one of the Denver players just did a beautiful one-handed shot just now... during a time out. Can you please do that when you can actually get some points? I feel like this happens during every single game and it always drives me nuts. OK, we get that you are capable of majesty, sir. Totally useless majesty.

10:48 The Nuggets coach is yelling at a player, and in the background, a chubby boy with one of the best seats in the arena is slowly unfolding and refolding a piece of paper accordion-style. Behind him, a girl is texting. I see myself in those children.

10:58 What the hell is up with these Avatar commercials? First, there was the thing where the players got distracted by Avatar playing on the jumbotron ("Forget the game, y'all, I think Jake Sully's about to connect with the life tree"), now this: "Return to Pandora now... and witness the drama of the NBA playoffs on TNT?" How are these things related? [Trust me when I say that it's better than last year when they tried to promote that Jack Black / Michael Cera caveman movie] Unless there is an Avatar sequel where aged basketball players get young, lissome avatars that allow them to school a team full of young and rowdy smart-asses, I don't get the connection. Actually, now that I think of it, if you replace the young players with (equally smart-ass) aliens, I think this could be the perfect opportunity for the Space Jam / Avatar crossover I've been waiting for. When this gets made, someone owes me a lot of money.

Also, Charles Barkley is a freak [You have no idea]. On Krispy Kreme doughnuts: "When you're driving, your car just go there! I'm serious! Baby, they melt in your mouth."

11:18 Second half, and the sleeve brothers are BACK. How can things not get better for Denver? Answer: some Jazz guy just made a majestic shot from far away [C. J. Miles. When did he get so good?]. In response, a Denver guy with little baby braids [Nene] did a shot where the ball basically rolled leisurely around the entire rim of the basket before toppling off. If that's what he was going for, then well-played. However, if that is what he was going for, it is unsurprising that Denver is 14 points behind.

11:25 More commercials. Coors clearly thinks that if they advertise during every single game of the playoffs, people will eventually buy the "banquet beer" thing. They are mistaken. Ditto for Taco Bell and the tortada as a real food.

11:33 There is no better use for the replay than showing two players crashing into each other over and over again. If this were the game I watched last week, a comical "BOIIIIING" sound effect would have played just now. As I was typing this, yet another Jazz player fall backwards and down as if repelled by an invisible but potent force. It appears that Carmelo Anthony (possibly with the help of his sleeve twin) has extended the power of his force field over his entire team. Sadly, this may be too little, too late. Speaking of Carmelo, I like to imagine that somewhere, his mother is wishing that he would shave off that stupid tuft of hair under his chin. I don't know who told you that was a beard, but they were probably just sucking up.

11:38 That seemed to be a pretty blatant foul on ole Boozer. Denver, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to just grab someone around the waist. Well, only if you love him very, very much. Speaking of fouls, a guy tumbles smack into the bottom of the goal and it's just "a good old playoff foul." I still don't get what this means. Do they just let awesome examples of violence slide during the playoffs, just cuz? If it looks cool enough on a replay, is it okay?

11:44 Carlos Boozer's favorite book, according to a clip of him reading to schoolchildren: I Can Be Anything. Carmelo Anthony's favorite book, judging by his affinity for matching friendship clothing: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

12:04 Somewhat exciting things since the last time I wrote: even though Carmelo appears to be on the bench, his friend is doing okay and the Jazz's lead is only 11 points. Denver keeps narrowing this for like five seconds, then Utah scores. Come on, y'all. Can you score twice in a row for once? The other team seems to do it all the time. Denver scores beautifully and the difference is now 8 points. Someone fouled, and even though he wasn't involved, I bet the Nugget who was inexplicably crouched on the floor like a frog feels kind of embarrassed that they caught that on camera and replayed it a few times. AIN'T NO RULE SAY THE FROG CAN'T PLAY BASKETBALL. [Actually covered under a late 90's rule provision: the "Air" Bud rule. ]

12:23 Carmelo is back, if he was ever gone. Also, they cut to the crowd, and THERE ARE TWO TERRIFYING NEON APES CHEERING FOR UTAH. Who does that? "Oh, you know, just a little something I thought I'd wear to the game... look, honey, I even got you a matching one!" The game's over now, and I feel like Denver could have used more support from people in brightly colored apesuits tonight. Sorry, guys. You always got me.

Portrait of the author

That's it for tonight. I hope you had fun. I'll see you again soon. Remember, next time will be the game that determines whether Kellen's prophecy that I could only get through two full games will come true or not, so I hope I have your support in my attempt to buck fate. Until then, be good, don't drink too much, and stay far, far away from guys who look like this.

There you go. Did you like that? Second time just as good? Leave your thoughts in the comments as well as your suggestion for what game Elizabeth should cover next. It's like NBATV's fan night but with more boxed wine and Google image searches!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Case For And Against the Charlotte Bobcats

The Charlotte Bobcats are possibly the weirdest team in the NBA. They are, certainly, the weirdest team in the playoffs. Watching them play isn't particularly joyful: They win by being tough, shutting teams down on defense, and frankly, not giving a fuck. Actually, let me parse that better. In some sense, the Warriors, Wizards, and, about once in every two to five quarters, the Nuggets don't give a fuck. In this sense, I mean that these teams are apathetic about winning, trying hard, or really anything other than getting paid at the end of the day. That's not the case with the Bobcats: they really care about the way they play, their effort on either end, and all that business. When I say they don't give a fuck, I mean they don't give a fuck about you. The Bobcats don't play for the benefit of their fans. They are indifferent to their following, small though it may be. They don't play to the cameras. They wouldn't care if the games were played in empty gyms. And, to be truthful, that's basically what they did more than a few times at home. Did you see Gerald Wallace at the dunk contest this year? I don't think he actually rolled his eyes, but that was the gist of his performance. The Bobcats just don't give a fuck who you are. They are going to play their game, and often win. Dwight Howard? Whatever, we are going at them. Lebron James? Beat him three out of four times anyway, so what of it? It's not clear if the Bobcats even care about winning any games in the playoffs; you get the impression that they wouldn't hate it, but that they aren't going to try to prove themselves or make a statement or make any of the other desperate-seeming gestures that other new-to-the-playoffs-teams, like the Thunder, have embraced.

The Bobcats are just too freaky to bother with that bullshit. I was going to write a breakdown about how all the pieces of the Bobcats came together and how this team of cast-offs, under-appreciated gems, malcontents, and spare parts reached the play-offs. However, Shoals and Ziller did a better job of this than I would have anyway, so I suggest you read that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Drunk Girlfriend Watching Basketball

The playoffs are long and I am, on occasion, busy. But don't despair: We got you covered. I'd like to unveil a new feature of this blog: My Drunk Girlfriend Watching Basketball. My very sweet girlfriend offered to cover the games tonight for me while I did a radio show. Elizabeth is really smart and funny, but she has not watched more than a few incidental seconds of an NBA game before. This will be fun.

GUYS. It's a basketball game. Chicago-Cleveland game number... one? It's their first match-up, right? The playoffs just only started, so this seems like it's probably a safe assumption to make [Ed. note: Nope.]. I am excited enough about this, because the Bulls are a team I have heard of. In fact, I have not only heard of them, but I have heard of them for years. Thanks, Michael Jordan, for being so famous that even the sports-phobic child of parents who have probably never watched an entire non-college game of any sport in their long lives knew about you and your team as a child. I won't pretend that this isn't like 97% due to Space Jam.

I'm starting my report a little late, because I was off enjoying some box wine and got distracted, BUT it looks like I came into the Chicago-Cleveland game just in time. It's the third... quarter? (Third? I thought this was only in halves? Though I am aware that something can contain both halves and quarters) and my new favorite player from the Bulls (read: the only one I've noticed yet), just put the ball in the hoop at a short distance and made it so the Bulls were not losing anymore. They said his name but I was so caught up in the moment that I did not hear it, so I think I'm going to call him Patches, in honor of the fact that he is less talented at growing facial hair than he is at basketball stuff (I'm not judging, because I'm equally unskilled at both). So, way to go, Patches. He's wearing the number 13, so I suppose I could find out his name, but my absolute ignorance of what's going on is what makes this game so mysterious and exciting to me [Ed. note: It's Joachim Noah. He gets that oil.].

9:35 OK, bad news for Patches: Cleveland scored while I was lost in his dull, lifeless eyes, and I think he just got shoved by... Shaq? I wasn't aware Shaq was still playing. Isn't he like a million years old? Also, more important things have come up: I am pretty sure someone from the Addams family grew up to join Cleveland, because they just played the theme song. Maybe the guy with the luscious hair? In other "musical" news: someone, somewhere keeps starting the "We Will Rock You" clap, but no one you can see on TV is even moving. Who is even doing that? Y'ALL: no one can see you doing that. You can cancel the "wave", too, if that was in order.

9:42 Also: Lebron is on one of these teams? This raises the number of players I've heard of to two. I feel torn now, because I think I like him and I think he's also with the Cavaliers, who I was less excited about just because I only have recently become aware of their existence. The only thing going for the Bulls right now is Patches, and it appears that Cleveland has its own Patches. Number 17? [Ed. note: Anderson Varejao] I need a close up to see if he'll suffice as my Cleveland Patches should I decide to cheer for them.

9:51 The score is still close, 77-76, Chicago. I just noticed that Cleveland has a terrifying bald giant who can't even put the ball in the hoop even though he pretty much has to bend over at the waist to touch the hoop [Ed. note: Zydrunas Ilgauskas]. Too low for you, buddy? He's doing some free throws and I just realized: he doesn't have any armpit hair. It's official: he will haunt my nightmares forever.

9:56 OK, it is quarters, and we're entering the fourth. 77-77! A tie! This could go either way, and I do mean either way, since I have no idea what is going on. As far as I can tell, they are pretty evenly matched, if not in ability, in their love for slowly scoring points one by one then letting the other team score a few before resuming their own scoring.

9:58 What is up with this music? I can't tell whether this is something only for TV or if it's also playing in the arena or what. It's really clear and tinny and seemingly disconnected from everything else going on in the arena. Like, did Shaq just hear that "Mario growing bigger" noise that sounded when someone made a free throw, or was that just to let people like me know that, yes, the score is growing bigger? I like to imagine that this isn't planned at all, but that one of the commentators got a new cellphone and is just hanging out behind that table trying out all of the ringtones while his colleagues are doing their jobs. "Listen, guys, 'La Cucharacha!'"

10:04 I think I like Cleveland more and more, and not just because they are winning. One of their players has been making pretty much every jump a freak-show jumping jack. Everyone else on the court: tense posture, eyes on the ball. This guy: loose as hell and doing aerial toe-touches. [Ed. note: I have no clue who this is.]

10:08 The commentators just said that they're seeing fantastic defense at both ends, but I'm pretty sure I just saw Patches straight up miss two shots in a row. Unless Cleveland's defense involves some sort of dark magic that shifts the hoop imperceptibly when people are trying to get the ball in it [Ed. note: Incidentally, that actually is my theory], I don't know if that was the best-timed compliment. I get that the other guys on the team are doing stuff I don't even understand, like blocking his view or keeping him from getting in a good place or just scaring him or something, but as far as I could tell, everyone was just kind of standing back and watching, like, "There goes old Patches, doing whatever it is he does." [Ed. note: I don't know how much clearer I can be: Joachim Noah gets that oil.]

10:14 Two free throws for Patches. It's too late for me and him, though I will admit that his look-alike playing for Cleveland is no match. Actually, it's not even Patches this guy reminds me of by this point: I think I just found out what happened to Justin Guarini after From Justin to Kelly.

10:24 Ten point difference. Now the people in view of the camera are moving... all waving their handkerchiefs, or something suspiciously handkerchief-like. What is this? Are basketball fans the last people to resist Kleenex? Like, to resist it for so many years? I realize I should start talking about what's going on, but I am just so confused by every single thing that's happening that I can't really focus on the important confusing things. [Ed. note: God, how drunk were you?]

10:32 Confession: prior to watching this game, I drank about four or five glasses of wine [Ed. note: Oh.]. Over the course of this game, I surrounded myself and my writing station with more and more pillows. Over the course of the last few minutes of the game, I (kinda accidentally) laid down and (also accidentally) closed my eyes and fell asleep for a few minutes and started to dream I was locked in a terrifying cellar made of dirt and roots guarded by Patches and that terrifying bald giant. Good news: I wasn't, and my first sight upon waking was the reassuring sight of Lebron James being interviewed. That felt good and he was wearing a nice towel on his neck. Bad news: I missed the end of the game. But apparently no one scored, so that's OK, right? Right?

That's it. Shaq? Didn't do as much as I would expect from one of the four or five basketball players whose name I knew before about six months ago, but then again, the man's kind of old. And Lebron scored 40 points, but I think I might have been boozin' and typing every time he had the ball. Oops. He looks good with a towel on his neck, though.

Oh man, I am terrible at this.

Right now the Denver-Utah game is on and I can't even watch. Denver and Utah: I'll give y'all another chance later, even though you have the dumbest names ever, and for some reason, the arena where you are playing has a giant sign that says, "AMAZING IS BELIEF." (I'm not sure what that means. I'm really not sure if that's even English.) For tonight, though, I'm done. If Kellen's predictions are to be believed, that means one game down, one and a half to go before I give up on the playoffs forever. We'll see if that's true, and more importantly, we'll see how much longer I can blog about basketball before Kellen becomes totally disillusioned and dumps me. Goodnight, everyone. Basketball is magic.

Wonderful. Did you guys like that? I liked that. This should be a regular feature, right? I think so. Post your encouragement in the comments.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Shotgun Oracle: 2010 NBA Playoffs

Playoffs start on Saturday and there are a lot of predictions flying through the air about what is going to happen. People are feverishly picking the winners of each round, series, and, indeed, the whole shebang. Here's the sad part about these predictions: Most people aren't going to get it right. There's just too many possibilities for the playoffs and, admittedly, the targets are moving. However, I have developed an award winning system for predicting future events, and, specifically, future professional basketball events: The Shotgun Oracle The Shotgun Oracle harnesses the power of advanced statistics, scouting reports, runic magic, druidic auguries, and wildly throwing out basically every conceivable outcome to come up with accurate predictions of the future. Pioneered at Delphi, but then really developed by Nostradamus, this tactic of throwing out a ton of different guesses and praying one comes true is the new sensation that should make Love in the Time of Lebron your first stop when it comes to basketball prognostication. So let's see what glimpses of the future we can find! To the metaphorical sheep entrails!

  1. The Cavaliers will win the championship. Lebron James is unstoppable in his best year yet, and now that he has help from the Big Nickname and Antawn Jamison, what could stand in his way?
  2. The Cavaliers will be upset. Lebron's rust, Mo William's vanishing act and the Big Senior Citizen will all prove to be deciding factors when the favorites slip up again.
  3. Sun's inability to speak English will play a key part in the struggle for control of the Island.
  4. Rasheed Wallace will get a technical foul for arguing with a referee.
  5. The Lakers will win the championship. Kobe Bryant is an assassin, and the Lakers are the most loaded team in all of basketball. Too much talent to lose.
  6. The Lakers will be not win the championship. Kobe will shoot them out of a game, Artest doesn't know what to do, and Pau Gasol is simply too neck-bearded.
  7. The Hurt Locker will win Best Picture at the Oscars.
  8. The Magic will win the championship. Their team is perfectly built around Dwight Howard and all the players know their role in Stan van Gundy's system.
  9. The Magic will not win the championship. Any team that requires Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard to assert themselves in critical moments is doomed.
  10. Phil Jackson will play mind games with opposing teams
  11. Tim Duncan will protest a call.
  12. The Mavericks will win the championship. Dirk is as clutch as it gets in the closing minutes of any game and the salvaged pieces of Washington add more firepower to an already super-talented team.
  13. The Mavericks will not win the championship. Because I mean, really c'mon, did you honestly think they were the best team in the league at any point this year?
  14. You will woke up one morning and just feel exhausted. It will be like you didn't get any sleep at all, though you won't remember waking up in the middle of the night or anything.
  15. 30 Rock won't be nearly as funny as you remembered it being a couple years ago.
  16. The Hawks will win the championship. The stone-cold guard tandem of Joe and Jamal and the freaky-talented forward tandem of Josh and Al is impossible for any team to effectively match up against.
  17. The Hawks will not win the championship. Their limited offensive repertoire, poor coaching, and reliance on Joe Johnson is simply not enough to go all the way.
  18. The average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere will rise.
  19. Fidel Castro will die.
  20. The Suns will win the championship. You had forgotten how good Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire can be when flanked with quality role players and playing at lightning speed.
  21. The Suns will not win the championship. If this team was going to win, wouldn't they have done it already?
  22. You will get a hair-cut.
  23. Charles Barkley will be ridiculed by Kenny Smith on TNT.
  24. At least three pairs of people will debate whether Stan van Gundy looks more like porn's Ron Jeremy or Ninendo's Mario.
  25. The Celtics will win the championship. They Big Three are older, but Perkins and Rondo have more than made up for any loss of ground by KG, Allen, and Pierce.
  26. The Celtics will not win the championship. Boston is too old, too hurt, and has a terrible coach and even worse chemistry.
  27. The season finale of Lost will be surprising and mind-blowing in some ways, but ultimately be unsatisfying.
  28. President Obama will finally make a clear move towards changing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
  29. The Nuggets will win the championship. Carmelo's days of secret superstardom end when Denver's speed, athleticism, and skill overruns their stunned opponents.
  30. The Nuggets won't win the championship. They are too undisciplined and out-of-sync these days and the absence of George Karl truly changed the character of the team.
  31. Kobe Bryant will play through an injury and be lauded for his toughness.
  32. You will enjoy some Mexican food.
  33. I will drink too much and regret it.
  34. The Heat will win the championship. Dwyane Wade is amazing, and frankly, you've been sleeping on the Heat all season and should be embarrassed.
  35. The Heat will not win the championship. Dwyane Wade is one man.
  36. The more you learn about Justin Bieber, the weirder you feel.
  37. The Jazz will win the championship. Deron Williams was the best point guard in the league this year and surrounded by supporting players, that's enough.
  38. The Jazz will not win the championship. The loss of Andrei Kirilenko derails the success of the Jazz on both ends of the floor.
  39. Lebron James is actually the smoke monster on Lost.
  40. Merrick B. Garland will emerge as the front-runner to be the nominee for the Supreme Court.
  41. You will need to wash your towels.
  42. The Bucks will win the championship. People will finally come around to Salmons, fall in love with Brandon Jennings, and retroactively deify Bogut.
  43. The Bucks will not win the championship. The Bucks have been a mediocre team all year and losing their best player in Bogut is a death blow.
  44. There will be an earthquake.
  45. The Trailblazers will win the championship and become the gritttiest winning-in-face-of-adversity-and-injury NBA team of all time.
  46. The Trailblazers won't win the championship. The loss of superstar Brandon Roy is simply too much for a team that's already lost so many players.
  47. My girlfriend will watch two games during the playoffs and give up during the third.
  48. There will be a major break-through in the development of pharmaceuticals to treat depression.
  49. The Bobcats will win the championship and prove once and for all that defense, and defense alone, wins championships.
  50. The Bobcats will not win the championship. You can't win basketball without any offense beyond Stephen Jackson.
  51. The US and EU will do some economic something-or-other. Jobs. Inflation. Whatever.
  52. There will be a new movie announced based on a beloved story from your childhood.
  53. You'll see Donald Sutherland at the grocery store.
  54. The Spurs will win the championship because that's all the do.
  55. The Spurs will not win the championship because they are really old. They ought to change their team name to the Mummys!
  56. You will overhear two middle-aged women talking about how "gorgeous" the weather is.
  57. The Bulls will win the championship. Derek Rose is a genius, and when Noah was hurt, you forget how good he is at getting that oil.
  58. The Bulls will not win the championship. The Raptors almost beat them for the last play-off spot.
  59. Ice-T will threaten a drive-by via Twitter.
  60. Brad Miller and Trey Kerby will appear on the popular Canadian television series, Manhunter.
  61. I will ignore baseball.
  62. The Thunder will win the championship. Kevin Durant is too good and his team plays beside him nearly perfectly.
  63. The Thunder will not win the championship. Teams this young don't win championships, especially when dudes named Nenad start at center.
  64. You'll listen to that one album that meant a lot to you as a teenager. You know the one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Moment I Realized This Blog Was Ridiculous

... was the moment I discovered how to make my own Google Search Story. The disastrous (and forbidden and occult) result, here and embedded below.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thomas Dreams About Being Lebron's Nanny

Today, we have another entry from the subconscious of Very Special Dream Correspondent Thomas. You may remember his dream about getting in a hot tub with Derek Fisher, the one where he talks to Troy Murphy about his venereal disease, and the one where he uncovers Dwyane Wade's propensity for human sacrifice. You know how we love dreams about basketball players, so I happily send this Freudian delight on to you, dear reader. If you'd like to submit your own dream, email me at loveinthetimeoflebron@gmail.com.


This started like a normal dream: I'm at dinner with some grad student friends. Our drinks just came, but before I can take a sip, my boss texts me. This is normal, I tell my dream self, because my boss is Lebron James, and I am nanny to his children.

Apologizing for having to leave, I depart, but apparently everyone knows this happens a lot (there was a weird sense of me watching myself, saying "these people should not be acting this way because this is not my life"). Lebron Junior apparently wants to have a playdate, thus am I summoned. On the way to the Casa del Rey (that's what I called it!) I am accosted by a busload of Duke fans. We start talking trash, but then they shut up because Lebron has come to the street to tell me the specifics of his son's wishes. Lebron tells them to say "hey" to Coach K, then nods me inside.

Once in the house, I walk over to the crib where his newborn daughter is (I don't know if this is accurate) and pick her up. We move to the kitchen and I begin to make a bottle while Lebron gives me the details of his son's party. Something to do with basketball, predictably. Anyway, Lebron departs to go play, Junior's friends come over and leave, then I teach Junior how to play chess. This is how Lebron finds us when he returns, hunched over a chessboard, me with a baby on my lap bottle feeding her. He pays me cash, and I wake up.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the 2010 College Basketball National Champions

As you might have heard, Duke won the National Championship this year. At first, I felt okay about this: Good on them. As much fun as UNC had kicking their ass up and down the ACC during the Hansbrough years, it's ultimately good that they win some of the time. Duke winning the National Championship is ultimately good for the health and prestige of the rivalry with UNC. I'm happy to admit that, and happy that the rivalry is now even more important.

Speaking of which, I already love Reggie Bullock, Kendall Marshall, and Harrison Barnes on account of some of their trash talking and goofing around at the McDonald's All-American game. They get the rivalry and I love it. Part One and Part Two of DraftExpress's video of the trash talking below, though for what it's worth, if you only watch one, Part Two is the way to go.

Love it.

Bonus rivalry materials: Here's the best profile of Coach K that's ever been written. It's fairly sympathetic, definitely insightful, and honest. Read it if you haven't.

Here is something more noxious: A Duke fan explains the "greatness" of having a white basketball team, the joy of being white man cheering for his white team, and what he feels most simply be the jealousy of other schools who deep in their hearts wish they were in the same situation: glorious white on white action.

Here's a fun quote:
Carolina's Dean Smith, Krzyzewski's arch-nemesis for years, is often credited with leading the drive for racial integration in the state of North Carolina by recruiting black athletes in the '60s. Coach K has achieved much the opposite in creating a singular program in which Anglo-Saxons and Europeans stand tall once again in the game that James Naismith invented.

If you want to vomit, click here to read the article at Alternative right.

Apropos of absolutely nothing, here's a clip from the Daily Show about the attempts to form an all-white basketball league.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Steve Nash Was MVP Twice in a Row

Sometimes, like tonight, when I'm watching the Suns play, or watching videos on the Internet, or even eating shrimp tacos, I think about how weird it is that Steve Nash was MVP in the NBA for two years in a row. Steve Nash. MVP. Twice in a row. That's weird, not because Steve Nash is a bad basketball player; he is, in fact, rather good. It's because Steve Nash is a stone cold freak. Let's go to the tape:

Lebron was MVP last year. Kobe, the year before. Before that, Steve Nash. Twice.

I still have a hard time believing it myself.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lakers Busting Mack Even In Your Dreams

Probably some more UNC stuff to come, but for now, let's switch back to NBA mode. Which, for this blog, means I share with you the creepy basketball dreams my buddy Thomas has. I thought I was sufficiently disturbed by the thing about Tyler Hansbrough, Troy Murphy and venereal disease, but Thomas gives Freud and Love in the Time of Lebron readers some more delightful psychosexual weirdness to chew on.


So, a girlfriend and I (it was unclear who it was. . .no, really!) broke into the Lakers' locker room, and started rampantly humping in the rehab-therapy part of the facility, with the hot-tub and big-ass yoga ball playing important roles. It was fun, until I look up and Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher are standing there in their towels looking at us, then shrug, de-robe, and get into the hot-tub. Needless to say, looking at a naked Pau was enough for me to lose my mojo. Then she looked back at me (yeah that's right!) and asked, "What happened? Geez!" before my snooze alarm rang, thankfully.

Yikes. Some hack bloggers would try to tie this in to Hot Tub Time Machine. But a hack-ier and lazier blogger would simply reference the possibility without finding even a slightly clever way to work that in.

Send your dreams about sexual embarrassment and the Los Angeles Lakers or any other sort of basketball dreams to loveinthetimeoflebron@gmail.com.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Game Recap: UNC vs. Dayton

So there's the season.

I feel fine with this.

Dayton didn't pitch a shut-out, and we managed to shoot over 40%, but we lost because of well, what was that thing I said?

One of the keys to Dayton's defense is getting the defensive rebound. They really excel at this and are one of the nation's very best at keeping the offensive rebounds out of their opponents hands. However, if there is one thing that UNC does, it's snag offensive rebounds.

Dayton won that war. This season, UNC was able to get an unbelievable 38.9% of our misses. It's been a key weapon in our somewhat limited arsenal, and it was the only reason (besides poor officiating) that we beat Rhode Island. Dayton held us to an offensive rebounding percentage of 22.9%. When ever a team can cut the thing the other team does best to half of it's normal efficacy, they stand a good chance of winning.

Besides Dayton's success at defensive rebounding, we also lost because of that hallmark of the 2009-2010 UNC Men's Basketball Offense: Pure impotence. Marcus, John, and Dexter all posted next to nothing in the scoring department, and joined the rest of the team in a half-assed defensive effort that saw the Flyers shooting 48.3% from the line. It's hard to win games when the other team shoots at a nearly 50% clip and half your rotation shows a nearly pathological aversion to scoring. So there's that.

What else? The brillance of Will Graves. He's played some terrible games in the NIT, but as we I mentioned after the UAB game:

Yeah, Graves [and McDonald] kept putting up bricks, but you know, we live with those so that we can enjoy the games where they don't miss.

This was one of those games, and arguably the finest game of Will Graves career. His scoring was unstoppable and, in Will Graves fashion, he found other ways to contribute: Mainly, by continuing his dirty streak he started with the trip in the Rhode Island game with a ridiculously hard shove against a player trying to set a pick. The player crashed into his teammate and apparently crushed a nice chunk of his buddy's groin. He lay on the floor writhing in agony while his coach yelled for Graves to get called for a foul. Real classy, Will, especially considering that this play seemed to help rally the Flyers to regroup and play with purpose against us.

On the other hand, Will did make a lot of threes. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present our senior leadership for 2010-2011.

Finally, on the Year-of-Sucking weakness tracker, I feel obliged to note that Larry Drew, our starting point guard, turned the ball over six times, and the whole team managed to shoot 53.3% from the free throw line. That's right, free throws and turnovers. Again.

Whatever. The season's over. Big UNC season retrospective and looks to the future forthcoming. Also, now that college basketball is over (as far as I really care), look for me to resume way too much NBA silliness.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Scouting Report: Dayton

The NIT Championship Game. This is not something I foresaw at the beginning of the season, the middle of the season, or even the beginning of the NIT. So here we are.

You know what? I'm excited. You know this 4-0 win streak ties the best of the season for UNC? It's true. We are a whole new team, and I'm glad to see us play. The wins haven't been all that pretty, but damn if we aren't winning. It's the most fun and excitement that the team has had all season. Is that kind of sad? Maybe. Who cares? It's fun and I'm still excited. Will I rush Rosemary? Probably not, but I love how the fans have gotten behind the NIT. Sort of.

Here's some fun facts about the NIT run: We have been shooting 25.8% from three-point land all tournament long. Deon, once our free-throw shooting champion, has been the worst from the charity stripe in the NIT, shooting 42.1%. We are still winning. Weird, huh? Just thought you should know.

Here's an actual fun fact: Deon Thompson will set the NCAA record for most college games played by a player. Ever. That's weird, but definitely impressive. I don't know how long the record will stand, but I look forward to the fact that when people try to look up this odd little record they will see Deon's name. For at least a while, he has made a mark an individual mark on college basketball history that extends beyond his team's accomplishments. It's a record that doesn't care about wins or skills. It goes to the guy who shows up the most and keeps playing the longest. I can't imagine anything more appropriate for Deon.

Okay, time to scout Dayton: They are a good team. Ken Pomeroy and his magic numbers think they are really good, particularly on defense. Like, really really good. He ranks them as the seventh best defensive team in the nation. For reference, sixth is Butler, and I understand they are playing well in some other sort of basketball tournament. They succeed on defense by forcing bad shots, holding down opponents field goal percentage, and nabbing defensive rebounds like nobody's business.

Defense is the story for Dayton, and that's how they win games. Their offense is fairly mediocre, Ken Pomeroy ranking them as the 93rd most efficient in the country. How mediocre is that really? Well, UNC is 96th, so that should give you an idea. So what we are looking at is a defensive slugfest. However, we may have an edge.

One of the keys to Dayton's defense is getting the defensive rebound. They really excel at this and are one of the nation's very best at keeping the offensive rebounds out of their opponents hands. However, if there is one thing that UNC does, it's snag offensive rebounds. Offensive rebounding and bad officiating are how we beat URI, and since we can't count on terrible referees, let's concentrate on the rebounds. Seriously, it's the only reason we were even in that last game.

And that's about it. We just have to play our game, hope for another stellar defensive game and try to find a way to score some points. There's some evidence that suggests that Dayton fouls too much and that taking it inside and drawing the foul is particularly effective against them, but we were going to do that anyway right? Beyond that, the plan is the same as it's been for a while now: try to win the turnover battle and try to win the rebound battle and hope that will make up for our inconsistent shooting.

This is it: the last game of the season, and there's nothing special to be done. This is our team for better or worse and this season, we win through luck and hard-scrabble, ugly play. We can probably count on the ugly, now let's hope for the luck. I'm excited, optimistic, and already content. This wasn't the season I wanted , but it will do. I'm happy for Marcus and Deon for taking us on this last little tour, arguably meaningless, though it may be.

Game Recap: UNC vs. URI

If I told you that this game was super fast-paced and that it went to overtime, you might be under the impression that this was a good game. To that all I can say is... well, um, we won? Roy, what do you have to say about this?

"I feel badly that the game ended like that," said Roy Williams, who told his team afterward that sometimes it helps to be lucky.


Long story short, this was a sloppy game full of missed shots, turnovers, and blown dunks. At the end, there were some calls and no-calls that went UNC's ways, and that made a difference, because, looking at the numbers, it's hard to see how we won.

We shot 34.9% from the field, 11.8% from three, and 50.0% from the free throw line. Rhode Island got more steals than us. They got more blocks than us. They shot better than us (35.8%, 25.0%, 66.7%; still terrible, still better). We won. How?

Well, if I had written a scouting report, here's what I would have told you about URI (via Ken Pomeroy): They never turn the ball over (better at this than all the other teams I've said never turn the ball over), they have a great offense, and a mediocre defense, and make their money on fast-break points. I also would have pointed to their most glaring weakness: Defensive rebounding.

True to tendency, the Rams gave us a lot of offensive rebounds. A lot more. Ten more offensive rebounds goes a long away to fixing the inefficiency of bad shooting. Really, the only way to overcome bad shooting and get a win is to take a lot more shots than your opponent. Rebounds helped. So did turnovers.

We turned the ball over 17 times and so did Rhode Island, which was a bizarre and unexpected turn of events considering how good they are at not turning the ball over and how relatively average we are at forcing turnovers. It was just chaos on the court, people falling all over. When both teams play sloppy, the sloppy team benefits, and we did.

We played hard, and we did the right things when the shots weren't falling. We didn't play well, but we did play well enough. Then we got those critical calls.

It wasn't really fair, but what do you want me to say? I try not to resort to cliches, but I like this one and it's as true as anything else I can say: Those are the breaks of the game.