Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Notes, or Steve Nash is bleeding all over the NBA playoffs


We'll start with the non-sports, and this is just one more note, this one on youtube. You'll notice I've lately-roped-off the internet and sports as what I'm talking about here. That can and will change, but for now, those are the things that just seem most obvious to me.

The following two stories ran one on top of the other in the New York Times:

- Youtube is going to start paying ad revenue to some of its most popular independent video producers. If you haven't seen much of youtube, "independent video producers" are people who are young and, probably, at home. In the article it mentions how Metacafe, a similar site, has already been doing this for some time. Some of Metacafe's producers have earned more than $10,000.

I get a lot of stuff in my e-mail about working from home, and I don't put much stock in it, but these kids are making decent bank making home movies. And most of them will probably be hired somewhere, and good for them.

I don't watch many of these videos. It's not what I go to youtube for, and honestly I don't trust many people to entertain me. So I can't speak much to the quality of these videos, but I know one of the people who stands to make tens of thousands of American dollars goes by the name smosh.

- The second story told about two companies, one of them England's premier soccer league, that are suing youtube, claiming that the site "encourages vast copyright infringement to attract attention and bolster traffic." It was the second such suit filed against youtube to date. Expect more to follow.

I have a lot of problems here. Youtube isn't "encouraging" much of anything. The site's main page is pretty blank of verbal instructions, and I've never seen anything say, "post your illicit soccer highlights here."

Also, "attract attention." To what? Your product? If you're NBC, the NBA, the NRA... any video that draws attention to you or your show or athlete or gun is an unpaid advertisement for you. You should be thanking youtube.

Now, if these companies, which I assume have a literate staff, would read the story that ran above their own... if they knew that 20 million people watch youtube every month... smosh wouldn't be the only one making money here.

-Now to sports, and you'll notice "sports" tends to mean "basketball" here. Look, I love soccer, I sometimes love basketball, and then I like a lot of different sports. So, if I feel like writing about baseball or football or skiing, I will. But if you want your football fix right now, check the NFL Network.

The Draft is probably just finishing up.

As for baseball, let me save you the trip around the blogs and websites and ESPN. Here's your baseball news: BARRY BONDS! ROGER CLEMENS! THE YANKEES! JOE TORRE! BONDS! CLEMENS!

Really, the news is, Bonds is going to break the home run record and is a dick. Clemens is back for an incredible amount of money and is probably a dick. Joe Torre is a good manager and might not be a dick. Bonds used steroids and is really a dick. Clemens probably did and probably is. Enough. More baseball updates coming in July.

But here, we begin of course with the NBA.

First, I was wrong on Dallas, and wrong on Dirk.

Let me make clear, I don't feel like I was big-time, long-term wrong. Dirk's non-game was startling to anyone who'd seen him play more than 10 times. I've never seen him stay that far out of the rhythym for that long.

But let me say this. At halftime, Dirk had four points. He had missed four threes, and been to the free throw line only once. It is during this halftime, that I believe Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry, Erick Dampier, or, I don't know, Avery Johnson needed to grab Dirk by that goatee and say, "Can you believe we're still in this game after that dud of a first half? Now, we're going to get you to 25 points, and 10 or 12 of them are coming at the free throw line, where you shoot NINETY PERCENT."

Instead, Dirk shot once - once? - in their disaster of a third quarter. Dirk missed one 3-pointer, and by the way, Devan George, Stack, Terry, and Josh Howard missed two each in the third quarter. That's how you score 15 points in one quarter folks. It looked like Dirk didn't want the shots, and his teammates didn't look for him. I'm not sure who's at fault, but there's only one guy in charge of all the guys I just mentioned, and that's Avery Johnson.

- A lot of talk is going on about who's not in the NBA playoffs, and that list now reads Kobe, D-Wade, Shaq, T-Mac, Yao, Iverson, 'Melo, and Gilbert Arenas, who by the way would have emerged as a personality-and-talent juggernaut this playoffs save his damn knee. By the way, let's add Kevin Garnett to this list just for posterity.

Now to the casual fan, this is problematic, and they might not be interested in some of the incredible high drama of Utah-Golden State and Phoenix-San Antonio, and that's fine.

But this is an interesting thing, as a basketball fan. You could argue that the best players in the league, save Nash and Duncan, are all watching the playoffs. I know this makes some of them very angry. Other than Shaq, Iverson and KG, all of the guys I just mentioned are under 30. (Shaq's 35, the other two are 31.) All of them will be seeing each other for a few years now, and I want them all to come back this year meaner and hungrier, and then one of them wins, and the rest get very angry.

I'm not sure if anyone can afford to be fat and happy right now. Look what winning one championship did the Heat, or even reaching the finals did to the Mavs. They came back to the playoffs like they were owed something, and they got mercifully bounced.

And another point about the lack of stars present in these playoffs. If you're in the West, how many times do you think you'll get a good look at the Finals in the next five or eight years without going through Dallas and/or Houston? Or in the East, to know that D-Wade was already out? For all the teams left to look around and realize there's no Shaq still on the board?

Again, I like this. San Antonio and Detroit are still playing, but the other six teams must be thinking, "This is our best chance to win, maybe our, maybe my only chance to ever win." And that kind of energy seems to be running throughout the playoffs, except for Chicago, which looks scared of Detroit.

- Quick note on Detroit-Chicago: in the first quarter of Game 1, with Detroit already up a dozen, Detroit threw the ball away when it looked like a Piston player was pulled down or tripped up. As the crowd complained, the ball bounced to a well-dressed fan in the first row, who proceeded to stand up, SPIKE THE BALL and get on the ref. With the Pistons up 15 points, in the first quarter. If that's your swanky front row fan... look, nobody wants to play in Detroit. Nobody.

I have a theory that Ron Artest took on the little guy - the wrong guy - in that Detroit crowd because everywhere else he looked there were people saying, "What? You want something?"

- Now to Suns-Spurs. Game 2 was the Suns-at-home blowout, which is a built-in feature of this series. Look for the Spurs-at-home blowout coming soon, which will be 105-89 in Game 3 or 4.

Much more interesting was Game one. For about 45 minutes, this was perfect, perfect playoff basketball. Then the Nash-Parker face-to-face collision happened.

On a quick side note, in my experience, your forehead is tougher than your nose. In fact, I thought the principle of the headbutt was to hit someone's nose with your forehead. So when Nash and Parker hit nose-to-forehead, and Parker goes down for a while, and Nash takes the nose shot and stands there and goes, "Are you okay?", I think we can set odds on which of these guys is tougher.

So Steve gets a gash on his nose, which is something I've actually had myself. Mine, under cold running water, took 5-10 minutes to stop bleeding profusely. So when I saw his cut, which was identical to mine, and thought about what his heartrate would be trying to play, I knew it would be impossible to stop the bleeding soon enough.

Another side note: my best remedy would have been the glue, which they used, then cold pressure right until the timeout is over, then a last-second towel to wipe excess blood, then two quick bandages. That should have bought a couple minutes of minimum blood flow. As soon as the bandage went on, it started filling up.

Instead, we got some of the most dramatic sports moments I've ever seen. I will never forget Nash coming on to hit a three, miss another one, then make a lay-up, each progressively bloodier than the last.

I even won't forget Nash dumping water on his face to get blood out of his eye, or running past an uninformed D'Antoni, checking himself in on the fly and trying to keep playing. Just incredible scenes, more theater than sports really, but the end result left a bad taste in my mouth.

This incident clearly cost them the game. Barbosa is probably one of the most effective subs in the history of the league, and he should be on the floor for the last three minutes of every quarter. But he's just a kid. He can't be called on to close a game, and it seemed like no one knew that more than Nash.

Barbosa, 24, missed a stupid three in the final minute, and shortly afterward fouled Ginobli when he didn't need to. I can't fault him for these things: he's a kid. But neither of them would have happened the way they did with Nash out there.

So, instead of saying, "Shouldn't we do this?" or "Why can't we?", I'm going to make a prediction. During this offseason, a new NBA rule will be put in place that allows the officials to confer with team trainers and call an extended official timeout. Call it either an injury timeout, or a recovery timeout.

It states that a trainer may indicate to an official, "This player is injured, but we believe he can be back on the floor in 300 seconds." It covers cramps, mild concussions, and bleeding, like Midol.

But seriously I think this will happen. It will be heretofore called the "Nash rule." And to anyone who says, "A rule, just for one thing with one player?" My response would be I think Nash is about to win his third MVP, and the rule that kept him off the floor while bleeding is called the what? The - you guessed it - three-time MVP "Magic Johnson Rule." By the way, totally legit rule, and so is this one. I can't believe that anyone would want another game decided this way.

- And finally, and I buried this on purpose, I was way, way right on Kirilenko. He's been great. For periods of time in each of the five games since I last wrote, he's been the best player on the floor. And down the stretch, he's not hurting them on offense, and his defense has won them at least two games.

By the way, if his rebound numbers look low, it's because of this weird thing he does on defense. When someone has the ball, Kirilenko chases the guy around and then jumps at him when he shoots. It doesn't leave him close to the hoop, but it really pissed off McGrady and then Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis. I think this tactic will revolutionize defense if it ever catches on.

But, good for AK, good for me. Thanks for reading and good day.

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