Monday, April 30, 2007

Whoa, Chuck

As always, I'm a few minutes behind because of my refusal to ever watch another TV commercial, thus the TiVo. I just got done watching the first segment of TNT's halftime show and have to ask, is Charles watching the same series I am? He just basically accused the refs of having it out for Duncan because of the Joey Crawford incident. What? Duncan is the same guy that got called for ZERO fouls in Game Three. And you know how many he has in the first half of this game? Zero! So this guy has played nearly 60 minutes in a game and a half, has banged bodies, blocked shots, thrown elbows (not maliciously, just as part of the action), and everything else, hasn't been called for a single foul, yet the refs have it out for him. Yeah, okay. As for the offensive end, there are probably a call or two he could have received, but in this series, who couldn't? Both teams hack non stop. Iverson didn't even get one free throw attempt in Game Two. Tonight Duncan had a play in which he led with an elbow to the face of Nene and not only didn't get called for an offensive foul, he actually complained about not going to the line. So let's not take our visual cues from how Duncan reacts. He's a great player, but a notorious whiner.

Anyway, I know this post has no real value, which is why I plan to bury it with the Monday Night Wrap-Up anyway, but wow, had to comment on that. Barkley is still slaying me with his comedy, but his analysis has been a little shaky the last few nights. Maybe working all these games is getting the best of him.

(Other thoughts at halftime: Blake has no value to Denver whatsoever. If JR Smith can't get it done, they need to go with my boy Yakhouba. At least he can play a little D and make things tough for Ginobili. But Blake is getting abused by Parker, abused by Manu, he can't shoot, and he is turning the ball over. As Wilbon would say, get him out! On the San Antonio side, I have no idea why Pop is insisting on playing a backup point guard. Fine, Udrich sucks. But that is no reason to play Jacque Vaughn. When he gets in, you can actually see Iverson's eyes light up. They should just have Ginobili or Barry bring the ball up when resting Parker. So many good players on the court, yet these two scrub point guards find a way to get run. Wonders never cease.)


howlingfantods said...

Charles is a total traditionalist. He may not have personal rooting interests, but he respects and admires only teams, players, and styles that resembles what was successful when he was playing -- big men going in the low post, drawing contact, and getting the hoop, or kick out to open shooters. This is why he can't stop raving about the Spurs, and why he is favoring the Mavs (The Warriors are anathema to traditionalists - they have just atrocious shot selection, don't pass, don't defend in the traditional sense, and break every other rule of winning basketball), and why he keeps yelling at Dirk to get in the box, and why he truly thinks the Utah/Houston series is great (unlike every other basketball fan in the world).

So when he talks about the Spurs, he might as well be a lifelong season ticket holder in terms of his ability to be impartial.

Branden Higa said...

Chuck may not be a great analyst (and he's not there to be), but I find myself on his side of all these points you just made.

There were a lot of different styles that were successful when he played. Yes, there were teams that won with strong post play. Most notably the Olajuwan Rockets and the Knicks with Pat Ewing. His Phx Suns ran a free wheeling offense. And while he did abuse guys in the low post, he had a great turn around and mid-range game that was just as effective. Plus he could run and lead the break. The Utah Jazz lived off the pick & roll and of course the Bulls were all about the triangle.

You are right though that in the more recent future, the game has been defined by post play (Shaq and Duncan). So maybe its his refusal to believe that Shaq is old and Duncan is nearing the end of his prime.

I think with this whole Dallas thing, he's just sticking to his guns, which is nice. Finally we have an analyst that doesn't jump ship when their precdiction doesn't work out. And maybe if they would send some guys into the low post to draw contact, get the hoop and kick to open shooter, they might not be down 3-1.

On to the Spurs. People have written the Spurs off because they are boring. It doesn't mean they aren't good, and it doesn't mean that they shouldn't be considered favorites to win it all. With Dallas likely out, its between the Suns and the Spurs. SA owns the season series 2-1. Plus they have a low post threat, they can slow the ball down and have a roster filled with veteren players. (Spurs fans are hoping those players are still indeed 'veteren' and not just old ala the Miami Heat).

The Jazz/Rockets series may not be 'great' but it is the most evenly matched and competative series of the first round. Both of these teams are well coached, play hard and play defense. On the offensive end we have two phenoms in T-Mac and Yao against the execution of the Utah Jazz. It might not have all the fireworks and storylines of some of the other series, but I think we are going to get a game 7 out of this one.

Adam Hoff said...

Those are both interesting takes on Sir Charles. It seems that his love of Spurs basketball probably stems from not winning a title. Had his more free-wheeling Suns won a ring, I think he would respect the "offense first" approach a little more. It always strikes me that his biggest regret is not being a better defensive player and not playing for better defensive teams. So he overcompensates by lavishing praise on strong defensive teams.

The Mavs thing doesn't bother me, because Barkley is just being Barkley and getting people riled up. And if you read my post on how the Mavs can win, he may wind up being right. Well, right about the winner (the number of games ship has already sailed).

What bothers me about both the Spurs and Barkley's comments, is the way media members create the story and stick to it no matter what. The story is that Duncan is the ultimate pro. Mostly true, but maintaining that belief unchecked ignores that Duncan is one of the biggest whiners in the NBA. He has been crying ever since the FIBA refs screwed him over in the 2004 Games. His moping was a big reason the USA sucked in those Olympics and he hasn't stopped whining since. And ignoring this just undermines credibility (although I recognize that harping on it runs the same risk). For Barkley to paint Duncan as some sort of victim last night was laughable. But I don't blame him, I blame EVERYONE. Because almost without exception, every national write has bought into "Duncan as ultimate pro." And they never question it.

It is the same reason that a winning shot from LeBron James is largely ignored (from a feature column standpoint) while a miss at the end of a game results in 712 columns the next day about how he can't finish games. Or, why every Bob Horry make is celebrated like a moon landing, while no one ever makes a peep about his 1-for-38 series again the Spurs in 2003.

It takes a watershed moment to get the media to change its group think story. LeBron will have to win a title or make six buzzer beaters in a row to shake this rep.

Anyway, I just hated the way TNT coddled Duncan last night and pounded the "poor Timmy" story, while the Nuggets were getting hosed in the fourth quarter of a must-win home game.

As for the Rockets-Jazz series, I would enjoy it more if it were basketball and not rugby. As Bill Walton would say, why even have a rulebook?

Branden Higa said...

Good take on the whole media driven personas. I think Duncan is considered the ultimate pro because he isn't prone to outlandish displays on the court, doesn't play with any emotion and doesn't knock up strippers every weekend... oh yeah, and he can shoot a bank shot. If he was a "true professional" he would learn to shoot free throws better.