Last night, before the game, Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler ran laps. Back and forth, seventeen times. If you watched the CST broadcast, you saw it. CP followed it up by nailing 5 out of 5 threes. A tantalizing glimpse at what hope looks like.
The world takes its time from Greenwich. The New Orleans Hornets take their time from Chris Paul. It’s no secret.
And CP would be ready to go, right now, if the Hornets staff said the word. That’s no secret either. Hell, he wanted to go two days after the injury. And if he doesn’t suit up against the Celtics tomorrow night, the game has the potential to go from a marquee matchup to really, really ugly. As in, you thought last night was ugly? Yeah.
Talk about your rough two weeks. I gotta admit, I was pretty down. And then I read this little story by Dan Steinberg, who covers the Washington Wizards:
Before tonight’s Wizards-Pacers game, I went up to Nate and Besse, two of my favorite Wiz fans, and asked why they were here, watching two bad NBA teams, on as beautiful a February evening as D.C. will ever see. They told me they hadn’t missed a game all season, and weren’t about to start now.
Well, after an ill Caron Butler went all MJ in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 straight points in less than four minutes without missing a shot, and after a sleepy and borderline comatose crowd suddenly turned into some whooping remnant of the glory days, and after Caron laid prone on the court with his head in the first row of seats after winning the game, and after his teammates sprinted out to mob him, Nate came running down to the media section.
“Steinberg!” he yelled at me. “That’s why we still come to games.”
Be ashamed, fickle Hornets fans, with your booing and your rustling restlessly and your inane “blow it up because the team is done” trade suggestions. I read that, and realized I was. And, you know, even if CP and Tyson come back tomorrow in time for the Celtics– which, is it really wise to even hope that they will, with the All Star Break coming up?– there’s a huge likelihood the Hornets will still lose. It’s not realistic to pretend otherwise.
But you know what? You should go to the game anyway. And you should have fun at it. If that involves a lot of beer, fine. If it’s a blowout, so be it. But… I’ve seen things happen.
Loyalty isn’t something outdated. It isn’t something that’s for other people. It’s an arena holding its breath. It’s waiting for a familiar face to come running out of the tunnel. It’s swearing you’re going to leave after halftime in a blowout, but then never quite managing to get up out of your seat or switch the channel because you know it’s a lie.
It’s two guys in warmups, running laps on an empty court.