Hornets Hype

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Archive for the ‘ Playoffs 08 ’ Category

Except to say I am inordinately entertained by this picture from last night’s Celtics/Magic Game 2:

Vince Carter was Kung Fu Fighting!

Vince Carter was Kung Fu Fighting!

I am pretty sure this is from the end of the game when Pierce fouled out, but it didn’t look anything like that on TV. I don’t want to tell you how many moments of staring it took me to realize that that object was a shoe. It would just be embarrassing for me.

In other news yesterday, the Hornets unsurprisingly got the 11th pick in the draft lottery. Go, #11, whoever you may be!

This has been today’s pointless playoff picture. You may go about your business. Move along.

The Last Time We Were Together

By on October 29, 2008

…I sat in the arena for twenty minutes after it was over.

Most of the people had trickled out, and those of us who were there, flip-flops up on the seat backs of the row in front of us, watching the video montage play on the big screen one last time, were still. We didn’t talk. Outside it was humid, but fans weren’t drinking and the brass band wasn’t playing. The workers began to sweep up the trash. The beer cups were crumpled and discarded, the party ended. Most of us who were still there were the ones who had been there from the beginning. Oh, there were some of us, despite what the national media would have you think.

Last season after Game 7, I wrote:

“And I know [it]’s no consolation right now for a guy like CP3, who is 100% a competitor. Kobe Bryant may have a trophy that says he’s MVP, but he isn’t, and will never be, The Guy Who Saved Basketball in L.A. Whoever wins the title this year, they are not, and will never be, the Team That Saved Basketball in whatever city.

Believe that, and know that we won something here this season.

You live, you learn.

You take this morning. And you learn who you want to be.”

So that’s where we are. That’s where we left off. To me, there is such a sparkle around this team. Is this how Celtics fans felt last year? Nothing needs to be said about Chris Paul. Nothing can be said about Chris Paul. We’ve got Peja, the artillery man who the talking heads say is fading (but we know better). We’ve got Chandler, who’s hopefully still got just a big enough chunk of that discarded-by-Chicago chip on his shoulder. David West is the longest tenured Hornet, and absolutely represents the Pride of the “Passion, Purpose, Pride” slogan. The bench is a group with things to prove. The 7-0 preseason showed us a glimpse of that.

I know it doesn’t really mean anything to say, “Well, New Orleans deserves it.” I don’t want to seem too entitled. And, indeed, anyone who’s been watching as injuries, drama, and messing up the last 2 minutes of games derailed the Saints’ hopes for transcendence this fall knows that New Orleans fans are not entitled. In fact, they just shrug when everything goes wrong, because deep down they expected it. People here would not be surprised if Peja, West, and Paul went down with injuries and missed 80 games again.

At the real end of the 2007-08 season, after Game 6 of the NBA finals, I wrote a post about why Paul Pierce’s banner season resonated with me. I wrote then about that feeling of uncertainty, about suspecting you’re maybe the right guy in the wrong place. I don’t get that feeling about the Hornets. I think they’re the right team, and I think they’re in the right place. What remains to be seen is if this is the right time.

I hope.

So this is how it begins. A plane touches down in Oakland. The last memory flits to the surface of your mind, just a flash of color: the image of the hero, alone and stunned on the bench while someone else celebrates. And, on a street once filled with floodwater, an arena sits empty, waiting to come to life.

In New Orleans, we’ve had enough of empty things.

Happy Opening Night!

I really don’t know how to caption this, it’s that pimp.It’s a little more obvious why many of us root for teams, but during this last week of the NBA Finals I got to pondering what makes us root for individual players. What makes me bring up the topic is this: ever since the Cleveland series, since even before that epic mano-a-mano Game 7, I’ve been mentally cheering hard for Paul Pierce. And I’m not a Celtics fan. In fact, I pretty much hate Boston teams. I know why I love the Hornets– that one’s easy. I live in New Orleans, and I went to forty-five games this year. P Squared, though, has got me thinking.

It could have been the moment-y stuff, like 41 points to close out the Cavs, or stepping out of the tunnel to thunderous applause after going down with a knee injury. It could have been how, at the Celtics’ lowest moments, it seemed like he was going to put the team on his shoulders and drag them to a championship, Kobe Bryant be damned. It could be that he was the one Celtic to whom wearing green meant the most.

To me, though, none of those things quite explained it.

The truth that maybe we don’t want to see is, most of us aren’t a Kobe, living in an opaque bubble in which we are wholly convinced of our own excellence. Most of us aren’t a KG; we can’t find it within ourselves to bring that level of intensity every day. Oh, we’d like to be. And maybe, for some of us, watching is enough. We can pretend for just those 48 precious minutes. But it’s not who I am, and I know it’s not. And it’s why, because I’m first and foremost a New Orleans Hornets blogger, I deeply appreciate the excellence of Chris Paul, but I also know he’ll never be my favorite player. That’s reserved for the David Wests, the Tyson Chandlers of the team. The dark horses.

The reality of it is that most of us weren’t, aren’t, and will never be the golden kid, the anointed one. The reality of it is that talent on its own isn’t always transcendent. There are always going to be the ones whose glow hasn’t always seemed quite strong enough.

But most of us have had doubts about whether we were wasting our talent, whether the problem might be that we were simply in the wrong place. Most of us have said stupid shit, and gotten fat in the offseason, and been a little bit whiny, and maybe been accused of partying too much. Most of us have holes in us that make us less than perfect. And we’ve made mistakes. I myself live in such a constant state of disarray that I realized this morning I’ve been driving around without proof of insurance (still in the envelope under a stack of mail six inches high), driver’s license (expired– who knew?), or registration (on my office desk). And I quit law school after my first year. And, going back even further, I still sort of regret that I don’t have “with honors” on my college diploma (despite spending my entire senior year compiling a 90 page honors project) because at the last minute I got in a disagreement with one of my advisors, said “%#@* this,” and went to Canada to drink and get thrown out of hotels. If you don’t have stuff like this in your past, you’re lying. Or maybe you are a Kobe. And, I guess, props to you if you are.

But I’m not. If you’re not, either, then you know a little bit about why it’s been great to watch Paul Pierce in these playoffs.

And, well. I don’t know. Maybe some of us want to watch invincible heroes. Maybe anything else ruins our sense of escapism. Maybe we don’t want to see ourselves in our idols. And if that’s how you feel, I can understand. And I’ll respect your right to feel that way about sports.

If that’s why you watched this season, I hope it was everything you wanted it to be. We all watch for different reasons. It’s amazing when you think about it, isn’t it? We all construct different truths out of a shared experience. If you’re a blogger, you certainly learn about that firsthand the first time you visit an opposing team’s blog and read an account of the same game from the flipside. What meaning do you pull out of it, that makes it worth watching, for you?

And the thing is, standing here at the end of the season, I realize I don’t need to know what you saw in your heroes, what made them great to you. I don’t need to know. It is what it is for you. And it’s not required that we have that in common. It’s not necessary. What you see won’t be what I see.

Why did you watch? I can’t say. It’s up for interpretation. It’s up to you. Me, I know why I watched.

You savor that cigar and that trophy, Truth. And thanks.

I don’t watch TV, so I didn’t see this. Here it is in case anyone wants to watch. It’s 24 hours later and KG is still all twitchy, which is pretty funny.

I also caught Ray Allen on ESPN radio yesterday morning (like, early, the day after Game 6, but I suppose that strikes me as a very Ray Allen thing to do). No word on why Paul Pierce is MIA– I guess we can assume he’s off somewhere either drunk or dead. Right on, P Squared.

Don’t Do It, Ray!!!

By on June 18, 2008

This is Boston. Step across the threshold with those and you KNOW NOT what those crazy Puritans might do to you. You think I’m kidding. But I know. (That one was for mW. Go cups and road sodas for the world when CP wins his.)

Congratulations to the Boston Celtics, 2008 NBA Champions!

Now watch out… we’re coming for you.

Noooooo! Pound your beer before you leave!!!

Do you need this… to get to that?

This was originally a comment I was making down below, but I realized it was getting so long I might as well post it. The perks to owning the blog. People keep mentioning how this could be the Hornets next year, playing in June. It’s true, the more LA collapses the more I wish the Hornets had just brought it a little harder in Game 7.

But honestly? Damn, I hate honesty when it has to do with my team, but… We would have been in the same situation the Lakers are in. The Celtics just plug away with this ruthless look in their eyes. No, ruthless isn’t quite the right word… well, except if you’re Kevin Garnett. Cold, efficient, then? Maybe if you’re Ray Allen, but that doesn’t fit for Paul Pierce, who plays the opposite of cold. They know, man. 10-12 years in the league and you know. I’m talking, I guess, about the “Big Three,” though it applies to certain members of the bench as well. They’re not letting this one go.

I thought the Hornets wouldn’t let Game 7 go. But “I thought” is not “I know.” And I pretty much know that the Celtics won’t lose this series.

I think Byron Scott was wise when he recognized that– you have to experience what it feels like to lose so you know in the future. The Hornets’ fire– and yes, even the competitiveness of Chris Paul– wouldn’t have gotten it done. Man, it sucks to admit that all those “experience blah blah” people were right. But it seems kind of obvious now. I love the Hornets, and I find them more exciting to watch than either the Celtics or the Lakers (even I have to admit that Kobe does impossible things, but his teammates aren’t inspiring “wow” moments in me the way CP3’s lovable supporting cast does).

But they don’t have… that. Not yet. What is “that”? I don’t know exactly. But you watch Allen and Pierce and you know what I’m talking about.

The Hornets may have showed us they have Passion, Purpose, and Pride, but they don’t have that. (Side note: Am I the only one who sits around trying to figure out which Hornet corresponds to which part of that slogan? I think I have finally settled on Tyson Chandler being the Passion part, Chris Paul being the Purpose, and David West being the Pride. I realize I’ve left Peja out, but Peja’s none of those things– he’s the artillery.) They are all full of the energy and the fire and the wackiness and the pure talent that makes watching sports great. But they’re not quite the masters of the killer instinct yet. And that’s OK.

In contrast, by all accounts, this Celtics team was fully cognizant of the fact that, with the personnel it had, this year was the time. Their stated goal from the preseason was to win a championship. While you can make the argument that that’s every team’s goal, it’s not… not really. The Hornets were aiming at making the playoffs and maybe putting together a little bit of a run. It was a realistic goal, considering the past few seasons. And they accomplished it. And, to a large extent, this year’s version of the Lakers is in a similar situation right now.

You have to think teams like the Hornets and the Lakers will come more focused next season, right from the beginning. I just think back to the games the Hornets dropped against crappy teams early in the year. I think back to the games where the home advantage wasn’t there for them. I think back, amusingly, to when mW was explaining to me that in a tough division like the Southwest, the Hornets should be looking to lock up no less than third in order to get a good playoff seeding (who knew then that they would spend much of the spring looking down at the rest of the Western Conference?). And I think next year they win those games. Why? Because they know who they want to be.

“You don’t go from not making the playoffs to winning a championship,” Byron Scott told the Hornets after Game 7. “It just doesn’t work that way.” Hello, irony. The Hornets aren’t the Celtics, though. (“What up, nice to meet you, we were brought here to win a championship? We all on the same page? Good. Let’s go.”) They’re a lot younger. And they don’t have “that,” because if they did, they wouldn’t have lost Game 7. Shit, I thought the Celtics were going to be the victims of an upset a billion times this spring… but they weren’t. They somehow woke up at the exact moment they had to; they smelled blood and went for it with an uncanny instinct.

And, here’s the funny and slightly ironic thing, when — I suppose “if” is the better word, but it’ll probably be “when”– the Hornets come back more focused and mature, more businesslike, more stone cold killer-esque, I’m not sure there isn’t a part of me who’ll miss the “Whatever! We love each other! Us against the world! Let’s plaaaaay!” feel of this year’s Hornets.

I don’t know what that means.

(Oh, see? Complete with a pic of David West and everything.)

How is this in any way, shape, or form practical for her job? I’m just saying.

</being the girl>

Nice dress… and shoes… and yeah.

KG’s Game 4 ShoeSo Kevin Garnett has a special Finals shoe, complete with a picture of the trophy and the NBA Finals logo on the inside. They did a closeup on TV and they’re pretty sweet looking shoes (though I personally think the home version is a little bit pimper). But how sweet are they really? You have to click for the zoom. “Huh,” I thought, having run across this picture in a game gallery. “What are all those little numbers? OK… How come it says 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 on the other side of his shoe? And why’s the 4 a different color? What’s the significance of that?”

KG’s Game 3 ShoeWell, that became pretty obvious when I saw the KG Game 3 shoe… You guessed it, he has a special pair for each game. The Game 3 has the 3 highlighted in green. OK, now that’s cool. See, this is the stuff you miss when you sit far away and watch games live rather than on TV. I didn’t realize until the last game of the season, for instance, that D West’s shoes say “D West” on the back. And forget all the secret stuff that CP3’s shoes say. There’s a pair sitting out on my doormat and I could examine them for an hour and probably still miss something.

Update: Funny!

I was gonna go look in the gallery for that shot of the D West shoe, but I found something totally better, from a charity event in NOLA last week… D West in a COLOR! Yes! Seriously! (OK, I’m aware that it is statistically unlikely that David West gets along in life without any colors in his wardrobe. I just think it’s funny that we don’t see him in them, like, ever.) Speaking of this post and NBA fashion, do you picture KG having an entire closet in his house reserved for his collection of sweater vests?

D West is wearing green AND smiling

It’s a classic matchup. Ticktock6 says go Celtics. mW says remember the Garden; go Lakers. So here we go. Check back. We’ll be commenting through the game and re-posting to this thread!

Q1 – 10:13: Kobe’s already shooting free-throws and the crowd is shouting “MVP, MVP.” Followed by a off-ball foul by Perkins and a quick Odom-Gasol easy basket. Celtics look confused. [mW]

Q1 – 9:30: Kobe just got two steals and Doc “Cry Me A” Rivers is such a bitch about it he just got a technical. Awesome. [mW]

Q1 – 7:16: Radmanovich’s 3 builds the lead to 8; C’s still can’t make a shot, and there is the Gasol-Odom connection again. Celtics call a timeout. 16-6 Lakers. [mw]

Q1 – 5:53: Garnett is sitting with 2 fouls and PP just turned the ball over. Followed by another Radman 3. Lakers by 14. This is what everyone expected from the Lakers in Game 3. [mW]

Q1 – 3:26: Fisher jumper perfect. Perkins bricks. Odom from 17 feet. House bricks a 3 and Gasol grabs the rebound, followed by a PP foul. Celtics in the penalty, Lakers to shoot two. This is insane. [mW]

Q1- TV timeout: this is a classic case where one team will just not make all their shots all game and the other team won’t miss them all game. [TT6]

Q1 – 1:58: PP robbed of an and-1, but Ray Allen got a three, so I’ll take a 5-0 run by the Celtics. [TT6]

Q1 – 0:51: Posey adds to the Boston brickhouse, while Kobe dishes to Gasol. Take two more free ones. Followed by a dumb loose ball foul by the C’s bald guy. I approve of this message. [mW]

Q1 – 0:00: C’s make an odd shot. Lakers shooting 14-15th free throws THIS QUARTER. The Lakers take a 20 point lead into the break, the largest lead after one quarter. I’m going to get dinner. This sucks. [TT6]

Q2 – 10:32: Lakers by 22 and Kobe had no FG??!?! (And Vujacicicic just came in for the first time.) Who’s scoring? [TT6]

Q2 -9:44 : another C’s turnover; Lakers return kind. WHOA, sick block by Ariza! [mW]

Q2 – 8:13: Luke Walton makes a 3 after having a minute and a half to think about it. Damn. Well there’s Will Smith, I love him. Best thing in this game so far. [TT6]

Q2 – 6:20: Odom’s 7-7, KG finds rim, but Farmar can’t capitalize on the other end. ANOTHER Kobe steal, but a quick Cassell foul. Vujacic unconscious for 3. The C’s might be thinking of calling in Brian Scalabrine. [mW]

Q2 -4:50 : The Machine with a steal; Lakers run the ball. Coming back the for the C’s Cassell continues his post-retirement bricklaying practice. Then the creepy Magic-Birdsplit-face ad. Coming back, JVG highlights two plays where FOUR Celtics collapse on Kobe. Thereafter, C’s drop another brick [mW]

Q2 – 2:47: the shot disparity is swinging. What did you expect? C’s within 12 now! [TT6]

Q2 – 0:00: Fish gets the 2+1. Ray Allen doesn’t even get the brick near the house, and then a monster by Gasol dunk with authority! Damn, did Radman just play D? Hmmm…looked like a KG goaltended on Radman at the other end, but the C’s miss at the other end–as ‘Sheed would say, “ball don’t lie.” Ooof…Kobe picks up his 3rd foul (and only has 3 points!). OOOOOOOOhhhh, Farmar with a running 3 at the buzzer!! Lakers up big at half , 58-40. [mW]

Q3 – 9:35: KG and Kobe exchange daggers to start the second half. Then Gasol and KG exchange misses, before KG backs into the basket and Odom drives and draws a foul on an injured Perkins. Rough break for the latter, but it’s obvious the Celtics are trying to get KG involved. Probably a good move. [mW]

Q3 – 8:59: when’s the last time you’ve seen this many players injured in one series, for one team? [TT6]

Q3 – 7:03: wow. Kobe from deep with a hand in his face. Then the Celtics throw it away for the 10th time. Doc is at a loss. He tried to go to P.J., didn’t like what he was getting, so goes small with Posey. I never believe in going small for an extended time. Let’s see what happens. [mW]

Q3 – 6:59: every time they cut it to 10, the Lakers push it back to 20. What are you going to do? [TT6]

Q3 – 6:03: did Radmanovich cut his hair? I swear it was longer the other week… [mW]

Q3 – 6:03: are you sure you’re not confusing him with Vujacic? [TT6]

Q3 – 2:58: C’s 5-18 from three-point range, including the ugly three Posey just rimmed. Odom draws another foul in the paint and Doc can only smile in disbelief. Yet, the C’s force a few turnovers and come within 11. [mW]

Q3 – 2:43: mW is just PARAPHRASING ME. What I really said was, “Ray Allen mothaf@ckas! Paul Pierce mothaf@ckas!” Word. Love, Me. [TT6]

Q3 – 2:18: and KG subsequently gets an offensive foul and Posey fouls at the other end. In desperation, Doc turns to Tony Allen for the first time in forever. [mW]

Q3 – 2:01: AND ONE, BITCHES! [TT6]

Q3 – 1:33: nice block by KG on Gasol, followed by a smart foul by Gasol at the other end to prevent an easy basket. C’s then drop a 3. They’re within 6. Damn.

Q3 – 0:59: keep that alien bitch on the bench, House is the man! This is his fucking game! [TT6]

Q3 – 0:42: Vujacic wears a girl’s headband! [TT6]

Q3- 0:00: P.J. ends the quarter posterizing Kobe. Celtics go on a 15-3 run and are only down 73-71 heading into the fourth. I’m not worried, though. [mW]

Q4 – 9:47: Kobe opens the 4th with 7 points…but is continuing with good D on Pierce. Meanwhile, Powe ties it, while Kobe continues to shoot cold… [mW]

Q4 – TV timeout: we’ve just seen the 834th commercial for ABC’s alleged show called “Wipeout.” I’m going to kill myself if I see another commercial for this garbage show. [mW]

Q4 – 6:16: Kobe for for a long two. He’s starting to heat up. House bricks at the other end, despite TT6’s temporary crush, and Farmar gets the rebound. But KG then makes a tough shot and ties it again. But Turiaf rejects P.J., protects the rim, and then Odom puts the Laker back up by 2. [mW]

Q4 – 5:47: Farmar another rebound, and Kobe burns PP for a dunk, but Pierce might be injured again? Lakers by 4. [mW]

Q4 – 5:44: I have no love for House. I only have love for P^2. [TT6. Obvi.]

Q4 – 4:45: there’s 5 minutes left and every basket is contested and the score keeps changing. This is killing me. [mW]

Q4 – 4:45: this is a great game. [TT6]

Q4 – 3:23: there’s no reason Ray Allen got that rebound or just beat seven Lakers to the basket to push the lead to 3. [mW]

Q4 – 2:31: basketball is such a rush. There’s so much scoring and it’s so crazy how it flows. I love it. How did I not watch this before? [TT6]

Q4 – 2:31: shut up. You had nothing to say twenty minutes ago. Fair weather fan. [mW]

Q4 – 1:44: C’s by 5. JVG points out that Phil had put in the unit that made the made the come back run in Game 2. A foul and 2 free throws later and its a 3 point game. PP then goes to the basket and draws contact. Makes 1. [mW]

Q4 – 1:22: PP immediately fouls Kobe at the other end. 1st in the last two minutes. Kobe then drives and makes it a 2 point game. [mW]

Q4 – 1:11: OH SHIT! Posey for three! [TT6]

Q4 – 0:46: Fisher for a long 2. PP draws a cheap foul. Hits 2. [mW]

Q4 – 0:15: Gasol dunk, one possession game. But Ray-Ray puts up a lay-up at the end of the shot clock. Back up to 5.[mW]

Q4 – 0:03: Lakers come up empty. Now we have to watch House scream like he’s a superstar. Fuck the Celtics. [mW]

Q4 – 0:00 I’m going to quote Serenity: “We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty.” [TT6]

Peja’s Hot WifeVia Dime, I present for your entertainment the NBA Finals Celtics-Lakers Wife Showdown. I about spit out my ravioli thanks to commenter #4, who says, “Once again Kobe’s teammates don’t provide him with too much help.” Haha. The Celtics are currently winning the poll.

All I can say is, damn, ladies. I’ve dated guys who were 6’5″ and 6’6″ and it was a major pain in my ass. You have to wear heels all the time just so more than your head is in pictures. Seriously. And I’m not even that short. (Actually, come to think of it, how tall are Luke Walton’s and P2’s girls? They’re the only two who come close.)

The NBA… where goofy looking men with hot wives/girlfriends happen.