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The Basketball Diaries: My NBA Season Finally Begins

posted by Michael OBrien

I wrote to you on Wednesday morning about the devastation Sandy caused my Island. Little did I know then how bad it really was going to get. Eight days after the hurricane touched ground I was still left without power, cable and most importantly heat. Eight days without a decent nights sleep. Eight days of gas shortages that led to some scary scenes when stations would get gas. My missing the NBA over those days became an afterthought. That is, until yesterday. Yesterday, at 12:34 PM, in what was probably the most exciting moment of my life since I lost my virginity (and it has not been a boring 13 years), the lights came back on. Crazy enough there are still 200,000 people on my Island without power, my heart goes out to each and everyone of you. I know what you are going through.

A gas line not far from my house. While at times I saw some of the best of my Island in my life time; on these lines, on these gas lines I saw the worst.

I knew as soon as the lights came back that I was going to be going all out last night. Normally this space will be reserved for a couple of observations on the games I watch. Accompanying those those will be the top tweets I come across from basketball twitter, some humorous awards from the night as well as a preview of the upcoming games and what to watch for. Due to the excitement of having power back, last night’s slate of only three games and the fact that basketball twitter all but disappeared in the wake of the election; Today I am coming at you with one of my favorite Bill Simmons gimmicks, The Running Diary.

 

7:25- I tune into NBATV to see them running a segment on the Raptors. During this segment Bryan Colangelo appears on my TV and I involuntarily scream out, “LANDRY FIELDS CONTRACT!”, as I like to believe everybody does when he appears on their TV.

 

7:28- Kenny, Ernie and Webb start talking about the election. I would like to take this second to inform you that I promised myself not to turn to election coverage once during the games. I would also like to see the look on C-Webb and Kenny’s faces if Ernie took this moment to say, “You guys know I voted for Romney, right?”

7:35- Roy Hibbert appears on NBATV court to show how he would defend the Raptors. I love Roy Hibbert, but it would be one of the funniest injuries ever if he were to hurt himself on the NBATV court in this goofy segment. I am also convinced that Hibbert can NEVER turn down any TV appearance. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out what would be the funniest possible Hibbert cameo. Eventually settling on HBO bringing back “Taxicab Confessions” and having Roy driving one of the cabs.

7:45- NBATV does a segment with White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. Seriously NBATV? You do not understand your audience. If it is Election Night, and I am watching your pregame show instead of CNN or any other of those channels, I clearly am not watching for Election Coverage.

7:59- NBA does a segment called “Fan of the Week”  in which a sweet woman from OKC named Joy Davis is named the Fan of the Week. In my heart of hearts I like to believe that “Fan of the Week” is secret NBA code for Ernie’s Groupies. I originally had something a little more  crass written in here, but Joy was just sweet enough that it made me feel a bit guilty.

8:13 We are now three minutes into the Thunder vs Raptors. Hyundai chooses this time to give us our “Drive of the Game”. Bold move Hyundai, giving us our drive of the game with 45 minutes left in the game. @Dan_Sinclair from www.brewhoop.com took this time to point out to me that, “Hyundai knows viewership is fickle, gotta get ‘em early.” Going by what would ensue for the rest of the game, he may not have been far off.

8:18 Through the first five minutes of game play, the Raptors are on pace for 40 turnovers. This is probably a bad thing. Let’s see if they can keep up this pace.

8:23 Ibaka does not bite on an Andrea Bargnani pump fake. Part of me expected this sequence of events to lead to me losing power for another 8 days.

8:33 I can’t be the only one who cannot stop staring at the yellow spot in Hasheem Thabeet’s hair. It honestly makes me think a bird crapped in hair and nobody wanted to tell him.

What does this yellow spot look like to you? It is the Thunder’s version of a Rorschach Test.

8:38- RANDOM THOUGHT ALERT: The world would be a much happier place if all NBA nicknames were literal. For example, Glen Davis was actually a Big Baby. Kobe Bryant were actually a giant snake. You get the idea.

8:44- Bad job by NBATV cutting to commercial as the announcers were remembering NBA Radio legend Jim Durham.

8:58- The Raptors have cut their earlier pace back enough that they are only on pace for 19 turnovers. This is still not a very favorable total. Maybe if this game gets out of hand in the 4th Sam Presti will troll his own fans by putting on a Harden beard and jersey and checking himself into the game.

9:05- Kevin Durant is currently diving all over the place in a game that seems well on its way to being a blowout. I can almost here every Thunder fan screaming at their tv, “Its the 4th game of the year! We’re playing the Raptors! You are up 20 points! Calm the F#&@ down, Kevin!”

9:07- As if this game weren’t ugly enough Kyle Lowry just had a gruesome ankle injury. If his screams of pain are any indication, this is not good. The Raptors had a lot of potential to be at the very least a fun team to watch, but that could be out the window now.

9:13- The Thunder have a 19 point lead at the half. Now time to switch over to Nuggets vs. Pistons. Between the score and the stink of the Lowry ankle, there is a good chance I will not be going back.

9:21- These Nuggets really look like they have fun playing together, even if there are still some kinks to work out. Lawson just gave up an easy fastbreak basket to dish it off to Faried to slam down the finish. Those are the kind of things I look for when searching from team chemistry. I never ran my final post of my League Pass Rankings because of the whole Hurricane things and the post being lost on my desktop, but know this, the Nuggets were ranked number 2. I am not nearly ready to give up on them.

9:25- The USO party just ran a commercial during the Nuggets/Pistons games that was black and white and showed a whole boatload of troops while sappy music played. I was more than a little shocked when the words “USO” came across my screen at the end of the commercial instead of “The Republican Party”

9:32- It’s that part of the game that always makes me smile, JaVale Mcgee has checked into the game. Earlier in the year I mused aloud on twitter, longing for JaVale to sport his gigantic yellow socks while the Nuggets sported their new yellow jerseys. Well, see for yourself;

Either JaVale McGee is trying to break HDTV with his incredibly bright get up or nobody has told him that Halloween ended and he’s going as “Black Big Bird”

9:40- Drummond just hit a 3-pointer from about three feet behind the line. I was not aware he had this range. Going by the reaction of himself and his teammates, they were not aware he had that range either, nor did he himeslf know.

9:45- LaPhonso Ellis is in the booth for a while doing guest commentary and is shockingly better than either of the Nuggets local guys. However the highlight is clearly this woman with the blue hair behind him, you just know she is all types of crazy. I’m talking Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez crazy.

9:54- During the preseason I joked that it looked like Gallo wore product in his hair during games. Somebody (I would love to give credit but I forgot who you were, sorry) responded that it isn’t that he wears product, it just looks that way because he hasn’t washed it in years. Well after watching this game, I am gong to go with your theory.

10:08 We were just informed that if the Nuggets score 110 points, the fans are treated to indigestion (4 Taco Bell tacos) for $1. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Taco Bell still makes a killer profit on those four tacos even when only charging a $1. These are the perks a business gets to enjoy when they use what I can only assume is Grade V meat.

10:20 It was halftime in Nuggets/Pistons, so I chose this time to check up on my fantasy basketball teams. With that task completed I switch over to the final 40 seconds of Magic/Bulls. This leads to one of my favorite random NBA moments. I love stadium free food gimmicks, if only because how irrationally excited/disappointed fans get at the idea of free food. This game, the food in question is free Big Macs and the score is 100. The Bulls have 99 points and the fans are living and dying with each shot. Sadly for the Bulls fans they fall short. All though it leads to this…

10:24- The best postgame interview of the season so far (I can only assume since I couldn’t watch). Joakim Noah, in the span of a minute manages to use the quote, “Both teams played hard” and drops in a mention of being upset they let down the crowd by not getting them free Big Macs. Stellar job Joakim. All you needed to do at the end was break out the finger guns and your approval rating would have skyrocketed.

10:26- Switch back to OKC-Tor. Thunder close out Raptors 108-88. Earlier on twitter I saw several people report that it was an ankle sprain Lowry suffered. I hope that’s true, but if it is I have to believe it is an awful sprain. I’ve sprained both ankles several times and never made the sounds of pain he made. And I tend to think Kyle Lowry is a much tougher man than I.

10:30 Back to Nuggets/Thunder. Coming out of the half they show a shot of Nuggets cheerleaders. I will now use this time to fulfill my promise to show hot chicks in each and everyone one of my posts.

Unlike most politicians, I keep my promises. Here is today’s obligatory hot chicks picture.

10:38- RANDOM THOUGHT + Stolen gimmick from TBJ. What if Kofta Koufos favorite movie? Kofast Kofurious. Cue pun gun sound.

10:44- Our first, “That line was actually said” moment of the night. While advertising a “Guys night out” special for an upcoming crappy opponent the Nuggets local guy said, “And you get two free t-shirts to prove to you friends you were here.” Yep, cause none of my friends would believe how fortunate I was to score nosebleed tickets for a Nuggets game against a garbage team like (I assume) the Bobcats.

10:51- My favorite play of the night just happened. A smooth Miller steal at halfcourt followed up by a nice lob to McGee. These are the types of plays that are going to make the Nuggets one of the most fun League Pass teams to watch this year, especially once they really start to gel with Iggy in there.

10:58- I broke my promise not to flip over to any election coverage. Only because, “Diane Sawyer drunk” started trending on my timeline. There are somethings you just have to see for yourself. I do not regret my decision to flip over to ABC for a minute.

11:03- The Nuggets are finally pulling away from the Pistons. After back to back Iggy and Brewer threes the lead is now 16. I myself am fading fast at this point after 8 night without a decent night’s sleep. I will definitely be typing up my notes in the AM.

11:07- Every time I hear the name Singler my tired brain keeps hearing Ziggler. Make no mistake, Dolph Ziggler would be the greatest flopper in the history of the NBA.

11:11- Just over 5 minutes to go in the game, and the Nuggets are at 99 points. The drive for four $1 tacos is officially on.

11:18- No points in the last three minutes for the Nuggets. We may see two fan bases leave disappointed on the free/cheap food premise.

11:21- Obama just won the election apparently, my twitter feed has now become absolutely useless.

11:27- Under a minute to go and the Nuggets are stuck at 107 points, which led to our second, “They just said that” exchange of the night; “Clearly the crowd wanted Igoudala to shoot that three there.” Which was followed by, “Tacos on the line here.” Then the Denver crowd started a, “We want tacos” chant. I can not emphasize enough how much I enjoy these moments.

11:30- Gallo misses a buzzer beater three for cheap tacos as the crowd sighs in disappointment. The score ends 109-97. No cheap tacos. I feel the Denver crowd are in reality winners for this. And that is the night in basketball.

Four pages of notes and 2200+ words later, can you tell how excited I was to have basketball again. Even if it was a three game slate that had a combined to marque teams. I had another reason to go nuts with today’s post as well. Tomorrow, weather permitting (Long Island is supposed to get hit with a Nor’easter overnight), I leave for Costa Rica for my brother’s wedding. Which means it will be another couple of days before I am able to write something again. I hope you enjoyed may crazy observations for today, and I will return with my normal posting for the foreseeable future once I return from vacation.

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