Tuesday, June 9, 2009

11 comments Bill Simmons Retro-Diaries It

Bill Simmons has posted a retro-diary for the fourth quarter, and only the fourth quarter, of Game 2 of the NBA Finals last night. I don't know why, but this just feels lazy to me. The point of a running diary or chat during a game is that a person gets his feelings about the game out right then. He/She makes comments about the game based on the flow of the game. It's not supposed to be a bunch of predictions, but it's supposed to simulate watching the game with a friend. I feel like watching the tape of a game and then going back and making comments about it is pretty lazy. I don't know why.

You have the benefit of writing the diary after everything has happened during the game, so the person writing it will be able to look a lot smarter than they actually are...which is usually Bill Simmons' purpose anyway. It's why he jumps on the Anthony Randolph and Shannon Brown bandwagons AFTER they have broken out and why he only chooses top recruits in college basketball to "inform" everyone about. You also have the benefit of hindsight in an After the Fact diary, you know the outcome of the game so you can shade your comments in that direction to make it seem more insightful, and it just turns out to be less of a column idea and more of a way to crack jokes and show how smart/funny you are. Of course, Bill loves all of these things about the retro-diary/After the Fact diary.

Anyway, here is Simmons' retro-diary.

At halftime of Game 2 of the 2009 NBA Finals on Sunday night, I wrote the following Tweet: "Look out 2007 Finals -- your 'most unwatchable NBA Finals ever' title is officially in jeopardy!"

This is a bit premature considering at the absolute maximum less than half of the series has been played...and oh yes, this turned out to be WRONG. Look for Bill to make zero more predictions on his Twitter account from now on. He hates being wrong and will do anything in his power to prevent this from happening again.

Little did I know things would pick up in a memorable fourth quarter and overtime.

Bill wasn't wrong about this statement, he just did not have enough information...like the ending of the ball game. So when I said Mark Sanchez wasn't going to be a great NFL player, don't hold me to it. Little did I know he would be good...I just needed him to retire before I could make a better prediction.

Let's join ABC's broadcast of Game 2 with Orlando leading the Lakers 65-63 entering the fourth at the House That Jack Built.

I know the game was boring for the first half, but I also don't really enjoy picking it up in the fourth quarter in a retro-diary. It feels even double lazy to me for a column idea.

By the way, was there anything more predictable than Stan Van Gundy playing Jameer too much in Games 1 and 2 and Rafer Alston immediately falling apart like the girl in "Drag Me To Hell"?

Ok, this will be my one non-critical comment. This was a relevant pop culture reference. We also would have accepted any comment discussing the current downward trend of Will Farrell's movie career...at one point he was funny and creative, but then we realized he was just doing the same thing over and over again. When he tried to do something different like write for a Jimmy Ki---I mean do dramatic movies, it was shown that he was a much better in comedy (though I liked him in Stranger Than Fiction), and then when he went back to writing weekly colu---I mean comedy, many people realized he was recycling his old pop cultu---I mean movie characters but calling it different things. I think Will Farrell should stick to podca---I mean short skits on Funnyordie.com. Anyway, Bill Sim---I mean Will Farrell used to make some really funny movies.

11:41: Nelson bricks both freebies, followed by a great "What the eff was that?" face from Hedo Turkoglu. Hedo might have the best "What the eff was that?" face in sports right now.

(Peter King makes a cameo) "I would also like to use this space to congratulate Bill Simmons on ten years of 'face' jokes in his columns. I never thought you would make it this long but you keep rearranging that joke. Bill never fails to crack me up with his jokes."

That reminds me: If you ever want to fluster a Lakers fan, make fun of Bynum's $64 million extension signed in November and ask them if they wish they had a mulligan on that one. You will hear more stammering than you heard for two hours in "Sling Blade."

Ok, there we go. That's more like it. Bill's pop culture references are older than the primary and supporting cast of "Cocoon."

9:49: Six straight points for Lamar Odom. I'm not sure if the Lakers are the best team of 2008-09, but when Odom shows up, they are.

Yeah, I am not sure if the Lakers are the best team of 2008-2009 either, but considering they are in the NBA Finals and are two wins away from winning the NBA Title, I am going to say they are at least in the top 2 of teams in the NBA right now.

If you have ever noticed, Bill is not sure the Lakers are the best team in basketball. This is a comment frequently said by a person when that person had his team who he/she believed was superior get beaten before "they were supposed to be." You will never hear this when that person's favorite team wins a championship though. You will never hear the 2004 or 2007 Red Sox weren't the best team nor will you hear him say anything similar about the 2008 Celtics. Despite however many close calls those teams had in the playoffs or how their rivals underachieved, you will not find Bill saying anything that they were not the best team. This will only be stated when said person's favorite team gets eliminated sooner than "they should have been." Just thought I would point this little fact about Bill out.

8:59: With the Lakers up three, Kobe dribbles to the free-throw line, draws two guys, bails from a jumper at the last second because it might get blocked and passes to Shannon Brown in the corner, only Brown had already started running to the basket for the rebound, leading to the ball bouncing out of bounds ... and of course, Kobe lays into Brown as we head into a TV timeout. "Don't point the finger, Kobe," Jeff Van Gundy says. "That one's on you, buddy."

I remember this play and I remember Kobe acting as if he was pissed Brown dared to try to help them and get an offensive rebound, rather than wait uselessly on the wing when the obvious Kobe Bryant mid-air pass would come (Kobe passes when he is in the lane 0.5% of the time, what was Brown thinking?) to him. This is why I could never be an athlete. The second Bryant started motioning for me to stay in the corner, I would tell him to shove it up his ass and quit throwing the ball out of bounds. I would then ask how many points he thinks I could score if I took 25 shots per game. I would make it a week...maybe.

8:48: Fifth foul on Bynum, followed by JVG saying, "I'm not sure that's a good thing for Orlando." Sixty-four million, everybody! (Could I be a more bitter Celtics fan who can't stop thinking about how a healthy Celtics team should have gone back to back? No. I couldn't. It has ruined my summer.

Yeah, I know the Celtics coulda, woulda, shoulda repeated repeated IF everyone had stayed healthy, IF the team had not been tired from all that basketball playing over the past year, IF the Cavs had the same piss poor performance against the Celtics they had against the Magic...

You get my point. I am not saying the Celtics would have not won the NBA Title, I am saying shut the hell up about it and get over it. Injuries happen, shit happens. Sports are not life. If this really ruins your entire summer, you need a fucking reality check.

6:13: Lewis nails a 3, Orlando up by two, timeout, L.A.. That's 27 for Lewis! "The NBA ... where finding new and improved ways to make Seattle fans hate themselves happens."

Come on Seattle fans shouldn't feel bad about this. No one thought Lewis was worth that money. They would have been crazy to try and match that. In fact, I still don't believe Lewis is worth that type of money and have a feeling the Magic will be trying to trade him before the end of the contract to get him off their payroll.

Here's my question: Are NBA players in denial when they commit fouls, or did they make a secret pact to complain after every foul and anyone who doesn't will be made an outcast by the other players? I know the refs are bad, but holy crap -- when's the last non-Brian Scalabrine time you saw someone commit a foul in an NBA game and then admit that he did it?

An actual good point that was also brought up earlier by a commenter here, AJ I think. If the players would quit whining after every single foul maybe the game would move a little bit faster and refs would not seem to take such pleasure in calling fouls.

4:13: Bailout call for Howard on an ugly low-post move, followed by one of my favorite faces: The Pau Gasol Frozen "No Me Lo Creo El Official" Face

Right now, I have the "I am really tired of 'Face' jokes in a Bill Simmons column" Face. Trust me, it's classic and would be put in a Pantheon of Faces if I was pathetic enough to try and have others build up a Wikipedia page about me and wanted to make it larger by adding different theories and "Faces." This face would go on that page.

Speaking of Wikipedia, is this the best page we can do for FJMorgan? I don't believe it is. Why does Simmons have a 25 page entry while FJMorgan has like four paragraphs? This isn't right. We honor so much stupid shit in this country, but we can't get a longer Wikipedia page for these guys? I'm calling bullshit on this...though they probably quit at a good time, they were beyond great in their time.

3:34: Missed Fisher 3-pointer, awful Howard pass (stolen by L.A.), total bailout call for Kobe after he had no place to go and threw up an off-balance jumper that Howard stuffed (foul on Pietrus even though he never touched Kobe).

Here's the key to getting a foul call in the NBA. Look like you got fouled and have a uniform that sells millions of units. I have come to the conclusion that is all you need...and yes I said I wasn't talking about officiating anymore, but this was a bad, bad call.

Of course Bill takes it to the extreme and tallies up how many calls Orlando gets screwed on. I did not tape/DVR the game and then do a lazy retro-diary about it, so I guess I don't know because I don't have the benefit of hindsight, but his count seems a bit high. He ends up with 10 bad calls for the Lakers and 1 for the Magic.

2:42: I wish I could buy stock in things like, "A 'Wipeout' contestant will sue ABC for $100 million after getting seriously injured."

I wish I could buy stock in things like, "Bill Simmons will put an early 80's movie reference in his column for 10 years and then bitch that the John Mellencamp song 'Our Country' is still playing in commercials two years after it originally aired."

6:13: From the East Coast to the West Coast ... This is Ourrrrrrrr country. Did Chevy sign a seven-year deal with Mellencamp to annoy America or something?

If an old song is used in a commercial then that is waaaaaay to long for Bill, but he can continue to make jokes about "Faces" and make the same pop culture references for years and that's just being edgy.

He's like Uncle Jesse on "Full House." At first you think he is edgy and pretty cool. You like his leather jackets and if you need advice about an adult problem, you go to him. He has interesting catch phrases, but then you eventually realize he is very, very lame and the next thing you know he is living in the attic with his children and wife. Things went downhill quickly for Uncle Jesse. I just hope it doesn't go the same way for Bill.

(These are usually the type of things I edit out, but not this week.)

1:53: Kobe misses a runner, Lewis grabs the rebound and gets bumped from behind by Odom so hard that he takes three steps. No call.

Because I am the poster child for neutrality, I have to say he is right about this as well. I thought Lewis' left leg had broken in half when he was coming down or he was levitating, when in fact Odom was taking him on a magic carpet ride out of bounds using his body.

We should mention that Ty Lue (inactive) is dressed like an eighth-grade prep schooler on photo day. Fantastic.

I laughed at this because he WAS dressed that way. Of course, Bill should know since he did go to a prep school when he was in 8th grade. You know the school in "School Ties" and "Dead Poets Society"? That was probably Bill's school.

Kobe beats Hedo off the dribble, Redick, Lewis and Howard all collapse on Kobe, Kobe ignores Odom (wide-open, left corner), Ariza (wide-open, top of key) and Fisher (wide-open, right corner) and shoots with two seconds left, anyway ... and Hedo blocks him from behind.

Sure, now Kobe doesn't want to pass to the open guy in the corner. Also, I keep thinking Bill is smart for seeing that these guys are open and then I realize he probably has his DVR on pause right now mid-Monday morning and is able to see all this because this is an After the Fact Diary.

My biggest issue with this Lakers team: Normally when teams get over the hump and win the title, everyone pitches in and there's a selflessness that manifests itself as the playoffs go along.

This is a little known fact. It is little known because it is borderline incapable of being proven. Maybe other teams that win a title are unselfish, I don't really know, but I also don't even feel like arguing about this in the comments. I just don't know how this could be proven correct.

Don't worry, Bill will semi-contradict this statement later. Never fear.

0:00: Three thoughts on Courtney Lee's now-infamous missed layup ...

He then lists only two thoughts on Courtney Lee's missed layup. Maybe his rabid Seattle fan editor should pay less attention to the teams in the Northwest and focus on better editing of Bill's articles.

That was not an easy layup and I thought it was a good call by the Magic. Anyone who is blaming Lee for missing it needs to try it out themselves. It's not a chip shot.

Will we ever figure out why Redick (a DNP for five of the six Cleveland games) played 27 minutes in Game 2 and Courtney Lee (a key factor in the Cleveland series) played 12?

My guess was that when Van Gundy played with no point guard on the floor he wanted more shooters for when Howard got delayed double teamed down low...that's my guess. I don't know how Lee is handling the ball but Redick can also do a little (and I mean a little) ball handling if need be. Maybe that's the reason...or he could be betting against his team and did not want the Magic to cover, I don't know.

2:17: Monster pull-up J in traffic by Kobe over Turkoglu. Really nice. I remember watching this live and thinking, "Five point swing, no way the Magic recover." And they didn't.

Sure Bill thought this, I believe that. In no way could he have made this up just right now to make himself look smart. Wait, yes he could have because this is an After the Fact diary. He can say he thought anything and be right.

I personally thought the game was going to come down to a last second shot by the Magic at some point. Boy was I correct.

And here's where Kobe kills you: Up three, crowd going crazy, 90 seconds to go ... really, there's nobody better in the league in this spot. He barrels down the line, draws Howard over and feeds Gasol for a pretty three-point play. Well done. Now THAT is trusting your teammates.

Bill can't even do an After the Fact diary without contradicting himself. So is this Laker team the first team potential NBA Champion to not be selfless or was this Kobe turning the corner? We will probably never know.

Blame Dwight Howard for refusing to go into "I am the best young center in basketball AND I AM TAKING OVER THIS GAME!!!!" mode for two solid Finals games.

It is funny how Howard goes into Superman mode against Wallace, Smith, Big Z, and Varejao but can't seem to do it against teams that have big men who aren't complete liabilities for their team. Basically, I still haven't seen anything from Dwight Howard that tells me he is improving offensively. This was a big series for him and maybe I am being hard on him, but I feel like his numbers should be better than they are. He has hit 6 total field goals so far in the series. I realize he is getting to the foul line, but I expect more from him and I haven't seen them do a Hack-a-Shaq on him, though they are fouling him. He just has to do better, that's all I am saying.

One last thought: Congrats to the 2007 Finals for retaining the title as "The Worst Finals of the Shot-Clock Era."

Seriously, this series is only halfway over at a maximum. I think it is a little early to keep predicting that this Finals won't get worse after one game that was good. Far be it from me to keep Bill from predicting things though.


Martin said...

This retro-diary wasn't his worst work. One of the main problems is that by only covering the 4th quarter, things get small sample sized weirdly. Since he doesn't do the first half, he doesn't mention Howard's arm through the hoop infraction that was missed, or that Bynum has been called for about as many touch fouls against Howard as the Magic guards have against Kobe. We've all been through this before...they jsut don't ref with any consistancy, and it's hurting the game.

Side note, has anybody else noticed the semi-realization that's been going on in the blogosphere the last couple months about Fire Joe Morgan? When they retired people were "Well, darn, that sucks, I enjoyed the site." As this baseball and playoff basketball season has come into full swing there is much more of an outcry of "You marvelous bastards...come back! Please! For the love of God, put a stake through some of these campires!"

I knew I'd miss them, just not that I'd miss their eviscerating style as much as I am this year. Maybe because somehow ESPN baseball coverage might be the worst ever this season...just maybe.

Bengoodfella said...

I think it is lazy to do a retro-diary the day after the game. If not lazy, it is just kind of a cheap article he can write to say he wrote something. You do only get a sample size of the 4th quarter when he only covers the 4th quarter, not that the officiating was great throughout the game or anything.

I miss FJMorgan simply because they were so smart with the Sabremetrics in proving people wrong. I am not as good at using them as some other people are...and they combined humor. I miss them because I would love to see what they had to say about some of the articles written and what the announcers have said lately. That Wikipedia page has to be worked on. I know that for sure.

Chris W said...


The movie Stepbrothers was sensational.

Bengoodfella said...

Yes, I enjoyed that one very much actually. I was referring more to Semi-Pro, the Producers, Land of the Lost (though I have not seen it), and even the Ricky Bobby movie, which underwhelmed me for some reason.

"Hulk hands!"

Bengoodfella said...

I would never openly insult Will Farrell if I did not have a good reason and I feel like he has done the same thing over and over again. His funnyordie.com stuff is great but his movies have been hit or miss lately. Though I did love me some Stepbrothers and Stranger Than Fiction. Anything before Ricky Bobby was pure gold as well.

I feel bad insulting him because I do love his stuff normally, I am just trying to be realistic.

Chris W said...

I think we can at least agree that Stepbrothers is the greatest movie in the history of humanity. No?

Bengoodfella said...

I don't know, I just love Anchorman so much. It's hard for me. I think we can agree it is in the top 2 for greatest movie in the history of humanity. It turns 1 year old this summer. Congratulations!

(That's my best Peter King impressions.

AJ said...

I find it funny (or ironic) that Bill complains about the players crying so much for fouls but has done nothing but complain himself for the past 3 years straight about the refs.

Like I said, you can't have it both ways. I really believe the refs are so bad because the players complain every single play and after every single game. When is the last time a player missed a shot and didn't complain? The refs get bashed if they don't call and foul, and bashed when they do...how can they win?

I dont know, I for one haven't watched much of the Finals. Maybe 10 mins tops, since I really don't care much about these teams nor do I care to watch a rapiest scrowl up and down the court. I'd rather watch the Wings or any baseball game. Though I do find it funny everyone and their mom's are ripping on the NHL for having game SIX on the same night as game THREE of the Finals. I love radio show hosts that complain, saying the NHL is going to lose the casual sports fan cuz they would rather watch the NBA. Ummm doubtful. And I doubt the NHL is losing market shares in LA or Orlando, you know, real hotbeds for NHL fans...

I'll come out and say it, I don't like Will Ferrell. He isn't funny, everyone around him is.

The Hangover...greattttt movie!! Has anyone seen it yet?

Bengoodfella said...

I think there just needs to be better overall consistency in the officiating. Make the calls correctly, that's all we need.

I have watched some of the Finals but I do find myself actually watching the Penguins-Red Wings hockey game as much as I am watching the NBA Finals. I know basketball is very popular but I also think they should not schedule an event for the same night as the Stanley Cup Finals Game 6. It's not been an unexciting series or anything but it is on so very late, I can't stay up for the whole thing and expect to be at work alert the next day.

It's ok if you don't like Will Farrell, I understand. I really want to see The Hangover though. I think it looks hilarious and I am glad to hear that it is.

psclafan said...

I have to say that up until two weeks ago when a friend of mine sent me a link to your blog, I was beginning to think that I was the only one out there who despised Bill Simmons as much as I do. I used to read his articles sparingly back in the early 2000s, but I finally got to the point where I couldn't take his Boston homerism anymore (especially since I hate all things Boston because of my experiences with people from there) or his dumb jokes. Every once in a while, I will try to see if I can manage to read one of his articles, but I never get more than half way through.

The other week though, my buddy (who is from Seattle) was telling me about the line from Bill that he thought was funny, "The NBA ... where finding new and improved ways to make Seattle fans hate themselves happens," and I had the exact same reaction that you did. Was there any NBA analyst at the time of the deal who wasn't saying that the contract was massively overpaying him? If there was, I didn't hear about it. It was a sign and trade deal. He was a free agent and wanted to leave. Why would a Seattle fan give a shit about this years down the line? It wasn't like Rashard didn't play well when he was with the Sonics, and then all of a sudden became good after he left.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know that I appreciate the writing about Bill Simmons. Keep the haterade flowing.

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