Ragged! Gimpy! Tempestuous! Hard-fought! Creatively confusing! Strangely compelling! No, I'm not talking about television's upfront week —
Whew! Good stuff. The Hollywood-sports jokes never get old. By the way, Bill knows what went on at television's upfront week because Jimmy Kimmel was there. He knows Jimmy Kimmel by the way. Has he ever mentioned this before?
Yeah, you're reading that correctly — it's the lowest-scoring postseason since 2004, you know, the spring that caused the NBA to change the freaking rules to encourage more offense.
Oh yeah, I had forgotten the NBA chose to use unnecessary italic---I mean changed the rules after the 2004 postseason.
I would argue one of the biggest culprits of this ugly postseason are the Boston Celtics. Except for last night's game, I can only watch the games with one eye open. It usually isn't an offensive showcase we see from the Celtics.
The overwhelming evidence confirms what you've been thinking these past three weeks. Scoring is down because 2012's playoff teams aren't as good at scoring. (Good lord, I just turned into Joe Theismann again. Hold on, I have to take a pill.)
Is it a pill that transports you back in time to 2002 when your work was funny, creative, inspired, not riddled with you patting yourself on the back and name-dropping celebrities as often as possible? If so, great. If not, don't bother with the pill. That is unless it is a cyanide capsule...in which case I don't advocate suicide, and I definitely don't think you should do it, but there have been times I've started punching myself in the cheek hoping I have one in there while reading your columns.
Last time (post-2004), the fixes were relatively easy: They catered to perimeter players by cracking down on hand-checks (opening up the slash-and-kick game), and they sped up the game (just a little) by shortening the 10-second rule and restarting shot clocks at 14 after violations. This time around? I don't know what you'd change short of adding power plays.
Power plays. I'm not sure I heard you.
You heard me —
I'm not sure I did hear you. That idea is so creative (not really) and exciting (incredibly stupid) I don't know if I did hear you. Please use exclamation points to accentuate your point in lieu of using italics to add emphasis.
Power plays! And here I thought a hamburger made with razors that look pickles was the worst idea I had heard all day.
If you earn a technical or commit a "Flagrant 1," you have to sit at the scorer's table for 75 seconds while your team plays shorthanded. If you commit a "Flagrant 2," your team has to play shorthanded for three minutes. If two opponents get double technicals, both teams play four-on-four for 60 seconds.
There is no need for me to think about this. This is simply not a good idea.
You're right, that's ridiculous. Please, everyone, start making more shots. There's a reason nobody wants to watch 79-76 games … it's called the WNBA.
Oh yeah, the WNBA sucks. It's played by women and women are only good for sexual recreational activities and as a group of people who can be mocked in sports columns when discussing how out of touch women are concerning sports and the world in general.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about "Footnote Titles" — when opposing fans pick apart a team's title by saying, "Yeah, but … " and point to an especially fortunate break that helped them win.
This would be the column where Bill Simmons decided to stop trolling the Lakers fan base and troll as many fan bases as possible in one column. It seems during that specific week Bill was craving excessive amounts of attention.
We might be headed there with the 2012 Spurs, who have been quietly closing in on "Best Team of the Duncan/Popovich era" status for about 10 weeks now.
This is still true. While I rip Bill a bit later for some of his other predictions I do try to be fair when he makes a still-relevant point.
Even if Miami–Oklahoma City is the Pipe Dream Finals (just from an entertainment standpoint), no pure basketball fan would refuse a Celtics-Spurs matchup:
I'm a Celtics fan and if the Celtics don't increase the quality of their offense in the next week I would not want to see this. There comes a point where the idea of seeing them win games by scoring 80 points just becomes excruciating to watch. So if the Celtics could play every game in the 90's I may be more inclined to agree, but with Allen and Pierce hurt it can be tough watching them play.
an old-school battle featuring seven Hall of Famers, two elite coaches, and two proud teams that love playing together, and even better, know how to play together?
Whereas, apparently the Miami Heat are fucking clueless on how to play together. In fact, the Heat barely even know each others names. Only the Spurs and Celtics know how to play the game of basketball as a team.
Unfortunately for the whole "they play as a team and know each other really well" crap Bill is burning our eyes with, the Heat currently have a much better duo in Wade and James than the Celtics have in a team. It's great to play together as a team, but this is irrelevant if this team can't beat another team in a 7 game playoff series.
when you remember what decade we're in — here's a reminder, in case you forgot — the familiarity of that Finals matchup would make it more special than anything.
Maybe to Bill Simmons this would be special. Unfortunately, and I don't want to shock Bill when I write this, but he isn't the only person in the world who likes the NBA. Many other people don't want to see the hobbled Celtics in the NBA Finals simply because it is familiar. Many people probably feel a Heat-Thunder or Heat-Spurs series would be really special as well.
The Garnett/Doc/Pierce/Rondo/Allen Celtics have been together for five years; the Duncan/Popovich/Ginobili/Parker Spurs have been together twice as long.
Boston fans adore this particular Celtics team because we know them.
Can someone please prevent this guy from using italics for an entire column? It annoys me.
One of the many reasons I don't understand why SimmonsClones love his writing is that he writes 3-4 columns every year convincing us all how great this Celtics team truly is. Do you really want to read that many columns in a year about how great Bill's teams are? As I have stated a few other times, Bill is convinced his audience really cares about the things he enjoys. It was fun when Bill wrote like a normal fan of sports would write and we could relate to him. At this point, it is hard to relate to what he is saying because he still whines when things don't go his team's way...and his favorite teams have had a great amount of success over the last decade.
It also doesn't help that Bill believes he speaks for an entire fan base. I don't love this Celtics team because I know them. I love them because they are the Celtics. I would love them more if they had higher-quality players coming off the bench, if Keyon Dooling or Ryan Hollins weren't involved in the game at all, and if I didn't feel like Bill wasn't trying to actively make me hate my own favorite NBA team. I really wish he would stop saying things like, "Boston fans..." like he speaks for the entire fan base. He doesn't and he should stop believing he does. He's just a fan with a larger and more influential forum than other Boston Celtic fans have. This doesn't make him more important or the voice of Celtics fans everywhere. It actually tends to make people hate Celtic fans.
it's gotten to the point that when Rondo drives into the paint and pulls over Garnett's defender, we start reacting to the alley-oop lob to Garnett even before Rondo releases it. I'm sure Spurs fans know exactly what I mean.
AND NO OTHER FANS FOR ANY OTHER NBA TEAM UNDERSTAND WHAT BILL MEANS!
I get the feeling Bill's parents spent an inordinate amount of time telling him how special he was when he was a child.
It's what the Spurs and Celtics managed to build, it's what Oklahoma City has been trying to build … and as the Heat is learning, it's something that can't be thrown into a microwave and cooked like a frozen burrito.
Yet throwing it into a microwave and cooking it like a frozen burrito is how the Celtics won their 2008 title. The Celtics made two trades and put together three Hall of Fame players onto one team and it won them a title that very year. Oh these facts always getting in the way of Bill's contentions. It's so annoying how reality doesn't always mesh with the narrative Bill wants to further.
This may be a good time to bring up Bill Simmons' "Fire Doc Rivers" column from 2006. I guess Bill didn't subscribe to the "building and frozen burrito" line of thought at the time. It's funny how this "building and frozen burrito" theory requires two additional Hall of Famers to make it work best.
As for everything we've seen so far, I thought we'd hand out some postseason awards.
The John Travolta/Kelly Preston Award for "Rockiest Marriage That Seems Destined for Divorce"
To Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra, the latter of whom attempted to shrug off Wade's Game 3 hissy fit by playing the "it's basketball, you get mad at each other sometimes" card.
This is a knee-jerk reaction that eventually proved to be wrong. Wade and Spoelstra may still not get along, but they are winning games right now.
Normally I'd agree with this —
Normally Bill would agree with this but this is the Miami Heat that Bill is talking about and he absolutely wants to make this an issue because he doesn't like the team. Of course, it didn't seem to be that big of an issue in retrospect, but that doesn't prevent Bill from having a knee-jerk reaction any reasonable NBA expert would have.
everyone thinks Spo is gone if they lose,
"Everyone" thinks this. Ask Jimmy Kimmel, he'll tell you.
Second, if I'm a Miami fan, here's what would really worry me:
I'll spare you the story, but Juwan Howard and Udonis Haslem moved too quickly to pull Wade from Spoelstra during this argument. Because Bill Simmons can read minds, as well create bullshit theories that not-so-concidentally helps to prove his point, this means these fights between Spoelstra and Wade happen all the time and the Heat are screwed.
Ever since the 2010-11 season started, they've been a three-man team with genuine instability at the center, wing, point guard, backup big man and backup wing spots and that's never really changed. Only the excuses keep changing. And on top of everything else, they relied on their top three to dangerous degrees — minutes, scoring loads, usage rates, crunch-time plays, you name it — in a league where anyone can go down at any time.
And of course Ray Allen starting and playing in the playoffs for 40+ minutes with a clearly bum ankle that is affecting his entire game is not an example of the Celtics relying too much on him. See, the Celtics had an injury to Avery Bradley. The same Avery Bradley the Celtics probably weren't counting on to have as big of an impact this season as he ended up having. Not to mention the Celtics have absolutely no one outside of Kevin Garnett who can score down low, but he's young so I'm sure that isn't an issue. Garnett had to play 45 minutes last night and Rondo had to play the entire game and overtime period. Again, this IS NOT an example of the Celtics being too reliant on these players. Not at all.
So you can't tell me Wade's Game 3 meltdown didn't mean anything.
It ended up not meaning anything. I can tell you this.
The Kris Jenner Award for "Best Impersonation of an Overbearing Momager During the Playoffs"
Normally you'd just pencil in Ray Allen's mother here, but no! Here comes Pam McGee charging down the stretch! AND SHE TAKES THE LEAD! AND SHE'S GONNA WIN IT!!!!!!! I'm actually going through Pam McGee withdrawal in Round 2 — couldn't we make her a sideline reporter or something? She always seemed like she was one bad call on McGee away from charging onto the court, grabbing one of the referees by their earlobe and making them apologize to her son as JaVale says, "No, Momma, no!"(the only sound to be heard is the sound of crickets)
Maybe Bill's magic daughter can bring his columns some good luck by helping him write some funnier jokes.
The Theo Ratliff's Expiring Contract Award for "Most Times Per Minute That Someone's Name Is About to Be Ejaculated by ESPN.com's Trade Machine"
Bill just wrote the word "ejaculated" in a sentence. He's thinks and acts just like me!
Oh, and just in case you worried that performance was a fluke, Harden repeated it against the Lakers in Game 2. That spawned an "Is Harden an original prototype?" e-mail thread with me and two die-hard NBA buddies — we finally decided that he has a chance (repeat: a chance) to become Ginobili 2.0, an even more athletic/durable/potent lefty two-guard who gets better when it matters. It's in play.
Well since Bill and his two diehard NBA buddies have decided this is in play then I guess it is official. No need for further debate apparently.
This brings me back to a point I make only every other paragraph. How is it that Bill's overly-loyal fans like him so much? If you knew a person who name-dropped famous people he knew, considered his opinion the ultimate and final opinion, was gleefully misogynist at times, and had an enormous ego...would you like this person? I would bet not, yet his fans eat up every single word he types. I'm vexed.
With all due respect to Ramon Sessions's agent (Jared Karnes), I'm giving this one to Steve Novak's agent (the likable Mark Bartelstein),
This is a little hint to his readers that Bill knows Mark Bartelstein. This is an example of Bill covertly name-dropping.
The Another 48 Hrs. Award for "Worst Title Defense"
What rarely gets mentioned here: Had they convinced Chandler to take a little less to stay, they could have pursued Deron Williams this summer (with Dirk and Chandler as the bait) and maybe even used Chandler as trade bait for a sign-and-trade for Howard (either in February or this summer, which wouldn't have been any more callous than how they treated Chandler, anyway). And they could have actually defended their title.
This shows how little thought Bill Simmons puts into his ideas sometimes...how are the Mavs going to sign Deron Williams after the 2012-2013 season and compete for the 2012 NBA Title with him, Dirk, and Dwight Howard on the roster? I'm pretty sure it is impossible to pursue a player after the season is over and somehow have that same player on the roster for the previous season's NBA Finals. So under Bill's genius idea to rebuild the Mavericks they would have Dirk and Dwight Howard to defend the title and then would add Deron Williams after the season. So they would have to defend their title without Deron Williams.
Not to mention, it took Bill Simmons about a third of a column to stop believing his whole "You can't simply make a great team that plays together by putting them in the microwave like a burrito" theory. Bill thinks Dallas could throw together Dirk, Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard after this year and have an immediate title contender. I'm guessing like most of Bill's theories this "burrito-microwave" theory comes and goes depending on when he needs it in order to prove him right.
Am I the only one who finds it ironic that Bill Simmons spends 25% of this column talking about how great teams who play together are made by great teams that stay together for an extended period of time, yet he spends the other 75% of the column thinking of trade ideas that will immediately help NBA teams compete for an NBA Title? The Heat have been together for two years and they haven't learned to play as a team yet, so how will the Mavericks have Williams/Howard/Dirk for one season and win an NBA Title? So either Bill doesn't even believe his own theory about teams building chemistry only over the long haul or he is just making things up as he goes along.
Here's where a Mavs fan might say, "I don't care, we won the title." Yeah, but you also won the "One of the Worst Title Defenses Ever" title.
Here's where a Mavs fan might say, "That's not a real title and you just made it up" and then walk away.
And by the way … why are we so convinced that NBA free agents are so desperate to play in Dallas again? Because they want to play with Nowitzki … who's about to turn 34 and cross the 45,000-minute career barrier?
I don't know. Maybe for the same reason you seem convinced Deron Williams and Dwight Howard would join the Mavericks through a trade to play with Dirk Nowitzki. I'm not convinced Bill has put a lot of thought into this section of the column.
Because they want to play for Cuban … who didn't take care of Nash in 2004 or Chandler in 2011 when both guys wanted to stay? You don't think players around the league noticed how Cuban handled Chandler's situation?
And again, you believe Deron Williams would sign with the Mavericks after the 2011-2012 season despite these exact same points you are making about why players wouldn't want to play for Cuban. Bill is the one convinced potential free agent Deron Williams would come to Dallas to play with Howard and Dirk, but also not convinced free agents will want to play for Dallas. I can't reconcile these two points of view coming from one person.
You know that iPhone commercial with Sam Jackson in which he keeps asking Siri questions? After a Phoenix reader named Patrick e-mailed three weeks ago, "Does anyone else keep waiting for Samuel Jackson to ask Siri, 'What does Marcellus Wallace look like? WHAT DOES MARCELLUS WALLACE LOOK LIKE??
Nope. No one else wonders this at all. But hey, you appear to have gotten Bill's attention so you can consider your life complete now.
Then Bill has a semi-skit about a conversation with Vincent Vega and Jules talking to Siri. It's hilarious. Don't bother reading it. Take my word for it. It's a riot.
Here were the other villains of the 2012 playoffs so far: the fire extinguisher that assaulted Amar'e; Derrick Rose's ACL; the ABC producer who didn't cut away from Baron Davis's knee in time (giving us five extra seconds to look at Baron's obliterated kneecap, which almost looked like it had five knuckles covering it; Shaq; Shaq again; my positive Clippers column last week (which somehow injured both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin that same night and ruined the Clippers' season);
I would normally think a comment like this is tongue-in-cheek, but I know Bill Simmons well enough to know he probably actually believes his writing can have an impact on a basketball game.
Digging deeper, the biggest NBA knee injuries ever were probably Elgin Baylor (Game 1, 1965 playoffs, was never really the same), Amar'e Stoudemire (the microfracture surgery that knocked him out for the 2005-06 season), Gus Johnson (ask your dad or granddad about him),
Or I could ask Bill's magic daughter who Gus Johnson is. I'm sure she would know.
Ron Harper (young Ron was better than anyone remembers now),
It's a typical Bill Simmons comment that is hard to argue with. He makes a blanket statement Harper was better than "anyone" remembers now. It's hard to argue with this unprovable statement...but I will try. I remember Ron Harper as the best player in the NBA. Top that Simmons!
To Oklahoma City possibly sweeping the Lakers … which, of course, will lead to the inevitable Bynum trade (for a one-year Dwight Howard rental) and the inevitable Gasol trade (for multiple pieces), as well as Mike Brown's inevitable firing, Phil Jackson's inevitable return, and everything else that will probably work out in their favor because this is what happens historically for the Lakers.
As a Celtics fan I'm not sure Bill can really say this without sounding a bit like a hypocrite. The Celtics have traditionally had a few things fall in their favor. Rondo fell to the Celtics at #21 in the 2006 draft, the 80's Celtics dynasty was built with the terrible Parish/McHale for Joe Barry Carroll trade and the Celtics were lucky enough to have Kevin McHale in the Minnesota front office when the Kevin Garnett trade proposal was made by Danny Ainge. Not to mention it just so happens Pierce/Allen/Garnett immediately got along as teammates while Rondo stepped up to become the facilitator the team needed win a title in the first year the "Big 3" played together.
Yes, the Lakers historically have things work out in the favor and this never happens for Bill's favorite team.
The John Bender Award for "Best Unfinished Story That's Probably Even Better If You Don't Know How It Finishes"
Oh yes, a "Breakfast Club" reference. Topical and humorous.
The funniest moment of the playoffs: when Barkley joked about an injured Caron Butler getting dressed so quickly during a Memphis-Clippers game that he took a "Cliff Robinson Shower," then Kenny and Shaq laughing knowingly, like they knew exactly what he meant … you know, like Cliff Robinson's showers were infamous within NBA circles. Did all three play with Cliff before? Were Cliff's showers so legendary within NBA circles that it didn't matter if you played with him or not? Did he shower and get dressed without drying off? Did Cliff have terrible B.O. — in other words, he didn't shower, and that was the joke? And which Cliff Robinson were they discussing here? Was it 1980s Cliff Robinson (Cliff 1.0) or 1990s Cliff Robinson (Cliff 2.0)?
What can Bill do about this issue? Hey! He just remembered he is famous and can call Charles Barkley. Cue shameless name-drop right.........NOW!
but if that's the case, then why did Shaq laugh so knowingly, when Cliff 1.0 retired in 1992, the year before Shaq entered the league? I thought about calling TNT and asking Barkley directly, then I realized something.
What did you realize? You are being a douchebag who name-drops in an effort to remind your readers that you indeed have access to talk to Charles Barkley at any point you want? What I love about this name-drop is there are so many douche-like qualities to it. Here is everything Bill is reminding us about that comes off douche-like:
-He could call TNT and have a way of speaking to Charles Barkley.
-He would be able to talk to Charles Barkley directly by making this call to TNT.
-Bill knows Charles Barkley so Barkley would take this phone call.
-Charles Barkley would talk to Bill directly.
-Charles Barkley would not only talk to Bill directly, but take the time to answer this meaningless question for Bill.
-Bill could indeed do this, but he chooses not to. So not only does Bill have the power to talk to Charles Barkley directly, he is so powerful he is choosing to not do this...because he has the choice to do or not do something, which shows his real power.
This is all what encompasses this name-drop. It's pretty unbearable to read.
It's more fun NOT knowing.
And yet, you still felt the need to remind us you could know if you wanted to...which you don't want to...but if you did want to know, you could find out...but only if you wanted to find out, which you don't...but the option is always there.
The Diane Lane Award for "Most Uncanny Ability to Totally Defy One's Age"
We're splitting this award between Garnett and Duncan, both of whom are playing better than they ever have in years
Years? Please repeat this because I am mentally deficient and don't understand what you are saying.
— repeat, YEARS —
Thanks. I wish one day I could write like Bill. Unfortunately this isn't possible, because I graduated from junior high quite a few years ago.
In my 2011 NBA Playoff Preview I wrote, "Here's the reality: The Spurs were always Tim Duncan's team. Once he stopped being the best player in every playoff series, they stopped winning titles." Suddenly, they're looking like Duncan's team again, and just like Duncan, they haven't looked this good in five years. You could say the same for Garnett: The ceiling of the best possible Celtics performance is the highest it's been since January 2009, and only because of the way he's playing on both ends.
So Bill is taking pride in telling us that the play of a Hall of Fame center/forward is crucial to a team's ability to win an NBA Title? How is this even close to being news? If a Hall of Fame player in his mid-30's is playing like he did in his prime, this would absolutely and obviously have a positive impact on the team as a whole.
BREAKING: If LeBron James and Dwayne Wade play at their highest possible level, it will be hard to beat the Heat. These two guys are the key to the Heat winning an NBA Title. Now everyone believe me to be a genius and have made an excellent point that is not only revolutionary, but also mind-blowing.
Now they're flying around like it's 2003 again? Do you want to make the "Did they charter a plane to Germany over the All-Star break?" joke, or should I take it?
Nah, you should probably stop writing at this point before someone gives you The Adam Sandler Award for "Beating the Same Kind of Jokes into the Ground and Still Inexplicably Having Success, Thereby Proving Indeed How Stupid the Public Can Be at Times."
(Let's just end this column before I jinx this whole thing.)
Right. Because you have that ability.