Posts Tagged ‘dirk nowitzki’

The Worst Bad Guys

The Least Intimidating Villains Ever

The Miami Heat are the most obvious villains in sports right now, and quite possibly ever. Fans have wanted to see the Heat lose since before this season even started. It’s possible that someone outside Miami was rooting for them to win last night, but if so, he probably kept it to himself. EVERYONE wanted to see Dallas win that series. I barely care about the NBA, and I was thrilled that the Mavericks won. So far in 2011, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have demonstrated complete and utter unity only twice: Last night when the Heat lost, and last month when Osama bin Laden was killed.

The Miami Heat are the Osama bin Laden of sports.

And yet the Heat are not good sports villains. It is fun to root against them, but not as much fun as it should be. Continue reading

Aught Lang Syne: Top 10 Games — NBA

I’ll start with some brutal honesty: This was not a good decade for the NBA. It saw Michael Jordan in a Wizards uniform, severe conference imbalance, the collapse of the Knicks as a viable franchise, and more than its share of forgettable championships.

But this isn’t the time to dwell on that; this is the time to remember the best that the NBA had to offer in the aughts. The following are what I consider the 10 best games the NBA gave us this decade, with the caveat that I am a Nets fan, and so the team that has this season returned to its long-held status as the Eastern Conference’s answer to the Clippers is perhaps overrepresented. Before we get to the top 10–you want a criteria? Well, overtime helps, folks–the only Finals game to garner serious consideration was Game 5 of the 2005 Finals between San Antonio and Detroit, and the worst series of the decade was the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, in which the Pistons and Pacers played six games without either team surpassing 85 points.

10. Game 3 of the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics 94, New Jersey Nets 90

A personal recollection: I was over the house of a Celtics fan. At halftime, with New Jersey up by 20, he turned the TV off and demanded we do something else. After I dominated him (NJ-Boston style) in basketball in the street, we went back inside to check the score. It was one of those TVs where you hear the sound well before the picture comes back, and I was immediately struck by how loud it was in Boston. Why is it this loud? Aren’t we killing them? Boston was already back within a half-dozen, and Byron Scott was in the midst of one of the worst coaching jobs ever with his inexperienced team (seriously, Scott pulled the whole “I’m gonna call timeout and stay outside of the huddle while you guys realize what you’re doing wrong” in A PLAYOFF GAME! WITH HIS TEAM COLLAPSING!) A Paul Pierce Parade to the free-throw line helped the Celtics outscore New Jersey 41-16 for the largest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA playoff history and a 2-1 series lead. My Nets would get the last laugh, winning the next three to advance to the Finals.

Note: This was also the game that propelled Mike Breen to NBA announcing stardom.

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