Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rooting For The Heat Is Like Rooting For The Tanks

Bet On Tanks
There's an old joke about the perfect Argentinian football game. In it, they control the ball from the opening tip, pass and dribble it amongst themselves for the entire duration of the game, and then finally, regretfully really, tap it into the other team's goal at the end for a 1-0 victory. This would be the ideal; play so beautiful, passing and control and the befuddlement of your opponent that is so total, that it reaches a level of performance art or existential joke.

This is, of course, insulting and stereotypical and more than a little true, but it also speaks to a certain truth about free-flowing court games: if the flow of the game isn't good, it's no fun to watch. As an Eagles fan, I dream of a season where my team goes undefeated and every game is a blowout. As an A's fan, I want them to win by lots every night, and if they win every game against the Yankees and Red Sox, I will be happier than a pig in ice cream. But when it comes to the Sixers, I lose interest in blowouts. And when I used to watch hockey in my teenaged years, the same thing happened.

So Miami will close out the Bulls on Wednesday, hopefully in something that more resembles basketball than tonight's assault on the senses, then do the same thing against the Pacers-Knicks survivor, and to a lesser extent, the Western Conference finalist. They have the best player on the planet in his absolute prime, they get calls, they compete on defense and always finish in transition. They play without fear because they aren't being tested, and it's about as much fun to watch as a tank rolling against kids with rocks. I love hoop more than just about anybody I know, and it's all I can do to stay awake during Heat games, let alone appreciate them. And this is the early game team.

And the real bummer is that as the playoffs go on, the Heat will become more and more impossible to avoid, until you are left watching them hoist a trophy that makes you happy that the season is over. And wondering, as always, why such an amazingly fun thing to watch only gets worse and worse, the deeper you get, and kind of hating the Heat for being the tank on a field of cavalry...

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