Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

Many people consider the Twins season a failure and by any statistical or intangible measure it most certainly was. Yet the Minnesota Nine did prevail in one key area: The franchise gave Mariano Rivera the coolest retirement present.

Every Major League city the great Yankees closer visited gave him a going-away gift, something to say thanks and goodbye. The Twins brought out a rocking chair made of the bats Rivera broke with his devastating cutter, which is the actual two-word phrase for his signature pitch. It was original, thoughtful, creative and fun.


“The NBA is expected to make a major change to its traditional Finals schedule, ending the 2-3-2 format and returning to the 2-2-1-1-1 game rotation used in all other playoff rounds, multiple sources told”—Brian Windhorst

Nothing in sports makes me as happy as watching the Lakers win a title, but if I had to list the next-best thing it might be watching the Boston Celtics lose and listening to their fans complain.

They complain about John Havlicek’s injury costing them the 1973 NBA title and talk about how many more titles they’d won with Len Bias. If only Kendrick Perkins had been healthy for Game 7 in 2010, his offensive brilliance would have led the Celtics over the Lakers, they say with their annoying accents. And they might have three-peated if not for Kevin Garnett’s bad knee in 2009. Injuries cost them the 1987 title. So many complaints for a franchise with 17 NBA titles.


Being Metta

Posted: July 16, 2013 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Something strange happened during Metta World Peace’s four years with the Lakers. As he regressed as a basketball player but progressed as a person, becoming one of the likable guys in the league with his goofy personality and willingness to speak out on issues like mental health, I liked him more and more as a complete player, even as every one of his individual skills got worse and worse.

It’s difficult to explain. World Peace was nothing like the Ron Artest who was once the best defender in the league and capable of being a team’s best offensive player. He no longer possessed any vertical, meaning the rim blocked him on layups, if not a 7-footer. When he started dribbling every fan expected something terrible to happen, something truly awful, which, once you’d seen it, meant the game could never be the same. I was pleasantly surprised if he’d make both free throws. Small forwards could blow past him more than you’d think. His post moves consisted of bullying his way into the lane, like a 50-year-old playing against his 8-year-old son, except with less success around the basket. The jumper was iffy — there one game, gone the next six. Yet I enjoyed the Metta World Peace Era.

A great sense of timing makes up for a lot.


The main topic on this week’s TVFury podcast: Is Dwight Howard a great buy on the NBA free-agent market or an overrated clown.

TV has an opinion on the matter. More importantly, so does the Lakers loving Fury – he watched Howard intently last season.

The question probably comes down to this: Do teams sign free agents solely to win titles? And might Houston quietly intend to use Howard as a second banana?

Here’s the link.

Forget about this current NBA draft, the real one. It’s a bunch of guys you watched for a year or have never heard of and the most excited people are South Dakotans and St. Cloud residents eager to see one of their own picked late in the first round or early in the second. We won’t know who’s good for a year or two and there’s no guarantee any of them will be great.

Instead, let’s visit an alternative universe. The bad suits remain, and David Stern will again announce every selection. We’re holding it in New York and people will boo. Who’s eligible? Everyone. Everyone who’s ever played in the NBA. When teams are considering who to take, they should evaluate the player’s entire career. So yes Bill Walton will be injury-prone. Yes, Magic retires after 12 seasons. Does Michael Jordan go first or do you go with a big man, the type of strategy that didn’t work for the Blazers in 1984 but has been great throughout NBA history — unless you want to argue against the resumes of Russell, Wilt, Kareem, and Duncan. Do older guys make the cut? In this fake world the teams — with their new legends — will play with their current guys (yes, things will get confusing). Could Mikan dominate or even compete?

Draft order was easy. No lottery, no conspiracies, unless teams have been tanking for 50 years in order to pick first. Worst all-time winning percentage picks first and on down the line. That means the Charlotte Bobcats own the first pick, the Lakers the last.  And these percentages take into account all of the teams that make up a franchise — the Brooklyn Nets’ record includes the New Jersey days, the Thunder were the Sonics and the Kings have been a well-traveled franchise.

And it looks like David Stern is making his way to the podium…


I didn’t see the first airing of NBA TV’s new documentary on Julius Erving, but I’ll watch it soon. Some of their movies perhaps rely on mythologizing the subjects a bit much, but the network has a nice track record of putting together films, digging up old footage that people assumed was lost forever. Their documentary on the 1992 Dream Team featured some highlights from the famous scrimmage between Michael’s team and Magic’s team. And the new piece on Erving contains numerous clips from his younger, bigger-hair, higher-flying days.

I want to see it because by the time I started watching the NBA, Erving was still a superstar but those earlier days are what truly made him a legend. It’s hard to imagine in today’s world — where a single block by LeBron is up on YouTube 20 minutes later, with five angles — but for the stars of yesterday, many of their most eye-opening deeds took place before every shot, pass, and dunk was saved and distributed to millions.


TV and Fury intended to record a smart, rational podcast to preview the upcoming NBA Finals. Instead, they got sidetracked by their shared dislike of Justin Bieber’s favorite club (this week): The Miami Heat.

Not their finest moment. Growing up is hard.

Here’s the link.

Bieber: Not impressed by the latest TVFury pod.

Bieber: Not impressed by the latest TVFury pod.

I can already see how this Game 7 between the Pacers and Heat is going to go. You probably have similar visions. LeBron comes out and hits an 18-foot jumper. Pacers miss some early layups. Dwyane Wade gets an early layup, looking more Flash than Shell. Bosh hits a jumper, screams. Chalmers knocks down a 3. Lance Stephenson dribbles around aimlessly. Timeout Pacers, it’s about 11-2. The Heat never really sweat and cruise into the Finals.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe Wade and Bosh struggle again — why would the final game be any different than the previous six? The Pacers again pound the Heat on the glass and make it ugly. They lead by 2 at the half and it’s tight all the way, with Paul George finally making a clinching 3 in the final minute in front of a very tanned, and very quiet crowd.

Or it stays close and without six minutes to go LeBron takes over for good, scores eight straight, blocks a Hibbert layup, dishes out to Mike Miller for a 3 that puts the Heat up 14, helps the South Dakota native up after he tears an oblique on the shot. I actually still can’t see the Heat losing but that’s because I don’t want to get too excited about the possibility. Still, with Wade sounding more and more like Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum when it comes to needing to get involved in the flow of the offense, his excuse for being terrible, the Heat certainly aren’t the same team that won 27 in a row (it is amusing that when a Lakers player makes comments like Wade, it’s seen as proof that Kobe’s not a team player; I doubt we’ll see similar sentiments about LeBron).

Game 7s are the most exciting games in sports, no matter the league. But each one is different, even if the themes are always the same.


This week on the pod, TV and Fury talk NBA Conference finals: Spur vs. Grizzlies (yawn) and Heat-Pacers (yeah).

But, first, they get all primal and discuss fixing garbage disposals and mowing lawns. Warning: Contains high amounts of (pretend) testosterone.

Here’s the link.

The Fury household in Janesville always holds some surprises. Old science papers, bizarre medical books, magazines that are a century old, records with Cheech & Chong skits that my parents pretend they never listened to.

On my current trip I discovered another relic — and another example of my nonexistent art skills. In my old bedroom, sitting under some printing paper and scrap paper — which was underneath a red clothes hanger — was a scrapbook I created in 1987 and finished in 1991. It was my Lakers scrapbook and contained clippings that heralded their 1987 title and run through the 1989 playoffs. It ends in 1991 because Magic Johnson’s career ended in 1991.

But let’s start at the beginning.