The NBA Closer is written by our own Canadian weekend maestro J.E. Skeets. When he's not busy scouring the box scores, he can be heard on The Basketball Jo— Shut it down, little man. Shut it DOWN! What a pathetic performance by this sad human being. This guy is a disgrace to the game of basketball and to the NBA Closer. Thankfully, Will Leitch has let me swoop in here, without warning, like the great medium-sized black and white Magpie native to Australia and southern New Guinea, to defend my love and passion for this game that I hold so near and dear. Hi, everybody. My name is Bill Walton. And I'm here today to lead us down the majestic path that is last night's action in the National Basketball Association.
• American Beauty. You look at LeBron James, and this guy is cut from stone. As if Michelangelo was reading Deadspin and a lightening bolt of brilliance flashed before his eyes. The natural maturation process now enables this grandmaster to regularly accomplish the unimaginable. Most top players get to the point where they truly believe that anything is possible. Most are also governed by gravity, the laws of physics and self-regulating mental control mechanisms. LeBron James has left all these behind. A superhero amongst Clarks, LeBron James returned, off the bench, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, ignited by their superstar's return from a sprained left finger, snapped a six-game losing streak with the 118-105 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Larry Hughes, a player riddled with as many injuries throughout his career as even I, also came off the bench and scored a season-high 36 points in just 26 minutes. Like the flaxseed Prairie growers of Eastern Canada, that is production.
• Without A Net. T.J. Ford had 26 points before he was sent crashing from the heavens, casting a long, dark cloud over Toronto's 100-88 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Not for the weak-stomached or children, T.J. Ford was headed toward a breakaway basket when Atlanta rookie Al Horford hit the guard's face with his hand. Ford landed hard, his head bouncing. He was strapped to a stretcher and wheeled off the court. At times like this, I find solace in UCLA legend John Wooden, the greatest college coach in the history of basketball, who used to say that, "basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior. Until that is done, we are on an aimless course that runs in circles and goes nowhere." Truer words have never been spoken. Get well, T.J. Ford. Get. Well.
• Reckoning. In the grand scheme of cosmic life it doesn't matter that the Golden State Warriors, led by Baron Davis' 18 points, six rebounds and six assists, defeated the Tim Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs to the tune of 96-84. Head-to-head and everything being equal, San Antonio, today's most successfully managed franchise in the universe, is still the best team in the league. Look at Matt Bonner's 25 points and 17 rebounds; truly one of the greats. Not just of this generation, but of all time. And Greg Popovich. What is there to say about Greg Popovich that hasn't already been said? He has everything a top coach has. He has the leadership, the passion, the commitment, the dedication, the vision, the swagger, the voice, the four limbs, the cock, the balls, the human touch. He will have this team repeating as champions.
• Built To Last. Yao Ming is the best thing to happen to the NBA in a long time. He is just a beautiful person inside and out. The vision, the creativity, the gentleness of spirit ... he has it all. He would have dominated the opposition had he played in this Chicago 123, Seattle 96 basketball game. Just dominated.