The NBA finally got past the opening act, and now that everybody got a beer, went to the bathroom one last time, and the house-lights have gone down, the real show has begun. The actual playoffs started yesterday, and they were a small lesson in glorious defeat. That’s kind of what the playoffs are, though. Yesterday just happened to be a vibrant illustration.
In the day’s first game, the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, the second NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus back in March, went for 57. The Jazz lost by 10. Luka Dončić set a league record for most points by a player in his NBA playoff debut later that night, going for 42, but it wasn’t enough for the Mavs to take Game 1 from the Clippers. Dončić can feel the more hard done by, as the Mavs were leading for most of the game until midway through the third quarter when Kristaps Porzingis was ejected with his second technical. His first was a pretty weak one, after he waved a fist either in celebration of a block or in frustration after being called for a foul on said block. The second was for getting himself involved in a discussion with Paul George. From there, the Clippers went from down five to taking control and Dončić was just about the Mavs’ only option.
Even more impressive was Dončić put up that stat line in just 38 minutes, as he missed a chunk of the first half after hurting his ankle. It’s perhaps a harsh lesson for Dončić, though one could say it can only get better from here. It seems to be a rite of NBA growth for stars that you will spend your first couple of playoff runs doing everything you can only to watch your teammates play as if in a fog, making you wonder why the fuck you bothered in the first place. This is how the NBA teaches. Dončić had his first lesson.
-Meanwhile, in the Northern Bubbles, the NHL playoffs rolled on. The Avalanche punted the Coyotes into the vast reaches of the Canadian mountains with a 7-1 win to go up 3-1 in their series. While Connor McDavid monopolizes the hockey highlight industry by streaking past defenders in Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote fashion, Nathan MacKinnon has his share.
The highlight here is the way Arizona’s Jason Demers knows he’s cooked just about the time that Mac K crosses the blue line, yet he still has to go through the motions of trying to stop him. He knows he has no chance, but he still has to at least pretend to do all the right things by attempting to cut off an angle to the net or strip the puck, even though he has about as much chance at either as you do sitting hundreds of miles away at least on your couch/toilet. Most jobs in the world are just about the appearance of doing something though, whatever you actually do or don’t. Demers demonstrates that here.
Elsewhere, the Bruins either had an incredible comeback in the 3rd period of their fourth game against Carolina, or the Hurricanes coughed up a hairball the size of a pineapple. The Bruins entered the third trailing 2-0, but would win the game 4-3 after allowing just two shots in the frame and taking 16. It was a complete pantsing by the Bruins on the Canes, who now trail 3-1 and are without two of their top six forwards thanks to Andrei Svechnikov’s injury in Game 3 and now Jordan Staal is lost, thanks to his attempt to be the fat man to Charlie McAvoy’s cannonball into his gut. It didn’t go so well.
But hey, the Canes scored on one of those two shots. So points for the economy of movement.
-It’s a shame that this baseball season doesn’t matter or isn’t real, or most everything about it is either depressing or enraging. Because perhaps if the world hadn’t attempted to go inside out, this would be Fernando Tatis Jr.’s coming out party. He only went for two homers and seven RBI last night in the Home Depot the Rangers call home. He’s slugging .729 on the year with a 1.109 OPS.
This one only came off his bat at a 112 MPH. Most countries would make you register that kind of weaponry. But hey...Texas.