When someone goes for 85 points in an NBA game this season, please don’t downplay the accomplishment. I know Kobe Bryant’s 81 is immortalized, and Lakers fans don’t have much to keep them warm at night nowadays, so they’ll cling even harder, but it feels like someone is going to approach the modern-day mark. And that’s overlooking Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point performance earlier this season that was 10 shy of living on forever.
The scoring explosion this season feels like the final stage of the full transformation into the pace-and-space era. Rule changes have targeted defensive tricks like tax loopholes, and any way to ease the job of an NBA defense must be eradicated. However, nobody gets to complain about this. Every time a pro sports league makes it easier to score, there’s a segment of sports fans that screams about the death of defense.
I feel like that group of people is just quick to scream about anything, and has posted no less than 20 anti-Thursday Night Football rants. “What is this? The game is unwatchable. Are you fucking kidding me @NFL?!” I’ll ask this: When was the last time America didn’t unanimously put its stamp of approval on a high-scoring game?
That Chiefs-Rams 54-51 game on Monday Night Football a couple of years back was catnip, and the entirety of NFL Twitter was so drunk on offense that they sounded like Cris Collinsworth after Patrick Mahomes throws a jump pass. When was the last time you reminisced over a 10 a.m. Big Ten game where teams struggled to get past the 50?
Juice everything, who cares, the sun is going to explode
Right now, the NBA is in the middle of rivalry week, a contrived plot in late January to drum up interest in the dog days of the schedule, and I’m wondering why they don’t do Rock-n-Jock week with four-pointers and money-ball minutes, when crunch time buckets count as double? All records are meaningless and should be made so hollow that the true focus of the game — who wins — becomes the only thing that matters.
Don’t get mad at MLB for juicing the balls. It’s more fun when a batter makes contact and the ball isn’t caught or rolled over into a double play. Rain down so many home runs, passing yards, and threes that it gives new meaning to the word excess. I want to hear that hockey siren sound so much I have to check outside for a natural disaster. I need “Rocky Top” to ring through my ears like it’s the Burger King jingle. Images of broken coverage, busted runs, and uncontested layups should take the place of Whoppers and chicken fries in my dreams.
As long as there’s an illusion of defense, and it isn’t actually 7-on-7 drills or Tee-Ball, fans will accept the numbers. The only people who pine for ’90s-rules basketball are Knicks and Bulls fans, and that’s only because it was the last time either team was any good.
Oh, you remember when sports were played by real men? Well, you, sir, are sexist, and I don’t believe that you really enjoyed it when a quarterback’s average lifespan was that of an English Bulldog.
It’s all a series of distractions until you die
If you were wondering what my endgame is, I believe in nothing (it’s implied in the headline). Every World Cup, we pray to the god of soccer for mucho goals, and track the tallies like rainwater in a drought. What’s wrong with our World Cup overfloweth-ing? Wundergoals, volleys, and bicycle kicks should be worth triple. The degree of difficulty or amount of mustard on a stepback, chip, or one-handed catch should increase the value. I’m sick of the cliche that a dunk is only worth two points.
Let’s incentivize highlights, and go for spectacular over fundamental every fucking time. When you played catch while jumping into a pool as a kid, what did you say? “Throw me one that I have to dive for.” Alley-oops, completions, and triple dekes are all better than form tackles, pass breakups, and charges. Increase the size of golf holes, because a tournament where players struggle to break par is a tournament I sleep through.
Above all else, Americans want more points, goals, buckets, touchdowns, and birdies. Scoring is the point of the game. Not not scoring. This is the future that you demanded, and the NBA is just showing you a glimpse of it.