We can go through the numbers, but they don’t really tell the story. We can see that the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 152-79, that nine different players scored in double figures for Memphis, that they shot 62 percent from the floor, yadda yadda yadda. It’s like counting how many colors Michelangelo used for the Sistine Chapel. I’m sure that number is impressive, but is viewing such a thing through statistics really the point?
Think about what it takes to lose by 73, the biggest margin of defeat in NBA history. That’s 48 minutes of incredible incompetence and indifference. You can’t take a second, much less a minute, off to lose every quarter by at least 15 points. The consistency is astounding. Anything this thorough, this complete, even an ass-waxing, is worthy of praise and esteem and wonder.
A team loses by 20, hey, they got into town at 2 a.m. after playing the night before and just didn’t have the legs. Lose by 30, everyone was hungover and some things just went wrong. Couldn’t get a bucket to fall. Lose by 40, everything went wrong, the other team couldn’t miss, the coach pulled the starters for the second half, the bench sucked. It’s all explicable.
But to be so far beyond that? It’s almost proof of a higher power. Someone has to be pulling the strings to make 10 professionals be so hapless at their jobs for one night that not only does everything go wrong for them, everything right for the opponents, too, that each of those 2,880 seconds the Thunder lost. You hear football coaches talk about winning every play. Imagine winning every second. Every snippet of someone on the floor, they were behind their counterpart. It’s astounding.
It’s beyond just giving up. We’ve seen teams tank a game plenty of times. There are nights by the 2nd quarter that a team knows it’s all for shit. Part of a coach’s job is knowing how to lose a game (this is why Tom Thibodeau will never go anywhere. By the way, co-workers, how’d the Knicks do last night? Who were they playing again? BEEP BEEP, drive home safely).
No, this was inspired. Wrought by a muse. It’s Exile On Main Street. It’s Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s the intersection of human creativity and a touch of the divine. That scene in Shawshank when all the inmates stop and are rendered motionless at the aria? That’s this. We don’t have to understand it. It’s better if we don’t. Comprehension really isn’t the point. Marvel at it, and know that there is more to the world than just what we see every day.