January 02, 2009
You read that correctly. Every team is playing tonight. Every damn team. I've been a pretty voracious follower of this league for quite some time, and a League Pass freak for a decade, but I don't think I've ever seen this.
And while there aren't a ton of intriguing matchups, you can't help but bask in it: all 30 teams are playing tonight. 15 games. Wowser.
Adding to the junkie's lament, none of them are on national TV. Well, Pacers/Knicks is on NBA TV (and that should be a fun one, the over/under is probably at around 270, but no wagering, please), but we're a couple of years away from calling that a national game. The litmus test for that is usually, "can my Dad find it on the dish in under 30 seconds," and I'm not even going to ask him to. I know the answer already. 37 seconds.
Above all, to me, the Hornets/Trail Blazers pairing should be pretty sweet. I'm aware that it could be pretty one-sided, and that it is in Portland, that the Trail Blazer offense is brilliant, and the Hornets' D has fallen off this season (they're fouling quite a bit more, Tyson Chander isn't as hot to trot this year), and Portland has won five straight over New Orleans.
That said, Brandon Roy might be out tonight, and even if he does play, there will be gimpiness. There will be pained expressions. Hamstrings will be clutched at. Also, Steve Blake should be guarding Chris Paul. There will be a whole lot of pained expressions surrounding that one.
Others to try in catch in whatever way you can (kindly stay semi-legal, torrent'ors) include the Heat in Orlando, the Hawks in New Jersey, the Warriors in Minneapolis (you always have to pay attention when two toothless bottom-feeders show up), Charlotte in Milwaukee (both teams will execute perfect plays coming out of timeouts and dead balls, and play horrid basketball the other 80 percent of the time), and a Jazz/Lakers game in Los Angeles that I should really be looking forward to more than I am. The Boozer thing worries me.
All in all, a marvelous night. Much better than the Liberty Bowl.
(Also, there's no way I could pass on linking to this. I thought about giving Bill Simmons' latest mess the FJM treatment, but passed due to crippling anger that led to my girlfriend finding me passed out on the bathroom floor, clutching a book written by Bob Ryan.
Mike from Knickerblogger, however, has no such issues. You truly need to read his post on the column. The third paragraph, concerning the tired "defense wins championships" motto, especially. Kindly keep questioning us sportswriting mugs, and have a wonderful weekend.)