I’d like to thank Chicago Tribune columnist Bernie Lincicome for saying what all of us were already thinking. The Golden State Warriors, working with a 56-6 record, have had it easy. The team is relying on a transparently gimmicky 3-point shot and (hell, let’s get real here) a gimmick player and supposed “MVP” that could only secure a scholarship to Davidson even though his father played in the NBA. Worse, the Warriors traipse around a league that has become diluted by expansion, an NBA growing softer by the day.
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Adam Silver’s NBA has become a walking (often traveling) designated hitter rule of a league. Just like the DH, the NBA is offense-only, with no defense (like the batteries in your kid’s Christmas gift) included. Nobody, outside of overpriced sneaker collectors and fans of piped-in hip-hop, would want to watch this stuff.
As you well know, if the Warriors finish the year on a 17-3 run – an easy feat considering the current and sad state of this league full of puff pastries and internet geek boy fans – then they’ll have “beaten” the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record for wins in a season.
I put “beaten” in quotation marks because I am a talented and knowledgeable columnist, and because I know that no team can truly beat those Bulls. Again, I’m just saying what everyone is thinking.
Chicago lost 10 times that season prior to winning the championship, taking 87 wins in 100 games to glory overall. These Warriors would be lucky to bench press 100 pounds, which is why I’ve decided to go into detail regarding the combined 16 losses these teams have put up so far in their respective seasons.
As if these Warriors, all full of 3-pointers, chartered jets and shoe deals, are actually truly “respective.”
We go chronologically, as Naismith intended:
The most important thing to know about this game is that the Bulls debuted their black pinstriped jerseys in this contest, jerseys that would continue to curse the team throughout the year. Curses are real, people, especially when it comes to any of the 219 documented sports curses that persist to this day. Lincoln’s secretary was named “Kennedy,” Kennedy’s secretary was named “Lincoln,” Lincoln Kennedy had his worst year as a pro in 1995. Pull out a damn book and look it up.
Pinstripes are fine and dandy when Ryne Duren is wearing them, but keep them off my basketball court.
If you ask me, the NBA never should have expanded into Seattle back in 1969. Now, Albuquerque. THAT’s a town. I spent a year there one night.
Michael Jordan missed 13 of 19 shots in this loss, probably all down in the dumps after listening to that Smashing Pumpkins long player that came out a month before.
I never understood why anyone, least of all someone with as hearty a gait as Billy Corgan, would want to smash a pumpkin? Not only is it a very valuable and versatile gourd, but it’s a pointless way to send a message to your neighbors. Do like we did when I was a child (prior to my years spent working in the cannery), and pour some lye into your neighbor’s well every All Hallow’s Eve.
Flying into Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in double overtime (wait, double overtime? When did we start to allow that? Play Mumblety-peg to decide a tie contest, I say), the Warriors lost their first game of the season to the Milwaukee Bucks.
A Buck team full of 20-year-olds, mind you. Children. Born 20 years after the first time Oscar Robertson told us reporters that he was better than any active player.
(By the way, I refuse to list Robertson as a “Buck.” Once a Royal, always a Royal.)
The Warriors probably blamed this one on the long flight from Jeffrey Field, but “flight” is the operative word here. They got to fly to their next game. They even gained an hour.
(I usually refuse to recognize time zones, as well.)
Playing a day after the NBA’s Christmas spate of games that Jordan and Co. were oddly not featured in, an ex-ABA team somehow beat the Bulls despite starting a man from the Batavian Republic at center.
While we’re not on the subject, the NBA season goes on for too long, and should end at least a week before Christmas. I’m tired of seeing games played in March, April and even May. Spring is for the weak, and fanciful.
I digress. Because I’m a columnist, I’m allowed to.
Also, no sports team should be allowed use a state in its team’s name. The Pacers don’t represent all of Indiana. You think rooters in Bright, Ind., are Pacer fans? Not with all those Royals games to listen to!
The Mavericks, another expansion team led by a Bavarian and owned by a Cuban Bolshevik, blew the Warriors out by 23 points.
Stephen Curry sat this game out, which would seem to be a boon for both the Warriors and the NBA in whole, as he spared us his endless chucking. Starters Draymond Green, Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson combined to miss 11 of 14 3-pointers, which is mind-boggling when you consider that the 3-pointer is the easiest shot in the NBA.
“Mind-boggling” should be illegal on Sundays in all states. And statehood in general … well, we’ll talk about that later.
Wow, 2016 already. Hard to believe it’s been 36 years since I last had to renew my driver’s license (a lemming-creating construct placed onto us by the federal government, I should remind).
Working against an ABA team that didn’t even have Byron Beck on hand to keep things sensible, the Warriors shot themselves in the foot by making 10 of 26 3-pointers for a 38.5 percent average. I say, a .385 batting average would lead even the Federal League! These are Heinie Zimmerman-esque numbers, and the Warriors couldn’t even top a Nuggets team helmed by a clear Irishman.
Stephen Curry set the NBA back 20 years (to the days of Arnie Risen, a man who never forgot a face he couldn’t remember) by shooting 7-15 from behind the 3-point arc in this contest, and Draymond Green missed six of his seven shots in the loss.
Perhaps the Michigan State University graduate was out too late the night before, downing too many Brandy Alexanders with his chums from his old school’s rowing circle. Perhaps Pistons owner Fred Zollner dropped something into Draymond’s Ovaltine the morning of the game, as he sat down for his steak, steak, eggs and steak breaking of the fast. All I know is that the Pistons’ head coach sports facial hair, and that he should be banned from the NBA for as much.
This loss, to Denver, proves just how wholly unoriginal these Golden State Warriors are.
The Bulls, working under the cruel confines of thin mountain air, fell to the Nuggets despite center Bill Wennington (a through and through red-blooded American if I ever saw one) establishing a season-high with 18 points. The loss snapped an 18-game winning streak, though the Bulls mounted a furious comeback from 31 points down, prior to falling as Denver’s Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf scored 32 points.
Phil Jackson recently caused an uproar when he compared Curry to Abdul-Rauf via Jackson’s Telex account. For once, I write in lockstep with the Young Turks in the media that I usually despise: Phil Jackson was absolutely wrong. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was the far, far superior player.
Two nights later, after being forced to fly into the dry and unforgiving Arizona air, Chicago (wearing those damnedable pinstriped uniforms), fell to a team named after the star that revolves around the earth.
Charles Barkley had 35 points and the game-clinching steal in the win, which is fine, but he’ll never get a post-NBA television career unless he learns to clean up his rude language. His only chance would be hooking on with one of those fledgling cable television outlets that want to drill a co-axial cable-sized hole into my house (I say NO THANK YOU, sir).
Working in a city best known for its lobster trade, acting as the birthplace of Hiram Abrams, and being the site of the northernmost battle in the Civil War, the Warriors were felled by a 3-point-chucking Trail Blazers team that learned ably at the feet of the scoundrel!
Damian Lillard tossed in nine 3-pointers to the delight of the Mainers, and his team shot 17-for-30 from long range overall.
“Long range.” I hesitate to use that phrase. You know who had long range? Odie Spears. Now that was a Hilltopper the town of Rochester could set its watches to!
A joke from beginning to end. And not the kind that Joe E. Ross used to tell. The bad kind, like Ray Bourbon would.
Miami was somehow allowed to play despite only having eight players available in uniform, following several trades on the NBA’s “trade deadline.” A clear forfeiture should have resulted, and the Bulls (flying in from a night spent in Atlanta, a town that from my experience is without vice) obviously thought as much.
Why else would they let a Heat team hit 15 of 23 3-pointers? A shot that is the NBA’s easiest to make, no less. Why else would they let Rexicald Chapman, a cager working for the league minimum, toss in toss in 9-10 from outside?
This, I give the Warriors a bit of credit for.
The Lakers are a terrific franchise. Owner Jack Kent Cooke has done wonders in baseball-mad Los Angeles in creating a team Tinsel Town can be proud of. For further proof, look at the scads of great stars that dot the stands of the Los Angeles Sports Arena:
Victor Mature! Tab Hunter, perpetually having to keep the adoring ladies at bay. Dino, Desi and Billy with their mop-tops! It’s a scene.
In coach Byron Scott, the Lakers have a strong-willed leader. In Kobe Bryant, they have one of the league’s greats, and the son of former NBA’er Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. I love jellybeans, all four flavors of them (apple, molasses, candied beet and plain).
The Lakers have struggled this year, but there is no shame in Golden State losing to an outfit like this.
There is shame in most other things, though. Like in not being ready to serve your guests cocktails when the sun is over the yardarm.
It is no co-incidence that Chicago, again, wore its black pinstriped uniformed to this game, Jeff Van Gundy’s second as head coach, one that was televised by the National Broadcasting Corporation.
This was the Bulls’ worst loss of the season, but let’s be honest with ourselves – the fix was in. The NBA can clearly only thrive if the New York Knicks have a great team. Otherwise, the league nears minor league fiefdom in the face of dominant headline grabbers like baseball, boxing, horse racing, college football, the NHL, and professional bowling.
I shouldn’t knock fiefdom. It’s worth exploring again.
Black pinstriped uniforms, again. This also stands as another reason to remind ourselves that expansion has diluted the NBA. Golden State has 30 NBA teams to work against. The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls? Only 29. Much stiffer competition.
Noah should have knocked those dinosaurs off of his Ark when he had a chance.
Another head-scratcher. Like the dirigible. How do those work?
The Bulls had four chances at a tip-in during the game’s final seconds, but missed each without the referees’ acknowledgement that Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen were involved, and that any of the three should have been rewarded foul shots merely for their greatness and effort. Bulls guard Steve Kerr was fouled with 0.7 seconds left on the clock at half-court, but the referees refused to call as much.
Kerr and Stephen Curry’s father Dell (who hit two of his three 3-pointers and had 19 points) worked this game prior to planting the seeds of wickedness that now bear bitter fruit: the modern NBA. Just as wicked was the Breathe-Rite strip that Hornets guard Pete Myers (who hit a half-court 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer) wore during this game. Check your local library’s microfiche for any of my several Breath-Rite columns from the day.
Announcers at the time had taken to calling Myers “Pistol Pete,” which makes no sense. We all know there was only one Pistol Pete, and that man was Petey Rosenberg.
The Bulls gave their stars a ridiculous amount of rest in this game, 1995-96’s penultimate contest. Michael Jordan only played 31 minutes. The same goes for Toni Kukoc. Scottie Pippen played just 30 minutes, and Dennis Rodman played 26. Luc Longley, Chicago’s tallest player, played just half the game!
Jordan was re-inserted down the stretch and helped Chicago take a one-point lead in the waning seconds, but a phantom foul call from referee and noted Texan Hue Hollins allowed Indiana to hit two free throws that they clearly did not deserve.
So there you have it. These Golden State Warriors can prance their way to a 76-6 record, and I could care less. For all intensive purposes, Chicago remains the superior ballclub – playing the game the right way, employing a man named “Jud,” only pausing 10 times to let the league’s poorer opponents grab a win.
In the end, we all know the only sporting opponent these legendary Chicago Bulls would fall fairly to:
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