Cleveland is the city where we come from, so run

Those famous words taken from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony during the song “East 1999” (if you don’t know the tune, skip ahead to 3:41 in the video in case you’re one of those people):

Those words are now being taken quite literally by several key members of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

By now, we all know that the NBA during the months of June and July, is an insane asylum. And wouldn’t you know it, the summer of 2017 is no exception. Many of us were surprised to hear that Lebron James may bolt for L.A. in 2018. However, all of us – with the exception of Stephen A. Smith – were floored when we heard that Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the Cavaliers on July 21.

The news came like a kick to the nuts following a vasectomy. The news came like a Taco Bell meal following gastrointestinal surgery. The news came like the feeling of a busted condom following a one night stand. In case you’re slow and are missing the point, the news came accompanied with a certain amount of discomfort and uncertainty for most people.

Back to the topic at hand. Yep. You heard it right. Kyrie wants no part of Lebron after toiling away in obscurity in Cleveland for 4 years, before LBJ helped aid Irving to an NBA title in 2016. They’re saying Kyrie wants to be “the man” again, which is understandable I suppose. However something smells fishy. One of the places Kyrie wants to go is San Antonio. Hmmm… Kawhi Leonard and Gregg Popovich may have something to say about Kyrie being the main option for the Spurs. Other destinations include Minnesota, but they have Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, and Andrew Wiggins. Miami is another potential landing spot. Okay… sure… whatever.

 

But then there’s the New York Knicks…

The loveable…

Laughable…

New York Knicks…

The LOL Knicks…

The $71 M Tim Hardaway Jr. Knicks…

The oh-my-fucking-god-I-can’t-believe-how-poorly-this-franchise-has-been-run Knicks…

Okay, sorry I’m done now.

 

But seriously, nobody voluntarily wants to go to basketball’s current version of Siberia. Sure, Kyrie would be the man there, but why would he want to leave a championship contender for a club that has actively been shopping their only two good players, and has been severely mismanaged for a decade? Kyrie did a lot of losing with the Cavs between 2011 and 2015 so he knows what that’s about. Is it possible he hates Lebron that much? Maybe. But there could be something else at hand. None of this makes sense. So with that, I present to you the top 3 alternate reasons Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland:

3. Kyrie Irving wasn’t on this banana boat:

Image result for banana boat team

And he wasn’t included on this Gabrielle Union-less banana boat mock-up either:

Image result for banana boat team

Why won’t they let you on the banana boat Kyrie?

 

2. Kyrie Irving has a secret relationship with Russell Westbrook. Remember this?

Man, Russ was sure acting guilty at the end of that video. Is Kyrie trying to throw us all for a loop, and create his own superteam in OKC with Russell Westbrook and Paul George? If that “Thank you Kyrie” is confirmation of a contract agreement, we have some serious tampering charges at hand.

 

1. Kyrie Irving is leaving because of this simple text message thread. End of story:

 

That’s all for now. In the meantime, I’ll be in the fetal position in the corner until the next NBA atomic bomb hits.

PS – Listen to East 1999 while reading this write-up. They go rather well together. Like Ketchup chips and Grape Crush.

A letter to Knicks President, Phil Jackson

Hi Phil,

It’s your old friend, Anis.

I’m writing to you, just to make sure that everything’s okay.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks

How’s it going with the Knicks? I hear that you’re trying to trade Kristaps Porzingis. I wouldn’t have believed it, but everybody seems to be talking about it, Phil.

They’re saying you want to trade him because he missed his exit interview this season? Well, surely that isn’t the case Phil, I mean it’s just an interview. Kristaps is a once in a generation talent and you’re smarter than… Wait, hold on. Something just got delivered to my inbox:

“As much as we value Kristaps and what he’s done for us, when a guy doesn’t show up for an exit meeting, everybody starts speculating on the duration or movability from a club.”

– Knicks President, Phil Jackson

Hmmm. Interesting. As a friend, Phil, may I suggest that you don’t speculate when potentially mortgaging the future of your franchise? I mean, did you talk to Kristaps? I beleive he’s said that he wants to stay in New York. Although it could be too late, seeing as how you threw him under the bus and all.

But I believe in you Phil. You have 11 titles as a coach. 11! That’s special. I used to love watching you, and Michael, and Scottie, and Shaq, and Kobe, just destroying your competition. But, maybe… Just maybe times have changed, Phil. I mean, nobody wants to run the triangle anymore. It’s in the past. The strategy nowadays is to have stretch 4’s and stretch 5’s. But I understand, a three-point shooting centre is impossible to find. I mean where in the world would…

Oh, wait… Kristaps!!!!

He can shoot the three. And take his defender off the dribble. And protect the rim. And he’s 7’3. And he’s only 21. I mean, Phil, you know what they call him right? A unicorn. That’s right. A goddamn fucking unicorn. Something so rare, that you don’t believe it actually exits! Phil, you must be familiar with his skill set by now, it’s been two years already and… Hold on, another email:

“We know what he is. He’s a unicorn and he’s special.”

– Knicks President, Phil Jackson

I see. So there must be something else going on. This can’t be just about an exit interview. They’re just bullshit, right? I mean, even Joel Embiid knows that:

See? Nobody gives a shit about exit interviews. So, what is this about? You’re the freaking Zen Master, Phil. Nothing’s supposed to get to you. Wait…. Hold up… This isn’t because Jeanie Buss left you, is it?

Ah, crap. I was hoping this wouldn’t come up…

Phil, she’s gone. She’s in LA now. I know relationships are tough, but you can’t just destroy an entire frachise because of your failed love life. I know this sounds harsh, but I say this as a friend. And it’s not just me. Twitter is abound with people who share my viewpoint:

Wow, that last one though. You’re behind Reggie Miller. Phil, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I’m pretty certain that the average New Yorker wants Reggie Miller dead.

Okay fine, I’ve said what I needed to say. But I suppose I have to trust that you know what you’re doing. I mean, we’ve known each other since the 80’s and I guess I owe you that much. In the meantime Phil, can you promise me something? Please, please… Try not to alienate any of your other superstars until this smooths over, because I think… Argh!! Hold on, another email:

“We’ve expressed the fact that we’ve done a lot of things to try to put teams together that can win, and we haven’t been successful, and it might be time for him (Carmelo Anthony) to find an opportunity to go somewhere else.”

– Knicks President, Phil Jackson

Oh god. That’s the only other good player you have, Phil. Something must be seriously wrong. I’m on the next flight to New York. I’ll see you in a few hours. Hang in there.

Your lifelong friend,

Anis

The Bizzaro Game

Would you like to know what goes through my head during a basketball game? It’s the Diary of a Mad Man:

skysports-nba-golden-state-warriors-draymond-green_3974847

June 9, 2017. Warriors at Cavaliers. Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals. In the 25+ years that I have intensely followed the NBA, I have never been so utterly confused, disoriented, befuddled, bemused, vexed, perplexed, delighted, disillusioned, euphoric, nauseous – all at the same time, mind you – while watching a basketball game. There was so much taking place, that it was too much for my primitive mind to keep up with. At one point I believe that I claimed being able to hear colours, and taste music. I felt cold and alone on the night of June 9, 2017, and was longing to be in the arms of Michael Jordan and 1990’s basketball, where things were simple, and I could count the number of points scored in a game using my figners and toes alone. Instead, on that fateful night of June 9th, 2017, I was subject to a game that had more scoring than an NBA2K game on rookie difficulty with custom sliders, an all-star game calibre dunk, more intense chirping and physicality than we’ve seen between PK Subban and Sidney Crosby during the Stanley Cup Final, and a technical foul that changed hands midway through the game. And guess what? I’m being man enough now to admit that it was more than I could handle. So being the maniac that I am – now that I have temporarily regained my senses – I went back later during the night to chronicle all what had transpired. Consider the words that follow, as the beginning of my descent into insanity. If I’m not there already. I’ll also take the opportunity to note that this excerise made me realize that I never installed MS Office on my new computer, so I had to use WordPad for the first time ever. Who uses WordPad? I use WordPad, that’s who.

THINGS THAT HAPPEND IN GAME 4 OF THE 2017 NBA FINALS

1ST QUARTER
9:56 – An early start. LeBron James passes Michael Jordan for third on the career NBA Finals scoring list. I’m pretty sure none of you knew this even happened. The only reason I did is because I had an alert from TheScore on my phone.
7:54 – Jeff Van Gundy vehemently defends Khloe Kardashian for dating Tristan Thompson and Lamar Odom, and lambastes the Kardashian curse. I’m not sure if JVG is looking for a date, or if he’s trying get into the music industry by first sucking up to Rihanna, and now Kanye West.
1:56 – LeBron James misses a three-pointer, and earns a NBA Finals wedgie. Has there ever been a Finals wedgie?
1:55 – Off the ensuing jump ball, this is where the vortex of madness first breaks its seal. Perhaps the seal was broken by the wedgie. Wedgies are know to be inherently evil. Draymond Green receives a techincal foul for elbowing Iman Shumpert in the head, and then arguing about the call. This tech with later be assigned to Steve Kerr. What? Stay with me.
0:00 – The first quarter score is 49-33. The 49 points are the most scored by one team in any quarter in NBA Finals history. The Cavs shoot 22 free throws in the frame, and Warriors fans on social media are channeling their inner Ayesha Curry and claiming the game is fixed. It turns out it probably was, but I’m not sure in whose favour. However, the Cavs shot 58.3% from the floor, and from three, so they’re doing something right. At this point I still have full use of all my 5 senses.

2ND QUARTER
9:17 – This isn’t really important, but is a perfect miscrocosm that demonstrates just how bizzare and poorly officiated this game was. Kyrie Irving dribbles the ball off of himself into the backcourt, and proceeds to collect said ball out of the backcourt, but no over-and-back is called. This is the most egregious missed call of the game. Klay Thompson – the nearest defender – is a full three feet away from Kyrie. He did not touch the ball. However, karma is a thing, and Kyle Korver turns the ball over 6 seconds later. I feel people would be talking about this if it wound up being a close game, or if karma hadn’t intervened.
8:39 – Kevin Durant makes an impossible, Antawn Jamison-esque push shot, plus the foul. Nothing too special. Just a cool shot. I have NBA league pass so I get the in-house entertaiment, so during the ensuing commercial break, I realize that the Cavalier Girl’s show during intermission is basically an act out of strip club. Also cool.
7:28 – JR Smith hits maybe the most JR Smith-like shot of his career. A three-pointer from about 35 feet to beat the shot clock.
7:19 – Dahntay Jones gets called for a techincal foul from the bench. This is what he does now. He doesn’t play basketball anymore. He just chirps at the guys who are playing basketball. I think the JR three-ball is the point where I started to lose some screws. I didn’t even notice the Jones tech while watching live.
5:38 – Dwyane Wade is in the building going incognito as Lil Uzi Vert. I make fun of Wade’s red hair on Twitter. A co-worker immediately burns me back for having no hair.
1:07 – Kyrie Irving hits an and-one to give him 28 points in the half, but nobody cares about that. What we do care about is that the bucket gives the Cavs 82 halftime points, the most in a half in NBA Finals history.
0:00 – The Cavs lead 86-68 at halftime. The Warriors score 68 and are down 18 at half. The Cavs made 13 triples in the half, which broke a record set by the Warriors in game 3. There were 30 total fouls called. The first half took about an hour-and-a-half. I’m a little dizzy, but I still have feeling in my extremities. If I had to, I could still operate heavy machinery. If you’re an extremely seasoned NBA fan, you may find this rather mundane. Two of the best teams ever can score a bunch. So what? Well, get ready. The second half gets bat-shit insane in a hurry.

THIRD QUARTER
9:05 – Uh, what? LeBron throws an alley-oop off the backboard to himself a la Tracy McGrady during the 2002 All-Star game. My brain has officially abandoned my body, as evidenced by this tweet:

It’s a play you’ll see a million times, a billion if the Cavs somehow manage to come back to win the series. I think the most important thing is that for the first time in NBA history, this was the right play to make. It looked like he was about to perform a floater but then realized he was off-balance and if he put it off the backboard, he could get his own rebound for a higher percentage shot. Then in mid-air I think he realized he could pull off the T-Mac. I believe LeBron believed that he could easily out-jump teammate Tristan Thompson for the rebound because Tristan is Canadian, and Canadians are crap at basketball and are only good at hockey. Hey, don’t get mad at me, that’s LBJ talking.
8:52 – LeBron is hobbling after colliding with Zaza Pachulia. I was worried, but like for only 30 seconds. I’m not crying, you’re crying. I quickly realized LeBron is a Gatorade baby engineered in a factory as JR said in his post-game interview, so he is never actually hurt.
7:26 – This is where the refereeing really starts getting suspect. Kevin Durant is fouled by Kevin Love. Clearly a common foul. However, Durant jumps immediately to his feet to complain to the referee that the foul is flagrant because he was hit in the head. They’re actually going to review this? Checking in on me:

Wow, that escalated quickly. So dark. Looking back courtside, LeBron and Durant are jawing at each other because NBA players are studio gangsters. For those in the dark, a studio gangster is a rapper who raps about guns, drugs, violence, and murder in the studio, but doesn’t particiapate in those acts in real life. I can’t believe some of you didn’t know this. Perhaps influenced by the heated exchange between LBJ and KD, this textbook common foul is somehow ruled flagrant. Oh, this review took about 3 hours in my estimation. Don’t worry, I had a change of heart and decided not to give up on life. Yet.
6:18 – Oh boy. Draymond Green fouls Kevin Love. Draymond acts demonstrative towards the referee and picks up his second technical foul. All 2.74 million people watching this game (I made that number up), including players, think Draymond is ejected. As much as Draymond is my mortal enemy, this is a weak technical call. However, the arena is playing “Hit the road Jack”. He’s gone. Nothing could possibly change this. What? What happened? As referenced at 1:55 of the 1st quarter, that early technical called on Green, was supposed to be called on Steve Kerr according to the referees. Argghh!!! My brain!!!:

These tweets are an obvious cry for help, and a clear signal that I have lost all control. So, Draymond is allowed to keep playing. When you have some time, google the referees account of how this happened. It’s hilarious. Whatever, while this game is nuts (note the choice of word right there – see below at 1:10), what else could possibly happen…
4:02 – Update. My girl Doris Burke confirms that the scorer’s table believes that the first quarter technical at 1:55 was called on Green, not Kerr. The scorer’s table also says that the first time they’d heard that the tech was supposed to be on Kerr was about 10 minutes ago. Sounds like a conspiracy. I hate my life. Ironically, Draymond’s mother was tweeting out that the game was rigged. Warriors people like doing that. No really. Lucky for her son, it was rigged.
2:21 – Deron Williams scores his first bucket of the Finals. He bad.
1:10 – Groin punch! For the 17th time in the past 2 years, a Warriors player strikes an opponent in the groin. During a scrum for the ball, Zaza Pachulia hits Iman Shumpert in the man parts. No big deal, it’s cool, Zaza can keep playing. The crowd is getting ornery and restless, and there’s a very Malice in the Palace vibe at the Quicken Loans Arena. A sense of impending doom. It looks like Matt Barnes is engaged in a studio gangster session with a fan sitting courtside. This fan is ejected, but is shaking hands with security on his way out. It turns out, he has ties with LeBron. You can’t make this stuff up. I’m not sure I can handle any more things. This quarter has lasted 40 days and 40 nights, and I need sleep eventually.
0:02 – Wow, a basketball stat! LeBron hits the Cavs 20th three-pointer of the game. A new NBA Finals record.
0:00 – Huh? What? Oh, the score. It’s 115-96 Cavs through three quarters, but that barely seems relevant at this juncture.

4TH QUARTER
6:07 – Draymond Green delivers a forearm shiver to the back of Tristan Thompson’s head. However, it’s not considered flagrant because the Cavs didn’t beg for a review. I feel ill.
4:53 – Ho hum. Another record. LeBron James collects a rebound for his 9th career NBA Finals triple-double, passing Magic Johnson. Who cares? What’s the point?
0:00 – Oh right. Both teams dribbled the basketball a bit, and shot the basketball a bit, the scrubs came in, and the Cavs won 137-116. Cleveland had 49 points in a quarter, 86 points in a half, 24 three-pointers made, all NBA Finals records. Draymond Green was allowed to play with 4 technicals, and 7 flagrant fouls. The end is near. It’s the apocalypse. I’m exhausted. It’s 12 AM and I don’t know where my children are. I want to celebrate, and forget this game ever happened all at the same time. Now I’m going to sleep for a few days. See you in Game 5.