by John Walters

Susie B, please check in to assure us you are alive. I don’t want to have to send paramedics out to your home.

Starting Five

Durant averaged 35.2 ppg in the NBA Finals and never scored fewer than 31 points in any game

Shooting Out The Walls of Heartache*

*The judges will also accept “Kevin Can’t Wait” and “K.D. and the Sunshine Band” 

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry (from the poem To A Mouse by Robert Burns). But in this case it didn’t. The Dubs lost Game 7 to the Cavs last June after a record-setting 73-9 season, then lured the NBA’s best player who was not involved in that series (Kevin Durant), then rode him to a 68-15 season, a 16-1 postseason, and a 4-1 victory over the Cavs in the NBA Finals.

Curry, Durant and Klay Thompson buried 19, 18 and 17 threes respectively in the Finals. The Dubs averaged 14 per game. Jump-shooting teams CAN win the championship.

Cleveland led 41-33 in the second quarter, and then Durant and Stephen Curry (two players who’ve won the last three NBA MVP awards) led a 27-4 tear to put GSW up 60-45 and all of a sudden the pressure was off. Game over, series over, and the Dubs wouldn’t choke for the second year in a row. Durant scored 39 last night and averaged 35.1 per game in the Finals; Curry scored 34 last night and averaged nearly 27.


Both dudes are still under 30 years old. The Dubs win their second NBA Finals of the past three years and looked primed for more. Meanwhile, I don’t know if the Spurs would have taken them down or not, but I’ll forever wonder, seeing as how they were up 25 at Oracle in the 3rd quarter when Kawhi Leonard was lost for the series, what might have been…

2. Classic Pitt Pic

Above, and taken Sunday by Charles LeClaire of USA Today Sports, is the most iconic Pittsburgh baseball photo since the 1960 World Series. That’s centerfielder Andrew McCutchen leaping over the Marlins’ J.T. Realmuto in a feckless attempt to avoid the tag and score. No luck, but the Pirates still won, 6-1.

This shot, of students atop the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning watching the fateful moment when Bill Mazeroski’s shot won Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, remains the most iconic shot in Iron City baseball history.

3. Bereaveland

This is what’s known as an ironic metaphor

Despite averaging a triple double during the NBA Finals (33.6 points, 12 boards and 10 assists per game), LeBron James could only lead the Cavs to one win. You can argue, effectively that he was the MVP in both the 2015 and the 2017 Finals, or at least the top performer.

So what went wrong for the C.C.s? It’s weird, their second banana (Kyrie Irving) outscored the Dubs’ second banana, their third banana (third banana?), Kevin Love, scored only two fewer than GSW’s third while out-rebounding everyone in the Finals except LeBron. And 4th-7th bananas outscored GSW’s by 22 points. In fact, GSW only drained one more three per game than Cleveland did (both teams shot .382 from beyond the arc). The two teams were one turnover away from being dead even (GSW committed one more, on the final play of the Finals). The stats appear to line up in Cleveland’s favor.

So what went wrong? Without digging too deep, I’d say ASSISTS. Golden State had 147 assists to Cleveland’s 108. Simply a better passing team scoring more easy buckets, which is demoralizing for a defense. Sure, Kevin Durant also went wrong for the Cavs, but that one number is huge. The Dubs average nearly 30 assists per game. The Cavs averaged 21.

When you learn they want you to wear sleeved jerseys in a Finals clinching game.

Where does Cleveland go now? They got Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith to compete with the Dubs from an ICBM standpoint. And they sorta did. But they need to be younger and more athletic. Fewer vets and more guys like, well, Andrew Wiggins (that said, Kevin Love did have a good series, averaging 16 and 12; not a superstar series, but a good one).

Meanwhile, LeBron actually said last night, “I don’t believe I’ve played for a ‘super team.’ ” (What Was Allegedly Written On Your Gate), please.

4. Donald Akbar

Yesterday at the White House members of Donald Trump‘s cabinet, in their first full meeting, took turns at giving him a hand…job. This “adulation bath” as it is called was both prompted by Trump and noticeably on camera.

Mike Pence: “Greatest privilege of my life.”

Etc. I liked also when the budget director said, “We are going to take care of the people who really need it,” i.e., the top 5% of income earners.

It’s as if he’s not satisfied simply being the worst president America will ever have. He wants to be even less than that.

Here’s Seth Meyers on the grandstanding…

5. The First Concert Festival

Jim Morrison, playing with a then barely known band out of LA called The Doors

Last weekend they staged the 16th Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, and it was once again a big deal as U2 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined. I wasn’t there so I don’t know if anyone paid homage to the fact that last weekend also marked the 50th anniversary of the genesis of all U.S. concert festivals (even though Genesis did not appear), where a weekend ticket cost $2.

The Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival took place on scenic Mount Tamalpais in Marin County and was a two-day event sponsored by a local San Francisco radio station. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 music and hallucinogenic fans showed up to launch, effectively, the famed Summer of Love (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had been released in the U.S. just one week earlier).

Check out the lineup: Dionne Warwick, The Doors, The Byrds, Captain Beefheart, The Fifth Dimension, The Grass Roots, Tim Buckley, the Steve Miller Band, and a young Janis Joplin fronting a band. A local deejay named Sly Stone sat in the crowd and took it all in.

If you’re a music fan, read this tremendously entertaining oral history of the weekend from Rolling Stone (the mag would launch in SF later that year), which talks about how the Hell’s Angels gave musicians rides to the show on the backs of their bikes and how the lead singer of Captain Beefheart had a bad trip in the middle of their set (psychedelic drugs) that led to a worse fall.

Music 101

Nights Are Forever

Mid-Seventies soft-power rock (admittedly, it’s quite a niche category) didn’t get any better than England Dan & John Ford Coley. This tune lit up AM radio in late 1976 and rose to No. 10 on the Billboard chart, off the album of the same name.

Remote Patrol

Go outside tonight. Or read The Sellout from Paul Beatty. Nothing on.

6 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!B

  1. “I can think of younger days when viewing the NBA Finals
    Was everything a fan could want to do
    I could never see tomorrow
    But I was never told about the sorrow

    How can you stop the rain from falling down?
    How can you stop the sun from shining?
    What makes the world go round?”

    I’ll TELL YA what makes my world go ’round – watching LeBron ‘Sweet Pea’ James play basketball. 🙂 To criticize the Cavs for “losing” to the Supervillains is to complain that the world’s most expensive private yacht would be crushed by an aircraft carrier. The current GS team is a NBA-enabled doped-equivalent gang. It’s as if the 2nd best pro-cycling team publicly declared one month after last year’s Tour de France – “hey, we’re gonna put all our cyclists on a year-long regimen of EPO, testosterone, HGH, etc but NOBODY ELSE on any team can do the same & show up at the Tour next year & blow the doors off – try to stop us”. THAT’S who the Warriors are. And the NBA signed off. And the media squawked for awhile but revealed their true hypocritical, butt-kissing souls by actually crowing last night that now that Gutless Durant has actually “won” a championship, “everything is fine”. ARE THEY SERIOUS? You wanna know why I have a problem with so many in the sports media, jdubs?- that right there!

    And once more & forever after- to pretend that adding the previous MVP to a 73-win team with the current 2-time MVP was the same as LBJ going to Miami & BUILDING a team is disingenuous at best but mostly just moronic. (BTW, I went & looked up the Heat’s record in 2007-2010 & twice they failed to even make the playoffs with one year finishing dead last in the East & the other 2 years they made the playoffs but lost in the 1st round – THAT’s the “superteam” that LeBron & Bosh came to join in the summer of 2010…)

    Kevin Love was NOT the reason the Cavs lost the championship. In fact, he was their 2nd best player in Games 1 & 2 & a significant factor in winning Game 4. I watched Game 3 four (!) times now & each time I can’t believe we lost – it’s like we were ahead with less than a minute to go after outplaying the SW 95% of that game & then someone switched the light off for a few seconds & when they came back on, we’re in the hole! By the times our “eyes adjusted”, it was too late. Sigh. Anyhoo, IF the Cavs had ALL played up to their capability in EVERY GAME, I think we had a better chance that I originally thought. And while Korver seems like a really good guy, the truth is that both he & Deron Williams did NOT perform even close to as hoped & really hurt our chances. They certainly were not the only ones who underperformed but they COULD have really helped & didn’t.

    • Susie – you appear to be trying to compare apples to apples when you are comparing apples to oranges or maybe its sweetPeas to oranges?

      Yes Durant joined a 73 win team that lost in the NBA Finals and made them better. I can see how this is perceived but GSW needed him as much as he wanted to be there.

      The Cavs were able to wear down the Warriors last year and as a result Harrison Barnes couldn’t provide that 4th scoring option they needed. The Warriors lost games 6 & 7 last year because Curry, Klay and Dray were worn out from chasing Irving, JR and LBJ around the court. Plus Thompson showed up on the glass.

      This year, Durant allowed Curry to guard Smith and preserve his legs plus it allowed Dray the freedom to guard Love or Thompson instead of LBJ for most of the game.

      The Cavs started to figure things out in Game 2 but Game 3 happened and hope was lost. They had no faith in the bench which meant LBJ and Kyrie had to play 40+ minutes each game. Look at who the Warriors played at the end of the third start of fourth: McCaw, Livingston, West, Andre, Barnes, etc. They had the better bench.

      Also, this year the Warriors had Curry attack the boards to limit Thompson. (I believe he had more rebounds) it also helps start the fast break.

      As JDubs pointed out, the Cavs played too much 1 on 1 as shown by the lack of assists which tired out your best two players.

      Now about the Heat vs Warriors comparisons. Draymond is an All-Star bc he’s on this team. He can’t carry a team. Steph, Klay and KD can carry a team. same as Bosh, LBJ and Wade. LBJ joined a team that was created to win titles if he didn’t then that whole “not 5, not 6, not 7” quote was pure delusion.

      Lastly, do you know which team last night featured 4 starters that were drafted in the top 5? – The Cavs.

      • Hi Okerland, I’m not comparing the genesis of the Warrior team with the genesis of the ‘Heatles”, I’m only comparing the current SUPERVILLIANS with the Heatles, i.e. – the 73-win/2015 champ Warriors PLUS the addition of the previous MVP/2nd best player in the NBA to a team created from the smoking remains of a team that either didn’t make the playoffs for 2 years or was bounced in the 1st Round. I didn’t like the Warriors of 2015 or 2016 but I respected them BECAUSE they became a great team when NONE of the so-called experts thought that much of any of their suddenly emerging star players until they burst forth winning game after game. Heck, Steph’s not on such a stinky contract if they thought he was the next MVP.

        What bothers me even more than the NBA allowing Durant to go to the Warriors is the MEDIA (not all) who criticized Durant UNTIL he won the title. Now his decision is FINE? WHAT DIFFERENCE does that make?! If it was WRONG before it’s wrong NOW. Some, ahem, “fake news” title does not change that. 😉

        Something else many of the NBA media blathered on about earlier this year made me laugh & cringe at the time – that when the Cavs added Korver & Deron Williams, the Cavs became the “BEST” current team, BETTER than the Warriors (this was BEFORE Durant’s injury). Some even shouted how it was the “best” team LeBron had “ever played with”. WHERE were these people during the Finals? Why sitting right there talking crap about the “pathetic” Cavs without ever addressing THEY had called them “the best team” a mere few weeks ago. Honestly, half the time when I try to watch & listen to NBA shows, I want to hurl something at my TV or just hurl. If I wanted to do that, I’d watch Fox News. 🙂

  2. But what I’m REALLY sad about today is worrying if the Cavs can actually “improve” their roster to beat the Supervillains in the next 2 years. Love played FANTASTIC in the Eastern Conf Finals & played well-great in the Finals (except for some defensive shortcomings) so getting rid of him is not the answer. Honestly, who would you replace him with that would “improve” this team?

    I’m also irritated over the rumors that LeBron will ditch the Cavs again after next season. Unless Gilbert refuses to keep spending the money to keep the team competitive, for LeBron to leave again & crush the poor folks of Northeast Ohio, my fandom & admiration would be tested if not broken. Because to leave again would reveal himself to be a liar & hypocrite – he wrote he wanted to come HOME, to raise his kids THERE, that he knew he was more than basketball player to those people – he is a freakin symbol of hope! So, unless Gilbert fails to live up to his promises, LBJ needs to stay for the rest of his playing career.

    One more thing – I do laugh when hearing & reading certain media folks shout how GS will be a “dynasty” for YEARS. Fact – Durant is no LeBron. Heck, he was thisclose to missing the final 3rd of this season AND the entire playoffs. He’s F-R-A-G-I-L-E especially when you compare him to Ironman LeBron. How does anyone think he can go deep into the playoffs year after year like LeBron?

    Finally – if Durant had CORRECTLY been given that 3rd foul (for smacking Sweet Pea upside the head!) in the 2nd quarter, the game MAY have turned out totally different. I think it broke the Cavs belief that the refs would actually call a “clean” game.

    Well, now that the playoffs are over, I’ve got to somehow hang on till the Tour de France without paying attention to the daily humiliation that is our executive & legislative branches of the federal government. I don’t drink or drug. Any suggestions?

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