by John Walters
In Philadelphia, with Julius Erving and Allen Iverson seated courtside, the Sixers blow a 26-point 3rd-quarter lead and lose Game 5 to the Atlanta Hawks. What happened? Well, only two Sixer players, Joel Embiid and Seth Curry, scored after halftime; the Sixers were outscored 40-19, AT HOME, in the fourth quarter; and Ben Simmons shot 4-14 from the free throw line.
Embiid (above), who finished with 37 points and 13 boards, did all but carry his team on his wide shoulders but it just wasn’t enough.
The Jazz also lost at home despite having a decent halftime lead the Clippers being without Kawhi Leonard, a three-time NBA Finals MVP.
Both series had been squared at 2-2. The team that wins Game 5 of a 2-2 series goes on to win 82% of the time.
23 And Me
The Arizona Diamondbacks lost again last night, in San Francisco. Not only are they 2-27 over their las 29 games but this was their 22nd consecutive road defeat, an ignominious record they now share with the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics and the 1963 New York Mets.
The D-Backs could collect their 23rd consecutive road loss before sundown, as they wrap up their series at San Francisco with a matinee. On the hill for the Giants? Kevin Gausman, who is 7-1 with a 1.43 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP. Uh oh.
As The Kid pointed out to me, Arizona’s last road win was Madison Bumgarner’s (7-inning) no-hitter at Atlanta on April 25.
It Happened One Film
Another vignette from Frank Capra’s autobiography, Frank Capra: The Man Above The Title.
The year was 1933 and by this time Capra had begun to establish himself as the star director at his little movie-making studio, Columbia Pictures, but they were clearly not in the same league as the big boys, MGM and Paramount. He was the star of an also-ran studio, but his imperious boss, Harry Cohn, trusted him.
Meanwhile Capra was obsessed with winning an Oscar, but he sort of felt that he’d never get that acclaim unless he was pitching in the big leagues with MGM or Paramount.
So here’s Capra mooning that his latest film, Lady For A Day, will get the Dangerfield treatment from the Academy (and it will). But in the meantime he’s about to make his next picture. No actress in Hollywood, not even those who’ve worked with Capra, will take the female lead. They’ve read the script and they hate it. Finally he and his writer, Rob Riskin, pay an in-home visit to an actress with whom Capra had worked before on one of his very first films. It’s early December and the actress tells them she’s packing up to spend a month skiing in Sun Valley with friends. They beg her to reconsider. She lays down the gauntlet. “I get $25,000 a picture,” she says. “If you double that and get me in and out in four weeks, I’ll do it.’
She thinks she’s put the carrot out too far. Instead, Capra gets his boss, Cohn, to go for it. The actress is Claudette Colbert.
Male lead? Capra’s in luck. Sort of. Louie B. Mayer, the head of MGM and the most powerful man in Hollywood, is furious at one of his male stars, Clark Gable. He basically puts him out on a loaner to Columbia to teach Gable a lesson. Gable arrives at Capra’s office midday, drunk. Capra asks Gable if he’d like to read the script on his own or if they should talk about the story first. Gable looks at Capra, whom he’s never met, and says, “Pardner, I don’t care what the fuck you do.” (Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn...)
The film? It Happened One Night. It would go on to become the first (of only three films) to sweep the five major Oscar categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay.
Capra’s genius lay in a few different talents: 1) he could always find a way to rally the most diffident or even downright recalcitrant lead actors to put aside their egos for the sake of the film, and 2) he was never too stubborn to listen to a better idea.
Capra had a very close friend, a writer named Myles Connolly, who was never afraid to be the gadfly reminding Capra he was not perfect. Such friends can often be annoying, but they’re almost always good for us. Connolly took a look at the script and showed Capra the problem: neither the heiress nor the gent had any traits that would make any normal American, in the midst of the Great Depression, want to root for them. He suggested that the heiress be bored with her well-kept existence, that the guy have some issues of his own. Make them sympathetic. Capra had Riskin rewrite the script. He listened.
The rest is Hollywood history.
Rafael Nadal has announced that he will not be competing at Wimbledon later this month/next month. What does that mean? A much more open door for Novak Djokovic to win. What does that mean? Well, Roger Federer and Rafa have 20 Grand Slam wins and Djokovic has 19.
So if the Djoker wins at the All-England, all three tennis greats will be tied for the most Grand Slams with 20 and tied for the first time since before Roger won his first Grand Slam in 2004.
And this opens the door for Djokovic to be the all-time leader in Grand Slam wins. Whether you think that makes him the greatest tennis player of all time is up to you.
A Triumph For Satire
These are the type of moments that Joseph Heller or Paul Beatty (The Sellout) wishes they’d written. As GOP-infested state legislatures move to outlaw the teaching of Critical Race Theory, i.e. history, the Senate has just approved Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery.
So the GOP is saying, You can have your day off to celebrate not being slaves any more (hell, you’re all lazy and not working and just collecting the unemployment any more), you are just not allowed to teach anyone, white students particularly, about the origins of all of this.
Go Ask Alex
We were watching the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials last night and we may have discovered America’s next darling/sweetheart… oh no, am I objectifying. Yeah, probably. But that’s how the world, and marketing, works. Her name is Alex Walsh, she’s 19, attends Virginia, she won the 200 IM, and she has a face that can move truckloads of Wheaties boxes.
No one has Katie Ledecky’s talent, but Walsh has the intangible “All-American girl” traits that can elevate her to stardom.
Tales From The Crypto
If there’s one thing that can potentially sink the crypto craze (besides it being a very well-marketed Ponzi scheme), it’s the profundity of various and newfangled coins. If you have too many different types of coins, all of them springing up from thin air, then none of them are valid. Billionaires and treehouse inhabitants learned this the hard way yesterday as the IRON Titanium Token, a.k.a. TITAN, surged to $65 a coin, then quickly dropped to below $60, inducing panic among the whales.
Its latest stop? A price of $.002175, or about 1/5 of one penny.
If you owned 1,000 TITAN coins at the start of yesterday, they were worth $65,000 at one point. They’re now worth two dollars.
If Bitcoin were the only cryptocurrency, the concept would have far greater stability.
…. had to know this was coming. He’d won eight straight since betting on the Clippers in Game 5 at home. So he did a similar thing yesterday, a Game 5 involving the Clippers, except going against them. And he lost. He’s now at 19-8 and the bank is down to $1,510.
Waiting on today’s wager. We wonder if he’ll have the temerity to take the Diamondbacks.
UPDATE: He’s taking Brazil -500 over Peru. So to win $100 or to lose $500.