by John Walters
For the second year in a row, the Phoenix Suns trailed by 30 points at halftime of a closeout game at home.
This one felt more permanent, in terms of this current iteration of the squad. Mat Ishbia assumed ownership of the club last February and immediately took out a second mortgage on the Suns’ future by trading away up-and-comers Mikal Bridges (an All-Star) and Cam Johnson for legitimate legend but over-the-hill’er Kevin Durant. Plus, Ishbia gave up a slew of draft picks.
Last night the Suns realized what Dallas also has in the wake of its blockbuster trade: your two superstars need to be complementary, not near copies of one another. The Suns, I’m sorry to say, are not going anywhere special with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. Chris Paul, sadly, is 38 years old and is going to be playing like it…when he’s healthy.
And who knows what really happened with Deandre Ayton? At least when he quit on the Suns in Game 7 last year he was in uniform.
And Al McCoy is gone. After 51 seasons and zero championships. Which is just too bad.
You keep Devin Booker, who left last night without speaking to the media. You’re stuck with Kevin Durant. Everyone else is expendable.
We should note that Cam Payne Supernova (31 points) had his best game of the year and Jock Landale showed up in ways Ayton just never does (Did you notice his first bucket of the game was a dunk? Deandre rarely dunks).
Denver, meanwhile, looks like a championship team. The Nuggets scored 81 first-half points last night, playing a beautiful offense that did not rely on the three-ball as much as it did running the offense through Nikola Jokic. Those half-court sets would’ve brought tears to the eyes of John Wooden, and likely did to Dave Patsch’s partner, Bill Walton.
Meanwhile, did you see how many Phoenix pass routes the Nuggets jumped for steals? It was like Lester Hayes was in uniform for them. A couple of things: 1) Like the Lakers, and Boston, the Nuggets are a team of players who know their very different roles and yet also make beautiful music together. 2) Nikola Jokic was the 41st player taken in the 2014 NBA draft. Anyone could’ve had him. Also, if Nikola and Luka don’t tell you that teams need to be scouting eastern Europe harder, I don’t know what will. 3) Finally, if you watched both games last night—and granted, it’s just one day—there’s little doubt in your mind who should have won the MVP this season (and note that Philly had Embiid duck Jokic in their March game at 5,280). Jokic just put together his 11th career playoff triple double last night (two more than the next-best big man, Wilt), while Embiid mostly was absent in the fourth quarter of Philly’s squandered Game 6 at home. Mark Jackson, former NBA player and coach and now ESPN commentator, did not have Jokic on his Top 5 MVP ballot (the only voter not to do so). Last night Jackson went on social media to admit it was “an honest mistake.” Our suspicion is that Jackson had no idea the votes were made public. 4) How does one of the biggest men on the planet (7’0″, 280) have the NBA’s softest touch? Jokic’s shots whisper into the cylinder. Last night he finished with 32-12-10. Glorious.
If you’ve ever walked down Broadway, you know it’s the Bourbon Street of Nashville. So major props to the Tennessee Titans social media department for this gem on the day that the NFL announced its schedule dates. What puts this over the top, besides the day drinking of the participants, is the Fox NFL theme music.
“Rock Star” Has Gone Too Far
Maybe Rock Star Energy Drink finally pushed this cliche over the precipice. Either way, credit to Workday, or its ad agency, for this ad that lampoons the cubicle-life encomium. Favorite line: “I’ve done my share of bad things… also your share of bad things.”
Keeping with the rock star theme, meet Phoebe Bridgers (blonde), Julien Baker (petite) and Lucy Dacus (larger brunette), the band known as Boygenius. All three musicians had burgeoning solo careers and would run into one another at festivals, etc. Then they decided that instead of playing Mean Girls they’d be more like The Joy Luck Club… or a Jane Fonda/Diane Keaton/Lily Tomlin movie.
Anyway, their track “Not Strong Enough” has gotten them visibility on Jimmy Kimmel. Before you (or I) say something snarky such as, “They should be selling out stadiums, not Taylor Swift,” do know that Swifty is not only a huge fan, but she gave them the stage to themselves at her concert last Friday night in Nashville (her adopted home town). She’s a fangirl, too.
We are unabashed fans of Bo Burnham (you’re right, Mulaney), so here’s a gem from a few years ago that we just happened upon…. David Allen Coe deserves credit for lampooning country first, though. So we need to include that here as well…
- Which of these creatures can be found in both the Arctic and the Antarctic: polar bear, walrus, penguin?
- What NBA player is listed, correctly, as having played 83 games this season?
- What is the largest city in Wales?
- Name a TV show or movie that has each of the following in its title: asterisk, exclamation point, question mark.
- What was the name of the physician in Caddyshack?
2. Mikal Bridges
4. M*A*S*H, Jeopardy!, What’s My Line?
5. Dr. Beeper
Put another dollar on my tab, TJ