The Heat welcome back the affable-but-troubled Mike Beasley. Does this pickup, along with the Greg Oden signing, flip the script on whether to cheer for the Heat?
Andy G: In I Wear the Black Hat, Chuck Klosterman devotes a chapter to hating rock bands. He runs through a list of every band he’s ever hated, explains the specific point in his life, and why that particular group evoked irrationally negative feelings from him. The chapter is largely focused on The Eagles. In the end, Klosterman forms the discomfiting conclusion that he now no longer possesses the capacity to hate rock bands. Even The Eagles. (He included the band three different times on his list.)
He explains why this is problematic:
Being emotionally fragile is an important part of being a successful critic; it’s an integral element to being engaged with mainstream art, assuming you aspire to write about it in public. If you hate everything, you’re a banal asshole . . . but if you don’t hate anything, you’re boring. You’re useless. And you end up writing about why you can no longer generate fake feelings that other people digest as real.
Klosterman goes on to explain his “brain’s unwillingness to hold an unexplained opinion,” and articulates a general feeling that I’ve struggled with on this blog. Caring about sports — or art — is not a rational exercise. Hating a professional athlete or sports team is as dumb as hating a rock band. Hating a professional athlete is as irrational as loving one. Those are emotions far too strong to hold for people that don’t even know that you exist.
Reading that chapter reminded me of the Miami Heat and its best player, LeBron James.
I hated The Decision. I hated LeBron’s *decision* itself to overlap his talents with Dwyane Wade’s, I hated the primetime stomach-punch to Cleveland, and I hated the Kobe rip-off, “taking my talents” delivery pitch. I hated everything about LeBron exercising his rights as a free agent.
Four things about Heat Hatred:
The story of last night’s game is best begun with a picture. From espn.com:
In the first quarter, the Lakers curve is pretty much a straight 45 degree line. Everything they put up went in. They scored 37 points (13 from Pau Gasol) and led by 13.
In the early part of the 2nd Quarter, the Lakers inexplicably got even hotter. Their curve spikes upward at a point when Wolves fans at Target Center were desperate for some regression to the mean. They made 7 of their first 8 field goal attempts to open the 2nd Quarter. 4 of those were 3-pointers. With 6 minutes to play in the first half, the Lakers held a 61-32, 29-point, almost-doubling-up-the-opposition lead.
On the graph, you notice two things begin midway through the 2nd Quarter: One, the Lakers curve flattens out. Finally. Two, the Wolves gets steeper, after a sluggish start to the 2nd Quarter. Their shots — including some much-needed three-pointers — began to fall. The Wolves closed the first half on a 21-7 run, cutting the halftime deficit to a troubling but not insurmountable 15 points. Ricky Rubio was key to that stretch, blending his usual feisty defense with some scoring (2 nifty layups, 1 dribble jumper) and capping off a fun stretch with a behind-the-back dime to D-Thrill for a huge dunk.
Things got even closer in the 2nd Half, after Adelman committed to a zone defense that gave the Lakers fits. Until they realized how Pau Gasol was born to be the hub of a zone offense, that is. Once Pau started filling the gaps, and his teammates started hitting him in playmaking spots, the Wolves struggled to defend. But they did cut it to 4 midway through the 4th Quarter, which is an admirable comeback attempt from the 29-point deficit earlier in the game. Moral victories and all that.