Spent the pre-game as always, talking guinea pigs. Metta World Peace got a new one. As a current g-pig owner, I had to inquire after this. And when Steve Blake asked MWP why he didn’t get a hamster instead, Ron-Ron was quick to respond.
MWP: “They OUT there, you can’t train em. A hamster lives like what? Two to three years, right? A guinea pig is like six to seven.”
ESS: Mine won’t die, Ron. She’s seven. We can’t get a cat.
MWP: “Nah leave her! Let her live! She sleep in the bed? She lay with y’all?”
ESS: Eh, for a little bit. But then she always has to (relieve herself).
Anyway, my breaking news scoop is that Ron Ron’s new pet is named Sunshine and Sunshine is a girl. All future Lakers luck should be credited to her, probably, definitely.
And then the game started. It was a perfunctory endeavor, even without Kobe, the conclusion was forgone. There was no possible way this active Warriors roster could cobble together a defense against Bynum and Gasol. None. Mickell Gladness? Mikki Moore? Jeremy Tyler? Nope.
When Jeremy Tyler was sneaking into the draft, scouts gasped odes to his physique, his size. Tyler looks like a child compared to Bynum. There is nothing profound about the Lakers’ center being very, very large. Well, unless you actually sit still and truly absorb the visual. Good God, he’s gargantuan. It is so difficult to actually process a moving person of such mass; it feels as though the background is suddenly the foreground, like when those trees in The Wizard of Oz came to life unexpectedly.
Bynum scores 31 on 14 shots in 30 minutes. The points come too easily, which is a shame because his game can be so fun when challenged. Shaquille O’Neal was a far more productive Lakers center, but he was an aesthetic wasteland of wagging elbows and lined hook shots. The same description fits Dwight Howard, Andrew’s East Coast comparison. Unlike those guys, Bynum can actually hit a jumper, and his hook shots are nudged softly in by a fluid wrist flick. And he can do this with both hands. While others of the “dominant” big man cannon may have been more efficient, Andrew Bynum is a more pleasant viewing experience than anyone his size since a healthy Yao Ming.
Bynum trots around the paint, often on the balls of his feet. It’s a light stride, I wonder if the big man would even tear a court covered in butcher paper. But, his effortless-looking glide does not come without toil. When Andrew yanks his shoes off in the locker room, many large blisters adorn his toe knuckles. Pau Gasol may have the “Black Swan” nickname, but Bynum’s feet evoke some gruesome images from that movie. Gravity screams at his feet as it merely whispers at ours.
Mark Jackson as George W. Bush
I make this comparison not to impugn Jackson’s wisdom but to draw a parallel with a famous person who acutely believed in belief. Mark Jackson lives the power of positive thinking, even in these dismal Warriors times. Jackson’s chess pieces have been removed from the board, or replaced by pawns. All the organizational incentive is to lose. This cannot be how Mark envisioned it all transpiring, back when he left the broadcast booth for this gig. And yet, he professes reasons for being “upbeat”:
“I’m a man of tremendous faith, and I don’t look at where I am. I look at where I’m going, and where I’m going to be. And as long as you don’t get caught up in where you are, then it’s very easy to stay excited about the promise. I know where I’m headed, and I’m excited about it.”
He looks utterly sincere while saying this. I cannot fathom how a man who once boomed, “You might as well latch on to the back of the bandwagon, because things be a-changin’ here in the Bay Area,” can believe in himself after seeing plans go awry like this. If Jackson felt so firmly that GSW would change overnight, then how can he not feel shaken and doubtful in the face of intractable failure?
It reminds of David Halberstam’s final article, the one where he slammed the Bush administration for their wishful forward outlook. Whatever your political bent, you can likely relate to having seen this in some facet of life. When faced with uncomfortable realities, many retreat into the future, where no one is accountable–yet. Some would even term this tendency, “optimism,” but I cannot speak to that feeling because it is quite unfamiliar to me.
Jackson’s public face is still smiling, and will likely remain that way through his tenure here.