State of the Nation, 4/17/24

Turns out the correct answer was “total faceplant.” In a do-or-die game against the Kings, the Warriors didn’t, shooting a pitiful 41% en route to 94 points vs. the other guys’ 118. Our boy Klay had possibly the worst game of his life, taking ten shots and missing them all.

Am I going to start talking shit about him now? Hell no. He had a bad day. The whole team had a bad day. It happens. I’m going to now take a break from thinking, talking, or writing about basketball for a while. Eventually I’ll get sucked into the playoffs again, and will have the luxury of watching the games without really caring.

Meanwhile it was another strange day in politics, and the strangest thing about it was that we got a glimpse of something that looked like normality. Seven jurors were seated in Fuckface’s trial — which I know should be filed under “jurisprudence,” not politics, despite what he says — which made it feel like the system was actually working. The wheels of justice are turning. Certain ones shall be smitten, and they know who they are.

Do I really believe that? At this moment, as I’m typing, I do. Ask me again in a half-hour.

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Updates from HQ

Time, I think, to get back to regular posting. Let there be Momentum!

As I sit here watching the news halfway through my 57th year on Earth, I get the feeling that things are weirder than they’ve been in a long, long time. I was too young for Watergate; 2024 is shaping up to be at least as wild, with the added bonus of being an election year. And we all remember what Dr. Thompson said:

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

As it happens I was just in Hunter’s hometown of Louisville, though to be honest I didn’t really think about that at the time. We went out for Cuban food then had some whiskey flights. This was part of a whirlwind journey that also included Nashville, Memphis, and Owensboro, Kentucky, home of the Green River distillery.

There may be more to say on that subject later. I am still in recovery mode. Meanwhile dickhead, whatshisface, the orange guy, was in court today, for the first time facing actual personal legal danger for one of his many, many crimes. I’m not getting my hopes up but still — it’s progress.

This is also the day when I traditionally mark the birthday of my cat Johnny. This is his 19th and he is unlikely to see his 20th, as his body is beginning to fail on multiple fronts. But at the moment he continues to eat and sleep and purr and yell that he wants to go outside, now.

Finally, the NBA regular season ended yesterday, and when the wheel of fortune ceased its spinning my team held the 10th seed in the Western Conference. This means that they have to beat the Sacramento Kings tomorrow, then win a second game against either the Lakers or Pelicans, just for the privilege of playing a seven-game series against Oklahoma City. Under these circumstances it would be foolish to expect too much, but when has that ever stopped me? I will tell you right now with a completely straight face that the Warriors — who rallied to finish 46-36 after suffering a baffling malaise for much of the season — remain a force to be reckoned with, and that nothing they do — from total faceplant to deep playoff run — will surprise me.

Remember what Baba said:

Life… is always mysterious!

Dubs, Dray, Klay, etc. etc.

It’s been a month and a half since I posted my statement doubling down on Draymond and the Warriors. How’s that working out?

In terms the world will understand — that is, wins and losses — not so great. In that time the W’s are 10–10, not disastrous but hardly what you’d call encouraging. They currently occupy 12th place in the West, a game and a half out of the play-in tournament, and the conventional wisdom has written them off.

Not without reason. Above and beyond the obvious problems — a chronic inability to make baskets or to prevent opponents from doing the same — there has been something ineffably Wrong with the Dubs all season. Then a couple weeks ago an assistant coach suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack in the middle of a team dinner.

This is of course horrible but I couldn’t help seeing it as a scene in some future 30 for 30: This was where things turned around, the squad pulled together to win one for Deki (Dejan Milojević, 1977–2024, RIP), whose spectral presence on the court could be glimpsed by those with a certain kind of eyes.

Since then the Warriors have won two games and lost two, which doesn’t quite fit the narrative. But the losses have both been by one point, including a gutting double-overtime heartbreaker against the Lakers. So there is reason for optimism. Wait: There’s always reason for optimism; it’s a mindset. There’s reason for a judiciously measured spoonful of hope, I guess is what I mean.

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My Statement on Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors

“That brother needs help.”
—Josef Nurkic

A lot of people (hi Mom!) have been asking where I stand on the current situation in Dub Nation, which is, to put it succinctly: tire fire.

For those of you who are mercifully oblivious, my team currently stands at 10–14, and the truth is worse than that. Not only have they blown numerous 20-point leads this season, but their bellwether, their heart and soul, my wayward son Draymond Green is at the lowest ebb of his career. Just a few games after returning from a five-game suspension for going all Derek Chauvin on Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert, he whacked the Suns’ Josef Nurkic in the side of the head with a flailing arm and is now suspended indefinitely.

It’s bad. I’m always the first to defend Draymond, but I’m having a hard time doing it anymore. About all I can do is sigh and shake my head.

Having said that, here is my official position.

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Round 2, Game 6: Lakers 122, Warriors 101

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Strength in Numbers

It was of course foolish of me to say that there would be “no more (emotional) rollercoaster for a while,” as immediately on the heels of the news that the Lakers’ Anthony Davis would be playing Game 6 after all came reports that the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins had sustained a rib cartilage fracture and was listed as questionable. Wiggins was absolutely crucial in Game 5 and the prospect of playing without him was not an appetizing one.

And right after that we learned that ex-Warrior Kevin Durant and his new team the Phoenix Suns — considered title favorites by many — had been eliminated by the Denver Nuggets. Possibly I experienced an emotion akin to schadenfreude in that moment, though in theory I have nothing against KD, a massive talent who often seems confused about his direction in life. I can certainly identify with the latter, if not the former.

In the end Wiggins did play and it mattered not. “It’s a make or miss league” is something you’ll often hear NBA talking heads say, and it’s the truth. Last night the Warriors shot 39-for-103 (37.9%) from the field and 13-for-48 (27.1 %) on three-pointers. You’re not going to win doing that.

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Round 2, Game 5: Warriors 121, Lakers 106

Location: Evergreen Ave.
Personnel: Me, KT, Johnny the cat, Olive the cat
T-shirt: Strength in Numbers

As I was laying in bed Tuesday night, thinking vaguely about sheep but too lazy to count, I realized that a part of me was ready for the emotional rollercoaster that has been this year’s postseason to be over. It’s been a struggle from the drop and after the high of Game 7 against the Kings, the slow-motion horror of losing three out of four to the Lakers — who weren’t even supposed to be here — had depleted my last reserves of optimism.

But then yesterday I grokked that there will be no more rollercoaster for a while. Either the Warriors will win three in a row or the season will be over — no middle ground remains. So I was back in front of my TV at 7, eating delicious cod and drinking Lalande-de-Pomerol (whatever that is), and on the whole feeling pretty good about the world.

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