Watching the Wizards without Gilbert and Caron is like…I just spent ten minutes trying to come up with a well thought out analogy, and I couldn’t. I’ll keep it simple: It sucks.
I can’t really put it into words how much I miss the presence of Agent Zero. I’m one of those people that strongly feels the “he’s one of us” connection to Gilbert, so naturally the series has lost much of its luster in my eyes. On a postive note, it’s somewhat comforting, if familiar, to be back on the LeBron beat. By the way, it just occurred to me that LeBron has had, more or less, the same season as Ronaldinho. Each followed a disappointing summer in a global competition with a decent (for him) regular season, but critics have been upset with the performance of each star, both of whom raised expectations to impossible heights the previous year. Meanwhile, taking all factors into consideration, each of their squads has performed about how they should have and will have the next 6-8 weeks to silence the critics.
As for Game 1…That was not a fun experience for un-partisan NBA fans looking for entertainment. Going from Nets Raptors yesterday at the same start time to this was pretty disheartening. Whereas the Nets-Raptors game was fluid, entertaining and relatively well played, Wiz-Cavs was a plodding, ugly snooze of a ballgame. To be expected, I suppose.
I was looking forward to watching a Cavs game without having to listen to the over-dramatizations of play by play guy Fred McLeod and the incoherence of Austin Carr, but Coach John Thompson’s excessive harping on how the Cavs, who were clearly in the driver’s seat, weren’t going for the jugular after building an early lead seemed to be a bit much. Of course they weren’t playing their best ball (part of the reason the game was so boring), but, come on, if you only have one depressing point to make for half of the game, how are you improving a broadcast atmosphere that needs improving? That may not but the job of an analyst, but I was flipping back to the Mets-Braves during commercials and I felt myself longing for Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen to start calling the Cavs-Wiz*. While neither of those baseball lifers may know a damn thing about basketball, at least they could hold an interesting, non-redundant conversation that adds to the broadcast experience.
*= I wholly understand that calling a basketball game and calling a baseball game are two completely different endeavors, but listening to Thompson ramble on and on–and then watching the subject matter continue to dominate into the TNT studio at halftime–I started longing for a little bit more of that playful baseball broadcast banter and storytelling. And I’ve never been bothered by John Thompson as a broadcaster, either. It just felt like we we’re sitting there watching paint dry, and instead of telling us interesting stuff about the drying paint, Thompson and his partner were bitching about how the paint wasn’t drying fast enough, which only exacerbated the lull. Who wants a blowout anyway? If the Wizards are hanging around, give them credit. Don’t insult them further by bashing the Cavs for not already having won the game in the second quarter. Jeez.
A few other notes:
–If anybody was wondering (especially Cavs fans), the guy that scored 27 points, grabbed 7 boards and asserted himself nicely is Larry Hughes. He’s a guard out of Saint Louis. He used to play for the Wizards.
–I almost always find myself impressed with Antonio Daniels. His 11 assists for a team that shot 36% with one viable scoring option are nothing to sneeze at.
–I was disappointed that Drew Gooden kept the patch in the back of his head. I figured dude would come up with something cool for the playoffs. But alas…
–Jarvis Hayes put up 15 shots. I’m taking the over for game 2.