Instant Gratification: NBA style

By Marcel Mutoni and Sam Rubenstein

We’ve been planning on putting together a EW Guessed it style IM chat based on NBA events. Last night, the plan was to watch the TNT doubleheader and chat along the way. The following is our transcript.

(As we join the TNT telecast, they’re celebrating Larry Bird’s 50th birthday during the pregame show.)

Sam: Happy birthday Larry Legend.

Mutoni: Did you watch any of the stuff on NBATV celebrating Larry?

Sam: Nah I missed it. He was a good player.

Mutoni: “good”? if we leave this in, the beantown fans will call for your head.

Sam: Kidding Boston. He’s Larry Legend.

(TNT shows a clip of Magic and Bird being interviewed the day before their famous NCAA title game in ’79.)

Sam: Magic looked like Walt Clyde in college.

Mutoni: did Walt have nappy hair too? i’m not feeling magic’s shirt tonight; doesn’t go with the suit.

Sam: Very thin pinstripes. They just showed Kenny Smith dominating Larry Bird. Trick photography.

Mutoni: Imagine how long it must’ve taken the TNT intern to find those clips…

Sam: Maybe Kenny has a whole tape of them at home.

me: wouldn’t doubt it. so, who’s your guy, pound for pound: magic or larry?

Sam: hmmmmmm….there’s really no right answer.

Mutoni: i gotta go with magic. he beat him twice in the finals, was a better defender, and could pass better.

Sam: I would take Magic too. He could bring the ball up court against anyone. Don’t know if Larry could against a pesky PG.

Mutoni: i don’t think he ever really had to with the guys around him in boston.

Sam: True. Magic could play all 5 positions too.

Mutoni: no denying it. but in the clutch, if jordan wasn’t available, i wouldn’t want anyone but larry with the ball.

Sam: True. Larry has a better mystique than Magic too.

Mutoni: it’s because he’s white! (paging michael richards…)

Sam: Is he? I see the heart of the man and the character not the color. I see his soul.

Mutoni: i’ll bet.

Sam: And being white, Larry could work the majority of the refs better, telling them inside white man’s jokes.

Mutoni: by the way, by the end of tonight, i’m gonna need a neck brace. my tv is on a wall directly behind me, and the computer screen is facing the other way.

Sam: I have a laptop. I will have no such problem.

Mutoni: I hate you.

Mutoni: Speaking of tall white men, there’s Dirk doing that weird “play with the ball and try to act normal” thing TNT forces star players to do when showing the starters…

Game time!

Sam: Game time. Waiting for my dad to get here.

(Since Sam’s landlord is not to be messed with, Mr. Rubenstein is forced to rely on family members to help him fix the heating in his apartment.)

Mutoni: Wow. ‘Sheed with an airball from 10 feet out. Can’t say I”m not dissapointed in the way His career panned out–were it not for the theatrics and, he would be irrelevant.

Sam: Need4sheed has given him new legs. Late arriving crowd in Dallas.

Mutoni: maybe the crowd didn’t get the memo that this was on national TV.

Mutoni: naturally, after I rip into him, Rasheed hits two straight three balls. Beautiful.

(Sam’s dad shows up, so Sam leaves with the game knotted at 6. I go fix myself something to eat and give the Mavs fans a chance to find their seats…)

(Some of what we missed: a Sager puff piece on soldiers; Anthony Johnson forgetting how to dribble–in this case, I refuse to blame the new basketball; Rasheed finally missing a three and blocking Josh Howard; and Detroit taking a 9 point lead into the second quarter.)

Mutoni: you ready to go?

Sam: Yeah I’m back.

Mutoni: Usher is gonna be in the studio tonight, should be fun.

Sam: does he still own the Cavs?

Mutoni: Last I heard, they kicked him out ’cause he wasn’t paying up…OK, a buck forty remaining in the first half. (Putting on my John Hollinger hat: 8 point lead for detroit; Sheed has 10 points and 4boars; Rip has 11; and Tay has 7.)

Sam: I saw Tayshaun Prince blow by Josh Howard and dunk on him.

Mutoni: Detroit is shooting 55% from the field. Yikes!

Sam: Avery is going to kick over some tables at halftime.

Mutoni: dirk has to be the most awkward yet effective player of the modern era.

Sam: He’s incredible.

Mutoni: Guarding him must be a nightmare.

Sam: Nobody can guard him except James Posey in the Finals.

Mutoni: Speaking of Posey, I just saw him in a Trick Daddy video the other day. No idea what to make of that.

Sam: I guess those Miami guys are enjoying their Miami fame. Oh great Reggie and Kerr are going to talk about the new ball.

Mutoni: Reggie has a more flamboyant suit on than Sager tonight. If stern goes back to the old ball, I’ll start worrying about his pimp hand.

Sam: He went too far. Aside from all the complaints, it just looks weird. Reggie is passing the blame off himself for OKing the new ball.

Mutoni: It was a perfectly idiotic decision on the league’s behalf.


Sam: If I had to buy someone a ball for a present, I would get them the old one

Mutoni: that’s thoughtful, Sam. How long has Rip had that face-mask now? 5 years? Gotta be some kind of record.

Sam: I don’t think it’s been that long. But it’s still a strange fetish.

Mutoni: So, your dad couldn’t figure out the heating, huh?

Sam: No. He came, looked at it for 5 seconds, took back some DVDs I borrowed a long time ago and made me drive him home. (POST IM update: the heat did not work all night, I had to sleep in sweatpants and a sweatshirt and when I left for work this morning, my heating bill was waiting for me in the mail. I was angry)

Mutoni: amazing.

Sam: And I think this is the perfect time to share the weird random internet discovery of the night…I got my dinner from the place called The Pita Grill. It’s a chain restaurant.

Mutoni: Sure.

Sam: Here is there website. Turn up your speaker:

Mutoni: Creepy…Maybe this whole Internet thing isn’t such a good idea after all…

Sam: It’s bone and Biggie Biggie. It’s bone and Biggie Biggie.

Mutoni: Don’t ask why, but while you and your old man tried to resolve the heating situation, this is what i was watching:

“when globalization goes wrong. horribly wrong!”

Sam: Is that on the Blood Diamond soundtrack?

Mutoni: im not sure, but that looks like a hot movie.

Sam: By the way, Lang and Ben are at the Suns-Nets game right now.

Mutoni: they must be enjoying it, it’s tied with 9 minutes to go.

Sam: And I’m glad I hated on Jason Kidd for slowing down in his old age.
He’s got a triple double with 10 mins to go tying Wilt on the all-time list

Mutoni: Wow. I suggest you go back and do some “editing”. jkidd has always been one of the most amazing players to watch. one of those rare players that will go into the Hall without the aid of a jumpshot.

Sam: Yeah. And he’s not nearly as good as he was in his prime.
If he never hurt his knee, the Pistons would never have gone to the finals

Mutoni: i hear you.

Sam: He should have been MVP over Duncan at least once

Mutoni: tnt is doing the live-look in thing with the nets-suns game.

Nenad has to have the ugliest hair in the league. perhaps in all sports.

Sam: he’s goofy looking. I heard a minute of that game in the car after I dropped my dad off. The Nets shot 3 free throws in the first half

Mutoni: the mvps i’ve had the hardest time digesting were both of nash’s, and the one duncan got over kidd. injustice reared its ugly head in both instances.

Sam: I really had a problem with the first time Kidd got robbed. Duncan might have been the better player, but he was with a franchise that had David Robinson and was used to the playoffs. Kidd turned a sloppy mess into the dominant team in the East just like that.

Mutoni: not to mention completely ruined stephon’s career. he killed two birds with one stone.

Sam: Stephon had a great year out in Phoenix the year after that. Since then it hasn’t been so great.

Mutoni: understatement of the year.

speaking of phoenix, im thrilled to see amare coming along nicely. i still hold my breath when i watch him play, though. you never know with those knees.

Sam: He’s not all the way back, but it’s nice to see he’s not a stiff. Why did they just show baby pictures of Pistons and Mavs?

Mutoni because they can.

Sam: Craig Sager looked just like Eddie Munster as a child

Mutoni : the scariest baby picture i’ve ever seen is larry bird’s. dude looks like a future serial killer:

Sam: Dirk is posting up everyone now. Backed in on Tayshaun, faced up Sheed. 4 points.

Mutoni: i wonder what larry brown is doing right now…

Sam: Probably at James Dolan’s concert at BB Kings

Mutoni: i wonder if he always talks in that monotone voice of his. i keep picturing him at a noisy sports bar trying to order wings from the waitress and not being able to. tragic.

Sam: I don’t want to talk about LB. He makes me mad

Mutoni: yikes, nazr just sent terry crashing out of bounds with a filthy block.

Sam: and he stole a board from Josh Howard and dunked it

Mutoni: if you know someone who’s always a little too happy, just show them continuous footage of larry brown and jeff van gundy. problem solved!

Sam: Just got a phone call from my girlfriend and I explained to her what we are doing.
She used curse words and wasn’t very understanding.

Mutoni: i turned off my phone, i don’t need the drama right now

Sam: I love that referee Ken Bauer is miked up by the way

Mutoni: Ken Bauer is late for his botox injection.

Sam: Dirk is siiiiick. He pushed the ball up court and hit a jumper. He’s faster than people realize.

Mutoni: 125-125 in Jerz.

Sam: Whoa! Dirk hit a jumper from the other side of the floor. He’s so hot right now.

Mutoni: if the Nets hang on, how much you wanna bet at least one headline will try to imply that kidd is still the best PG in the league? i got $50 on it.

Sam: Cause he beat Nash head to head? I’m not taking that bet.

Mutoni: smart move.

Sam: Rasheed has been raining threes in rhythm.

Mutoni: sheed is making me look bad.

Sam: 4 for 5 from three. He’s motivated by facing Dirk tonight, I suppose.

Mutoni: i’m openly rooting for dirk to light him up right now, just so i can feel better about myself. Are you going to watch that Ali thing on espn this weekend?

Sam: I will not be watching that Ali thing.

Mutoni: gotta love the worldwide follower: “did ali invent rap?” wow.

(i love how klosterman skewered the whole espn thing in his column. i feel sorry for whoever had to edit that thing.)

Sam: Vince just put Nets up 129-128 with layup.

Mutoni: Freaking sheed! 5th three of the game. i’m stunned.i may not type another word until the game is over. pistons up 16. as marv would say, “the mavs want to ….talk it over”

Sam: watching Nets game. raja missed a three, Vince snatched the board from Amare. Hit both free throws. Suns down 3 with 5.3 left.

Mutoni: I’m there too.

Sam: I don’t understand where that Ali thing came from. When We Were Kings is a great movie.

Mutoni: espn does this sort of thing all of the time. i’ll bet some new VP of programming is trying to make a splash. whatever. look in to the nets suns game. suns with the ball down by three, with 5 ticks left.

Sam: They just showed Nets food expert Gary Sussman courtside.

Mutoni: smart foul by vince. it drives me nuts when teams don’t do that more often. why not make the other team shoot pressure-packed free throws and still get the ball back?

Sam: Yeah. Kidd and Nash talking and laughing. Boris hits the big ones. Vince fouled out, so the Nets have to give it to someone else.

Mutoni: highest scoring game in The Swamp in quite some time i’ll bet.
The Nets will be fine.

Sam: Yes, and no overtime. The Nets are a finesse team. This was the perfect matchup for them. Their problem has been defense. That is not solved.

Mutoni : vince couldn’t have gone to a better place. phoenix would’ve been ideal as well.
There’s no way they’re getting out of the east (as barkley predicts).

Sam: I thought they had a shot earlier. But they’re still too soft.

Mutoni: alright, kidd hit both freebies. 3 point lead again.


Mutoni: holy god! fadeaway three to force ot!

Sam: Nash shot that expecting the foul.
Mutoni: i wonder if new jersey had any timeouts left.

Sam: I assume they didn’t if they didn’t take one.

Mutoni : think the nets have a chance in ot?

Sam: Not really, but something fluky could happen. If the Nets were to win this game, it could re-energize their season. This could be another bad loss for them.

Mutoni : the fans in the swamp must be reeling.

Sam: It looks like people actually showed up to see Phoenix.

Mutoni: can you blame them? quick peek at the stats: marion is averaging 2 pts less this season.

Sam: No. I went to the Suns-Knicks game at MSG last year.

Mutoni: probably means nothing, but i felt like sharing. nobody showed up for that one?

Sam: It went to triple OT with the Knicks winning.

Mutoni: yeah, i remember. probably the game of the year. kidd just carried the ball, and hit the jumper.

Sam: Nash-Amare screen and roll.

Mutoni: mark jackson just said nash is the best pg to ever play pick and roll basketball. stockton is rolling in his grave as we speak. terrible call! kidd called for the offensive foul when raja bell was still moving. ridiculous.

Sam: I remember reading somewhere Jason Kidd saying that Nash taught him how to run the pick and roll when Nash was young and they were in Phoenix together.

Mutoni: that’s crazy.

Sam: We don’t need to say too much about this game. Lang should have extensive notes from it. true. let’s switch back.

Sam: NO!

Mutoni: haha

(let’s just sit here in silence and watch it conclude.)

Sam: Detroit’s up by 16 with 11 mins left. This Nets-Suns game is very entertaining

Mutoni: very.

Sam: I sent Lang a text message “decent game you’re at.” He wrote back “awesome game.” I hope it goes to Double OT. The Suns can hit 160 points if it does.

Mutoni: oooooooohhh (Kidd misses the jumper)

Sam: Oh my god double OT!

Mutoni: no new-ball bounce this time on the kidd attempt to win it.

Sam: Good point. Marion was playing D on him.

Mutoni: i hate raja bell’s wife. i mean “face”. im sure raja’s wife is lovely.

Sam: Whoa. Who’s his wife? Hey it’s a 10 point game in Dallas again. Whatevz

Mutoni: yeah, im not even switching over until this jerz game is done.

Sam: Jason Kidd is having a great game

Mutoni : this is some mano-a-mano shit right now between him and nash.

Sam: Yeah. The two best post-Magic/Stockton PGs. Gary Payton was once in there too.

Sam: Kidd has 35-14-12 right now. That is not a “minimalist triple double”
Steve Nash is doing you Canadians proud.

Mutoni: unbelievable player. i refuse to believe that he’s canadian.

Sam: He was actually born in South Africa

Mutoni: i think some kid (net fan) just tried to step to nash as he went into the huddle.

Sam: That’s one way to stop him. He’s got 40 and 11.

Mutoni: wow. detroit up 12, 5 and 1/2 to go.

Sam: Yeah great. They say Steve Nash has a career high 40.

Mutoni: reggie just recalled when tay blocked him in the playoffs, and they’re showing the clip.

Sam: Nash had more than that in a payoff game against Dallas

Mutoni: yeah, he had 48. that’s when i stopped hating on him officially.

Sam: I was VEHEMENTLY opposed to him winning the MVP that year until that game.

Mutoni: i still don’t agree with the mvp, it should have been kob’ or ‘bron. or if you want to get nuts, dirk.

Sam: Last year, it should have been one of those two. But two years ago Nash deserved it.

Mutoni: i thought shaq made a pretty good case but last year was a travesty.

( that was a MOMENT. the kidd layin and the freebie coming.)
Sam: Yeah. Kidd getting to the basket and fouled for possible tie?!?!?


Mutoni: lol

Sam: Antoine Wright, classic.

(Wright slides crashes into Kidd as he celebrates a big basket)

Mutoni: youtube instant-classic. diaw may be pregnant, but he cannot be stopped.

Sam: Diaw got the ball because Kidd was guarding him. Short bench in double OT

Mutoni: so much for that theory of having vince foul out.

Sam: Amare and Raja fouled out after that.

Mutoni: nash and kidd’s numbers from tonight are disgusting

Sam: When’s Jalen Rose gonna get in there?

Mutoni: not tonight, that’s for sure.

Sam: The Nets should run screens for Eddie House. Three to win

Mutoni : most points jerz ever scored and ever allowed. Weird. Game over.

Sam: Man, a sloppy Kidd turnover to probably lose it? That is irony.

Mutoni: this game is a stat geek’s wet dream.

Sam: Yes. But there haven’t been that many rebounds considering it’s double OT. Both teams are shooting too well.

Mutoni: that’s a problem any team would love to have. has nash ever missed a free throw?

Sam: Never. Phoenix hit the magical 160 point plateau. Diaw has more assists than Nash.

Mutoni : diaw also has more chins than him.

Sam: He’s slimming down. Wow. Miami and Sacramento are not going to live up to this

Mutoni: no effing way. those numbers are nba jam worthy

Sam: Yes they are.

Mutoni: it’s too bad we didn’t liveblog this game instead

Sam: Yeah, too bad. Lang will have some good stuff though.

Mutoni: hmm… dallas is making this interesting. terry cuts it down to 6 with a minute left.

Sam: Not as interesting as the other game, but interesting.
Mutoni: 19-7 for sheed tonight. i hate him.

Sam: Why don’t you like Sheed?

Mutoni: i do. I’m joking because i had begun the night ripping into him and now he has a monster game.

Sam: Oh yeah that’s right. I just looked at the Nets upcoming games: Boston, Memphis, Milwaukee, and someone else bad.

Mutoni: im looking forward to hearing usher’s girly voice on inside the nba. the nets will be fine. phoenix is just ridiculous

Sam: They’ve won 8 in a row. I think they’re undefeated since the McCallum book came out

Mutoni: the power of jack mccallum. it’s compelling!

Sam: I bet he was at the game too.

Mutoni: you think? well, yeah, it’s close enough to SI headquarters
by the way, wade looks constipated in the pic on yahoo! sports (the nba section)

Sam: So, on my list of most disappointing teams from earlier today, the Pistons just won on the home floor of maybe the best team in the league, and the Nets played with more heart than the have all year.

Mutoni: sager telling chauncey about the phoenix game and inadvertently dissing the tnt showcase. beautiful.

Sam: Nice game selection TNT. Detroit-Dallas could be a Finals preview. They should have had the other game.

Mutoni: i concur. what do you say: 10 minute break?

Sam: What do you say…. skip the second half of double header?

Mutoni: brilliant idea.

Sam: It really can’t match up to the game of the year.

Mutoni: Let’s just skip the whole thing.

Sam: Done.

(Quick peek into the second TNT game: Heat-Kings)

Mutoni: the return of RON! A nice ovation from the crowd. if there’s a funnier looking basketball player than antoine walker, i’d love to hear about him.

Sam: I saw Popeye Jones at the Nets-Mavs game the other night. There’s one.

Mutoni: i stand corrected.