The D.A.Y. of playoff clinching and Joey Crawford bigger than the game

by April 16, 2007

By Sam Rubenstein

With the NBA season wrapping up and playoff seeding HEY!!! YOU CAN’T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT! YOU WANNA FIGHT?!? Excuse me, there are still games being played that will shape up the bottom of the playoff picture and that O.K. THAT IS IT! YOU ARE OUT OF HERE! GET OFF MY COURT! I AM BIGGER THAN THE GAME AND IT’S PLAYERS! DON’T YOU LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT. I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING. HIT THE SHOWERS. GO HOME. I WILL FIGHT YOU. I AM PUGNACIOUS!

I’m having a little bit of fun with the Joey Crawford-Tim Duncan fiasco, as you can hopefully tell. Mutoni already wrote about it, so instead I’ll just entertain you with tales of my weekend, which included painting my apartment, and then more painting, followed by surviving a monsoon with a leaky roof, and then more painting. You know what, I’ll keep that to myself. Unlike Joey, I realize that I have a role to play here, and it’s not to put myself over the NBA and its players, whom you are here to read about. Sure, I can throw in some personal anecdotes and make myself a part of the show. But without an NBA and its players to talk about, this website would cease to exist. Joey Crawford does not seem to have his head wrapped around the concept of being a complementary part of a star-driven machine. I am operating under the assumption that Crawford was 150% wrong and no story is gong to come out later that Duncan went Robbie Alomar on him or something.

Okay, one amusing tale from the weekend for all of you LOST fans. I was at a bar on Friday in the vicinity of a pool table. Four really annoying guys with guitar cases came back there to play and I swear to God they had to be the real life version of Driveshaft. The lead singer “Liam” character was the most annoying alpha male type of guy I have had to deal with in a long time. The “Challlllllllie” character was innocently not so innocently hitting on my girlfriend and her friend. I almost had to knuckle up like Joey Crawford. For you non-LOST fans, this paragraph has been useless.

Back to Crawford-Duncan for a moment.. When the NBA cleaned up their policy on player-referee relations early this season, it was supposed to cut down on the hot headed, me-first, trash talking, self-entitled superstars, and the mild mannered public servants they abused, whom protected our beloved league from their swarthiness. This is very backwards. Tim Duncan might make the huge eyeball face, stare in disbelief like he’s just seen a magic trick, and complain about calls, but he is hardly the kind of guy that policy was made to shut up. For The tough guy ref to be the one to go at it with the league’s quietest all-time legend, that’s not what Stern had in mind. Just the fact that we all know who Joey Crawford is, and what his style is like, is a problem for the NBA. Lang and I were at a Nets-Mavs game this season and Joey tossed a fan for cursing at him. Mr. Crawford, get it together.

Alright, the games that were played. In meaningless action, Toronto beat the Knicks 107-105, though Emry DowningHall gets to say “I told you so” as Mardy Collins put up a 12 and 11 effort as the starting PG. Fortunately for the Knicks, the NY tabloids have the Yankees pitching injuries and the Imus fallout to obsess over. Mike and the Mad Dog are temporarily taking his spot here in the morning. That’s kind of like Katie Couric going from fluff morning news to hard hitting President grilling anchor. Oh. Good luck Professor Francessa! I personally think Mad Dog is the most annoying person in the history of the universe, but that means he is doing his job correctly.

Philly beat Detroit behind 26 from Willie Green. Dallas got past San Antonio in a game that was playoff intense until Joey Crawford decided to take the proverbial air out of the balloon.

Onto the playoff implication games.

The Wizards did beat the Hawks in their Gilbert and Caron-free days, but the Bulls dropped the hammer on them. Combined with Jersey’s win over Indy, getting 35 from Vince and 25 from Nachbar on 6 of 6 from downtown, and the Nets are now just a game back of catching Washington. That could potentially set up the Vince vs. Toronto series that we were talking about all last week. Chicago is holding off Cleveland in the race for the #2 seed. If the Wiz complete their slide and end up at #7, then winning that #2 seed could be huge for the Bulls or Cavs cause it’s basically like a two week bye week. Of course, Washington could also slide all the way to #8 and Detroit would receive the bye.

Hedo Turkoglu made a game wining defensive play on Delonte West. Is that the kind of sentence that will get you to read more about this game? The Magic clinched a playoff spot, and can still move up if the Wizards and/or Nets lose games. Al Jefferson played for some reason and hit 14 of 20 shots for 28 points. Did Doc and Ainge cave to all the public humiliation about how they tanked harder than anyone this year? Very shady that one of their best young players could come back and do this right off the bat, against a Dwight Howard team.

The Kings finally came through for the fans. They played hard even though they won’t be going to the playoffs, and knocked the Clippers down so the Warriors can claim that 8th seed for the Golden State-Dallas first round Nelliefest. The Warriors did their part by demolishing the T-Wolves. It took a 42 point fourth quarter of garbage time for the T-Wolves to get it even that close. Ricky Davis scored 42. It is truly amazing how the less important a game is to his team, the better he plays. J-Rich did it all for the Warriors with 32-12-7. Golden State is so close to finally ending their playoff drought.

Kobe Bryant has reached a place where you can see that he scored 50 points and take it for granted. That is exactly what he did, and the Lakers clinched their playoff spot. Right now they are a half game ahead of Golden State in the race for the seventh seed. So, we need the Warriors to keep winning, but not too much, and we need the Lakers to keep winning too.