The Links: Checking In…

by Lang Whitaker

So it’s still the holler-day weekend and I’m still on vacation, sort of, though that will come to a screeching halt tomorrow when I go back to work to cover another NBA game.

Anyway, right now I’m watching the DVD of Talledega Nights that Sam copped me for Christmas, so I figured I could bang out a post while watching. (With some random lines from the movie thrown in.)

“And that’s pretty much what it’s like to manage a Waffle House…”

Non-basketball thoughts, so that Ryan Jones can save time and skip down to the basketball-thoughts.

• RIP James Brown. Man, I was crushed to hear about the death of the Godfather of Soul. I saw him in concert a decade ago and he was amazing. It took about 30 minutes from the time the concert began before Brown himself took the stage, because they had to introduce the dancers, the horn section, the rhythm section, etc. Once JB took the stage, it was about 90 straight minutes of hit after hit, from “I Got You (I Feel Good)” to “Living In America.” Brown was in his sixties at the time, but he moved better than people 50 years younger. It’s one of the two best concerts I’ve ever been to (along with Run DMC/Public Enemy/DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince/EPMD back in 1988). Funny that the hip-hop groups all sampled the hell out of Brown. We’ll miss you, JB.

“Chip, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!”

• Worst part of the weekend was atching the Falcons/Panthers game. Painful. Sam had a rough time watching the Giants, and I can really commiserate with him. The Falcons were completely toothless on offense, even though the Panthers ran the ball 52 times (52 times!) the Falcons defense seemed surprised each time the Panthers lined up and ran it at them. I hope Falcons owner Arthur Blank is as ticked off as I am and he cleans house. And Mike Vick needs a girlfriend or something — he seems completely joyless out there, like football is no fun for him whatsoever. You’d think he could at least pretend to enjoy football a few Sundays each year.

“You put a crack in my arm like the crack in the Liberty Bell.”

• Too bad about Yao Ming crunching his knee, and that’s a lot of knee to crunch. For all the talk about Yao being tired, not being able to carry a team, he was the best center in the NBA the first two months of the season. T-Mac is back, but Houston is going to struggle to stay in the Playoff race for the next two months. Only good thing is they’ve got a bunch of home games coming up.

“This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons.”

• How’s the Iverson/Nuggets deal working out? They’re beating the Celtics as I right this, but that doesn’t mean anything because it’s the Celtics they’re playing. Hard to tell, basically. I haven’t watched either game. And I like that DerMarr Johnson gave him number 3 free of charge.

“I spread my butt cheeks as Mike Honcho.”

• For us Hawks fans, it just keeps getting worse. They gave up a 21-point fourth quarter lead and lost to Utah, then they get drilled in Detroit. Now Josh Smith is out for a month after having hernia surgery. The good news? The Hawks are in the East and are still two games better than the BETcats.

“I lost my muscle control. I’m fine.”

• All the articles keep referring to what happened as a “scuffle,” but when Martynas Andriuskevicius ends up with a fractured skull and concussion, how minor can it be? I didn’t think fighting was what they’d be teaching in the D-League, but wow.
“What happened to the family portrait? You crudely pasted my face over mine.”

• Ron Artest better be packing his bags in Sacto. He missed the game on Thursday night with “sore knees,” which nobody knew was even a problem. Then after the game they asked him if his knees were bad and he said, “Whatever they told you, that’s what it is.” Is anyone surprised?

“There ain’t nothing more frightening than driving with a live cougar in the car.”

• The Nets losing Nenad Krstic could be crippling, but I’m wondering if it won’t accidentally make them better. Without Krstic, the Nets might have to go small more often, and that lineup they run with Kidd, Marcus Williams, Jefferson, Vince and Collins/Mikki Moore is their most exciting lineup. Now it might be their most effective lineup, too. Wonder if Li’l Lawrence Frank will keep them doing what they were doing or let them go small? And Gary Sussman is still too shaken up from the injury to update his blog, it appears.

“I feel like I’m in Highlander.”

Keep enjoying the holidays…Later…