Monday, June 13, 2011

Wake Up With GTOG: 5 Weekend Reactions

By Finesse

Lots going on, so here's a quick list to scan through.

5. Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks on winning their first ever NBA title last night.  After Game 1, everyone wrote them off and even predicted a Miami sweep.  But the Mavs had an epic comeback in Game 2 and then once LeBron fell off the face of the Earth in Game 4, the Mavs wouldn't turn back.  Dirk Nowitzki was slightly irritating early in his carrer with the gyrations, the flopping, the hair, and the complaining.  But at 31 years-old, he has matured into undoubtedly the craftiest player in the league, like the old guy you play against in pick up who does underhand scoop shots that you should block every time but can somehow never get to.

4. Here's GTOG's unofficial diagnosis on what happened to LeBron James in Games 4-6.  His legs went dead.  If you watched Game 6 closely, there were numerous times when LeBron just didn't jump very high.  Three times he finished with layups at the rim when usually he was dunking.  He seemed hesitant to shoot because when he did shoot, it was all arms.  So, how did this happen?  It says here that it was a combination of nerves and fatigue.  LeBron rarely comes out of the game, so he has some argument for being tired, although that's only a partial excuse.  He got tight when D-Wade took over as the clear #1 player on Miami and didn't know what he was supposed to do.  Rather than trying to be a co-#1 with Wade, he went too far the other direction and started playing hot potato with the ball.  But he was never comfortable in this role either, so the nerves got going again and, as anyone who ever has been nervous before can tell you, it sucks A LOT of energy out of your system.  Thus, he was brutal in Games 4-6.

"Oh my god it's so hot! Get it away!"
3. Stop me if you've ever heard this before: Star athlete gets serious injury, says recovery is going better than expected, says he is motivated to come back better than ever before.  Well, that's where Evgeni Malkin is right now according to Rob Rossi.  We don't doubt Geno's motivation to come back strong, but we've heard this before (Remember, before last season, Geno said he was better than he ever had been before.  Then he averaged less than a point-per-game).  It's encouraging to hear that the medical rehab is going well, but until he is pumping in power-play goals, the motivational stuff is cliche to feed to columnists.  (FYI - we are Geno's biggest fans).

2. Artistry and I had a back and forth on this recently, but here's a condensed version of my thinking on Pens' restricted free agent Tyler Kennedy.  My position is to let him go to arbitration and get awarded a relatively high one-year salary and then pay it.  A one-year deal is not going to kill the cap.  There will still be some money left over to fill in the gaps on the 3rd and 4th line, and although it won't be much, Shero has proven to be remarkably effective at finding bargains for the grind lines.  The Pens have a window to win the Stanley Cup next season, and unless there is a cheaper replacement for TK's production (there probably isn't), then let's not let the window shut just so we can have an extra 200K to invest in a 12th forward.

1. I was at the Belmont Stakes this weekend, and if you've never been to a horse race, here's three pieces of advice.

1) Get general admission tickets and then sneak (or bribe) your way to better seats.  Don't ever pay $120 dollars for grandstand seats.
2) Wear whatever you want as it's the only time that d-baggery in clothing is officially sanctioned.
3) Gamble on long shots.  It's no fun rooting for the favorite and there is no money in it.

Standing with the crowd and hearing the cheering as the horses came around the final stretch was one of the cooler things I've ever seen at a sporting event.  You may not have any idea which horse is which, but it's license to indiscriminately yell "Go!" as loud as you can as many times as you can.  Put a Triple Crown race somewhere on your sports bucket list.  You won't regret it.

GTOG on the scene reporting.

1 comment:

  1. Well put Finesse. I'd like to add a couple comments regarding the Belmont, at which I too was in attendance.

    I think a large part of the reason the longshots did so well in particular this year was due to the weather. I believe the electronic board in the middle of racetrack noted the condition as "Slop." And so if Animal Kingdom had won and paid me out at 3-1 on my $40 bet, I would have been happy. So maybe instead of saying it's no fun to bet on the favorites, I would say, It's no fun betting on the losers.

    Also, could not agree more with the amount of d-baggery that saturated the atmosphere at the Belmont. It reminded me of my first time at the bar called Smith Point, in Georgetown (a bar frequented in the past by the Bush daughters, junior KKK members, and pastel-wearing, plantation-owning, southerners). Walking into Smith Point with my African-American friend that night, some 2+ years ago, we both looked at each, feeling as if we may have made a mistake. And while having flashbacks to the movie Mississippi Burning, the jew and the black dude had a drink and soon thereafter exited the bar before they daily 2am cross burning. Likewise, at the Belmont, I felt as if I had found myself in the middle of a Brooks Brother commercial gone wrong and Long Island. Good thing we didn't stay for races 12 and 13.