I’m staring at a white screen right now and I’m not entirely sure what to do with it. It’s May. May. This obituary wasn’t supposed to be written until the I-40 asphalt started cooking under triple digits in June. The Thunder’s once promising season is now over, buried under a pile of barbecue and menisci.
I want to ramble on about this season. I want to vent about the last few games. I want to talk about Derek Fisher finally coming back down to his awful reality and why Perk and Serge can’t catch a pass and why Nick Collison can’t catch a break and why Patrick Beverley can’t still just be in Russia. I want to talk about a lot. I don’t think I can, though, so I won’t try. They’d be spotty, shaky points at best. The ramblings of a sad, jaded fan.
This loss, really, wasn’t a surprise. This wasn’t inevitability reaching out its dumb hand and tapping hope on the shoulder repeatedly asking it to sit down until hope was finally like, Alright, dude, I’ll chill. This was inevitability doing this to hope, over and over again for 48 minutes.
* * *
You remember in Superman II when Clark tries to get that dude wearing the flannel in that diner to get out of his seat, only flannel dude just destroys him? Superman is laying in the floor, Lois by his side, and he realizes for the first time in his life that he’s bleeding. He’s never bled before, and he can’t believe it.
That’s kind of how I felt watching Durant last night.
I’d imagine Durant will catch grief from a sect of people that enjoy shouting nonsense. Lazy, forgetful analysis is the easiest kind. What we saw in these playoffs from him, though, was a guy who left every bit of himself on the court each and every night he stepped onto it. He played, going a couple million miles an hour every second he was out there. Bodies scraping and draping themselves all over him, trying to wrestle a tornado to the ground.
Tonight, finally, it was too much. He was too tired. For the first time I can remember, he had nothing left.
He’ll replay that lost shot over and over in his head all off-season. He’ll be back in the gym and take and make about a million of them before the sun sets on his summer and it’s time for the season to start again. That shot, from that spot, taken by that guy, you live with 10 times out of 10. It just wasn’t meant to be.
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I want to have something poetic for you. I really do. Something that leaves you all “Hey! Yea! He’s right! Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits! America!” I want to wrap this gift of a season up beautifully and put this super dope bow on it, an elaborate one that only your mom knows how to tie. One that leaves you excited for next year and okay with how things turned out this time around. I don’t have that in me, though. My thoughts are, admittedly, more scrambled than they usually are.
The basketball gods finally decided they were going to stop spoiling us.
Watching it on television, the game itself felt dead throughout. Then the blue towel made an appearance, Tony Allen refusing to not make things interesting. Then it was as if we’d all been given a second life. Bucket after bucket and stop after stop and, suddenly, we’ve got a chance to win. I was ready to open the column by saying I was going to go buy all the blue towels I could find and make a quilt out of them, wrapping myself in their warmth for each and every game from here on out.
It was all just a tease, though.
I think, ultimately, it was better to end this way. Better to go out here, in front of your people, getting showered in O-K-C’s than go back and have it end in NotSoGraceland with the growl towels waving all mustard-like.
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Part of me wants to go bright side on you. You don’t have to watch previews for The Haves and the Have Nots anymore. It’s a favorite thing for those that question the loyalty and dedication of Thunder fans to point to how quickly our success has come and how easy it is to be a fan of a team that’s only known success. I suppose that can be put to rest now. This postseason should, finally, shut up all those people who thought Russ was hurting rather than helping. I can officially peace out to knowing anything about Falling Skies for the rest of my life. I will say, though, it looks like the humans and the aliens are going to be working, gasp, together at some point this season, so here’s to progress. Coach Yoast, man, always bridging gaps. You don’t much care about any of that, though. We lost. That’s what matters right now. Sorrow waited. Sorrow won.
People are going to forget how close every one of these games were. They’ll look at the gentlemen’s sweep we were just dealt and talk about how well Randolph is playing and how likable Marc Gasol is and how Conley has transformed himself into a star and it’s the Grizzlies time and so on and so forth. The jaded dude in me says none of those are even close to talking points if Russ has two good knees. I don’t guess it matters, though. He doesn’t, so the point is moot. I won’t pull my hair out shouting about a hypothetical.
I’m wearing all black to work today.