Hard Times, or, Found Against Ropes With No Vin Diesel Voiceovers
Girls love Beyonce like I hate this series so I hate it a lot.
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I guess pray. I hear good things about liquor stores, too. Same goes for watching “The Injury” episode of The Office. Whatever you need to do to cope, get to coping. Because it’s real right now. The Rockets have lifted off and rocketed past us, or whatever dumb pun newspapers and headline writers want to use, and we’re staring blankly ahead, watching helplessly while we’re swarmed by invisible flames, scorched by this thing we can’t quite get a handle on because we haven’t seen its like before.
These are hard times. Not real, actual hard times. I’m writing this on a computer I own while air conditioning blows on my face and I ate Chipotle earlier so my times are not that hard, really, but you feel me. Relative to what this column typically speaks on Thunder-wise, the prettiest game-wise, etc. and so on, these are the concrete times.
We would seem lost in every way if we couldn’t feel the ropes on our backs and know we were against them.
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And this is what it has come to. A one seed having to employ the hack strategy. A one seed unable to get a stop. A one seed playing lazy in the playoffs. A one seed looking completely outmatched.
I feel pain. I feel it all around.
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All roads lead to Vin Diesel loving to say the word “this”. That is how you emphasize, dudes.
If all roads lead to this last game then I’m staying off the roads because this, this unrecognizable team that plays with all the intensity of Polly Pocket, this is death.
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A Tired Kevin and a Lost One
Durant just exhausts himself. He has to do absolutely everything. Simmons tweeted during Game Four that we’ve turned into the 2009 Cavaliers and it’s an ugly truth that comparison may have been generous.
It’s sad watching him allow frustration to take him over, because that is not him. Not the one that we’ve known, at least. I can’t say that I blame him, though. The running everything through him, the usage rate so high it’s touching heaven’s ankles, the disappearing act by some of his teammates. Doesn’t bode well for his sanity.
Speaking of, if anybody happens to see Kevin Martin, just tell him I said what’s up and I miss him and I was wondering where he’s been because I haven’t seen him since the playoffs started. Me and some the guys were thinking of going bowling later so if he ever decides that he wants to exist again then he’s welcome to come. We may actually go see To The Wonder at some point, too, so tell him to text me before he leaves so I can tell him where we’re at. He’s about 6’7″, 185 pounds, completely non-existent in every way, scared to death of any moment that matters within a basketball game, and he plays shooting guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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The Screaming Passion of the Westbrook
We did not know how important Russell Westbrook was. We had absolutely no clue. We knew he mattered, yes, but not this much.
All the analysis and the blaming and the pointing, though, is beside the point. That point those things lay beside being Westbrook’s inability to play. That is your story. That is the beginning and the end of it. If Russell Westbrook is healthy, none of this happens. These last two games don’t exist. The series ended on Monday and instead of watching your tears fall onto your remote you would’ve been out at Ted’s pounding tortillas.
As it is, get ready for a couple days full of justifiable, panicked shouting from ESPN and The Sports Animal. Prepare for the whole “Are we really going to be the first team to ever lose after being up 3-0?” question to gain a serious amount of traction over the next couple days because, at this point, that’s a question with some salt. If the Rockets win Game 6 you can go ahead and welcome yourself to Hell, or Stillwater, or Norman, or Austin, or whatever it would be for you, because that is when the shouting about problems turns into banshee screams through megaphones on top of mountains previously only occupied by the dude that shouts “Ricola” about everything falling apart and we find DeAndre Liggins buried under rubble somewhere north of Fort Gibson trying to survive off a peppermint he left in his jacket pocket because Harden aka Face Sampson brought all the walls down.
Every person that ever said that we’d be better without Westbrook or would benefit from him not asserting himself so much offensively can go find a mirror and sing the chorus of this song at themselves.
With Westbrook on the floor, it was always guaranteed that, no matter what, we had one person that was going to be going as hard as he could possibly go until the world finally rested around him, then he’d take it up seven more notches while everyone slept. He was the lifeblood, the conductor. The one that let the crowd know it was okay to turn the volume up.
Without Russell, sometimes it looks like we’re shopping for beds. Somehow reaching a level of laziness only previously reached by The Dude, man. Laying on a borrowed rug, sipping on a Caucasian, listening to bowling pins fall down.
Without him and his wand, the crowd was paralyzed for the better part of the game last night. They wanted reasons to cheer and looked for them desperately, but the reasons, as they do in bad losses, kept themselves hidden.
Please don’t, but gun to my head, I’d still take us to come out of this series. Course, Derek Fisher was one of our more competent defenders at times last night so I don’t know what to believe anymore.
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Perry Farrell Rules The World?
I had pages of notes on Games 3, 4, and 5. I had what I thought to be some pretty great observations about Scotty Brooks being very much about that Bed Head gel life and how great the Sonic commercials continue to be and how the two guys in them, TJ Jagadowski and Peter Grosz, are the truest auteurs of our time. I thought I’d talk about how I had no idea Coach Yoast was in Falling Skies and how I really hope he says “You make sure that they remember…forever…that night they fought the humans.”
I thought I’d be able to wonder on your screen about why Dobel Tequila thinks Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction are still relevant. I was going to make fun of Carlos Delfino’s dragon tattoo and talk about how unsafe it is to allow a pig to ride a jet ski and praise the handle that Kevin Durant has grown to have. The ball is on a string now and it seems like it’s connected to his hand when he breaks out that lovely, devastating, Iversonian crossover. I wanted to bring up how I think I’m going to start calling Durant “Silk” because there is nothing smoother than him at his apex. Then I was going to close out with this great thing about how if James Harden’s beard is the Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas then Francisco Garcia’s goatee is The Camelot Hotel in Tulsa.
But that stuff is all stupid and doesn’t really matter now.
What matters is the next game. That is all. To think on the last two games, specifically, is asking for insanity to come give you a hug, then throw you out of a plane. If we continue this trend, then Durant, Russ, Hasheem, and probably Garth will have Zebcos in their hands while Kenny Smith giggles in the background and we’ll all start checking on how cheap the bleacher seats are at Redhawks games way before we were expecting to.
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Staying Where The Light Is
I suppose it’s dark right now. Skies blacken over the top of Thunder Alley and blood red tumbleweeds rustle across empty Bricktown streets.
But the light is still there. It’s faded now, not as bright as before, but it’s still shining, still lighting paths. It’s still there, because Durant is still there. He will see the head shakes and hear the insults and the talk of how he didn’t assert himself an appropriate amount. He’ll know he’s never before been scoreless in the fourth quarter of a playoff game and all the questions of him shrinking will burn and stir chaos in him and it’ll make him mad. It’ll take him to that place he gets to in his best moments, the place where he’s pissed. The place where he’s, I guess I’ll bite, not nice.
Then, hopefully, it’ll make him burn Houston. Hopefully it sets fire to him and he comes out trying to conquer galaxies and this is me refraining from linking to a John Mayer or DC Talk song.
Feel that heat, Kevin, that fire. Feel it all around.