I love the NBA, but like every pro sports league, I also get that everything is about money. One of the things that has driven me bananas over the last bajillion years is team names after teams relocate. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it: the Thunder (as much as I think the way the SuperSonics left was a heist) did it right; the Hornets and Jazz did it wrong. So let me make it very clear what needs to happen here: a three-team trade for names. Jazz goes back to New Orleans, Hornets goes back to Charlotte, and Bobcats (or a brand new one, if they prefer) goes to Utah. Tell me what doesn’t make sense about that? It beats the Pelicans idea and the fact that Utah may be the least Jazzy place in the known universe. David Stern, do you think in between your fits of infantile rage, you can make this happen?
1. Sustenance & Song: Perini Ranch and Calexico’s “Two Silver Trees”
I’m not nearly as much of a foodie as Wayne is, but I had a job where I used to travel a lot. So I’m going to start listing some places that aren’t local, but if you ever end up around there, you won’t regret the stop.
This one is not a far drive from my house, though. In Buffalo Gap, Texas (a suburb of my town, Abilene) lies the best steak I have ever had. You may have heard of Perini’s if you are a reader of Texas Monthly (they are big fans) or you’ve ever attended a catered barbecue with former president George W Bush (he and owner Tom Perini are apparently friends). In any event, I’m a steak connoisseur – having sampled wares from all over the country while I was traveling – and I have never eaten a better steak than I have at Perini Ranch. If you are ever in this part of the world, it’s certainly a place to seek out.
Calexico is my favorite folk-pop-country-mariachi band. This is a tremendous song from a really great album. If you don’t know Calexico and are interested in folk-country with great horns, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
2. Key Match Up: Spurs vs. Apathy
I’ll be honest: I looked at the starting lineup for this team and, as closely as I follow the NBA, I’ve never heard from the rookie who starts at shooting guard (Jeffery Taylor, a rookie from Sweden). So, I think the toughest test for the Spurs tonight is not looking ahead to the remaining 3 roadies on the schedule and to take care of business.
3. Keeping An Eye On: Nando DeColo
I am starting to love Nando-Time. When he was brought over, I had major concerns about him ever being a significant contributor to this team, primarily because of his defense. But Nando is just a basketball player. Like his countryman, Boris Diaw, he has that knack for knowing things and seeing things on the court that are about to happen. And that knack has actually translated to both ends of the floor. Wayne commented recently that if Nando can develop the corner 3 consistently, he’ll be a fixture for Pop’s rotation and I think that’s a spot-on observation. As he is right now, he’s a bench spark plug and a guy who can ignite his teammates with pristine passing.
4. Bold Prediction: Spurs Blowout
I think the script tonight looks a lot like last night: Spurs begin to take control early and maintain slight lead through the half. Charlotte, who is also on a back-to-back after arriving from Milwaukee last night, begins to wilt in the 3rd against the Bench. Game gets our of hand. End scene, fade to black. And silver.
Odds and Ends
The roster for the Bobcats looks like a who’s who of “guys we thought were going to be good, but never really were all that good”. Brendan Haywood, Byron Mullens, Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Tyrus Thomas, Hakim Warrick, DeSagana Diop. Yikes. There’s a lot of individual talent there, but it also looks like a bunch of guys who have struggled with being on good teams. Although I still wonder what a really strong coach and organization (like, maybe, Pop) could do with Thomas.
I am interested in seeing the Bobcats’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in action though. This was a fairly weak draft and he’s a guy a lot of pundits said went too high for his talent, but now I’m hearing he’s all motor and has more skill than previously thought. It’s sad to see a team be this bad for this long, so I’m hoping he turns out to be the right guy for this franchise.