Thursday, June 7, 2012

a couple quick nba thoughts ... and a booked milwaukee trip

Don’t have a lot to write about, but wanted to note a couple quick NBA thoughts before settling in to watch tonight’s game six showdown at the Fake Garden between the Celtics and the Heat …

* Congrats to the Artists formerly known as the SuperSonics for winning the Western Conference.  I am in utter shock at what just happened, to be honest with you.  The Spurs hadn’t lost a game since Rick Santorum was still a viable candidate for the Republicans.  They were up 2-0 on the Thunder.  The Sports Guy even wrote a column last Friday (I believe accurately) questioning if this would wind up as one of the four or five greatest teams of all time.

Then they lose game three and four in OKC.  Not surprising, the Thunder were my pick to reach the Finals, so obviously I thought they had talent.  But then they went into San Antonio and rolled to a comfortable game five victory.

I have a friend who’s a big Thunder fan (strike two chica – its Mavs or nobody in the West.  And considering your strike one is "broncos lover", god damn girl, that's one really bad looking 0-2 count …), and after her email yesterday noting how fired up she was for the game last night, I replied in true Stevo fashion:

“I expect the Spurs to win comfortably tonight.  You know how much I love proven, veteran teams with their backs to the wall.  102-89.”

For a half, I looked prophetic.  Then … holy cow, that third quarter?  Might have been the best quarter of basketball by a team I’ve ever seen.  Nothing the Zombie Sonics did failed.  Nothing the Spurs did worked.  Then a hard-fought fourth quarter, the Thunder move on, and congrats to them.

* Man I feel bad that the great fans in Seattle are having to watch this unfold.  All because their carpetbagger owner demanded a new arena to stay … less than eight years after Key Arena was opened.  Sorry, but there’s no way I can root for a team like that (unless they play the Lakers.  I’d root for a squad of Nazis against the Lakers.)

* Fun stat: The only teams to win an O’Brien Trophy post-1999 lockout are the Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010), the Spurs (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007), the Pistons (2004), the Heat (2006), the Celtics (2008), and the Mavericks (2011).  To reach the Finals?  The Thunder swept the defending champion Mavericks, beat the Lakers in five, and beat the Spurs in six.  Meaning they beat the three teams who hold 10 of the last 13 O’Briens. 

And no matter who they face come Tuesday, they have a chance to make it 11 of the last 13.  That’s unbelievable.

* Great question in the Hollinger chat today at ESPN: who says no first – Bulls send Joakim Noah and Kyle Korver (for salary filler) to the Hawks; Hawks send Josh Smith to the Lakers; Lakers send Pao Gasol to the Bulls.  I gotta admit … that is one helluva three-way idea. 

* I see most mock drafts have the Bucks selecting either Jared Sullinger (F – The Ohio State University) or Perry Jones III (F – Baylor).  I’m good with either pick.  Put it this way – either player gets Milwaukee back into the postseason next year if they play 82 games (the Bucks missed by one game this year, and the way Philly was free falling, had this been a full 82 game season, the Bucks would have been the beneficiaries of Derrick Rose’s injury instead of the 76ers.)

* Rooting hard for Boston tonight.   Real hard.

* Sadly, my planned trip to Milwaukee this weekend has had to be postponed for a few weeks due to stuff beyond anyone’s control.  Which sucks, because I was looking forward to walking up to random people who support Scott Walker’s anti-union measures and asking them “why do you want to devalue the quality of life in this state” and see what they had to say.  (I’m guessing nothing – only a moron would vote against his or her own self-interests, and, well, this site has long maintained that the only people more moronic than religious conservatives are liberal ministers like Reverend Al and Reverend Jackson, men who make me sick to my stomach.)

But actually, this might wind up being a good thing.  I’m planning to switch my flight to the first full weekend in July (weekend after the 4th holiday week).  Which means I’ll hit up the last weekend of Summerfest, a two week long music festival on Lake Michigan I have been dying to see for like a decade.

Care to guess who the closing act for Summerfest 2012 is?

I’ll give you a couple clues:

1. Along with Jimmy Buffett and Lionel Richie, he is the only recording artist I have never seen live, that I really want to see live at some point in my life.  (I’ve seen everybody else – Dave, Ben Harper, OAR (who’ll be there that weekend too!  Score!), Kenny, Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Paul McCartney, Carole King, James Taylor, Gavin DeGraw … I could keep going but you get the point.)

2. My favorite night of American Idol – not the best night, my favorite night – was done in season seven to the songs of this artist. 

3. He starred in arguably the worst movie I have ever paid money to see (via DVD rental a few years ago, and yes, it is AWFUL).  And yet, the soundtrack to said movie?  Went gangbusters back in 1980, and gave us not only the biggest hit of his career, but also my favorite song by him (and no, it’s not the one in number four, which is …)

4. Anytime I perform karaoke, I perform the tribute this man wrote to President Kennedy’s daughter in the weeks after her father’s death.

Yes, your closing headliner for Summerfest 2012 … is the one, the only, the legend … Neil Freaking Diamond.

Milwaukee, here I come!!!  Just make sure a Milwaukeean bloody mary at Café Grand Centraal is sitting ready for me, with a Lakefront IPA chaser …

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