Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Did the Mavs get jobbed?   posted by Darth Quixote @ 6/21/2006 09:19:00 AM

I really want to celebrate my main man Shaq Diesel's fourth championship, but I'm not sure that I feel right about it. Like everyone else, my first thought upon the whistle at the close of Game 5 was, "Who touched him?" See here for Sports Guy's take on the mind-boggling fact that a 2-guard could average 17 free throw attempts per game in the NBA Finals. Now, in fact, the foul call every time someone even breathed on D-Wade is representative of the rule changes and officating style geared toward the generation of more offense. If you look at the replay of the last play, you see GP's arm draped around Jason Terry's waist--not a foul in the old days, in fact it was how MJ and Pippen guarded John Stockton and kept the Jazz scoring in the fifties one Finals game. (Why didn't the refs call it here though? Well, the forearm the Mavs probably wouldn't have wanted called, because it would have sent Terry to the line for two when they needed a three. But what about GP tugging on Terry's jersey right afterword? That is definitely a foul. If they had wanted to, they could have called in the act and given Terry three free throws!) The league now wants none of that. But this was still painful to watch. I have never seen the officials giving greater deference to a player.

The last time I felt this way was after Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, when the refs decided that a Game 7 was absolutely in order. Game 7 itself washed out the bad taste, as the Lakers showed guts and the Kings choked. I don't know about here. The Heat played harder in Game 6, but I'm not sure they played better, given their atrocious number of turnovers.

Guys, what do you think? Are the Heat champions in your eyes? Please tell me that I'm being weird.

I'm also curious: has being a sports fan made HBD more plausible to any readers? It has to me. I always knew that any red-blooded American male would sell his soul (if such a thing existed) to be out there on the field or the court. To tell me that the differential outcomes right in front of my eyes were entirely the result of superficial cultural differences ... that made we inwardly cringe even at the height of my young and naive leftism. I mean look at these guys! D-Wade could be a model for a statue of Adam. And there are tons of guys like that in the NBA and NFL. Does anyone seriously think that you could find even one six-four guy like that among China's billions?

Update: Maybe I'm wrong. See this from TC.

Update II: I see that some readers want to call me out on my rhetorical question. I don't remember anymore what I really meant. If I meant "Are there any tallish, buffish Chinese guys capable of competing with blacks in a black-dominated sport?" then clearly I'm wrong. But if I meant "Is there a single Chinese guy who (a) is 6-4 or taller, (b) is ridiculously jacked, (c) can jump out of a gym, (d) can handle the ball like a Globetrotter even while wearing work gloves, (e) and shoot 65% against the Detroit Pistons" then I like my chances. GC mentions the "method of thresholds." This comes from our friend La Griffe du Lion, who has written a piece that gives much insight into this question.