Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

NBA Civil War

Anytime someone mentions best superhero movies, I naturally think Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight. You could include Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, and X-Men United too, but really and truly its a fist fight between Spider-Man and Batman.

For anyone defending the others, I get it. X2 was exciting, buuuuut what was the plot again? Avengers was fantastic. It was more about the scenes than the story (more on this later). Guardians and Iron Man entertained, but never truly blew you away. The best movies always blow you away, AND leave you with goosebumps. Iron Man almost got there though[1].

But unlike the others, Dark Knight and Spider-Man 2 did blow you away, and left you with goosebumps. Dark Knight‘s came at the end, and Spidey’s had multiple. But how do you separate those two? Rottentomatoes? Nope. Both rate around the same (93). By how much better they were than their originals? Nope again. Dark Knight far exceeds its original, but you can’t hold that against Spider-Man 2 because Spider-Man was great in its own right. Like how much better can you do after a triple double outing?

Here’s the separation. Spidey was a great super hero movie, but Dark Knight was a great film. To the point it’s one of the best movies never to be nominated for Best Picture. Back then only five films were nominated for Best Picture[2]. On top of that, it received eight Oscar nominations and won two (Sound Editing and Supporting Actor), along with my favorite movie of all time award.

But remember what I was saying about Avengers. An All-Star cast but never really getting there. Like seeing every Team USA basketball squad littered with stars but never really able to mesh. Well I’m seriously afraid Civil War might dethrone my favorite movie (Dark Knight). All signs point toward its All-Star cast blending seamlessly. Toss in a superb story to match: Cap vs Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson and Elizabeth Olsen, Black Panther’s first appearance, Scarlett Johansson and Elizabeth Olsen again, a supposedly scene stealing Spider-Man[3], and you can see why I’m afraid.

Just know that I’m betting against it. It’s hard to overcome a great director (Chris Nolan), a heck of an actor (Christian Bale), and a historic acting performance by Heath Ledger. But I’m also not totally ruling it out and part of me wants Civil War to be the best. If not for movie going experience sake. So that’s what’s at stake.

But you know what else is at stake? The NBA Championship! Littered with heroes with superhuman “powers”: Westbrook’s athleticism, LeBron’s unstoppable driving force, Curry’s long range shooting, Draymond’s swiss army knife skills, and so on and so forth. Anyway, join me as I combine those powers (movie and basketball) together through Civil Wars’ quotes…

You’ve operated with unlimited power and no supervision.”

That’s something the world can no longer tolerate.”

For Player/GM LeBron, how many questionable moves have been committed over his second Cavalier stint? He could have wisely taken the wait-and-see approach with the Kevin Love/Wiggins swap until the trade deadline. Also, that Tristan Thompson 5 year/$82 million deal stunk of his sway over Dan Gilbert, which at the time paid Thompson like he was the 6th best power forward in the League. Again, SIXTH BEST POWER FORWARD!!!!! Not helping, both share the same agent (Rich Paul). Adding to the puzzlement, the mid-season firing of Blatt for his highly unproven backup coach (Tyronn Lue), who puzzlingly decided to up the offensive tempo[4]. Toss in the weird unfollowing of the Cavs on Twitter, and LeBron’s committed a long list of mishaps.

Just know if Cleveland falls short again, or worse quickly ousted in the Finals, Irving or Love will be immediately slapped with a shipment sticker. And there’s a good number of fantastic and good free agents this summer.

Stay down, final warning”

I could do this all day.”

To this year’s “Never Say Die” Blazers. After disposing of a shorthanded Clippers squad, everyone expected them to just flatline against the Warriors even with Curry out. Two horrible losses early in the Warriors series, each by more than ten points, didn’t exactly scream, “Hey fans, don’t worry we still got a chance!” Did that discourage them in any way? No. Portland surprised Golden State next game with Lillard and McCollum throwing up 62 points, and Aminu tossing in another 23 (more on this later) for the shocker. The game after, Lillard and McCollum pushed the Warriors to overtime before Curry scorched them with 17 points in the extra period, officially exclaiming “I’m back!” and reminding of us why he’s the League’s best on-fire guy.

Here’s the thing though; even with Aminu submitting his solid 3rd team option application in that series (Avgs: 17.2 pts, 8.4 rbs, .54 fg%, AND 3 treys/game), Portland is still one good player away from being dangerous. If the best you can do is push Golden State to 6 with Curry out for a part of the series, you’re still short one player. Don’t worry though Portland. This year’s free agent crop has a good amount of solid middle-tier players.

I just want to make sure we consider all our options.”

Speaking of which, here’s this year’s possible free agents: Mike Conley, Al Horford, probable but don’t hold your breath Kevin Durant, a definite testing-the-waters DeMar DeRozan, only 27 years old Nic Batum, Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Chandler Parsons, AND Kent Bazemore.

Let that sink in for a bit… HOLY MACKEREL IS THAT A GREAT LIST!

But unlike last year, there isn’t a shortage of enticing destinations. The Lakers have Jordan Clarkson, this year’s number two pick (Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram), D’Angelo Russell, more shot opportunities now that Kobe’s gone, a couple of interesting roster pieces, and Luke Walton to sweeten the pot. Boston sports a Top 3 Coach, Isiah Thomas, the 3rd pick in this year’s draft, and $53 million in cap space (enough for two max guys). Then there’s the next level of destinations: Houston (one superstar, a smart front office, and $41 million in cap), Portland (Lillard, McCollum, and $41 million cap), Washington (Wall, Beal, and cap space for one max), New York (Melo, Porzingis, and space for one max player), and Dallas (cap space for 2 max guys).

If you want luxury AND winning, LA. If you want a super legit chance and clearer path to the title, Boston. Wait a year for the salary cap to increase, sunny Miami. No shortages whatsoever.

This job. Try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody. But you don’t give up.”

Okay, so maybe Sam Hinkie wasn’t trying to heroically save basketball youths, but he wasn’t totally ruining them like Stephen A. Smith declared. Part of you has to feel bad for Hinkie though – roughly 3 years into his Tankapalooza Experiment and he resigns just a month before he could nab his franchise player (Ben Simmons). Are Philly fans relieved? Yes! Is Sam Hinkie kicking himself for not sticking it out? Definitely!

I’m sorry Tony, if I see a situation pointed South, I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.”

Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.”

Was there a more a significant playoff moment this season than when Billy Donovan sat Westbrook in the Spurs series for an extended period to show/teach him a lesson!? That Durant was the key to Oklahoma’s championship aspirations and Westbrook needed to realize it? Though I’m pretty sure Westbrook felt like punching Billy in the mouth during all of this.

Did it work though? More yes than no. Over the next couple of games, Russ endured an identity crisis of sorts – struggling between distributing the ball (Point Guard Westbrook) and the freak of nature coast-to-coast hard dunking in-and-out of control stud we all know (Shooting Guard Westbrook). Barkley even pointed this out during Game 5 of that series – saying Russ looked hesitant with the ball, leading to six turnovers and a super shaky first half with the Spurs pouring in 32 points in the 2nd quarter alone. Just when it looked like San Antonio would gain control of the series (tied 2-2), a steady under control Westbrook emerged for the second half (finishing with 21 points and only 2 turnovers down the stretch).

One win later, a total Spurs dismantling, a surprise win at Golden State, and it’s probably safe to say Billy Donovan’s brilliant move is paying off[5].

I was wrong about you. The whole world was wrong about you.”

Here’s what I wrote after the Spurs were eliminated from this year’s playoffs:

For all those saying the Spurs were old, you were off by 7 years, 2 Finals appearances, 1 championship, and 1 near championship. If this is the end, its been a fantastic career by the Big 3!

Did you ever think the Duncan Era would surprisingly end with Timmy outlasting Ginobli AND Parker? It’s true. Parker quit being Parker last year. Sure he would pull off vintage Parker performances, like he did in Game 3 against the Thunder in that recent series. But he was never the Tony Parker of old. Good for 23-29 points a game, roughly 6 assists, and a couple of spins into the lane with a sweet floater or two. Ginobli quit being Ginobli years ago. As for Duncan, it wasn’t until this year his poor old body wouldn’t even let him hop off that one leg he had for the past few years. You could practically see the fork sticking out of his back. But not all is bad. We can now officially move Duncan past Wilt on the Pantheon now right!?

Don’t believe, check this out (career averages):

Player X (19 years) – 19 pts/game, 10.8 rbs, 3 assists, .506 fg%, 5 championships, 2 MVPs, 10 First Team All-NBA, 8 First Team All-NBA Defense, and 15 All-Stars.

Player Y (15 years) – 30.1 pts/game, 22.9 rbs, 4.4 assists, .540 fg%, 2 championships, 4 MVPs, 7 First Team All-NBA, 2 First Team All-NBA Defense, and 13 All-Stars.

Player Y is fantastic right! That points per game average is off the charts! That rebounding number has to be fake right? 2 championships, pretty good. But 5 championships, WOW! A 19 year career, how many players even make it that far? And 8 time First Team All-NBA Defense! That to me sticks out. Because Player Y only has 2 of those over a 15 year career. Like he didn’t give a crap about that side of basketball. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Player Y is Wilt and Player X Duncan. If Wilt was so great how come he only has 2 championships??? How can you be a monster offensively, but not really matter where it counts most?

Duncan over Wilt. Enjoy the movie.




[1] To the point it revived Robert Downey Jr’s career, vaulted him to the number one idol of men, and became women’s biggest desire (besides Nutella!).

[2] That year Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and The Reader got the nod. Throw into today’s rules and Batman definitely gets one of those ten nominations.

[3] Thank You Sony!

[4] The Cavs didn’t need to increase the offensive tempo, especially after what worked against the Warriors in The Finals, they needed to find a better half court philosophy (currently their high volume 3 bombing system).

[5] 2016 Post-Season Coach of The Year: Billy Donovan! The best coaching moves aren’t strategy but personal. Other notable: 2015 Doc’s mid-season move to run the offense through Blake Griffin after Chris Paul went down with an injury, which allowed Blake to flourish and ascend to Superstar Level 2.

*All quotes from Civil War



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