September Madness

We didn’t get an NCAA Tournament this year, but what happened in Orlando sure felt like an NCAA Tournament game.

A winner-take-all postseason game on a neutral court. Complete with lots of turnovers, inexplicable missed calls, good defense, a back-and-forth game with a big comeback, inconsistent offense: this one had all the marks of an NCAA Tournament game.

Most of all, we got a ridiculous end-of-game sequence characterized by terrible decision-making from extremely talented players and an attempt for the win at the buzzer. Seriously, watch this and tell me you’re not watching the end of a Sweet 16 game between Florida and Wisconsin.

Donovan Mitchell averaged 36 PPG but it wasn’t quite enough to get his team by the Nuggets. He was unremarkable in the first half but spectacular in the third quarter and solid throughout the fourth. That tracked quite closely with his team’s performance throughout the evening. It would feel unfair to pin the loss on him, but some would say that they made it as far as he took them.

Jamal Murray was spectacular in the series, particularly in games 4-6, but turned in a rough performance tonight. His teammates picked him up, most notably Nikola Jokic, who poured in 30 points and came up big throughout the fourth quarter including the game winning bucket in the final minute. (side note: Jokic is one ugly motherfucker)

I’m not too worried about Murray, though he’ll need to be spectacular to give this squad a chance against the Clippers in the next round. That series gets going on Thursday. One day off after a win to advance in the postseason tournament? That sounds familiar…….

Fuck Marcus Morris

I haven’t watched as much of the first round of the NBA Playoffs as I maybe would have liked. Generally, the first round of the playoffs isn’t particularly compelling: the title contenders beat down their opponents and the competitive series are typically played between teams destined to lose short series in the second round.

Even by those standards, the first round in the East was a snoozefest. Three sweeps, one five game series, and the most interesting event was a team deciding not to play a game. The first round in the West though has consistently had me tuning into games I had not planned to watch. The Nuggets-Jazz series has been one of the best series I can remember, the Thunder have been competing their asses off, and I will always try to watch playoff LeBron.

By far the best part of the first round, though, was the Clippers-Mavs series and, in particular, Luka Doncic. Hardcore NBA fans were already well aware of the abilities of the 21-year old Slovenian, but the six games in the first round jumped the point guard on to the radar of the casual fan.

Averaging 31 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game while shooting 50% from the floor, Doncic even led his undermanned Mavs team to a couple of wins against the Clippers, a title favorite, including Game 4 which ended like this. The stats don’t tell the real story of Doncic’s impact; the second year player often looked like the best player on the floor in a series that included Kawhi Leonard.

Luka Doncic has arrived and it was spectacular to witness. He got a ton of respect from the Clippers throughout the series, as Doc Rivers and his coaching staffs constantly mixed and matched defensive approaches to thwart him.

Doncic received plenty of attention from the Clippers’ players as well. I have no problem with Montrezl Harrell calling Doncic a “bitch ass white boy” and find the outrage over such trash talk to be entirely manufactured and 100% fake.

I do, however, object to Marcus Morris’s treatment of Doncic. Perhaps the hard foul in the final game of the series did not warrant an ejection, but it was dirty and it was intentional. It would be one thing if this was Morris’s dirtiest play on the Mavs’ superstar in the series, but it was not.

Morris targeted Doncic two games in a row. Perhaps it was premeditated, perhaps it was out of frustration as the 21-year old white boy was putting him in a blender, perhaps these really were accidents. Lol, nah.

If Morris had let it go after the series, I might be willing to give him a pass. It’s the playoffs and these things happened in the heat of the moment. But Morris made sure to chirp Doncic on Bleacher Report’s Instagram page today.

I want more bad blood and more intense rivalries in the NBA, so I won’t pretend this is unacceptable behavior. It just infuriates me when role guys pretend that the outcome of a game or a series was attributable to them and thus gives them license to use that to chirp a superstar on the other side. Let Kawhi chirp Luka with “Clips in 6” if he wants; Morris should stick to battling with Dorian Finney-Smith.

I can’t wait to watch Doncic next season. I wouldn’t care at all if Marcus Morris retired before the start of the second round.

Fuck Marcus Morris.

To Play or Not to Play

I’ll be honest off the top. I had planned to call back the first headline at some point. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be the next day.

But here we are. Late in to the evening somewhere in the Bubble, NBA players discussed whether to continue the playoffs. By all accounts, the situation will be an open question throughout the day tomorrow.

Let’s to take a moment to reflect on how we would explain tonight to ourselves six months ago.

FUUUUUUCCCCKKK THIS

Okay, moving on now. Let’s just talk about where we are as we wake up on August 27. Actually, one more brief moment of reflection: for Jacob Blake and his family. My thoughts are with them as they experience this nightmare.

But I want to use my blog (that no one is reading) to speak in support of the NBA players. It sucks that our society has put these men in this unthinkable position. The specific failures of society that have put American society in this position are too many to count, too complicated for my intellect, and too intertwined to entangle in any manner that would allow us to fully understand how or why we ended up here.

That last one is important. Re-read the whole sentence if you need to.

Tomorrow, the NBA players will be at the forefront of that conversation. I hope they do well. I don’t envy their position. I don’t believe many among us are equipped to navigate it. What would you say Thursday if you were Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chris Paul, LeBron James, or Kawhi Leonard?

What I know above all is how much I admire those guys and their peers. My admiration may have been born out of appreciation for their talents on the basketball court, but it is certainly not limited to the space between the lines.

I am rooting for the NBA players with my whole heart. I will stand with them wholeheartedly in this moment. I don’t know much about the world today, but I know that. I stand with the NBA players.

To Blog or Not to Blog

I suppose I’ve chosen the former. I’m blogging.

Hello world

It would be impossible to cite the specific reason I’m here or the particular event that drove me to launch No Crying in Baseball. I’m just a 23 year old guy with a lot of opinions who decided to start writing them down somewhere.

I don’t know whether anyone will read the words I will write here. It’s not clear to me whether anyone should read the words I will write here. I figure that the internet is already full of people who speak a lot without having anything to say so what’s one more, right?

People are going to be curious about the name, so let me be clear that No Crying in Baseball is not just a baseball blog. It’s ostensibly a sports blog, but I imagine it more like a lifestyle blog for people who like sports. I will evaluate that description constantly and revise it as necessary–it would be a grave mistake to handcuff the site today by giving it too narrow a focus.

The name does have meaning and we’ll explore that in the future–along with a whole host of other topics. No subject will be off limits, but we’ll shy away from directly opining on the political topics of the day. Republicans read lifestyle blogs for people who like sports too, after all.

I have already darted in and out of using the pronouns “I” and “we,” so let me assure you that that the site only has one author. I won’t say much about myself yet. Just to get ready cause you never met a motherfucker quite like me.

And, with that, No Crying in Baseball was born.

the twenty-fifth of august in the year of our lord two thousand and twenty