Since my morning ritual consists of natural crunchy peanut butter and an apple, always crisp, never tart (Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, the occasional Pacific Rose), I grabbed a couple to test eat.
The little sticky labels that are a pain in the ass to pull off read, “Smitten.”
Smitten Apples. Clever designation, that.
Crisp and tasty, they are, and I’m off to the market this afternoon to replenish my supply.
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And smitten is what we hoopaholics have been, as we were with the Spurs in ’14, with the Golden State Warriors since their beautiful ever in motion panache won them last year’s NBA title, and a record 73 regular season tilts this season.
All that adulation notwithstanding, no observer with any sense considered they’d have a cakewalk to a repeat. Those Spurs looked formidable. And the LeBrons, from whatever town is savoring the talents of that namesake bête noire, always lurk from the eastern side of the bracket.
Plus Steph, the new anointed, has a blown wheel.
What few of us saw coming was Billy Donovan’s rejuvenated OKC club. Displaying a lack of fourth quarter grit during the regular season, plus thought to soon enough be in a shambles when KD, then Roaring Russell, depart for greener pastures and a hipper environment than Tornado Alley, the Thunder were considered to be anything but a storm front fast approaching.
A test for San Antonio, maybe. But, well, but nothing. That’s it. That a long shot at best.
Now playing big, with the increasingly menacing inside presence of that New Zealander who was a zero at Pitt, and that guy who never left the practice gym for Coach Cal in Lexington, Oklahoma City is a force.
Sayonara San Antonio. Hello, Oakland.
After winning three straight on the road, in the playoffs, at the Alamo and by the Bay no less, it is not a stretch to opine that OKC has Golden State, if not on the cusp of elimination — that would be woefully premature — seeing the turnoff up ahead, if the Dubs don’t get back in the passing lane.
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Because of the grind of 82 games in the regular season, few teams have challenged the Warriors propensity for less than crisp passing. The lack of an imposing inside presence — Draymond Green’s balls out fortitude acknowledged — didn’t matter, as long as the relatively fresh legged Splash Bros. kept swandiving threeballs.
Golden State was only 11/30 from long range in Monday’s L, above the 33% norm expected, yes, but below their season average. By four percentage points. From such slight mathematical variances emanate significant playoff sea changes.
The Thunder have a hum going.
Westbrook never takes a play off. KD keeps firing, and despite missing, what, eight jumpers in a row in the 4th on Monday, netted the dagger.
Adams plays like it’s rugby, not basketball. Which works during the playoffs, when disgracefully the zebras tend to swallow their whistles.
So, don’t look now, tonight’s Game 2 in Oakland is a Must Win . . . for the 73 victory, defending champs.
Can’t wait. Monday’s game was compelling. Hard to conceptualize tonight’s will be any less.
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Meanwhile, in the East, Cleveland is roaring raging on a rampage.
They won the opener against Toronto by 31. It’s liable to be the closest game of the series.
If the Raptors can manage to lose one by single digits, they should celebrate.
I said the LeBrons would go fo’ fo’ fo’ in the East, and I stand by it.
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Here’s one of the great falsehoods in basketball.
“The refs want the players to decide the game at the end.” Or, however it’s worded.
Bullshit. If there’s an infraction, blow your fuckin’ whistle. Otherwise, you are deciding the game, or, at least, affecting the outcome more than you should.
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Kudos to Billy Donovan.
Soon to be in the argument as one of best coaches in the game.
— Seedy K