Waiting on AI
Well, the plan was to stay here in Denver and catch Allen Iverson's first night with the Nuggets. Plus, the Phoenix Suns and they're 15-game win streak are in town so the potential buzz around an Iverson/Nash matchup would have made for a great story. One problem: mother nature hit the Denver area hard and planes aren't getting in or out today so AI won't join the Nuggets until Thursday.
You remember that scene from the Shining when Jack's character snapped and started stalking that little kid during a blizzard? That's what downtown Denver looks like right now from my hotel room. Nasty. They're calling for up to 22 inches. What do they think this is, Minnesota?
Anyway, I hope to join the Wizards in Sacramento for tomorrow night's game. Considering that a game is looming at Phoenix Friday night, it might be a good idea for the fellas to handle business against the Kings. Maybe they should call up Billy Thomas and get him in uniform because my man bailed the Wiz out in Sacramento last March. Remember that game? Crazy. Gilbert was ducking the long arm of the law and didn't play that night so Billy T comes off the bench, nails some huge shots and helps the Wiz get out of Arco with a big win. That was one of my favorite games of the season.
If the WIzards are entertaining any thoughts of getting out of this four-game trip with two more wins, that bench is going to have to step up and do something against the Kings and Suns. Denver's subs - especially little Earl Boykins - outscored the WIz bench 39-19 and brought the kind of energy that team needed on a night when Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were out. This is the kind of stretch when the injuries to Etan Thomas, Michael Ruffin and Darius Songaila are starting to hurt.
I know the brawl thing has been beaten to death but I did want to weigh in with one take. When it happened, I started laughing because it was only a few nights before that I was sitting at a Caps/Pens hockey game watching two guys beat the stuffing out of each other. The fans loved it. I was sitting in front of three little kids and they were hooting and hollering during the fight right along with dear old mom and dad. When it was over, the combatents were sent to their respective penalty box and the game moved along. To my knowledge, the "brawl" - and it was a brawl because those hockey dudes actually know how to fight - wasn't even mentioned in game stories the next day. Just another night in the NHL.
Now, when the scrap was over (The Pittsburgh dude won. His name was Ruutu or something like that) I turned to the guy sitting next to me and said something like this: "If that happened in an NBA game, it would lead the news for nine straight days, the league would dish out huge suspensions and sports talking heads would spend days detailing the violent culture of the NBA. Some would talk about how NBA players are thugs who lack any sense of personal responsibility and are overly influenced by hip hop.
And then Nuggets/Knicks happened. And I laughed to myself because I knew what was coming. I'm in no way advocating hockey-type violence in basketball but as a journalist who has covered sports for awhile now, it sometimes amazes me how the sports are treated differently.
During my days as a beat writer covering the NFL, we'd get seven or eight days into training camp and if a fight hadn't happened yet, we'd be asking the coach if he was concerned about a "lack of intensity." In baseball, bench-clearing brawls are basically fun events that break up the grind of a 162 game schedule. Just boys being boys. A few suspensions are handed out but the talking heads don't go off on any rants about how the culture of country music causes relief pitchers to attack one another.
Funny quote from Suns guard Steve Nash on that sucker punch thrown by Anthony: "Typical NBA punch. In hockey, your own team would beat you up for that."
Carmelo was backpeddling like an NFL cornerback. Not exactly earning street cred with that one 'Melo.
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