by Toney Blare
– Tonight is “Nola Night.” Lang favorite Trombone Shorty is on the stage outside the main gate. Speaking of Nola, I dj’d a street festival on Saturday. One of the acts covered “Family Affair.” And y’know the part where Sly sings, “One child grows up to be someone that just loves to learn/Another child grows up to be someone we just love to burn?” Yeah, well, that became “One child grows up to be…Trombone Shorty/Another child grows up to be…Ray Nagin.” Word.
– Media guide facts: 7-1 second-year Jazz reserve Kyrylo Fesenko enjoys “fantasy book and playing computer games…favorite foods: mashed potatoes, French-style meat, and chicken wings…wears size 18 shoes…is single.” Not for long!
– Great Point God rivalry meeting, blah, blah, blah, argue, argue, argue. One thing that cannot be argued: DWill is not fooling around when it comes to his hair. His knowledge of the hair game, his resilience and creativity put him above CP and in a class by himself.
– Julian Wright starts in place of Peja, who’s coming off the bench, and Hilton Armstrong is in for Tyson, who joins Posey in street clothes.
– Ronnie Brewer scores the first 6 Jazz points. He and Okur consistently make my list of players who I surprisingly like to watch in person. Besides this and their uniforms, they share no other discernible feature.
– One game it’s Lil Wayne, the next it’s Regis Philbin. It all fits in our 2009 America, it all fits.
– I’ve said before that CP3 is a good bit better than last year, but against DWill he seems to pull even more behind-the-back and stutter steps, as if making the argument for speed and slick over power.
–Boozer takes the ball off DWest twice, seems more villainous than ever. 23-14 Jazz.
– DWill and CP3 end up on the ground fighting for the ball. There’s a certain sibling quality in this rivalry, especially after Beijing, and CP3 is the littler, angrier brother. DWill never seems to take it as personal, and wins the ensuing jump ball.
– Utah shoots the lights out, leads 41-19 at the end of 1. I think I hear some boos, which is rare here. Deron has 7pts/8 dimes, CP3 has 5 and 4.
– The Hornets bench is phenomenally unreliable and should be factored into the comparison of the PG’s, as Utah subs in Milsap while DWest gets about 1 minute bouncing on an exercise ball before returning, and in general he and Chris get no rest or much help. And if you’re at a disadvantage on the boards, why put in Antonio Daniels and Devin Brown together out there, rather than, say, Ryan Bowen? Why? Is that supposed to be “going small?” Should be called “going redundant.” Or “Pargo goes to Russia.”
– Q: What do these things have in common: New Zealand. Fish & Chips. Fat Albert. “Semi-Pro.” A NY strip steak. A: Sean Marks. See, Byron knew that even before the jumbotron told the rest of the world, but figured he’d check the accuracy. It was OK, he guesses. Better than this lame 24 point deficit or making adjustments or whatever.
– Why not give Mo-Pete the minutes wasted by Devin Brown’s last look at the league? If there’s no one out there that can score anyway, why not have Ryan Bowen out there to be the fool who does your dirty work? As it is, he’s a castle in a corner in a medieval game. Jeez, I’m bored.
– Hey, they just sent Mo-Pete in!
– Rasual Butler drives and attempts a Jordanesque reverse scoop. Jordanesque is not his strong suit.
– Quarter ends 66-39 and a speaker falls off a dolly with a fitting thud.
– Music is provided by The Batiste Brothers band, which is led by Funky Meters drummer Russell Batiste and includes a keyboard guitar. Russell got himself a personalized No. 1 Tulane football jersey, ending any debate as to his genius.
– Wow, another DWill/CP3 jump ball won by the taller man. Does that add fuel to your fury, Ryne?
-One thing I think is important: watching these two, you see two players who completely run their teams. Regardless of the supporting cast, you can tell who’s in control, a quality that puts both of them in the conversation with Bron, Kobe, and DWade when it comes to value. Neither team would be anywhere near as good with a lesser man at the 1. The difference to me is, w/o Deron, there’d still be Jerry Sloan and his system. W/o CP3, the Hornets are hard to imagine. Not just how bad they’d be, but how they’d even go about being bad or putting the ball in the hoop. That doesn’t mean one player is better than the other, but it complicates comparisons.
– Speaking of comparisons, there’s probably one to be made with AK-47 and JuJu Wright. I don’t know what it is, but probably you could make one. Sometimes I wonder if JuJu has any basketball instincts at all, or if he is only a collection of jukes, crazy eyes, Magic passes, and limbs that will never be fully controlled. Since he didn’t get to play until Peja went down, we’re looking at the exact same player as he was last year at this time, and that’s not so good.
– Speaking of AK-47, probably only my fiancée and the girls I’ve cc’d around town over the years know as much about my sex life as every Linkstigator knows about AK-47’s. (And so passes another tired reference to that one public fact.)
– CP3 and DWill bang knees, with the smaller man ending up on the floor grimacing. When play resumes, you can tell they were both hurt but aren’t going to admit it. Close call for the future of a position.
– Chris hits a one-handed floater, then picks up his 4th foul on Deron’s lay-up.
– David West starts to heat up, has 10 for the quarter. Peja drops consecutive 3’s, cuts the lead to 83-72, everyone up on their feet.
– Sean Marks! He slips in for a dunk, blocks a shot, then bodies the hell out of Brevin Knight, picks up a foul. Hey Hey Hey! (Wow, does that not fit.)
– Quarter ends 87-76. DWill 17/10, CP3 16/12. Will the Hornets bench keep it close?
– Not so fast, Byron says. CP and D-West come out to start the quarter, I guess to keep the momentum. Then Chris picks up his 5th. Oh well.
– Utah can’t miss.
– Not sure, but I think the Honeybees have their own photographer. A very enthusiastic one, too.
– Posey is coaching the hell out of this team, but the bench doesn’t get it. Brewer cruises in for a lay-up when Hilton decides not to turn around in the paint. I mean, one man is enough to guard, jeez.
– Speaking of guards, how fresh was it when Obama shook hands with the guard at 10 Downing Street? And how weird is it seeing mealy-faced Gordon Brown up there in Tony Blair’s old spot? Tony would’ve loved New Camelot.
– Utah is doubling D-West when he gets the ball, and he looks tired. Chris is wearing out, too, loses the ball twice to Deron, whose FT’s stretch the lead to 21 with less than 4 to go. Without any help from the other 10 Hornets, it’s been a bit of an anti-climax. Or, I guess a definitive victory after only 4 years of this rivalry.
– But, like, to make sure, reallllly sure the 2 All-Stars aren’t tired enough with the playoffs coming up in 10 days, Byron figures he might as well leave them in until there’s 2 minutes left and the deficit is 20. You never know.
– Man, I would love to know what AK-47 is telling Brevin Knight on the bench. Brevin doesn’t think it’s all that funny, but AK-47 insists, it is funny as hell if the little man would just listen.
– Final: 108-94 Jazz. Not really that close. DWill 21/11, with all his starters in double figures. CP3 19/12 without his center, 6th man, or a coach.