The NBA: Where Robbery Happens

This post will be done in good-cop/bad-cop fashion. However, instead of “cop,” we’re going to use “rob.” Humor me, people. Since the only difference between cops and robbers is cops have badges and are employed by the city, the same logic can be applied. In one of my favorite episodes of South Park, Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman exhibit satirical mastery by depicting how real-life cops use this tool while cross-examining suspects. This is obviously a little different. In the NBA, there’s good robbery and there’s bad robbery. This post gives examples of both, and starts off with Kenny’s side, which is good cop/robbery.

Let’s go.

South Park Season 7, Episode 6: Lil’ Crime Stoppers

Kenny-the Good Cop

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Utah Jazz, 96-97

This was easily the most joyous robbery of the night for me. If you don’t know that I hate Cleveland by now, you must not really be reading, but only scanning my posts. I won’t be doing too much LeBron-hating tonight, seeing as how I owe the man for propelling my fantasy team to yet another victorious week. His numbers speak for themselves. LBJ was poetry in motion tonight in Salt Lake City, dancing to whatever tune the Jazz played. He finished the night just short of a triple-double with 36 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals. He embarrassed Jazz G/F Ronnie Brewer, working him from every spot on the floor. Whatever the Jazz attempted, LeBron had an answer for. While Cleveland caught a break with the Jazz best player being relegated to a diminished role, they would later catch the unluckiest of breaks as they watched their would-be 3rd road-win turn into the 2nd road loss on their road trip. There are a lot of roads in that sentence. It didn’t seem to matter for Utah, who, after struggling most of the night, exploded in the 4th quarter for 42 points. The most important came as the clock expired from the most unlikely source. No, not Andrei Kirilenko. Although that too is incredibly unlikely. Anyway, the shot came from a 10-day contract last-minute fill-in, Sundiata Gaines. Gaines swished a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded and he fell on his back, finishing a back-and-forth game that finally put the Jazz on top for good. Thanks to a missed free throw by Big Z, the Jazz were able to rob the Cavaliers of a road win in Salt Lake, which they rightfully earned. It’s okay, though. Good robbery helps balance out the bad robberies that occur. Don’t worry, Z, Kenny’s got your back.

Kenny:(Aw. Now just be nice. Poor lil thing.)

Tell that to LeBron, who should be pissed off to the highest of pisstivities that Z couldn’t clinch the game from the free-throw line. I can just picture the conversation that went on in the lockerroom, but with Kenny standing in the middle.

LBJ: I just pissed off the Mormon God and Joseph Smith by sitting on the throne of their church away from church, and we couldn’t even get a win out of it. How the (expletive) do you miss a (expletive) free throw? IT’S FREE!

Kenny: (Aw, please don’t make him confess.)

Big Z: I…I had a sweaty hand. And the crowd was distracting me. Somebody was waving around a big Matt Harpring Fathead?

LBJ: Don’t lie to me you son of a (expletitive).

Kenny: (Awww, don’t be so hard. Maybe he’s tellin’ the truth, huh?)

I just robbed LBJ of his good-teammate reputation, and Gaines just robbed the Cavaliers of a win, and the Development League of himself. That is, until his next 10-day contract expires.

Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics, 96-83

Thursday was ripe for good robberies as the Cavaliers lost on the road, and the Celtics lost at home. Robbed of their home court advantage by the lowly 17-20 Bulls, the Celtics will use Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend as a chance to licktheir wounds. The boys from Boston sucked it up tonight. Scoring 83 points on your own court and giving up 96 is inexcusable. The Bulls used a big offensive game from Luol Deng, who could not be stopped in Beantown, to propel them to victory. Deng finished the game with 25 points, 9 of which came from his 10 free throws, 4 assists, and a pair of both blocks and steals. He was aided by the guy Celtics fans hate the most(and LeBron ain’t too fond of either), Joakim Noah. Noah played a spectacular all-around game. He made the absence of Garnett hurt the Celtics, because he’s the guy who would’ve been charged with keeping Noah off the glass and out of the paint defensively. Noah finished with 15 points on 4 of 6 field goals, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. He was the difference in the rebounding department as his 11 ensured the Bulls a 50-39 edge on the glass. This is Boston’s second home loss since the start of January, not including the New England Patriots’ first ever home playoff loss last Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the good robberies, because it only gets worse from here.

Cartman-the Bad Cop

Before the 2009-2010 NBA season began, the association and its fans were robbed of Yao Ming, who was becoming an absolute force, and one of its most promising young rookies, Blake Griffin. Yao was injured during game 3 of the Western Conference Semi Finals in a home game against the eventual NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. There are many who subscribe to the school of thought that had Yao not been injured, said eventuality never would have come to fruition(or transpired, depending on how you feel about Kobe’s Kids). Regardless, the Rockets lost their starting center and franchise player, dooming them to a strenuous off-season and a mediocre 2009-2010 campaign. It was later learned that Yao would need surgery to repair his broken foot, and would need the entire season to recover from it. This is how bad robbery can rear its ugly head in the NBA. (Yao has apparently robbed every donut shop in the Houston area, by the way. A friend of mine linked me here, where I was shocked by what I saw. The man looks like the Chinese Shaq, but with hair. I guess he really was pregnant after all.)

Not long after that, Blake Griffin of the other L.A. team suffered a knee injury during the NBA preseason. While initially thought to be able to return January 20th, we recently learned that he has to shut it down for the entire season due to knee surgery. This is indeed terrible news. Griffin is a very promising young player whom many think has the potential to earn many an All-Star vote(although he may not be as deserving as Tracy McGrady) before it’s all said and done. During summer camp and preseason games, Griffin proved to be an explosive player. Although he was playing against inferior talent, his athleticism was on display during almost every outing. It’s a shame we won’t be able to see him posterize Kevin Garnett or Greg Oden, who was also robbed from us, for at least another year.

I don't know why you're flipping me off and smiling at the same time, Blake. I wasn't the one who blew your knee out.

Oden was having his best season of his young NBA career with the Portland Trailblazers before being sidelined with a broken patella. This is the same guy who missed his entire rookie year because of knee problems. To watch him get carried off the court in his what was easily going to be his best year was painful for many, including myself. Oden was slowly becoming the player Portland GM Kevin Prichard envisioned when he drafted him. It’s a shame that 2/3 of his NBA career will have been spent on the Injured Reserve.

As I’ve stated before, injuries below the waist are bad for all NBA players, but are especially bad for the NBA’s big men. Yao, Griffin, and Oden all qualify for that category, with Griffin the only one of the three under seven foot tall. He and Oden are in for a long, arduous journey just to regain the strength in their knee, let alone get back into rhythm on the court. For Griffin, it will be about finding his rhythm entirely as he enters his second NBA season with zero games under his belt. For Oden, it will be  a struggle to get acclimated to his game, the game of his talented teammate Brandon Roy, and the game in general.

From good robberies to bad robberies, the NBA is most definitely a place where thieves are free to come and go as they please.

Till next time.


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