"Opening" Night: LAL vs SEA (1980)

In celebration of our opening night, we're going to try the good try to make up for the NBA's lack of one. We're going to try and make it up to you by posting three full classics of NBA matchups of the teams that WOULD have been playing on opening night, if the season's schedule hadn't been scrapped. Here's game #2: the chill zombies of Seattle vs a star-studded Lakers team.

When I noticed that OKC was playing on the opening night that was not to be, I had a short debate with Alex as to whether we should restrict our search for games in the last few years where the franchise was actually in OKC (and games from when the Hornets were in OKC) or just open ourselves up to Seattle in hopes of using some actual classic games. It didn't take all that long for us to decide we'd extend our search. After all, what kind of a classic is a 2010 playoff game, really? Nonetheless. The game we have for you may not actually feature OKC, but it's still a pretty great one -- it has a still-rookie Magic, a still-spry Kareem, a still-ballin Dennis Johnson, and a still-underrated Gus Johnson. It also was the clinching game of the eastern conference finals, with Kareem doing what Kareem did in clinching situations.

Click the jump to watch the full game on Youtube (credit to lakeptic), with my "expert" commentary.

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The Gothic Ginobili -- Opening Night! ... Kind of!

Hey, everybody! Tonight designates the official unveiling of The Gothic Ginobili, the premier basketblog about hoopsketball on the internet. This is primarily because there is nobody else who calls themselves a "basketblog" and hoopsketball is not actually a sport that exists. The NBA has cheated us out and refused us the sanctity of our beacon league's opening night, so we're trying to fill the gap by making our opening night a spectacular simulation of the actual opening night. In doing so, we'll be reposting three great full classic basketball games between the matchups the NBA robbed us of from the night, some fun features, and enough content to entertain any depressed NBA fan who comes across us tonight.

Here's the starting five for tonight's content, with all times in ET.

  • 8:00 PM: Chicago vs Dallas, 1996 -- a regular season game where MJ and Pippen run roughshod on a bad Mavs team propped up by an impossibly good young Jason Kidd. Presented by Alex.
  • 8:45 PM: The Worst Halloween Ever -- a story about Tim Duncan's failed attempt at dressing up as a psychopath for Halloween, completely foiled by the sad fact that Tim Duncan can actually read. Presented by Alex.
  • 9:45 PM: Lakers vs Supersonics, 1980 -- game 5 of the 1980 Western Conference finals, where a young Kareem shows off how unstoppable he was at his prime while simultaneously demonstrating why the pre-Worthy 80s Lakers were nowhere near as good as the 90s Bulls despite having two top 10 players in the history of the human race. Presented by Aaron.
  • 11:00 PM: Utah vs Houston, 1995 -- a playoff matchup between two bitter rivals in a rivalry nobody seems to remember existed. Hakeem vs Malone. Stockton vs Drexler. Texas vs Utah. Rick Perry vs Mitt Romney. Wait, not that last one, belay that. Presented in a retro-liveblog by both Alex and Aaron.
  • 11:30 PM: Player Capsule #7, Kevin Durant -- To end the night, an example of what happens when I get far, far too in depth with a player capsule. Long story short: they turn into advanced scouting reports, legacy considerations, and reflections that totally go beyond the scope of the project. Not like I don't enjoy writing them, though. Presented by Aaron.

Glad you could join us. Hope you like what you see, and hope you chance to stick around!

-- The Gothic Ginobili staff (AKA Alex, Aaron, and the mop in Aaron's closet)

On Fandom, Narrative, and Dallas

2011 World Series Game 6 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

"Tonight, the Texas Rangers of Dallas, Texas won the World Series."

... Except for the part where they didn't. Explanation time. I wrote those words at roughly 11:41 PM, EST. The Cardinals were coming up for their last half inning. The Rangers were up 2, and had Neftali Feliz coming out -- a closer who, like Valverde, makes you sweat a little but reliably gets his three outs about as well as anyone. And yes, he certainly made it interesting. Struck out The Riot to get the Cards down to two outs, gave up a double to Pujols, walked Berkman, and got Craig on a nasty pitch. Then he got David Freese out to his last strike. Cards still down two. So I looked away from the TV and continued writing my post.

Whoops. With the game suddenly and without warning tied, I put down the computer and watched the game. Within 10 minutes, the Rangers had once again built a two run lead in the 10th on a clutch Andrus single and a Hambone homer. And once again, I picked up my computer and continued to add things to this post -- I was intending on posting it last night, after all. And once again, in the bottom of the 10th, the Cardinals were down to their last strike, and pulled out a clutch Berkman hit to tie the game and send it to another inning. But the Rangers' magic was gone -- they wouldn't score again, while Freese would proceed to blast Mark Lowe's fifth pitch of the game into the stands to make Lowe the game's loser and to force a game 7 that looked completely inconceivable not but an hour before. And made this post almost completely irrelevant, where it will only become useful if the Rangers win the world series tonight -- a tough thing to call.

... Whoops.

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Player Capsules #4-6: Antawn Jamison, Glen Davis, Carl Landry

As one of our mainstay features, Aaron is writing posts highlighting every single player in the NBA. Role players, superstars, key cogs, or players who are barely as useful as ballboys -- none are exempt from the prying eyes of our readers. Check the index for a lowdown on order, intent, and all that jazz. Today's batch includes Antawn Jamison, Glen Davis, and Carl Landry.

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Shades of Willis Reed #1: Ty Lawson

Makin' funny faces all the way to the NBA.

For our inaugural post for our "Shades of Willis Reed" feature, I was planning on doing a post about one of the league's injury-ignoring resident badasses (most likely Kobe or Manu). Then I was looking through my player capsule stuff and realized that, given the feature isn't primarily about injury and more just about moments where a player simply does something undeniably awesome, I had a perfect anecdote to start the feature off with right under my nose. Our starting player? Not a well-known star or an injury-prone fighter, no. He's not even a regular starter, or a well-known player. But he is the subject of one of my most impressive personal basketball anecdotes, and that's all you really need to make this feature. So without further ado: today's post is about Ty Lawson.

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Player Capsules #1-3: Joakim Noah, Shawn Marion, John Salmons

As one of our mainstay features, Aaron is writing posts highlighting every single player in the NBA. Role players, superstars, key cogs, or players who are barely as useful as ballboys -- none are exempt from the prying eyes of our readers. Check the index for a lowdown on order, intent, and all that jazz. For the starting five, we'll begin with Joakim Noah, Shawn Marion, and John Salmons.

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12/24/1984: King drops 60, and the myths of MSG.

As a regular lockout feature, we will be highlighting old masters through a series of classic NBA games in our Eye on the Classics series. For our first featured game, I'll be taking a look at Bernard King's classic 60 point bomb in Madison Square Garden during one of the few successful seasons in a long and rarely noted career. 

As a statistician, I'm always one of the strongest proponents of the idea that the average fan vastly overrates the importance of a volume scorer on a contending team. Rebounding, passing, and lockdown defense are all roughly as important as volume scoring -- in a vacuum. But even the most curmugeonly among us (Berri exempted) can't deny the sheer joy a basketball fan can find in a virtuoso scoring performance. Players who end a game having scored over half their team's points in an altogether dominating fashion are, at the moment they take their leave of the court, the most important thing a basketball player can be. They're the franchise. At least for a game. They vindicate their decision to regularly dominate the ball, again, at least for a single game. And they captivate us. They get our attention, no matter how negative we are about their skills.

In short, scoring may not be the single most important thing a player can do on the court. But it is, without question, the most electrifying. And Bernard King, bless his soul, exemplifies it. This game in particular. Like all record-setting or challenging performances, this one didn't really start with any particular fanfare. A lot like Kobe's 81. King misses his first several shots and actually fades badly in the second half, enough so that the Nets win the game despite his outburst and despite the Knicks being one of the four best teams in the league that season. But the failures are important for our purposes -- his misses allow watchers of this game the levity to properly examine King's offensive game, as well as differences in the general offensive strategy in the 80s compared to today.

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