"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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Aaron McGuire
Editor in Chief at Gothic Ginobili
Aaron McGuire works as the lead mathematician and CTO for a small financial consulting firm in Richmond, VA. As a basketball writer, he's primarily known for Gothic Ginobili's 2012 Player Capsule series, where he wrote the equivalent of 1.5 Russian novels about every NBA player around. Nowadays, he writes a weekly column on whatever he damn well feels like.

The Worst Halloween Ever

The Worst Halloween Ever

A "Spooky" Tale of Psychology and Stanchions

Tim Duncan: Hey, you guys, I'm so angry!  Guess who I am!
Richard Jefferson: You're Tim Duncan.
TD: Oh gosh.  Heh.  Yes, Richard, but who am I pretending to be for Halloween?
RJ:  If I didn't know better, I'd say Kevin Garnett.  Given that you're obviously wearing his uniform and attempting to scowl constantly.
TD: Hey, you got it right! Richard, throw that gym mat and the duct tape over here.
RJ: Wait, what? Why? Don't wrestle me, old man.
TD: I need to complete the costume with a stanchion attached to my face.
RJ: Oh, heh. That's pretty funny, actually.  Okay, "Kevin". Here's the "stanchion".

RJ throws the gym mat to Tim.  Then he throws the roll of duct tape.  Tim slams it back at his face with a bestial yell.

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Alex Dewey
The co-founder of the blog, Alex is an unemployed jack of all trades, if you redefine "all trades" to mean "computer science, not owning a car, and mathematics." Writes ace book reviews as well as disturbing Lovecraftian horrors. Has a strange sense of humor that's part Posnanski, part coyote, and part Butta. "See you space cowboy."

"Opening" Night: CHI vs DAL (1996)

In celebration of our opening night, we're trying to make up for the NBA's current lack of a scheduled opening night. We're going to try and make it up to you by posting three full 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 #1: the defending champion Mavs face off against the ECF Bulls, 90s style.  Except in 1996, with the Bulls the champs and the Mavs, well, pretty far away from any sort of conference finals. They've got Jason Kidd, though! 

Here's the box score.  Click the jump for the highlight videos.

Pity Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks.  Sure, their stirring, amazing championship this year may have finally vindicated the careers of Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Mark Cuban, and Kidd himself.  But no amount of titles could ever wash off the taint of the team's performance in the 1990s.  The Dallas Mavericks never broke .500 in a season starting in the decade.  Their win totals - ordered by increasing levels of atrocity - were 40, 36, 28, 26, 24, 22, 20, 19, 13, 11 from 1990-91 to 1999-00.*  The Mavericks were 15 years old in 1996 (and had even had quite a few good runs with Mark Aguirre), but seemed like the oldest expansion franchise in the league at this point - a total joke, filled with one superstar destined to leave soon (Jason Kidd) and two 17th-team All-NBA players (Jim Jackson, Jamal Mashburn [who actually suffered a season-ending injury about 18 games into 1996]).  Can you even imagine rooting for the Mavs right in the middle of that awful decade?  I can't, in all honesty.

*As a math major I have to note that they have every even number between 20 and 28 wins, inclusive, like they were playing a drinking game of mediocrity.  The Mavs were 239-549 (.303) for the decade, a .303 winning percentage, which comes out to about a 25-win season, on average.  Damn.

But to their credit, the Mavericks filled legendary Reunion Arena with dedicated supporters for their awful team.  For the early regular season game we'll be covering, no fewer than five world-class athletes showed up.  All - as I understand it - are top 10 all-time at their positions: Roger Staubach (former Cowboys QB), Michael Johnson (sprinter), Michael Irvin (wide reciever), Emmitt Smith (running back), and Deion Sanders (cornerback).*  And even the Fucking Mayor of Dallas.  Wow!  All of them showed up to root their home team on (if they don't win, it's a shame!).   The likes of Deion Sanders saw the high-flying trio of young Mavs' stars: sophomore PG star Jason Kidd, Jim Jackson at his absolute peak, and the always-sizzling Jamal Mashburn.  Or, as they called themselves, Triple J (sounds like a radio station)!

*Missing were Nolan Ryan, Future Dirk Nowitzki, Tom Landry, and Holger Geschwinder.

It was obvious just from watching that Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson and the rest of the 1996 Chicago Bulls had a heck of a time mentally coping with the powerful support (ecstatic at times) for the good old 1996 Dallas Mavericks in the legendary Reunion Arena.  And Triple J didn't disappoint, combining for an amazing 64 points on just 64 shots!

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Alex Dewey
The co-founder of the blog, Alex is an unemployed jack of all trades, if you redefine "all trades" to mean "computer science, not owning a car, and mathematics." Writes ace book reviews as well as disturbing Lovecraftian horrors. Has a strange sense of humor that's part Posnanski, part coyote, and part Butta. "See you space cowboy."

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)

Aaron McGuire on EmailAaron McGuire on FacebookAaron McGuire on GithubAaron McGuire on LinkedinAaron McGuire on TumblrAaron McGuire on Twitter
Aaron McGuire
Editor in Chief at Gothic Ginobili
Aaron McGuire works as the lead mathematician and CTO for a small financial consulting firm in Richmond, VA. As a basketball writer, he's primarily known for Gothic Ginobili's 2012 Player Capsule series, where he wrote the equivalent of 1.5 Russian novels about every NBA player around. Nowadays, he writes a weekly column on whatever he damn well feels like.

Juwan a Blog? #2: Joe Posnanski's "Curiously Long Posts"

DSCF0553Joe Posnanski will use every detail in this picture - including
Joe Posnanski (left) - to disprove the viability of the intentional walk  

As a recurring feature, Alex will be reviewing and analyzing various blogs and hoops sites. No number ratings or anything silly like that, just a good overview of the sites at hand with their strengths, weaknesses, etc. To see an index of previously reviewed sites, click here.

On a chilly day before dawn, I love a great essay or a short story.  I just love that feeling when the piece ends, you know, when your neck shudders a little bit and you're the only one awake and the sky gets a little brighter?  I don't care if the piece ends with fire or with insight - it ends with something meaningful, and something meaningful opens up in me.  The heat of the sun gets my cold wet arms a little drier and warmer.  I feel like I own the new day, and I see clearly what is real and earnest in life for awhile, and I see a little bit further ahead in my life.  I just love that feeling.  That's why today - just before dawn here - I want to talk about Joe Posnanski.  But first I want to talk about Michael Jordan.

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Alex Dewey
The co-founder of the blog, Alex is an unemployed jack of all trades, if you redefine "all trades" to mean "computer science, not owning a car, and mathematics." Writes ace book reviews as well as disturbing Lovecraftian horrors. Has a strange sense of humor that's part Posnanski, part coyote, and part Butta. "See you space cowboy."

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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Aaron McGuire on EmailAaron McGuire on FacebookAaron McGuire on GithubAaron McGuire on LinkedinAaron McGuire on TumblrAaron McGuire on Twitter
Aaron McGuire
Editor in Chief at Gothic Ginobili
Aaron McGuire works as the lead mathematician and CTO for a small financial consulting firm in Richmond, VA. As a basketball writer, he's primarily known for Gothic Ginobili's 2012 Player Capsule series, where he wrote the equivalent of 1.5 Russian novels about every NBA player around. Nowadays, he writes a weekly column on whatever he damn well feels like.

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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Aaron McGuire on EmailAaron McGuire on FacebookAaron McGuire on GithubAaron McGuire on LinkedinAaron McGuire on TumblrAaron McGuire on Twitter
Aaron McGuire
Editor in Chief at Gothic Ginobili
Aaron McGuire works as the lead mathematician and CTO for a small financial consulting firm in Richmond, VA. As a basketball writer, he's primarily known for Gothic Ginobili's 2012 Player Capsule series, where he wrote the equivalent of 1.5 Russian novels about every NBA player around. Nowadays, he writes a weekly column on whatever he damn well feels like.

Juwan A Blog? #1: Wages of Wins

As a recurring feature, Alex will be reviewing and analyzing various blogs and hoops sites. No number ratings or anything silly like that, just a good overview of the sites at hand with their strengths, weaknesses, etc. To see an index of previously reviewed sites, click here.

The way many fans tell it, the field of sports statistics is a conspiracy against their favorite player (*cough* Kobe). For others, sports stats is a conspiracy against the fan experience.  For many beyond that, sports stats is a useful and instructive field still in its infancy that often makes claims far above its pay grade and level of sophistication. For a fourth group, sports stats is absolutely perfect with no flaws. Now, most people are in the third camp, largely because of the way I worded that paragraph to make it seem most reasonable. Obviously you can find good examples of the first two groups on any sports comment section or any basketball forum.  Of course, no one is really in the fourth group this brings us to Wages of Wins, by process of elimination.

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Alex Dewey
The co-founder of the blog, Alex is an unemployed jack of all trades, if you redefine "all trades" to mean "computer science, not owning a car, and mathematics." Writes ace book reviews as well as disturbing Lovecraftian horrors. Has a strange sense of humor that's part Posnanski, part coyote, and part Butta. "See you space cowboy."

Kevin Garnett, the Man of Unspeakable Cruelty

This is Kevin, the league's reigning UVP (unbelievably vexed player). Hi Kevin.

Kevin Garnett, the Man of Unspeakable Cruelty.

And now, some Choice Examples of this Unspeakable Cruelty.

Ray Allen: Hey Kevin, could you help me out with moving this 50 pound bag?
Kevin Garnett: Do it yourself, Ray Allen. Here, take this strap so you can wear it on your back and buffer most of the load.

Stephon Marbury: Hey Kevin, could you help me pave my pool over?
Kevin Garnett: No, Stephon Marbury, because that's really not a wise decision. Drain your pool if you don't wish to use it or clean it, but it adds value to your property which is not going to be recouped by whatever else you put there.

Glen Davis: Hey Kevin, could you help me with a deeply personal problem?
Kevin Garnett: No, Glen Davis. You have to solve that by yourself. That's a personal problem.

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Alex Dewey
The co-founder of the blog, Alex is an unemployed jack of all trades, if you redefine "all trades" to mean "computer science, not owning a car, and mathematics." Writes ace book reviews as well as disturbing Lovecraftian horrors. Has a strange sense of humor that's part Posnanski, part coyote, and part Butta. "See you space cowboy."

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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Aaron McGuire on EmailAaron McGuire on FacebookAaron McGuire on GithubAaron McGuire on LinkedinAaron McGuire on TumblrAaron McGuire on Twitter
Aaron McGuire
Editor in Chief at Gothic Ginobili
Aaron McGuire works as the lead mathematician and CTO for a small financial consulting firm in Richmond, VA. As a basketball writer, he's primarily known for Gothic Ginobili's 2012 Player Capsule series, where he wrote the equivalent of 1.5 Russian novels about every NBA player around. Nowadays, he writes a weekly column on whatever he damn well feels like.
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