Monday, May 11, 2015

Winning ugly

So I've got the Bulls and Cavs on Sunday afternoon, and I'm thinking about what Mark Cuban said, what Geno Auriemma said, what a lot of radio yaks have been saying about college basketball and its supposed inferiority to the pro version.

I figure it's time to give pro buckets another look, if that's the case.

And so I watch for a couple minutes, and here's LeBron James crashing awkwardly into Derrick Rose. Here's Taj Gibson lowering his shoulder and trying to run through Timofey Mozgov, then flying backward on contact as if this were, I don't know, Portugal-Brazil in the World Cup or something.

Here's a rushed three-ball. Miss. Here's another rushed three-ball. Miss. Here's Joakim Noah flinging up a wild no-hope runner, and LeBron getting caught in the air and throwing up his own wild no-hope runner, and now it's the end of the third quarter and some numbers are flashing on my screen.

They tell me the Cavs scored 12 points in the quarter and went more than seven minutes without scoring. They tell me the Bulls scored 22 on 8-of-22 shooting. Yes, LeBron would go on to hit a buzzer beater to even the series at 2-2 (and for all the noise about LeBron ducking the last shot, he now has more playoff buzzer beaters than anyone in the last 15 years). But the thrilling finish couldn't disguise the fact that the Cavs shot 38 percent (29 of 75), the Bulls shot 36 percent (32 of 89) and LeBron and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs' two linchpins, were a combined 12-of-40 from the field.

To which I had the inevitable thought: Oh, yes. This is a MUCH better brand of basketball than the colleges play.    

In truth it was uglier than a bag full of skinned cats, and now I'm wondering if some of the noise about the pro game being so much more entertaining isn't just talking heads flacking for one of their employer's broadcast properties. I'm sure pro buckets has its share of dazzling moments and scintillating games; Game 7 between the Spurs and Clippers comes to mind. But if what I saw Sunday is at all representative of the pro game, I'll take college buckets any day. Or various other entertainments.

If I want to watch guys take dives, after all, there's always Portugal-Brazil.

If I want to watch guys brick reasonably open looks, I'll hang out at the Y.

And if I want to watch big people slam into each other rather than trying to outmaneuver them ... well, isn't that why the good Lord put Marshawn Lynch on this earth?

Sorry, pro buckets. Try again.

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