LAL 2 DEN 0, Davis Scores Last 10 Pts. to settle Game

By now everyone in the basketball world knows about Charles Barkleys’ proclamation of a sweep just after Game 1 and after watching that game I didn’t blame him. His analysis of the game being a simple matter of match ups is spot on and as of Game 1 Denver was woefully lacking in answers. Their first 5 for the past games were literally smaller than LAL’s resulting in early foul trouble for Jokic who eventually had to sit out most of the first half.

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Bigger Than the Game Itself

Many of you woke up to the news that the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted today’s potentially series-clinching game versus the Orlando Magic. In turn, every other playoff game scheduled for today was postponed. The NBA’s official press release states that “Game 5 of each series (today) will be rescheduled.” That would be good news on any other day. Today, it seems irrelevant.

Watching team staff pulling name tags and gathering draped towels from players’ designated chairs felt both familiar and surreal. We’ve seen this movie before. Regular season games were already cancelled for four damn months because of Covid-19. Then came the NBA’s restart. Although games have been hit or miss, for the most part they’ve been pretty good (albeit a bit sloppier than usual). At the very least, they’ve provided a glimmer of hope that some sense of normalcy was lurking just around the corner. But the games have been taken away yet again and the uncertainty has returned.

The Bucks boycotted in protest for the shooting of Jacob Blake in the team’s home state of Wisconsin. Blake – an African-American – was shot seven times in the back by police officers while his kids watched from the family car. Thankfully, Blake didn’t die. But the fact that he is alive doesn’t make this event any less horrific. It simply highlights the systemic racial divide that has pervaded American society for centuries. I didn’t understand the enormity of this issue until I came to live in the US. The wounds caused by racism cut deep and the players’ decision to boycott has shone a spotlight globally on an equally deep-seated anger. If just for that, they’ve earned a W without ever stepping onto the court.

“Who cares?” you may say. “None of that concerns us. We have our own problems here in the Philippines.” Maybe. But the parallelisms between the US and our country are quite clear. We have similar issues not driven by race but by class: between the uncaring powerful and the powerless; between abusive authority and tired masses; between those who twist the rules to perpetuate societal imbalances and those who can do nothing about it. Just like the US, we are a nation divided and it’s painful to see, especially during this pandemic when many of our countrymen are struggling big time. 

Only a handful possess the global platform that the NBA does and many of us aren’t capable of enacting systemic change in our country. But in our own ways, we are definitely called to do what we can to make the world a better place. I get it. It’s hard, especially now. These are unprecedented times and we are all navigating uncharted waters. Some of us have found a way to keep moving forward, some are stuck, while some can barely manage to keep their heads above water. And some (like me) are really, really tired. Believe me, I get it.

Maybe we can’t make grand statements like the NBA players did today. But at the very least, we should always try to do good in this world, whatever state we find ourselves in.

If you’re strong, good for you. Go and make a difference.

If you’re exhausted, rest and live to fight another day (puwedeng mapagod, bawal sumuko).

If you have surplus, share.

If your family has pressing needs, focus on them.

If you have talents, sing, or speak, or write, or paint, or dance.

If you have skills, lend a helping hand.

And for God’s sake, please stop the hatred, the violence, the pettiness, the lying, the stealing, the insults. Instead, be kind and respectful. And once you are able, continue the fight for justice and the common good.

I’m sorry. My first post for Basketball Exchange and it’s only marginally related to the game. What’s more, I may not even get another chance to write because who knows if the restart will — uhm — restart again? But with everything going on now, cancelling the season may actually be what’s best. And if the playoffs do return, remember that it is entirely possible to enjoy the games with a passion and simultaneously accept the fact that there is much more to life than basketball.

Bos wins 1st Playoff Game; Phila Doesn’t Look too Good

So I caught Celtics 109 – 76ers 101 followed Clippers 84 – Mavericks 78.

This pic of Embid encapsulates how the 76ers looked like to me. Sure that may not represent their whole team but Embid is their main guy and trust me he sort of looked that way most of the game.

As a fan of the game it’s disappointing to see a main guy or any guy go out the court looking like that and in the Playoffs as well. He is a rebounding leader at 16/game and obviously a dominating big but it didn’t show today.

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They Shouldn’t Be Playing & Other Thoughts Re Scrimmages In The Bubble

• It must be a terrible burden put on LeBron and other star players, but particularly LeBron, to play this year. He said he wants to play, but what if he didn’t? What if he decided, as is his right, to say ‘oh I don’t think it’s safe yet‘, and stayed home this year?

If it were any other player that’d be ok. They’d get flak for sure but it would die down and a lot of people would understand. But LeBron? If he didn’t show up then that’s it. There wouldn’t be a point to watch the NBA for a lot of people, sponsors would pull out and the whole idea may collapse.

So the NBA should really thank their lucky stars LeBron is ok with this. If he had not it would have been a total disaster.

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Kobe

I was a very active basketball blogger for most of 2005 ~ 2013 and when you write and think about basketball as much as I did there’s one guy you write and think about a lot about and that is Kobe Bryant. In and around that period which happened to coincide with the rise of YouTube and social media he would win 5 NBA Championships, numerous all star, nba 1st teams, defensive teams and all sorts of fantastic accolades. As such he wasn’t only on my mind but pretty much anyone who followed sports. Within that period Nike invited me to cover two of his visits in the Philippines the 2nd of which in 2011 was a special event to remember. Fans from all over converged onto BGC and Araneta to catch a glimpse. It was so special even veteran event organizers were stunned at the scale. I wasn’t just jostling for position with local press, there were people from Agency France Press, CNN, Chinese, Indian and Taiwanese press all occupying what little space we had to get a good shot.

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Thoughts On Raptors Win 2018-2019 Championship Against Warriors

Primarily my main thought is the obvious. There were so many key injuries that fans were robbed of what could have been a game for the ages. This is not to put down any of the remaining players’ efforts but that’s just it – they’re the remaining players – the only ones left still standing and some of them barely at that. While they did great, they’re not the players I want to see.

I want to see Kawhi and KD go head to head goddamet. The thought of those two going at it makes me giddy with excitement. Regular season, playoff or Championship, that’s a game I’d pay to watch, and I’m very very poor and stingy. Continue reading “Thoughts On Raptors Win 2018-2019 Championship Against Warriors”

WIItnessing History – LeBron's Manila Visit 2013

Once again I have been very privileged to have been able to see yet another NBA superstar, and this time no less than the biggest star of them all, with 2 rings, 4 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, and 2 All-Star MVPs, 2 Olympic golds, 2 Bronze, 1 Fiba gold, current NBA Champion and current MVP LeBron James.

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The day started out at Shangrila Makati where all of us media listened to a ten minute interview between him and Boom Gonzales.

Media were unfortunately unable to ask questions ‘due to time constraints’, which was unfortunate not necessarily because I had anything to ask, but because Q&A sessions are almost always a riot. When Kobe came there was a guy who was taking so much time leading up to his question remembering stories of his being a fan of Kareem, Magic and the old Lakers, that I could swear he forgot his question so he ended up rambling about his College days. Continue reading “WIItnessing History – LeBron's Manila Visit 2013”