Friday, April 15, 2011
LET IT ROLL!
The regular season has ended, often perplexing, rarely dull. It churned past like a bucket of bolts in a spin-cycle, full of sound and jagged edges. This journal questioned the grandiosity of Phil’s last stand; moments of poetry slamming up against epic skids, injuries and apathy. The switch has been used well past its warranty. Yet, in an odd way, it’s fitting.
This year’s model featured many of the team’s hallmarks under Coach Jackson's stewardship - bursts of incendiary brilliance mixed with laconic So-Cal ambiguity. Kobe’s anger and drive, his hero stances and deteriorating bones, jab at teammates who shrink back one game, respond with dazzling synchronicity the next. This team is not nuanced, it is not consistent, it is peaks and valleys and titles galore.
Phil Jackson came into the NBA’s coaching ranks as a maverick. The son of Pentecostal ministers, he became a counter-culture player who broke hearts and noses; veered into the CBA coaching circus - Econoline tours and Puerto Rican fan riots and finally, a shot in Chicago where he had the good fortune to find a salty triple-post guru in Tex Winter. Eleven titles with two teams and searching for another. He has coached around the hard way and made it look easy.
This post season won’t be pretty or for the faint of heart. It’ll be curses and death rattles, it will be physical and sometimes backwards. The word on Bynum is that he’ll be ready and make no mistake, we need him. I’m not much concerned with New Orleans but we could face Portland in the next frame and that’s no picnic. Charles Barkley doesn’t think the Spurs get out of the second round but I disagree - the WCF should be epic, smoke and blood and the ghosts inside Tim Duncan’s haunted eyes; their best hopes shot to hell, again.
A steamy hot front has taken hold in the hills of Austin. It’s late, my old dog Otis is panting, it takes over his entire body but he doesn’t seem to mind. He’s got his new tennis ball secured between nubby teeth, it won’t last, they never do. The cicadas have arrived, droning like power lines. I watch him snuffle through scrub grass, feel something on my leg. The fleas are hatching.
My best prediction for a choppy eastern conference is the Bulls and it’s karmic destiny really - where Jackson began his coaching journey and where one way or another, he could end it. As he’s fond of saying "unceasing change turns the circle of life, and so reality is shown in all its many forms". I don’t have any X’s and O’s to share - and why would I? It’s time to settle back and watch the catapults and flamethrowers. Like Jim Morrison famously sang, "Let it roll, baby, roll!"