“I am still living with your ghost/ Lonely and dreaming of the West Coast.” So begins the classic Everclear song “Santa Monica” — as sung by the immortal Art Alexakis. Which really has nothing to do with PART TWO of our 2012 NBA PLAYOFF GUIDE. …Except for the fact that today’s section of the guide covers the Western Conference, and the song has the words “West Coast” in it. …So, er, in a way, by covering the Western Conference, we’re dreaming of the West Coast? I got nothin’. The song was just stuck in my head today, to be honest.
Plus, it’s a highly stupid song, and this is a very stupid and ill-informed NBA Playoff Guide. And hey, can you believe that Everclear was ever famous? Or that I had to hear that song approximately 10,000 times in college? Or that the song is almost barely tolerable until you see the singer acting like a total jag-off in the video? Amazing.
…Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes. Basketball. And so here is…
THE 2012 N.B.A.P.G.
Or, “How to bluff your way through a conversation about basketball”
PART TWO: THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
Gosh but this was a fun idea for a column until I remembered that I had to write about the Western Conference, which I know little to nothing about — except for the part where you hate Kobe Bryant, but you can hate Kobe Bryant without knowing anything about basketball. Go ahead and try it. Try it right now. It’s easy. Let the hatred flow through you. Ahhh… Didn’t that feel good and cleansing?
Anyway, writing Part One of this Playoff Guide was good clean fun. But now I’m just regretting the whole thing and wishing that I had written about drinking and sex the way that I always do. Ah well. Let’s begin.
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE:
1) Oklahoma City Thunder: You might be wondering why a team based in Oklahoma City is located in the “Northwest Division.” Well, good question, you! The team used to be the Seattle SuperSonics, until the owners screwed over the good people of Seattle by moving the team to Oklahoma for no apparent reason.
So, this team features Kevin Durant, the most likable superstar of our generation. Durant is so likable that he re-signed with the Thunder, and thus voluntarily chose to continue living in Oklahoma. That’s how easy-going and likable he is. But I still can’t like the Thunder because of the whole screwing over Seattle thing. Give me 20 years or so and maybe I’ll get over it.
Cocktail party chatter: “Where is Oklahoma, exactly? West of Missouri? South of Arkansas? East of Texas? Does anyone know and/or care?” “…The Thunder’s uniforms look like they were grabbed from a bargain bin at a going-out-of-business sale at a T.J. Maxx at 7 p.m. on a Sunday night right before the store closed forever.” “Is ‘Durant over Oden’ one of the most obvious no-brainers of all time, even before you factor in the Portland ‘ghosts of Michael Jordan past’ aspect to the equation?” “…Scottie Brooks rules!”
2) Denver Nuggets: LET’S GO NUGZ! …I know close to nothing about the Denver Nuggets, now that they’ve traded Carmelo Anthony away. I don’t even know if anyone calls them the “Nugz,” but if people don’t, they should. Let’s just pencil them in for a first round loss in the playoffs and move along quickly.
Cocktail party chatter: “Hey, Ty Lawson is on the team! He’s, uh, fast. And um, HEY WHAT’S THAT BEHIND YOU? NO, I’M SERIOUS, YOU’VE GOT TO LOOK BEHIND YOU RIGHT NOW WHILE I DEFINITELY DON’T RUN AWAY OR NOTHIN’.”
3) Utah Jazz: I forgot to put Utah in this here Playoff Guide until someone mentioned them in the comments. Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about Utah and their playoff hopes and dreams. I’m looking them up on ESPN even as I write this. …So, who’s on their team? Paul Millsap? Jamaal Tinsley? Whatever.
Cocktail party chatter: “Er.” “Ah…” “Mmm…” “…Uhhh, let’s talk about something else. How do you feel about, oh, say, the deficit? The Federal Reserve? …So, how ’bout that Mitt Romney? He seems… likable?” Or just give up and kill yourself if you have to talk about the Utah Jazz. Or propose a cult-style mass suicide. That ought to “break the ice” at any cocktail-party-style gathering.
1) L.A. Lakers: Fun fact: Kobe Bryant played at the high school next to my high school in Pennsylvania. And my high school did not have a good basketball team. So Kobe would come and regularly “drop” sixty or seventy points on us. Ugh. …Less fun fact: there’s a fifty-fifty chance that Kobe Bryant is a rapist. Ugh.
Cocktail party chatter: “Kobe Bryant might just be the most dominant rapist to ever play in the NBA!” …Rape jokes, yay. Those always just sort of reflect badly on the teller, I guess. “Hey, does Ron Artest make, like, members of his own family call him ‘Metta World Peace,’ or how does that work?”
2) L.A. Clippers: “LOB CITY, LOB CITY, LOB CITY.” Just say that a lot. It’ll make you sound very… basketball-y, I promise.
1) San Antonio Spurs: OHMIGOD ARE WE DONE TALKING ABOUT SPORTS YET? …Never again, I swear. Yay, the Spurs are in the playoffs for the 20th straight year, fantastic. Aaaaah, who ca-aaaaares?
Cocktail party chatter: “Living through the period of the Spurs’ dominance is like living through the Ford Administration. Nothing ever happens, but you still have a vague sense of malaise, for lack of a better word.” “How many women has Tony Parker f-cked since his divorce from Eva Longoria? My best guess is… all of them.” “Tim Duncan is absolutely my favorite player of all time from the Virgin Islands. Ever. I totally guarantee it.”
2) Memphis Grizzles: Memphis GM Chris Wallace has made every terrible trade ever — including the absolutely indefensible Pau Gasol trade — and yet somehow still ended up with a halfway decent team. Go f-cking goddamn figure, I guess.
Cocktail party chatter: “Marc Gasol — all the Gasol, less of the angst.” “The Speights pick-up was an absolute steal.” “Is it actually possible to root for a team whose mascot is a pissed off Care Bear™?”
3) Dallas Mavericks: Hey, they’re last year’s champs! Possibly the most forgettable NBA champions since the ’79 Seattle Sonics, or maybe I’m just in a bad mood today.
Cocktail party chatter: “Dirk Nowitzki looks like the most amiable German stoner backpacker of all time. He’s either the guy you meet on a Eurorail trip to Prague, or the dopey exchange student who lived down the hall from you — the one you ‘got baked’ with for all of Sophomore year.” “…AND WAIT, JASON KIDD IS STILL IN THE NBA?!!! JESUS.” “..AND WAIT, OLIVER IS ACTUALLY DONE WITH HIS NBA PREVIEW ARTICLE?!!! JESUS.”
Conference Semi-Final picks: Oklahoma City, L.A. Clippers, San Antonio, Memphis
Conference Finals picks: Oklahoma City over San Antonio
NBA Finals pick: Oklahoma City over Miami. …THUNDER UP!
Coming next: Nothing about sports ever again, I swear to God.