It wasn’t supposed to happen that way.  When you have a David vs. Goliath story, David is supposed to hit that big bastard in the face with a stone, everyone cheers, much drinking and getting laid ensues.  Goliath isn’t supposed to take the stone on the noggin, look vaguely  confused, and then knock over the kid, kick him in the stomach, and then punch him repeatedly in the nuts before putting him out of his misery.

That was not fun.  That collapse was probably one of the worst sports experiences of my life.  The Denver “Game that will not be named” was terrible because you could feel it was the end of an aborted era that had once held such promise.  But that game was Denver dominating and executing beautifully.  There wasn’t any question where that game was going by halftime.  It was sickening and sad in its implications, but there was no roller coaster of emotion then.

By halftime of this game, I was feeling good.  Nervous.  Not safe.  Good.  By the start of the fourth, I was celebrating a damn good win by an up-and-coming team.  I still felt the Pels weren’t winning the series.  I knew they weren’t likely to do this again.  But they had the game in hand.  It was one of those sports moments you just enjoy the hell out of.

And then, bit by bit, a disaster unfolded, and it wasn’t even clean.  If the warriors had just started raining threes and couldn’t miss, I would have been pissed off and disappointed, but able to shrug my shoulders and say “Welp, good on them.”  But they didn’t.  The Pelicans made them miss a ton of shots in that fourth quarter.  The Warriors were full on struggling to hit anything.

And the Pelicans couldn’t find a rebound.  My son isn’t in school today because he got a concussion from a basketball that missed everything and smashed him in the head while he was standing on the baseline talking to a pal.  His friend says it knocked him out for a few seconds.   He doesn’t remember it.

He was closer to getting a rebound than the Pelicans were in the fourth.  And that is the worst kind of slow, frustrating death.  I got to feel the brief moments of happy relief as the Pelicans forced another miss, only to see them miss the rebound and watch the Warriors score.  It was repeated nut punches.  My stomach grew tight, probably as tight as that Pelicans offense, with devolved into a bunch of guys waiting too long to get started and then trying to be heroes.

This game sucked.  It just sucked.  I lost sleep over it.  I know it’s game 3 in a series that we were going to lose anyways, but it still feels so damn crushing.

Sometimes, sports can be so unhealthy.

On to game 4?

(Side note: there won’t be a podcast before the next game.  Michael and I have some scheduling issues and can’t do it.  We’ll be back after game 4.)

2 responses to “Shellshocked”

  1. Well described and mutually felt…I think this excruciating loss will provide them with a dose of “pissed off” that the nice guys they have been lacking until now.  All part of the learning process that will drive them to conquer these games and situations in the future, not 100% mind you, but definitely a resource to draw from.
    But it still sucks…

  2. Agree totally with Pelican Poster. The learning process is as much about coaching as about players’ mentality. GS is well-schooled in sneaky, disruptive and illegal tactics. This plus talent is their formula for winning. As long as Monty wants to be above reproach, his team will be unprepared for that sort of gamesmanship, won’t know how to fight through it. GS used flopping, shoves in the back, grabs from behind, anything they could to be disruptive with the Pelicans up by 20. It paid off with stalled momentum in the 4th when Pelicans needed to be putting the game away. They started clock-watching, hoping that the game would just hurry up and end. This is where Spurs are better coached. They assume that other teams will resort to gimmicks to gum up their system, and they teach toughness in executing and playing through it. Ironic that we wind up with the one San Antonio system guy that doesn’t incorporate training in “edge,” how to get it, how to thwart it. Steve Kerr was sure taking notes when he was in S.A. What was Monty paying attention to?
    Monty is straight up Marquis of Queensbury. Trickeration isn’t in his DNA, so he can’t prepare his own team against it, because he never seems to see it coming. He got close to winning back in 09 only because Chris Paul and David West have enough edge in them to provide electricity for the entire Eastern seaboard. With this team, Monty’s complaints to officials are almost as self-pitying as Eric Gordon’s perpetual “why me?” chipmunk faces. Fudging the rules to get edge is not in Monty’s understanding of the playbook, so his team seems unable to recognize it and respond to it with confidence when other teams go to the dark side. Instead they go into a shell, flop around helplessly, hope the clock speeds up, and beg the officials to bail them out. For the Pelicans to go forward, they need somebody to come in that can teach them that edge is the game within the game, and if you want to get to the next level, you have to meet edge with edge. After game 3, I’d bet they’d be all ears. But this team was put together personnel-wise to reflect Monty’s priorities, so they’d also have to bring in some different players who can credibly pull it off.

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