Thursday, March 12, 2009

I. Don't. Understand...

I don't understand how Antonio McDyess continues to find the intestinal fortitude to outwork and outhustle guys 10-15 years his junior on a nightly basis. After Dyess slapped a 21 and 22 effort on the Knicks with 10 offensive rebounds, I honestly believe there is no athlete in Detroit right now more enjoyable to watch. The amount of effort he displayed tonight, against an also-ran like the Knicks, when many guys are just waiting for the playoffs to arrive, is truly inspirational. He always drains every last ounce of energy from that creaky 34-year old body, hoping upon hope to just get one more legitimate shot at an NBA title (I profiled Dyess' best chance at a ring, here). McDyess probably could have gone to actual title contenders like the Celtics or Spurs when he was granted his release from the Nuggets after the Billups-Iverson deal, but it was Detroit or nothing. The guy is loyal, and is the epitome of how a professional athlete should carry himself, both on and off the court. It feels so good to see McDyess have a night like he did tonight, and you could tell it even put an extra hop in George Blaha's step, too. When Dyess hit another clutch 17-footer late in regulation, Blaha exclaimed as only he can, "Antonio McDyess officially owns the night!!!"

In what has become an all too common theme throughout this strange season, the Pistons ended up dropping another heartbreaker at home. The starting lineups have changed, players have bounced in and out of the rotation, and the heart and soul of the team was sent across the country...but Antonio McDyess plows forward with that same unparalleled effort, just as he has since the moment he slipped on the Pistons jersey five years ago. This season will most likely end up being one of the more forgettable campaigns in recent memory, but that does not mean an unforgettable performance can't be sprinkled in along the way. Tonight was one of them. The Pistons lost the game on the scoreboard...but it was Antonio McDyess that owned the night.

I don't understand why you would ever go for a Dr. Pepper, unless there are literally no other options available and you have exhausted all possible leads. Dr. Pepper is just not on the same level as the elite pops, but it still finds its way into our vending machines and grocery aisles, alongside the legends. It doesn't have the same kick as Coke, it's got a funny little aftertaste, and no matter how long it's been in the fridge or how much ice is in the glass, for some reason it's never that cold. Even my cousin Mayer, who invented the "keeping bottles of pop out in the snow during winter to keep 'em nice and chilly" move, could not get a Pepper to be anything more than "slightly cool."

Is it just that people like to be different in their beverage selection sometimes? I will admit that I used to be that guy. But in my defense, I did it with Squirt, a very refreshing choice that has never been anything but good to all of us. If you want a dark pop and you aren't a Coke or Pepsi guy, why not go Root Beer? Dr. Pepper just never had an identity to me. Are you trying to be Cherry Coke? Are you trying to make me sneeze? Do you go good with a burger? Am I allowed to drink you if I am also eating a food that contains pepper? The Doc never really answers these questions. I, for one, am skeptical of the man's motives and will continue to steer clear of him and his pop in the days ahead.

I don't understand Greg Kampe's coaching, or lack thereof, in the last 10 minutes of their Summit League conference title game. His Oakland Golden Grizzlies had a comfortable 10 point lead with around 7 or 8 minutes to play, yet were playing as if the score were reversed. For the most part, with that lead and that duration of time remaining, you can begin to salt the game away with good clock management. Hold the ball near half court until about 8 remains on the shot clock, then begin the possession. If you get just a couple of baskets along the way, to complement the melting of the clock, a victory would surely be in hand.

However, Kampe's squad was firing away as if margin of victory was more important than simply getting the W. Wild 3's, risky passes, ill-advised drives...even Oakland's most poised player, senior point guard Jonathan Jones, succumbed to the pressure of the moment and made costly turnovers. While the players are ultimately the ones making the plays and deciding the outcome, I still thought coach Greg Kampe could have made all the difference in the world by simply calling a time out and calmly stating, "Hey, guys...the NCAA tournament is about 7 minutes away. Let's make sure we take at least 25-30 seconds off the clock on each possession. If we even get a couple buckets, they cannot come back. Let's go get that NCAA bid." Kampe did no such thing, the game continued to get away from them, and ultimately they dropped an absolute gut buster to North Dakota State.

It's always nice to have as much in-state representation in the NCAA tournament as possible, and many Michiganders, even if not Oakland grads, are disappointed today. My man M.S.G. is about as die-hard an Oakland fan as there is in the area, and I would not have wanted to be in his presence at about 9:55 Tuesday night. It was that tough to take. This title game evolved into a situation where good clock management was equally as important as actually putting points on the board. Unfortunately, their play did not reflect this truth, and Kampe's tournament dreams went up in smoke. The Grizzlies earned that victory by dominating about 80% of the game...if only their coach could have taken them the final 20.

I don't understand how Will Bynum is ever kept out of the paint. I've never seen a point guard attack the basket quite like our man Bynum does. He's super athletic, very confident handling the ball, and extremely strong for a player his size. Bynum is able to get to the rim pretty much anytime he wants, and he finishes well, too.

The real trick, however, in him progressing into something more than a 10-14 minute a night guy will be for him to establish a respectable outside game. It is too tough to function as a little guy in the NBA relying exclusively on penetration with no threat of pulling up from 16 and canning a J.

Not to suggest that Bynum is on Tony Parker's level, but they share a similar ability in their knack for knifing into the paint and scoring over bigger defenders. However, Parker worked on his jumper relentlessly over one summer and became a deadly mid-range shooter to make his offensive arsenal complete. If Bynum can do likewise and refine his outside game, there is no reason he can't be the Pistons full time backup point guard heading into next season.

I don't understand what happens to you if you decide to go where no man has gone before...and eat the green part of the watermelon. Do you pass out immediately? Do you just start shaking? Is is just immediate death? I can't think of too many foods in which the crust is completely off-limits. Lord knows that's not the case with 'Za. It's not the case with pie. Yet the watermelon remains a mystery. Growing up, we are taught three basic lessons.

1. Look both ways before crossing the street.

2. Do not talk to strangers.

3. Never go near the edge of the watermelon. It is a forbidden place, and testing it's powers will result in the most severe consequences and possibly your own mortality.

It's hard to wrap your head around this concept because the rest of the fruit is so delicious. It's juicy, it's tasty, and remains one of the few fruits you can acceptably eat with a knife and fork. Admit it. When dessert comes out at a summertime BBQ, you yawn at the same old cake, brownies, and additional hot dogs. But when you get a look at that giant platter of fire-engine red watermelon, that's when you realize you're really in America.

But something prohibits us from getting full enjoyment from the big WM. And it's not just that we can't down the crust...we also have to make sure to avoid that last 20-25% where the red kind of starts turning white, in fear of getting too close to the Danger Zone. I'm tired of living in fear, and next time I'm hit with a plate of watermelon, I'm going for broke. If this is the last column I'll ever write because of it, then so be it. It's time we eat the fruit...and not the other way around.

I don't understand how we're supposed to tell the good guys from the bad guys in "Die Hard 2." While the 1st, 3rd, and even 4th installments of this franchise proved to be excellent flicks, the 2nd one is just all over the place. Is Dennis Franz supposed to be a good guy? He's a cop, so that makes me think he's on the right side of the law. But at every turn, he's chastising Bruce Willis and making his life more difficult. Maybe the fact that he refers to himself as "terminal police" lets us know he's nothing more than a toy-cop. McClane is out there trying to save thousands of lives and prevent large commercial airliners from crashing, while Franz does his best to get in McClane's way and accuse him of being the instigator. How in the world did this guy pass police training???

And then you have the biggest shocker of the movie. Wait, scratch that...the biggest shocker in the history of American cinema. John Amos, more affectionately known as Cleo McDowell from his classic turn in "Coming to America," arrives on the scene in "Die Hard 2" as the hardened military general ready to aid in bringing down the terrorists. Then, in one showstopping moment, he takes a big ole butcher's knife to homeboy next to him and we discover he is "one of them." Absolutely stunning, and to this day, I'm still shaken from that turn of events. I understand Amos wanting to branch out after playing the jovial fast-food owner in 'America,' but was this really the best way to go? He went from being "the most likable person on the big screen" to "the guy you desperately pray ends up meeting his maker before the final credits roll." This movie was utterly confusing at times, and despite Bruce Willis's typical greatness, it could not be salvaged. And in the irony of all ironies...which of the four 'Die Hard' movies do you think appears on TV the most? You got it...Numero Dos. Now I really don't understand that.

Hey, you can't understand everything...drop a comment below or shoot me an e-mail at


BK said...

You forgot that watermelons also had the mythical "black seeds" that along with the crust can not be eaten. I still think at some point watermelons are about to be growing in my stomach!

Mayer said...

Who doesn't like Dr. Pepper? With the great combination of its sweet 23 flavors it competes with the top pops. Maybe the only thing wrong with it is that diet Dr. pepper doesn't live up to its hype. it doesn't taste anything like its original. But besides that and never being cold, it a great overall pop.

Dr. Pepper said...

Whatcha talkin bout Willis?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Pepper is a pop that has had its the time I was stranded on a deserted island and hadn't had a drink in days. Yeah, I forced it down...but I NEVER told anyone about it.
You're trying too hard, Dr. Pepper. Maybe next time you can take away some pep and add some...errr...dew.

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