Ray Ratto

NBA lockout ends with more shame than pride


NBA lockout ends with more shame than pride

So this is how it works: The NBA and its 430 reasons to exist try to blow themselves to smithereens for five months, catch themselves at the last minute, and suddenly everyone is a great statesman and human exemplar.In other words, threatening to kill yourself, then deciding at the last second just to take a few toes off your left foot makes you a man of peace?Yet such is the nature of self-congratulation, and of wanting something so badly you forget how badly youve been treated.We are unclear who actually deserves the credit for slapping the two sides silly, though we have heard some silly notions along the way, including the one where the new baseball deal spurred the basketball people to greater conciliatory impulses. This is, of course, idiocy.We only know one thing for sure: When Ken Berger of CBSSports.com broke the news on Twitter at 12:11 PST, the first instinct of the insomniac class was, Yeah, right, sure. Seconds later, people were scrambling for all-night caterers and 24-hour parade routes.And one other thing: You may start complaining about the Warriors and Kings on December 26.Details are understandably sketchy while both side scramble to take credit for brokering the deal, which must still be approved by kindred spirits like Bob Sarver and Metta World Peace, but this lockout will fade into insignificance once people see that losing 16 games and a month and a half is probably good for the product.And next year, when an owner tries to make next years schedule 98 games long to make up for the 16 lost this season, lots of people will nod happily and say, Yeah, mmmmmm, more games. Nummy.Too bad, too, because having seen the NFL avoid the lesson in humility it sorely needed and Major League Baseball duck the bullet entirely, the NBA was our next realistic hope for some good and proper shame directed at the owners and their uniformed minions.Oh, we like our amusements as well as anyone, an the NBA is a worthwhile amusement even in Oakland and Sacramento, as hard as that may be to believe.But the NBA got to thinking it was bigger than itself while both sides and posed and preened and prostituted and acted all indispensable and like that there. It isnt, of course, and not even the most ardent hoop blogger can make such a claim with a straight face. A full season would have shown the league and its players its real place in the universe, and nothing beats a humble for educational value.Instead, the sides pulled out of their mutual death spirals in the middle of the night FridaySaturday, proving of nothing else that tryptophan does not paralyze all people equally. David Stern forgot that he hated Billy Hunter, and Hunter pretended that he thought Stern was an owners tool, and they became fast friends again.Makes you want to heave just thinking about it.Camps are expected to open December 9, and the Warriors and King both open December 26, the day after Christmas to honor a deal made the day after Thanksgiving. Hurray for everyone, I guess.But this isnt a day to be proud of, in all frankness. It should never have gotten to this point, and the owners should have been made to learn that fans dont care about them, never have and never will. Their job is to provide the shows demanded of them, and having tried to screw the product, they should enter the new season with more shame than pride.They wont, but a fella can dream.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”