Kyrie went full Pepsi; LeBron probably still doesn't know who Marcus Smart is; the Celtics almost turn around a 20 point deficit. Damn, the regular season's fun.
I'm a big texter during basketball games. If you're anything like me, your messages are full of "oh, nah"'s and "(insert name here), you dog"'s and "they can't hold him!"'s. Narrating games in real time is an outlet of sorts. Without it, I'd be splayed out on my couch talking to a pillow while my imaginary friend looks for a therapist. The point being, if you're anything like me, last night's Celtics-Cavaliers game was an absolute goldmine. I mean, it was all that I could have hoped for: a measuring stick game for a potential contender; Kyrie Irving cooking every which way; a late missed free throw from LeBron. Everything.
For anyone who forgot Kevin Durant went to the Warriors, let me remind you.
He's on the Warriors. Anyway, most of us imagined that the season was simply a wash. We were just waiting for the Warriors-Cavs Finals and we weren't sure that even that would be a good series. The two Finals teams met on Christmas and we forgot all about our griping because guess what: the game was an instant classic.
The Celtics-Cavs game wasn't all that different. The defending champs went up big in the third quarter, starting the 4th with an 18 point lead. The Celtics half court offense was stagnant and lazy, taking threes early in the shot clock without any of their patented ball movement. Thing about the Celtics, though, is they're never out of it. They play a gritty brand of Marcus Smart inspired defense—getting key stops and giving hard fouls—that keeps them in games. They turned LeBron over 8 times en route to cutting the lead down to 1 on several occasions in the fourth quarter.
Boston simply had no answer for Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving. Brad Stevens looked like he'd just been cock-blocked by Irving and Love in cop uniforms (that's already been copyrighted so f*ck off Foot Locker). The Celtics were outrebounded 46 to 29, Love grabbing 15 for the Cavaliers to go along with 30 points. Horford was an absolute non-factor on the night, grabbing only one board to go along with 4 assists and 3 blocks. Kyrie, who's been knocked for his lack of playmaking ability for others, finished the night with 12 assists and 32 points on 71% shooting from the field. And every time the Celts got close, Kyrie just dropped in another mid-range fallaway.
Boston now has to be painfully aware of their limitations and if Trader Danny doesn't have something cooking, I'll eat a $200 Foot Locker shoe. Rebounding has been an issue all year, and part of the reason they haven't separated themselves from the rest of the Eastern Conference pack is because they've been abused on the glass. The other issue is scoring the half court. Towards the end of the game, Isaiah Thomas was bailing out the Celtics half court offense, attacking the paint relentlessly and getting rewarded. Perhaps the most Isaiah play of the game was all 5'-9" of him drawing a double team in the restricted area and instead of kicking to a wide open Jae Crowder in the corner where Love had left him, he went barreling into a double clutch move and drawing the foul.
I've already written about how DeMarcus can fill some of the Celtics' gaps, defensive rebounding and post scoring in particular, but the other name that's been linked to a mid-season move is Andrew Bogut. An intimidating rim-protecting presence, Bogut's found his niche on the offensive side of the ball as a savvy passer and teeth-rattling screen setter. The Mavs probably can't ask for much for him considering his age and injury history so he'd be a bargain get for the Celtics if they decide to pass on Cousins. He fits their scheme perfectly on both sides of the ball. He challenges shots at the rim as well as anyone in the league, cleans up on the defensive glass, and is a willing and skillful passer. And Ainge won't have to break the bank for him. The only question for me is if they need another scheme guy. More than someone who fits their identity, I think the Celtics need another Isaiah. They need another scheme breaker. They need someone else who's willing and able to be the hero and the scapegoat. They need someone who'll disregard the corner shooter and get to the basket. F*ck it, they don't need Bogut. They need DeMarcus.
Uncle Drew Knows
(That's Brad Stevens' "I was about to nut!" face in the thumbnail, by the way)
Absolutely pettier than Westbrook.
Special Shout-Out: DeAndre Liggins' Lawyer
Liggins has stumbled into an opportunity with the Cavaliers. Not many Kentucky guys play for Calipari for four years, and fewer make it to the NBA. J.R. Smith is injured; Iman Shumpert is successfully pretending that he knows how to come off the bench; Kay Felder is shorter than Isaiah; Mike Dunleavy has never been the same since Giannis plastered him into the first row. As such, Liggins has been starting at the 2, picking up the opposing team's best guard. For most players, starting an NBA game is the biggest opportunity of their life. For DeAndre Liggins it's a far second.
A brief look into my Facebook Messenger—
Rohan: Klay leads the league in catch and shoot fga per game. Kevin love is second.
Me: Yeah I bet
Rohan: I think he's just realized that he needs to play a different role now and finally is ok with just being a shooter basically.
Me: But he takes advantages of his opportunities to crash now too. Which is big.
Marv Albert and Chris Webber start discussing Liggins' troubled history with the law prompting…
Me: Damn DeAndre Liggins is a savage.
Rohan: 7 felonies? And somehow still has custody of his kid? Someone get that lawyer a new contract.
People got paid this off-season. I hope Liggins did right by his attorney (for more on Billy Bock and Liggins' xbox assault).
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The Trump-Twitter Industrial Complex continues to fester and mutate.
This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted a false statement about mail-in ballots.
He wrote that secretaries of state were sending mail-in ballots to every person, when actually states are only sending out ballot applications. For the first time, Twitter jumped in to fact-check Trump's statement, adding a link to a webpage full of information about mail-in ballots.
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Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
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