4 min read

The Side Part: And I’m lovin it

The Side Part: And I’m lovin it


I. Michael Cage does this thing where he says, “And I’m lovin it” a lot. He’ll say it after the Thunder have done something good, after Brian Davis has finished narrating that goodness. And it could be anything. A steal that leads to a layup. A pin down for Durant. A nice box out. An extra pass to a wide open Morrow in the corner. He could miss the shot, and even still, an “And I’m lovin it” is coming. It makes me feel good when he says it. I’ve come to count on it, the way I do the sun, or my wife saying something derogatory about Kyle Singler’s hair.

II. Kevin Durant’s crossover is officially something to watch for. The next bit of Riverside Casino Keys To The Game, or however you say it, should just read “Durant Crossing Dudes Up” three times over with accompanying video/gifs if they paid too much for that Riverside Casino graphic and want to get some mileage out of it. It has become a bonafide move at this point. If he were a wrestler in a video game there would be some combination of buttons you could press on a controller to get him to do it, by which I just mean this move is ever present within him and at the ready at all times. It would be one of his finishing moves along with Jumpers At The Nail and Staring At You And Knowing Your Secrets.

Last night Kobe said he forgot how long Durant was. I think I did, too. Not getting to watch him for the almost the entire year last year, so many moves he’s made early in the season have felt like revelations again. This is mostly ridiculous, of course, he’s gotten from the half-court line to the rim in four strides before. But because he was gone these moves get to feel like new again. This crossover is new, though. At least its smoothness is. It is fully operational, to use a (once again) parlance of the times. It’s like all great crossovers, so fluid it looks slow. The ball is on a pulley system that’s attached to the bench. When he lets the crossover out everyone on the bench stands up, and fans start making sex noises. Him doing it to Kobe, attaching a euro-step to the end of it, that was the young eating the old.

III. I got married in October. My wife’s family lives in Los Angeles and we’re out here with them for Christmas. Last night she took me to Yard House—this sports bar down near Staples Center—so I could be in the teeth, now just more like empty gums, of Lakerdome while we watched the game. She’s been a Clipper fan since about birth so she’s a good person to have with you when you’re actively rooting against the purple and gold. The fans in the bar showed some activity, some vital signs, when the Lakers took that lead in the 2nd, Kobe out there doing his best Your Dad In Church League impression, but my God did the room get still and quiet during that 40-4 run. One guy at a table behind us wore a Lakers era Malone jersey and his arm was in a sling. The kid next to him had a Rambis jersey. One of the blue alternates they sell in Foot Lockers and Champs and Foot Actions sometimes. One-armed Malone had a hard time dipping his fries in ranch. The onion ring tower gave him trouble. He was sad. His head was in his hand on the Russ to Roberson third quarter oop and one of them kept saying God every so often.

IV. Donovan ought to give Payne a chance with the twos, see if he can fill them with some life. There’s a fluidity to his game that’s apparent, but I’ve mentioned that before, and don’t want to beat the murdered horse. That may be dammed up a bit when he gets into it against elite competition, but give the man a chance to swim. It feels like, if nothing else, he can give you what DJ can, why not give a young guy a shot at becoming something? Roll him out there in two PG lineups with Russ. Go super small. Let him play in some space and see what happens.

V. Maybe it’s my own dumb faith, but I think the staggering people are clambering for will come. When the lights get bright in the postseason, I can’t imagine Donovan trotting out an all bench unit if they continue to play this way. I think he’s just trying to do what he should be doing: build up the team around Durant and Westbrook, and hope that the shots he’s giving them translate into confidence. But man, the bench is bad right now. Kanter gets his numbers, and has generally looked good. Morrow does nice things. Collison is a Swiss watch. Waiters has his flashes. But something about the combination is not working. It’s evident.

The starters look good, though. Really, really good. The chemistry is there and they’ve really started to click defensively. Durant and Westbrook are back to being Godzilla and Godzilla. Sometimes if you squint they look like jets. And I’m lovin it.