3 min read

The Side Part: Punchy

The Side Part: Punchy

I have never been stabbed in the eye with a burning fork. I have never cut off my big toes and stuck them up my nose. I have never played in traffic on the Autobahn while a wolf chews on my chest. I have never been slapped in the face by Bill Kazmaier. I imagine, though, that all that might be something like watching the Thunder against the Bulls last night.

These Thunder are maddening if only because you can’t blame their lackluster play on effort. There was something comfy about complaining about the team last year. You could chalk it up to laziness, boredom. If they lost it was probably because they were coasting, floating through life, waiting on a good time to flip the switch and send teams to oblivion, or some place like it. I don’t know, Amarillo? All of Texas, really. Did you see Texas’ recruiting “haul” yesterday? Tom Herman: The Savior You Thought You Needed. This team isn’t that way. They play hard, always, they just don’t have enough bullets sometimes.

Watching Westbrook, The Savior Everyone Needs But So Few Deserve, continually hurl himself into the throat of the defense, to suffer those slings and arrows, and see what little help he’s provided otherwise is verging on being properly depressing. He’s doing everything he can, but since The Dumbest Punch Since Blake’s Punch Last Year, when he goes to the bench, things absolutely crater. Watching these bench lineups try to score is like watching people try to catch lotioned up watermelons if someone had also, for fun, lit the watermelons on fire.

A side note about the MVP race. It’s becoming clearer and clearer Westbrook isn’t going to win it. People have been hedging their bets for a while now, talking about team records and percentage of team’s points created and all that. It is wild how quickly some try to explain away Westbrook’s insane rebounding totals. I’d love to be wrong, but Harden is going to win it. It’s not as if Harden hasn’t been incredible—he has been and he’s shown absolutely no signs of slowing down—but people’s ability to become desensitized to not only Westbrook’s numbers, but the first-day-of-vacation-ness feeling that his play incites is kind of incredible. I said during the playoffs last year that a large swath of the basketball viewing public doesn’t deserve Westbrook because their responses to him are stuck in 1994. I still think that’s true.

I heard someone describe a stupid guy once. They said: He goes hungry a lot because he can’t find his mouth. I thought of that while watching that second unit, too. Payne is still trying to establish a rhythm after his injury. Morrow, try as he might, has difficulty staying in front of brooms. Singler, somehow, has found a way to look even crazier. What magazines exist at the place he gets his hair cut? This is beating a dead horse, but whatever. What picture is he pointing at to say I WANT TO LOOK LIKE THIS GUY. If before Singler had cut his hair this way someone made some sci-fi movie that’s supposed to take place a thousand years from now and people in the movie had Singler’s haircut I would bash that movie and call it unrealistic because nobody would ever choose to look that way. It looks so weird when he runs. It’s like one of those frayed car flags that someone has had on their truck for five years. Like a claw that’s glommed onto him and won’t let go. Surely it’s annoying for him. It must flop all around up there, swaying in the breeze. Sometimes it looks like he gels it. Maybe I’m being lazy now. I feel like I have to stop talking about it. It has to be boring at this point.