Well, even if the Bucks didn't play one of their best games this season (the Milwaukee Journal used or quoted the word "fun" 5 times this morning), if the blogsphere is to be believed, this was a good night to miss American Idol to head Downtown for some hoops. But it was the best game all season and I'm glad that we were actually there to see it. First, Brian and I attended a little pre-game soiree for season and partial-season ticket holders, in some tropical-plant bedecked reception room at the Bradley Center. Lots of sports fan appetisers which I considered dinner and probably overate: buffalo chicken pieces, mozz sticks, crudities with a choice of three dips. One was this really tasty lime cilantro thing, another was standard ranch, and a third was labeled "roasted garlic and spinach" but for the life of me there was no evidence of spinach in it. Shortly before the game GM Larry Harris spoke a little (!) to us, and just when you think, "Geez, that guy is really long-winded," some even more long-winded fan asks him this four-part lecture disguised as a question and released the string on Larry's windup. Larry's good, though. Totally puts this guy in his place, but very elegantly and politely, and doesn't publicly second-guess Terry "The White Shadow" Stotts regarding coaching decisions, like Mr Long Winded Fan was baiting him to do. That's just a standard management best practice. He also gets poins for not uttering the phrase "rebuilding year" like most management does when their team is struggling to finish the season over .500.
I slipped out of the party to catch the anthem, which turned out to be unnecessary. They brought back saxophonist Jeremy Scott, but Mr. Scott clearly doesn't read my blog, else he wouldn't have increased the Kenny G factor on tonight's anthem: he out-KennyGed Kenny G! There wasn't a phrase -- not a single rest -- that wasn't filled with noodly arpeggio solely for the sake of noodly arpeggio. It was like too much buttercream icing flowers on the cake. Jeremy, email me and I'll be glad to send you an iTunes gift certificate so you can load up on some Coltrane influences you so badly need to revisit. (I won't insult you by implying you don't already have plenty of Coltrane himself -- on vinyl at that.) Scott clearly has the chops, but he's evidently forgotton the reason people hate KennyG, Mariah Carey and their ilk so much is that they hotdog it for not other reason (like, uh, maybe the song calls for it?!?!) than to prove they can hotdog it. Jeremy: you don't need to prove anything to us. Just play the freaking antherm, throw an occassional stylistic flourish in there, and be done with it. You're good. Trust your audience. We'll still clap. It’s the anthem after all.
Ah the Bucks! They take the court and Phoenix is out there, and for the first half, it’s a real barnburn. I'm not paying attention to any of the other promotional crap that much because nothing different or remarkable's happening, plus the game is, as the Journal mentioned this morning, FUN to watch. I don't think the lead, by either team, was ever greater than 2-3 points in the first half. Great pretty moves by my ballet dancing black tights clad boys, lots of passing, sneaking in to slam dunk. And for a while there, some ironic fun watching 6'3" Steve Nash man-to-man covering 7"0" Bogut. Nash, man, gotta love him. Perfect pairing, as they both look like the kind of guys who sit around listening to old Soundgarden and Clutch LPs in the off-season. But that first whole half, it's just call-and-response from both teams, a fine matchup.
Nothing to shout about on the halftime show. They brought out both UWM men's and women's hoops teams, as we are all still amazed that both in recent years have been making appearances at The Tournament. But its not like they did anything there. If this were Marquette, we'd be like, so what? You went to The Tournament instead of the NIT. Whoop-de-doo. I think we're all so shocked that a state university other than the flagship campus even has a viable Division 1 team, that we have to give them a round of applause. Oh, and they doled out some $1,000 scholarships to some deserving kids to justify their existence at center court, but how far does $1,000 take you at UWM these days? 3 credit hours and some used books, that's what. I'd better stick some more $$$ into Stella and Sammy's 541 plans at this rate. Anyway, there's plenty of dead time on the court after this, so Steve Nash must've guessed it was OK to start taking warmup shots with 4 minutes left before buzzer, well before anybody else came out. He almost looked like some high school kid who won some contest with a prize of being allowed to shoot baskets at halftime.
So while there wasn't anything to shout about from the fan's point of view at halftime, there must've been some shouting or whatnot in the locker room. I say this because if the first half wasn't entertaining enough, the Bucks come out, and apparently they turned the force field around the 3 point line, because that's all the shots the Bucks are taking -- and they're hitting them, beautifully, nothin' but net! I don't think they even attempted any two-pointers! Bam! Bam! Bam! THIS is what I paid season ticket prices to see, Larry! They're up by 10 or so, then 20, and with 3:40 left in the 3rd quarter, its Royales With Cheese for the house as they hit 100 points, and clearly they're going to win. The Energee girls are so excited they come out and do their thing to Weezer's "Beverly Hills" a schtick I've seen them do before: they really do look like a bunch of LA valley girls who will do whatever it takes to get their hands on some 90210 real estate. I have to wonder if they -- or a majority of people -- realize this is Weezer, and thus, the sentiment "That's where I wanna be" is satire. Irony. All that clever-dick stuff. Oh well, Rivers Cuomo can smirk all the way to the bank.
By the fourth quarter, the Bucks have all but wiped the court with the Suns pulling way ahead by something like 20, and the only question remaining is whether they can hit 140. Naah, but 132 is the final score. Brian mused, "Wow, this is just like old-fashioned 1970s NBA" and he was right. So I have the mental energy to scope out the black socks report. Some of the Suns are wearing them, some aren't. Phoenix's uniforms are purple with orange trim. No black socks wearing is justified, unless you want to count the ridiculous purple trimmed with deer-hunter orange shoes worn by # 22, James Jones. It’s a good thing for a good portion of the NBA that the fug snarkarellas only focus on celebrity women. They'd have a field day with this.